Comment round-up.

Well that didn’t take long.  Already I’ve got some believers in the comments howling at me.  Splendid.  The door is always open to you here at WWJTD.  However, no quarter will be given here either.  Know that before you make yourself at home.

It has become clear to me that I should have a weekly comment round-up post highlighting some of the most deliciously bad comments from the week (and maybe even some of the good ones, but I’m a cynic so let’s start with the bad).  How does every Friday sound?

Anyway, I couldn’t resist responding to the believers who spoke up yesterday, so without further ado…

First, we have Clarissa.

JT should give a FULL and COMPLETE explanation of why he left the SSA.

In the meantime, I am thankful that he will not be helping organize against Christian kids.

First, why on earth would you think I owe you any explanation for why I do anything?  Should I also give a FULL and COMPLETE explanation for why I had Cheerios this morning instead of eggs?  How lordly do you have to be to feel you have a right to know why I do anything?

Second, is there a conspiracy here I didn’t know about?  Was my initial explanation not good enough?  Did you read that I’d left the SSA and think to yourself, “There’s no way someone would enjoy the freedom of working from home as a writer, and there’s no way JT realized his frankness and working for an organization that plays the political game were incompatible.  There must be something deeper here!” ?  Look out, villains: Clarissa’s on the case.  Someone rising from the dead seems legit, but the idea that someone would enjoy working in their PJs smells fishy.

Unless, of course, you were just trying to passive aggressively hint that people you don’t like were dishonest or more wicked than they’re letting on with no evidence whatsoever.

Third, what is this “organize against Christian kids” malarkey?  To my knowledge, I never did anything for or against Christian kids.  That simply wasn’t my job.  I helped atheists to form clubs, resist discrimination, organize events, etc.  You call it organizing against Christian kids, as though I can’t work to support atheists without actively working against Christians.  It’s an indictment on Christianity that in response to the admonition of “Please treat us as equals” I still get “Why do you organize against our kids?” from binary-minded people like you.

But even for those student groups who do like to vocalize their skepticism of Christianity, so what if they do?  Do you jump down the throats of groups like the FCA for “organizing against” the atheists they try to convert?  If not, stop playing oppression Olympics and get some perspective.  Like so many Christians, you seem to be possessed by the idea that anybody not in your camp must have motives against the equality/well-being of Christian people and not just disgust for Christian ideas.  Who needs to interact with ideas when you can go straight into their skulls and extract their sinister motives, right?

Next up we have Tom Ted Seeber (whose trolling I have been warned about).  I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Tom is a Catholic.  I’m guessing this because on my post where I said “Hi Patheos” he came in with a non-sequitur about Catholic priests doing “such and such” (where “such and such” is “rape children”).  Has a much nicer sound than “pedophilia.”

The problem comes when atheists use irrational means to criticize. One I paricularily battle over and over is the “priest x did such and such to me therefore the entire religion is false” without ever asking the question “is what the priest did within the confines of orthodoxy for his own religion”?

If the answer is no, then he has no more proven religion false philosophically than a physicist sleeping with a student proves the law of gravity to be false.

A guy who believes someone rose from the dead accuses others of irrationality.  If only we could use irony to pay off the debt.

Well Tom, nobody is saying that priests raping children makes Catholicism untrue.  The Catholic belief in someone rising from the dead, of crackers becoming flesh, of wine becoming blood, of someone walking on water, and the host of other impossible things (that’s why they’re called “miracles,” right?) without a lick of evidence to support them is what makes Catholicism untrue.

Now, what we do say is that this is proof that religion either doesn’t seem to make people more moral or, in this case, that it seems to lend support to immorality.  For instance, if any good human being discovers a person has been raping children, they call the police.  This is what virtually every atheist would do, regardless of whether the perpetrator was playing for our ideological team or not.

But when god’s direct representative on earth (the Pope) aids and abets the priests who did “such and such” to the boys in their care, makes it possible for them to do it to others, and then refuses to work with the authorities to stop and to punish the crime, it destroys the arguments that adopting your religion is an antidote to immorality.  It seems to be a moral poison, not a cure, especially when you consider the fact that millions still give money to the institution doing this knowing full well where a part of that money has gone.

That’s what we’re saying, and it’s the damn truth.  The unfortunate thing is that almost every prominent Catholic seems to be more annoyed at atheists for pointing this out than at the church and its cabal of priests who prioritize PR over children.  If enough Catholics had the moral impetus to police their own, it wouldn’t be on the shoulders of all those “immoral atheists” to root out the predators of the cloth.

