Debunking 10 Popular Christian Principles for Reading the Bible

Debunking 10 Popular Christian Principles for Reading the Bible March 2, 2015

Christian evaluate bibleJim Wallace of the Cold Case Christianity blog has some advice for us, “Ten Principles When Considering Alleged Bible Contradictions.” I point out Bible contradictions with pleasure, but let’s consider this list to make sure our Bible critique doesn’t itself need correction.

As you can tell from the title, Wallace doesn’t think much of charges of contradictions in the Bible.

Principle #1: Begin With A Fair Attitude. When you see a traffic sign, you obey it. Even if something seems odd about its placement or message, you first assume it’s right and only later might you question it.

You treat traffic signs that way because you know from experience that they are almost always right. But how does this map to the Bible? Supernatural claims by contrast are almost always wrong! The Roman pantheon, the Central American gods, the Egyptian gods, the Taoist gods—atheists and Christians agree that supernatural claims about these religions are wrong.

If he’s asking that we keep an open mind, I’ll do that, but a fair attitude rejects any coddling for the supernatural.

Principle #2: Examine the Text in Its Context. Don’t read a single verse but read its entire chapter to understand the context. “Careful reading (with an effort to understand what the original text truly says) will resolve the lion’s share of apparent ‘contradictions’ or ‘errors’ in the Bible.”

I’ll go even farther with this advice. I say that the context of a verse is the entire Bible. For example, don’t cite John 3:16 to argue that faith alone is required for salvation without also addressing Matthew’s Parable of the Sheep and the Goats and every other place where the Bible makes clear that works get you into heaven. Don’t tell me that a verse says something without assuring me that the rest of the Bible never contradicts it.

To illustrate this problem, we’re given the example of the mustard seed, which Jesus calls “the smallest of all seeds.” Wallace admits that it’s not, but he says that the correct translation labels it “the smallest of all seeds you plant in the ground” and “the smallest of all your seeds.” He gives no source for these translations, and Bible Hub doesn’t show them in its 21 different translations for Mark 4:31 and Matthew 13:32, the two sources of the parable.

Wallace says that Jesus was talking to farmers and was referring to the seeds with which they were familiar. I can accept that, but don’t tell me that Jesus is quoted giving the correct information when the Bible says he doesn’t. And don’t tell me to read a verse in its correct context when you won’t do that yourself.

Principle #3: Let the Bible Clarify the Bible. Every Bible shows related verses in the margin or in a footnote. Read these other verses to clarify any difficult passages.

The puzzle given is Paul’s statement that “[the human body] is sown a natural body, [but] it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:44). Paul is rejecting the imperfect physical body and sees it perfected in the spiritual equivalent. While this was popular Greek thinking at the time, it was eventually rejected by the Christian church.

But Paul out of step with Christianity isn’t an embarrassing problem, Wallace tells us. Let the Bible clarify the Bible by considering another verse in the same book: “The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments” (1 Cor. 2:15). Both verses use the same adjective pneumatikos, but the second verse refers to a wise person, not a ghost. Conclusion: Paul’s risen “spiritual body” is simply a man full of God’s wisdom.

There are a couple of problems here. First, like many words in the dictionary, pneumatikos has many meanings. These two instances might use different meanings. Wallace has simply picked the meaning that he likes and imposed it without justification.

But the far bigger problem is how he approached this problem. The first verse (15:44) is the “difficult” verse, and the second (2:15) is the “easy” one. We use the insights gained from the easy one to analyze the difficult one. But why is the first one difficult? Let’s instead assume the reverse and impose the idea of a body-less spirit from the first verse onto the second verse: “The [spirit/ghost] makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments.” Now we’re talking about a risen spirit that has discarded its material body. Of course such an enlightened being can make judgments about all things without being second-guessed by mere humans.

Or why assume that either of them is difficult and needs special attention? The only problem Wallace solves is how to hammer the Bible to fit his preconceptions. He goes into his Bible study certain that God raises bodies physically rather than spiritually, and he’s determined to wring that meaning from it. That’s not how an honest person reads the Bible.

Principle #4: Don’t Confuse “Imprecision” with “Error.” The culture at the time wasn’t interested in precise numbers like we often are.

The example given is a circular pool specified in 2 Chronicles 4:2. It was 10 cubits in diameter and 30 cubits around. But, of course, if it were 10 cubits in diameter, it should be 10×π = 31.4159 cubits (rounded to 31) in circumference.

Wallace argues that the culture rounded numbers, and 31 cubits could’ve been written as 30 cubits.

I agree with this one. Even if we assume a perfectly circular pool with a constant diameter (it could have been slightly oval), we can imagine a 9.7 cubit diameter circle with a 9.7×π = 30.47 cubit circumference. These values would round to 10 and 30.

Unfortunately, there’s little to agree about in the subsequent principles for evaluating Bible verses.

Continue with part 2.

It’s easier to fool people

than to convince them that they have been fooled.
— attributed to Mark Twain

Image credit: Agneta Von Aisaider, flickr, CC

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  • Esquilax

    And just as I predicted when I read the headline, one of the early principles contains a phrase rather like “just assume that it’s right.” These things always do.

    • Kodie

      I think it’s pretty easy to read the bible as if it’s true and then meet the roadblocks of credibility fairly quickly.

      To use the road sign analogy, I followed a detour sign to no other signs, and winding through a windy neighborhood with pretty much nowhere else to go, ended up back out where I started from. I think they did that because people kept moving the barrier that had blocked incoming traffic from that end of the street. Rather than go all the way to the far end of the street the loooong way (there are no other side streets), I drove on the wrong side of the road. The way I figure if they’re only going to post one cop and no flagpersons to allow 2-way traffic while they dug up one side of it, hey.

  • MNb

    @4: Tell that the literalists – especially YECers.

    • Dys

      I have a hard enough time trying to explain that having a possible (though highly improbable) solution to a biblical contradiction doesn’t magically make it not a contradiction.

      • MNb

        Just in case: James Wallace should tell the literalists, not you. I find it increasingly irritating how apologists give atheists advise like “Don’t Confuse “Imprecision” with “Error.””, but remain suspiciously silent when christian literalists do exactly that. How many liberal christians take up Ken Ham and other christian loons? Yeah, Francis Collins and Kenneth Miller, but for them there is a lot at stake.
        For Alister McGrath and co: even if you’re right it doesn’t make any difference. I’m not going to like your favourite Holy Book any better when explained metaphorically or otherwise not literally. It’s hypocrite to write The Dawkins Delusion and not The Ken Ham Delusion.

        • AliKat

          Apologists are apologists for a reason-they are not aiming for intellectual rigor but defending their faith even if they are theologically moderate. Non-apologist Liberal Christian scholars actually do oppose fundamentalism-they regard the Bible as way too human and fraught with errors/problems to allow fundamentalist dogma to slip into the academic field of religious studies. Typically these criticisms are relegated to academia, but I know at least Thom Stark’s ‘Human Faces of God’ was written with the explicit intention of pointing out problems with biblical inerrancy. Their faith doesn’t make sense to me, but they are not enabling fundamentalists.

  • wtfwjtd

    I’m assuming another “rule of biblical analysis” that’s a favorite of Wallace’s (and other apologists) will figure in here somewhere: We *know* the bible is true because…(drum roll please) the bible tells us so. So take that, skeptics!

    • #10 is roughly like that: when the Bible shows God doing crazy stuff, just assume God, then assume that he knows what he’s doing.

      Checkmate, atheists!

      • Dys

        Mysterious Ways strikes again!

      • Max Doubt

        “#10 is roughly like that: when the Bible shows God doing crazy stuff, just assume God, then assume that he knows what he’s doing.”

        I recently had a Christianity defender tell me how she struggles to make the vile things in her bible seem okay, all while suggesting she has a superior morality. I reminded her that those with a truly superior morality already understand that rape and slavery are wrong. We don’t struggle to find ways to make them right. Then after some obligatory whining on her part about how she’s a tolerant Christian, she expressed that tolerance by deleting my comments from her blog.

        • wtfwjtd

          Speaking of vile things in the bible, the Christian god’s preferred method of capital punishment is death by stoning. And of course, we are talking about stoning for the most trivial of offenses, like things related to sex, wearing mixed-fabric clothing, or eating lunch at Long John Silver’s.
          Anyone who knows what stoning involves, and isn’t repulsed by the sheer cruelty, and the grotesque barbarism, obviously isn’t paying attention. And yet,Christians have the gall to defend this practice, because their god prefers it. And then they declare atheists are the ones without morals. Sheesh.

        • Ouch. Sounds like experiences I’ve had.

          What does it say about one’s beliefs if they can’t stand critique?

        • katiehippie

          I told a woman the other day not to pray for me and she got mad. Then someone else chimed in to say she was going to pray for me whether I liked it or not. Prayer as a bludgeon.

        • Sophia Sadek

          I blame you not. Something horrible may come of it.

        • Greg G.

          Get a rabbit’s foot or something. They keep praying for world peace and look how that turned out.

        • wtfwjtd

          Damned if you do, damned if you don’t…some people are hard to please.

        • You’re going to heaven whether you like it or not, madam!

        • katiehippie

          Dammit! And I had my hell-cubicle all picked out. Wait, that’s where I am now.

    • William Davis

      You must be talking about 2 Timothy 3:16. Most Christians scholars think Paul did not right this (the fact that most Christian scholars admit liars made it into the New Testament is telling) but if Paul did write it, he could only have been talking about the Hebrew bible, not even his own letters. Paul had no clue he was writing scripture, the first gospel wasn’t written until after he was dead. The fact that so many Christians believe such obviously contradictory non-sense is maddening. Crap like this had me a non-believer before I was a teenager, and I was forced to go to a Christian school and take a Bible class every year, not to mention spend all day at church on sunday and a good part of the evening Wednesday. Too bad that time wasn’t spent learning something actually true. The general idea started as “if they believe this obvious non-sense, what else do they believe that is non-sense”. I guess it wasn’t a complete waste, it has helped forged me into an awfully effective Christian debater.

      I love the fact that Obama is a self-professed Christian. That allows me to use passages like these to condemn all Republican Christians to hell for being a stumbling block for a fellow Christian, and not fulfilling Christ’s mission to help the poor. I only use this on those I see condemning other people to hell. To use these verses on such people is incredibly fulfilling ;). According to Christ’s own words, most right wing Republican Christians are clearly going to hell, Matthew 18 then 19

      18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 He called a child, whom he put among them,3 and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

      Temptations to Sin

      6 “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes!

      8 “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and to be thrown into the eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the hell[a] of fire.

      Matthew 19

      6 Then someone came to him and said, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; 19 Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “I have kept all these;[b] what do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money[c] to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

      • adam


      • adam

      • adam


        • William Davis

          You forgot, God’s law is absolute and never changes!

        • adam

          THAT was Jesus’s claim as well:

        • You’re a Christian?

        • wtfwjtd


        • William Davis

          That was sarcasm. Predicting what a Christian would say can be fairly easy, if you debate them a lot.

        • Sophia Sadek

          I thought that was supposed to be Yahweh.

      • wtfwjtd

        Yes, tea party Republicanism isn’t at all compatible with the teachings of Jesus; in fact, as you aptly point out, they are diametrically opposed.
        And, the fact the Christianity, and its holy book, are self-refuting,does come in handy when debating theists. It’s almost too easy (almost).

      • Greg G.

        Isn’t there a 2 Peter verse that says Paul’s letters should be taken as scripture?

        • William Davis

          2 Peter 3:16, what a coincidence. This supposedly peter talking though, not Paul talking about himself. Most scholars think 2 Peter is also forged, looks like a conspiracy to me ,lol

        • Greg G.

          2 Peter 3:16 was the verse number that came to mind but I had an element of doubt that it was a contaminated recollection from the 2 Timothy cite.

          But it shows that some 2nd century Christians were thinking that and the fact that it was canonized shows later Christians bought it.

          I don’t expect the gospel writers knew any more than the later groups.

        • William Davis

          It’s hard to say, the “evidence” we have to work with has clearly been tampered with. Even when Mark diverges from Paul theologically, it doesn’t mean for sure he wasn’t basing his views on Paul, just making it “better”. It could also mean there were Christians with different beliefs who were competing against Paul, Paul seems to be complaining about someone or group teaching things against him, though these could have been the delusions of a madman. Paul seems quite bright, but also off the deep end, and is difficult to interpret. Sometimes I’ve read him thinking I know what he is talking about. Other times his writing seems to be incoherent ramblings.

        • Greg G.

          Mark was drawing from wide range of sources. He wanted his audience to recognize his allusions but may not have been trying to make them all cohere. Like with John the Baptist coming from the Sumerian Oannes combined with Elijah, Legion (Mark 5:1-20) is the Cyclops story combined with Isaiah 65:4 and Psalm 107:14 and Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52) comes from Plato’s writing and Isaiah 35:5-6. Mark also uses the latter to teach his audience what the Aramaic “bar” means, then uses Mark 14:36 to teach his audience that the Aramaic “abba” means father, which he borrows from Galatians 4:6 and/or Romans 8:15. Then, in Mark 15:7, his audience will know that “Barrabas” means “Son of the Father”, just like Jesus, setting up a scapegoat scenario from Leviticus 16:5-22.

          I think there was a lot of competition in the religion business back then. The itinerant preachers needed sponsors and there were too many preachers and too few sponsors so they would undercut others to get a bigger slice of the pie. Paul seems to have been arguing for his cut in 1 Corinthians 9. Discrediting other preachers was fair game, too. That seemed to be the problem in Galatians.

          Paul may have been the first to utilize the Roman mail delivery. It was probably an advantage in the short term but had a greater lasting effect.

  • Greg G.

    #2) The next verse says the mustard shrub is the greatest of all shrubs but that is false, too.

    Furthermore, if Luke knew that the passage was baloney, why didn’t Jesus? (Luke 13:19)

    Now I’m hungry for a baloney and mustard sandwich.

    • wtfwjtd

      Whoever wrote that must have had an affinity for a good hot dog.

      • Greg G.

        Oh yeah! The kind that snap when you take a bite.

      • Ron

        Rule 10: Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.

        Wieners, in buns, no condiments. It’s Hank’s way. Anything else is wrong.

        • wtfwjtd

          That’s not Chicago-style, I gather?

        • Greg G.

          Do you want the million dollars or not?

  • Cognissive Disco Dance

    I’m sure Mr. Wallace like totally begins with a fair attitude totally dude.

    • Sophia Sadek


  • LinCA

    Reading the bible like Jim Wallace does is how we ended up with 41,000 different cults, sects and denominations in Christianity.

    • Sophia Sadek

      The real disciples did not depend on written accounts.

    • Dys

      If God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), then he didn’t have much of anything to do with the bible.

      • LinCA

        Well duh. How many fictional characters do you know that do have anything to do with the writing of their story?

        • Dys

          Wait…you mean Dr. Watson didn’t really write those previously lost Sherlock Holmes stories either? I have to re-evaluate everything now, lol.

        • TheNuszAbides


  • evodevo

    “[the human body] is sown a natural body, [but] it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:44) ” Interesting….
    I get from reading this that Paul is denying physical resurrection, a supposed key Xtian tenet, basically the reason for all those resurrection narratives forged in the late 1st – early 2nd century Gospels. 1st century Pharisees and early Xtians all believed in resurrection, but it is unclear whether spiritual or physical. There aren’t many traces of the original theological disputes in his letters or the gospels, but biblical criticism analyzes what there is. Too bad lay Xtians of today aren’t educated about these departures from what became the eventual monolithic Catholic doctrine. I guess this is what they are always running from in their apologetics.

    • Pofarmer

      At my grandmothers funeral the preacher preached the literal resurection of all the faithful after the “last days”. I had never really paid all that much attention to the doctrines of life after death, but, sure enough, that’s pretty much the biblical/Jewish idea. So much for Granny being in heaven.

      • wtfwjtd

        Growing up fundie protestant I never could get a clear answer on church doctrine on this issue. Is the physical body raised? Or is it metaphorical/spiritual, as Paul clearly believes and states in Corinthians? I’d always read older stories about giving someone a “Christian” burial, which meant the body needed to be buried in a cemetery; cremation was considered destruction of the body and there would be nothing left to be resurrected. Is this how Catholics now approach this issue these days?

        • Pofarmer

          Catholics seem to approach it from the spiritual body side. My Grandmother was with a “Christian” Church. I’d never really heard their preaching on resurrection. I guess. And, doesn’t this sort of make Jesus resurrection less miraculous? They expected this for everybody?

        • wtfwjtd

          “And, doesn’t this sort of make Jesus resurrection less miraculous? ”

          Yes, yes it does. Remember the whole thing in John, how Jesus told people not to touch him? I believe this ties in with Docetism, and how a large segment of early Christians apparently thought that Jesus was an apparition, and not an actual man.

          Paul definitely seems confused on this most crucial of all doctrines to the Christian faith. It’s as if he wasn’t aware of any stories of a physical, earthly, bodily resurrection at all, or something. Hmm…

        • Pofarmer

          But, dammit man, Jesus invites Thomas to touch him.

        • katiehippie

          Dammit Jim, I’m a disciple, not a doctor.

        • Greg G.

          It’s religion, Jim, but not as we know it.

        • Greg G.

          Some think that the Gospel of John was written as a refutation of the Gnosticism in the Gospel of Thomas.

        • wtfwjtd

          Isn’t that why the long ending of John was tacked on, to help refute either Docetism or Gnosticism?

        • Greg G.

          Perhaps it was to trump some Pythagorean religion. There is a story that Pythagoras, a vegetarian, bet some fishermen that if he could guess the number of fish in their net that they would release the fish. He gave the right number.

          Also, the fish symbol has been used by Christianity from the beginning, now seen on car bumpers, was part of two overlapping circles that pass through the other’s center. The line between each circle’s center and the line that connects the two intersections of the circles form a cross. The ratio of the lengths of those two lines is the square root of three. They didn’t do irrational numbers at that point in history so the closest approximation they had for that was 265/153. Perhaps that is where Jesus’ guess of 153 fish came from. I suppose it could have been related to Pythagoras through his theorem.

        • wtfwjtd

          Robert Price talks about that number 153, it was one of those “significant” numbers that several storytellers of the day used. So it’s not surprising at all to find it being employed in the gospels.

        • And Price lampoons the idea quite successfully. “Yeah, you guys go hang out with the risen Son of God. I’m going to count fish.”

          Sum the cubes of the digits (1^3 + 5^3 + 3^3), and you get 153 again–pretty cool. And a good reason for Pythagoreans to think it a remarkable number.

        • wtfwjtd

          Yep, I think it’s just (yet another) “my god is cooler than your god” story that’s been shoe horned into the gospels. There seems to be an abundance of these. (I’m beginning to wonder if that’s all there is).

        • I’ve learned a lot on this subject from Greg G., and that seems to be where he’s coming from.

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes, I appreciate Greg’s efforts on this, I’ve definitely learned a great deal as well.

        • Greg G.

          You guys should double-check my figuring, though.

          There are so many things that seem to fall right out when you are not under the impression that any of it is true. Q is not sacred nor even real. John is not independent of the Synoptics. Scholars can’t let go of those ideas because they want them to be independent sources.

        • Greg G.

          Luke 6:26 “Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.”

        • Greg G.

          Did they have shoe horns 2000 years ago?

        • wtfwjtd

          …er, a sandal horn, maybe? It would probably go good with that baloney and mustard sandwich. Since the gospels are so full of baloney anyway….

        • wtfwjtd

          Isn’t that in the longer ending that was tacked on later?

        • Pofarmer

          So, I decided to read Acts again to see what Paul says he was teaching.

          “saying nothing different from what the prophets and Moses foretold,* 23 that the Messiah must suffer* and that, as the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”n”

          I dunno. Pretty weak tea.

        • wtfwjtd

          “that the Messiah must suffer* and that, as the first to rise from the dead, ”

          Think about that for a minute. What about that whole transfiguration story in the gospels? Paul sounds like an incoherent madman. Unless he had never actually heard the gospel stories. Hmm…

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, it surprised me the other day when Neil Carter said something about Paul not knowing the Gospels. I thought that was a given.

        • Greg G.

          Acts seems to be mostly about the speeches and the narrative is to get the people in a situation to make a speech, but the speech isn’t necessarily so much about the situation. It seems to try to make Paul almost as great as Peter with parallel story lines. Luke got information from the letters attributed to Paul, Josephus, and Greek plays. I wouldn’t count on any reliable insights from Acts. That’s my opinion until I steal a better one.

        • Pofarmer

          I imagine trying to get pearls of actual teaching from acts is like wrestling a pig.

        • Christians seem to cling tenaciously to the physical resurrection. Curious–that seems to bring along some odd baggage.

        • RichardSRussell

          The quest for “a clear answer on church doctrine” is probably responsible for 85% of the schisms in the long, schismatic history of Christianity. (I figure simple personality clashes probably accounted for most of the rest.) People would camp out on different sides of whatever utterly untestable issue had arisen, get pissed at each other for disagreeing over something that could never possibly be demonstrated one way or the other, and go their separate ways, usually in an indignant huff.

        • wtfwjtd

          Back in the day, I didn’t realize what I was up against when trying to get a clear answer concerning doctrinal matters. One would get so far with a question, and find that no one had really thought the matter through, and so it was usually left there.
          I’d say your summation of schisms in Christianity’s history is about right, and goes a long way in explaining the 40K + varieties and flavors of it. Some are probably “more wrong” than others, but they all derive from more or less the same faulty material.

  • Ron

    All-knowing Jesus wasn’t much of a farmer, was he? In The Parable of the Sower he blames the seeds for failing to grow and bear fruit in suboptimal ground. He then contradicts himself (on verses 7 & 22) in the Parable of the Weeds.

    • Sophia Sadek

      That is not necessarily a contradiction. Parables cannot be interpreted correctly from a fundamentalist standpoint because parables require information that is not available, especially to fundamentalists. One of the ironies about fundamentalist perspective is how they dismiss the fact that the parable of the seed sower shows up in Pagan literature.

      • Greg G.

        the parable of the seed sower shows up in Pagan literature.

        That is interesting. What pagan literature? I have the parable associated with Gospel of Thomas 9, 4 Ezra 8:41-44, and a little from Sirach 40:15.

        • Sophia Sadek

          I have seen it in Stoic literature and fragments of it in the writings of Plato. It is a concept that goes back quite a way. Christians think that Jesus brought his teaching from outer space, but he actually brought them into Jewish culture from beyond the pale.

    • He wasn’t telling those stories to teach about farming.

      • Greg G.

        “This is a parable, not a botany lesson!”
        (All due respects to Monty Python.)

        Matthew 13:3-23 — Sower of Seeds
        Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 — Weeds Among Good Plants
        Mark 4:26-29 — The Growing Seed
        Mark 4:30-32 — The Mustard Seed

        We are lucky that Jesus didn’t set agriculture back a millennium as he did with hygiene with:

        Mark 7:18-19
        18 He said to them, “Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, 19 since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)

        • I’m glad I can read what it says before & after that and put it into context.

        • Greg G.

          Could you have put that in context 1500 years ago?

        • Yes.

        • Greg G.

          Really? Disease was thought to come from being defiled. What have you contributed to medical science lately?

        • Yes, really. You aren’t putting it into context.

        • Greg G.

          The context is that the Pharisees were pointing out that the disciples were not washing their hands before eating. Jesus says that the washing of hands before eating was not important because what goes into a man doesn’t defile him. Even doctors practiced that way until it was proven that cleanliness was very important in controlling disease just a few hundred years ago.

          I am taking the context of the passage as written, the knowledge of the time it was written, the context of the knowledge for the next 17 centuries, and the context of modern knowledge. The modern knowledge came despite what the Bible says, which was hard to do for a long, long time.

        • That is one explanation, yes.

          But there are others.

          I think there was more to it than what you are noticing.

        • Greg G.

          I read the whole page, did you? I didn’t find much to disagree with. I think the take-home message of the page is:

          The problem is Jesus didn’t just stop at saying sin defiles a person; he took the extra step of saying eating with unwashed hands was NOT defiling, which is clearly incorrect.

          That is what I am saying. Are you disagreeing with this? If so, why?

        • Greg G.

          That page begins with the “Mark 7 – The Importance of Hand Washing” and explicitly points out that hand washing is important.

          If Mark had written that passage differently, such as saying that the hand washing was a good thing but the rest of the rituals were crap, the world would have been a better place. That is what the first link said in places.

          Religious people want to split hairs over the passage. Yes, it was about rituals, I get that, but Jesus tossed the baby out with the bath water.

          The example of hand washing as an unnecessary ritual is wrong as it is portrayed. Your willingness to try to defend something so obviously wrong should make you question your motives and belief structure.

        • I don’t agree, and that is fine.

          The ritual hand washing they did was symbolic. It wasn’t a good hand washing technique.

          Part of the context includes Pontious Pilate, when allowing an innocent man to be murdered, did the same kind of hand washing technique and declaring himself innocent.

          But in reality he was guilty. That little hand washing thing didn’t change that.

        • Greg G.

          Then why didn’t Jesus demonstrate a proper hand washing technique? A symbolic hand washing done with clean water is better than none at all. His disciples were not washing their hands at all.

          Christians used the Bible as a precedent for many practices. Even slavery and indentured servitude in the American colonies were originally based on the Old Testament prescriptions. Christians opposed anesthesia during surgery because they thought it was supposed to hurt.

          Let’s consider the argument between Paul and Peter in Antioch in Galatians 2. If Jesus had made that point about rituals as in Mark 7, then Peter should not have been intimidated by the members of the circumcision party. Paul is essentially making the same argument that Jesus made in Mark but Peter is on the opposite side. Peter and the others appear to have been very persuasive because “even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.”

          Mark appears to have used Galatians 2 for chapter 7, putting Paul’s argument into Jesus mouth and generalizing the argument of Peter and the circumcision party into a Pharisee argument with some of the OT references.

          There is good reason to doubt Mark 7 because the argument Paul describes would never have happened if it was true. Or you could say that Paul is unreliable. Or you could let your cognitive dissonance dissipates and try to ignore it in the future.

        • I don’t read the Bible the way you are suggesting.

          People have used the Bible to justify their wickedness, yes. And they have used religion, science, atheism, economics, politics, property, and many other things.

          No where does The Bible teach me I don’t have to wash my hands. Every church I’ve gone to people wash their hands before eating, handling or serving food.

          Christians have also done the exact opposite of what you say they did, too.

        • Greg G.

          No where does The Bible teach me I don’t have to wash my hands.

          We have just discussed the passage where Jesus says washing your hands is not necessary. See how the cognitive dissonance kicks in?

          Those who wash their hands often are better off for doing it no matter what the Bible says. They should keep that in mind. Do what is right whether the Bible says to do it or not. Don’t do what is wrong, even if you can find a passage that says it is OK (slavery, for instance).

          Those who oppose gay marriage while citing religion are absurd.

          We would all be better off if everybody only read the Bible for amusement.

        • + We have just discussed the passage where Jesus says washing your hands
          is not necessary. See how the cognitive dissonance kicks in?

          Nice try! 🙂 LOL! I told you I had a different understanding than you about what that passage was actually saying. Again, from the religious leaders like the Pharisees to the political ruler – those ceremonial hand washings were not actually keeping them clean.

          I know there are other ways to read a passage. You don’t have the only right way. Relax. No need to start playing amateur psychiatrist on me!

        • Greg G.

          If the understanding of a biblical passage requires external knowledge, you don’t need the passage. You can reject religious rituals because the rituals have no causal connections. But people misunderstood the importance of hand washing because they lacked knowledge for many centuries.

          How any other interpretations of the Bible are wrong because of a lack of knowledge? We know many people have incorrect interpretations because they reject science.

          If you are forced into interpreting passages according to science and your own empathy, then just use science and empathy.

        • Scott_In_OH

          If you are forced into interpreting passages according to science and your own empathy, then just use science and empathy.


        • + “If the understanding of a biblical passage requires external knowledge, you don’t need the passage.”

          According to who? You? Ok, if that works for you, great.

          I don’t mind learning more. There are passages where Jesus suggests hacking off our limbs. I don’t think he literally meant to do that. With discernment and understanding I can see he is revealing a deeper truth that can’t be expressed via traditional methods.

          + “How any other interpretations of the Bible are wrong because of a lack of knowledge?”

          I don’t know. I’d rather be educated than lack education.

          + “We know many people have incorrect interpretations because they reject science.”

          I guess. I don’t reject science.

          + “If you are forced into interpreting passages according to science and your own empathy, then just use science and empathy.”

          Nobody is forcing me to do anything. I use science where it is appropriate. I don’t understand scientism – so I don’t force that on anyone.

        • Greg G.

          “I don’t know. I’d rather be educated than lack education.”

          What if being educated meant learning the Bible was not true?

        • I’m concerned with the truth. I don’t think being educated means learning the Bible isn’t true.

        • Greg G.

          That rather depends on whether the Bible is true, doesn’t it?

        • Depends on what you mean.

        • Greg G.

          Well, saying that the Bible is true shouldn’t require apologetics to show that it is true in some trivial way.

        • I’m not an apologetic nor do I depend on them. It depends on what you are saying it is true about.

          Is it true Jesus says we should hack off are limbs? Or was he actually revealing another truth?

        • Greg G.

          Did Jesus actually say that or was it taken from the Gospel of Thomas 22b

          “when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter [the Kingdom].”

        • Greg G.

          Or did have something to do with 1 Corinthians 12 about a community with hands, eye, and feet.

          Mark wrote it as hyperbole at any rate.

  • RichardSRussell

    As a former math minor who’s had many occasions to explain the difference between precision and accuracy,* I too agree that one should not confuse “imprecision” with “error”. However, after having accepted that caveat, it should be noted that “imprecision” isn’t exactly consistent with “omniscience”, either. As long as we accept 2 Chronicles 4:2 as having been written by fallible human beings operating with limited understanding of mathematics, and not as having been divinely inspired, I’m perfectly OK with just calling them “imprecise”. I draw the line at trying to give credit to that “know-it-all” Yahweh, tho.

    *What is the difference? If you’re trying to measure an object that’s exactly 12.34 cm long, calling it 12 cm is OK, 12.3 is more precise, and 12.34 is still more precise. However, calling it 22.56789 cm, which is even more precise than all of the above (IE, more significant digits), isn’t accurate, because it departs from reality way back upstream in the most significant part of the number.

  • davewarnock

    Ah, the good ole Bible. Written several millennia ago by a collection of illiterate goat herders and farmers and fishermen- and argued about ever since. If you want some cheap entertainment, ask a Christian why he reckons God didn’t wait a few hundred more years to bring forth his savior and then chronicle his plan in a book- where we could actually have the originals to keep and study. Or better yet, why didn’t the almighty just wait till microphones and recorders and video recorders were invented- so then we would have reliable records of the words of Jesus and all the miracles and whatnot. Watch the convolutions they go through to make sense of that. Good times.

    • Or, since Jesus as the route to salvation was the plan all along, why all that throat clearing in the Old Testament? Why not just bring Jesus into the story with the Garden of Eden?

      • Kodie

        I always wonder why, if humans were god’s favorite creation, why we didn’t have all the comforts and conveniences of modern living. We’re still not there yet, even if we have it pretty easy. We’re the ones who see what’s missing from the world and add it in. If god created every natural thing, why did we have to slog through hundreds of thousands of years and generations where most people are relatively unnecessary*, while some people concern themselves with advancing the species?

        *I consider it relatively unnecessary for most people to exist if what they offer is cooperative maintenance and consumption. “God” wants all these people to exist but hates them conditionally. For most of human history, the bulk of human endeavor has been maintenance of the population that is alive, and then we die and are functionally replaced.

        • Aram McLean

          Not forgetting that we’re the mere 20% of the world who actually have basic comforts to begin with.

        • Kodie

          I don’t think that makes as much of a difference – the fact is comfort and conveniences exist, not whether they’re distributed fairly. That it’s not actually serves the point.

