Stop thanking god for the three rescued kidnapping victims.

::HELLA TRIGGER WARNING::

Ten years ago three Cleveland women, two of them teens, were kidnapped.  During this time they were chained in a house, never allowed to leave, raped, and forced to have children.  Just yesterday, with the help of a neighbor, one of them managed to escape and call the police.

And the article on CNN, and the comments, just make me wish for blindness.

“I love you honey, thank God,” Berry’s tearful grandmother Fern Gentry could be heard telling the young woman in a telephone call

And…

Her mother, Barbara Knight, told NBC Wednesday that she had not yet spoken to her daughter.

“She’s probably angry at the world because she thought she would never be found but thank God that somebody did,” she told NBC.

Thank…god?  The internet is abuzz with people claiming prayers have been answered.  Halle-fucking-lujah!

Too bad for one of the prayers, the mother of Amanda Berry.  She died before her prayers were answered.  If I was that late getting to work and getting my job done, nobody would be praising me.  As a matter of fact, I would be fired and people would be asking, “Where the fuck have you been?!?”  “Working in mysterious ways” would not get me off the hook.  In fact, saying that would probably add fuel to the fire as I’d rightly be accused of trying to duck responsibility behind a flimsy excuse.

Any of us would have tried to rescue those women if we were there when they were taken, or if only we knew where they were being held.  But god was there and he knew where they were being held, and god did nothing.  God watched them get abused and raped for ten years, and not once did the spark of compassion move god to act.  He watched coldly.  And even after all that time, it was not god who broke the door down, but another human being.

Some will say that god doesn’t intervene because he values free will.  Well, if god doesn’t intervene, then you can’t give him the credit for finally deciding, after ten fucking years, to do something.  There is no reasonable scenario where god gets all the credit for acting but is absolved for all his apathy when he didn’t.  Either god can stick his hand into the situation or he can’t.  Pick one.  If he can’t, then he might as well not exist and you need to stop thanking him for answering your prayers.  If god can interfere on behalf of victims like these, then he chose to watch teenagers get raped and brutalized instead of releasing them.  There is simply no scenario here where the god you envision, even if it did exist (which, thankfully it doesn’t) should be worshiped or thanked.

And what if those three women had been found dead?  Would we instead blame god for his inaction?  Nope!  You can bet the praise would just keep flowing.

And what of the majority of kidnapping victims who don’t get to live or who never get rescued?  You’ll note in the story that the police found the bodies of two women they thought could be one of the kidnapping victims.  They were somebody’s daughters, and likely prayed during the entirety of their murder, but just weren’t special enough to god.  If god can liberate them, but doesn’t – if god looks over the shoulder of the perpetrator while he inflicts unimaginable suffering on innocent women and god never lifts a finger, why should we praise that god?  Why should we do anything but revile and defy that god?  Where it you in his shoes, even though you could lose your life or sustain all sorts of injuries (a problem that does not concern god) you would fight to save them.  If you’re offering up praise to a god possessed of so much indifference then you are wrong, and need to think about what you’re worshiping (if you have any moral sense, this will cause you to feel very, very dirty).

Praise god?  Praise god?  What the fuck is wrong with all of you?  I cannot tell you how ashamed I am to share the same DNA with these people.  I don’t care if belief in god gives these people comfort.  Comfort is available without subscribing to a force that disfigures our compassion in this way.

Worshiping this god means one of two things: either you haven’t thought it through, in which case you should do better; or you have fucked up moral standards, in which case you should do better.

  • Glodson

    Thank you god for letting them get kidnapped in the first place. Thank you god for not getting them out sooner. Thank you god for having the cops being called twice, at least, and doing nothing.

    But whatever you do, thank god before you thank Charles Ramsey who actually did something.

    Also, fuck Sylvia Browne who told one of the women’s mother that her daughter was dead.

    • Glodson

      For those who don’t know what I’m taking about with my last sentence.

      Amanda Berry’s mother traveled to New York to tell her story to Psychic
      Sylvia Browne on the Montel Williams Show.
      The show was a shot at getting her daughter’s picture before the eyes of
      millions of Americans.
      “On April 21st 2003, 16-year-old Amanda Berry left her part-time job
      never to be seen again,” the show began. With that, TV viewers across
      America now know a girl from Cleveland is missing.
      But Amanda Berry’s mom wanted more than her daughter’s picture on
      national TV. She wants answers.
      “Can you tell me…Is she out there?” Berry’s mother Louwana Miller asked.
      “I hate when they’re in the water,” Browne said. “She’s not alive
      honey.”
      It was bad news from the world-renowned psychic. It’s what Miller didn’t
      want to hear.
      “So you don’t think I’ll ever see her again,” Miller said.
      “Yeah in Heaven on the other side,” Browne responded. “I’m sorry.”

