Bad Atheist Arguments: “Atheists Don’t Need God for Meaningful Lives”

Bad Atheist Arguments: “Atheists Don’t Need God for Meaningful Lives” February 20, 2017

Andy Bannister The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist book This is part 9 of a critique of The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist: The Dreadful Consequences of Bad Arguments (2015) by Andy Bannister (part 1). The book promises to critique a number of atheist arguments.

Chapter 9. The Peculiar Case of the Postmodern Penguin

In today’s opening episode, our hero dreams that he’s wandering through a penguin colony. He muses that penguins have meaningless lives, but one penguin speaks up and says that, on the contrary, his life has plenty of meaning. He makes his own meaning. And then he gets eaten by a sea lion. (Which don’t eat penguins, but then we were told that it was a dream.)

Is it possible for life to have meaning if God doesn’t exist?

If humans are just the result of happenstance, isn’t life meaningless? If we protest otherwise, aren’t we just like the penguin? Bannister says that creating meaningful lives for ourselves without God is like a child squashing arbitrary jigsaw puzzle pieces to fit—yes they’ll fit, sort of, but you ignore how they’re intended to go together.

But without God, there is no supernatural intention. There is no Grand Plan, and his problem vanishes.

Bannister says that imagining that we create our own meaning “assumes that the universe cares.” Within the universe, we are insignificant. We can declare that we’ve created meaning, but that has created in the universe no sense of obligation.

Uh, yeah. We obviously are insignificant to the universe, God or no God. We’re stuck on an unimportant dust speck in a corner of one galaxy, one of 200 billion galaxies. The universe doesn’t care; it can’t care.

Bannister continues: “Why should we imagine that the universe owes us something?” (We shouldn’t.) Bannister says that if we’re just the result of physics, “then life doesn’t suddenly acquire meaning just because I say it does.”

Why is this hard? I say that my life has meaning, and that’s it. That’s not a grand platform, but it’s all I’ve got. And it’s all I need. I make no claim for absolute or objective meaning, just my own meaning. Like so many before him, Bannister seems to think that the only meaning is an objective meaning. For this, I point him to the definition of “meaning” in a dictionary.

Next, he considers the fate of the penguin—eaten just as he was pontificating about the meaning he had for his life.

Yeah. Shit happens. It could’ve been our hero who got eaten instead. What’s your point?

He blunders on, promising to point out the “many further problems with the idea that we can mold our own meaning.”

Further problems? I’ve yet to see one. He’s simply observing that living on a planet with scarcity and unfairness means that we will sometimes step on each other’s toes. Sometimes life is a zero-sum game, where for me to win, you must lose. (I can imagine his first day as a legislator. “You mean we have to compromise?!”)

For one of his “problems,” he contrasts meaning in a book, where we can ask the author to resolve differences in interpretation, with an authorless universe where we’re on our own for finding meaning. “Claiming that we have found the meaning is utter nonsense.”

Right—that’s not my claim. But Bannister is living in a glass house. He does claim to know the meaning of life, but his source is the Bible, a book for which there is no the meaning because Christians themselves can’t interpret it unambiguously. Christianity has 45,000 denominations worldwide, increasing at the rate of two per day. The only thing theists in general seem to agree on is that the other guy is wrong. (Read what the map of world religions tells us here.)

In an unguarded moment, I flatter myself that if I could’ve caught Bannister early in this chapter, he would’ve realized that his hysterical rending of garments was based on nothing, but of course that’s naïve. He is like a sleepwalker—it’s not that you shouldn’t wake him up but that you can’t.

But he has more.

“If atheism is true . . . what awaits us—our civilization, our race, our planet, indeed the universe as a whole—is destruction and extinction, no matter what we do.” Obviously. This is news?

“Atheists have a problem: namely that we cannot live as if life is meaningless.” It’s not meaningless, you simpleton! And if the only meaning is objective meaning, show us that it exists. Life as objectively meaningless isn’t depressing; what’s depressing is the hours I’ve spent reading and responding to your pathetic existential handwringing. Jesus Christ—grow a pair and quit whining! Yes, in trillions of years, the universe will eventually grow cold. Deal with it and move on.

“If your life is of the same value to the universe as that of a gnat . . .” You don’t like reality, so you retreat into the bosom of the Christian god? Your problems only multiply. Now you’ve got to explain the Problem of Evil, Problem of Divine Hiddenness, and God’s Old Testament tantrums and support for slavery and genocide. How is this better?

The Christian hard sell

After making his non-arguments, Bannister must think that the customer is softened up for the close. “I believe passionately that Christianity answers those questions better than any other world view I have investigated, not least atheism, which scarcely gets off the starting blocks.”

Sure, you can answer questions, and so can anyone, but is there any reason to believe your answers? Any evidence? You haven’t given me any reason to move Christianity out of the Just Pretend bin.

Bannister gives some questions that he thinks make his case.

  • Who am I? You aren’t an accident but were fashioned by God. I was fashioned by God to burn forever in hell? That’s what your book says is the fate of most of us. Jesus said, “Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:14). Thanks, God.
  • Do I matter? “God was willing to pay an incredible price for each one of us.” An incredible price? Nonsense. Jesus popped back into existence a day and a half after “dying.” The sacrifice narrative is incoherent and embarrassing (more here and here).
  • Why am I here? Our purpose “is to know God and enjoy him forever.” Seriously? Yeah, that’s a purpose that will put a spring in my step. Not to help other people, not to make the world a better place, not to eliminate smallpox, but to enjoy God, who won’t get off the couch to make his mere existence obvious.
  • Can I make a difference? We can be part of God’s greater purpose. That atheism thing is sounding better all the time. Instead of brainlessly showing up to get an assignment from the foreman, we’re on our own. We are empowered to find our purpose rather than have it forced upon us. Yes, that can be daunting. Yes, we might get halfway through life and realize that we’d squandered much of it. But the upsides are so much greater because there’s a downside. Because we can screw up, it makes the successes that much more significant. And we have ourselves to congratulate for our success.

Bannister moves on to an observation that, from him, is shocking: “I can hear some protest that this all sounds very lovely, but it doesn’t make it true.” Finally! Are we now to get the evidence?

Of course not. Citing his oft-mentioned but ill-supported claim that the only meaning is objective meaning, he calls atheism, not cake, but “the soggy digestive biscuit of grim nihilistic despair.”

Wrong again. You can try to find someone to impose this on, but that’s not me. Ah, well—so much for the possibility of evidence.

And he wraps up the chapter wondering about the consequences of atheism not being true. Because humans desire absolute meaning, purpose, and value “this would make us fundamentally irrational—poor, mad, deluded creatures” and blah, blah, blah. There is no acknowledgement that holding beliefs that conform to the evidence may be the best route to mental health.

Huh?

It’s like Bannister has just reached some major age milestone and has suddenly realized that his generation is now in charge. No longer can he look to his parents’ generation to protect him from reality. But instead of manning up and facing the challenge of making things work best for society, he wants to crawl back under the covers with his footie pajamas and blankie.

Maybe this topic was weaker than most or maybe I’m just getting fatigued by the weight of chapter after chapter of slobber, but I wonder at the praise at the front of the book. For example, “This is a lovely book, which draws deeply on high-quality philosophical, historical, and scientific thinking.” And, “The book is remarkably free of smugness and self-congratulation.” Did we read the same book?

Seeing what passes for meaningful intellectual contribution within Christian circles, I despair of crossing the gulf separating Christians from skeptics.

Continue with part 10.

For centuries, theologians have been explaining the unknowable
in terms of the-not-worth-knowing.
— H. L. Mencken

Image credit: pixabay, CC

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  • Doubting Thomas

    Wow. Is “The book is remarkably free of smugness and self-congratulation” an actual review they picked to try and tell people how good the book is? It’s as if they realize that the entire genre of apologetics is atrocious to the point that “This one isn’t as bad as the usual crap” is actually considered a compliment.