          The main point is we’re only at a point in human history, not at the (imaginary) peak of all knowledge, progress, comfort, convenience. Life on earth blows, relatively, and is only advanced by humans, given what we have and can make or exploit, and given what our obstacles are. If we weren’t a war-faring species, for example, there would be no people working in those industries. Few of us are involved in the innovation, the rest of us are put to work in cooperative maintenance of ourselves/ensuring our replacements, living in a world mostly created by others, that by many accounts, advances faster than many of us can hope to keep up.

          God’s so-called creation was rough, but I don’t know why it takes thousands of years for us to create what we need, if there is a god, there’s no reason he couldn’t have placed us in that advanced, comfortable world. And by “us”, I mean this is what “we” do – take credit for the achievements made by anyone from our species.

        • Aram McLean

          Oh I agree it adds to the point. That’s why I said it.
          I also agree that it’s a funny thing how people love to claim all great progressions as ‘human’ in general, when as you say the vast majority of us aren’t much more than talking apes. On the flip side one could argue that the human need to expand on things (by which I mean those few that actually do) creates just as much discomfort as comfort. We’re well on our way to extincting ourselves, for example, but none of us seem to be too worried about it. Of course I agree that a god with any brains would have put us in the ‘perfect’ world straight off the bat (though believers will argue this is but the testing ground before boring as hell sounding heaven), but certainly no god is needed to kick off the apocalypse. The simple fact of the matter is that earth is heaven, we’ve evolved to fit it perfectly, but sadly to the detriment of almost all other life. Perhaps it’s for the best we just burn out. Okay, Kerouac moment over.

        • Pofarmer

          “when as you say the vast majority of us aren’t much more than talking apes.”

          It’s amazing how much some remarkable individuals really do influence and pull along the rest of humanity.

        • Aram McLean

          Yep. They kick and fight against all change every step of the way, with each successive generation swearing that the best way is the way it ‘always’ happened to be during their short lifetimes. It gets very tiring when you actually consider how long this phenomenon has been playing out: The few dragging the masses.
          The Dunning-Kruger effect is alive and well in the world.

      • davewarnock

        exactly! And since heaven is the ultimate finale in all this…what’s the delay? Get on with it already!

        • TheNuszAbides

          but a certain percentage of us is required to experience puny mortal spacetime, to properly emphasize the awesomeness of eternity? /handwave

        • Hey, I want to change the ending to Casablanca – it ain’t happening – get over yourselves! Handwave.

        • Kodie

          Try to keep up.

        • 90Lew90

          I don’t know the ending to Casablanca, just that it has some good tunes. Or have I got the wrong movie? How about you make it up for me and I’ll just believe whatever you say.

        • Actually, funny, the last line is “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship” – and we refer to you as Lew. .,

        • 90Lew90

          One of my favourite final lines from a Hollywood movie is: “Pretty good hustle kid.”

          [Edit: On that note, the ‘Louis’ in Ghostbusters made my life hell for a while. But that experience was offset somewhat because of Mr Miyagi in The Karate Kid because I had always been nicknamed “Chink” as a young kid for having vaguely Asian looks. Incredible how memes spread in the pre-internet age.]

        • adam

          beautiful friendship?

        • Kodie

          Something about a hill of beans.

        • davewarnock

          I love the final line from the Jesus story- “surely I come quickly”. He was just kidding about the quickly part. The original script read: “surely I’ll come when I get ready, or not at all, or sometime, oh…I don’t know- ask dad”. But he ad-libbed and the editors went with it. Kinda catchy, I think.

        • and one day to the Lord,…

        • And you’re telling us that the original hearers of the gospels thought that the end coming within “the lifetime of some of you” meant “whenev”?

          You’re showing a surprising disrespect for the Bible.

        • davewarnock

          well, we have to wait for wars and rumors of wars, and the antichrist, and the blood red moon, and oh its all so exciting this end of the world stuff

        • Pofarmer

          Yea, ain’t gonna happen. Never was gonna happen. It’s too bad this crazy shit,has so much impact on our society and Christianity in general over thousands of years.

        • Dys

          The hurdles apologists have jumped through to get around that little problem are impressive.

        • MNb

          A classic case of cognitive dissonance and an important reason the Gospels got written down.

        • Dys

          It strikes me that apologists have probably put exponentially more thought into the works they’re attempting to defend than the people who actually wrote them ever did.

        • Greg G.

          I had that same idea a few weeks ago.

          Luke likes to have ten to one ratios in stories. I was looking at the Parable of the Pounds (Luke 19:11-25). It begins with ten slaves [Luke 19:13] but ends with three [Luke 19:20]. Luke couldn’t be bothered with proofreading. He or she thought the parable could be improved with ten slaves instead of three but forgot about the alteration when that wasn’t going to work out.

        • Pofarmer

          Oh, hell yes. How many volumes have been written, are still written, to explain away the inconsistencies and obvious contrivances in those stories?

        • I know one thing, noone knows the day and time. Noone.

        • adam

          Of course not, since it is a made up story….

        • Greg G.

          It’s more like:

          Yvonne: Where were you last night?
          Rick: That’s so long ago, I don’t remember.
          Yvonne: Will I see you tonight?
          Rick: I never make plans that far ahead.

        • Greg G., what you and Bob are not comprehending is the theory of conflict of statements. When you have a series of conflicting statements within the context of one document. You look to see which statement has the most authority. This statement will take precedence over all others. Obviously, any statement made by Jesus would take precedence. His statement is basically -stop worrying about the second coming you knuckleheads, I will come when I am good and ready.

        • adam

          And when you are reading mythology, none of that matters….

        • davewarnock

          no one wrote down anything Jesus said- so we really have no idea what he said. Back to that game of telephone- pretty reliable way to transmit God’s words to the whole world I guess.

        • Greg G.

          I think what you are not understanding is that when you have conflicting statements, it is not a given that any one of them is true. Paul was writing about an imaginary Jesus from his distance past. The gospels mistook Jesus for a near contemporary of Paul and made up stories, teachings, and sayings of that Jesus which are not supported by the epistles. The Jesus quotes you value the most are a level of imagination away for the first imaginary Jesus.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s probably because. It. Ain’t. Happenin. Of that I am 100% certain.

        • 100% certainty? Maybe we should be praying to you.

        • adam

          At least you would be praying to something that is not imaginary….

        • Did we just catch you praying, adam? Be sure to hand in your official atheist identification card at the door when you leave tonight.

        • adam

          No liar, you didnt catch me praying.

          I still have my intellectual capabilities.

        • Pofarmer

          You’d have just as much luck.

        • I don’t know, reading your comments, you seem to have it all figured out.

        • Pofarmer

          Unlike you, I would never make that claim.

        • Greg G.

          Often people pray to me for a dollar. Sometimes it works. I take it that they gave up on praying to God.

        • Not the day or the hour, but the general timeframe, surely. Jesus made clear that it would be in the lifetimes of some of his hearers.


        • Pofarmer

          Ah yes, “our time is not God’s time”. Cognitive dissonance is a bitch.

        • Dys

          I prefer “God can’t tell time”.

        • Time is relative – heard that from someone, oh yeah, Einstein.

        • adam

        • Greg G.

          Jesus never understood time. He claimed he would be in the earth for three days and three nights. The story says it was two nights and one day. If you want to stretch it that he was in the grave a few minutes before sundown and arose a few minutes after sunup, you could call it three day but there is still no third night.

        • Without Malice

          Yeah, yeah, yeah, except there still remains the troubling fact that he told quite a few folks that he would return to set up the kingdom before they died. Even told his disciples he’d be back before they had gone over the land of Israel spreading the message. Didn’t happen. A failed prophecy means a false prophet.

        • Greg G.

          1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 (NRSV)
          15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died.  16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever.

          Paul thought that he and most of the people he wrote to would still be alive when Jesus came. He used the first person plural for those who would be alive at the time and the third person plural for those who would be dead then. He wasn’t expecting to live for thousands of years nor did he expect that of his readers. He was addressing the fact that some believers were already dying.

          Christians didn’t start quoting Psalm 90:4 until they realized it wasn’t happening as expected. They had to say something.

        • Hey, I’ll give you one – the core three disciples, Peter, John and James did not want Jesus to go back to Jeruslaem because they thought it would be bad if Jesus were captured and put to death in Jeruslem, where they knew that would be a certainty. Thank God, they were wrong about alot of things when it came to interpreting their master’s words. “Get behind me Satan”

        • adam


        • Greg G.

          Paul refers to those three as “the pillars” with disdain. That is probably why Mark featured them in his fictional account.

        • Paul was a hothead.

        • Greg G.

          We agree on that. Mark was amused by that and wrote the disciples as illiterate fishermen with goldfish-like memories.

        • And the other apostles were like, I don’t want to go with Paul to Tarsus, you go, I don’t want to go, you go. I guess he was very brash, perhaps not as refined as the others who actually walked, talked and ate with Jesus. I bet Peter could have handled him though. But, he was one you couldn’t hold down, up and traveling everywhere, (Peter that is).

        • Pofarmer

          There is no indication that the apostles Paul knew walked talked or ate with Jesus.

        • Except that the Bible, with which we are basing our knowledge to identify Paul, said so.

        • Pofarmer


        • Pofarmer

          We really don’t, uhm, have, any of the “masters” words.

        • Guest

          Is mythology..

        • MNb

          … Greg will see the light and understand there is no Lord.

        • But, MNb, surely you jest, throughout the Bible, God is continuously linked to the light – in more logical terms – Light = Lord – to wit: In the beginning there was light and it was good. And, then in John – “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

        • 90Lew90

          Don’t say things like ‘to wit’ Greg, because you have none. And yes, MNb was jesting. So quick of you to catch that well-worn cliché! “Light = Lord” you say. Presumably therefore Darkness = …What exactly? I’ve just spent a very pleasant hour in woods I know like that back of my hand in darkness. Anyone who didn’t know the place would risk a broken ankle or neck. I know exactly where I am by the sound of the river, and I know all the paths, even if I can only barely make out a foot in front of me. What’s the moral of the story? Darkness is scary, things jump out! Or darkness is exhilarating? Bats and owls know very well how not to fly into your head. Most creatures of the dark are more frightened of you than you of them (and rightly so). And if you’re dumb enough to go out where there are things like wolves and bears then more fool you. You deserve your lot. Try going marauding and bungling around some ghetto. You’d probably stand more chance with the bears and wolves. Dickhead. Lord = Dummytit. Darkness = I want my mommy. Pathetic.

        • Was Merlin and Arthur in those woods with you? The symbol of Light and Darkness has been used in many contexts including the Arthurian Legends – Camelot was the one brief shining moment when light was brought into the world and justice was dispensed – might for right and all that. Did Camelot exist? Who knows, the point is civilization came into the world, enlightened thinking – Say it with me, Lew – Light Goooood, Darkness (in the sense of uncivilized thinking, not the purety of an unadulterated wood) Baaaad.

        • adam

          Camelot is mythology as well….

        • Kodie

          Religion is darkness, the metaphor for ignorance, hiding, fear. Lew is right. If you don’t know your way around, you’re going to cling to your abusive sky daddy.

        • No, Kodie, the darkness you described is death or, more particularly, what comes after death. Yes, there can be fear with not knowing what lies ahead of all of us. Religion gives you some knowledge about this area that science can not. Proposition -the hereafter is an area of which we know zero and is therefore an area of darkness of which we have fears and fear is bad; and, Proposition – Religion and Religion alone provides us Knowledge about the hereafter and thus sheds light on a dark area and thus dispels our fears – Resolution – Religion is light and Relgion is good.

        • adam

          Religion is willful ignorance and is BAD….

          Your ‘god’ is the creator of EVIL…

        • Pofarmer

          No, religion PRETENDS to give you some knowledge of after death. Religion is ignorance. Ignorance is harmful.

        • tread lightly on that thin ice there Po, Religion asserts with all manner of authority to provide knowledge of that old farm in the sky- it is your assertion that it is not worth the manure you handle on a daily basis.

        • adam


        • Pofarmer

          Blah da blah da blah.

        • adam

          And the Pope is the authority of the Church:

        • Kodie

          You are frightened by something you imagine will happen to Pofarmer since he is talking about the bible in a way you don’t like – that is why it’s a superstition. Just like being afraid of a chain letter. You are afraid, Greg, you have fear over the bogeyman comin’ ta getcha in the night, and leave you without your comforting beliefs. YOU PRETEND TO HAVE KNOWLEDGE, which is the point. You are warning others to fear the same imaginary things you fear.

          Which is all a superstition is. Which is what religion is – behave this way, superstitiously afraid god will zap you, if you speak wrong or try to think too much. Stay in the darkest dark, you fucking idiot. But don’t act like you have some serious warning anyone needs to pay attention to.

        • MNb

          Assertions from authority by definition are not knowledge.

        • davewarnock

          Many of us on this blog do not believe in a “hereafter”, therefor your brilliant comment is absolutely meaningless to us. We don’t view the hereafter as a place of darkness and fear. That seems to be a concept that religion has created. In fact, that’s about all it has done: create a problem, then provide the answer. Worthless in the real world.

        • Semantics – MNb said it would be fine with him if there was just nothing. Ok, I understand that – the point is dave is we don’t know what it will be – so it is unknown and the fear of the unknown is the one of the most common fears of all – Religion gives you something to hang your hat on- and that can give you peace. You’re a good guy, Dave, if you are ok with where you are on the subject of death, then so be it, and go in peace.

        • adam

          Yes, the REAL ANSWER is that we DONT KNOW that Ganesh is not the true GOD, or Zeus, or Shiva

          Religion gives you false hope to hang your hat on and gives you peace when you commit EVIL

        • davewarnock

          I think religion plays on man’s fears- and pretends to offer answers to allay those fears. I would rather deal in the realm of what is real and testable than to attempt to assuage some fear of the unknown with a made-up answer. I do not fear the unknown. Why would I? It is what it is.

        • Fair enough. I wish you well.

        • Kodie

          Religion has made you more fearful of losing religion than any comfort it has given you for the so-called mystery of death, when your brain stops working.. you may already be dead.

        • MNb

          “the fear of the unknown is the one of the most common fears of all”
          Exactly. Already as a child I realized how silly this is. Thanks for admitting that religion is just a con game playing on irrational human fears.
          Hat tip from someone who has several irrational fears (just not this specific one): accept that you’re afraid, recognize that it’s irrational and don’t let them govern your life. As so often science (in this case psychology) can help you. In fact my hat tip is step 1. Then you won’t need your fake remedy anymore. It doesn’t help anyway.

        • adam


          Bob describes it as Elbow Deodorant

          Neither needed or desired, except from those who FEAR elbow odor BECAUSE of religion.

        • Kodie

          You cling to your hysterical mantras. You know-nothing dopey fucking turd of a goofing liar.

        • 90Lew90

          Sorry but you just sounded like a sheep. Go and follow your own kind. And hey, way to totally miss a point. You are a fuggin moron Greg. You really are. I did, as I do with everyone I encounter, give you the benefit of the doubt some time back but, really, you’re a dickhead. Nuff said.

        • Because you missed the point I was making – comparing the dark ages to the woods you went walking through – sheesh. And by the way, I believe it is Paul you were referring to “putting away childish things…” but I was referring to Jesus, who trumps Paul, who said you must be like a child to enter into the kingdom of heaven – which means you must look at the worldly innocently, which is what I was having you do with having you look at life like a box of legos – sheesh.

        • Kodie

          Yes, naive, gullible, malleable, able to believe in things that aren’t true, i.e. imaginary. Children believe they can become an astronaut but do not prepare themselves for the path. They are just wishing, and we love to ask children what their wishes are, how precious and sweet and naive they are! When they grow up, we love to tell them to stop wishing, crush them down, and just work at the mill or sell insurance or whatever. The truth is, they could have actually become an astronaut. It’s not easy, and to do so requires putting away the wishing ASAP and get down to studying.

          So fuck your lego analogy.

        • 90Lew90

          The lego analogy is particularly insulting. A poet might have him crucified (metaphorically of course) for that. Ripping off Forrest fucking GUMP?! Curse! Spit! Glasgow kiss!

        • 90Lew90

          How stupid of me. Lead the way, oh bright one.

        • Ok, how about the Phil Collin’s song -Will you follow me, take my hand, and I will follow you… If I came to Ireland, would you take me to the cool woods of which you spoke earlier?

        • 90Lew90

          You should be taken out and shot for suggesting a Phil Collins song. Creepy. Not just for the lyrics you quoted, but it recalls American Psycho. If you came to Ireland, I might give you a wave from the plane going in the opposite direction.

        • scottie1111

          Greetings from L.A. 🙂 I really like all your posts… You have Big Brass Bullocks.
          I toured the British Isles in ’94 and had a blast. Where abouts you reside?

        • 90Lew90

          Hi, Just got this message. Was away for a few days. Thanks for the compliment.

          I’m in Northern Ireland. In ’94 you could still get more blast than you bargained for here so I imagine you probably avoided it.

          I was in L.A. in ’92 but was too young to give the grown-ups the slip!



        • scottie1111

          Ha, yes, our tour stopped short of anywhere Catholics and Protestants are quibbling about faith vs. works, although I’ve always been a history buff and adventure traveler and would have loved to seen where The Troubles took place. A movie was made about The Dirty Protest called, “Hunger”. Well acted and directed, felt like I needed a shower afterward. My first night in Ireland was a balmy June Tuesday night in 1994. I was 18, drinking age is 21 here, and wasn’t a drinker…. yet. I ordered a Heineken and the bartender said, “Naaa! Have a Harp.” So I had three. (Which would have just been the beginning in my later decade and half long alcoholic career– now I don’t touch the stuff.)
          It was sort of a disco/pub, nothing like it in the States, but it totally worked. I stumbled out at 0300 hrs. and it seemed like the whole town was up and out, half of them stumbling around like me. I asked what holiday or special occasion it was and a friendly red-head replied with a laugh, “It’s Tuesday night.” (And went on to explain every night was pretty much like this.) Fell in love with all that is Irish on the spot. I paid dearly the next day, and switched to Guinness. Yum, became my favorite, miss it sometimes

        • MNb

          Sensible bartender.
          Note: I’m Dutch.

        • Ignorant Amos

          My brother managed the Nes-Cafe Bar just off Amsterdam’s main square. He moved to Spain last year after living in the Damm for about 15 years.

          There was a time here where the choice of lager was either a pint of Harp or a pint of Tennents, but not in the same pub. Two breweries had the monopoly, so it was either one or the other. Another thing that has changed dramatically in a few decade’s for the better.

        • MNb

          Ah, first some nitpicking: it’s not Damm, but Dam. Dam is Dutch for …. dam. Amsterdam means Dam of the river Amstel. Most English prefer to call “De Dam” “Dam Square”.

          I am (or rather used to be) familiar with “De Nes”.

          Is your brother an artsy guy?
          Did he like Amsterdam? I never did, though I always appreciated it’s cultural offers.

          As long as bartenders are smart enough not to offer Heineken to someone who never has drunk beer before there is hope for humanity.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah, first some nitpicking: it’s not Damm, but Dam. Dam is Dutch for …. dam. Amsterdam means Dam of the river Amstel. Most English prefer to call “De Dam” “Dam Square”.

          Apologies for the typo. During my service days in West Germany, we would say we were “heading up the Dam for the weekend”…up is probably the wrong term.

          Is your brother an artsy guy?
          Did he like Amsterdam? I never did, though I always appreciated it’s cultural offers.

          A dunno about artsy. He was the skinny Irish guy, pretty handy at the pool table. He initially went there to study music, specifically recording. He was a recorded dance DJ with a number of trance tunes under his belt a number of remixes for other producers. Here is a tune he released that was hijacked by a god squad group.

          Anyway, we are turning this thread into a bit of a chat room, best we cease of end upgetting barged.

        • scottie1111

          I hit the Netherlands after that same trip. 4 days in Amsterdam and 3 in Zandvoort. It was gorgeous as well, the countrysides and museums are incredible,Van Gogh is my favorite artist.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Harp is piss water. Guiness is much better and healthier. Less calories too.

          In 94 the north was in transition. Prior to the nineties, Belfast was a ghost town after the shops closed, now days it is a thriving metropolis with all sorts of entertaining things to do. The country has come on leaps and bounds. It still has some way to go to match Dublin, but we are getting there.

          As regards to secularism, there is also progress on that front, but with creationists at the top of government it will be a while before any monumental reform happens. Sectarianism is still rife.

          I’m glad your visit to our wee countries was a pleasant experience regardless of the knuckle dragger’s.

        • 90Lew90

          The worst of it pretty much wrapped up in 1996 with the IRA ceasefire and the Good Friday Agreement in ’97, which supposedly saw its weapons “put beyond use”. It’s been pretty low-level since then but it’s still bubbling away, especially in ghetto areas of the cities and some border areas. Most of the violence that still happens comes from the Loyalist (Protestant) side, who feel hard done by in the whole thing. On the whole, the majority have no belly for it any more. They’ve had enough. What I grew up thinking of as normal was pretty obscene.

          It is getting better but all the politicians who were active throughout the Troubles are still there and the political system is a shambles, so at the political level it all grinds on and there’s little trust between them. A lot of showboating and little work gets done. The catholic church is thwarting attempts to de-segregate education (can you believe that in 2015!). United Ireland is no closer because the Republic doesn’t really want NI any more, but the Brits would like nothing better than to get rid of us. Hey-ho. Can’t say I blame either party.

          Funny thing is, Americans unfamiliar with what was going on then never appreciated that they’d have been visiting probably the safest place for tourists in Europe, if not the world. There was practically no crime. Engaging in street crime was punished heavily (repeat offenders can still be spotted, owing to their crutches).

          And yes, a good pint of Guinness is hard to beat! Sunday afternoon in a good pub with good grub and pint of stout. One of my favourite things. Consider Northern Ireland for a visit. Belfast’s good for a night or two and some of the most beautiful countryside in the country is here, and definitely the best beaches. You might struggle with the no-drink thing though!

          All best, Lew.

        • adam

          Have the light of life?

          You mean the FEAR of YOUR ‘god’

        • Greg G.

          Isaiah 14:12
          New International Version
          How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!

          New Living Translation
          “How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world.

          English Standard Version
          “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!

          New American Standard Bible
          “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!

          King James Bible
          How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

        • MNb

          Of course I jest. Unfortunately most of my jokes have a serious core.

          “God is continuously linked to the light”
          The Canaanites, inhabitants of Jericho and the innocent pigs that were drowned by Jesus undoubtedly would have disagreed. And I tend to takes sides with the victims.

        • adam

          and one day to the ‘lord’

        • adam

          People like you reinterpret the ‘bible’ all the time

          And of course the change things, but the Ending, where the earth gets destroyed, THAT is the goal of the followers of Abraham.

          DESTRUCTION…MASS MURDER….REVENGE for doubting their ‘god’,

          THAT is what they long for…

        • MNb

          Finally a good analogy! Your god-Jesus-salvation-heaven story is made up just like Casablanca.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Finally a good analogy!

          Behave yerself! Greg? A good analogy?

          The Bible has been changed and bastardised all throughout it’s history. Heck, books were added and binned at a whim. Thats those books that made the directors cut, many didn’t. Even modern translations get changed to suit the audience.

          But that is not even why it is another bad analogy, Casablanca is a movie, not a book. It had alternate versions and DID have different endings, as everybody knows, many movies are. Of course a perfect director wouldn’t need alternative versions and a selection of endings, they would get it right the first time, it would have no competition in the Oscar’s, it wouldn’t be a stinker and everyone would love it.

          I watched “Exodus: Gods & Kings” the other night, a far cry from “The Ten Commandments” starring Charlton Heston, I first seen forty odd years ago. Some jiggery pokery on the story by Ridley Scott to throw a scientific slant on the yarn.

      • Without Malice

        Or just have Adam and Eve’s kids born without original sin just like Mary. Of course since God made an imperfect product it would have been only a matter of time until someone else did something God told them not to so we’d be back to square one. Trying to pretend that any of this makes any sense gives me a headache.

    • Greg G.

      Written several millennia ago by a collection of illiterate goat herders and farmers and fishermen- highly literate con men and fiction writers-

      • davewarnock


        • Greg G.

          LOL, I hate to see the victims blamed for that monstrosity.

    • “Written several millennia ago by a collection of illiterate goat herders and farmers and fishermen”

      Ummm… illiterate people don’t write. Also, I took an honors English class and The Bible was part of our reading material. You know that book influenced a lot of things. I never heard a professor or academic describe it like you do. Good luck with that! And there were more than just illiterate goat herders and farmers and fishermen contributing to the book.

      What is wrong with illiterate goat herders and farmers and fishermen? Are they inferior to you?

      • davewarnock

        illiterate people can dictate to those who can write the words down for them. and no, I have nothing against those people, nor do I think they are inferior to me. I’m just not interested in what they think about how the world works or that there is an invisible sky fairy that cares about what I do or don’t do.

        As far as reading the Bible in an English class- again, no problem with that. As I would have no problem with studying the works of Shakespeare or Victor Hugo. Let’s just not call any of them the inspired word of God.

        • Greg G.

          The Bible provides us with many adages and idioms in everyday speech. But so does Shakespeare. I recall hearing someone start with “the Bible says…” but I recognized what followed as a Shakespeare quote.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As Dawkins says,

          “The whole King James Bible is littered with literary allusions, almost as many as Shakespeare (to quote that distinguished authority Anon, the trouble with Hamlet is it’s so full of clichées). In The God Delusion I have a section called “Religious education as a part of literary culture” in which I list 129 biblical phrases which any cultivated English speaker will instantly recognise and many use without knowing their provenance: the salt of the earth; go the extra mile; I wash my hands of it; filthy lucre; through a glass darkly; wolf in sheep’s clothing; hide your light under a bushel; no peace for the wicked; how are the mighty fallen.”

        • There is an invisible sky fairy that cares about what I do or don’t do? Who said that?

          The Bible is a collection of books – like a library, really. There is poetry, historical narrative, origin stories, laws, customs, parables, wise sayings, etc.

          Illiterate goat herders and farmers and fishermen wrote something that is still relevant 3,000 to 2,000 years later?

        • adam

          A broken watch is relevant twice a day.

          No the bible does not display the same kind of relevance that science does.

        • al kimeea

          The BuyBull isn’t relevant, science is.

        • “The BuyBull”? That is adorable!

          I fully embrace science. I never said science isn’t relevant.

        • adam

          Of course, the bible is mythology.


          noun sci·en·tism ˈsī-ən-ˌti-zəm
          Definition of SCIENTISM
          : methods and attitudes typical of or attributed to the natural scientist

          biblical wisdom?


        • scientism – a matter of putting too high a value on natural science in comparison with other branches of learning or culture.

        • adam

          noun sci·en·tism ˈsī-ən-ˌti-zəm
          Definition of SCIENTISM
          : methods and attitudes typical of or attributed to the natural scientist

          noun mean·ing ˈmē-niŋ

          : the idea that is represented by a word, phrase, etc.
          : the idea that a person wants to express by using words, signs, etc.
          : the idea that is expressed in a work of writing, art, etc.

          I never said the bible was meaningless, mean yes,

        • Scientism: Unlike the use of the scientific method as only one mode of reaching knowledge, scientism claims that science alone can render truth about the world and reality. Scientism’s single-minded adherence to only the empirical, or testable, makes it a strictly scientifc worldview, in much the same way that a Protestant fundamentalism that rejects science can be seen as a strictly religious worldview. Scientism sees it necessary to do away with most, if not all, metaphysical, philosophical, and religious claims, as the truths they proclaim cannot be apprehended by the scientific method. In essence, scientism sees science as the absolute and only justifiable access to the truth.

        • adam

          ” In essence, scientism sees science as the absolute and only justifiable access to the truth.”

          It has certainly demonstrated it’s far superior access to the truth over religions and ‘faith’.

          The bible god knows nothing about it….

        • Most scientists reject scientism.

          Science and my religion are not rivals.

        • adam

          “Most scientists reject scientism.”

          How is that?

          Scientism is belief in the universal applicability of the scientific method and approach, and the view that empirical science constitutes the most authoritative worldview or most valuable part of human learning to the exclusion of other viewpoints.

          Scientism may refer to science applied “in excess”. The term scientism can apply in either of two senses:

          To refer to “the belief that the methods of natural science, or the categories and things recognized in natural science, form the only proper elements in any philosophical or other inquiry,”[13] or that “science, and only science, describes the world as it is in itself, independent of perspective”[7] with a concomitant “elimination of the psychological dimensions of experience.”[14][15]

        • I haven’t expressed any “inbred religious certainty”.

          You can stop with the logical fallacies.

          Scientists usually limit their science to the field they are studying.

          Scientism twists science into something it is not.

        • adam

          “Scientism twists science into something it is not.”
          Not necessarily.

          Since you failed to understand my post and wikipedia, there are two types of scientism.

          You are discussing one, I the other.

          So I dont claim science as infallable or absolute, just the VERY BEST method we have of determining our shared reality.

          I didnt say you expressed any ‘inbred religion certainty’

          So YOU can stop with the logical fallacies.

        • You posted a meme that suggested that. It wasn’t relevant to what I was saying.

          I’m grateful I have a religion that demonstrates ^ this meme is false.

          I reject the scientism belief that “science, and only science, describes the world as it is in itself, independent of perspective”.

          But I do fully embrace science.

        • adam

          “You posted a meme that suggested that”
          Only in your mind

          “But I do fully embrace science.”
          Not fully if you have ‘faith’

          Then you embrace wishful thinking.

        • Do those memes just randomly post? Or are they supposed to have meaning? I was saying some are not relevant to what I actually believe. Honest.

          I do fully embrace science.

          I don’t embrace wishful thinking.

        • adam

          Of course they have meaning, but that doesnt mean that was directed specifically at you.

          If you have biblical faith, you embrace wishful thinking, according to the bible…

        • You replied to me.

          Hope and wish aren’t the same things.

        • adam


          b ˈwish
          to want (something) to be true or to happen

          : to want or ask to do (something)

          : to want (someone) to be in a particular state

          verb ˈhōp

          : to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true

          Merriam Webster

          Like I said, wishful thinking.

        • If that is what it would be like for you, fine.

          It isn’t my experience. But thank you for sharing your experience.

        • adam

          THAT is what it is by DEFINITION from the bible with the words clarified by the dictionary.

        • MNb

          “I do fully embrace science.”
          Including “resurrections don’t happen” and “our material reality is probabilistic, not causal” ?

        • Science doesn’t say resurrections don’t happen. Nor does it make philosophical claims. It assumes.

        • MNb

          Yes, it does. Resurrections violate the Laws of Thermodynamics and also biology.
          “Our material reality is probabilistic, not causal” is not a philosophical claim, it’s a conclusion from the well established theory of physics called Quantum Mechanics – specifically Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle.
          So you don’t fully embrace science. Well, no single abrahamist I’ve ever met does. Thanks for confirming.

        • 🙂 I know. That is why it would be a miracle. Not an ordinary, everyday experience.

        • Kodie

          In another post, you stated that science doesn’t say resurrections don’t happen, but this is you “:)” happily admitting that science says resurrections don’t happen.

          You’re not skeptical, so stop saying you are.

        • We can’t resurrect people, so we can’t demonstrate it to others. That doesn’t mean scientifically it can’t happen. If it happened in the past – science can’t study it. Science can’t reveal historical truths.

        • Kodie

          You out-and-out called it a miracle, i.e. doesn’t happen.

          Why do you believe something that can’t happen did, and still maintain you are a skeptic?

        • It is possible to happen. Science does not say things are impossible.

          Is it unlikely? Hard to believe? Yes. Yes.

          As a skeptic – I can still accept God doesn’t have to follow the scientific laws that we are subjected to. Scientifically speaking – there can be other universes that do exist where resurrections are observable.

        • Kodie

          You accept a god through unreliable methods, i.e. your personal feelings and everything that entails, which differs in what way from the methods of other theists who contradict your conclusions or speculations? You keep turning this around on atheists, but we know why we do not have perfect understanding and agreement.

        • I don’t claim to have all the answers. I’ve had an experience with what I would call “God”.