Anyway, thank you both for swinging by the blog and for making your feelings known.  Like I said, the door is always open.  Bring your friends.  :)

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • ACN

    I for one support full explanations for Cheerios over eggs.

    I mean come on, we’re mammals, stealing eggs is just what we do!

  • ottod

    See! I warned you this was a sketchy neighborhood!

    Don’t forget to lock up and turn on the alarms at night.

    Watch your diet. You’ll need more than Cheerios if you’re gonna have to battle irrationality every day.

  • Makoto

    But.. but.. where does bacon play into all of this? Can I have bacon, eggs, and Cheerios? Or is even talking about breakfast foods wrong? Religion is so confusing…

    • WCLPeter

      Bacon strips, bacon strips, more bacon strips – cheerios wrapped in bacon covered with batter and the deep fried. Then wrapped in more bacon!

      I think I’ve been watching too much Epic Mealtime again. :-D

  • Anonymous

    Prove that Cheerios are better than eggs.

  • David

    Consecrated cheerios, made flesh of the son of Cap’n Crunch. You can tell they’re holy, because they have holes in them.

  • Ken

    Remember, they aren’t eggs. They are baby chickens, and deserve the full rights of chickenhood the moment they are conceived. Fun fact: If you pour such a chicken into a cup and shake it a little, the Virgin Mary will often appear!

    • Niemand

      Hate to spoil the analogy, but the eggs eaten in the average first world kitchen are often unfertilized and therefore, if I understand correctly, not chickens by current theological thought. Of course, if they’re free range, all bets are off and they may well be chickens.

      • Rowan

        No, but they COULD be…the potential was there, and therefore it needs to be respected. Every egg is sacred.

        Also, how do you know you arent murdering Chicken Jesus?! He deep fried for your sins, to save you from the ultimate deep frying, and thats how you thank him?

        • Ted Seeber

          Thanks for proving the quip “All atheists ever seem to have learned about Catholic sexuality, they learned from Monty Python”

          • Rob

            Given the actions of the Catholic Church (lying about condoms, stance on abortion, stem cells, contraception), how is it wrong?

      • Matt E

        Unfertilized! Virgin birth eggs! Oh the HORROR! We’re eating chicken Jesus!

  • Healthy Humanist

    You have a lot of nerve spreading that pro-Cheerios speech roun’ these parts. You’re gonna get run outta town JT. Come on Eggs, let’s go sharpen us some beaters.

  • NightRaith

    Wow JT you gave us a small preview in game the other day, but this is much much better.

  • Ted Seeber

    Might get the name right (especially since it’s right there in the heading), and check out the New York Times which has been shouting from the rooftops for the past 10 years that the sex abuse scandal makes Catholicism, and particularly the vow of celibacy, untrue.

    But beyond that, you seem to have missed the last 20 years worth of changes in Canon Law, which have led to the *first* thing Catholics do when a priest is accused, is call the police.

    I am sad to say I can’t say the same for the Freedom From Religion foundation, which seems to excel in abusing children with the court system.

    As for the rest of that, well, your reductionism just makes you too irrational to be unbiased about evidence.

    I’m going to have fun with you. Rationalism and reductionism are not compatible.

    • JT Eberhard

      “But beyond that, you seem to have missed the last 20 years worth of changes in Canon Law, which have led to the *first* thing Catholics do when a priest is accused, is call the police.”

      Or shuffle them about and then make the enabler Pope. One of those two for sure.

      • Ted Seeber

        Nope. Not allowed in Canon Law any more. Hasn’t been since *before* Benedict was Pope. 2002.

    • Joe

      “But beyond that, you seem to have missed the last 20 years worth of changes in Canon Law, which have led to the *first* thing Catholics do when a priest is accused, is call the police.”
      So, it’s only in the last 20 years that the Catholic church has figured out what the rest of us have known for the last thousands of years? Truly, they are moral bastions.
      “I am sad to say I can’t say the same for the Freedom From Religion foundation, which seems to excel in abusing children with the court system.”
      Because providing support to children that want schools to stop violating their rights is totally the same as raping children, I’m sure.

      • Ted Seeber

        Bullshit on your “what the rest of us have known for thousands of years”. NO organization previous to 2000 did this. Not the Public Schools. Not the atheists. Not even the police. *ALL* protected their own against outsiders.

        Heck, even Bill Clinton did this.

        • Rob

          And how many of those claim a higher moral authority?