    At least they realize how low their own standards are.

    • Jim Jones

      The most remarkable thing about religion is the utter lack of even one good argument for it. Over 2,000 years and . . . nothing.

      • Do you have a respectable definition of ‘religion’? I’m especially curious about whether it includes or excludes the following phenomena:

        Even if it were true that socialism is the only rational conclusion, this would not explain its dissemination among specific social groups. Modern science, for example, may also be described as the only rational conclusion for certain questions about nature—and yet it took millennia before it came to be established in specific groups in a specific corner of the world. Ideas neither triumph nor fail in history because of their intrinsic truth or falsity. Furthermore, the affinity between intellectuals and socialism is clearly more than a matter of rational arguments. It is suffused with values, with moral passion, in many cases with profoundly religious hope—in sum, with precisely those characteristics which permit speaking of a socialist myth (in a descriptive, nonpejorative sense.) (Facing Up to Modernity, 58)

        The socialist myth promises the fulfillment of both the rational dreams of the Enlightenment and the manifold aspirations of those to whom the Enlightenment has been an alienating experience. Such a promise inevitably grates against its imperfect realization in empirical reality, frustrating and often enraging its believers. This is nothing new in the long history of eschatologies, which is inevitably a history of the psychology of disappointment. (Facing Up to Modernity, 62–63)

            Another exaggeration may have been the conventional view of the reach of scientific rationality. One does not have to look at religion only in order to find this thought plausible. It is amazing what people educated to the highest levels of scientific rationality are prepared to believe by way of irrational prejudices; one only has to look at the political and social beliefs of the most educated classes of Western societies to gain an appreciation of this. Just one case: What Western intellectuals over the last decades have managed to believe about the character of Communist societies is alone sufficient to cast serious doubt on the proposition that rationality is enhanced as a result of scientifically sophisticated education or of living in a modern technological society. (A Far Glory, 30)

        The number of public intellectuals duped by the Potemkin-village tactics of their communist hosts in tours of the Soviet Union, China, North Vietnam, East Germany, Cuba, and elsewhere in the communist bloc is legion.[64] Paul Hollander quotes a remarkable number of statements by distinguished intellectuals that reveal astonishing ignorance, obtuseness, naïveté, callousness, and wishful thinking. Yet relatively few people have read the small literature of which Hollander’s book is an exemplar, and the luster of the deceived fellow travelers (many of them still alive and still speaking on sundry public topics, like John Kenneth Galbraith, Jonathan Kozol, Richard Falk, Staughton Lynd, and Susan Sontag) remains for the most part undimmed by their folly. (Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline, 150)

        Now, of course this is evidence you can happily ignore if it clashes with your understanding of reality. That is the fashion right now, correct?

        • Lark62

          tl. dr

        • Too much evidence for you? Can you handle soundbites only?

        • Kodie

          Too much credit you give yourself! Rambling on and on is not evidence.

        • Lark62

          Yet the best you can do is a copy pasty of some screed on socialism which by all appearances is irrelevant to the conversation.

          Provide relevant evidence and we can discuss it.

        • Provide relevant evidence and we can discuss it.

          Before I go about providing evidence, I think it’s rather important to define our terms. So:

          JJ: The most remarkable thing about religion is the utter lack of even one good argument for it. Over 2,000 years and . . . nothing.

          LB: Do you have a respectable definition of ‘religion’? I’m especially curious about whether it includes or excludes the following phenomena:

          If you would rather not define your terms and show how they apply to real-world examples, then I’m afraid you are an enemy of science.

        • Lark62

          If you think a term should be defined, then define it already. Then we can discuss your definition.

          From what I can tell, it appears you have a burr up your butt about socialism / communism. I don’t see anything there about religion.

          Since you laid your dump in response to a post about the lack of evidence for religion, perhaps you can favor us with some evidence for religion.

          However, my psychic invisible twin tells me that the ever original “Stalin was an atheist” nonsense will rear its head any minute now. Yawn.

        • If you think a term should be defined, then define it already.

          The person who predicates his or her claim on a term is the one obligated to define it. But nice try! 😀

          From what I can tell, it appears you have a burr up your butt about socialism / communism. I don’t see anything there about religion.

          I was merely using the relationship between some humans (many smart ones) and socialism/​communism as an example of behavior which looks awfully “religious”, in multiple ways.

          I personally suspect Marx was great at identifying problems and terrible at thinking up solutions. But I would need to engage much more with Marxism in order to say that with confidence.

          Since you laid your dump in response to a post about the lack of evidence for religion, perhaps you can favor us with some evidence for religion.

          What an excellent attempt at deflection.

          However, my psychic invisible twin tells me that the ever original “Stalin was an atheist” nonsense will rear its head any minute now. Yawn.

          You should probably put that twin in a sound-proof, opaque box for the duration of this conversation.

    • MNb

      Makes me wonder what according to them a book full of smugness and self-congratulation will look like. On second thought I’d rather not know.

      • Doubting Thomas

        I have one word for you: Lee F’n Strobel.

    • 11 reviews on 3 pages. Amazing.

      • Doubting Thomas

        Other reviews:
        -This book has mass.
        -Very few misspelled words.
        -The thick pages make for excellent kindling.

  • Mark A. Siefert

    The fact that the Christian answer to this whole “meaning of life” canard is that we humans were created to be nothing more than unquestioning worship engines to a god who needs constant adoration should tell us which philosophical position is really “nihilistic.” I am completely comfortable with the fact that my life is a result of unintended, undesired, and undirected biological processes in an uncaring, unconscious universe. I don’t see the need to hide from that reality behind a façade of naval gazing.

    • Michael Neville

      naval gazing

      I like looking at warships. Or perhaps you meant “navel gazing”?

      • Greg G.

        Have you ever studied your belly button on the deck of a warship? That would be soooo meta…

        • al kimeea

          naval navel gazing – it’s all the rage

        • Kuno

          Navæl gazing.

      • Mark A. Siefert

        DOH! That always trips me up.

    • The idea of a god so self-centered to like worship is quite strange. Definitely a weakness in the story.

      • Better to worship science? Or do you worship—worth-ship, or valuing as the highest good—nothing whatsoever?

        • Kuno

          Why do you have to worship anything?

        • Can you really consider nothing to be of worth? That’s not an evolutionarily sound strategy. Such people tend to commit suicide—no?

        • Kuno

          Ah, I see. You are trying to make an argument from etymology. How nice.

          Say, did you use a computer to write that post?

        • You become like what you [most highly] worship. Modernity worships bureaucracy and computation, and is becoming increasingly like them. Very ‘rational’, quite heartless. Evil can be exceedingly rational—perhaps more rational than life.

        • I think you need to look up “worship.”

        • dictionary.com worship

          1. reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.

          Compare “sacred” to:

               1. “valuing as the highest good”
               2. “most highly value”

          Shall we continue?

        • adam

          “Shall we continue?”

          NO, you’ve demonstrated well that you are being deceptive. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cb8bacc3a48ee1276d73b5f2cef9beda8c65426fe4638f944175aa8abc66c042.jpg

        • Greg G.

          The primary meanings of “worship” and “sacred” are religious in nature. You seem to be trying to equivocate those meanings with secondary meanings by substituting “highly value” to erase the religious stink. Why bother?

        • The primary meanings of “worship” and “sacred” are religious in nature.

          Have fun proffering a rigorous definition of ‘religious’ such that it operates in a scientific fashion, rather than in an ideological fashion. That is, such that it slices nature at her joints, vs. the joints you’d like to pretend exist.

          You seem to be trying to equivocate those meanings with secondary meanings by substituting “highly value” to erase the religious stink. Why bother?