          Most people don’t start preaching at me like you and some on here do. Some Christians and some atheists do what you guys are doing. And you both groups of you claim you are right and have all the truth on your side. I’m skeptical of both groups.

          You need to do what is best for yourself. Not worry about what other people do. All you are in charge of here is what you type in the box – and then press “Post as Kodie”.

          You and I, we are on a message board of a website dedicated to religion and faith. We are taking this way too seriously. We aren’t passing legislation. We aren’t setting doctrine. We aren’t being paid for this. Nobody is turning to us for answers.

        • Kodie

          You keep turning it around on me and then you call what I said preaching. So instead of choosing to clarify, you take offense and keep complaining. Nobody knows what you really believe, but did you not expect your beliefs to be challenged? We only have the experience of possibly living as Christians (all kinds), living in families of Christians, living in communities of Christians, and all the arguments of the hundreds of Christians that have posted on this blog, and the thousands of Christians each of us has encountered collectively all over the internet in the history of the internet, plus books and lectures, I suppose.

          If we’re wrong, tell us how we could get it right. So far, you’re just dodging and deflecting and you don’t seem to mind derailing threads hundreds of posts to talk about you instead of the topic.

        • MNb

          “You need to do what is best for yourself.”
          Self-deceit is best for you? Because that’s what religion looks like to me – self-deceit.
          And of course you didn’t answer Kodie’s question:

          “differs in what way from the methods of other theists who contradict your conclusions or speculations?”
          Now 1) I, like all atheists, haven’t had any “experience you call God” (whatever you mean with that – for me it’s just a hollow statement that confirms self-deceit) and 2) the fact that no believer ever managed to answer this question is a very good reason not to believe.

          “You need to do what is best for yourself. Not worry about what other people do. All you are in charge of here is what you type in the box – and then press “Post as Kodie”.”
          You’re preaching. Nobody needs you to tell us this and nobody asked you to.

        • If my religion looks like self-deceit to you, fine!

          “differs in what way from the methods of other theists who contradict your conclusions or speculations?”

          Differs in the same kind ways from the methods of atheists who contradicted my conclusions or speculations I had as an atheist.

          I’m not sure what you are asking here. Often, some post a false assumption about me. I don’t answer questions after that – the questions are based on a false assumption! And it keeps resorting to the person saying their assumptions are right because I didn’t prove the assumptions they imagine are wrong. 🙂

          Do you want to talk in private? I feel kind of like I’m being ganged up on here. If not, no problem. But you said you wanted to discuss.

        • MNb

          “Differs in the same kind ways”
          For the third time: consider me a dumb atheist. What same kind of ways would that be?

          “I’m not sure what you are asking here.”
          You have conclusions and/or speculations, Other theists contradict them. How does your method to arrive at those conclusions and to make you accept those speculations differ from those used by the theists who contradict them?

          “Do you want to talk in private?”

          “I feel kind of like I’m being ganged up on here.”
          Understandable. Disqus kind of encourages that. Nobody will blame you if you don’t answer all comments. But it would be nice if you answer some. And answers like

          “If my religion looks like self-deceit to you, fine!”
          are annoying discussion stoppers. Used too often – and you use them very often – gives the impression that you’re not interested in discussion, while claiming otherwise. That makes you look insincere. That’s btw exactly the reason I don’t want to talk to you in private. In my eyes you’re not trustworthy.

          “But you said you wanted to discuss.”
          Here. Not elsewhere. So the “but” is a strawman.

        • MNb

          “Science can’t reveal historical truths.”
          So you don’t fully embrace science indeed. Science totally can. The Big Bang is a historical fact, revealed by physics. Dinosaurs are historical facts, revealed by paleontology and Evolution Theory. Julius Caesar’s military campaign in Germany is a historical fact, revealed by historians of Antiquity and recently by archeologists. The Resurrection is a myth according to the very same method used in the examples above.
          Thanks for confirming that no christian is capable of fully embracing science because “faith in God”.

          “That doesn’t mean scientifically it can’t happen.”
          Yes, it does, for two reasons:
          1) there is no empirical evidence;
          2) it contradicts natural science.

          Saying that “That doesn’t mean scientifically resurrections can’t happen” makes as little sense as saying “That doesn’t mean scientifically things can’t fall upward when thrown from a high building”. I’m betting you won’t jump off the nearest tower to test it. Why? Because science. So you’re inconsistent – and hence do not fully embrace science – when you keep this option open for resurrections based on this argument.

        • There are limits to science.

          You are arguing things I don’t disagree with.

          But simply put:

        • MNb

          I never denied that there are limits to science. I contradicted

          “Science can’t reveal historical truths.”

          “That doesn’t mean scientifically it can’t happen.”
          Plus I explained into detail why. You don’t address anything I write and that’s the upteenth reason I don’t want a personal conversation with you. Here everyone can see your cheap little trick.

        • I agree that science is a great tool to study science with.

          “Clearly, the scientific method is a powerful tool, but it does have its
          limitations. These limitations are based on the fact that a hypothesis
          must be testable and falsifiable and that experiments and observations
          be repeatable.”

          You can not repeat or repeat some historical facts.

        • You can not repeat or repeat some historical facts.

          What do you conclude from this?

        • Be weary of those who claim science is the only way to know something.

        • I think “Be wary” is your point.

          As far as it goes, I agree. I think you imagine you’ve gone farther however. Yes, we can’t duplicate historic facts. Are you saying that we can’t know about things that happened in the past (Pangea, Yosemite volcano, dinosaurs, Big Bang)?

        • No, not really.

          I don’t know if you are familiar with “Crash Course”, but I saw this recently and it was in a way I hadn’t thought of history before:

          He sums it up within 2 minutes. (and don’t worry, it isn’t religious!)

          I know science is great tool to study history.

        • I have the basics of the Big Bang and the value of science and history. If you want to highlight a point, that would help.

        • My point is my understanding of history has changed – like the video taught. Science is a tool that can investigate historical claims. But it may not be able to reveal all the truths about history.

        • Kodie

          So basically what you’re saying is that because science has never proved that a resurrection is possible, then you choose to believe it anyway. Science is a tool that you ignore in these cases, because of the wishful thinking that something like a “miracle” is possible, despite scientific evidence to the contrary. Where the supernatural is concerned, you’ll continue to believe what you want to believe (aka “wishful thinking”) instead of rely on science. In other words, science can’t prove it din’t happen so it did.

        • Kodie

          You mean wary? What other reliable ways are there to know something? I’ve asked you many times why your beliefs can differ so much from someone else, if you think you “know” something using the exact same methods? Then it’s not knowledge. That is the wishful thinking you don’t think you’re susceptible to.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, dude, you still haven’t demonstrated another reliable way to know, well, anything frankly.

        • What do you expect from, as you put it: an “ignorant fucking incomprehensible lout”? Especially one who you asked to “please go the fuck away”?

          Please leave me alone. I wasn’t posting at you.

        • Kodie

          You’ve been avoiding the question since before then. Does your method of “knowing” things come up with a different answer than disqus? Does your method of “knowing” things have a blind spot when it comes to criticism directed at you? Pofarmer doesn’t escalate that quickly, so you must have been really annoying and evasive, making claims, not supporting them, etc.

        • Kodie

          Oh good, make it all about you again.

        • Pofarmer

          So prove me wrkng. You are making arguments that we would normally either see fundie or peers of new age woo making. Seldom do you see them in Tandem. The argument that we can’t really know,history is one often used by creationists and ID proponents. And it is a seriously bad argument. The argument that we can’t really know anything beyond our material reality, or that science can’t know anything about it, is one you see from peddlers of new age woo as well as some fundies. It’s also a seriously flawed argument. These issues have been addressed and yet you go on repeating the same flawed responses in multiple places on multi blogs. What is one supposed to assume? If you would honestly address the arguments, you could gain some credibility, but you do not. I have gathered you are a recent convert. Several of us here are ex Christians. some even ex fundies. If you really want to address the arguments, great, do so. If not, you’ve made your point,and might as well be on your way. You,can prove my assessment wrong – or not.

        • MNb

          “a hypothesis must be testable and falsifiable and that experiments and observations be repeatable.”
          You almost sound like Ken Ham.

          It’s bunk. Tiktaalik was found based on a hypothesis derived from Evolution Theory that was totally testable and falsifiable. The hypothesis that Julius Caesar held a military campaign in Germany (ie east of the river Rhine) came from historians of Antiquity. It was totally testable and falsifiable. The hypothesis that Moses did or did not wander through the Sinai was also totally testable and falsifiable.
          Paleontologists and archeologists have done exactly that, with observations that only could take place once. You can’t dig up a fossil or artefact twice.
          If you mean what you say you should advocate the abolishment of Crime Scene Investigations. The experiments and observations done there are not repeatable at all.
          Of course scientists (including forensic experts) have recognized this issue since many, many decades (and did not need any fancy philosophy). They took and take strict measures to guarantee the reliability of those experiments and observations that can take place only once.
          That’s another failure to back up that science can’t research the Resurrection. It has become clear again that you don’t fully embrace science – and that still means that you reject it.

        • Ok, I’m not really that familiar with him. I know he is a creationist, which I’m not.

          It also appears here:

          Why not point that out?

        • MNb

          I did not write you’re a creationist. I don’t think and never thought you are. I just liked to point out what your company is. I wrote that you made a claim that almost sounds Ken Ham.
          Why not address what I wrote?
          Oh wait – you hardly ever do. So I only can repeat:

          “a hypothesis must be testable and falsifiable and that experiments and observations be repeatable.”
          Subsequently I explained why it’s bunk. If you think my explanation was wrong tell us why and where. Unless you do I’m not interested in your links and just shrug. Plus I stick to my conclusion that you reject science.

        • I fully embrace science. Not scientism –

        • MNb

          Just because some anonymous guy on a message board told me he fully embraces science it is so? Unacceptable to your own lousy standard.
          You don’t fully embrace science because
          1. You claimed that science can’t do research on the Resurrection;
          2. You claimed that “experiments and observations” have to “be repeatable.”
          I showed you wrong on both claims and you refuse to address what I wrote – let alone accept it. So until you provide me with new information I stick to my conclusion.

        • Kodie

          I don’t know what other ways there are to apprehend the truth. I know a lot of interesting ways to good guesses that are susceptible to bad guesses, like religion. I told you how I feel about religion, and you called it preaching, so I guess the truth I’ve apprehended by an inferior means is fallible. (I thought I read and understood you and felt invited to go in further, my mistake, you’re not worth it). If your method is fallible, instead of reliable, how can it compete with science if what you want to learn is the “truth”?

        • What reliable routes to understanding nature do you recommend besides science?

        • For studying nature? I would primarily, if not exclusively, use science.

        • Pofarmer

          Uh huh. And what would you use to study something other thsn nature?

        • Pofarmer

          You don’t need to repeat history to study it. You seem to he good at seaching, maybe you could search for “historical methodology.”

        • Kodie

          Science can’t study the supernatural because the supernatural has no effect on the natural world. If it did, it would simply be natural, and could be studied. You even said within a handful of posts that you agree resurrection is a miracle because it overcomes the natural obstacles to a dead body coming alive again, while then saying that science could study it if it happened. This is why people talk to you the way they do. You don’t see the cognitive dissonance, no matter how many times we describe you to you.

        • MNb

          Accepting the possibility of miracles implies not fully embracing science. Thanks for confirming.
          You’re not skeptical indeed. If you want further reading I recommend David Hume’s On Miracles.

        • No, it doesn’t.

          Science actually flourishes when there are a variety of different types of people offering hypothesis and testing things.

          There are people who accept the possibility of miracles that have done more to support, embrace and advance science than you have done. They have done more than what I’ve seen you do: just talk about it on a religion and faith website.

        • MNb

          You’ve said nothing to contradict

          “accepting the possibility of miracles implies not fully embracing science.”
          and I suppose you won’t read David Hume’s On Miracles. So much for you being open minded.

          “Science actually flourishes when there are a variety of different types of people offering hypothesis and testing things.”
          has no relation to

          “accepting the possibility of miracles implies not fully embracing science”
          so is completely irrelevant.

          “There are people who accept the possibility of miracles that have done more to support, embrace and advance science than you have done.”
          Those people don’t fully embrace science either. Many scientists don’t. A few extreme examples:

          I could add the list of about 700 scientists on the list of Discovery Institute who reject Evolution Theory.

          “They have done more than what I’ve seen you do: just talk about it on a religion and faith website.”
          And you finish with “poisoning the well”. So much for trying to be kind. This is the second reason I don’t trust you enough to have a private conversation. You may be polite, but still like to insult. That’s OK with me, but then stand for who you are and do it in public, so that everybody sees that you are as nasty as me.
          Hint: don’t apologize. I won’t accept and won’t believe you. This point was one of the very few you were totally sincere.

        • – “accepting the possibility of miracles implies not fully embracing science.”

          – and I suppose you won’t read David Hume’s On Miracles. So much for you being open minded.

          I will read his philosophical essay.

          “Do gods exist? Do supernatural
          entities intervene in human affairs? These questions may be important,
          but science won’t help you answer them. Questions that deal with supernatural
          explanations are, by definition, beyond the realm of nature — and
          hence, also beyond the realm of what can be studied by science. For
          many, such questions are matters of personal faith and spirituality.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Accepting the possibility of miracles implies not fully embracing science.

          I will respectfully disagree with you on this point.

          For me it is enough to admit that miracles might be possible, but that we’ve never been given any reason to believe they’ve occurred.

          Not only do we have no evidence FOR miracles occurring, we have an enormous body of evidence that people who have claimed to see and/or perform miracles heretofore are charlatans, frauds, liars and cheats.

        • MNb

          “I will respectfully disagree with you on this point.”
          I disrespectfully don’t care what is enough for you and what not. I refer you to David Hume’s On Miracles as well. I accept his standards – and so does science.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “I disrespectfully don’t care what is enough for you and what not. ” – Fair enough 🙂

          And I hope to have time to re-read Hume, as well as a great deal of other writers (many of whom disagreed with him).

          However; *if* miracles occur (and I don’t think they do) we shouldn’t expect that believing in them would be incompatible with embracing science.

        • MNb

          You’re welcome. That’s why I suggested reading David Hume’s On Miracles. But you’re too close minded to actually do.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Resurrections violate the Laws of Thermodynamics and also biology.”

          I would say that I agree with the latter, but not the former, in the following way: A “body” is not a closed thermodynamic system, else we should not look to see them increase in complexity during embryonic development.

          Whatever the hypothetical cause of 1) reversing the immediate post-death cascades of decomposition, 2) re-priming a body’s biochemical/electrical systems to recommence the processes of life and 3) pushing the “start button” on those processes would only be a violation of the 2nd law if it were a cause which did not add low-entropy energy to the system.

          Now, is there such a cause? I very much doubt it. No one has ever shown there to be such a cause, exactly how no one has ever shown there to be “resurrection.”

          But if the cause existed, I would say it ran against biology more than 2nd LTD.

        • Pofarmer

          Science also doesn’t treat as real things which have not been demonstrated. Physical ressurections after days after physical and brain death are impossible. Doesn’t happen,mhas never been demonstrated. It’s a myth. Possibly the whole man is a myth.

        • Stop posting to me. You were completely out of line with me.

        • Pofarmer

          Look dude. You keep posting this nonsense on all kinds of blogs that you’re this reasonable Christian who totally believes in science and stuff. Then you turn around and talk about resurrections as real and argue against evolution. That is not believing in science and stuff. That is cherry picking and being dishonest. I might have been a little over the top, but my criticism of you was dead on. You are evasive and dishonest and smug and arrogant. If you don’t want me posting to you, stop making ignorant unfounded comments on these blogs. I won’t follow you elsewhere, but I will tamp your nonsense down here.

        • I believe I’ve only posted on 4 blogs by atheist authors, and only 2 the last few days. It is a public forum. Let the mods and authors moderate it.

          You were warned about posting unreasonable nonsense a couple days ago. And no apologies, hu?

          I NEVER argued against EVOLUTION. You must be confusing me with someone else. Go find someone else to argue with.

        • Pofarmer

          I may be confusing you with Wick Samuel on evolution. If so, then I do apologize for that. It really makes little difference though, in the end. You’ve never actually stated your beliefs. Even if you believe in the God that is everywhere and everything and all Good and all Loving and puppies and kittens, it really doesn’t matter. It comes from the same well.

        • Thanks for apologizing.

        • Kodie

          You know you should stop being so bossy. You know you are not in charge. You know you should let it go.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Nor does it make philosophical claims.”

          That’s debatable. Science is itself a philosophy; a philosophy of finding out what’s true.

          It just so happens that poorly-evolved primates have been at least bright enough to eventually realize that the best philosophy is to assume that all stories and ideas we get from *other* poorly evolved primates (or even ourselves for that matter) may well be false.

          We have learned that the best philosophy, the one which garners us the most true understanding of the world, is skepticism.

          So, no, you are wrong. Science does make a philosophical claim about resurrections. It makes the claim that we should not treat them as true unevidenced.

        • Pofarmer

          Also keep in mind that theoretical physics is almost entirely a philosophical endeavor. This doesn’t mean they just assume things as true. They try to attain empirical evidence that either backs up, or doesn’t, their theories, and then further refine/redefine the theories and models from there. The main difference between that, and pure philosophy, is that they look to see if their assumptions are true.

        • I love skepticism. I am a skeptic.

          And thank you for sharing some philosophy with me.

        • Kodie

          How is that participating in a discussion?

        • I’m very skeptical. He gave me a philosophical understanding of science. You can’t use science to prove science – it takes something like a philosophy to set up the assumption that the world operates in an orderly fashion – and has been doing so from the beginning. And will again tomorrow.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “You can’t use science to prove science”

          I agree with this statement. However. It is as meaningful as: “you can’t use logic to prove logic.” That statement is also true (we’re getting into Gödelian territories here)…yet what good does it do us?

          Logic is based on reason, and ultimately on math: zero does not equal one. True or false.

          Math, reason, logic…these are good in and of themselves, axiomatically, for without them language and thought have no purple fish queue yesterday.

          Science is not good because we love white lab coats, science is good because it is the best method we have yet found for discovering truth.

          Other systems, which have emphasized the primacy of intuition or arm-chair philosophy have proven themselves un-reliable.

          it takes something like a philosophy to set up the assumption that the world operates in an orderly fashion – and has been doing so from the beginning. And will again tomorrow.

          This is false. Science does not presuppose intelligibility or orderliness. It is merely the best method we have yet found for understanding the world. As an example, to the best of my knowledge, various flavors of quantum mechanics tell us that there is a fudamental *lack* of order at very small scales. We still do science to the data and maths we have about those scales.

          Additionally; IF SOMETHING FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES TOMORROW, we will keep using science until a better method proves itself.

        • I know. I have no problem with science. It is an awesome tool. I use it.

        • You can’t use science to prove science

          The consensus view of science makes claims, those claims are tested, and they are usually valid. I don’t think there’s a self-referential problem unless you’re saying that we need to run “if claims are consistently shown to be valid, that’s a good thing” past philosophy for approval.

        • The consensus view of science is based on an assumption. It is a good assumption – I trust it.

        • Huh? What assumption?

          Are you talking science in general or about a particular theory?

        • If there’s something interesting here, I don’t see it. Give me a summary.

          And I still don’t see anything wrong with my comment above. If you do, clearly state the problem.

        • No problems.

          Here is another summary:


          1. The world is real. The physical universe exists apart from our sensory experiences.
          2. Humans can accurately perceive and understand the physical universe.
          3. Natural processes are sufficient for understanding the natural world.
          4. Nature operates uniformly throughout the universe in space and time.

          Science can’t prove those things to be true, at least not at this time.

          That is my point.

        • Science can’t prove anything.

          When science says what two chemicals will do when put together or how to demonstrate static electricity, we try it out. The claim is validated or it’s not.

          I don’t see a self-referential “science can’t tell us that science works, y’know!” problem here.

        • No problem.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Science literally assumes none of those things.

          1) If the universe is running on an alien computer, science will still be out best tool to understand how that computer simulation works.
          2) We directly perceive a tiny fraction of the spectra of energies which are propagated throughout the universe, and none of them particularly well. Science has shown us how to construct technology to overcome *some* of these limitations.
          3) I don’t even know what this means.
          4) Scientists are constantly revising and footnoting theories due to unexpected new phenomena. Very early times ‘after’ the big bang, black holes, the expanding spaces between galaxies/superclusters are just some of the regions of space/time which we believe operate in radically different ways to what we’re used to here on the surface of Earth’s crust.

          Science assumes only that not fooling ourselves is a good thing. The best way we have heretofore found for avoiding fooling ourselves is the scientific method.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Which refutation of mine are you addressing with that link?

          Also, I’m sorry it’s late for me. I think I now realize what your 3rd assumption is. It’s also wrong 😛

          Science doesn’t assume that natural processes are sufficient. It just so happens that the scientific method has not yet lead us to non-natural conclusions.

          I think what I should point out at this point is that by “assume” I mean “treat as an epistemological starting point”, not “do in practice on a day-to-day basis.”

          To my mind science does not (although there is not 100% consensus on this amongst scientists) start from the epistemological point of view that the universe is uniform, for example, although in many ways and on many scales that may be the case pragmatically.

        • No problem. That was more to illustrate another person’ view on the matter. I will go talk with some scientists soon and bounce these ideas of them, too.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Here’s an oldie but goodie:

        • Cool, thanks. I’ll give it a read.

        • Kodie

          Is there any reason why it seems your understanding of science comes from a resource meant for grade school teachers to introduce and convey basic scientific terms to schoolchildren?

        • MNb

          “You can’t use science to prove science”
          Typically one of those apologist answers to something no atheist and/or scientist ever said.

          “it takes something like a philosophy to set up the assumption that the world operates in an orderly fashion.”

          Actually no. If for instance things would start to fall in all kind of random directions I’m pretty sure physics would notice. But yeah – you could say that the observation that science works (specific: has changed the outlook of our planet more than anything else before) is a philosophical one and has philosophical consequences. You also could use philosophy to analyze the features of the scientific method. Then you could use philosophy to compare the scientific method to your method to get at the decision that you believe in god and not in a sky fairy. Alas you haven’t explained to me (yet?) what your method is, but those who have tried came up with something very meagre.

          “I love skepticism. I am a skeptic.”

          Until you postulate your faith in your god, of course.

        • + Until you postulate your faith in your god, of course.

          No, not for me. Maybe for you it would be that way. How about this: I’ll go talk to some actual scientists about this with an open-mind and listen to what they have to say about this. I’m near a university and know some scientists.

        • MNb

          How about this: tell us how you apply your claimed skepticism to “I have faith in God”. Until you do I maintain that you are not a skeptic.
          Of course it’s allowed to steal your ideas from smarter guys than you and me. I do it all the time. I don’t think I have written anything original on this page.

        • I’m not a skeptic, because some anonymous guy on a message board told me I’m not.

          Got it. I won’t doubt or question what you preach.

        • MNb

          Strawman. You are not a skeptic because I told you so (btw if you want I can give you my name, address and some more personal information – it’s not exactly a secret), you are not a skeptic because you don’t apply your claimed skepticism to “I have faith in God”.
          Thanks for confirming that you’re not trustworthy.

        • I was joking. Come on.

        • MNb

          Then I have a request. Warn us at beforehand that you make a joke.

        • I will warn you and the 4 people that are posting things like that from now on.

        • MNb

          Did you call me a Besserwisser – a beterweter in my native language? Fun. I agree. My loved one, family and friends tell me so about every day.

        • Phew. We finally agree on something. I never heard the term Besserwisser before!

        • Kodie

          Was it funny? You think you’re a skeptic but you’re demonstrating qualities in a public atmosphere of not-a-skeptic.

        • Pofarmer

          “”science, and only science, describes the world as it is in itself, independent of perspective”.”

          What other demonstrably accurate ways are there?

        • Logic.

          Science gives a description. But it doesn’t tell you what to do with that description.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Logic” does not help us understand the world without data.

          When humans exercise logic, they are using the linguistic and comparative functions of their brains to do maths.

          Those brains are not perfect computing machines.

          We must compare the ideas we think up with the real-world data.

          Many otherwise plausible hypotheses lie broken and burn-out along the edges of the clogged “highway of death” of scientific theory development, destroyed by the bombs of comparison-to-data and the missiles of peer-producible-experiment.

        • Pofarmer

          Logic won’t do it. Logic is deductive. It takes inductive reasoning, aka science using evidence, to prove or disprove the arguments of Logic. Without Science, Logic(and Philosophy) can just as easily give you an incorrect answer as a correct one. That is why nearly all of Aristotle’s, and by association Aquinas, work is wrong.

        • Kodie

          When religion has to warp science to fit the beliefs, then that is not “getting along just fine”.

        • I have noticed not all religion does that.

          Some do, sure. But I’ve even seen those with no religion warp science to fit their beliefs.

          Who are you quoting when you say: “getting along just fine”?

        • Kodie

          You are excepting probably what you believe. People who believe religion and science are compatible may not have hit that wall yet, or are compartmentalizing – science can’t study the supernatural, so they can co-exist. But what do you get from religion that you think we can’t get without religion? If something is there that you can detect, a machine could detect. If your warm fuzzy spiritual feelings are reliable, then they ought to be consistent, if there is a god at the other end, with every single other theist who relies on those same warm fuzzy spiritual feelings to access “truth”. Some religions aren’t compatible with science because they are imagining things, just like you are imagining things. If it makes you feel good and you don’t harm anyone, what’s the big deal? Well, I don’t know how you apply your beliefs. When the application of your beliefs is not compatible with science, you will not admit it.

        • I’ve considered the arguments you are making. I’ve read them before. They are very popular on anti-theist websites I’ve visited.

          Usually people follow something – a philosophy, Secular Humansim, scientism, philosophical materialism, Christianity, Buddhism, hedonism…. What do peole get from those things they can’t get from something else, like religion? I don’t know.

          I see evidence that the religion or spiritual principles I practice brings me good things. This just doesn’t come from me “excepting probably what you believe”. Other people have testified to me that something had changed. And these weren’t people from my religion or people that knew what I was doing. People started to see a change in me and told me they liked how I was living now.

          If you have something that can give me serenity, peace, wisdom, guidance, love and patience – I’m all ears!

          And, hey: Who are you quoting when you say: “getting along just fine”?

          I didn’t say that. Did somebody else say that?

          I fully embrace science, just like you do.

        • Kodie

          I will try to explain a few things from my own perspective, about religions.

          I don’t think they are 100% terrible. Every religion has nuggets of wisdom. I am glad for your transformation. But you made those changes. Religions may teach you how to stop worrying so much, how to solve problems, how to change your perspective and your reactions to obstacles, etc. Mostly positive things, and when you make positive changes, you may think more clearly, you may feel better, and this may cause you to be more generous and cheerful all-around.

          So where does god fit into this?

          Why tack on a god to attribute this guidance to, why imagine there is a god partnered with you through your struggles, reminding you to stay positive? Why believe that there is a spiritual element connecting you to a god or anyone else? What other promises are motivating you that aren’t real? It’s not easy overcoming less-than-ideal social instincts and wallowing in doubt, not being productive, coping with troubles, or trying to stop being self-destructive, but religion doesn’t own the cure. You feel better, and you may actually be a better person than you were, and you owe it all to yourself, and maybe thousands of years of philosophical tips for good living that aren’t original to the bible, nor come from magic particles called “spirit”. That is extraneous. Religion is extraneous.

          God is basically the commodification of generic, popular knowledge. It’s sales and it’s marketing and it’s tribalism. The hook is how special and wonderful and individually important you are, and the evidence for god is following a short form of this generic wisdom to “prove it to yourself” and probably a parlor trick on picking up signs to know you’re on the right track. When you think they have the answer, you go back for more, and you buy more than you can afford, the extraneous branded parts, the parts that may teach you to justify judging others, when it’s ok to feel righteous, to fear what life is like without god (addictions, meaninglessness, murder sprees, etc.), or about what you do that you should feel ashamed, because “he” is always watching you. When you’re alone, you’re the only one in the room, and if you feel shame, it’s because those other people want you to judge yourself when they’re not looking. If you have paid them any money to tell you these things because they’d have you believe it’s part of a comprehensive package, then you’re the kind of dummy they’re looking for. If they’ve only got you as far as believing there is a god when there is not obviously any god or any evidence of god other than feelings, then it might not be so terrible.

        • Why don’t you just share what you believe?

          You made way too many “you statements” and said things like “why do you attribute this to a religion”, when I never said I just attribute it to a religion.

          Why are you being so preachy? Why are you talking to me in the same way some religious people used to talk to me when I was an atheist?

          What you described and boxed up as God and tried to market to me doesn’t sound like God.

          I imagine you’ll just say that I say that because of my “feelings” and I’ve fallen for another “parlor trick”! 🙂

          If theists can be preachy and judgmental toward me with God – why are you doing it without God? Why are you acting like they do?

          Why not remain more open minded. You don’t have to have all the answers. You seem to be trying very hard to prove to me you are right. But I’m not needing help like that. I’m doing fine.

          I’m sure you wouldn’t appreciate me preaching at you like that.

        • Kodie

          What kind of bug crawled up your butt? Seriously?

          I believe that people change their own lives, maybe with help from others. I didn’t think I was preaching at you but you’re so defensive about your precious special private indescribable beliefs. SO SORRY I BOXED YOU IN A BOXY BOX. You’re strange, you’re unique, you have different beliefs, specially accessed pure and awesome beliefs.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So you are here why exactly?

        • Pofarmer

          To be an evasive asshole, apparently.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I was thinking, pretentious prick, but evasive asshole might work too.

        • To discuss, like most mature people do.

          Not to lecture or dictate things to others about what I imagine they believe.

        • Kodie

          Like a cartoon depicting a strawman claim followed by impending suicide from the implantation of doubt? No, that’s theists. Sorry, so sorry, special one, theists are brainwashed to be afraid of atheism. Maybe not you, but you are unique and ideal. Other theists we encounter have said we are meaningless, our lives are meaningless, and that we recognize the universe and a finite life full of meaningful relationships and activities is pointless and they would literally kill themselves if they were without god. There would be no point to life, so they think we have no point to living. That’s what theists think.

        • Yes, some theists do that. I agree. I encounter that, too. Great points.

        • Ignorant Amos

          To discuss what?

          You appear to be happy and content in your particular version of God belief, so what is to discuss?

          If the level of discussion you have encountered is below your level of maturity and you dislike it’s manner, you have me confused as to why you are here?

        • People keep sending me messages via Disqus and I respond.

          I’ve had good discussions on here. Feel free to not respond. Sorry if I have posted something wrong or irritated you.


        • Ignorant Amos

          Not at all, am just curious that’s it.

          My initial interest was your objection to certain discriptors of your god as not being your god, bit seeing as there isn’t a definitive discriptiom of said god, I can:t understand the complaint’s. It got ever so tetchy from there with your objecting to all sorts of perceived attitudes and assumptive perceptions.

          But yeah, not respond to any more comments, I’m unber cool with that. At least until ya pull the stick out yer arse.

        • I like what some of the authors write about. I’m interested in religion and faith – and so I go to Patheos to discuss it. I like to read about what atheists have to say. They put stories like this on the homepage. I figure it is a discussion forum for us all.

        • MNb

          You typically didn’t answer the question, so I repeat it.
          You’re here to discuss what?

        • We are on Patheos – lets talk about faith and religion. I don’t know? What do you want to talk about? You keep messaging me.

        • MNb

          I asked you several questions. Pick your choice. You haven’t addressed any of them; regarding exactly one you have promised to get back at it later.
          I must conclude that you are actually not here “to talk about faith and religion”, because you have evaded to do so consistently.

        • MNb

          “Why don’t you just share what you believe?”
          The only thing I believe is that your definition of “to believe” is wrong – see above on faith.

          “Why not remain more open minded.”

          Why don’t you become more open minded – and give up “faith in God”.

        • That isn’t very open-minded. But thanks for the suggestion.