      Montel took a commercial break and Amanda’s mom broke down.
      Although the FBI says Sylvia Browne has never solved one of their cases,
      Miller has faith in psychics.
      “It hurts my mind but it eases it; now I know,” Miller said. “I can’t
      understand why, she was such a good girl. She didn’t bother anybody”
      Channel 3’s Bill Safos sat down with Sylvia after the show.

      “Are you ever wrong?” Safos asked. “Only God is right all the time but
      of course I’m wrong,” Browne responded. “But after 50 years of doing
      this work, I’d better be more right than wrong. I always say I hope I’m
      wrong. When it comes to this, I hope I’m wrong.”But regardless the determined psychic shared more of her thoughts about a suspect.
      “I think he really had a crush on her,” she said. “And I think she
      rebuffed him. I think she thought he was harmless enough to maybe
      drive her home.” Who ever did give Amanda that last ride didn’t take her home. Amanda’s mom and sister Beth hope the show will spark a good tip. “Her last words were: Good-bye mom, I love you,” Miller said.
      Berry’s family and friends have a scheduled a prayer vigil. It happens
      this Sunday the 21st. It’s 19 months to the day since she disappeared.
      It’s at 6 p.m. at the corner of W.110th and Lorain near where she
      vanished.

      Found via Ed Brayton at Dispatches From the Culture War.

      Browne is a fraudster who charges hundreds of dollars per minute for her psychic revelations. She’s not someone to be mocked. She’s someone that should be arrested and held accountable for the real harm she does. In tersm of financially and emotionally. But that’ll never happen.

      • Art_Vandelay

        Yeah but the good thing about this is that at least all of the people who believe in psychics and mediums will become skeptical of psychics and mediums. That happens, right?

        • Glodson

          I would take people just being skeptical of this one psychic and calling her out for this. I want to see her being held accountable for this, for letting Berry’s mother die thinking her daughter was dead.

          • Nate Frein

            Unfortunately, she has an easy way of spinning it: What she saw was that Amanda Berry would not be rescued until after her mother died, so therefore they would only see each other “in heaven”.

          • Glodson

            She can’t spin the “She’s not alive honey.”

            That’s unambiguous. She can try to ignore it, but she said it. She didn’t imply, she stated. Of course, she’ll ignore the statement and try do as you suggest. And her apologists will look the other way. And she’ll descend on other emotionally vulnerable people, and be put on television and not be held accountable for her acts.

          • Beutelratti

            I imagine she’d say something like this: “She was not truly alive until she was free again. So there, I was right.”

          • Glodson

            @beutelratti:disqus

            I just got a sick feeling in my gut as I can hear her saying that.

          • Nate Frein

            Depends on how savvy she is. She could also “own up” to misinterpreting what she saw but she was right about the gist!

            It also depends on how “open minded” her apologists are. Us skeptics are such a close-minded lot, after all.

          • Artor

            She’s in the water…just like the other woman’s husband who died in the WTC attacks. Oh, he must have drowned in the fire sprinklers! That’s the ticket!

    • Ibis3

      You forgot to thank God for creating a world in which women are treated as property. Oh and for giving free will to sociopaths.

      • Glodson

        I must ask forgiveness for our all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all lazy god for that oversight.

        Now I must thank god for the punishment I so richly deserve.

      • Greg G.

        If God had a hand in the rescue, didn’t he interfere with the kidnapper’s free will? If God can interfere with a kidnapper’s free will after 10 years, why can’t he do it 10 seconds after the abduction?

        The god thought is a brain stopper for believers.

  • Jasper

    You know, sometimes it just takes 10 years for the omnipotence, omniscience, omniprecense and omnibenevolence to kick in

    • SansDeus

      It works at the speed of light, unfortunately it was 10 light years away.

      • unbound55

        Perhaps the Mormons are right after all. God is hanging out on Kolob! It explains…well, nothing…but still entertaining…

    • Art_Vandelay

      I’m reminded of this epic rant from Hitchens on the Fritzl case…

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnoE1ho4Hhc

      • baal

        Exactly.

      • invivoMark

        Every time Hitchens is on a panel discussion, every other member of the panel maintains a look on their face that says, “Why the fuck am I on a panel with him? This is a waste of my afternoon. He’s kicking my ass, and I’m going to look like a moron on TV!”

        • CottonBlimp

          Given their faces and how most of those assholes talk, I think it’s more like “What a boob, taking our dry discussion about theological ontology and sullying it with the actual, human implications of what we’re talking about?”

          So many philosophers and pundits seem to think that it’s vulgar to give a fuck about the human side of these debates. Like, we could have a nice, clean debate about drone strikes if those buffoons would stop complaining about all those “dying”.

          Theologists are the worst because they actively disdain the material universe, despite the fact that contains all the things that could ever really matter.