          Ummm, I don’t want to erase religious stink. I want people to admit that the following is “religious stink”:

          Even if it were true that socialism is the only rational conclusion, this would not explain its dissemination among specific social groups. Modern science, for example, may also be described as the only rational conclusion for certain questions about nature—and yet it took millennia before it came to be established in specific groups in a specific corner of the world. Ideas neither triumph nor fail in history because of their intrinsic truth or falsity. Furthermore, the affinity between intellectuals and socialism is clearly more than a matter of rational arguments. It is suffused with values, with moral passion, in many cases with profoundly religious hope—in sum, with precisely those characteristics which permit speaking of a socialist myth (in a descriptive, nonpejorative sense.) (Facing Up to Modernity, 58)

          The socialist myth promises the fulfillment of both the rational dreams of the Enlightenment and the manifold aspirations of those to whom the Enlightenment has been an alienating experience. Such a promise inevitably grates against its imperfect realization in empirical reality, frustrating and often enraging its believers. This is nothing new in the long history of eschatologies, which is inevitably a history of the psychology of disappointment. (Facing Up to Modernity, 62–63)

          It all depends on whether you wish to be scientific with the word ‘religious’. Maybe you don’t give a shit about science in this domain. Maybe you want your ideology protected and think that too much rigorous examination for this reason:

          And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.” (Acts 19:27)

          The verb “counted”, logizomai, has a sense of rigorous analysis. If the religion of Artemis were subjected to such analysis, it could be exposed as nothing/​worthless—oudeis. There is a reason Sartre called his book Being and Nothingness. Here’s how actual magic deals with logizomai:

          In fact, magic is not to be compared with sacrifice; it is one of those collective customs which cannot be named, described, analysed without the fear that one may lose the feeling that they have any reality, form or function of their own. Magic is an institution only in the most weak sense; it is a kind of totality of actions and beliefs, poorly defined, poorly organized even as far as those who practise it and believe in it are concerned. (A General Theory of Magic, 12–13)

          There are certainly versions of Christianity which have “religious stink”, which need logizomai-type thinking applied to them. I have done this and will continue to do this. But if you’re going to pretend for one minute that what you believe has no “religious stink”, then I will simply laugh. For example, I doubt you really want to face the evidence presented in Democracy for Realists or Rationality and Power: Democracy in Practice. After all, it might expose that much of what you believe is fabricated out of nothingness. You might be tempted to commit suicide (Sartre rigorously defended the right and quasi-goodness of suicide), like this sociologist did after performing logizomai on society:

              “Bringing to consciousness,” in this sense, does indeed have a liberating quality. But the freedom to which it leads, apart form its possible political effects, can be a rather terrible thing. It is the freedom of ecstasy, in the literal term of ek-stasis—stepping or standing outside the routine ways and assumptions of everyday life—which, let us recall, also includes routine comforts, routine security. Thus, if there is a relation between “bringing to consciousness” and the ecstasy of liberation, there is also a relation between that ecstasy and the possibility of desperation. Toward the end of his life Max Weber was asked by a friend to whom he had been explaining the pessimistic conclusions of his sociological analysis: “But, if you think this way, why do you continue doing sociology?” Weber’s reply is one of the most chilling statements I know in the history of Western thought: “Because I want to know how much I can stand.” Alfred Seidel, a student of Weber’s who was also greatly influenced by Freud, came to an even more pessimistic conclusion in his little book appropriately titled Bewusstsein als VerhaengnisConsciousness as Doom. Seidel concluded that the combined critical consciousness of sociology and psychoanalysis was not only politically subversive but inimical to life itself. Whatever other motives there may have been, Seidel’s suicide as a young man in the 1920s was an existential ratification of this view of the “bringing to consciousness” of sociology. (Facing Up to Modernity, xiii–xiv)

          My guess is you won’t want to face up to the evidence I present in this comment. Perhaps you’ll deny that it is evidence, that you can speak authoritatively about the subject matter of sociology, while denying that sociology has anything useful to say on its own subject matter. I generally find that atheists stop giving a shit about the evidence when things get too personal to their own sacred values and beliefs. Maybe you will be different?

        • Kodie

          You’re skipping right over the “reverent honor” and “homage paid to”, and leap straight to the essential quality of worship, i.e., the reverent honor or homage paid to something that keeps us all from wanting to kill ourselves. You are on DRUGS!

        • Doug

          Do you believe the dictionary is incapable of error?

        • Kodie

          I believe this is LUKE”S PRIVATE THREAD.

        • Doug

          I asked a question.

          Do you believe the dictionary is incapable of error because you and your friends seem to hold it up as a pretty infallible standard

        • Kodie

          I know you ask a lot of dumb questions. You don’t seem to realize Luke is from outer space. The dictionary doesn’t dictate what words mean – it compiles common usage of what English speakers decide words mean. Luke is ignoring all of that. I also know you were banned. Why do you think we need your input?

        • Doug

          Why do you think the internet community needs yours?

        • Kodie

          Because when I didn’t post for a while, people were asking about me, and Bob sent me an email to ask how I was doing and if/when I’d be back. You? You were banned twice.

        • Joe

          I blocked Doug days ago when it became obvious that he wasn’t interested in discussion, he just posited weak christian theology as factual.

        • adam

          “Do you believe the dictionary is incapable of error?”

          Demonstrate the error, so that we can move on.

          In EXACTLY the same way you need to demonstrate that YOUR “God” is not IMAGINARY..

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/62dfaf520bf2fac16201b0f4edb756eb96df3dfa782659ff0b640c9cc712bd88.jpg

        • Doug

          Thank-you for answering the question

          I asked “Do you believe the dictionary is incapable of error?”

          to which Adam says “demonstrate the error”

          Wow what an interesting response evidently he believes the dictionary is bereft of errors.

          Tell me, which dictionary is the most reliable in your opinion?

        • Kodie

          Why are Christians so incapable of keeping up one end of a conversation without lying?

        • Doug

          Is a ruse the same as a lie? Dictionaries only remember? Atheist rules only.

        • Kodie

          I asked you a question. Keep up!

        • adam

          “Wow what an interesting response evidently he believes the dictionary is bereft of errors.”

          No, I got the impression YOU did, so point them out.
          Demonstrate that YOUR “God” is not IMAGINARY

          And we can move on…

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3017e5a72eb334b91e052dcd1031b2af510c8d6b8f8fdb0e5fd05dd53c9d8e0b.jpg

        • Doug
        • BlackMamba44
        • adam

          Athesm is simply the disbelief in deity.

          So you are Lying for Jesus again.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/681785c573e0e941d7e81f66dd2e305bc7671f7e9b41f0b84b263f098be05d79.jpg

        • adam

          “because I can’t believe that nothing produces something”

          But you believe that an IMAGINARY ‘God’ produced everything from nothing.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/98880e8f2cffd70e93fde196de6ac1c04c52e5f4ea5debc18102b35427ca1f86.jpg

        • Ignorant Amos

          When was there “nothing”?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Your meme is a strawman ya clown.

        • adam

          Yet, it is HE who believes nothing produced something.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nothing new in that. A fuckwit spewing fuckwittery is par for the course.

        • BlackMamba44
        • Kuno

          Of course a dictionairy is capable of error. The thing is that if such an error is noticed, the dictionairy gets corrected

        • adam

          “You are on DRUGS!”

          Nope, just another Liar for Jesus

        • Doug

          Why do you insist on using the dictionary and quoting from it in the same way you oppose Christians quoting and using the Bible?

        • Is this a trick question? Because the dictionary is correct. Everyone agrees, since it is simply an attempt at finding both the consensus definition(s) as well as variant definitions. Admittedly, you might say, “Well, that’s not how we define that word in the back woods of my part of the country,” but that’s simply a limitation of an actual dictionary. A perfect dictionary would be happy to record that.