        • MNb

          And why is that not very open minded? Because you say so? That’s practically the defintion of close minded. I am very tempted to conclude that it results from you “faith in God”, which you avoid to discuss on this blog in all possible ways.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m guessing you are not starving and destitute, or living in a hole in the ground in some third world country unable to provide for your dying family while your government blows millions on in fighting or lavish palaces…ditto your religion?

        • I’m not starving or destitute. Or living in a hole in a third world county. I do know some that are and I’m trying to help them. My religion certainly isn’t preventing me from helping. In fact it is pushing me to do more. I will probably be going to visit places like you describe next year.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Good for you, but you missed my point. Folk sitting toasting marshmallows by the fireside in the comfort, security and confidence of nice hospitable surroundings can afford to feel all warm and fluffy about their spiritual beliefs, religion and God…millions dying in third world countries because all they have to drink is filthy water, not so much so.

        • I agree. Yes. That disturbs me greatly.

        • MNb

          Do you claim that “God is the first cause” of the Universe? If yes your religion rivals science.
          Do you claim that Jesus’ Resurrection is a historical fact? If yes your religion rivals science. If no your version of christianity has become meaningless.

        • I will go talk to some actual scientists and get back to you on this. Thanks.

        • Kodie

          Religions do the bulk of their work teaching people to hate. So if beliefs in an external deity are a way to access the truth, that must mean hate is the way?

        • MNb

          “Unlike the use of the scientific method as only one mode of reaching knowledge, scientism claims that science alone can render truth about the world and reality.”
          Eh, scientism is exactly the claim that the use of the scientific method is the only one mode of reaching knowledge. The second part doesn’t make any sense, because science never claimed to be able to make truth claims when truth is meant to be eternal, 100% certain and unchaning. That’s very unlike religion.

          “scientism sees science as the absolute and only justifiable access to the truth.”
          The word “absolute” makes this description meaningless. As for “justifiable”, you should replace it by “the only one justified thus far” – exactly as tentatively as science itself is.

        • Greg G.

          Acceptance of idea should be proportional to the evidence that supports it. Science is the best method of acquiring reliable evidence. Using the second best method of acquiring knowledge may be necessary in a pinch, but the acceptance should still be proportional to the evidence.

        • It is an awesome tool. I fully embrace it.

        • Paul B. Lot


          I like how the guy has booze and a gun in the last panel.

        • It looks like he is out of booze.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Nothing left for it but to blow out his cerebellum.

          Silly materialists, eh?

        • I like to think he comes to his senses and realizes there is more to this life than meets the eye.

          Maybe he actually enrolls into a college and studies science instead of just talking about it?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Hmmm, I don’t know man.

          The artists clearly wants us to believe that the undermining of the man’s logic has lead him to the brink of suicide.

          You say that you “like to think” that man portrayed by the artist turns his life around.

          But then again, you also say that the comic reminds you of a situation where another logic-based entity self-destructed when faced with a paradox.

          So I’m not sure that I believe your sugar-coating.

          *Whatever you motives, it’s a weak comic; the artist doesn’t have the talent necessary to incorporate existential angst into their work.

          *Edit: I wrote this section before doing a reverse-google search and realizing that the comic @WaterOnMars posted was not in fact original content, but an auto-generated meme.

        • The problem was the man really wasn’t that logical. He just liked the feeling of thinking he was logical produces – it comforted him.

          I’m not sugar-coating. 🙂 I was just joking around. It is a funny comic. I’ve even seen fanatical anti-thiests crack a smile at it.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I mean, look. I don’t really care about the crappy meme you posted. Had I seen it in another context, I would’ve ignored it for the uninspired piffle that it is.

          But you thought it was a relevant addition to the discussion.

          The creator of the comic shows evident glee in a man’s despair and impending suicide, indulging in Schadenfreude because of the man’s arrogance.

          That you were callow enough to post it, dumb enough to say you thought it ended both well and poorly for the man, and are now backpedaling on it lets me know what sort of person you are.

        • 🙂

          Hahaha. Holy shit! You just made me LOL.

          Truth is I just posted it to rival his silly memes.

          I love how you are completely over-analyzing it and playing amateur psychologist.

          I thought you were just being silly at first. Yikes! Uh, never mind. Have a great night. Sorry to offend you with a comic strip. I hope you find the other comics, memes and Reddit Atheist-like pics more entertaining and comforting.

        • Paul B. Lot

          You LOLed? O m g

          I mean, this is the first time I’ve seen the meme. I didn’t go out and find it in an effort to enrage myself.

          You posted it.

          I chuckled myself until I noticed the gun.

          The gun adds a new, less-silly, tone to the image. That you don’t want to admit that is your affair.

          I don’t hate suicide jokes, in fact, several of my friends are suicide jokes. It’s just that this one is poorly done and unfunny.

          (just do a google-image reverse search on the pic, you’ll find hundreds of versions of the same template. nothing says “funny” like changing the text on a comic form used by dozens of other people)

          I just wanted to point out that your choice of comic was mildly shitty.

          That you are unwilling or incapable of admitting it is unsurprising.

          But yes, thank you. I will have a good night. We’re having turkey burgers!

          GG 🙂

        • There are other offensive postings and pictures on here, too. But you ignored those, which is mildly shitty of you to put me down. As YOU would say: “that you are unwilling or incapable of admitting it is unsurprising”.

          You started speculating about me and insisting I was implying things I was not.

          And as YOU would say: “but you thought it was a relevant addition to the discussion.”

          Do you like it when people speculate and jump to conclusions about you?

          Or does it make you LOL and wonder what the hell this anonymous message board poster is talking about?

          Hey, enjoy your turkey burgers. I’ll try to find some politically correct comics that slam religious people to make it up to you.

        • Kodie

          What was offensive to you about Adam’s picture memes? You don’t laugh because they’re totally misrepresenting you or something?

        • Some are just fine.

          But some are derogatory. I get it. He hates Christians and is a bigot. Fine. But the one with a picture of a dying child? I was puzzled how Paul could lecture me on posting an illustration of a gun vs some of the things he has posted.

        • Kodie

          Some of the memes he posts are provocative but I didn’t see one with a dying child. Was this child dying frivolously to make a joke?

        • Paul B. Lot

          “I was puzzled how Paul could lecture me on posting an illustration of a gun vs some of the things he has posted.”

          Come on, man; stop playing the “Adam cheated on his test too!” game.

          Edit: Is that really what I’m complaining about then, “an illustration of a gun”? It’s not the context? It has nothing to do with the (poorly drawn) despair, anguish, solitude, and alcohol in the image? Nope, I just don’t like steel, wood, and combustible powders arranged in a particular configuration — spot on.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Bro, come on now.

          If you’ll recall, my first response to your meme-post was very short, all I did was point out the crassness of the setup.

          All I’m saying that you should admit is that you posted a crap meme without realizing what the picture contained.

          You would’ve gotten a 100% pass from me had you responded with something like: “Didn’t notice the gun before, I meant to be silly about arrogant scientism, not nervous breakdowns leading to suicide.”

          But, @wateronmars:disqus, this new tactic of “why are you singling out my offensive comics?! Other people were offensive too!” is unbecoming.

          I reserve the right to limit the scope of any of my internet contributions to whatever subset of topics or sub-posts which interest me.

          I haven’t read all of the comments here, and I don’t care to. I read yours and was moved by the spirit to respond.

          That doesn’t make you a victim.

        • Kodie

          He’s a caricature of the atheist – cold, clinical, meaningless drab world. Might as well kill myself, right? Suicide isn’t really that funny, perhaps you can save him with Jesus.

        • Absolutely false.

          I don’t even think he is an atheist.

          I know theists that embrace scientism, too. Which is what the comic was poking fun at.

          I know and love many atheists. I will fight for their right to disagree with me.

          And atheists love me. 🙂 I’m grateful for that.

        • Kodie

          I like to think you think you are pretty clever shitting on people and their meaninglessness. It’s a pretty common trope among apologists to snare their marks with the threat of meaninglessness, so you won’t want to stray outside of the flock. Is that really what you think?

        • I’m actually not an apologist.

          I don’t give a fuck about straying outside the flock! 🙂 But nice guess!

          If you like to think that: go for it!

        • MNb

          Hm, I studied some science, but it didn’t make me realize there is more to our material reality than meets the eye. Rather the opposite – science made me realize that our material reality is all there is.

        • I fixed it for you! Sorry for the insensitive gun image – I agree with your disturbance.

        • Kodie

          If it’s not verifiable by science, it may have other value, but it is still not verifiable. The cartoon is very dramatic.

        • It reminds me of the Star Trek episode where they blew up the computer by telling it: “This statement is false”!

        • Philmonomer

          Here’s my problem with the cartoon:

          “If it’s not scientifically verifiable, then its meaningless.”

          Who says that?

        • MNb

          There are no other branches of learning, if we define learning as gaining knowledge. If you define it otherwise, as you apparently like to do, your definition of scientism is a strawman. Scientism only makes a claim about knowledge.
          Btw that cartoon is a strawman. Scientism doesn’t necessarily claim “if it’s not scientifically verifiable etc.”.

        • Greg G.


          Ecclesiastes 10:20 (NRSV)
          Do not curse the king, even in your thoughts,
          or curse the rich, even in your bedroom;
          for a bird of the air may carry your voice,
          or some winged creature tell the matter.

          The NSA is listening.

        • No, that isn’t saying there is an invisible sky fairy that cares about what I do or don’t do. Nice try!

        • Greg G.

          I was agreeing with your point that there are sayings that are relevant today.

        • Ok.

        • davewarnock

          “There is an invisible sky fairy that cares about what I do or don’t do? Who said that?”

          ummm, pretty much the entire conservative Christian religion. You may have noticed some noise about equal marriage laws in various states. Christians oppose gay marriage because they believe the God is opposed to it. They believe that an invisible sky fairy is VERY VERY concerned with what every man and woman does with their genitals.

          They believe that because they think their holy book says that. Yeah, that collection of books is really relevant today. Wow.

        • I’m not a conservative Christian.

          I don’t think they actually believe in a sky fairy. Even Richard Dawkins retracted that claim!

        • davewarnock

          that is just a phrase to describe an invisible god who mythically lives in the heavens. and I’m not particularly interested in what Dawkins said

        • adam


        • davewarnock

          the bigger point is that many Christians believe God is very concerned with things like sexuality and fight against any version other than their own.

        • adam

          It is all about ‘faith’.

        • Yea, I don’t believe in an invisible god who mythically lives in the heavens. Who here does?

        • davewarnock

          so- clear it up for me. You believe in God, no? Is he not invisible? I may have misunderstood you.

        • I do believe in God. But not a sky fairy. I don’t believe God is a being or a creature like that. And most theology I’ve read suggests otherwise, too.

        • adam

          “In monotheism and henotheism, God is conceived as the Supreme Being and principal object of faith.”

          Apparently a ‘being’ is the most common belief.

        • adam

          Apparently in MOST.

          Which is why the perception of ‘god’ is changing to things more philosophical.

          “God is an ever receding pocket of scientific ignorance.”

          Neil deGrasse Tyson

        • He didn’t direct that quote at people like me. If you use what he said before and after that, it is clear.

          I don’t have a God of the gaps.

          “Most religious people in American fully embrace science.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

        • adam

          And I repeat

          If you embrace ‘faith’ then you can’t fully embrace science.

          One is wishful thinking and the other is evidence.

        • I embrace faith.

          And I embrace science.

          Some of your memes are wrong.

          The dictionary describes faith as “complete trust and confidence in something or someone.”

          I have faith in science, just like you.

          But I also have faith in God.

          I don’t embrace wishful thinking.

        • adam

          Who cares what the dictionary says when the bible is clear?

          I am not speaking of dictionary faith, but of biblical ‘faith’, just like your bible.

        • I care. When I say faith, I was talking about the primary definition used in the Bible.

          And what the Bible describes is not wishful thinking. Try again!

        • adam

          “And what the Bible describes is not wishful thinking”

          Of course it is:

          verb ˈhōp
          : to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true

        • No, it isn’t.

          But that is how you describe it, yes. I get it.

        • adam

          So what the bible describes as ‘faith’ is just wishful thinking.

        • No. It describes it as much more. Can you give me a theologian or Biblical expert – like from a non-religious academic perspective – that suggests that?

        • adam

          No that is exactly how the bible describes it.

          I gave you the bible quote and a non-religious dictionary definition of the terms that spell it out quite clearly.

        • No, if you read the whole thing it doesn’t say that.

          Sure, if you read the quotes you cherry-picked it does. But I know there are things written before and after those verses that expand on those ideas.

        • adam

          It EITHER doesnt say that or it cant be a quote.

          But that is what it says….

        • I prefer to put it in context and not just cherry pick.

        • adam


          You WANT to believe it says what YOU mean…..

        • Well, that is what you are doing, too.

          It is fine if we disagree about it. If that is all it means to you, great. I’ve listened to people, even those with no religious ties to the book, that have different understandings than your explanation.

          No problem.

          We can agree on that.

        • adam

          Difference is that I have provided EVIDENCE to support my position,, you only make assertions…

        • Can you show me any evidence that supports your claims? Theologians, historians or academics that support what you say?

          My claim is that Christian faith is more than just what you describe it as: wishful thinking.

          There are different understandings. This is fine. You can keep calling my understanding bullshit. I’ll say we have different understandings.

          faith fāTH/ noun
          noun: faith
          1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
          “this restores one’s faith in politicians”
          synonyms: trust, belief, confidence, conviction;

        • adam

          I gave you the definition FROM the bible.

          YOU have to change the bible definition for your cognitive dissonance to work.

        • Sure. But I’m saying The Bible says more than that.

          The dictionary says gay means happy. But it also can mean homosexual.

          We are both right. We are both wrong for arguing semantics.

          I’m not sure why you gotta keep suggesting that I have mental problems – this amateur psychology thing is getting old. I know it is popular for message board posters to make claims like that. You can do better.

        • Kodie

          So you admit you have cognitive dissonance, but you don’t like attention to be called to it?

        • We all are guilty of cognitive dissonance.

          It would be very simple for me to say you are suffering from it, and that is why you keep telling me what I am and believe – instead of just sharing what you are and believe.

          I have a therapist and have to go through mental evaluations for my job. They usually don’t suggest the things that some message board posters love to tell me: but I’ll be sure to ask them. They have credentials and experience. I have faith in what they say. Not so much in what is posted at me on the internet.

          I’m a skeptic. So if my doubts are misguided, please forgive me for doubting you.

        • Kodie

          I told you what I think of religion.

        • I’m not fond of all religion. Some religion is very toxic.

          We might actually have a lot in common.

        • Kodie

          Oy vey, you have a “relationship” I’m guessing? You got took.

        • MNb

          “We all are guilty of cognitive dissonance.”
          Yeah, but I try to remedy it – you not so much.

          “I’m a skeptic.”

          Until you write that you have faith in your god. You’re a parttime skeptic – ie not at all.

        • adam

          Sorry, but you’ve not demonstrated that the bible says more than that.

          I am talking biblical ‘faith’.

          you can talk whatever you want.
          But when you are praying and worshiping a capricious imaginary god, it is but wishful thinking

        • I did the same thing you did. Again, we disagree.

          In your mind – all you imagine is true. But I don’t live in your mind or imagination.

        • adam

          Nope you’ve not demonstrate that the bible says more than that.

        • There are people that that state it says more than that.

          I consider what you say. But also consider what they say. Some of these people have credentials they can provide me that show they might be better qualified to make these statements.

          I have to weigh what you give me against what they give me.

          Again, thank you for sharing your understanding.

        • Here is another one, that says faith, Biblically speaking, is NOT just wishful thinking:

        • adam

          Sorry, but your link supports my statement not yours:

          “The existence of the God-kind of faith in the human heart is the evidence that what we have prayed for exists.”

          Faith is an emotional response, wishful thinking.

        • But it also says:

          “What Faith Is Not Faith is not mere human hope. Faith is based on the
          Word of God alone. Human hope may be based on the sands of wishful
          thinking or human desire, rather than on the rock of the Word of God.”

          “Faith is not based on human feeling but rather it is based squarely on the fact of what God says.”

          All I’m saying is not all define faith the way you choose to.

          If that is what works for you, great! I have a different understanding – one that does no harm to you.

        • Kodie

          I read the whole thing. It repeats what Adam said but puts it another way so you are fooled that it is something different. Equivocation, propaganda, denial.

          It’s the “hope” for things unseen that you feel in your heart, because that’s what hearts actually do instead of pump oxygen through your blood to the rest of your body, and you shouldn’t bother looking for something that’s not there, and rely on your unreliable feelings like every theist everywhere does and gains drastically different results. It comes from what you want and what you want is a god that reflects what you want, so you can dream it up. That’s what that essay pretty much says.

        • adam

          Yep, biblical ‘faith’…..

          Based on propaganda and their own HOPES and WISHES

        • Pofarmer

          “What Faith Is Not Faith is not mere human hope. Faith is based on the
          Word of God alone. Human hope may be based on the sands of wishful
          thinking or human desire, rather than on the rock of the Word of God.””

          That is completely circular.

        • adam

          Of course the scam is.

        • adam

          “Faith is not based on human feeling but rather it is based squarely on the fact of what God says.”

          And it is human FEELING that interprets what your ‘god’ supposed said, yet none of you can agree on what YOUR ‘god’ says

        • No, as that article said, it isn’t just human feeling.

          There are other understandings than yours. Don’t worry. It is ok.

        • Kodie

          The article I read made faith seem deeper than feelings as it described it is really whatever you want and confirm to yourself in your feelings. “God” is whatever you want him to be, and you can confirm his existence via your feelings that he agrees with you, which is different, somehow than “wishful thinking” which it defines differently than the rest of us. Wishful thinking means you want god to exist so you convinced yourself of it, despite reason and evidence, which the article tells you not to look for externally. “Wishful thinking” doesn’t mean asking your invisible friend for a favor, as the article suggests.

          So let’s start with the real definition of wishful thinking – it means you want god to exist so you’ve convinced yourself he does, despite reason and evidence, and confirmed your faith in god by feelings which, in so many words, tells you what you want to hear.

          That’s what wishful thinking is, and that’s what the article says faith is vs. what it is not.

        • adam

          And there are other propaganda based scams besides religion, but they all work in a similar fashion.

          They appeal to emotion, NOT to intellect.
          Wishful thinking is emotional.

          And no confusion on my part, I can clearly see your duck strategy.
          Duck the issues, duck the definitions, duck science for wishful thinking.

        • I know there are some religions that are like that. I avoid them, too.

        • adam

          So where is YOUR ‘god’?

          And where is the evidence that it is NOT imaginary?

        • You imagine that “what God says” is an objective thing that everyone agrees to. But it’s decided by each Christian, which puts it in the same category as “human feeling.”

        • I didn’t know I imagine that. Thanks Bob! I love when people guess about what I imagine. 🙂

        • Sure, that … or you could engage, correct any misperceptions, and advance the conversation.

        • Great points, Bob. I’ll study how you act and try to emulate you when on this blog.

        • If by “faith” you actually mean “trust,” then do us all a favor and never use the word “faith.” Ever.

          What I see instead is that Christians make the argument you just did to show that they’re as level-headed as any atheist, but then when things get weird (Resurrection, Trinity, God actually exists) then “faith” gets its old definition of “belief that’s not actually all that well supported by evidence.”

        • Faith is trust and confidence in something or someone. I have faith in God. We are on a website dedicated to religion and faith.

          If you want me to not say “faith” on your blog, no problem. But outside of that? Come on!

        • Faith and trust are either synonyms or not. If you’re telling me that they’re always synonyms, then prove it. Stop hiding behind and ambiguous chameleon of a word and say what you mean. Or admit that you use different definitions of “faith” as necessary.

        • The dictionary says: Faith – complete trust and confidence in someone or something. That is usually the primary definition given.

          That is what I have experienced my faith in God to be like.

          And I belong to a faith community that defines it the same way.

          There are other definitions, too. If you want to call it something else, that is fine. But having people insult me and making false assumptions about me because I won’t accept your definition?

          I think what Adam is trying to describe is called: “blind faith”

        • Kodie

          You interchange the definitions when it suits you, and of course, you and the congregation of the church you belong to feel the need to fudge the truth a bit, puff up what it really is, lie to yourself and present yourself deceitfully to others.

          If you said you have the same faith in god as you do of a bridge, you could demonstrate in a lot of ways that the bridge is structurally sound and it’s safe to cross. Not so with god. You paint a picture of a god you like based on your needs and wants and personal preferences and the friends you’ve made at your “faith community”, and say “I like to think god is like that.” That’s the best you can do. That’s what faith is as it is meant by religious people. It’s not equivalent to trust in something you can demonstrate with evidence, which can be agreed to by anyone.

        • Great guess. Again, thanks for sharing.

          Care to tell me about you, now? I understand you know-it-all about me and have all the answers.

        • Kodie


        • Whoa. Please stop messaging me.

        • Kodie

          You’re irritatingly evasive, but all Christians are.

          You asked me a question I already answered and you didn’t like what I had to say, so what do you want from my life? Pretend we’re besties?

        • “You’re irritatingly evasive, but all Christians are.”

          Come on. All? Just let it go. It isn’t worth getting mad about. We are talking about religion on the internet. Don’t take any of this too seriously. It really doesn’t matter.

          I will fight for you to have the right to disagree with me. We should all have a voice, and I know the atheist voice does not always get heard.

          If you ever need someone to help you, let me know. I don’t hold grudges. Peace out.

        • Kodie

          Your answers are all like:

          – you think you know me?
          – no, that’s not it at all
          – good guess again.
          – you should come to my church
          – you should walk a mile in my shoes
          – stop preaching at me.

          Yes, you are, all Christians are.

        • MNb

          “It isn’t worth getting mad about.”
          If “mad” is an exaggeration, yes, then it totally is. The way I rely on science is immensely different from the way you rely on your god. That difference is crucial. And you systematically refuse to recognize this difference, which is kind of maddening indeed. You do this for your own egoistical purposes – not very christian.

        • MNb

          You could also address Kodie’s explanation that faith has two meanings. But you prefer don’t to – typically the intellectually dishonest christian.
          Anyhow, without evidence or arguments your faith in god is blind indeed.

        • She has sent me a plethora of posts and explanations. According to her I’m suffering from a mental deficiency. If that is true, you should just let it go. You know us brain-damaged, “mental retard” Christians… we just don’t know any better.

          Later. 🙂

        • Kodie

          I flagged you for implying that I called you a mental retard.

          The lies begin. The poor persecuted Christian has to exaggerate to make their point.

        • You didn’t. And I wasn’t implying you. Someone else did call me that.

          You called me names. And make some silly stereotypes about Christians that implied false things about me

          You aren’t persecuting me. I have still tried to be kind with you. Oh, well! Just stop. You should ignore me if you think I’m bad new. You keep sending messages to me on Disqus! I’m done with that blog. No bad feelings – just move on.

        • Kodie

          You haven’t tried to be kind, you are deflecting criticisms of your faith by responding to a passing butterfly. You’re a phony and not equipped to have discussion. I’m willing to re-read my own posts and find all the words I called you, and list them, but you did heavily imply that I, by my name, referred to you having a mental deficiency, followed by words “brain-damaged” and “mental retard”, the latter in quotes as if I called you that. You’re not kind. You’re passive-aggressive and phony – to me, that’s as hostile as any open criticism, only you get to pretend you were the nice one who was above it.

        • I’m sorry, I was talking about my experience as a whole. I didn’t mean to imply you called me those things.

          No need to post your list of words you used. Let it go, go talk with someone who can hold a conversation better than me.

        • Kodie

          I called you (in reverse order):
          imagining things

          You also took offense because your reading comprehension is so poor when I compared how you access truth to the feelings of a “crazy person.” I never said you were a crazy person, AND you never addressed that particular line of questioning. So in your passive-aggressive way, you’re going to tell me to get over it, let it go, but you’re going to leave up that post where it’s heavily implied that I called you “brain-damaged” and a “mental retard.” Never anything of the sort, you liar.

          Edit your post with a retraction or clarification following the original post so everyone can see what your religion teaches you, humility and honesty and all that nicey nice shit. It’s not enough that you followed up in another post, you have to edit the original and admit you made a huge mistake.

        • You know you keep telling me what I know. But you know when you do that you are just speculating. You know that when you say you know you don’t really know.

          You know I totally forgot about your “crazy person” statement and let it go. You know I never brought it up again. You know I never even thought about it while talking with you.

          You know I said you never called me a mental retard and admitted that. You know I apologized. You know other people called me a “mental retard” and “brain damaged”, but you didn’t.

          You know you should stop being so bossy. You know you are not in charge. You know you should let it go.

        • Kodie

          I was asking you a question and you ignored it because you can’t distinguish your special differently-accessed “truth” from Jihadi John. Where have I referred to you having a “mental deficiency” other than your vivid imagination? Or is that such a stake in your heart?

          I don’t know if anyone called you brain-damaged or mental retard, but I do know you have a knee-jerk reaction to perceived insults which is why I refer to your persecution. You automatically take everything as an insult. You say you came here for discussion, but you really came here to rack up points of persecution by exaggerating how you were treated and taking no responsibility for how you are treating the discussion.

        • Kodie, when you make false assumptions about me – like that I was still upset that you said something about a “crazy person” – which was not true… why should I keep answering your questions?

          I’ve asked you to leave me alone after you started calling me names. Let it go.

        • Kodie

          In this comment you made,

          And when they suggest I share the same beliefs as a “crazy person”, I get a little worried.

          You clearly misunderstood me. Now whether you did so intentionally or as a hair-trigger reaction is arguable, but I clarified, and you ignored it. I take it you still choose to believe that I meant that when I didn’t.

          My post
          As a response to:

          I think humility and open-mindedness are the key to discovering God in your life.

          I wrote back:

          What’s different in your methods than a crazy person? Because everyone accesses their personal version of god this way, and some of them are maniacal and violent, many of them are just wrong-headed.

          If you’d like people to stop mischaracterizing you as a sensitive, thin-skinned, easily offended Christian with nothing better to do than complain, then you might start answering questions so we can have a clearer picture of you. Because the only picture we have of you so far is a passive-aggressive pain in the ass narcissistic troll.

        • The same things you criticize me of – “hair-trigger reaction”, “sensitive, thin-skinned, easily offended”, “nothing better to do than complain”, you demonstrate, too.

          Enough with the name calling. Kodie – go find someone worth talking, too. Quit nagging and cutting me down. How can you afford to post on here so much? I’m on paid time off – healing. I can’t go anywhere – and I feel like I have spent way too much time on here. Take a break.

        • Kodie

          Tu quoque is the best you can do?

          You really ought to do something like address the questions you’re asked instead of getting defensive and trying to turn the tables on me.

          I didn’t cut you down, you cut yourself down.

        • The fact is: you demonstrate those things, too. So you either have standards you hold others to you don’t hold yourself to. Or you are being incredibly hypocritical.

          You did cut me down. I disagree with you. I’m not cutting myself down. Come on, Kodie!

        • Kodie

          You didn’t answer the questions again? When did I cut you down? What did I say that you think meant to cut you down?

          Let’s talk about you if you want to talk about you.

        • When haven’t you cut me down? You’ve said I’ve done things that are wrong – and that all Christians do that, too.

          Ok, you often make a post about me and it implies a false assumption you are making about me. You’ve already said things like “all Christians do that”. Which – sorry, but not all Christians do that thing you claimed they did. It sounds like you are letting your emotions and feelings getting the best of you when you do that.

          + Tell me how your intuition tells you your spiritual feelings are different from the spiritual feelings of Jihadi John.

          I reject violence and would rather love my enemy, not behead them. I want a secular governing system that provides freedom – not a theocracy instituting religious law. I fully support a democratic governing system. I have a gigantic heart for social justice and have dedicated a significant portion of my life to helping those who have been neglected or oppressed by our world.

          Tell me how our intuition tells you your anti-religious feelings are different from the anti-religious feelings of Plutarco Elias Calles?

        • Kodie

          You have done or said things that are wrong with no supporting arguments. You just let things lay there and take offense that you’re challenged and not entitled to your opinion.

          Show me a Christian who doesn’t.

          I don’t think you understand this question, still.

          And you don’t understand that atheists aren’t claiming that we have a personal relationship with someone, and are typically subject to different experiences and thoughts. Being without a god doesn’t so much influence anything in particular, such as permission to be violent or whatever Christians think about atheists. So are religious people subject to a variety of experiences and thoughts, but you made a claim which you haven’t backed up – that there’s a god and you have a different way of accessing knowledge. “Knowledge” is actually the word you used. You can’t fully comprehend god, but your partial comprehension is so diverse from other Christians and that from other theists, including Jihadi John. That just seems like you are accessing opinions, not knowledge, from your experience and thoughts, with a heap of the power of suggestion for you to attribute a bunch of things to a personal deity you have neither described nor provided evidence for. “Walk a mile in my shoes” doesn’t tell me anything, nor does “You should come to my church”. Well, I mean it tells me you’re just one more typical evasive Christian.

        • Not all atheists make the claims you make, though.

          That is fine. You think I’m a typical evasive Christian.

          I think you have a similar mindset as a fanatical religious person. You don’t talk to me or treat me like most atheists do. And I am able to talk about, debate and be critical with atheists and other people who don’t share my same worldview.

          I am sorry I couldn’t be more helpful. If I’m so distasteful to you, stop reading my posts. There are 1,000 other blog posts by atheists where I have no comments. Go find someone to talk about something positive.

        • Kodie

          You’re not that popular on any atheist blogs, so I don’t know how you can claim I don’t treat you like most atheists. Most atheists find you a frustrating troll.

          If you are able, then why don’t you? You don’t seem able or willing to.

          If you’re going to continue to misrepresent me, I will not let it go.

        • I’ve only posted on a few atheist blogs on this site.

          It is only about 10 atheists on here that has called me names like troll, asshole and other names.

          Of course, I know many atheists. I love many atheists – I have family members , coworkers and very close friends that are atheists. And we talk about things – and generally have good discussions.

          Sometimes online it is difficult to have discussions. I’ve experienced this on other topics, too. I’m sure some people do find me frustrating. And I’m sure some people find you frustrating, too.

          I keep saying it is ok. You misrepresent me, too. So, now we have some common ground to stand on. Again, sorry if I offended you.

        • Kodie

          It’s difficult to have discussions when one of the people thinks they are participating but is not really. Represent yourself so we don’t have to guess and offend your majesty.

        • Holy crap. Go do something else than. Stop posting to me. I said I’ll leave the blog alone, but you keep pulling me back in on Disqus.

        • Kodie

          I’m not responsible at all for what you choose to do. If it’s hard to have discussions, take some constructive criticism and actually participate. Or go. You love the attention of derailing a thread and making it personal too much.

          But we tried! We tried to get your take on things, asked you questions, you refuse to actually participate. We revived old questions you deflected and ignored or took offense at something minor, we revived them, and gave you another chance. Don’t play innocent, you troll.

        • I’m having some good discussions with others.

          Sorry, I am not with you and your friends. I’m saying you keep posting to me: you don’t have to. It is just a few people and you making these claims. It is ok!

        • Jackson

          Unrelated to the topic at hand but, well, someone has to get the last word! Take this post as a challenge to you. Can you choose not to respond to a comment?

        • Yes.

        • Jackson

          Lol 🙂

        • But, yes, good point! I’ll put it to rest.

        • MNb

          Or take your own advise. Stop posting to her.

        • And you didn’t answer my question. 🙂

        • MNb

          So you won’t address Kodie’s explanation that faith has two meanings. If you have tried to be kind you have failed.

        • Ignorant Amos

          She has sent me a plethora of posts and explanations.

          You seem to have a stick up your hole on this whole commenting procedure. I’m not confident you understand how the whole commenting on Disqus thing works.

          When you enter a forum and take it upon yerself to comment, as long as you’ve accepted the “receive notifications” option in Disqus, every time another comment is made on that thread, Disqus will send you a notification. This happens whether or not the comment is in reply to you specifically.