        • Joe

          No organisation did this because there were already laws against raping children – that the Catholic church ignored. I’ll conceed that some public school somewhere may have acted to protect an offender, but the organisation as a whole (say, the board of education) hasn’t, over many years, acted to protect a large number of offenders while claiming a higher moral authority (Thanks Rob!). The fact that there is now canon law against it doesn’t change the fact that they failed, both morally and legally, for many years.
          As for atheists having no sort of internal law, that would be because we aren’t any sort of unified organisation (plus, I’d like to think that we wouldn’t need PZ Myers or someone to tell us that raping children is bad – I think we can figure that out for ourselves)

    • anteprepro

      Holy shit. You’re saying “Hey, at least they started to reporting to the police as of 1990!” as if it is a good thing!? As if that totally redeems them for covering that shit up for decades before that? And accusing the Freedom from Religion Foundation of “abusing” children as some sort of asinine, straw-man version of a tu quoque? And you have the fucking GALL to pretend that you are more rational and unbiased?

      Why don’t you save yourself and everyone else here the effort and just fuck right off? What a fucking embarrassment.

    • Andrew G.

      But beyond that, you seem to have missed the last 20 years worth of changes in Canon Law, which have led to the *first* thing Catholics do when a priest is accused, is call the police.

      The judicial report on Cloyne found that two-thirds of reported cases from 1996-2009 were not passed to the police, and that the bishop had misled investigators in a 2009 inquiry.

      • Ted Seeber

        And that Bishop was found to be guilty under Canon Law. You can’t use a criminal to call the law invalid.

        • DR

          OK, you need to stop lying. Explicit guidance was sent by the Holy See to NOT report pedophile priests. Please quote, specific, the articles of Canon Law that state what you claim. And being “convicted” under Canon Law is absolutely immaterial. The point is for rapists to be convicted under REAL law, not under the internal rules of a religious organization. The worst penalty under Canon Law for a priest is defrocking. And there has been very few of those. The vast majority of priests caught raping kids have simply been shuffled to other jurisdictions.

          I wonder: When did lying become a virtue?

    • John Horstman

      I am sad to say I can’t say the same for the Freedom From Religion foundation, which seems to excel in abusing children with the court system.

      Interesting, I follow them pretty closely (WI represent!), and I have no clue what you’re talking about. Are you referring to something real, or are you just lobbing ad hominem attacks and hoping one will stick?

      Rationalism and reductionism are not compatible.

      You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

      • John Horstman

        Well, that formatting is all sorts of broken. The Patheos comment daemon could maybe use some tweaking; I don’t *think* I forgot to close any tags.

      • Ted Seeber

        Reductionism means that you willfully suppress evidence that does not fit your pet theories- that is you reduce the evidence you personally, subjectively, think is irrelevant while accepting evidence that is equally suspect.

        And as for what I’m talking about- I mean the censorship the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the SSA regularly support.

        • Rob

          Wow, a theist lies yet again. I’m shocked, utterly shocked.

          • Improbable Joe

            I’m not. You have to lie to yourself to be religious in the modern world, so lying to others must come as naturally as breathing.

  • Ted Seeber

    BTW, another thing you seem to have missed is the basic Catholic belief that everybody, including priests, are immoral.

    • hotshoe

      Wonderful. Since YOU admit to being immoral, why would I believe you when you claim that I am immoral, too? I can safely assume that you’re just lying as part of your campaign to excuse yourself (and to excuse your sack-of-shit priests, also) because “everybody does it”.
      And there probably is not an atheist on our planet who hasn’t heard some religious hypocrite proclaim “Can’t be good without god”. Since YOU can’t be good even WITH god, why on earth would I be willing to add god to the equation in hopes of becoming LESS IMMORAL than you already are?

      • Ted Seeber

        All human beings are immoral. It’s a trait of the species.

    • MrThumbtack

      Oh but the Catholic Church does claim to make you moral, it’s just that like every other self-help scam, you’ll never be good enough. You always have to buy that next product, confess that next sin. The Catholic church teaches people that it can make them “moral”, and then sets the bar impossibly high. And on top of that, there’s a blood curse from your ancestors, so guess what? You’re screwed even if you manage the impossible!

      I won’t even begin to get into how truly immoral Catholic “morality” is.

      • Ted Seeber

        No, they claim to have discovered a set of psychological laws about humanity that they call morality. NOBODY has ever lived up to those rules.

    • Maude

      Sweet, no more moral argument then! And priests can come off their pedestal. Is the pope moral? Mmh, we’re in a conundrum here. He’s like super-priest, with his popemobile, he can’t be wrong. How about the donation of Constantine? I heard one of your contemporary thinks it’s a forgery! Well I’ll be damned.

      • Ted Seeber

        What about any of that is about morality?