  • neatospiderplant

    Especially in cases like this, I have to believe that when the victims’ families say ‘thank god’, they don’t literally mean they are thanking god, but rather, they are expressing they are thankful for their escape and ‘thank god’ is just the go-to way to express it. I realize they very well might mean it literally, but I find it too depressing to think of it that way.

    • B-Lar

      Yup, much in the same way that I sometimes invoke jesus in the bedroom. Some people have belief behind the words, and some just have commonly accepted wordage.

      Praise be! He is risen!

  • Art_Vandelay

    Apropos of nothing, Charles Ramsey is fucking awesome. That interview afterwards is epic.

  • unbound55

    The only possible way that thanking god for this situation is….god is a news executive! It is all starting to make sense now.

  • E.H. Munro

    Do you read your angry fundamentalist rants before you post them? I like to be thankful that I’m a little brighter, and rather than be embarrassed that I share DNA with you am simply amused by this sort of stupidity.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jt.eberhard JT Eberhard

      I see no arguments for why I’m wrong. You were probably too busy sticking your nose in the air.

      • E.H. Munro

        No, I was actually laughing at you. But then, I always laugh at fundamentalists. I feel you people have an obligation to entertain me.

        • Glodson

          Still no argument. Still nothing of substance. Still not making a case. Still showing us how stupid you are.

          • E.H. Munro

            What argument? I’m sorry, are you familiar with formal logic? I was making an observation, I find fundamentalists funny, hence I laugh at them. My subjective preferences are not subject to “logical debate” because they are just that, subjective preferences. I do not need to give an argument for what amuses me any more than I need to give an argument for enjoying hard boiled eggs or not liking scrambled eggs.

            If you’re objecting to the classification of someone that makes every argument a false dichotomy, demands that only an animist conception of divinity can be considered, denounces everyone that doesn’t think like him, etc. as a fundamentalist, I can’t help you. You’ll need to break out of your own prison cell.

          • islandbrewer

            Did you notice how you still failed to explain your original statement? You’ve failed to escape the “lol ur stooped” troll category. Maybe that’s what you’re aspiring to.

          • E.H. Munro

            I’m sorry, I’ve asked this elsewhere, but can you point out where I actually *wrote* that JT was stupid? In fact, I was infinitely more generous to him than he was to others. What’s at work here is that you’re *assuming* that I am an idiot based on what you *think* I am and therefore if I laugh at you I must be trolling. Again. logic isn’t that tough, if you’d like I can recommend some good books on the subject.

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

            I like to be thankful that I’m a little brighter, and rather than be embarrassed that I share DNA with you am simply amused by this sort of stupidity.

            I literally scrolled up six inches on my screen. That was your original post here. When you write “I’m brighter than JT”, “I’m embarrassed I share DNA with JT”, and “This is stupid”, then yeah, you’re calling JT stupid.

            And since you refuse to provide any reasons or counter evidence for why you think this, I am forced to come to the conclusion you don’t have any. Making an implicit claim that someone else is stupid with no reasons behind it is pretty silly on a forum like this one.

          • E.H. Munro

            Except that I specifically said the opposite of that. I specifically said that I *wasn’t* embarrassed to share DNA with JT, I just said that I was amused by his literal interpretations of the words of people (understandably) overwhelmed by emotion. Everyone says stupid things now and then. Hell, A.J. Ayer invented logical positivism. Which took a fuckload more work. But that doesn’t mean that he’s stupid, he just made the mistake of making a priori argument for metaphysical empiricism.

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

            …rather than be embarrassed …. So what you said is that you would be embarrassed to share DNA with JT, but instead, it was sooo beneath you all you could do was laugh instead.

            My mistake. You were totally not calling anyone stupid or embarrassing. [/snark]

          • E.H. Munro

            I see the error, you guys actually *didn’t* read JT’s article and just jumped in here to slap his back assuming that whatever he said must have been right?

          • islandbrewer

            “I’m sorry, I’ve asked this elsewhere, but can you point out where I actually *wrote* that JT was stupid? In fact, I was infinitely more generous to him than he was to others.”

            See below, timestamped before your comment.

            “What’s at work here is that you’re *assuming* that I am an idiot…”

            Where did I call you an idiot?

            “…if I laugh at you I must be trolling.”

            Well, you’re posting insulting comments, getting a reaction, and expressing amusement at our reaction, which is … what’s that word again?

            “Again. logic isn’t that tough, if you’d like I can recommend some good books on the subject.”

            Yay for insults to our intelligence! Being incomprehensible, and then calling us illogical for what you baldly assert is our not understanding you? Classic Dunning -Kruger!

            Troll on!

          • islandbrewer

            Hey Munro! Give me either a Reductio ad absurdum or a false equivalency, and I’ll have bingo!

          • E.H. Munro

            I’d be shocked if you could actually correctly identify either one.