          Now, here is the crux, you are under NO obligation to reply. You are NOT even obliged to even open the notification. Even if you do open a notification that is specifically addressed to you and you decide NOT reply, it is of no consequence, individuals write comments to other individuals for far more important reasons than just mano a mano discourse. The whole community is looking in, that includes the shy lurkers, all of who may learn something even if the individual involved is to stubborn, ignorant, or asinine to do so themselves.

          So please stop whining about folk replying to you and stop telling folk to stop replying to your comments, it isn’t gonna happen. The only remedy for your problem is to ignore or you leave.

          Hope that has cleared things for ya?

        • I stopped replying to her. And she has sent me about 10 messages since then. I asked her to let it go and leave me alone.

        • Kodie

          You made your own bed. If you don’t think you deserve the attention, stop sucking it away from the topic to talk about your personality flaws, and actually keep up an end of the discussion.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I asked her to let it go and leave me alone.

          That ain’t how it works. This is an open forum and Bob sets the rules. You are not obliged to reply to anyone here, nor is anyone obliged to follow your orders. You cannot prevent them from commenting on any one of your entries. You have three options, engage, ignore or leave.

        • I’ve been ignoring her. No problem. I asked her if we could drop it. I’ve done the same with others and we stopped. Thanks.

        • Kodie

          Drop what? What do you think we’re dropping? Unfortunately for you, it’s ok if I just keep challenging your beliefs for others to see that you bob and weave and get away from your corner with passive-aggressive answers like “if you don’t agree that’s fine” without further explanation or clarification. I’m nicer than you think I am, but I just don’t have the kind of patience for the bullshit you’re peddling – namely, that you’re any different from any other theist, or that your beliefs are truer than any other theist.

        • Also, I didn’t say she is obliged to follow my orders. Nor did I intend to suggest that. I was just saying I was ignoring her, but she kept sending me messages. I can’t help but see that when I go onto Disqus. I don’t have to reply. But I also don’t have to keep quiet about it. I left the forum, but still am asking some of the questions from those being respectful.

        • Kodie

          Please remember I was respectful until you took offense at something I’d written not meaning to be offensive. Despite what you say, you seem to love it when people make “false” assumptions of you, so you can point focus onto how offended you are and how inhospitable people are, rather than what you believe. You have deflected consistently with those who are polite or a little more assertive to aggressive. When someone is polite, your answer is that you don’t agree and that’s fine, full stop. You’re dishonest, why should we respect that?

        • Ignorant Amos

          She hasn’t sent you anything, dufus…Disqus does that automatically unless YOU nominate not to receive notifications.

        • When I go to – where I can collect messages sent to me from a variety of websites, I don’t have the option of turning off 1 person’s messages. It don’t matter, though.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Listen, if that is how you retrieve your Disqus notifications, fair enough, but Jodie still has NOT sent you anything, Disqus has, and you still have the option to ignore it. Censorship of what one chooses to open and read is all too easy.

        • Kodie

          This person thinks I’m trolling them because I responded to messages he wrote after he told me not to send messages to him. It’s called calling someone out on their bullshit, but I toned it way down and persevered to get an answer. WOM has been looking for advice on other sites for what to do about cyberbullying and sealioning in the vague advice “don’t feed the trolls”, what to do if that doesn’t seem to work, not by name or example. May be completely oblivious despite patience and constructive criticism from some folks. Still has given every excuse not to give an answer. After writing constantly for a few days, needs to take up to a week to consult others to find out what he thinks and then write back. Maybe, maybe not.

          Don’t forget this is a person who thought an existential crisis leading to suicide was a funny cartoon.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It has taken me a couple of days to get through a build up of notifications due to being on the lash on Sunday. But now I’ m up to here and you have stepped of the gas, a big surprise, and I had decided to put the foot down.

          Anyway, seems he has pissed off to Croydon, no loss to the community in my opinion.

          P.s. sorry for the misspelling of Kodie, it is the pigging autocorrect on this Nexus 7 ffs, a pain in the bum. }8O)~

        • Kodie

          I’m trying something. If someone is going to be so fussy, I’m going to take away their excuse.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ohhhh, goody, an experiment!

        • Pofarmer

          How in the world can you cyberbully on a comment thread?

        • Kodie

          I don’t know. WOM seems honestly clueless. No excuse, but he seems to prefer a moderated forum where mods keep the tone civil and rein people in from ganging up on anyone. He asked me twice or three times not to respond anymore, and I wouldn’t let go, and why should I? I’m asking a question from someone who isn’t forthcoming, and they just want to shut down and ignore it, but he’s like I’m the one who kept trolling him and dragging him into the conversation. It’s just a conversation WOM is scared of, yet actively and voluntarily participating in (regardless of substance of that participation). Look, now he’s gone for a week to find someone to reinforce his weak arguments and come back. Maybe.

          Now, I just think from my own experience, Christians don’t know what’s wrong with their position, and come in with an expectation how atheists are, so are bracing to be insulted. But then they just lay there. Norm was like that when he first came around. He’d just want to be like, Hi I’m Norm, I’m a Christian, and get a welcoming response and we’re all here just sharing what we believe and not challenging anything. Ho hum, let’s just hang out discussing nothing, and respecting people’s incredible beliefs not to challenge them. Greg was like that too.

          I don’t get it.

        • adam


        • Pofarmer

          Speaking of which. On my facebook feed today there was a story about a local group over in the Holy Land. The local priest was giving a mass at the Church of the Annunciation, which, of Course, is built on the actual home of the actual Mary. Or, maybe Constatine’s Mom pulled it put of her ass on the 4th century. One or the other.

        • adam


        • Greg G.

          You can’t have a Mary Museum without Mary. The Catholic Church wanted archaeologists to hunt for evidence that it was the site of the real Nazareth. They found artifacts but none that could be reliably dated to the early first century. Then they announced that the stuff they found five years earlier were the real deal so they started excavation and construction for the museum. It was right around Christmas a few years ago, if memory serves.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yep, Christmas Eve conveniently enough.

          On a bone yard if memory serves, which is a Jewish taboo, so no one should have been living there, let alone the whole metropolis as described in Luke.

          Here it is…

          Yet one point is inescapable: the Jewish disposition towards the ‘uncleanliness’ of the dead. The Jews, according to their customs, would not build a village in the immediate vicinity of tombs and vice versa. Tombs would have to be outside any village.

          “The tombs, both those discovered by Bagatti and others known from earlier explorations, would have been placed outside the village and serve, in fact, to delimit its circumference for us. Looking at their locations on the plans drawn up by Bagatti (1.28) or Finegan (27), one realizes just how small the village actually was …”

          – J.D. Crossan, The Historical Jesus.

          But just how small can we get before giving up on a ‘village’? The presence of numerous rock-cut tombs that close to the ‘grotto’ is evidence that, in the 1st century, in that area, there was no village. The area was not inhabited, even if it was used.

          See more at:

        • Greg G.

          The type of tomb was known in Judea for a few centuries but was not known in Galilee until after the destruction of Jerusalem.

          The Vatican-trained archaeologists were in a Catch-22 situation. Catholics in general would accept whatever they found. Their sponsors, though, wanted them to find evidence for Nazareth. So they dug and dug, looking for a major, indisputable find. Failing that, they went back and reinterpreted the scraps of evidence they had found earlier as inconclusive and decided it was conclusive of first century habitation.

          They needed to finds signs of habitation from the Hellenistic period. There were plenty of evidence from about the 9th century BC, about the time of the Assyrian invasion, and the Roman era and after.

          They found lamps in the tombs which they called “Herodian lamps” to give them a first century BC feel.

          Then there were three or four shards of pottery that were found in the rubble of the construction done in the 19th century. One of the shards looked like it could have been from the spout of a Grecian urn.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, I’ve read René Salm’s work including his rebuttal of Bart Ehrman’s egregious appraisal of Salm’s work in the extremely poor “Did Jesus Exit?”.

          Still, it does no harm to repeat such stuff, especially as there will be those that are unfamiliar with these things.

        • Greg G.

          I’ve seen Salm’s critics saying that he is not an expert and doesn’t have the training. That is an ad hominem attack. I haven’t seen his critics show where he is wrong or endorse Bagatti’s work against Salm’s specific claims. It’s like they want to believe in Nazareth but can’t prove Salm wrong.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Sorry I was a bit vague.

          The type of tomb was known in Judea for a few centuries but was not known in Galilee until after the destruction of Jerusalem.

          What I understand this suggests, if one believes New Testament accounts, sorry, I mean gospel accounts, is that at the time of the alleged life of Jesus there was a burgeoning Jewish settlement at the site. They packed up soon after the death of Jesus, upon which time, non Jews moved onto the site and used it as a boneyard. Not impossible, but highly improbable.

        • Greg G.

          They could say that but it would only be an excuse for why they don’t have evidence of the previous settlement. We could say that Beth-Disneyland was there previously and they were hauling it off to Rome but it sank in the Mediterranean.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That could, and they do…been there, done that, got the T-shirt, seen the film. Ya know the levels of pretzelmania the apologist will go to in order to support their nonsense? You have witnessed it herself.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Cyberbulinga ex nihilo

        • Greg G.

          By asking hard questions.

        • adam

          “Christian Persecution Complex”

        • Ignorant Amos


        • My point stands. By using a word that has multiple definitions, which Christians switch between as the context demands, allows them to be dishonest with themselves as well as the rest of us.

          Consistency would help. Find a place where you can’t say “trust” but only “faith” will apply and ask yourself what that tells you.

        • Kodie

          No you have faith because you don’t know but want, hope, and make up your mind to believe so – i.e. wishful thinking. Maybe that’s just too pejorative for you, but you have nothing beyond that which you can or have shared with us. When you say you have faith in things you know, like you have faith that something will happen that always reliably happens, then you have evidence – the train has always come on time, so I have faith that it will come at the time printed on the schedule…. no, that’s not what faith is. Faith is believing today the train will be on time when it is almost always late.

        • That is one way to look at it.

          Thanks for your perspective. Walk a mile in my shoes sometime and you might say something different.

          Thanks for your definition.

        • Kodie

          What kind of nonsense answer is that? Walk a mile in your shoes? If you have trustworthy experience with a supernatural deity, then you would have evidence. Don’t just slap that down on the table and not expect me to be all over it.

          If, on the other hand, it was some kind of way to say I don’t know you, well you don’t know me either. I don’t know what tragedy brought you to Jesus, but I can tell from a mile away if you didn’t bring forth your evidence already, you were taken in by a marketing scheme.

        • MNb

          Thanks for showing that you’re not wanting to use definitions properly: to discriminate, in this case between “faith in god” and “faith in science”. You’re just another intellectually dishonest apologist.

        • Greg G.

          Faith, trust and confidence in someone is different when you have evidence for that person’s existence. Faith in God is a whole other level. That is where faith goes beyond the strength of the evidence.

        • If that is how it is for you, good. Thanks for telling me about it.

        • MNb

          But of course you won’t recognize the point for yourself, because it would undermine your position that faith in god and faith in science are the same.

        • Greg G.

          Having faith, trust, and confidence in a real person is like having faith, trust, and confidence that the Pittsburgh Steelers (or any other team reported on ESPN)will win the next Super Bowl. Having faith, trust, and confidence in an undetectable being is like faith, trust, and confidence that the Springfield Dangerfields will win the Super Bowl.

          You are kidding yourself if you can’t (or won’t) see the difference between having faith, trust, and confidence in someone you can see and the faith, trust, and confidence plus more faith in the existence of an unseen entity.

        • No, in my experience it is different.

          I’ve said what you are stating before – so it is not like you are telling me anything new. And a few people have made the claim to me. A lot of people don’t – and disagree with what you express as your opinion.

        • Greg G.

          Here is a recent example of why Christians should get their definitions straight about what faith is. This guy says Biblical faith is something different:

          Biblical faith is “believing that God will do what He says, believing that God exists”. You cant develop that apart from God, if you pursue Him He promises to reveal Himself.

          You can straighten Wick Samuel out about what religious faith is at:

        • Well, that is what I have been saying.

          Whoever I was arguing with said there was only one way to define it: his way.

        • Greg G.

          Upthread, you were giving the dictionary definition of faith and arguing that was the same as religious faith.

          I said to you:

          Faith, trust and confidence in someone is different when you have evidence for that person’s existence. Faith in God is a whole other level. That is where faith goes beyond the strength of the evidence.

          Your response indicated you did not agree with that. Now WS’ definition agrees with my description of religious faith and now you agree with it?

        • The dictionary definition of faith:

          Trust and confidence in someone or something.

          I have evidence of God’s existence.

        • If by “faith” you mean “trust,” why not just use “trust”? It would avoid a lot of confusion.

        • It is complete trust and confidence, actually. Which most dictionaries primarily define as “faith”. I could type out “complete trust and confidence” or shorten it to “faith”.

          It harms no one to do that!

        • And now you’re making things less clear.

          The meaning in “trust” that I’m getting at is: belief well grounded by evidence. If that’s what you mean by “faith,” then use “trust.” “Faith” is a weasel word, and its definition tends to change as necessary.

        • Bob, why don’t you use faith how you want? Nobody needs you telling them what to do.

          Meanwhile, I will continue to use it how the dictionary defines it.

          You 4 guys can keep whining about this, write letters to the Oxford Dictionaries telling them they are wrong (supported with Adam’s memes) or just let it go. 🙂

        • adam

          So your faith is not about religion?

          Strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof: bereaved people who have shown supreme faith
          Oxford Dictionary

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don’t forget it is a grand game of Whack-a-Mole.

        • adam

          More like a game of Whack-a-god.
          They cant put their ‘god’ up for examination because they already know it will get whacked down and they will look whacky for believing it.

        • Greg G.

          The word is not used consistently by Christians. Whatever they think they mean, it usually appears to mean they have a stronger belief than is sufficiently supported by evidence. They do deny that is what they mean when pressed. That is what you seem to have been doing. Let your “yea” be “yea” and your “nay” be “nay”.

          If you mean your faith is strong despite weak evidence, so be it. Just be honest with yourself. Some Christian communities embrace that attitude. But that attitude doesn’t work so well with people who think. I assume you are in the latter group because you came to this blog.

        • Do whatever you want, but I’m trying to help you communicate more clearly–both with the rest of us and (more important) with yourself.

          Many apologists have a slippery definition of “faith.” When confronted by assholes like me, they’ll declare that faith = trust, that their belief should be as firmly grounded on evidence as any skeptic’s.

          But you can anticipate the problem: among themselves or even alone, the Christian’s definition of “faith” gets more slippery. Then it’s “belief with confidence” or whatever, and the “strongly grounded on evidence” part slips away.

          If you dropped the f-word, you’d be more honest to yourself.

        • adam

          “If you dropped the f-word, you’d be more honest to yourself.”

          But where is the fun in not being delusional or at least dishonest with people.

        • adam

          Strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof: bereaved people who have shown supreme faith

          A particular religion:

          From Oxford Dictionary

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don’t quote mine definitions, it is disingenuous.

          Faith refers to a belief as it is not based on proof.[1] The word faith is sometimes used as a synonym for hope,[2] for trust,[3] or for belief.

        • That is one definition, yes. I’ve already admitted that some use it that way. So what? And how are you not quote mining definitions?

        • adam

          So your faith is not religion based?

          Strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof: bereaved people who have shown supreme faith

          A particular religion:

          Oxford Dictionary…

        • Ignorant Amos

          A word is defined by its context. In that, you are using the word erroneously.

        • adam

          A word is defined by its context. In that, you are using the word erroneously dishonestly.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That too.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Tim, nice, but dim…

        • adam

          But then his self-deception and delusional thinking makes no sense at all.

        • Greg G.

          I have evidence of God’s existence.

          Really? Do you have objective evidence of God’s existence or subjective evidence that you imagine is evidence of God’s existence?

        • adam

          Full Definition of FAITH
          a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty
          b (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
          a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
          b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
          : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs

          Merriam Webster.

          Of course the bible says it is just wishful thinking

        • Kodie

          You posted an article that went all the way out of its way to pretend your faith is different, but to the outside reader, it was just double-talk propaganda.

        • Ron

          Question: “What is the definition of faith?”

          Answer: Thankfully, the Bible contains a clear definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Simply put, the biblical definition of faith is “trusting in something you cannot explicitly prove.”

        • But that definition is inconvenient!!!

        • MNb

          But I assume you won’t provide it.

        • Oh

          “Well, that is what I have been saying.” = other people have different understandings. Adam’s definition isn’t the only definition. I was telling him he is free to hold his definition. He was telling me my definition is invalid.

        • Ignorant Amos

          He is right, it is invalid, unless until you can support it as other wise. Which, after a plethora of requests to do so.

          So in the words of Red…

          “I know what you think it means, sonny. To me, it’s just a made up word. A politician’s word, so young fellas like yourself can wear a suit and a tie, and have a job. [A word you can use to fudge up a discussion board]. What do you really want to know?”

        • Greg G.

          There is a use for the word faith in friends and family. But that is not religious faith. Theists argue that we have faith, too, using the first definition while conflating it with the latter in their accusation.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ya know what they say, it takes a good liar to have a good memory.

        • adam

          No the bible way for biblical ‘faith’

        • The Biblical way for ‘faith’ isn’t confined to just that one passage.

          It also says other things about ‘faith’.

        • adam

          Sorry, but that doesnt define biblical ‘faith’, it only says that if you have to be delusional to think that what you ask Jesus for he will do it.

          It is STILL wishful thinking.

          Millions if not billions have asked for things in his name and millions if not billions NEVER get what they ask for.

          So you are either left with wishful thinking or a LYING Jesus….

          Then again that could be the reason so many Christian LIE, they know that Jesus did, so it must be ok.

        • That isn’t what it says. That is what fanatical anti-theists say.

          I’m out, have fun talking about God all day with someone else!

        • adam

          Of course it says that.

          You have to delude yourself into believing that you get what you ask for in Jesus’s name.

          Demonstrate that every one who asks in Jesus’s name gets what they ask for like the claim is.

        • Kodie

          If you would make sense and talk like an adult, we wouldn’t mind you so much.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That was you ya rhubarb…mirror much?

        • adam

          Funny how they dont want to use what the bible itself says biblical ‘faith’ is….

          They just dont want to admit to ‘wishful thinking’ apparently.

        • Kodie

          If there is ONE god, not just YOUR god, how do you account for the variety of interpretations of this character? Why is it fine for you if others interpret the bible another way than you do, just as long as they don’t try to guess how you actually interpret the bible? It’s a game, it’s a theist game of being evasive. You have even made jokes when you don’t want to be pinned down, because you know how difficult it is to explain or how idiotic it will sound. Go ahead and explain, and dare us not to say “yeah, wishful thinking.” And you will go, “you still aren’t getting it.” It’s very hard to articulate what you mean, and I don’t just mean you, but all Christians, it’s so difficult to get around an explanation that doesn’t come out exactly like wishful thinking. That’s not our fault. Most people here used to be Christians, so I would take their testimony, that yeah, it’s wishful thinking.

        • I – and I’m assuming everybody else – can’t fully comprehend God. Just like nobody can fully comprehend the distance between the Earth and the sun. We can apply different methods to suggest what it is like.

        • Kodie

          So how does this partial understanding get so messed up from brain to brain?

        • Kodie –

          I don’t know.

          Why do 10 different anti-theists give me 10 different explanations that all claim to prove what my belief in God really is?

          I belong to a community the believes God wants us to love others – especially those in need, and to avoid being corrupted by our society. We live in a world where our leaders are corrupt, our justice system is crooked, people hate justice and money seems to be the prime motivator.

        • Kodie

          Religion is the biggest con going. How much money have you given to them so far?

          I mean, I think your fuzzy warm feelings are just like the fuzzy warm feelings Jihadi John feels. You have not responded to that except you misunderstood what I said, and didn’t follow up.

          I don’t think it’s possible or even necessary for people to fully comprehend god, but faulty feelings and personal preferences certainly come up with a lot of combinations. If you think you have a soul and your soul is in direct contact with god, and everyone who has a soul is connected to the same god, why blame people for the poor communications? Or it’s because people have nothing like a soul and only have brains, that of course come up with variations of a concept of a god as they like, i.e. the “wishful thinking.” You feel, you want, as every religious person does, what god is to them is certainly different than he is to you because he likes to cause confusion and war and certainty and hate, right? Couldn’t a god stop all the wars with one mass mailing? Why did you hear about god from another person and not him directly? Why do you think that person knows what they’re talking about?

        • A con? Money? Come on, Kodie.

          You should really visit my church and meet people who go there before you tell me that.

          Our church loses money – we spend it to help others. We have leaders that have left high-paying jobs to take new jobs in church operation that pay significantly less. The churches I go to are a blessing in the community. We do much to help the neighborhood and city. I’m at a place where most people have bolted for the suburbs and life is pretty tough for who has been left behind.

          Who said I had “warm feelings”? Are you confusing me with someone else? Or just stereotyping me based on other people?

        • Kodie

          Is your church in a cave on the moon?

        • MNb

          “I don’t know.”
          And then you close your mind, while I would want people to try to find an answer.
          Btw it’s rather pitiful that you need your god to motivate you to love those who are in need and to avoid being corrupted. I never did.

        • Kodie

          Kodie said:

          So how does this partial understanding get so messed up from brain to brain?

          WaterOnMars said:

          I don’t know.
          Why do 10 different anti-theists give me 10 different explanations that all claim to prove what my belief in God really is?

          Because we’re people, humans with brains, memories, experiences we’re drawing on. You’re the one who claims there is not “your” god, just ONE god, and yet no one is capable of comprehending god, they all come out with a different picture of god. There’s no evidence that anyone has any connection with any god. There is only evidence that people are capable of mistaking their feelings and hopes that there is a god they personally envision for an actual god.

          Do you understand the difference in sets of people and where they are getting their opinions from? Why wouldn’t god set up a system where nobody was responsible, per se, of “fully comprehending” him, but at least getting a similar story? Your beliefs come from the influence of other people, and natural human emotions and experiences, and the great power of suggestion. The difference between anti-theists and theists is you make a great big unfalsifiable claim about a deity but relying on your faulty senses like the rest of us. Why should we take that seriously.

          Blah blah blah, thank you for telling me what I believe. Like I’m so meaningless, I should empty a couple bottles of hard liquor and prepare to off myself with a pistol.

        • Here, flag this and get me censored.

          I’ve found a better site with more reasonable atheists. Thanks to the those who have been kind and reasonable with me – even though we disagreed. I will seriously continue to tell people there are a lot we Christians can learn from atheists.

          But, as others have noticed…

          “I was barked at by numerous dogs who are earning
          their food guarding ignorance and superstition for the benefit of those
          who profit from it…

          ..Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is the same as
          that of the religious fanatics, and it springs from the same source…

          (Yes, I know Einstein wasn’t a theist. I have also been quoting atheists to my Christian friends. Some authors have good things to say!)

          Peace out.

        • Kodie

          Dear poor persecuted special ideal unique secret beliefs one,

          You’re passive-aggressive.

          You know we were civil, you know I was civil. You took offense that anyone were to criticize your beliefs or expect you to defend or support your claims, and you just clammed up and said, “not me, not me. I’m different, guess again!” Talking to you is about as interesting as watching paint peel.

        • I don’t feel persecute.

          I don’t mind criticism.

          A lot of people have been civil. Some not.

          It’ll be ok.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Perhaps WaterOnMars is a bit feverish with his bedridden ailment and some slack might be in order. I know that when I’m ill, it sometimes feels like the world is out to get me. }8O)~

        • Kodie

          There’s a cure for that, it’s called the rest of the internet.

        • What’s the other site? I’m always interested in recommendations.

        • Kodie

          I don’t know what site that could be. I’m reading over 200 posts in one thread discussing whether or not WaterOnMars is a troll/dick/jerk/asshole/shitty communicator/well-meaning senior citizen over his head.

        • Stack exchange.

          Check it out if you haven’t been there. Many topics are covered. It is kind of like a better moderated Yahoo Questions & Answers

        • If it’s making you think, that’s a good thing (for all of us, not just you).

          Looks like a Christian sandbox. Come back if you want a broader set of ideas.

        • Bob – it covers a variety of areas, not just Christianity.

          You make some good points. But you really shouldn’t throw stones like that! Look at this glass house you are in.

          So, if you want a broader set of ideas, and want to leave your sandbox – you should check it out.

        • Philmonomer

          It appears to be a question and answer (facts only) website, that is moderated:

          That is, it appears to be something entirely different from blogs.

        • Yes, it is different from a blog. At a blog like this we share our opinions and allow others to make them. Yes.

        • The limits to my sandbox are not imposed by inclination but by time. I’m delighted to see the best arguments for theism around, though time obviously means that I stick with a modest number of Christian sources.

          I’m missing the glass house. If you’re saying that some of my arguments have rejoinders that I haven’t addressed, feel free to point those out.

        • You called the site a “Christian sandbox”. It isn’t a Christian site, but it does allow people to discuss Christianity.

          You are posting on an religion and faith website – writing on a blog under the “faith channel”: Atheism.

          Like I said, I appreciate your writings. I have shared them with other theists. But it seemed kind of silly of you to throw stones calling that a “Christian sandbox”, when you are writing on an “Atheist sandbox”. Seems fair to point that out.

        • You said, “I’ve found a better site with more reasonable atheists.” Nothing wrong with that, but I was simply pointing out that is a Christian sandbox.

          I appreciate that you range beyond this, of course–you’re here, after all.

        • Ok, no problem. Just a couple misunderstandings.

          They have a skeptic section, philosophy section, science section – I see they had an atheist site but it was discontinued.

          I met on a whole – you often write about Christianity so I thought you would be interested on the Christian side of it.

          When I went to the main page
          It was hard to tell that they had similar topics that we address here on Patheos.

        • Yes, thanks for the tip.

          You know that there are lots of Christian bloggers here at Patheos, right? I think there are 500 blogs total.

        • Yes! I read them, too!

          It was actually Nadia Bolz-Weber and Ryan Bell that brought my attention to this site and that it hosts a variety of voices. I read both for about a year, while rarely taking the time to comment. There are a lot of good writers here.

        • “God” is an idea with many forms that people have invented. Seems easy to comprehend to me.

        • Sure. Some people have told me that before. People have been saying that for thousands of years.

        • MNb

          I don’t have any problem comprehending the distance between the Earth and the Sun: light needs about 8 minutes to travel it. Sure, it takes some effort to get a grip on such numbers, but it’s doable.
          But you already admitted that “you can’t fully comprehend God” – ie the good old “it’s a mystery” canard. That’s the big difference between you and me. For you that’s a baby’s dummie allowing you to stop thinking. For me it’s a challenge – a challenge I may fail at, but still a challenge.

          “can’t fully comprehend God”
          make you close your mind.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Just like nobody can fully comprehend the distance between the Earth and the sun.

          The distance between the Earth and the Sun has been measured. That some people can’t comprehend that distance is an issue of their own incredulity. The belief in imaginary beings is a totally different thing altogether. I don’t think it is an issue of the same comprehension deficiencies.

        • Nobody can fully comprehend the distance. Nobody can fully comprehend the size of the universe – yet both of those things do exist. It is not a matter of incredulity.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Nobody can fully comprehend the distance [from the Earth to the Sun].”

          What do you mean by “comprehend?” Do you mean “intuitively grasp so as to be able to make accurate guestimates”?

          Because if that’s what you mean, the tailgating I do while driving on the freeway should be as awe inspiring.

          As a sidenote, “the size of the universe – yet both of those things do exist”….the universe might not have a definite size.

          I’ll grant that our cosmic horizon at any given time is finite, if that’s what you mean.

        • I’ll find you the article on it and let you decide.

          Hold on.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nobody? That is some big claim you are making. And it is wrong.

          There are people whose business it is to comprehend these things. People like the developers of for example.

          I comprehend the distance and it isn’t even my business. I’m sure there are others here do too. Granted, it is difficult for the layperson, but not incomprehensible.

          Yes it is a matter of incredulity if you can’t comprehend the comprehendible.

        • Kodie

          This is so ridiculous. This is what we get in response to the question about the varieties of religious beliefs, a diversion to exercise on. I even gave that nobody had the responsibility of fully comprehending god, just that their partial comprehension be consistent. I think everyone’s partial comprehension of long distances is pretty similar.

        • Ok, I heard a statement saying we can’t. I’m trying to fine the one that talked about the sun – earth distance.

          Here is someone explaining a similar concept:

          If you go to 5:40 I think this man explains it well.

        • Kodie

          If the Moon were only 1 Pixel: A tediously accurate scale model of the solar system

          If you click on the shooting star symbol in the lower right corner, you can also go at the speed of light, which is significantly slower than holding down your arrow key.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Really? I didn’t say the concept wasn’t hard to get ones head around, it is, and for some it might well be impossible, but really?

          It may intrigue you to know that all those unimaginably claims in the video, we know about, precisely because they were imaginable to at least some folk. Theoretical physics and the study of the cosmos is very much about the ability to imagine the unimaginable.

          A video using analogy to explain complicated concepts to laypersons and children won’t convince me that those same concepts are unimaginable or incomprehensible to the highbrow intellectuals in those fields. Or many other folk with the ability to study such things and comprehend. Just like the creators of the demonstration Kodie linked to you, or indeed, the brothers on your linked video who comprehend enough to know an analogy would work better for kids and laypeople.

          Anyway, nice video, thanks for that, my five year old grandson is studying the Solar System in school this month, so that series might be useful.

        • I didn’t know that. Thanks for the info. Good luck on the science lessons!


        • adam

          What do you mean you ‘can’t fully comprehend God’

          It doesnt appear that you can comprehend ‘god’ at all.
          Only what YOU HOPE the bible means in your wishful thinking.

        • adam

          Of course there are different understanding for different scams built off of the same basic story,

          But the bottom line is that you still have ‘belief’ in the MAGIC of Jesus, which is grounding on the HOPE that what you believe is ‘true’ in reality, outside the imagination.

          Word games are common in propaganda and scams.

          Confidence is the key term, as this is a confidence game.

        • MNb

          “I have faith in science,”
          That’s a contradictio in terminis. Science requires lack of faith.

          “just like you.”
          No, not like adam and not like me. We rely on science because its effect on human societies and earthly environment last 200 years is incomparable. Plus science means the same for everyone – F = m * a means exactly the same in the USA as in Polynesia. God not so much.

        • Philmonomer

          I don’t have a God of the gaps.

          What is God?

        • davewarnock

          so, describe your god for me- and how you arrived at your description of him; and why you believe in him. And then, wrap it all up with the proof; or evidence.

        • Are you seeking God? What kind of evidence or proof do you want?

        • davewarnock

          not seeking god at all- been there, done that. and any kind of evidence you could offer would be interesting. It would be the first of any kind I have seen

        • Sometimes I talk with people on here, and seem to suggest what they want is something like an idol. Or a sky-fairy. Or a magical genie. If you honestly don’t want to know God, I can’t help you.

        • Kodie

          I don’t think you understand the criticisms. Many people make many claims for god, that are all manure. He’s outside of time and space, heaven blah blah blah, he makes everything happen unless you ask specifically. “Sky daddy” or “your self” Your own voice in your own head, telling you what makes sense to you, so you can confirm your bias.

        • I understand the criticism. I used to make the same kind of criticisms once upon a time.

          You might be the one trying to confirm your bias that God isn’t real? Who know for sure? I come to this blog to, as the mission statement says: “dialogue about religion and spirituality and to explore and experience the world’s beliefs”.

          I don’t have all the answers. But I don’t mind discussing things. I don’t find someone telling me they have all the answers that helpful.

          I strive to remain open-minded.

        • Kodie

          I don’t have a bias against god. I don’t believe god exists. The evidence to me is that god is whatever someone imagines god to be, but then they stick with that, believe in something bigger outside themselves. I believe in something bigger outside myself, it’s called everything that’s not me, and it impacts me, and I impact it, and that’s life. There is no question in me that is not answered by an obvious lack of deistic intervention. Because I actually try to learn what’s going on, I don’t attribute normal emotions or coincidences to spirits or signs. I’m not that self-centered. We’re all alone down here together, and that’s fine. Whatever boost you get from thinking you’re more special to your invisible friend than you are to real humans is kind of sad to me. But I don’t want to play that game where someone is sad because the other one is so wrong and misguided. It would be sad to me to look for that kind of validation. To me, religious people want more importance than they have, more love than they can get, and more time than they will be alive.