          The Bible says all sorts of things. You can make it say just about whatever you want, depending on your mood. It’s a sock puppet. Christians themselves can’t even agree, which is why we have thousands of denominations. And then, of course, other theists disagree on which religion is correct.

        • Doug

          It’s not a trick question. It’s a simple question that you skirted around.

          Do you believe the dictionary is incapable of error? If you say yes you’re no different than Christians who believe the Bible is incapable of error.

        • I hit the question directly at your head. You’re just too clueless to realize it. Respond to my answer.

          Yes, the dictionary can make mistakes, but so what? We all agree that it should be fixed when it errs. If we were trained linguists, we could put our heads together and fairly quickly come up with a corrected definition.

          A dictionary is a poll, while the Bible is a sock puppet. How hard do you want to make this?

        • Doug

          By saying you believe the dictionary is capable of error do you agree then that you can’t trust definitions given in the dictionary at face value? In other words they may be incorrect?

        • Kodie

          Wow, you are so fucking illiterate.

        • My response was too hot to handle, I guess? You’re changing the subject as fast as Luke B. You may owe him a copyright fee.

          “The dictionary” is a proxy for “the definitions of words we all agree to.”

          Respond to this comment. I can appreciate you may not like that I dismantled your argument, but it would help with closure if you’d simply acknowledge it.

        • Kodie

          It would help with closure if banned posters can take a hint.

        • Greg G.

          Humpty Dumpty, you can use words to mean whatever you want them to mean but don’t expect others to understand you if you don’t use them the way others do.

          But if I had to bet, I would put my money on the dictionary definition over yours for what other English speakers generally mean by the word.

        • Doug

          So are you okay with using the original 1828 version of Webster’s?

        • Kodie

          Non sequitur. Your teachermom gave you a gold star for bein’ smurt today, doesn’t mean she knows shit.

        • Holy shit–enough with the dictionaries!

          Either respond to my bitch slapping of your dictionary argument or agree with me. “The dictionary” in this conversation is just a proxy for “the definitions society uses for words.” If an actual dictionary has mistakes, that’s irrelevant.

          See, this is the problem that I complained about. You get corrected on an argument and, instead of showing why your position was actually right, you ignore everything and go back to square 1, unchanged.

          Learn something.

        • Doug

          it’s not irrelevant. if it has mistakes how can we be sure it’s correct that’s my point?

          again, are you okay if we use the 1828 version of Webster’s because some definitions will be different then they are today. Are you alright with that?

        • Kodie

          Despite having it explained to you, you still don’t understand what a dictionary is for.

        • adam

          #altfact, #altreality

        • Greg G.

          it’s not irrelevant. if it has mistakes how can we be sure it’s correct that’s my point?

          It doesn’t matter what the dictionary says if you define the word in the way you intend to use it.

        • MNb

          “if it has mistakes how can we be sure it’s correct that’s my point?”
          Do you apply that principle as well to your favourite Holy Book? If yes we’re for much more fun at your expense.

        • That’s what’s fun about talking to you. You bring a childlike wonder and naivete to the conversation.

          Or not.

          I don’t like repeating points over and over. I’ll try this one more time: “The dictionary” in this conversation is just a proxy for “the definitions society uses for words.” If an actual dictionary has mistakes, that’s irrelevant.

          Add to the conversation or get banned. Again.

        • Doug

          I can just create another account – again and again and again and again

        • “What would Jesus do?” eh? I don’t recall trolling discussed in the NT.

        • Dys

          I’m beginning to think “Doug” might be our least-favourite idiot lawyer and incorrigible liar “Greg”.

          The terrible understanding of basic concepts and shit analogies are matching up pretty well.

        • Kodie

          Not even close!

        • TheNuszAbides

          I don’t recall trolling discussed in the NT

          you’ll inspire Greg G. to give it a thorough search, though, I hope.

        • Dys

          Are all your personas as mindnumbingly thick, uneducated, and dishonest as this “Doug” one?

        • Kodie

          He is unable to expand on the one note he’s been playing.

        • Kodie

          You’re obsessed with us! What does god tell you that means?

        • BlackMamba44

          Dude. Get a life.

        • Greg G.

          It would be an excellent source to help understand writings from the early 19th century!

          If you want to use a word in a non-standard way, just give your definition. If you deliberately use a word differently while knowing the the other person will interpret your meaning not with your secret meaning, then spring your unique meaning into the conversation later, that is deliberate equivocation and is a dishonest method of communication. Religious people do this with the word “faith” a lot, for example.

          If you don’t understand what I mean by “equivocation”, look it up.

        • A dictionary is a poll, while the Bible is a sock puppet. How hard do you want to make this?

          So if the majority of people think that a fetus is a legal person whose abortion would be homicide (justifiable in the case of e.g. ectopic pregnancies, unjustifiable in many others), then that definition becomes … “correct”?

          Do you have any idea how the rule of the majority has operated throughout the ages? Well, you’re getting a taste of it now with Trump. Let’s see how you like rule by the majority as the clock ticks forward. 😀

        • Was “the dictionary … correct” when it defined homosexuality as a disorder?

        • A classic Lukism–you don’t like the topic, so you change it.

          I sit in awe and admiration of a master.

        • Revealing hypocrisy on when you will and will not accept dictionary definitions ain’t changing the topic.

        • Kodie

          You’re not using a dictionary definition. You’re using pieces of a definition to accuse people who don’t feel the need to call it worship when they like or appreciate things suicidal. You’re whacked in the head.

        • Doug

          What Kodie is really saying is that you’re not using her bible so yeah…..

        • Kodie

          Since it’s really hard for you to understand what words mean without having the compulsion to lie, let me explain –

          when adults grown-ups… people who are no longer in diapers like yourself, wish to communicate effectively, I mean good, talk good. learn, understand meaning from the person they are talking to, it’s helpful, I mean “good” when we agree what those words mean. It’s just how it is. It’s not what the dictionary dictates, it’s what speakers and writers of English agree words mean. But you’re a toddler who can’t get his hand out of the back of his diaper, so what the fuck do you know about communicating? You scream and babble, and you think that is “ruffling feathers”. All you are doing is demonstrating that Christianity must be false. Even Luke Breuer said you’re a terrible person but it flew over your stupid fucking head.

        • adam

          “Revealing hypocrisy”

          Where?

          #fakenews

        • Doug

          evidently it’s the doctrine of abrogation at work in the dictionary community, i.e. new dictionaries override older ones

        • You may find this exchange informative:

          BS: You say that the West screwed up? OK—what did you expect? But your Bible makes clear that God didn’t just ineptly handle a genocide, he commanded them.

          LB: Can you point to any evidence for your way being ‘better’?

          BS: Yeah, I got evidence. Person: “a man, woman, or child.” Source: Oxford English Dictionary

          LB: In the DSM IV, homosexuality is not considered a pathology. When the DSM I was in force, was it true that “homosexuality is a pathology”? Or do you believe it never was a pathology, and that the authors of the DSM I got it wrong? If you think they got it wrong, then are you appealing to a ‘dictionary’ of sorts which is now 100% correct?

          BS: Objectively true? I see no objective truth, at least when it comes to morality.

          +

          LB: then are you appealing to a ‘dictionary’ of sorts which is now 100% correct?

          BS: No. Why would you ask such a stupid question?

          LB: Well, you cited a dictionary as if it answered my question. I thought that was a really stupid response. And so, I gave you another example where it would be stupid to think that a carefully constructed dictionary-like document is trustworthy, like you treated the OED. So, it seems that you’ve indicted your own answer, kind of like how Nathan got King David to indict himself.

        • adam
        • adam

          “evidently its the doctrine of abrogation at work in the dictionary community, i.e. new dictionaries override older ones”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/870086376a3039ed8ff43904fc455354e88f434aa1a491d68683492f7a9e351e.jpg

        • Doug

          Because Boniface somehow equates to “Christianity is false”

          try again red herring

        • adam

          “Because Boniface somehow equates to “Christianity is false””

          No, Boniface was a shameless pedophile.