          • islandbrewer

            Fates forfend, did you call me an idiot? Well, no, not explicitly! And you’ve demonstrated that you will bury your head in the sand and scream rather than admit you didl

            You, however, have demonstrated that you’re little more than a fuckwad of a troll. Go ahead and erroneously call that an ad hominem. I need to call bingo.

          • E.H. Munro

            No. It’s just been my experience that what passes for logical discourse in the new atheist community is nearly always a laundry list misapplied logical fallacies. And it’s because you all learn about them from the same websites and not by actually studying logic.

          • Glodson

            What argument? I’m sorry, are you familiar with formal logic? I was
            making an observation, I find fundamentalists funny, hence I laugh at
            them

            That’s great. Except I was pointing out that you’ve said nothing of substance or value. No one cares about your opinion, especially if that opinion is a mere assertion.

            My subjective preferences are not subject to “logical debate” because they are just that, subjective preferences. I do not need to give an argument for what amuses me any more than I need to give an argument for enjoying hard boiled eggs or not liking scrambled eggs.

            Not my point, idiot. My point is that you have not explained anything, or put forth anything worth talking about.

            If you’re objecting to the classification of someone that makes every argument a false dichotomy, demands that only an animist conception of divinity can be considered, denounces everyone that doesn’t think like him, etc. as a fundamentalist, I can’t help you. You’ll need to break out of your own prison cell.

            What?

            This doesn’t many a bit of sense. You really don’t understand the term animist. I’m sure I’ll see more at the next reply below here. Someone must have told you about these words without giving the actual content of their meaning.

          • E.H. Munro

            No, I certainly do understand it. Rather than looking at the Wikipedia entry on animism I’ve spent a great deal of time actually studying an animist religion. It does not make me an expert on the subject, but I do understand it more thoroughly than wikidiot savants.

          • Loqi

            If you studied it with the same level of reading comprehension as you’ve displayed here, I have no doubt you aren’t an expert.

    • Loqi

      You’d be a better writer if you used the more efficient phrasing, “I’m smarter than you.” Because that’s all this post says. I’d offer you some lessons, but your post resembles the discharge one secretes when suffering from a bad case of Dunning-Kruger, and I’m worried it might be contagious.

      • E.H. Munro

        No, the sentence is properly formed and completely accurate. But hey, thanks for playing.

        • islandbrewer

          The concept of “argument” is really incredibly foreign to you, isn’t it.

        • baal

          Dunning-Kruger states that the not too bright over state their mental abilities (don’t know how dumb they really are). So when someone calls someone else stupid (as you did above), the first thing the audience (me! /wave) does is consider whether or not you (EH) are stupid one. Incidentally, this is also why it’s a good idea to not do name-calling.

          So going on about being able to construct grammatical sentences, when the issue is the validity of your ideas, tends to confirm the dunning-kruger complaint.

          • E.H. Munro

            Really? Could you point out where I said that JT was an idiot? For people that like to lecture the rest of us about our shoddy logic you seem to have a weak grasp thereof. I am not as intelligent as Thomas Nagel, David Chalmers, Roger Penrose or a host of others. None of which means that I am not intelligent. Now, if I had said something along the lines of “I’m ashamed to share DNA with idiots like these” I would indeed be guilty of your accusation. Alas for you I said no such thing. Someone here did, in fact many of you did. Not me, though. I simply made an observation. And a person that presumes to literally interpret the things that people say in moments of overwhelming emotion should really take a breath and think twice before denouncing other people’s “idiocy”. A little compassion wouldn’t hurt either.

          • islandbrewer

            “Really? Could you point out where I said that JT was an idiot?”

            Ask and ye shall receive!

            “I like to be thankful that I’m a little brighter, and rather than be embarrassed that I share DNA with you am simply amused by this sort of stupidity.”

            While that’s not explicitly calling JT an idiot, it’s reasonable to say that it’s tantamount to calling him an idiot, and the consensus certainly infers that. I’m sure you’re going to say something along the lines of “I’m still not calling him an idiot!” but you’re not one of those smug trolls who confuse pedantry with cleverness, are you?

          • E.H. Munro

            OK, take a deep breath, count to ten, and read that sentence again and point out to me where *I* referred to JT as an idiot and not where *you’re* reading it into my words. I won’t wait for a logical reply because I know it’s not forthcoming.

          • islandbrewer

            Me: “I’m sure you’re going to say something along the lines of “I’m still not calling him an idiot!””

            You:”…read that sentence again and point out to me where *I* referred to JT as an idiot and not where *you’re* reading it into my words”

            Alert the James Randi foundation! I’m psychic!

            You clearly didn’t read all the way through to the place where I said “you’re not one of those smug trolls who confuse pedantry with cleverness, are you?”

            You have proved me wrong.