          I have said before and I will repeat as best as I can remember – if you are alive, at least part of the universe acknowledges your existence, and some of it might even love you.

          The mission statement is actually:

          This blog explores intellectual arguments in favor of Christianity (Christian apologetics) from an atheist perspective and critiques Christianity’s actions in society.

        • I posted the mission statement of the Patheos blog, which this blog is a part of. I understand this is another voice in that dialogue about religion and spirituality. But the primary purpose is under Patheos, from my understanding.

          You seem biased. You are saying things like “I actually try to learn what’s going on” and “I don’t attribute normal emotions or coincidences to spirits or signs” as if you are just assuming I don’t do those things.

          I really don’t get what you are talking about. Have I said you don’t do those things. What have I said that says I’m playing those games?

          It sure feels like you are stereotyping and prejudging me. Are you confusing me with someone else?

        • Kodie

          No, I was reading what you wrote.

        • adam

          If you cant honestly DEMONSTRATE that your ‘god’ is not IMAGINARY, then you cant even help yourself.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yep, the first step in recovery is admitting there is a problem.

        • Philmonomer

          If you honestly don’t want to know God, I can’t help you.

          This is sort-of a nonsensical statement. Most people here have decided that there is insufficient evidence to believe that God exists. Even Bob did the “Atheist Prayer experiment.” It didn’t result in a belief in God.

          So sure, I want to know God. But I don’t think he/she/it exists.

        • adam

          I am seeking God.

          I want to see evidence of the claims make in the book you support your ‘god’ from.

          For me that means MAGIC-
          Move mountains, heal the sick, pray for something and get that something.

          I want to see verifiable EVIDENCE to the CLAIMS.

        • Ok. What kind of spiritual practices do you embrace? I think humility and open-mindedness are the key to discovering God in your life. What do you do to encourage humility? How do you strive to remain open-minded and teachable?

        • adam

          noun spir·it ˈspir-ət
          : the force within a person that is believed to give the body life, energy, and power

          I see no evidence of any ‘spirit’ or ‘spirits’ that survives the body

          Humility IMHO has no bearing on a search for deity, unless that deity is false and the one proposing it is deceptive.

          Why would an ominiscient being CARE about humility, a trickster of course, but an all loving being, no.

          This is just a sure sign of a scam.

          I want to see evidence of the claims make in the book you support your ‘god’ from.

          For me that means MAGIC-
          Move mountains, heal the sick, pray for something and get that something.

          I want to see verifiable EVIDENCE to the CLAIMS.

          If the obvious CLAIMS cannot be met, then that bodes poorly on the claims of life after death, eternal joyousness, etc.

        • adam

          Yes, and like Sagan, I see no immaterial ‘spirit’

          ““Spirit” comes from the Latin word “to breathe.” What we breathe is air, which is certainly matter, however thin. Despite usage to the contrary, there is no necessary implication in the word “spiritual” that we are talking of anything other than matter (including the matter of which the
          brain is made), or anything outside the realm of science. “C Sagan

        • ….When we recognize our place in an immensity of light years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or of acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.”

          I agree!

        • adam

          Simply it is but chemistry that is often interpreted to be external, but is just the fabrication of our material brain.

          Nothing of anything outside our own brain.

          So where is YOUR ‘god’?
          Are you going to demonstrate it or its powerful claims to me?

        • That is interesting that you think spirituality is simply chemistry that is interpreted to be external, but is just the fabrication of our material brain. Thanks for sharing your view.

          I do believe in God, not MY ‘god’. I don’t think I can demonstrate that to you on a message board. If you want to discuss my understandings I’m open for that.

        • Kodie

          Your god is your god. I don’t know how to explain that to you on a message board, but you are imagining things. If there were a god, just simply “god”, then every single person who gets those same warm fuzzy chemicals coursing through their brain as they realize their place and wonder and awe and power, would attribute it to the same description of god, then there would just be “god.” Right now, you are just describing your feelings, not a god. Not any god, not your god, not THE god. Just because you can’t believe it’s simply chemicals doesn’t mean it isn’t.

        • Or, maybe you are the one imagining things about me?

          That is interesting you imagine that if there were a god, just simply “god”, then every single person who gets
          those same warm fuzzy chemicals coursing through their brain as they
          realize their place and wonder and awe and power, would attribute it to
          the same description of god, then there would just be “god.”

          Thanks for sharing your opinion with me. Just because you imagine I am imagining something doesn’t mean I’m just imagining it. Phew!

        • adam

          Everybody’s brain chemistry and backgrounds are different, so they interpret the FEELING of AWE as different ‘gods’,

          And of course you are not imaging the FEELING of AWE, but your interpretation of it as a ‘god’ is a delusion.

          Well unless you can demonstrate that this ‘god’ of YOURS exists outside your own imagination.

        • adam

          It is not that I think that, that is what the evidence demonstrates.

          You change brain chemistry and you can easily change ‘spirituality’ in the brain.

          Of course it is YOUR ‘god’ there are thousands of recognized gods out there, but thanks to Revealed ReligionTM YOU create your own version of ‘god’ to match the cognitive dissonance in your brain.

        • MNb

          “I do believe in God, not MY ‘god’.”
          That’s what all believers claim. Still the god you believe in is quite different from the god Ken Ham believes in or Einstein might have believed in. Hence “your god”.

        • Kodie

          I think these same practices are the key to discovering there is no god, and you can still chill out and think. What’s different in your methods than a crazy person? Because everyone accesses their personal version of god this way, and some of them are maniacal and violent, many of them are just wrong-headed. Your method to access god is not what is being asked, and almost all would disagree with your description of god. They know, they tested their own spiritual humility and found a different god there. There is no way to verify that you have discovered a literal god in your life, but there is scientific evidence for why you imagine that you have.

        • I’m not an atheist. But I do know some atheists that do embrace spirituality and have shared some good things with me about their experience.

          – What’s different in your methods than a crazy person?

          I don’t know. I’m not a crazy person. I do work with people that suffer from mental illness and other things. My religious belief – and what I see from people I go to church with and other religious people is different.

        • Kodie

          Attributing a common and normal brain experience to an external deity is also common. People used to think sneezing let in the demons and caused illness, too.

          But yeah… your religious experiences and what you believe are different from other people’s, isn’t that curious to you at all? That they are having similar experiences, and yet aren’t receiving the identical communications from so-called THE god as you are?

        • I’m curious why your explanations to what and how I believe are different from what other non-believers explain as to what and how I believe. You guys can’t all be right. Isn’t that curious to you at all? That is why I remain skeptical and question everything.

          When someone who doesn’t know me starts telling me what and how I believe, I get really skeptical. And when they suggest I share the same beliefs as a “crazy person”, I get a little worried. Some non-believers think religious people are mentally ill and it is ok to call them derogatory names and demean them (which is kind of like your sneezing claim!).

          I realize you are just sharing your opinion and don’t know me that well. If you did know me better I imagine you would refrain from making some of the assumptions you make.

        • Kodie

          I don’t really know what you believe, nor do I think I said what you believe, nor did I ever suggest what you believe and what a crazy person believes are the same, just the opposite! Well, maybe opposite is too strong and exact a word.

          Your feelings and how you interpret them are individual, but the feelings are common and probably nearly universal among humans. But so many humans are certain that their feelings have some special meaning, some message. That is why I compared it to sneezing. Sneezing used to be attributed to the paranormal, and now it’s not.

          So when someone gets those feelings and reaches for a gun to shoot an abortion doctor, or someone gets those feelings and drowns their children, how are your feelings when you experience them a reliable access to a higher truth? How can you tell? Just because you don’t kill anyone and only believe there’s a god at the other end of the communique? Your personal interpretations are different from another’s, so call me silly for not believing there’s a god when I have the same feelings and attribute it to having a common emotional experience caused by chemical surges in my brain (the real scientific answer that cannot reconcile with religion), probably stimulated from a song I heard, or a hug from my grandmother, or looking at the ocean. Call me silly for not interpreting those feelings as though I am special for having them. Call me silly for noticing that everyone having these experiences attributes them to their own specific interpretation of a god, and some of them might be harmless, and some of them might be violent, while most of them are simply pains in the asses preaching to me and my politicians that I have to sit up and take notice and change my ways or else when I die it will be too late to beg for eternal life in heaven. Tell me how your intuition tells you your spiritual feelings are different from the spiritual feelings of Jihadi John.

        • Susan

          I’m curious why your explanations to what and how I believe are different from what other non-believers explain as to what and how I believe.

          I’m not curious. I’ve read the whole thread as much as I could find (disqus be damned) and haven’t seen one comment where you explained what you believe and why you believe it.

          That leaves room for many interpretations as people are forced to keep guessing about what you have hiding behind your back.

          If there is a comment where you have done this, I apologize in advance. I did not find it (disqus be damned) and would be grateful if you would link it.

          If you haven’t posted a comment like that yet, please do.
          What do you believe (about deities) and why do you believe it? Be specific.

          Then, you won’t find yourself frustrated that people are making assumptions.

          Edit: To replace something WOM never said (it was a stuck copy-paste from another poster on a whole other site on a completely different issue) with the quote I meant to address here, on this site, from WOM.

        • Sure, drop me a note at

          I just set this up for talking about this with a few people. I do better talking to 1 at a time, not 15 at once!

          This account I set up is totally anonymous – I would expect you do the same. Unless you are just very trusting. I’ve had some bad experiences with trolls revealing private information (this didn’t happen on Patheos, or a blog like this one) – so I think we all should be safe.

        • Susan

          Sure, drop me a note at

          No. Thank you. Not yet, anyway.

          As frustrating as it must be to deal with fifteen people, I have just suggested a solution for most of your frustration.

          State what you do believe and why. Others made valiant attempts to get you to participate but you accused them of erecting strawmen and remained coy.

          You’ve been here a while. If you don’t like people misreading your position, for the love of Pete, tell them your position and ask them to respond to it. Why won’t you do that? .

          If you don’t want to address fifteen, address one or two. But STATE your position. Here, where you began this discussion.

          I asked a specific question that might get us all over this very frustrating hump and now, rather than address it here, you want me to go somewhere else?

          Why not just explain what you believe and why you think your beliefs are well supported here?

          All these people would love to know.

        • MNb

          I have another suggestion than Susan. There is a whole variety of atheists here. Kodie and Lew are in for rude fights; Greg G, Pofarmer and Susan are at the other side of the spectrum, always polite. Usually I’m the snarky and sarcastic one, though I tried to behave myself towards you.
          Pick one or a few favourites. The others will occasionally comment, but you can just neglect them.
          How typical that Susan asks exactly the same question as I did a few days ago: “Why do you believe in God and not in a sky fairy?”. Again you don’t answer. That confirms that you’re not in for a honest discussion.

        • Kodie

          I was just as patient as Susan when this dipshit WOM showed up.

        • MNb

          Fortunately for me that didn’t last too long. As usual I’m grateful that you express my feelings in a way that my internet image doesn’t allow. A dipshit he is – plus the rest.

          Btw I noticed how he repeatedly suggested that you have a crush on him (no doubt he will deny it) with his “after you sending me 15 emails via Disqus I cannot resist the temptation” and also his suggestion to Susan, Ignorant Amos and me to start private conversations. What a creep.

        • Are you serious?

          “Pofarmer and Susan are at the other side of the spectrum, always polite.”

          Susan has been fine – although I felt like she was jumping into a thread that needs to die, so I would talk to here – just not on here.

          Pofarmer crossed the line and was called out for it by just 1 poster. Instead of taking responsibility for his actions he shifted the blame on me and skipped out of taking responsibility for his actions.

          “Why do you believe in God and not in a sky fairy?”.

          I’ve discussed it with you. I have no reason to believe in a sky fairy. I do for God. If you don’t have a reason to believe or don’t understand the difference that is fine.

        • Kodie

          How may we ask you a question so you don’t have a rash about it, oh precious one?

          I’ve discussed it with you. I have no reason to believe in a sky fairy. I do for God. If you don’t have a reason to believe or don’t understand the difference that is fine.

          NO. You protested that there was a difference without further explanation. You’re not interested in an honest discussion, and take offense at everything that doesn’t suit your majesty. If you don’t understand why people can’t stand you, then you ought to humble yourself and listen to what they’re saying, because some people can be tactful and you’d still rather get offended than keep up your end of a discussion. It doesn’t matter how many people there are, you are the same. Some people think you are intentionally trolling for attention and to derail threads instead of answering questions and having a two-way discussion. If that’s not true, it’s still your fault because that’s the impression you’re giving off.

        • Pofarmer

          Yes, I got frustrated, more and more it’s looking warranted. Just post what you wish to poat here where it can be seen, why hide something like that behind private emails? You are anonymous here unless you disclose private info.

        • Susan

          Again you don’t answer.

          I first met Water On Mars a few months ago when I briefly engaged at A Year Without God. I remember trying to get him to clarify his position and was met with the same evasive maneuvers.

          He’s happy to allude to “God” but spends all of his energy evading requests for clarification.

          Of course, when someone does nothing but that, people are bound to begin guessing, vainly addressing every familiar “God” position based on the context of his allusive comments. That’s when he accuses them of erecting strawmen.

          Then, they start to get VERY frustrated because that’s an assholeish approach and they start to get cranky.

          Then, someone like Pofarmer loses his temper and says something slightly rude, which is all Pofarmer’s fault.

          That Pofarmer’s apology came with some qualifiers means Water On Mars can fixate on a mild outburst which gives him another opportunity to evade questions.

          Then, a bunch of tu quoques, allusions to logical fallacies that some atheists here have relied on or fallen for, without providing an example so that we can address them and agree or disagree, and the implied accusation that the reason we can’t have a civil and useful discussion all lies with people here. Water On Mars bears no responsibility for that.

          Dozens of comments evading the very simple question, “What do you believe about ‘God’ and why?”
          How many comments here now and not one attempt to answer that question?

          It’s not an original approach and its power lies in pressing buttons and then playing dead when there’s a reaction.
          It’s no more honest or reasoned than threats of hell.

          There’s a point at which it’s perfectly reasonable to say, “Fuck it. Don’t talk to me about ‘God’ unless you have something to say.”

          And no. I don’t have to be ‘seeking God’ for you to have something to say about it.

          That’s Water On Mars’s strategy when you ever do get close to pinning him down.

          (If WOM responds to this, it will probably be to accuse me of strawmanning but he won’t actually show where I’ve done that.)

          (I never did find Pofarmer’s comment that Water On Mars found so offensive, disqus be damned. Does anyone know what it is and could they link it?)

        • Luke C.

          I met WOM on the same blog post at YwG; you perfectly sum up his response style, and at least four other people beside you and I have come to similar conclusions and made similar comments. The convergence of opinions is quite telling.

        • Susan

          I met WOM on the same blog post at YwG

          That’s right! 🙂 It’s also where I first met you, so as frustrating as the experience was, it was worth it.

        • Luke C.


        • Kodie

          I followed WOM to another blog and read the whole thread, over 400 posts, roughly 200 analyzing WOM’s personality flaws. His sex unknown at the time, people were calling him “him” and he got offended, later answered a direct question, he’s male.

          WOM’s posting history now shows interest in what to do about trolls. LOL!

        • Very nicely stated, thanks. Perhaps WoM can be a type species for this kind of Christian.

        • Susan

          Perhaps WoM can be a type species for this kind of Christian.

          Without a doubt. It’s a fairly common type.

          It feeds off the inevitable negative responses that result from using strategies that would be considered dodgy and dishonest in any sort of reasoned discussion on any subject.

          If you try to nail Jell-O to a wall often enough, you are bound to hit your thumb with a hammer and some cussing will result.

          I imagine WOM counts that as points for his “God”.

        • If you try to nail Jell-O to a wall often enough, you are bound to hit your thumb with a hammer and some cussing will result.

          And then he gets to scratch his head and wonder at the impolite reception he gets for his honest questions. He thinks he’s won again. It’s the pigeon and the chess game again.

        • MNb

          Yeah, I planned to write a similar analysis. Thanks for saving me the effort. I suspected this quite early, when he referred to
          a) fruitful discussions with other atheists he claimed to have had, plus “christians can learn a lot from atheists”;
          b) his good friends the renowned scientists who disagree with what we claim; his intention to consult them and get back, which of course he never does.

          “it will probably be to accuse me of strawmanning”
          Or a double standard.
          For me the decisive moment was yesterday, when he came back to Kodie writing that after she sending him 15+ emails he couldn’t resist anymore. The creep, as if she tried to seduce him. Subsequently he went on to explain why he wouldn’t answer her.
          The man is a troll. I have shortly considered asking BobS to ban him, but I know he dislikes it very much and overall we handled him pretty well, I think.
          I might try to provoke him if he comes back, but doubt if he’s worth the effort.

        • Kodie

          I did not see a comment like that. I saw he said 20+ comments broke his resistance, because he was trying to ignore me, because he thinks I’m trolling him. He’s visited a few other sites about cyberbullying and sealioning, and honestly doesn’t seem to think he’s the one with the problem, and we are or I am harassing him. He thinks I’m the troll, and he’s asking others for advice without specifics, because not feeding me didn’t stop me from responding to his posts.

        • MNb

          “I saw he said 20+ comments broke his resistance, because he was trying to ignore me, because he thinks I’m trolling him.”
          My interpretation might be the result of my prejudice, I realize that. But I have a hard time to imagine he doesn’t understand that Disqus automatically sends notifications of our comments; he’s not exactly dumb. Plus he didn’t block those notifications. I combined this with his proposal to Susan to have a private conversation, for which he already had setup a separate email account. That smells like a hidden agenda to me.
          Still it might be my prejudice. I am very black and white in this respect. If I mistrust someone I tend to interpret everything in a negative way. Example:

          “He thinks I’m the troll”
          Or he pretends to think you’re the troll, to make you feel uneasy and provoke some reaction. The way he bragged how he made Pofarmer angry ….. it looked almost orgasmic to me. And at the same time he was blaming me for saying that Po is a nice guy! Well, maybe you’re right and WoM has some serious issues, but I have the feeling that he gets off on getting under other peoples skin and very well knows what he’s doing. A genuine troll, even if a polite one.

        • Kodie

          Thanks for watching out.

          He has visited some different blogs to ask advice if he stops “feeding the troll” with responses, but the troll keeps responding (like I did). Some of the threads were years or months old. No specifics at all were given. But he’s also really sensitive to slight remarks that he takes as insults, and oblivious to constructive criticism about his utter lack of communication skills.

          I notice for a long time that I get singled out by interlopers as the meanest, harshest critic. I see no reason for this – I give everyone a chance to create their own pattern of hostile behavior, which is when they start to lie and be evasive, setting their traps, creating sock puppets, and not responding with a relevant comment, however politely they do format their response. I see no reason to delay calling them on it, while pretending to carry on a pleasant discussion they are now leading. I don’t forget where we were a couple minutes, hours, or days ago that the troll has ignored in favor of the discussion they’d rather have. They like to label me but they don’t like to be labeled.

        • MNb

          “to ask advice”
          Yeah, that contradicts what I wrote.
          You’re one of the harshest critics I have ever met indeed. That doesn’t mean you’re wrong or should moderate your tone. This is just internet. If someone can’t take it there are two possibilities;
          a) he/she gets his/her emotional priorities wrong and rather should save such reaction for daily life;
          b) go somewhere else as internet is big enough.

          It doesn’t make sense to comment on a blog that makes you feel uncomfortable.

        • Ignorant Amos

          He might think if he could manage to wrestle one of us away from our safety in number’s that he perceives we are in, indeed needs, he might have some fodder for evangelising.

        • wtfwjtd

          I saw that comment a few days ago, I think it was on Neil Carter’s “What Christians mean by the term Atheist” post. Basically Po just told him to either say something meaningful or fuck off; which of course, got the butt-hurt response from WoM.
          You’ve summed up the situation very nicely with your comment here, there’s really little more that needs to be said. Your Jell-o comment is spot-on, and Po simply expressed the frustration inherent to that kind of scenario.

        • Pofarmer
        • Ignorant Amos

          He would make a grand addition to Q.Quine’s Troll Petting Zoo. I’m pretty sure he hasn’t one quite like it.

        • adam

          Of course you are an atheist, you disbelieve in thousands of other gods.

        • Yea, great quote.

          That is what atheism is. Thank you.

        • adam

          And THAT make YOU an atheist as well.

        • I know. That is what I said.

          Not all atheists will agree with us, though. Some will say I’m not a real atheist because I do believe in God. But they may not have read that quote yet.

        • MNb

          You still have not told us why you believe in your god and not in a sky fairy.

        • Yes, I have. Do you want to have a private conversation where I can talk to you without people calling me names and making false assumptions and stereotypes about me?

          I’ve fielded about 200 messages this weekend. If you are keeping up with all of it, wow! I’m bed-ridden. So I’ve got time.

        • MNb

          Then again consider me a dumb atheist. I’m fine with it. Could you repeat why you believe in your god and not in a sky fairy?

          “Do you want to have a private conversation”

        • I don’t consider you a dumb atheist.

          Here is the problem: you often start your posts to me with a false assumption. I’ll address that false assumption – but why should I answer all your follow up questions?

          What I’m trying to say is if you really want to talk about this we can. But we need to start at a place of respect. If you want to talk about why I believe in God – we can. If you just want to prove to me that you are right – you win. We can stop now.

        • Kodie

          What processes have you gone through to dismiss the claims of the many gods you don’t believe in?

        • I put them all through the scientific method. I was only able to recreate and demonstrate 1 scientifically.

        • Kodie

          What journal did you publish your findings in?

        • The Journal of the Eighth Day Resurrected Covenant of the Holy Trinity.

          🙂 Google it. Do you know Kenneth?

        • Kodie

          Funny show. I guess this means you didn’t do your research on other superstitions.

        • No, I’m just joking around. I am still researching these things. I don’t have all the answers and don’t know it all. But I don’t think God is a product of the natural world – so science may not be able to prove God. But even for that, I don’t know for sure.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But gods are product’s of natural mind’s and by extension, the natural world,
          A bit like ghosts and fairies or Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes.. ALL of them are, throughout history. None have been shown to be any different. Wishful thinking aside.

        • Better men and women than I have believed in God. Men and women who didn’t believe in ghosts, fairies or Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes.

          I have a different experience than you. Thank you for sharing your understanding.

        • Better men and women than I have believed in God.

          … and better men and women than you have disbelieved in God.

          I’m not sure this gets you anywhere.

        • Very true! I can find people that have done amazing things – like father a modern discipline of science or lead a civil rights movement that gives more freedom to oppressed Americans that believed in God. I don’t know of any who believe in ghosts, fairies or Harry Potter. And there are those with no beliefs in God that have done just as amazing things. I know some people who don’t believe in God or gods who do believe in ghosts! So, yea. Good point.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Professional people believe all sorts of nonsense all the time. Your position is not enhanced by appealing to intellectual people believing in gods.

          You don’t believe Mo flew on a winged horse to get the word of Allah through his archangel intermediary do you?

          You don’t believe Joe Smith got the word of his god by reading glyphs of gold tablets through magic glasses do you?

          Take the Outsider Test for Faith. If your religion or belief in god passes, you are flying.

          BTW, Homeopathy is a thriving trade in snake oil sales.

        • No, but put what I said into context.

          There are people who have credentials – science degrees, contributions to major scientific findings, a paid position where a deep understanding of evidence and critical thinking is required – that make claims different from yours.

          I’m skeptical. I doubt an anonymous message board poster who gives me no credentials – especially when he says things that contradicts what those with credentials say.

          You are talking a good game. But I haven’t seen you demonstrate it well.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Clever folk believing in silly stuff when they should know better is covered by a psychological condition called compartmentalization.

          Your appeal to better folk than you believing in God as some sort of support to your position is fallacious. I am merely pointing that out. I did provide links and examples as evidence. You, on the other hand, have offered nothing in rebuttal, so I assume that you agree that being “better”, as you put it, is a non sequitur when it comes to believing various woo woo, seeing as people of all walks of life do indeed believe in all manner of woo woo, including gods of a whole variety of conflicting flavours?

        • It sounds like you are compartmentalization. I’m just not so quick to pass judgment on others. It is great you are confidant in your ideas.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So you think fairy belief is rational if it is done by intellectually competent people?

          You would be happy enough if the president of the USA thought that pixies cleaned the Oval office when no one was there to see them?

          Behave yerself, you are as quick to pass judgement on other people’s woo woo beliefs as I am on yours, but at least I have the minerals to admit it.

        • No, butI don’t have any good reasons to believe in fairies.

          No, I don’t believe everything the President believes.

          I know you personally don’t have any reason to believe in God. And I’ve never told you you should.

          And I’ve heard this argument you are making many times before.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You miss the point yet again.

          So let’s try it another way.

          Is it rational to believe in fairies just because “better” people do? If not, why not? How do you arrive at your conclusion?

          What are your good reasons for believing in your god that differ so much from Jihadi John’s?

          This has nothing to do with my reasons for not believing in gods or whether anyone told me I should. It is about comments you are making which are fallacious and me pointing out why they are so, and why you are not being consistent in applying your fallacious comments across the board when it is not about god belief, but some other nonsense i.e. fairy belief.

        • + Is it rational to believe in fairies just because “better” people do? If not, why not? How do you arrive at your conclusion?

          Just because? No. I never said I believe in God just because “better” people do. If you think that is what I believe or intended to suggest, that is false. It is not like I just said better people believe it, so that means God exists.

          My point I was trying to make is that there are other people – some who demonstrate things I haven’t seen from you – that make different claims than you are making.

          + What are your good reasons for believing in your god that differ so much from Jihadi John’s?

          I haven’t experienced Jihadi John’s god to be true. But I do follow Jesus – and he teaches things differently than what Jihadi John demonstrates. I’ll have to go read more about what he believes in get back to you on it. I’m not that familiar with him.

        • Kodie

          Is it rational to bring up celebrity endorsements of your pet beliefs? You misunderstand this question about comparing the source of your beliefs is different from Jihadi John. Why do all believers access something they call “truth” in such an unreliable way as to get such diverse experiences of “god”. More likely, that’s not god, that’s just you.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What you said was…

          Better men and women than I have believed in God. Men and women who didn’t believe in ghosts, fairies or Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes.

          Now perhaps I misunderstood what you were trying to say, quite possibly, it happens all the time. By better men and women, I inferred, cleverer, like in cleverer people believing silly pants stuff, in this case gods, lends some credibility to not so clever folk believing nonsense too. It doesn’t, and examples have been provided by myself and others. Clever people are not immune to believing in nonsense by virtue of their cleverness.

          The second sentence is a non sequitur. Clever people are known to believe Batshit crazy stuff all the time, that there are those that don’t is irrelevant to the point being made.

          The point being made, is that you have not demonstrated the method you employ to sort out the wheat from the chaff… The caveat “better” offers nothing to the veracity of god beliefs and how the methods you employ to get there, whether those “better’ folk believe in ghosts, fairies or Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes…or any other mythical or fictional entities for that matter or not, is of no consequence when some do.

        • I think you misunderstood what I was saying. What I meant by “better” isn’t what you keep suggesting.

        • Kodie

          I think you misunderstood what I was saying. What I meant by “better” isn’t what you keep suggesting.

          Why stop there? That’s why nobody likes you. Where is the part where you do the thing where you clarify what you meant? You’re a game-playing douche troll instead.

        • Pofarmer

          So what did you mean? See, that’s the frustrating thing. You claim we are missrepresenting you but don’t define what you mean, then accuse us of being mean to you for no reason. Passive aggresive behavior at it’s worst.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, there is a lot of that about when talking to theists.

          And yet, while pointing out my failure, you saw no reason to straighten me out on my error. Why is that?

        • Do me a favor, please. I need more information.

          Can you give me the testimony of someone who believes in a sky fairy or Harry Potter?

          Would it be fair of me to say that moon landing deniers and God deniers are of the same mindset? I feel like I could construct a similar argument you are doing – but I would have to base that on assumptions. And I don’t want to do that.

          You do not have all the information about me. Give it time, and you might learn more. But these posts were you are coming at me as if it has to be your way or the highway? No. We can be more reasonable with each other. If you start on a false assumption and base all your questioning on it – it feels like you are doing a common message board poster trick where you are trying to lead me into some ‘Gotcha!’ moment.

          I’d rather discuss it. Not preach. Not demand.

        • Kodie

          Every person of faith believes what they believe is something else than a fairy or a leprechaun or Santa Claus, but is indistinguishable, and the logical support is as illogical as a child’s certainty that Santa Claus is the one who comes to their home and leaves presents from the North Pole on Christmas Eve.

          When you ask us to discuss it without your own willingness, it makes us hesitant to bother getting involved with you. You want a special forum, you want one-on-one chances to do what exactly? Based on everything you’ve posted, which isn’t much but is enough to go on, your faith is indistinguishable from that of any other theist or myth believer. We’ve asked you, many of us, many times, to tell us how your “knowledge” from methods other than science are any different from anyone who also feels a great connection with a god they imagine at the other end of the line. Your god doesn’t tell you the same thing he tells Jihadi John…. your god doesn’t tell you the same thing he tells a fundamentalist Christian. It’s the power of suggestion, who you surround yourself, and how you confirm “god” to yourself – your personality, your preferences, your opinions, what resonates. That’s how everyone gains “knowledge” from “god”, it’s an unreliable method. You also haven’t said what you do with your beliefs that couldn’t be done without attributing those emotional resonances to a deity who is personally communicating with you. A strong denial of how marketing and psychology works against your favor in asserting that there is a god is also applied here.

          If that’s preaching to you, that’s preaching. You came here so you’ll be challenged. If you are not up for the challenge by correcting our impressions, keep on confirming them by pretending your expression of belief is any more rational than anyone else’s with whom you would disagree.

        • Ok, your 20+ messages broke me. Show me the testimony of someone who believes in a fairy, leprechaun and/or Santa Claus. It can be a person who believes in all 3. Or 3 people who each believe in one of those things. The key is I want to see what they claim about their belief. You can pick people from fields that theists do well in – from brain surgeons & rocket scientists to artists & dishwashers (2 jobs I’ve held). Or maybe find bloggers who believe in a fairy, leprechaun and/or Santa Claus who writes about that on a site like Patheos.

          I’ll do my best to explain how my understanding of God is different from what they express as their understanding. Otherwise I feel as if I’m arguing against a strawman you’ve created. And I won’t do that.

        • Kodie

          The point is, even you can see how silly it is to believe in Santa Claus. Do you think your beliefs are more legitimate because of popularity? I do think the power of suggestion has something to do with it… sort of how parents set up for their children that there’s a Santa Claus, only, the children figure it out that they’ve been deceived, they outgrow the willingness to believe things not seen. Their classmate might tell them, and the child becomes a detective, adding up clues that Santa Claus is a fictional character. They become a critical thinker. But not the grown-up believer.

          We’ve asked you before about your beliefs, i.e., an alternate way from science that you think you access knowledge, and how your way differs from another theist whose beliefs contradict yours. If it helps you, really helps you, form a coherent response, any other religion that you think is wrong has sincere believers too. What do you think of those believers and how they access their knowledge? Do you think they believe sincerely in a myth? Or do you think religions are more substantial than cults or superstitions?

          I could point to you any number of people who sincerely believe the stars in the sky determine what’s in store for them during the day, and people who are afraid of songs playing on the car radio. Your neighbor who believes the moon landing was a hoax falls more into your category than mine.

        • Please just give me an example.

          Virtually all theists and atheists I know do not believe in Santa Clause. So if I need to argue what the difference is, show me a person who honestly believes in Santa Clause – otherwise I can’t answer your question.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I believed in Santa Claus until I was 10. TEN!

          (Sidenote: I believed in God until I was in my twenties.)