          Christianity is false because MAGIC is IMAGINARY.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d2604d74a3602b9a653ca3bde07f9b615e04ef5423e93efc36252eaded367c6a.jpg

        • Doug
        • Kodie

          No, that only proves your mind is so simple that the only improvement you make on that bullshit is “a wizard did it”.

        • Doug

          a person is the most logical explanation for something that is clearly designed. Last time I checked nothing can’t produce something

        • Kodie

          It would seem you’re terribly gullible to follow that reasoning.

        • Michael Neville

          First, define nothing. Make it rigorous. Then we can discuss whether or not something can come from nothing. Incidentally, you’ll need to brush up on your quantum physics before we continue.

        • Last time you checked? So are you your source of scientific conclusion?

          I suggest you upgrade to actual scientists.

        • Doug

          1. “consensus” doesn’t equal truth
          2. there are 10’s of thousands of scientists at the doctoral level who believe that nature was designed by a creator
          3. couldn’t I say to you that you need to upgrade to rationality. It’s irrational to say something isn’t designed when it clearly it is/was

        • Greg G.

          1. “consensus” doesn’t equal truth

          I agree.

          2. there are 10’s of thousands of scientists at the doctoral level who believe that nature was designed by a creator

          But there are not that many in the relevant sciences, such as biology and cosmology.

          3. couldn’t I say to you that you need to upgrade to rationality. It’s irrational to say something isn’t designed when it clearly it is/was

          It is irrational to say that something was obviously designed when it is obviously not designed.

        • 1. That’s true. So what? You’re an outsider to science, and you’re obliged to accept the consensus of a field you can’t understand as the best guess we have at the moment.

          2a. Oh? Show me.

          2b. Again: so what? If they’re biologists, then that would challenge biology. But they’re not, are they?

          3. “It’s irrational to say something isn’t designed when it clearly it is/was.” Uh huh. Doesn’t seem designed to me. I guess we’re at an impasse. Or should I just accept that it was designed because it looks like it to you?

        • adam

          But atheism is simply the disbelief in deity.

          So you are LYING for Jesus AGAIN.

        • Doug
        • Kodie

          So you only found two memes we already saw, and they are as dumb as you are.

        • Doug

          But they make two of my points so well.

          1. Atheism has no claim to morality or meaning, i.e. they deny any absolutes (incoherently of course)

          2.Atheism’s belief in how we have something and not nothing out of nothing is also incoherent and laughably stupid

        • Kodie

          They demonstrate how far behind the pack you are, and by that, I mean most Christians are more literate and not that dense as you feel comfortable being.

        • Doug

          Actually most Christians know barely a scratch of the things that are talked about on Bob’s blog

        • Kodie

          Most Christians are even less intellectual than you?????? Holy shit. No, actually, many Christians are as gullible and unoriginal as you are, that post here, anyway. You are, like I said, in the bottom 25% intellectually, of all Christians I can recall posting here. There are many who will comment to Bob, he can’t be serious swinging at low-hanging fruit as this shit, that not all Christians are like “that” (i.e. YOU, i.e. dumb as fuck). There are totally Christians who can’t believe there is any reason an atheist needs to waste time contending with the weak shitty arguments you think seal your case. I mean, there are Christians who think your arguments are that dumb. They’ve come here and told us!

        • Doug

          Well as a Christian I can tell you that only about 9 percent of them are Biblically literate. I’m actually in that 9 percent and know more than 91 percent of my Christian peers when it comes to many of things brought up on Bobs blog.

        • Kodie

          You are biblically familiar with the sloppy apologetics of Christianity. You are redundant, a peddler, a no-brain, witless, pawn of Christianity, and a fanboi for Jesus, it doesn’t mean a lot. You got hooked on your hobby and troll – you’ve admitted twice now that you’re a troll, and only after being banned twice and then denying that you’re a troll because this (to you) is “dialogue-ing”.

          I don’t give a shit about your bible, you’re not here to talk about that. You’re here to repeat shit you believe, in an awkward, inarticulate, anti-intellectual way, and whine about being treated poorly like the troll you obviously are, and admit to being. How did you think we’d respond? We like to talk to grown-ups, even Christian grown-ups. You’re not one of them.

        • Greg G.

          Well as a Christian I can tell you that only about 9 percent of them are Biblically literate.

          Can you verify that as an honest person? If you are in the top 9%, my opinions of Christains will be diminished.

        • I’ll agree that you know more than most Christians.

          You haven’t answered my question about where you got this knowledge. Tell us.

          Unfortunately, the apologetics you’ve been given suck. We can reply to them in our sleep. Give us something new.

        • Susan

          There are many who will comment to Bob, he can’t be serious swinging at low-hanging fruit as this shit

          Yes. Doug is one of a gazillion “strawmen” that other christians accuse us of constructing.

          Yet he is real and represents a huge number of christians.

          Still, they don’t go after Doug. They go after us.

          And they provide no better arguments or evidence than Doug when they ask us to address “true christianity”.

          Predictably, Luke Breuer instantly got on side with him.

          Strawman, my ass.

        • 1. Atheism has no claim to morality or meaning, i.e. they deny any absolutes (incoherently of course)

          Have you brought any new insights to this conversation?

          Right—atheism doesn’t say anything about morality or meaning. That’s also true about chemistry.

          Curiously, Christianity does make statements about morality, and they largely suck.

          2.Atheism’s belief in how we have something and not nothing out of nothing is also incoherent and laughably stupid

          What’s laughably stupid is that you don’t realize that (1) it’s cosmology and not atheism that says that, and (2) cosmology doesn’t say that.

        • Doug

          1. Suck or not suck at least they are rational
          2. If cosmology or atheism says that nothing produced something what’s the difference?

        • Greg G.

          1. Suck or not suck at least they are rational

          The morals that Christianity shares with the rest of the world are the rational ones. The morals that differentiate Christain morals from the rest of humanity are not rational. The idea that Christains should impose their morality on the rest of humanity is completely irrational.

          2. If cosmology or atheism says that nothing produced something what’s the difference?

          You are conflating the philosophical “nothing”, which is a concept that appears to be no more actual than a perfect equilateral triangle, and the cosmological nothing, which is an unstable nothingness. Atheism is the disbelief in gods, which implies that if a god doesn’t exist, it could not have poofed the universe into existence nor dreamed it into existence nor ripped a sea monster in half to create the heavens and earth.

          If you appeal to a god poofing the universe into existence, you must answer where the god came from. If you appeal to an unstable nothingness, then you don’t need to ask where the instability comes from because there is simply nothing to maintain the stability.
          God disappears in a puff of logic.

        • adam

          “1. Suck or not suck at least they are rational ”

          Only to socio and psychopaths.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8405941ed9f5c1c9bf717f00591e0b5455633b20f6c5705754c71d7decaa52be.jpg

        • 1. What kind of defense is that? You might as well say: Suck or not at least they’re grammatically correct.

          2. Oh, Goddamnit. Neither cosmology nor atheism say that nothing produced something. That’s not too far from what you say, however, so I’m not sure why you say it’s laughably stupid.

        • Dys

          1. Suck or not suck at least they are rational

          Some of them are, some of them aren’t.

        • MNb

          1. What’s rational about one theologian concluding that christians can own slaves and another concluding that they can’t – and neither having a method to decide between the two?
          2. If. Cosmology doesn’t say that.

        • Dys

          2.Atheism’s belief in how we have something and not nothing out of nothing is also incoherent and laughably stupid

          And if that were true, you’d have a point. But it isn’t, so you don’t.

          But the fact that you still believe that even after having been corrected multiple times is merely a demonstrate of your utter dishonesty.

        • adam

          Athesm is simply the disbelief in deity.

          So you are Lying for Jesus again..