    • Amyc

      Yes yes, we get it. Everybody is terrible, but you have the cure, right?

      • Ted Seeber

        Nope. Everybody is terrible and we don’t have the cure. Only forgiveness for being terrible.

        • ACN

          Ah. Forgiveness. From the invisible man in the sky. The same one who made us terrible to begin with?

          Seems plausible.

    • Amyc

      JT, get ready for lots of theists. I think you’re going to have a little too much fun here. :-P

    • Nox

      The catholic church does claim to posess perfect morality, as well as claiming that morality can only be acheived by anyone through catholicism. If the morals of the catholic church are imperfect in any way, let alone if they support and defend the rape of children (or have already spent the last two thousand years repeatedly proving themselves to be morally repugnant) then a central part of what the church teaches is untrue.

      • Ted Seeber

        Or you have failed to understand what the teaching actually is.

    • Improbable Joe

      Makes it easier for you to excuse yourself when you claim “everyone does it” like the small children (that you Catholics allow to be raped by priests) do.

    • DR

      You claim to be an expert in Catholic teachings, and you come up with that load of bull? The Church does not teach that everyone is immoral. It teaches that everyone is a sinner. There’s quite a difference between the two, a difference that someone who represents himself as an apologist should know.

  • Patterrssonn

    Ted, this is the second time I’ve seen a post of yours and you’re already repeating yourself. Are you actually able to respond or do you only have one argument.

    • Daniel Schealler



    • Ted Seeber

      The problem is that what I am arguing against is so one-dimensional and reductionist, that there is no other point to make.

      • anteprepro

        Have you ever contemplated the remote possibility that you’re the real dumbfuck here? That it might actually be YOU that doesn’t quite understand what WE are talking about?

        Nah. You’re a theist, so you must be right.

      • DR

        Yeah, it’s reductionist. It reduces itself to one and only one thing: DIDDLE A CHILD, GO TO JAIL. It’s not complicated.

        • anteprepro

          No, but you see, HUMAN NATURE and THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION and YOU JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND CATHOLICISM and THEY CHANGED THEIR RULES IN THE 90′S. See, it is very very complicated and thus the child rape and organized cover up of child rape wasn’t that bad. /sophisticated theology

  • IslandBrewer

    Oh, Jesus H. Tapdancing Crap, JT.

    You are going to be SO distracted from doing anything else by responding to twiddly little easy pickin’s godbot comments if Ted is an example of the theist moths that will flock to your heathen flame.

  • John Eberhard

    Better watch the “welcome any time” stuff. You have experience with ignorant twits who fill your comments section with stupid drivel and Babble quotes. Keep your ban hammer handy. Just sayin’…..

    • Nathan Hevenstone

      I’m just gonna agree with John, here.

    • anteprepro

      Not only agree, but I hope that he will make it clear when he bans someone. Not only is that kind of transparency important, but I’m already relishing seeing Ted Seeber get squished by the banhammer.

      • Ted Seeber

        Thus proving me right about the willingness of atheists to use censorship.

        • Joe

          Except that it isn’t censorship – you are still perfectly able to start your own blog or coment elsewhere. This would be JT kicking you out of a party because you are annoying the other guests and making them want to leave.

        • ACN

          This word. I do not believe it means what you think it means.

        • anteprepro


          And Nothing of Value Would Be Lost.

  • Anonymous

    Should I also give a FULL and COMPLETE explanation for why I had Cheerios this morning instead of eggs?

    We want the truth and the whole truth about your dastardly anti-egg conspiracy!

  • McNihil

    Hey JT,

    Welcome to Patheos! I’ve been following your blog over at FtB for a while and now I will continue to follow you here. I actually think you are a great addition to Patheos exactly because of all the people of faith here that will comment on your posts and that you can now duke it out with. I’m already looking forward to the weekly comment round-up. I’m also excited because in one of your last posts on FtB you said that you’ll be able to write more now that you quit your job at the SSA (as painful and hard a decision as it may have been). Awesome! The more the better.

    Good luck to you in your new home. I expect nothing less but great things to come!

  • Pingback: Priest talks about the cover-up of pedophilia within the Catholic church.

  • Adam Lee

    If anyone doesn’t know Ted Seeber, btw, he’s the guy who supports the right of dictatorships like Myanmar to imprison Nobel Prize winning-dissidents without trials, because he’d do the same thing in his perfect theocracy, and he knows that to be philosophically consistent he has to extend that same privilege to other dictatorships. I’m not even slightly kidding.

    • anteprepro

      Wow. Yet fairly consistent with the things Ted has shown about himself so far. Scary.