        • Cool. I believed til the 1st grade. I was an atheist by the age of 16.

          I don’t know any adults that believe in Santa Clause. If you can provide an example I would love to compare my understanding vs what they describe it as.

        • Kodie

          The point is you agree that it’s silly. How is your religious belief different?

          You can answer my question. You have plenty of information to answer my question.

        • No, I don’t know anyone who honestly believes in Santa Clause.

          If it is just like it, you should be able to find theists that are so silly they believe in Santa Clause.

          Just find some examples of actual people. Not your opinion or speculations. I don’t care about your strawman.

        • Kodie

          What’s wrong with adults who sincerely have a different religious belief than you do? What is your assessment of them and their beliefs and why they’re wrong and you’re right? Or do you just think you’re all right in your own special way, from the same god?

          The point is an adult believing as a child does in a fictional magic-producing character such as Santa Claus (no e!) would be silly, and you’d agree. It’s not a straw man. I am, and you agree, that it is silly. Your beliefs are somehow distinct, and based on something, from our perspective, very similar, but from your perspective, very different. In what ways is it different for a grown adult to believe in, despite lack of reason and evidence, a character with such powers and forces and knowledge, to call your communication with said character to be “real”, etc. You would be able to draw a contrast. With or without someone who sincerely believes in Santa Claus, you would agree that it is immature and silly and they are not observant or have any critical thinking skills. If an adult believes their Christmas morning presents were delivered by a magical character like that, you would question their mental faculties.

          But yours aren’t like that. You have plenty of room to move about and explain exactly how. Stop stalling.

        • I don’t have problems with people who have differing beliefs than me. I belong to inter-faith and secular communities with a variety of people of different backgrounds and understandings.

          I don’t want to hear about your testimony about Santa Clause anymore. If I have to argue how my belief is different from someone who believes in Santa Clause – please give me some evidence – a person who actually believes that and gives a testimony or description of what that looks like.

          If you can’t find anyone who gives a testimony like that – that is fine. But I won’t argue against your strawman anymore. So either, peace and goodbye to you, or show me that actual person who I’m just like. Hell, maybe I can message he Santa believer and go really in depth into this.

        • Kodie

          You ought to be able to tell us how it is different either way. It’s pretty much the only question you’ve been asked, and you find creative ways to refuse to answer it.

        • Kodie

          I am seeing a theme of what I said – popularity. You find no adults who believe in Santa Claus, so it’s false or because it’s obvious even to you that it’s false, and plenty of adults who believe in Jesus. Is that the only way they differ? Is that the only way you can compare your beliefs to an adult believing in Santa, because your beliefs are true because we can find examples of people who believe in Jesus?

          We can find adults who believe silly things sincerely, like the moon landing hoax as your neighbor. How are your beliefs different than your neighbor? I know more than one person who believes their little lives are written in the signs of the zodiac. I know someone who is sincerely frightened that a particular song on the car radio is a bad sign. You must know people like this and if it’s not Santa Claus, it’s pretty darn close. How are your beliefs different? They’re organized in groups? Groups come together to share their collective thoughts and bond with one another over activities and influence each other? Is that what’s different about your belief in god from a common superstition?

        • adam
        • Cool thanks. I’ll check them out. Maybe it is wishful thinking…. or not!

        • adam

          So do you believe in Santa Clause?

          If not how is that differentiated from your belief in a ‘god’?

        • adam

          Or just delusion…..

        • MNb

          It’s not a strawman.

          On the contrary, we claim that you don’t believe in Santa Claus and/or a sky fairy. You have confirmed this yourself, so this is a correct representation of your view. Also we claim that you do believe in your god, because you wrote that yourself.
          What we ask is why you belief in your god, but don’t believe in Santa Claus and/or a sky fairy. For this question being a legitimate one nobody has to bring up someone with or without qualifications who does believe, because that’s not what we are asking. The question is asked you and not “theists that are so silly they believe in Santa Claus.” The motivation behind our question is also clear: we think you believing in your god as silly as theists believing in Santa Claus. In fact we fail to see any difference between your belief in your god and a belief in a sky fairy. That’s why we tend to put them on par with each other. You claimed that we are wrong doing so and we would like you to explain why we are wrong, exactly because we are open minded enough to admit that we might be wrong indeed. That’s something you have claimed to be important. But now it doesn’t suit you you use an inapproprate excuse not to explain.
          And that makes you look untrustworthy.
          Frankly I begin to think you’re just a jerk – a polite jerk, but a jerk nonetheless. Because you have pulled off such cheap tricks against several commenters now, including polite ones like Susan and Ignorant Amos.

        • I’m glad you changed the names of the polite ones! The last guy you claimed was polite definitely failed to live up to that. Cool, man. I will think about what you have said and get back to you. I think some others on here have made logical fallacies, too. I suspect you might be ignoring theirs, but only calling out mine. This happens – we are all guilty of it. I just am skeptical of being judged by double standards. Peace out and I’ll talk to you later.

        • Kodie

          MNb doesn’t have any double-standards. He will call me out as well as you or anyone else. Pofarmer, like I already said is very slow to escalate, so it’s actually a good gauge to see how irritating you are – if you can troll a nice person into a name-calling rage like that, you are a terrible person, believe it or not.

        • I doubt that. Remember, I am a skeptic! A real one. Everybody holds double-standards. There are people guilty of the same types of things people are nagging me and whining about. Pofarmer completely was wrong – and shifted the blame onto me and refused to take responsibility for his own actions. Some of you are not quite as reasonable as you imagine you are.

          Anyway – when you can get me that list of people that allegedly believe just like I do – that would be great. A testimony from a leprechaun believer, Santa Claus and a sky fairy believer, right?

          Somebody posted a fairy example, I think. What is the difference between a fairy and a sky fairy?

          I’m looking forward to your evidence, and then we can compare your personal claims against what I actually believe.

        • Kodie

          I’m not the one making personal claims. You are in denial about your personality defects, though. MNb may be wrong sometimes, but he doesn’t hold back on anyone he disagrees with.

        • You have been sharing your opinions with me. They are your personal claims – they are important to you. I’ll re-read through your claims and share them with others and let you know what they think – if you are right, I will thank you for opening my eyes to the truth.

        • Kodie

          So, go ahead.

        • Cool, I will.

          I’ll get back with you in a week. Take care! Seriously, I hope there are no hard feelings – we can pick this up later.

        • Everybody holds double-standards

          I’m not sure where you’re coming from with this. I lately see a lot of, “Well, sure that source is biased, but that’s OK because every source is biased” as a way to ignore rather than prevent biased information. I don’t much care for that.

          You can tell me if there’s overlap with my point and yours.

        • She said that person doesn’t hold double standards. But he does.

          She made claims saying ALL Christians think a certain way. And then suggested I was trying to say ALL atheists think a certain way – when I never said such a thing. I don’t believe that way. But she imagines I do. You’ve told me you imagine I believe things I don’t.

          There have been non-believers posting in this thread that have made logical fallacies. Why do you ignore them, but feel the need to criticize my errors? If you have called them out, and I haven’t seen it – I apologize. I can’t see everything you are posting.

        • You’ve told me you imagine I believe things I don’t.

          Then correct me and show me how the passage that confused me should’ve been interpreted. Easy.

        • Cool – let me find that posting. There are a lot of posts. More than 3 people have told me what I imagine. I try to tell people what I imagine, not tell them what they imagine. Whoa, that is funny! 🙂

        • In a perfect world, we could take things very slowly and say, “Could you please clarify your point? What I’m hearing is X–is that right?”

          But time is short, and I may do my best to interpret your comments but get it wrong. So correct me then.

        • Kodie

          And the best part is, you don’t need to handle every post or poster where this occurs. If you answered a question two or 10 people asked, everyone can see it in one post.

          It might then lead to more questions but you don’t have to repeat yourself answering all of them individually.

        • adam

          Or NOT answering all of them individually….

        • MNb

          Allow me to correct this for you:

          Or NOT answering hardly any of them individually…

        • Kodie

          I was just trying to be generally helpful for the person who becomes easily overwhelmed with too many voices outside their own head. Some people feel obligated to put a response to every post at them even if it doesn’t add anything to the conversation, and need to come back later. This WOM reminds me a lot of early Greg, but not the same. Didn’t say much of value, responded to nearly every post at him, always said he’d come back with a thorough answer.

        • adam


        • MNb

          But WoM is the master of the cop out …..

        • Ignorant Amos

          But time is short, and I may do my best to interpret your comments but get it wrong. So correct me then.

          I don’t think anyone has been wrong, but to avoid acknowledging such, saying we are all in error about his beliefs without clarification is his out. It is feckin boring the trunks off me. He is about as insincere as I seen a theist be. He is messing with everyone. He can’t even get the basics of what anyone is saying and steadily moves the goalposts.

          It is obvious that this recent tactic of demanding examples of all manner kook nonsense believers, is something so!done else has put him up to getting.

          He will be gone to Croydon very soon.

        • I don’t have much patience for,

          Me: So you’re saying X then.
          WoM: Wrong! Try again.

          I think it was RandomFunction2 who elevated that to a (dark) art over a year ago, but WoM being polite doesn’t solve the problem.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It is like trying to play whack-a-mole without the hammer and the moles.

        • adam

          Seems like he is working extra hard to try and claim Christian persecution to justify his belief in an imaginary god.

          2 Timothy 3:12 – Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

          My guess is that he thinks even his false notion of persecution means that he is ‘godly’.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Seems so indeed. Yet another fallacy of his…

          Argumentum ad martyrdom — I perceive that they don’t like me, therefore I am correct.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Or what Matthew is alleged to have wrote, but didn’t…

          Matthew 5:11-12:”Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

          And they ask why anyone would martyr themselves for a lie? Fuckwits…

        • (Is “gone to Croydon” an expression that I don’t understand? Or is that meant to be taken literally?)

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s a meme that an atheist poster I’m familiar with from other domains, goes by the moniker epeeist on account of his prowess as fencer and instructor, although he is a physicist and philosopher as far as my knowledge extends. Anyway, a certain apologist on a site we both used, would make the excuse when back was against the wall, that he had an errand to carry out in Croydon, which is a satellite town of London. So, whenever said apologist went silent during a discussion from thereon, it was suggested he had pissed off to Croydon. Upon return, the “reset” button would have been pressed and the loop feed continued.

          By extension, it has been gathering momentum that whenever a theist makes excuses to exit a discussion under pressure, they are said to be “gone to Croydon”.

          Susan will correct any errors in my paraphrasing of the meme no doubt.

        • Nice one. Nothing I like better than to put a nonsensical Christian objection to rest only to start back at square one with the same Christian antagonist.

        • Kodie

          Listen to me closely: MNb holds all of us accountable. He has no problem arguing with anyone on this blog if he disagrees with them, and he brings his evidence with him. If he has a double-standard, I haven’t seen it. I don’t mean to sound mean, ’cause I like him, but he’s not protective of anyone’s feelings.

          I have yet to meet a Christian who does not, in an argument about their beliefs vs. non-belief, hold to any stereotype I’ve put forth, including you. I might agree that many are good at compartmentalizing, but I’ve never challenged anyone or needed to about their beliefs in real life. Here is a space to say what I think and share discussions with others.

          If anyone has made a logical fallacy, you are welcome to point it out and not cry mod. Why are you so afraid of engaging? You’ve seen the worst, probably, and it may get better if you have anything to offer up but your jelly answers. Bob answers what he wants to.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “MNb holds all of us accountable. He has no problem arguing with anyone on this blog if he disagrees with them…I don’t mean to sound mean, ’cause I like him, but he’s not protective of anyone’s feelings.”

          @disqus_XgWFEPNuyW:disqus hurt my feelings earlier too 😛

        • adam

          “Why are you so afraid of engaging? “

        • Pofarmer

          If you think someone makes a logical fallacy, by all means point it out. All of us value clear thinking, which is,why you are so frustrating.

        • MNb

          “She said that person doesn’t hold double standards. But he does.”
          Because you, an anonymous poster on a message board, say so? Typical, you use this against others, but not against yourself. So much for your “real skepticism”.
          Btw I alas missed Pofarmer getting angry. That’s quite an accomplishment indeed, as Kodie indicated above. I have tried myself, but failed. He usually saves his anger for his family-in-law – ie where it’s needed most.

        • adam

          ” Anyway – when you can get me that list of people that allegedly believe just like I do ”

          So what is it that you allegedly believe about YOUR ‘god’, exactly?

        • Why are you asking me??? You already told me what I believe. Go re-read your anti-theist memes! Those things were spot on! Later, dude! Thanks for sharing. I did see some new memes that made me chuckle. I appreciate it.

        • adam

          I was asking what YOU think you allegedly believe.

          I already know how you come across.

          So where is YOUR ‘god’?

          And where is the evidence that it is NOT imaginary IN YOUR MIND….

        • adam

          “Remember, I am a skeptic!”

          It is difficult to remember with all the dancing and avoidance you do.

          Full Definition of SKEPTIC
          2: a person disposed to skepticism especially regarding religion or religious principles

          Merriam Webster

        • adam

          ” I just am skeptical of being judged by double standards.”

          Why what difference does it make?
          Are you just as skeptical of being judged by an imaginary ‘god’?

        • MNb

          Thanks for not addressing anything I wrote and thus confirming my conclusion.

        • MNb

          “So if I need to argue what the difference is, show me a person”
          That’s a non-sequitur.

        • adam

          Just start here:

        • I do not think that was created by somebody who actually believes in Santa Clause. But that was cute, thanks for the comic relief.

        • adam

          And I do not think that it was created by someone who actually believes in ‘god’.

          So what?

          These are the claimed attributes of each.
          And they are very similar, most likely because they are both the same. Created mythology.

          So where is YOUR ‘god’?
          Or at least evidence that it is NOT imaginary?

        • Can you give me the testimony of someone who believes in a sky fairy or Harry Potter?

          No, but I can find people who believe trees have spirits or that you have invisible “thetans” attached to your soul. Are these any less crazy?

        • I don’t know.

          I can add them to the list and investigate.

          For sky fairies, I find things like this:

          “The atheist spring that began just over a decade ago is over, thank God.
          Richard Dawkins is now seen by many, even many non-believers, as a joke
          figure, shaking his fist at sky fairies. He’s the Mary Whitehouse of
          our day.”

          What does it mean that many non-believers view him as a joke figure who shakes his fist at sky fairies?

        • Kodie

          Do you believe what you read in the papers? Like when someone tells you what all the atheists think?

          1. Neither Richard Dawkins nor any other atheist is, for any intents or purposes, our “leader”.
          2. Being characterized as shaking his fist at sky fairies (is that where you saw it then? Not from his book like you claimed before?) is, for all I can tell, another mischaracterization of atheism, i.e. “being mad at god.” We don’t believe in god, why would atheism be characterized as that?

          What was your point in flipping this around again? Stall, deflect the original question, make up some condition or excuse why you don’t have to answer it, your majesty?

        • 1. No shit. I never said he was a “leader”.

          Why did you put that word in quotes as if I said it?

          My point was – the person I find who talks about sky fairies the most is Richard Dawkins.

          2. No, it wasn’t about “being mad at god”

          I’ve never said or suggested that in my life. Why would you quote it like that?

          Did you read what the rest of the article said?

          I’m sure you have read how some atheists claim the god is a sky fairy claim really isn’t that strong of an argument.

          I think you have built a strawman – and you are actually arguing with someone else who does believe and make those claims. But that isn’t me.

        • Kodie

          I did read the article, it was biased. I told you what I think of religion – it’s extraneous. Any good that it can do can be done without it, and without the belief that it is god making you do it.

          Yes, many Christians think we idolize celebrated atheists and worship and do or think what they do. And shaking one’s fist at the sky fairy is a strawman Christians like to pull out as well. I love it as much as you do when an author tells me what I really think, or why you are fixated on the Dawkins “sky fairy” quotes. It’s irrelevant and a diversion, and I noticed you still didn’t answer the question.

        • All articles are biased. Everything you have posted to me is biased.

          Read this, if you get a chance:

          Have you ever met someone that fits this category?

          And try this:

          or this:

          What are some of your criticisms about how some atheists act on message boards? Have you ever dealt with some that have harassed, bullied or called you derogatory names? Just curious.

        • Kodie

          All articles are biased. Everything you have posted to me is biased.

          Read this, if you get a chance:

          Have you ever met someone that fits this category?

          “When in dialogue with an internet atheist, they have the habit of ignoring pertinent issues and specific questions posed towards them.”


          And try this:


          or this:

          Wow, that’s all about Dawkins. Until I started posting on the few atheist blogs I’ve ever posted on, I never heard of him, never paid him any attention, never read his books. I watched a couple of his videos where he mocks his hate mail, that’s about it.

          What are some of your criticisms about how some atheists act on message boards? Have you ever dealt with some that have harassed, bullied or
          called you derogatory names? Just curious.

          I don’t think there’s one way to be an atheist. I like the people who know what it’s like to be a Christian or who can talk about science or logic, or the bible. I never had that problem, it’s always been a story to me, and why should I start examining it for truth? I’m asking the people who believe it to be more scrutinous. Why would you regard Christianity any different than any other myth or religious claim of the world that you disagree with? What is the difference. You slink away because I didn’t meet your ridiculous conditions, just like we knew you would.

          Why that’s different than being a theist is so hard for you to understand, but if there were a god, one god, wouldn’t everyone’s expression be nearly the same instead of swinging from one horrifying extreme to the other, with people like you in the middle saying “not me, not me!” and deflecting criticism, and providing a haven for the extremists to hide behind. If you are here, and you make claims, we are not harassing you or bullying you when we challenge you to support your claims. You want to answer every post and say nothing much but thank you, not clarify misconceptions, take offense, take up a lot of negative attention, derail thread topics to turn the focus on you, we know exactly what you are and what names you might deserve.

          Did anyone ever think the problem with internet atheists might be we’re fucking sick of the lying, evasiveness, and willful ignorance of almost every Christian who thought they were prepared for an argument?

        • + Did anyone ever think the problem with internet atheists might be we’re
          fucking sick of the lying, evasiveness, and willful ignorance of almost
          every Christian who thought they were prepared for an argument?

          I have. Some atheists lie, are evasive and willfully ignorant, too.

          I know, “not you, not you!” You are “too smart” to ever make those mistakes.

        • Kodie

          I was honest. If I was ignorant, you did nothing to clarify my confusion. I am smart, but if you think you’re smarter, go ahead and explain to us. I have plenty of experience with Christian pains in the ass of all varieties. One common variety is the one who won’t answer about their beliefs, holding them beyond criticism and tu quoque through the whole argument, thinking if you put us on the spot, you can point out some flaws. What is the flaw of atheism itself? You seem to want to make it about unpleasant personalities vs. “pleasant” or as we’ve observed passive-aggressive personalities like yours.

          That’s not how we come about the truth! If that is one of your methods for determining truth or accessing knowledge that you’ve implied, it’s unreliable.

        • adam

          So where is YOUR “god”?

          And where is the evidence that it is NOT imaginary?

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s official…he is an ignorant fuckwit, he may quote me on that. How much rope are we to allow him before he hangs himself on the tree of self centred asininity?

          If it grants him his atheist stereotypes in order to get this knuckle dragging to stop, so be it.

        • No, it wasn’t about “being mad at god”

          Isn’t that what you are when you shake your fist at them?

        • No.

        • Let me help you out. Perhaps you’re not American. In this country, you shake your fist at something you’re angry at.

        • Kodie

          Now I wonder what WOM thought it meant.

        • Sorry:

          + Do you believe what you read in the papers?


          + Like when someone tells you what all the atheists think?

          No. I’ve never read that in a newspaper. You’ve tried to tell me what all Christians think. And I didn’t believe what you were saying. It is just stereotyping when you or an anti-atheist person makes such claims.

        • Who cares whether Richard Dawkins is helpful or not to the atheist cause? I like what he says, but if he’s an embarrassment, then I turn my back on him. Pretty easy.

        • Cool. I do that, too. I’ve got some on here suggesting I have to defend those who do things I turned my back on, too.

        • So then you agree that the observation that some atheists dislike Dawkins is irrelevant?

        • I’m researching “sky fairies”. The fact that he talks about them more than anyone else is relevant.

          I am glad that you can agree with those that see him as a joke figure. There are some people that idolize that man. I really didn’t know where you stood – so I asked you.

          Anyway, I will get back to you. I’ll consider what you have said, read what other people have said and are saying. I’ll also share what I’ve written here and what others have written here and see what other people have to say. It seems like I’ve only been presented with 1 side of an argument – and I’m skeptical about some of the claims.

          If you and the 4 or 5 others are making valid points – and others can show me how – I can accept that.

          How many people come to Patheos, or your blog. Quite a bit – thousands, maybe? And I’ve only heard from less than 1% on these specific issues?

          I’ll do some more investigating. Thanks. Sorry if I wasn’t more helpful for you, but please wish me well.

        • Huh?? I do not see Dawkins as a joke figure. He’s made some great points. As an actual scientist, he brings a lot of relevant material to the conversation (in sharp contrast to faux scientists like WLC).

          While you’re researching sky fairies, research the flying spaghetti monster as well. He’s my favorite.

          It seems like I’ve only been presented with 1 side of an argument

          If you want to find the best Christian apologetics and bring them back, that would be good. I’m not quite sure why you need to do more research, though. You’re a Christian for good reasons, aren’t you? Or do you just believe?

          The latter is fine; what I find annoying is someone who just believes who wants to imagine loads of intellectual reasons supporting their belief. If those reasons are compelling, I’d like to see why.

        • I know some atheists that are quite critical of him – as well as Christians who are critical of WLC. I’ll get their input on him. I’m very familiar with the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I was living in Kansas when he was created – I still use that argument for those wanting to put religious teachings in a science class. Yea, good reasons. There are very good, rational and well thought out reasons for believing in God. And there is the same for not believing in God. It is interesting to look at the people from both sides. Some get very fanatical about religion – or even their atheism. I know atheism isn’t a religion, but as many atheists have pointed out to me: that doesn’t mean some people won’t treat atheism like a religion.

        • Why are the atheists critical of Dawkins? My guess is that it’s not about his position on atheism.

          There are very good, rational and well thought out reasons for believing in God. And there is the same for not believing in God.

          You imagine a symmetry that I don’t see. But if there are good arguments for God belief, I look forward to hearing about them.

        • adam

          ” There are very good, rational and well thought out reasons for believing in God. ”

          Like what?

        • Kodie

          What about “sky fairies”? I don’t really get what your purpose is. What claims are you skeptical about, you never said. If someone said anything you don’t believe, you certainly didn’t make a big fuss over it except that it offends you. You seem to be collecting information and then asking someone else to help you form a response. Weird. You’re kind of an icy character who refuses to melt, you’ve probably revealed more than you think you did, which is why we’re trying to understand which is how you take as an attack. I don’t know why you need to consult others. Are these church people? When your beliefs are criticized, go ask the church, they will give you an appeasing reconciliation.

          It’s almost like you don’t even know what you believe. I had an ex whose parents would walk into a fast food chain and the father would always ask the mother “what do I like here?”

        • You said I was just like somebody who believes in sky fairies. And a bunch of other things.

          I think that was a strawman.

          If you can show me people that do believe in sky fairies, I can read for myself what they believe. Otherwise I’m just arguing about what you would speculate someone who believes in sky fairies believes. Have you ever met anyone who believes in sky fairies? I haven’t. It seems to be only a few fanatical anti-theists that write about sky fairies – and their claims just are not that compelling. Some are even making straight up logical fallacies.

        • Kodie

          You are not understanding the comparison, then. I’m not the only one who explained this to you, and you became fixated on finding actual believers you’d agree believe in silly imaginary things. Examples were shown to you, posted by other people who simply googled. I didn’t bother to google and thought you were intellectually capable of grasping how you were to explain how your beliefs were not silly or in anything imaginary. You are on your own wild goose chase now. Still not a strawman.

        • I tried quite awhile ago to tell you that you are basing your arguments on a false assumption about me, that there seemed to be some misunderstandings. I’ve had about 100+ replies it feels like, so if I’m confusing you with someone else, my apologies. But the 10 of you all posting at me kept saying I was wrong. That they weren’t false assumptions. And if they are false assumptions – it was my fault for not giving you all enough information. So you all were justified in continuing on with those false assumptions. I was trying to let you prove your case, but the arguments were not that strong. And there was just a bunch of whining.

        • Kodie

          You were the one doing most of the whining, to be fair. If someone has made a false assumption about you, it seems like you are glutton for abuse and persecution or else you’d open up and clarify any false assumptions we have about you. By now, we have closer to a correct assumption – you patently refuse to be interrogated and whinge at having to justify your beliefs to anyone, you’d rather get your back up about how mean everyone is to you, you pretend you are polite, but you are actually passive-aggressive, and you are self-absorbed and overly sensitive.

        • MNb

          And of course you prefer us to read your mind than explain what you meant with “better”.

        • MNb

          “There are people who have credentials – science degrees, contributions to major scientific findings, a paid position where a deep understanding of evidence and critical thinking is required – that make claims different from yours.”
          I already gave you a list of such people – with degrees etc. – who made nutty claims. Here it is again:

          You are only skeptical when it suits you, which means you are not a skeptic at all.

        • Right, but you could be the one making nutty claims, too.

          My point is I do know people and can find people in history that appear to be very intelligent, respected, open-minded, not forced into a belief and just very reasonable. They have a job that requires great critical thinking skills. Some I know and trust very well.

          Are you the one that was trying to convince me I was never a real atheist?

        • MNb

          “you could be the one making nutty claims, too”
          Sure. In fact I have done so. That’s why I have accepted the scientific method. I try to write in such a way that my partners easily can refute it. Plus that’s why I ask questions like “how do you apply your skepticism to your faith in God?”. Because I might be wrong indeed.

          “Are you the one that was trying to convince me I was never a real atheist?”
          I don’t nearly enough about you to make such a claim. I don’t care either. People change minds all the time for all kinds of reasons. There is nothing wrong with that in itself. The flip side is that “I used to be an atheist but now I believe” doesn’t mean anything to me either.
          Plus I dislike No True Atheist arguments as much as No True Christian or No True Muslim arguments.
          In exactly the same way the statement that you know some people who you know and trust very well and that they make claims different from me doesn’t impress me at all. It’s just an appeal to authority. Parrot what they say, then we can discuss it. I parrot all the time. Or don’t, then I shrug again.

        • Ok, cool. Someone was making the claim I’m not a real atheist – and it started to sound like the claim I can’t possibly be a skeptic because I’m theist.

        • Susan

          people who have credentials- science degrees, contributions to major scientific findings, a paid position where a deep understanding of evidence and critical thinking is required

          One of the questions is about your methods. Do you take these standards less seriously than your own standards? If you do, why?

          If you don’t,

          that make claims different from yours.

          Then, you just have to check them for consistency. Do they apply the same methods?

          Saying “smart people believe X” is no case for X.

        • I’m replying to someone who says belief in X is just like belief in fairies or Harry Potter.

          I disagree with that. If you agree with him, that is fine.

          I know there are people that disagree with what he says. I don’t take the standards he uses to draw the conclusions he is.

          I agree with this: Saying “smart people believe X” is no case for X. But also saying X is Y, when to many X isn’t Y is no case for that claim, either.

        • MNb

          “I disagree with that. If you agree with him, that is fine.”
          Again this annoying cop out because you don’t want to explain how your belief in your god is different from a belief in fairies. Definitely not trustworthy. You lied (possibly to yourself as well) when you wrote that you’re here for discussions. You aren’t.

        • False.

          If you really wanted to know the difference you could Google it. You could ask someone else. I know you have people who believe in God who you love – you could go ask them. I tried to answer it for you, but failed. So what? Let it go.

        • Kodie

          You’re here, you’re voluntarily participating in a discussion and say go ask someone else or google it. You never tried to answer any questions, and you know it.

        • Kodie

          Usually in a discussion, someone may say something you don’t agree with. Why not correct their impressions instead of confirming them?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m replying to someone who says belief in X is just like belief in fairies or Harry Potter.

          By X I presume you mean God, in which case it is in as much as people believe that all sorts of myth and fiction is real. What method do you use to separate the myth and fiction from the real?

          I disagree with that.

          Which is your prerogative to do so. We all disagree about all sorts of things, but replying with “better men and women” than you believe in X (God) that don’t believe in lots of other woo woo, is no rebuttal to believing X (God) is just like believing in other fictitious or supernatural hocus pocus…or gods for that matter.

          I know there are people that disagree with what he says.

          Of course there are, ten years yarning on internet forums informs me of that much. But here is how discussion goes, one party makes a comment, another party makes a comment in agreement or disagreement. If it is disagreement, normal form is to give reason, preferably with support, then the ball gets kicked back and forth until one party is convinced by the weight of the opponents argument and amends their original position, or concedes their position is weak but nevertheless, is sticking to their weak position, or runs away.

          I agree with this: Saying “smart people believe X” is no case for X.

          Good, glad you at least concede the point.

          But also saying X is Y, when to many X isn’t Y is no case for that claim, either.

          Strawman much? False equivalence too?

          But also saying believing in X is similar to believing in Y, when to many believing in X isn’t similar to believing Y is no case for that claim, either.

          There, fixed it for ya.

          Now, It doesn’t matter that many disagree that believing X isn’t similar to believing Y, especially when those many may be biased. That is the argumentum ad populum fallacy, and it doesn’t cut it. You have to discredit my claim by showing the methods you use for believing in X are sound, while the methods you use to assert believing in X isn’t similar to believing Y are also sound. Claiming “many” “better” than you is not a sound argument unfortunately.

        • Hey, if you want to enter a debate about this, we can. Find a proper venue. You keep acting as if you are the debate moderator, but you are not. There is no unbiased debate moderators present. And I keep getting dogpiled by a team that is trying to make this an us vs them fight.

          You keep trying to twist what I say into something I wasn’t intending to say. Fact is, when I read the testimony of people like Martin Luther King, Jr, Stephen Colbert, Georges Lemaitre and countless others – I don’t think they are describing belief in something like a sky fairy. Or Harry Potter.

          If you think it is. Good for you. But I don’t need you to “fix” me. Share what you know and you experience.

          I have a neighbor, he denies that the moon landing ever happened. He brings up similar arguments like you do. And he keeps suggesting the same kind of things you do. So maybe I am making a strawman out of this argument. If I am, I apologize.

          Some people have expressed an interest in learning about how I understand God. I’ve started some good discussions with them. If you are interested in such a thing, we can do that. If you just want to keep proving to yourself that you are right – keep on posting away. You are surrounded by like-minded friends who will agree with you.

        • MNb

          “Some people have expressed an interest in learning about how I understand God.”
          Several folks here, including me, have expressed our interest in learning about how you understand your god by asking you why you “have faith in God” and not in sky fairies. Thus far you have avoided all discussion by not answering this question.
          Sorry, WoM, this blog doesn’t fare according to your preferences and rules. If you don’t like that put your money where you mouth is and quit. If you stay here expect to be questioned on anything and everything. Stop complaining – you are not the debate moderator either. BobS is and as long he doesn’t correct Ignorant Amos (or anyone else) anything goes. Choke or swallow.

        • Give me an example of a person who believes in sky fairies.

          I will read what they say, and I will parallel or contrast it with what I do believe.

          I don’t know much about sky fairies – or why anyone would believe in one.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Theosophist Dora Van Gelder Kunz…

          In 1975 Dora became President of the Theosophical Society in America. In 1977 she published this book about her fairy experiences in her youth, in which she states that throughout her life she always kept in communication with nature spirits. According to Dora in 1979 she did see fairies in Central Park in New York, but due to the increasing pollution it was getting more difficult. Dora said that devas are intimately connected with a vital energy transmitting force to preserve and heal the earth. She said as more people get involved with and care for our environment, the better the chances of communication between humans and devas. In 1987 after completing twelve years as President of the Theosophical Society in America, she retired and devoted herself to lecturing, writing, and enriching our lives with her magical essence, making this world a better place to be. Dora was one of our best. I remain forever grateful to her for her gifts and legacy of pure joy and love.