            Oh, and another “ur illogical” DK trope, but I’ve already checked that one off. Wait, call me “shrill”, I haven’t checked that one off, yet.

          • E.H. Munro

            I did indeed read your remarks all the way through. The problem remains that you were reading meaning into my words based on your own preconceptions. You really are going to have to get over this view that everyone that disagrees with you is an idiot.

          • islandbrewer

            No, I was not reading meaning into your words based on any preconceptions. I was reading meaning into your words based on the meaning of the words you wrote. You’re going to have to get over this view that you’re actually clever.

            An aside: I don’t think you’re (entirely) an idiot, but you’re not half as clever as you act, and your an order of magnitude more the ass than anyone else here.

          • E.H. Munro

            Then how was it that you managed to attribute JT’s words to me?

          • islandbrewer

            Please cite me doing so, or stop this tiring semantic goose chase.

            You ought to also (1) at least pretend to back up your ridiculous assertions and (2) go ahead and accuse Glodson of “resorting to ad hominems” so I can call bingo!

          • DavidMHart

            You have gone out of your way to carefully imply that JT is an idiot, while leaving a technical loophole that allows you to language-lawyer your way out.

            This is conversationally equivalent, and ethically indistinguishable from calling JT an idiot. Just like in any number of insulting jokes – “I’m not saying your mother’s fat, but …” is always followed by unfavourable comments about your mother’s weight. You are essentially doing the same sort of thing.

          • baal

            I worked hard to be compassionate (well reading with charity) above and I regularly get flack for advocating others to do the same. Also, a request for compassion usually means you’re out to be a decent person yourself. However, you have about 7 people saying we find your compassion defective so you don’t exactly have clean hands.

        • Loqi

          If your standard for good writing is that you write complete sentences, you’re farther gone than I thought.

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

          *Headdesk* Proper grammar and good writing are not synonymous. In fact, some of the best writers wreak havoc on the rules of grammar, though they usually do so deliberately and with a purpose in mind for doing so.

          The purpose of writing is communication. Grammar is a tool used to clarify that communication and give us a common framework. It is (almost always) a necessary but not sufficient condition for effective communication. Unnecessarily complicated sentence structure and vocabulary is used to obfuscate and confuse, not to communicate. Efficiency, terseness, pithiness, whatever you want to call it; for good writing, if you can say it in three words, don’t say it in ten. Say it in three.

          Or, to put it another way: good writing is more than grammar. But hey, thanks for playing.

          • E.H. Munro

            None of this true. Complicated sentence structure is not necessarily used to obfuscate and confuse. It’s very tough to conduct analytical discussion in three word sentences. Worse still when when writing analytical work. I read science papers all the time with *extremely* complex sentences, and they’re fully necessary to the task at hand. I also read works in philosophy, economics, psychology, etc. and all these sorts of works are written with complex sentences that are yet very clear in their meaning. If you can’t understand clearly written sentences, that’s not the writer’s fault.

            I suppose I could have been like you “intelligent and compassionate” sorts and written “You’re stupid!!!!” except that that would *not* have actually been accurate nor would it have clearly expressed what I was saying. I wrote what I meant, and what you’re reading in is based on your own preconceptions. You’ll deny it and shriek “Prove it!!!!” But it won’t change the fact that I explicitly *refused* to mimic JT’s contempt for others and was infinitely more generous with him in pointing out his error than he was with others in pointing out what he felt theirs was.

          • islandbrewer

            “I suppose I could have … written “You’re stupid!!!!” except that that would *not* have actually been accurate nor would it have clearly expressed what I was saying.”

            For the record, you have yet to clearly express what you’re saying.

          • Loqi

            Complicated sentence structure is not necessarily used to obfuscate and confuse.

            First, that wasn’t a complicated sentence structure. I was criticizing you for using a whole paragraph to say “I’m smarter than you.” Not getting to the point is a sign of a bad communicator.

            If you can’t understand clearly written sentences, that’s not the writer’s fault.

            Where did I say I didn’t understand what you wrote? Is there a Dunning-Kruger Effect specifically for reading comprehension? Because it’s on full display here.

          • E.H. Munro

            I didn’t. I took one sentence. And I deliberately chose to mimic JT’s words, which you are all insisting mean nothing like an expression of “You savages disgust me!”, while explicitly rejecting just that conclusion. Unlike you compassionate übermenschen I feel sorry for a load of people that have suffered in a way that I, THANK GOD, will likely never experience. And rather than judging them and condemning them, to the negation of their being, for words spoken in a moment of overwhelming emotion that I literally have nothing to compare to, choose to view them more charitably.

            Is Aspergers really that rampant in your community?

          • Loqi

            Can’t read *and* can’t count? I can’t say I’m surprised.

          • islandbrewer

            “Is Aspergers really that rampant in your community?”