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/681785c573e0e941d7e81f66dd2e305bc7671f7e9b41f0b84b263f098be05d79.jpg

        • adam

          “Was “the dictionary … correct” when it defined homosexuality as a disorder?”

          It was at the time.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ab50ccbdec528e64b66ec2dce7f785204fef516bac228d7c319a5a13c1200994.jpg

        • TheNuszAbides

          [EDIT: and the fact that it was removed reaffirms] the DSM as an evolving concern based on scientific principles.

          1. nobody [sane] ever asked for eternal precise accuracy from it.

          2. the prejudices and pressures dominant in society — i.e. the majority of schmucks who prefer apathy/’traditional values’ to approaching their troubles scientifically — fueled the symptoms that made the categorization relatively accurate:
          basic criteria for disorders include difficulty functioning in society and strained/stressful emotional state!

          3. shouldn’t be much of a head-scratcher (except for Troll [insert latest name here]) to imagine homosexuals (no matter how secretive) feeling such difficulty and stress, surrounded by the standard bigoted propaganda of the ages.

          4. add to that the difficulty for even mental health experts [heaping tablespoon of Young Soft Science caveat] to get over the institutionalized nature of said prejudice/propaganda …

        • adam

          Well of course, create the government/situations where some group in society is deemed by “God” to be dangerous and then identify them as antisocial and paranoid because of it.

          Not unlike the word “Sin”
          Create an imaginary disease of which you own the imaginary cure.

        • adam

          “Why do you insist on using the dictionary and quoting from it in the same way you oppose Christians quoting and using the Bible?”

          Because people quote the bible to prove that their beliefs in MAGIC are real, when the bible doesnt demonstrate that.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/53ec94e8083d59120089cc69072da442139819ed8f409d30ac86093d1acf7ba9.jpg

        • Greg G.

          I’m posting this here as it is near the “Doug” post I was replying to but he may have gotten himself hammered again.

          __________________________________

          If Exodus 21:16 is about slavery, then the Bible must be OK with kidnapping for ransom, but it is in contradiction with the rest of the OT on slavery. The Bible even orders the Israelis to offer slavery to cities and to kill them all if they refuse.

          But if Exodus 21:16 is forbidding kidnapping for ransom, then it is biblically consistent with the OT. That makes 1 Timothy a liar which is another thing it rants about in that passage.

        • Doug

          You don’t understand the nuances of slavery then in the Bible. Exodus 21:16 is not saying “man stealing” is okay it’s forbidding it! The Bible strictly forbids the selling of slaves what don’t you understand about that? The forms of slavery that the Bible is okay with are 1. self induced slavery whereby a person was in extreme debt and slavery was the only way out 2. taking slaves during wartime. That’s it.

        • Kodie

          You wouldn’t know what a nuance was if it punched you in the face.

        • Doug

          Do you just want me to leave? Is there any part of anything I say that you can stomach. I feel like my two points about biblical slavery are pretty well informed especially considering when a. most Christians couldn’t even get that far and b. it’s pretty accurate.

        • Kodie

          I wouldn’t mind if you stayed banned and didn’t insist yourself upon us like a bitter stalker. Your points about biblical slavery live in denial, slathered in theological righteousness. In reality, you can’t get the stink off. You are excusing the god you adore for objective goodness for not telling his chosen not to enslave other people. You re excusing the god you adore for objective goodness for giving instructions how to treat slaves (which I’ve explained previously as basically, how not to void the warranty on your dishwasher).

          I do not have any issue accepting the standards of humans who lived in ancient times. Most of your argument dwells in what was real for these people, how they lived and managed labor and economy. That’s not actually the problematic part of it. The problem is – your god wiped the earth of almost all life, according to the story, because they were wicked. He goes from village to village, ordering genocide, because those people were wicked. He cuddles the Jews and guides them out of Egypt because they were enslaved, and then, because it was the moral style at the time, helps those same Jews not learn a damn thing about morality or empathy with regard toward slavery. He just carved a fucking list of things not to do. But slavery was their only economic option! It was different back then, it was totally normal to volunteer to be owned by another person in exchange for a bed, because … ? Because god couldn’t change circumstances? Because god couldn’t offer advice how not to rely on slaves? How to develop an economy where people paid a fair wage for a fair day’s work, and it was up to the employee if they wanted to leave whenever they wanted, and nobody was allowed to beat anyone or own them?

          Your god is without excuse, but WE know, he is just a character in a historical fiction. We know history has some really ugly parts of it, that humanity has some really ugly situations it felt no remorse or guilt about, and so, here we all are, you stick to your shitty excuses, and the rest of us live in reality and have a realistic perspective about it.

        • Do you just want me to leave?

          Were you banned before? If so, Kodie may have yet another reason to be annoyed with you.

          Your position about biblical slavery is wrong. Show me how it wasn’t the same as American slavery.

        • Michael Neville

          Some of us think that Doug is Murph and other noms du blog changeable without notice.

        • Aww! He was so cute as “Woo.”

        • Doug

          I did already. American slavery was “man stealing” we literally stole human beings from Africa and other parts of the world and imported them to the United States. That’s man stealing. The passages I sited earlier from Exodus 21:16 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10 explicitly prohibit “man stealing”, i.e. how Americans did it for the first 100 years of our country.

          Exodus 21:16

          “”Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.”

          1 Timothy 1:9-10

          “9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever
          else is contrary to the sound doctrine.”

        • BlackMamba44

          Hey, I can do this, too.

          2 Kings 4:1

          Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.”

          Leviticus 25:44-46

          As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you. You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their clans that are with you, who have been born in your land, and they may be your property. You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever. You may make slaves of them, but over your brothers the people of Israel you shall not rule, one over another ruthlessly.

          If they can purchase slaves then someone is selling them.

          Exodus 21:20-21 ESV

          “When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money.

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-carey/slavery-and-the-bible_b_880756.html

        • Doug

          buying slaves is not the same as “man stealing” which the Bible is against the latter. Read Exodus 21:15-16 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10 for it’s prohibition against “man stealing”

        • BlackMamba44

          I don’t give a rat’s ass what the Bible said about man stealing. Slaves were bought and sold in the bible. Slaves were bought and sold in America (and other countries).

          So, you still lie, troll

        • Greg G.

          The verses you keep showing say the Hebrews couldn’t kidnap someone to make them a slave but it does not forbid them from buying a slave who was kidnapped if it came from a foreigner.

          Now where does the Bible forbid kidnapping for ransom? I’m told I am asking someone from the top 9% in Christain Bible literacy.

        • Greg G.

          You have said that the Bible allows taking slaves by self-induced means or military conquest. Is military conquest not just “man-stealing” at a city-level?

          But the archaeology shows that never happened. The Egyptian archaeology shows the Hebrews were not in Egypt for 400 years. Egypt was a world power at the time and would have been devastated if a third of their workforce suddenly left.

          The Israeli archaeology shows no abrupt change in culture as would be the case if one culture wiped out another. What would be the sense in wiping out a culture only to adopt the culture? How does that work? What the archaeology shows is sites that are essentially identical except that some have butchered pig bones and some don’t which indicates the Hebrew religion with restrictions against pork developed from the Canaanite culture.

          Where in the Old Testament is kidnapping for ransom forbidden?

        • Y’know what I hate? When I’ve written up a clear summary of an issue but someone is too important or fearful to read that and wants to start with a blank sheet of paper. And then, to engage that person, I’ve got to go back to square one and bring them along . . . when they could’ve just understood my position completely by reading the post.

          Ex. 21 is talking about what we called “indentured servitude”—Hebrews owning fellow Hebrews.

          There’s a very different kind of slavery, slavery for life of people who are not of your tribe. We also know that in America, and the Old Testament talks about that as well. See Lev. 25:44-46. Or you could, y’know, read my post that I’ve sent you several times.