          Theosophical Societies and Organizations remain active in more than 50 countries around the world. Theosophy has also given rise to or influenced the development of other mystical, philosophical, and religious movements.

          Fairy belief is a Christian trait…

          One Christian belief held that fairies were a class of “demoted” angels. One popular story described how, when the angels revolted, God ordered the gates of heaven shut: those still in heaven remained angels, those in hell became demons, and those caught in between became fairies. Others suggested that the fairies, not being good enough, had been thrown out of heaven, but they were not evil enough for hell. This may explain the tradition that they had to pay a “teind” or tithe to hell: as fallen angels, though not quite devils, they could be seen as subjects of the devil. For a similar concept in Persian mythology, see Peri.

          A third, related belief was the fairies were demons entirely. This belief became much more popular with the growth of Puritanism. The hobgoblin, once a friendly household spirit, became a wicked goblin. Dealing with fairies was in some cases considered a form of witchcraft and punished as such in this era. Disassociating himself from such evils may be why Oberon, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, carefully observed that neither he nor his court feared the church bells.

          The belief in their angelic nature was less common than that they were the dead, but still found popularity, especially in Theosophist circles. Informants who described their nature sometimes held aspects of both the third and the fourth belief, or observed that the matter was disputed.

          All that said, that is not what I mean when I equate belief in gods to belief in a sky fairy.

        • Ok. That is a good starting point. I will read up on that and get back to you.

          Other people have made claims similar to yours that my belief in God is like belief in Santa Clause, leprechauns, Harry Potter and an invisible pink unicorn.

          If you can find testimony of people who honestly believe in those things, too, that would be great and very helpful.


        • Kodie

          Yeah, Amos, good “starting point”. Go find more, and more and more and more. We can’t start an honest discussion until you find a whole congregation of fairy-believers.

          Anyway, that reminds me, there are organized efforts of ghost-hunting, bigfoot-hunting, conspiracy theories, etc. Plenty of adults are drawn into groups that all promote belief in the same thing. But we’re not going to rest until we find the one who believes in Santa Claus, that’s the condition our fussy one requires now to answer the same question everyone’s had since day 1.

        • Right.

          There are also people that deny the Holocaust, humans landing on the moon, The Sandy Hook shooting. And some of them are making the same kind of claims being offered to me as proof.

          As a skeptic, I accept the challenge. I will investigate and get back to you with an answer.

        • You see no difference between Holocaust deniers and atheists? Perhaps in how the two groups embrace (or reject) evidence?

        • I see the difference.

          But I’m curious about the claim that God believers – all of them – are just the same as leprechaun, sky fairy or invisible pink unicorn believers. I’ve read some theist, and even atheist, thinkers that don’t exactly see it that way.

          It is a very small, but vocal minority making the claim. And some seem very certain they are right. So I will approach this with an open-mind and look into these claims.

        • The point of sky fairies, the FSM, or the Purple People of Pluto is as a thought experiment. Everyone knows that it’s a joke–that’s the difference between these ideas and a popular religion. But aside from that, what is the difference?

          And I suspect that you’d make a similar comparison. I mean, people imagine that a god-boy got his head chopped off, so his god-father stuck an elephant head on? Seriously? People imagine that Xenu stuffed an airplane with frozen souls and blew up a volcano with a hydrogen bomb? Or something?

          Yeah, people believe stuff precisely as nutty as the FSM or sky fairies.

        • There is a big difference. The person who is writing about sky fairies is usually incredibly anti-religious. The person who wrote about the FSM didn’t honestly believe in the FSM. Those who believe in God don’t do it for the same reasons that the FSM and sky fairy writers suggest.

          If that is how it was for you when you believed in God, fine. But it is straight up arrogant to try and tell me that is how I – or billions of other people – believe.

          If you have no choice but to imagine that your way is the only possible way I don’t know what to tell you. Self-assured certainty usually leads me to arrogance. I don’t have all the answers or know everything there is to know about God. I have to claim agnosticism on many aspects.

          Again – I’m a skeptic. Don’t take it personal. I will look into your claims, talk with others and look into what the other belief systems & worldviews say.

          Anyway, I’m done here. Have a great day – good luck on your blogging! I’ve got a lot of work to do! I’m taking notes and hope to get back to you as soon as I’ve researched more. Thanks for discussing, sorry for my poor communicating skills. I’ll re-read your criticisms on those, too.

        • There is a big difference. … The person who wrote about the FSM didn’t honestly believe in the FSM.

          Yeah, I know. I just said that.

          Since you didn’t read my previous comment, I’ll repeat the relevant point: “But aside from that, what is the difference?”

          it is straight up arrogant to try and tell me that is how I – or billions of other people – believe.

          Uh, OK. Didn’t do that.

          If you have no choice but to imagine that your way is the only possible way I don’t know what to tell you.

          Are you responding to the right comment? Yeah, I don’t think that my way is the only possible way. I simply think that my way is right (obviously).

        • Kodie

          You must be goofing. You think a sincere adult believer in Santa Claus is going to give you the information you need to answer the question, “how is your belief different, less silly, less mythical, less childish, in any way more rational?”

          You already know what you believe. You already know how stupid you would feel to admit you still believe in Santa but not Jesus. Simply answer the question. If you need to think, read, or ask someone else, then you don’t seem to even have very strong convictions to me, or if you do, you don’t seem to have a good reason, pretend skeptic.

        • I’ve rarely had anyone tell me my belief in God is just like belief in sky fairies or Santa Claus. Unfortunately some who have done that in the past have treated me very poorly – this site isn’t so bad. I’ve been on some that aren’t moderated and have been straight up harassed, lied about and treated like trash – because I believed different from someone.

          So I might be over-sensitive about these claims – because one person went so far as to stalk me and reveal personal information.

          I will look over what you said with an open mind. I’m done here for now! Have a great day – talk to you in a week or two! Cooler heads will prevail – and we can continue this discussion. Thank you.

        • Ignorant Amos

          UFOer’s, don’t forget those fruitcakes. Particularly the ones that have been abducted by the travellers in those UFO’s and had a probe inserted up their arse for good measure. How can anyone deny such firsthand testimony I’ll never know,

        • adam

          So tell us how your belief in a ‘god’ is differentiated from a belief in Santa?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Other people have made claims similar to yours that my belief in God is like belief in Santa Clause, leprechauns, Harry Potter and an invisible pink unicorn.

          I think you are missing the point on this.

          Believing in Santa Claus is like believing in God, not because there are many grown ups who actually believe in Santa Claus, but because one has to have the gullibility and mind of a child to believe such obvious lies are true. As kids grow up, they discover that Santa is not real. Santa is a carrot and stick routine in order to get children to behave. Just like gods.

          Here is the testimony from a member of “The Coalition for the Advancement & Adult Belief in Santa Claus”.

          I will admit something, and people will doubt me, or think it’s a joke, or say I am crazy but …. There was one night when I was a kid when I heard bells ringing as in a sleigh during Christmas. I ran downstairs there were gifts all wrapped and all were in bed. I opened the big casement window; The snow covered the roof and the trees, and it was ever so quiet except for the bells ringing. And ever since that night I learned something. Things you believe in are not always seen, or held or proven … they are a separate thing. They are something strong, something so much more. They exist because of belief. Maybe because of hope too. And so, I will always believe in Santa.

          I know, hard to believe isn’t it?

          But here is a guy that believes in Santa Claus for the same reason you believe in God, except for the obvious elephant in the room.

          Now, with Leprechaun’s we have a slightly different angle. That’s a no brainer, I’m Irish, so I know about this first hand.

          Here’s a little-known fact: Leprechauns, or little people, and their heritage are protected on a European directive thanks to a group of lobbyists from Carlingford, Co. Louth.

          Imagine that, protected by EU law, now where have I seen other such nonsense? Got any ideas?

          The Harry Potter nonsense is different again. It is a religion in the making.

          The theology of Harry Potter.

          But as a priest, theologian and writer, I thought Christians needed to look beyond the presence of witchcraft and consider other tenets of Christian thought – like sacrifice and salvation – in order to assess whether the series was heretical.

          During the final week of class, my students baked me a cake in the shape of a Snitch, and the Roman Catholic threw the Mormon a bridal shower, despite the fact that she herself didn’t subscribe to the LDS teaching that marriage is for time and all eternity. We spent the final class session sitting outdoors, embraced by sun and the warm grass in an image almost as idyllic as the epilogue in The Deathly Hallows. I know many of my students objected to that ending, saying that happiness like that was unrealistic. Yet as my students departed that day, the Hindu alongside the Chinese atheist, the secular Jew beside the evangelical Christian, I thought it might not be so unbelievable after all.

          It is fascinating stuff. It is analogous to how Christianity got going. You can read the whole article at…

          And of course, there is the invisible Unicorn of whatever colour. Like God, Unicorns are mentioned in the Bible. Nine times in fact.

          But the Invisible Pink Unicorn, or IPU (May Her Holy Hooves never be shod). is a piss take mock deity, similar to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or FSM, to show “some of religion’s hypocrisy or contradictions”.

          Your neighbour denies the Moon landings in spite of the real evidence, not because of it. Like the god believer, the science is denied. Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment and the retroreflector mirrors used to bounce the lasers off for example.

          The numerous photographs of the various landing sites by Hubble, etc., showing astronaut and rover tracks, the abandoned LRV, the descent stage, etc., all there on the surface of the Moon.

          How can that be? Like the creationist claims that fossils are the work of Satan. Moon landing deniers claim the government has been complicit in an astronomical cover up, pun intended.

          Conspiracists have managed to sustain public interest in their theories for more than 40 years, despite the rebuttals and third-party evidence. Opinion polls taken in various locations have shown that between 6% and 20% of Americans and 28% of Russians surveyed believe that the manned landings were faked. Even as late as 2001, the Fox television network broadcast Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon? which claimed NASA faked the first landing in 1969 to in the Space Race.

          Mad isn’t it? That’s the believer. Your analogy to the atheist is misdirected, it is the believer that is swallowing the lies and misdirection, the critical thinker is going with the empirical evidence, which is irrefutable. In spite of the holy scriptures being strpped back by science, apologists will go to great lengths to produce excuses for the shortcomings within. History tells us, and in their own words, Christian patriarchs lied to fool the gullible. masses, and so it goes on. It is that simple.

          Other mythical and fictional figures courting irrational belief similar to God are available on request.

        • + you are not the debate moderator either.

          This isn’t a debate forum.

        • Kodie

          If you don’t reveal your beliefs, they can never be challenged. Why are you here? You don’t seem to get it. What is a “debate forum”?

        • adam

          If you don’t reveal your beliefs, they can never be challenged.

          The typical set up for a SCAM…..

        • Pofarmer

          What do you think this is? You expect to come here and, what, say whatever you want, and never explain yourself? In my experience, every blog like this is a debate forum. BobS has specifically set this blog up as a place to challenge the views and beliefs of Christianity. If it isn’t a “debate” I don’t know what is.

        • adam

          His money appears to be right where his mouth is and they both appear to be bankrupt.

        • Pofarmer

          “And I keep getting dogpiled by a team that is trying to make this an us vs them fight.”

          No, we keep trying to get you to say what you actually mean. You would find that if you gave satisfactory answers there would be no dog pile.

        • Philmonomer

          Some people have expressed an interest in learning about how I understand God. I’ve started some good discussions with them. If you are interested in such a thing, we can do that.

          How do you understand God?

        • And that’s where you come in. You have intellectual arguments for Christianity that you think we haven’t heard? Or even ones that you find compelling and help support your belief? Tell us. What arguments are we missing that should make us adopt your viewpoint?

        • I’m going to investigate more, Bob.

          I’m going to read what some of our greatest thinkers, both theist and atheist, have said about belief and disbelief in God.

          I’ll also look into what people say about sky fairies, leprechauns, Santa Claus, invisible pink unicorns, and, strangely enough, a green goblin named Hubert that reportedly lives in one atheists basement in Alaska.

          I’ll get back to you with my findings.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don’t forget the invisible fire breathing dragon in my garage.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nessie? Some right clever folk believe in Nessie…Christian clerics among them.

        • Pofarmer

          “There are people who have credentials – science degrees, contributions to major scientific findings, a paid position where a deep understanding of evidence and critical thinking is required – that make claims different from yours.”

          While this is true, you are using the exceptions to prove the rule. Something like 85-95% of the members of the National academy of sciences are Atheists, or at least do not believe in a personal God. Something like 55% of scientists overall are atheists, which is much higher than the general population.

        • Pofarmer

          FWIW the guy who organizwd King’s marches was an atheist.

        • Awesome. Did I tell you about how a church in my city wouldn’t allow atheists to serve food to the homeless? They usually allow other church groups to serve, but denied their request to help. I help arrange it so they could serve at one of our sister churches. I made a good friend through that, too. I’ve only heard my teaching pastor talk about atheists twice in church – and both times he said things positive, suggesting there are things we can learn from atheists.

          Thanks for the history fact!

        • Kodie

          That’s really groovy, man. But this should tell you about how people can read the same book as you, feel the same connection with a god that you do, and interpret and associate those feelings a completely different way. I know, we all know, “we’re not all like that” kind of answer. You can’t distinguish in any meaningful way that your “knowledge” is acquired in any more reliable way than theirs, not to yourself maybe, which is why you refuse to explain it to us.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And Arthur Conan Doyle amongst other intellectuals of his day believed in fairies, which would be a different experience to both you and I one would presume?

          Doyle was a credulous dupe for various kinds of nonsense. He not only believed in spiritualism and all of the phenomena of the seance room, but he also believed in fairies.

          Harry Houdini, friend of Doyle’s, went out of his way to denounce woo woo and show the gullible how they were being duped, yet Doyle still insisted Houdini had mystical powers. Point is, clever people can still believe bat shit crazy nonsense, but you are a clever guy, you can see that in the world around you all the time.

          The snob appeal doesn’t help you out in this particular instant.

          “Buy skunk brand perfume, you will stand out in the crowd.”

          I would also question your use of the word “better”, it shows a touch of the inferiority complex.

        • I don’t believe in fairies, so I can’t relate to that.

          And, yes. Some people believe things I can’t understand. I know atheists that believe in astrology. Or are incredibly superstitious. I often argue with one believes man never landed on the moon!

          “Buy skunk brand perfume, you will stand out in the crowd.”

          Did I say that?

        • Pofarmer

          “But I don’t think God is a product of the natural world – so science may not be able to prove God”

          Absolutely it could. Science proves things by their effects on what we observe all the time. Things like Gravity, Atomic Forces, etc, etc.

        • All those things are products of the natural world, though.

          We can demonstrate how they work.

        • Pofarmer

          Sure we can demonstrate how they work, that’s the point. That’s also why the Neil Degrasse Tyson quote Adam provided is so fitting. “God is an ever receding pocket of scietific ignorance.” God used to be thought responsible for allmsorts of things. Rain, hail, tides, the movement of the sun and stars, etc, etc. but all of these things and many, many more, were proven to have natural, not supernatural causes. And this is a one way door. Nothing that has neen thought to have a natural cause has been replaced with a supernatural cause. Now, of some mysterious supernatural agent were affecting things, we should/would detect it. Physicists like Sean Carroll argue that we know enough about the elemental particles and how they react that we can rule out God. There just isn’t a place left for him in our Universe. Of something created our Universe and is outside of it, we can’t detect that it is interacting in any way, so, it’s unimportant.

        • I love that Tyson quote. Especially if you put it into context and post what it says before that. I use it often, too.

        • Pofarmer

          The what are you doing/saying. It seems you are simply setting up some non-falsifiable hypothesis to make yourself happy. I haven’t read a post yet where you actually make yoir thoughts clear.

        • Kodie

          “Me too, I love that quote too, I love science, I don’t deny science, I’m skeptical, I’m a skeptic, Jesus resurrected, it’s a miracle, I believe I have a different way to access the truth and know god, please don’t make me examine my beliefs.”

        • Ok.

          You are the guy that completely was out of line and started posting vile things at me.

          You are the guy who told me I was posting about things I have never posted about and don’t actually believe.

          Yet, somehow I need to make everything clear to you? How about you demonstrate doing it yourself first?

          That Tyson quote: I appreciate it. It is what I believe. Especially when I put it into context of who he was saying it to and why. I don’t agree with the conclusions you drew from it. So what?

        • Pofarmer

          So, you are unable,to make a,direct statement?

        • Uh, I have made direct statements.

          Was that supposed to be a direct statement?

        • Kodie

          You could do something like elaborate and discuss what you did and didn’t like about the quote, the interview, etc.

        • I was stating that he was using the quote out of context: I believe he was arguing against people who want to teach creationism, not science, in science class at schools. You probably would have no problems with what I want taught in science classes.

        • Kodie

          Wrong context.

        • MNb

          Yeah, but now you’re strawmanning quite a few christians. Especially in Western Europe christians have moved beyond the God of the Gaps. WateronMars is right on this one. Despite the many erroneous claims christians and other believers have made we (alas!) cannot say that science disproves god a priori, ie via a deductive argument. The christians who recognize this typically don’t use science to prove god either – it works two ways.
          Your last sentence is spot on though.

        • adam

          And imagination explains exactly how ‘gods’ work.

        • Not exactly.

        • adam

          Yes, exactly.

        • Kodie

          How exactly?

        • I have the testimony of a lot of people that suggest something similar.

          Plus, I have the added advantage of testing out what they say – of viewing what they do, not just what they say or claim to believe.

          A lot of people say one thing, but don’t actually demonstrate it. Like they will say they are logical and reasonable, but fail to demonstrate it.

          As a skeptic I reserve judgment until I’ve had time to learn more. For instance, if a person reaching grand conclusions about another individual after knowing the person for only a few days – they might be over-reacting. Especially if that person keep resorting to stereotypes to support their claims. Like if I were to say all deists are incapable of being honest with themselves – I probably will do whatever I can to support that claim – instead of waiting for more information and time to observe an individual.

          I’ve often been surprised how wrong my broad assertions about other people are wrong.

        • Kodie

          You have but you don’t post it? We’re reacting to what you write, not to a stereotype. You’re vague and evasive, and seems there’s nothing we can do to encourage you to be specific and responsive.

          I’ll ask again: How, exactly?

        • I’m sorry, who is “we”? The 4 or 5 people that keep sending me messages? I may not be able to answer all your questions to your pleasing. Sorry. Give it time, we may reach better understandings. Or just ignore me. It will be ok.

        • Kodie

          You will never answer any of anyone’s questions to any satisfaction. That’s just your way. We’re not “sending” messages to you. You can unsubscribe, ever thought of it? Then disqus won’t send messages to your email that you’re incapable of ignoring or responding to with another non-answer.

        • I do answer questions. And most people don’t make the claims you do.

          Some people start posting false assumptions of me, and then base their questions on those false assumptions. It is difficult to answer those questions. It feels like people are trying to bait me into some kind of Apologetic’s debate, which I’m not interested in.

          I don’t get emails from Disqus – but I’m on Disqus visiting other sites. My local newspaper uses Disqus for commenting, for example.

        • Aram McLean

          You know what the definition of insanity is right 😉
          Just walk away. This guy is a lost cause.

        • MNb

          “What do you do to encourage humility?”
          Looking at some numbers. I am supposed to live say 100 years. The Universe is 13,7 billions of years old. Some more stuff:

          “How do you strive to remain open-minded and teachable?”

          By constantly looking for new evidence and arguments.
          Alas believers fail in both respects. Compared to those 24 photos the idea that some immaterial god is personally interested in me is more arrogant than an ant fostering the idea that I’m interested in it. And new arguments for god are very scarce, let alone good ones. Finally I’m always willing to present my arguments (actually Herman Philipse’s) why I have concluded there is no god. Last two years nobody was able to shoot holes in them.

        • That is humbling!

        • MNb

          If your god is not a sky fairy please explain me the difference. Just assume that I’m a dumb, ignorant atheist. I’m fine with that.

        • Greg G.

          Oh, you are one of these?

        • adam

          Come on everyone has seen god’s picture

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Skeptiker

          I don’t think they actually believe in a sky fairy. Even Richard Dawkins retracted that claim!

          Just to clarify with you what you stated above. Do you mean that Dawkins first claimed that the Christian god is a “sky fairy” and later retracted the claim? Sorry if I misunderstood you. Please provide a link or reference.

        • Uh, yea. In his book, “The God Delusion” he wrote about a “sky fairy”. I heard an interview when presented with the facts of what Christians actually believe, he admitted “sky fairy” was a poor choice of words.

          He also claimed mild pedaphilia is ok.

          He also claimed intelligent design is likely – and that he thinks it is more likely we were created by aliens than God.

          I’ll see if I can find the interview.

          I can share this:

          I love the image of Dawkins shaking his fist at sky fairies. 🙂

        • Skeptiker

          In his book, “The God Delusion” he wrote about a “sky fairy”.
          Thanks for the reply. I have been a skeptic my whole life and wherever possible and when time permits, I would try to verify claims that I read about whether from believers or nonbelievers.

          I have just done a word search of my ebook copy of “The God Delusion” and found only one instance where the term “sky-fairy” appeared. None for the unhyphenated “sky fairy”. In that single occurrence, if I am not mistaken, Dawkins was quoting a blogger. You may say that Dawkins agreed with what the blogger said, but it is certainly not his own claim.

          A reference to his “retraction” of this sky fairy claim would be interesting.

          I love the image of Dawkins shaking his fist at sky fairies.
          I thought I would see that image in the Spectator article you quoted but unfortunately it is only what you wished to see.

          I am not defending Dawkins. I just want to make sure that I did not miss something that is of interest to me.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Sky fairy = god, is no great shakes. I can’t figure out why some folk can’t use a dictionary or thesaurus, preferring to get a bit bent out of shape instead.

          The various names for thousands of deities of the multitudes of religions, past and present, get no undeserved respect from me.

          I’ve heard the same said about “Sky Daddy” and “The Man in the Sky”

          Invisible Supernatural Beings have many a nomenclature.

        • Paul B. Lot

          he admitted “sky fairy” was a poor choice of words.

          I always admire people who are strong enough to admit weaknesses in their arguments.

          He also claimed mild pedaphilia is ok. (sic)

          I don’t think that’s an accurate representation of his view.

          He also claimed intelligent design is likely – and that he thinks it is more likely we were created by aliens than God.

          What? Do you have a source for this?

          I can share this:

          This article is just a poorly thought out opinion piece. The only “image of Dawkins shaking his fist at sky fairies” is the one concocted by the author to describe how others (unnamed or sourced) view Dawkins.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There are many things written, both ancient and not so ancient, that some people hold very relevant today, but some of which no one holds very relevant today, but I don’t see how that verifies any of it as true, so what is your point?

          People makes stories up, people have always made stories up, since the ability to communicate to one another no doubt…lots and lots of it is bullshit…some of it is useful, but must be dealt with very carefully because of the human penchant and imagination to make shit up and the other human penchant and imagination to believe made up shit.

        • I didn’t know that. Thanks for setting me straight.

        • Pofarmer

          People think the Hindu, Buddhist, and confuscionist writings are still relevant today as well. So what? Thomas Jefferson, David Hume, and others are still relevant as well. I don’t see how this helps you make your point.

        • Hey, how are you doing today? You seemed to be having a tough day yesterday. I hope you are doing better.

        • adam

          It was written for illiterate goat herders and farmers and fishermen who believed things like diseases where caused by demons and spirits.

        • No, it is more than that. Come on. I took an honors English class in high school. It was required reading. I took classes at college where we studied the book – from a non-religious, academic perspective. I’ve never heard any credible historian or professor make that claim.

        • Kodie

          Sort of the problem with the bible is that is so entwined from popularity with history and literature that it is background information to help you make sense of other things that reference to it heavily.

          You’re not required to read other religious tomes in college classes because Western history and literature make very little reference to them. You might in a comparative religion class or a class focused on the literature or history of another part of the world that is influenced by a different religious teaching.

          I already told you but you called it preaching. The bible isn’t the only course required reading, and most of the bible is fixated on stuff you don’t need or shouldn’t use in modern living.

        • I know.

          I was just saying The Bible wasn’t just a book written for bronze age goat herders and fishermen. It was in reference to that claim.

          I can show you well-known atheist writers that would dispute his claim, too.

      • adam

        Written FOR illiterate goat herders and farmers and fishermen.

  • Wick Samuel

    Supernatural claims by contrast are almost always wrong

    Since you acknowledge that you don’t deny God could exist, this is basically a statement aimed at casting aspersions. Kind of like the lawyer that asks a question he know will have an objection sustained, but asks it to get it in the mind of the juror.

    For example, don’t cite John 3:16 to argue that faith alone is required for salvation without also addressing Matthew’s Parable of the Sheep and the Goats and every other place where the Bible makes clear that works get you into heaven

    so.. you going to ignore the old and new testament? The law was meant to lead us to Christ? Honestly, you should consider reading the bible first before attempting to critique it.

    Are you familiar with Christian theology? Have you read Romans? Ever?

    While this was popular Greek thinking at the time, it was eventually rejected by the Christian church

    No idea what are you referring to.

    But Paul out of step with Christianity isn’t an embarrassing problem

    I guess you meant to say “Christianity out of step with Paul….? in any case, no idea what you are referring to.

    • Since you acknowledge that you don’t deny God could exist, this is basically a statement aimed at casting aspersions.

      That surprises me. So you’re saying that supernatural claims are almost always right? Or what?

      I thought we’d be on the same page here.

      Kind of like the lawyer that asks a question he know will have an objection sustained, but asks it to get it in the mind of the juror.

      There is lots of game playing in this field, but I’m not the one playing the games.

      so.. you going to ignore the old and new testament?

      so … you going to change the subject? Or do you want to say something relevant to the point?

      ”While this was popular Greek thinking at the time, it was eventually rejected by the Christian church”

      No idea what are you referring to.

      Not that you seem to really care, but Greeks liked the idea that the body was imperfect or dirty and that a soul or spirit was more perfect. Christians, by contrast, imagined a resurrection of the body.

      I guess you meant to say “Christianity out of step with Paul….?

      No, but thanks for asking. When early Christianity speaks of a resurrection of the body but Paul was writing about a spiritual, body-less resurrection, Paul is backing the wrong horse.

      • Wick Samuel

        dont know how your head stays attached to your body with all these violent changes in direction 🙂

        in short

        – John 3:16 vs Matthew’s Parable of the Sheep and the Goats is old covenant vs new covenant.

        WHAT?? you scream!!! they are both in the NT.

        you should become familiar with the bible, perhaps read it once. You’ll see that there is an old covenant of works, and an new covenant of faith in Jesus. I know you really, really, really hate to read, but you’ll be better for it (how an atheist presumes to critique the bible with virtually no familiarity of it, completely escapes me.)


        Christians, by contrast, imagined a resurrection of the body

        sources please, we’ll just start with that.
        please, don’t come back with some “go look it up for yourself” or something along those lines, which just demonstrates you are simply making stuff up.

        • dont know how your head stays attached to your body with all these violent changes in direction

          Right—it’s actually me who doesn’t stay on subject. Uh huh.

          I know you really, really, really hate to read, but you’ll be better for it (how an atheist presumes to critique the bible with virtually no familiarity of it, completely escapes me.)

          Oh dear. Another squandered opportunity to educate the atheist.

        • adam

          Re: john 3:16

      • Rob

        Supernatural claims sometimes turn out to be true — and not supernatural. At one time, germ theory was probably considered supernatural, especially before it was an actual theory. Instead, it is true, or In other words: it’s still a favored theory.

        As an aside, I have to applaud anyone, like Bob S., who has the patience to respond directly to the claims made by apologists. Without exception (so far :), I find apologists to be infuriatingly, repetitively disingenuous even when at their very best, in their toppest form. William Lane Craig is a poster boy for this. Have an argument refuted, just use it again next day, no modifications required because it’s a new day. There’s a commandment about that, phrased as ‘bearing false witness’.

        • My favorite supernatural/natural example is seeing through opaque objects. After x-rays (1896), the supernatural became natural.

          Even worse than WLC’s shenanigans is his peeps giving him no criticism for it. I guess one doesn’t disrespect the great man?

        • scottie1111

          It’s unfortunate that there’s so many WLCs, David Marshalls, Joyce Clemens, and Randal Rausers out there. The dim witted and gullible always use them as examples of **(pseudo)-intelligent individiuals who are thoroughly ensconced in their Christianity (Delusion). It’s sort of like a, “…well he’s really smart and he’s not crazy, so ‘it’ must be true.” I admire Dawkins for NOT debating him. It’s almost degrading to genuinely intelligent scientists to step in Craig’s 9 ft. square sandbox to ever so gently blow holes in his flimsy sandcastles. It also gives Craig much unneeded publicity for his UnReasonable Faith monstrosity. I have Mormon and Witness acquaintances who love Craig. I would love to hear would he would say to them about their “false” Christianities. He most likely would scream of pots, kettles, and blackness
          (**I said pseudo because how smart can a person really be if they believe in talking snakes and zombie demi-gods?)
          I’ve hit an impasse with some my Christian friends and others spread throughout cyberspace: I can never get a straight answer to a simple question– “Do you really believe in the talking snake, Fall, virgin birth, and that Jesus flew up into the sky after being brought back to life?”
          I always seem to get a hand wave, deflection, or an “you’re appealing to emotion” retort. I’ve only recently become vociferous about the Christianity Delusion in the past year from having fellow students in my cohort evangelize me to no end. I even had one of them ask me why I hate God. I replied, “I don’t ‘hate God’, nor I do I hate leprechauns. I just hate when Leprechaunists try to force Leprechaunism down my throat.”
          Of course, I received a blank stare was followed by a, “I pray that you’ll come to church with me sometime.”
          I just don’t get how when one person has a delusion, we give them psychiatric care… and yet if it’s a billion strong mass delusion, we reward people for having “faith”.

        • His path pays the bills, and he’s a minor celebrity to boot. I guess if you don’t feel any conflict about what you’re saying vs. reality (my guess is that he doesn’t), you’re good.

          When someone accuses you of hating God, you might demand why they hate Loki (or Quetzalcoatl or Vishnu or whatever).

        • scottie1111

          Ahh, that’s perfect!
          Thanks, awesome idea.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well, it should be of no surprise. Greg has openly admitted that his favourite character from his favourite story book is his hero monster Moses.

          Of course he needed a nudge towards that other hero monster Jesus should be #1, but then I was told that that was a given. Obvious really. So that other hero monster Yahweh ranks third I assume, but I could be wrong, a survey of Catholics asked who they pray to found God well down the pecking order. Mary is the go to gal for prayer. Probably why prayer so seldom works. Dodgy comms. Story of Christianity really.

          Anyway, my point, the holy roller has no problem dealing with hero monsters and placing them on a pedestal, real or fictitious. Greg and Wick have proved that already. WLC is wee buns in the hero monster rankings in comparison.

        • Ignorant Amos


          Ya could’ve picked on some other mythical being.

          Especially this day of all days, ya heretic.}8O)~

    • adam

      Supernatural claims by contrast are almost always wrong

      “Since you acknowledge that you don’t deny God could exist, this is basically a statement aimed at casting aspersions. ”

      No just a statement of fact about the evidence.

      Of course YOU could end atheism HERE and NOW, by demonstrating this ‘god’ of YOURS is not IMAGINARY…

      • Kodie

        Adam, when are supernatural claims ever right? I would say they are almost always proven wrong, or something like that.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Definitely NEVER proven right anyway.

        • adam

          You mean lighting isnt caused by Zeus?

        • MR

          Throughout history
          Every mystery
          Ever solved
          Has turned out to be
          Not magic

          —Tim Minchin

        • The_Wretched

          Supernatural claims are always wrong. That’s a fact that can be relied on in every case.

  • Miguel de la Pena

    So, from what I gather thus far, by “debunking” you basically mean agreeing with the ones you’ve listed here.

    • Greg G.

      That’s right. Did you notice how the piece ends?

      Unfortunately, there’s little to agree about in the subsequent principles for evaluating Bible verses.

      Continue with part 2.