            Yay! We’ve ascended to ableist insults, now! That’s gotta be on the card somewhere. Stay classy, Munro!

          • baal

            “[I] was infinitely more generous” Our judgment of your generosity does not concur.

    • Glodson

      I like to be thankful that I’m a little brighter[...]

      Citation needed.

    • baal

      Could you list out what you find stupid? I agree with JT that we should not thank god because if he exists, he did too little and much too late. If you meant the semantic argument neatospiderplant used above, you could just say that.

      Also, while it’s trollish to call atheists fundamentalist, it’s also a kind of empirical error. JT’s (and the rest of us) are not ideological about there being no god. It’s more a matter of the evidence or reasons to believe in him are severely lacking or prove Satan, or Ba’al or Shiva to an equal degree.

      As to ‘angry’ yes, I own that. Why should god get the praise and thanks for a positive outcome? Did he free them their shackles? Why did he wait 10 years to do it? I think we should thank the woman (women) who survived this long and the actions they and the neighbors took. Diverting the thanks and praise to god takes from those who suffered inconceivably. That’s something to be angry about.

      • E.H. Munro

        Sure, the assumption that all of these people hold a belief in an animist conception of deity, in the first place.

        Also, I do not consider all atheists fundamentalists. In fact, I have a great many friends amongst the educated corner of the community. JT, however, is a fundamentalist. One does not need to be a theist to be a fundamentalist.

        • Glodson

          Sure, the assumption that all of these people hold a belief in an animist conception of deity, in the first place.

          Not the assumption. Not even close, as animist would hold that animals, plants and even objects have a spiritual component. A good example of this in a religious belief would be Shintoism.

          The god the majority of people in the US is the Christian god. This is not an animist tradition. This is a personal god, a god that can be described in terms of personality, with somewhat human traits. Like love, anger, and other emotions.

          We’ll put animist with the other term you are struggling with, which is fundamentalist. Baal explained well why you are misapplying the term, and you completely failed to address the point raised.

          • E.H. Munro

            “Not the assumption. Not even close, as animist would hold that animals, plants and even objects have a spiritual component.”

            They would also maintain that their gods are active in everything, every rainfall, every wind, etc.. Animism goes beyond mere anthropomorphism (and I would say that Shintoism was no more representative of animism than west African Akanism) insisting that “gods” are not merely existent and not merely beings like other beings. I doubt that many westerners, even of the religious sort, hold the sort of view of deity that JT likes to claim/insist upon.

          • Glodson

            They would also maintain that their gods are active in everything, every
            rainfall, every wind, etc.. Animism goes beyond mere anthropomorphism
            (and I would say that Shintoism was no more representative of animism
            than west African Akanism) insisting that “gods” are not merely existent
            and not merely beings like other beings. I doubt that many westerners,
            even of the religious sort, hold the sort of view of deity that JT likes
            to claim/insist upon.

            Yes, they would. And Christians wouldn’t. And Christians do often mean to be literal when they thank god for something. This is a thing.

            A possible criticism of JT’s piece is that not everyone who says a variant of Thank God is actually thanking god, but rather using an idiomatic statement with which to express their delight.

            The Christian god typically is assigned three traits by the believers. One is omnipotence. Second is omniscient. And the third is that this god is the most righteous, the most moral being that could exist. Making god an all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly good being. This is one of the most basic parts of theology, which is the source of the Problem of Evil, as this concept of god begs the question “why does god let bad thing happen?” This is important as some people who say thank god mean it literally.

            People use prayer to wish for their god to take literal and real action. People really do thank god for their loved ones living when it is medicine and doctors and people doing the work.

            They believe their god is a personal god. As such, in this discussion, we are assuming that the person is being literal(not everyone is and we know that), and has a belief in a personal god like the Christian god.

            This has nothing to do with animism. And no where can the connection be made.

          • E.H. Munro

            A few things here, one, the anthropomorphism you’re ascribing to *all* christians isn’t even generally true of the subset that I’ll designate *non-orthodox christians* (Protestantism, evangelicalism and charismaticism). For those of the orthodox expressions (the various catholicisms, eastern/western orthodoxy and monophysitisms) it isn’t true at all. They tend to be either Aristotelean or Platonic in their approaches. Not like Appalachian snake charmers at all.

            And this is the problem with your wing of atheism. You’re entirely lacking in anything remotely resembling normal human empathy. JT started all this with a screed of invective aimed at people who have suffered to a degree that the twats of privilege will never understand. And said something that really is inoffensive in a moment of overwhelming emotion the likes of which you’ll never know. This was followed by the entirely predictable piling on where you all slapped each other on the back and congratulated each other for your superior compassion. And you really do believe its the rest of us that have the problem. It isn’t. It really is you.