        • Doug

          Exodus 21 is about man stealing not indentured servitude that’s incorrect. You want it to be indentured servitude because it works with your narrative

        • Liar for Jesus

        • Dys

          Exodus is about kidnapping people. Buying slaves and taking slaves by people captured in battles was still perfectly acceptable to God.

          The bible condones slavery.

        • BlackMamba44

          Doug is Murph/Woo/Seide N Sticker/Llort (and Kodie said objectivefactsmatter). The wording of comments gave it away.

        • Kodie

          That’s one of the things that gave it away.

        • BlackMamba44

          What did it for me was the comment Woo/Murph made that we don’t have morals, we have “preferences”. I thought that was a really strange way of putting it so it stuck out to me. And then Doug said the same thing.

          EDIT: finished the comment.

        • Kodie

          It certainly triggers an investigation, for sure. A lot of Christians say the same things, believe the same things, and even use a lot of the same weird ways of putting it if they are swallowing those arguments from the same few theology articles, so it’s not necessarily simple to be certain it’s the same poster. I am certain this is Woo/Murph, but then I knew Woo/Murph was a sock puppet – I am guessing objectivefactsmatter, but there was another poster around the same time I might have OFM mixed up with (in tone or style), that’s just long enough ago that it’s a pain in the ass to look it up – mostly because of the quantity of his posts. It was actually the quantity of posts right at the start that tipped me off first.

        • Pofarmer

          And they all have the prowess of Analogy of GregG.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Gregnot-G, surely!? or a rather weird use of sarcasm …

        • Pofarmer

          Nuts. Yes it there was an old poster, Greg, who was a Caholic who came up with the worst anologies.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Greg the fake lawyer…..He was a doozy.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i remember him. i’m still unforgiven for summoning him to a dead thread.

        • His current email address is another clue. I was just hoping to get him to admit it. That he’s ignored my question twice is yet another clue.

        • BlackMamba44

          He did claim he’s been trolling here for years. My memory sucks but I don’t remember a “Doug” recently and I’m in the middle of reading through your posts and comments month by month. I’m in January 2013 and no Doug yet.

        • That’s the tricky thing about banning people. Doug is a dolt, but I don’t find him too offensive (except when he repeats the same argument after being corrected). The typical advice is “don’t feed the troll.” If other commenters are still having fun kicking him around, who am I to interfere?

          I’m certainly engaging him, thinking that there might be some value, at least to the lurkers, but maybe his long history of cluelessness makes clear that he is hopeless.

        • BlackMamba44

          They do make good chew toys when you’re having a boring work day. I’m having fun. 🙂

        • Kodie

          It’s probably a mistake, but I’ll tell you what really bugs me. When a new poster with a Christian point of view starts posting prolifically, and isn’t taking any points of the post they’re responding to but merely disagreeing using their bullshit unsupported claims, and never really gives an opening to engage. These people are the arsonists. They think they are burning us with truth by lighting matches all over the place… forgetting to bring the gasoline and the rags … and when we complain, they think a ha, it’s working! and keep doing it. Like our troll Doug, they make other accounts. For one example, like the dictionary thing, I mean, who would have thought a theist is going to have a grievance against the dictionary. But we explain and complain he’s acting like a juvenile doofus, and he thinks he’s found the peeve he’s looking for, and keeps forgetting that old discussion about the dictionary and mocks you for consulting your “bible” so we can communicate like adults and agree on definitions. Horrible to agree on definitions! People who just have no clue how idiotic they sound, that even Christians think we are making this shit up, that think their mere Christianity is what bothers people (and have no moral issue bothering people who don’t pray to their imaginary friend). They are so sure they have the winning strategy, they don’t realize what an advertisement for atheism they are. Good going, Doug, you’ll make 10 more atheists before the end of the day, and maybe 50 by the end of the week.

        • When Doug said, in response to my threat to ban him, that he could just make up new accounts over and over. I was halfway ready to reply, “Do it then” and ban him.

          But we know his current incarnation, and that’s a benefit. We don’t have to puzzle over some new guy’s comments, wondering if he’s that rare thoughtful Christian or just Woo/Murph yet again.

        • adam

          People like “Doug” demonstrate how truly ‘rare’ thoughful christians really are.

          And it demonstrates well why christianity is losing people to reality.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/681785c573e0e941d7e81f66dd2e305bc7671f7e9b41f0b84b263f098be05d79.jpg

        • Kodie

          No, he’s immediately apparent. You’re rewarding his behavior.

        • TheNuszAbides

          We don’t have to puzzle over some new guy’s comments, wondering if he’s that rare thoughtful Christian

          … who requires coaxing out of the crap-apologetics shell so that he’ll be encouraged to spill the Real Deal at last? i’m glad i’m not the only one around here with pipe dreams.

        • I have a vague idea, not quite dead yet, that the apologists have the good stuff in a back room somewhere, and only they discuss it. Like when your stage magicianship gets to a certain level, and only then you are finally worthy of being taught how the cool tricks are done.

          Except the motivations don’t work that way. If Christians actually had good arguments, you’d think that there would be plenty of encouragement to publicize them.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Perhaps there is a Holy Rollers sort of Magic Circle or Masonic Lodge sort of thing, where all the real juicy stuff is kept secret on pain of death for spliters. Vatican vaults anybody?

        • TheNuszAbides

          as long as the Vatican has their super-special-access collection, that fantasy will certainly be the favorite refuge of Catholic scoundrels.

        • TheNuszAbides

          you’d think that there would be plenty of encouragement to publicize them

          from the earliest glimmers of Enlightenment and especially through the Atheist[-attribution-error] Terror Regimes, absolutely. or maybe the Gatekeeper(s) just screwed up by not realizing that any threats to theist dominance were viable, and now they’re just sulking.

        • BlackMamba44

          I guess it wouldn’t have been named “Doug” in past comments.

        • Greg G.

          The Bible strictly forbids the selling of slaves what don’t you understand about that?

          Genesis 17:12-13 (NRSV)
          12 Throughout your generations every male among you shall be circumcised when he is eight days old, including the slave born in your house and the one bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring. 13 Both the slave born in your house and the one bought with your money must be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.

          Exodus 12:43-45 (NRSV)43 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: This is the ordinance for the passover: no foreigner shall eat of it, 44 but any slave who has been purchased may eat of it after he has been circumcised; 45 no bound or hired servant may eat of it.

          Leviticus 22:10-11 (NRSV)10 No lay person shall eat of the sacred donations. No bound or hired servant of the priest shall eat of the sacred donations; 11 but if a priest acquires anyone by purchase, the person may eat of them; and those that are born in his house may eat of his food.

          The forms of slavery that the Bible is okay with are 1. self induced slavery whereby a person was in extreme debt and slavery was the only way out 2. taking slaves during wartime. That’s it.

          There’s also being born into slavery as seen in the quoted verse. The self-induced part is sketchy, too.

          Deuteronomy 15:12-17 (NRSV)12 If a member of your community, whether a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you and works for you six years, in the seventh year you shall set that person free. 13 And when you send a male slave out from you a free person, you shall not send him out empty-handed. 14 Provide liberally out of your flock, your threshing floor, and your wine press, thus giving to him some of the bounty with which the Lord your God has blessed you. 15 Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; for this reason I lay this command upon you today. 16 But if he says to you, “I will not go out from you,” because he loves you and your household, since he is well off with you, 17 then you shall take an awl and thrust it through his earlobe into the door, and he shall be your slave forever.You shall do the same with regard to your female slave.

          Exodus 21:2-6 (NRSV)2 When you buy a male Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, but in the seventh he shall go out a free person, without debt. 3 If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. 4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s and he shall go out alone. 5 But if the slave declares, “I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out a free person,” 6 then his master shall bring him before God. He shall be brought to the door or the doorpost; and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him for life.