          • Loqi

            You realize that almost all of us are former Christians, right? Protestants, Catholics, Evangelicals…everything is represented here. We know what these sects teach, because many of us grew up going to their churches and schools. When you say they don’t believe the things we are talking about, we know it’s bullshit.

          • Glodson

            A few things here, one, the anthropomorphism you’re ascribing to *all*
            christians isn’t even generally true of the subset that I’ll designate
            *non-orthodox christians* (Protestantism, evangelicalism and
            charismaticism). For those of the orthodox expressions (the various
            catholicisms, eastern/western orthodoxy and monophysitisms) it isn’t
            true at all. They tend to be either Aristotelean or Platonic in their
            approaches. Not like Appalachian snake charmers at all.

            Are you high? Do you even know what you are talking about? The Holy Book, the Bible, said that god created man in his own image. Some take that as god creating our soul after his image, or our bodies to look like him.

            In either case, this is the idea that humanity has an element of the Divine, at least in our creation. And this doesn’t address the problem here. It is that the Christian god is taken to be an interventionist god as well as a personal god. This is a god that intervenes through prayer. This is a god that has a personality.

            This is not an animist belief. This is an anthropomorphic god.

            And this is the problem with your wing of atheism. You’re entirely
            lacking in anything remotely resembling normal human empathy. JT started
            all this with a screed of invective aimed at people who have suffered
            to a degree that the twats of privilege will never understand.

            Yea, because we only talked about how it should be the efforts of Charles Ramsey and Amanda Berry that should be given credit. That’s because we are shocked that some would credit god, and not credit them. We question why a powerful being would do nothing, and why people would thank this being for the efforts of others. We only expressed horror at the actions of Browne, a notorious crook.

            And what are you reading? They suffered, but they are using a phrase that robs the people who deserve credit of that credit. I don’t know if they meant it literally or if it was just an idiomatic expression. I am not upset that they said it, but it doesn’t make sense. It is a blind spot people have to religion, and how it robs people of their humanity.

            And said something that really is inoffensive in a moment of overwhelming emotion the likes of which you’ll never know.

            Get this through your head. This isn’t about them. This is about the very nature of belief. This is about how people will give religious idea undue respect without thinking about it. It is a reminder that god isn’t worthy of praise or respect.

            This was followed by the entirely predictable piling on where you all
            slapped each other on the back and congratulated each other for your
            superior compassion. And you really do believe its the rest of us that
            have the problem. It isn’t. It really is you.

            What? Again, are you fucking high? Or just stupid? I ask out of concern.

        • baal

          Ah, I think I had a lightbulb. EH – you mean ‘fundamentalist’ as a label for anyone who is vigorous and unchanging on a view? That’s not the standard meaning for that word.

          The regular meaning includes a belief to be fundamental on. JT fails that definition since it’s a lack of belief (a null value not a 0 if you do computers / math). I’ve also seen him modify his views now and then based on facts, arguments and reason. I cannot say the same for ‘religious’ fundamentalists.

          I can say I’ve also met some atheists who were extremely weak in their assertions or who threw other atheists under the buss (SE Cupp, that Faithist guy). Were you using them as a compareson?

          • E.H. Munro

            No, like most of the rest of the evangelical wing of the atheist movement he is a devout logical positivist. One does not need to be a deist or theist to be a fundamentalist. There are all sorts of people that engage in that sort of black/white, us/them, enlightened/savages type thinking without having any view of god at all (Chris Hedges’ book on the phenomena is a fairly good primer if you’re really interested).

            For example, I’d throw the neocons under that bus, even though a large swath of them are atheist/agnostic. But it’s not their religious views that put them there so much as their faith in American hegemony and corporatism (and there are neocons that are both religious and irreligious that qualify, the defining orthodoxy isn’t religious). The objectivists are explicitly atheist and you will not ever meet a bigger lot of fundies. But it has nothing to do with their atheism and everything to do with their political philosophy and slavish adherence to a failed philosopher. I will give JT that he’s more entertaining than the objectivists, who are simply tiresome. I’ve never paid much attention to S.E. Cupp so I have no idea where she falls on the scale. And neither do I care.

          • baal

            Um, I’m extremely certain that nothing supernatural exists or at least behaves in a way that I have to care about at all (followers are another matter). As such, I’m also a subscriber to the ’1 objective reality only knowable via science’ school of thought. I’m not swayed by your argument via definition for a non-standard definition of ‘fundamentalist’. Chris Hedges (an atheist) manages to be interesting so I might seek that out.

            As for misusing fundamentalist and evangelical (or using them as metaphors) I have to ask you what is the flavor of up or the sound of a photon. Further, all your base are belong to me.

          • E.H. Munro

            Chris Hedges is an agnostic, he’d tell you that himself. And his books American Fascism and When Atheism Becomes a Religion are about as good an analysis of the rise of fundamentalism in America as there is.

            And, yes, fundamentalism is *not* limited to one’s views of deity and has long been used to describe adherents of political, economic and social dogmas (c.f. “free market fundamentalism”) just as evangelist has long had a broader meaning than you’re insisting on here (and this is triply hilarious from people who undoubtedly use the term gnostic in a non-standard form that obfuscates clarity and dumbs down discussion).

          • islandbrewer

            We all fucking get that fundamentalism is not unique to any particular brand of theism, or theism in general. You’ve not astounded anyone here with any insight.

            What you’ve consistently and conspicuously failed to show, demonstrate, argue, or even provide the barest support for is that JT is fundamentalist in any way shape or form. Nothing, nada, zip.

            Any point you may have tried to make is badly articulated at best, or some shifting nonsense that you refuse to support or pin down.

            You’ve done nothing more than throw around ham-handed insults, name drop concepts you only half understand, and demonstrate a bit of mediocre pedantry which in your view passes for being clever. The predictability of your commentary is painful. Trolls like you are a dime a dozen.

            I now predict that you will respond with some attempt to demonstrate how gloriously intellectual you are, combined with an implied insult towards my intelligence (or, after reading this, an explicit insult).

          • http://www.facebook.com/jt.eberhard JT Eberhard

            mmmMMMmmm….devout in my appreciation of logic. Boy, do I feel insulted.

          • E.H. Munro

            Alas, if only you were.

          • http://www.facebook.com/jt.eberhard JT Eberhard

            …they were your words.

          • E.H. Munro

            No, they were not, as you are not “devout in your appreciation of logic”. I would that all people were, unfortunately most people are voters.

          • http://www.facebook.com/jt.eberhard JT Eberhard

            “like most of the rest of the evangelical wing of the atheist movement he is a devout logical positivist.”

          • E.H. Munro

            Logical positivism isn’t actually terribly logical. As it represents an a priori argument for empiricism. Ayer held out hope that he could cash the philosophy out in empiricist terms, but eventually he gave in admitted what everyone else knew, it was hopelessly broken. His latter day followers, however, don’t bother with the metaphysical problems and just scorn the rest of us as stupid for rejecting their flawed philosophy.

          • islandbrewer

            Gah! SE Cupp! It’s as if someone wanted to act like a living personification of a staw-atheist, then sell themselves to FOX news.

          • E.H. Munro

            She’s attractive, which is about all that Faux News asks of their women.

    • islandbrewer

      You know, this is actually a common tactic in some fora. Munro doesn’t actually make any argument whatsoever, nor any clear non-vague assertion. Just, “I’m smarter and you’re stupid.”

      There’s really nothing of any substance, so there’s no really clear argument to make against a naked insult or rebuttal to a non-argument.

      Thanks, Munro, for your trollish “lol ur stooped” comment. It will be duly enshrined.

  • Melody Hollis

    You have hit the nail on the head. I bet Christian apologists are spinning themselves in circles trying to explain how this fits into the scope of God’s Greater Plan.

    • Glodson

      Nah, they’ll just accuse us of being Fundamentalists, and bust out a bit of “mysterious ways.”

  • Glodson

    An observation: Last night in an interview with Anderson Cooper, Charles Ramsey was told there was a large reward for finding these women. He said they should have the money.

    He rescues the women, and then offers the women the money. Yet, the omnipotent being that is supposed the source of all grace and goodness gets credit while demanding ten percent of his followers’ income but did nothing for ten years.

    Charles Ramsey acted and suggests the reward goes to the women who suffered. God, if this entity exists, did nothing and still demands tribute.

    • Art_Vandelay

      God made Charles Ramsey to remind us of his benevolent nature.

      • Glodson

        It just took ten years for god getting to that part. Besides, he wouldn’t want to do anything about the free will of the men holding these women, and raping them, for ten years, but he would remove Charles Ramsey’s free will for the sake of making people see how good god is.

        Yea. No matter how you slice it, this isn’t good for a benevolent god.

        • Art_Vandelay

          I got nothing else. This is the main reason why I could never be a Christian again. It just seems exhausting.

        • Stev84

          God is just too busy fixing all those sports games. So it takes some time to get to other requests.

          • Gehennah

            Well yeah, he’s not going to be able to pay off that new addition to his Heavenly palace without gambling that money the churches give him, duh.

  • Gehennah

    Couldn’t agree more. They should be (and many have) be thanking the man that helped rescue them.

    My father in law had major heart surgery a few years ago, was given a 50/50 chance. He thanked god he came out of it alive, and as far as I know he didn’t thank the surgeons (you know, the people that put in the hard work keeping him alive) one time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/MattDavisBuxton Matt Davis

    He’s not angry at the imaginary sky-daddy. He’s angry at the people who keep invoking the sky fairy’s name for stupid reasons, without thinking things through. If people really thought things through instead of being sheep, we’d have a lot less xians.


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