          They were allowed to use family values to force a man to become a permanent slave or leave his family to be slaves without him. And the Bible gives explicit instructions to that against an illiterate young man.

          Please show me the verse that forbids buying slaves according to how they were acquired. If you want to use Exodus 21:16, then show me where in the OT that kidnapping for ransom is forbidden.

        • Doug

          Notice how there’s no prescription to “steal” slaves though which is what happened in the early days of America and the Bible strictly teaches against in Exodus 21:16 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10

        • BlackMamba44

          And they were bought and sold here in America. Slavery lasted much longer than 100 years. Africans also sold slaves to Americans.

        • BlackMamba44
        • Greg G.

          The slavers in the Americas bought the slaves from foreign slave traders, just like it allows in the Bible. There is nothing in there about asking how those slaves were acquired.

          Now where in the Bible is a restriction against kidnapping for ransom?

        • BlackMamba44

          Wow. You are actually trying to justify owning other people. You are a sick, sick asshole.

          The bible says you can purchase slaves. The bible says sons can inherit the slaves of the parents. You can even take people and keep them as slaves.

          Obviously someone is selling them.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/84885da78d47980dafa37d459e184ee42f604c499904ad9396188959c495ed7c.jpg

        • Doug

          wrong the Bible is okay with 1. selling yourself into slavery to pay off personal debts and 2. taking slaves as plunder. The Bible is strictly against “man stealing” which you can read about in Exodus 21:16 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10

        • BlackMamba44

          And you still lie, troll. Slaves were bought and sold in the Bible and slaves were bought and sold in the Americas (and other countries).

          Keep breaking that Ninth Commandment.

        • Greg G.

          The Bible is OK with buying slaves from foreigners with no questions asked.

        • BlackMamba44

          But no issues with women (especially young women and/or virgins) or children stealing.

        • adam

          “You don’t understand the nuances of slavery then in the Bible.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86effa5e2bc761ae95f687bf44f1632c13ebd40a54b07502d779f242a887cc3e.jpg

          you mean that slaves were PROPERTY?

        • Ctharrot

          You (or the apologetics you’re probably Googling) are putting more weight on the manstealing distinction than it will bear. For one thing, it’s not clear that the Biblical prohibition applied to anyone but fellow Hebrews. Deuteronomy 24:7 (NIV) states, for example, that “If someone is caught kidnapping a fellow Israelite and treating or selling them as a slave, the kidnapper must die.”

          For another thing, the U.S. generally didn’t engage in manstealing. For the most part, slaves here were either purchased from foreign traders (which the Torah explicitly allowed, as Greg G. notes), or they were born into bondage (again, consistent with the Hebrew version of slavery). In fact, beginning in the early 1800s, the U.S. government took a number of steps to eliminate the trans-Atlantic slave trade. By the time of the Civil War, the vast majority of slaves in the U.S. had been born into slave families here.

        • Greg G.

          You become what you worship.

          What if you worship a god? What if you worship a non-existent god?

        • What if you worship a god?

          Note that I quickly edited in the underlined: “You become like what you worship.” Answering your question with that modification:

          The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands. (John 10:31–39)

          See also Job 40:6–14, noting that it ends with a god-like ability.

          What if you worship a non-existent god?

          False beliefs ultimately end up harming you. How long it takes to detect that harm depends on the false belief and context.

        • Kuno

          Just out of curiousity, would you indulge me and answer my question? Did you use a computer to write your post?

        • Of course. I love science and technology. I’ve written loads of software and have built quadcopters from the ground up. I just know that science and technology are woefully insufficient for a full life. For example, it’s not more science and technology which will solve the problems indicated in these articles:

               • 2012-02-05 Huffington Post We Already Grow Enough Food For 10 Billion People — and Still Can’t End Hunger
               • 2013-07-27 NYT The Charitable–Industrial Complex

          More power over reality doesn’t seem to be what we need to solve impending catastrophic global climate change, either. What “bureaucracy and computation” get you is power. They don’t give a shit about goodness, as Eichmann and Nazi Germany demonstrated.

        • adam

          ” For example, it’s not more science and technology which will solve the problems indicated in these articles:”

          Religion offers nothing to solve those problems, in fact, religion is the CAUSE of many of those problems.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/caa3de188660881f5c11426e7541c2e3f333e8711ca2a8dacf707b99b85bdaa2.jpg

        • Pofarmer

          For example, it’s not more science and technology which will solve the problems indicated in these articles:

          • 2012-02-05 Huffington Post We Already Grow Enough Food For 10 Billion People — and Still Can’t End Hunger
          • 2013-07-27 NYT The Charitable–Industrial Complex

          And neither will any amount of existential woo.

        • And neither will any amount of existential woo.

          What have I said (if anything) which logically entails that “existential woo” (whatever the fuck that is) will help solve those problems?

        • Pofarmer

          I’m sorry, I should have said “Metaphysical woo.”

        • Same question.

        • Pofarmer

          So do you think LESS power over reality would fix world hunger? Shit, maybe your God, could do it, but he’s certainly shown no signs of interest. Why do you keep bringing it up? Science can detail the problem. Where it’s happening to what extent. Science can even propose solutions, give methods. Hell, an odd century or so ago we wouldn’t have even TRIED to ameliorate the problem. We would have just noted the natives were starving or whatever and move on. Today, in at least some cases which we know about or where we are allowed, we attempt to address. Just what in the world do you think you’re trying to prove here?

        • So do you think LESS power over reality would fix world hunger?

          That’s quite the irrational conclusion from what I’ve said.

          Shit, maybe your God, could do it, but he’s certainly shown no signs of interest.

          You want a sky daddy?

          Why do you keep bringing it up?

          Merely to point out that science is “not enough” in an intense way, rather than a superficial way.

          Science can detail the problem.

          It can detail part of the problem.

          Science can even propose solutions, give methods.

          Emphasis on the plural. One solution to world hunger is to kill all the hungry people.

          Hell, an odd century or so ago we wouldn’t have even TRIED to ameliorate the problem.

          Sure, and we also wouldn’t be facing nuclear armageddon and catastrophic global climate change. We’ve advanced and we’ve regressed.

          Just what in the world do you think you’re trying to prove here?

          I’m merely trying to open a space for rational discussion which isn’t immediately swallowed up by the science behemoth. I would like to explore that space. I believe Christianity (and Judaism) have a tremendous amount to say about that space. It is that space with which humans seem to struggle most, and not science. I don’t mean to assert some sort of NOMA, as if the subjective and objective are separated like Descartes’ res cogitans and res extensa. But I do suspect that we are quite immature in thinking about and acting in this space—probably we are in a much worse state than e.g. the Founding Fathers. It seems that this space could use some tending by careful, rigorous, tempered thought (and action!).

        • Pofarmer

          “I believe Christianity (and Judaism) have a tremendous amount to say about that space.”

          They had their chance. They failed. Move on.

        • You are welcome to that opinion.

        • MNb

          Nothing and that means the point you tried to make about the limits of science and technology is ….. pointless.

        • MNb

          “I love science and technology.”
          Funny. It’s always the theists who claim they do. I for one don’t love science and technology. I just accept it and use what I deem useful.

          “They don’t give a shit about goodness”
          Neither has religion a particular impressive record regarding goodness, so shrug.

        • Kuno

          I love to learn about science.

        • MNb

          I can’t say that. I couldn’t care less about for instance

          http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2017/02/21/what-the-heckity-gosh-darn-is-epigenetics/

          That has exactly zero impact on the value and relevance of this research subject.

        • TheNuszAbides

          but Luke does get a tenth of a point for actually distinguishing between science and technology – a cut above most frothing theists. too bad it doesn’t get him out from beneath his mountain of demerits.

        • Kuno

          Of course.

          Do you pay him for that? And why can’t you write your own posts?

        • “him”?

        • Kuno

          Noun

          computer (plural computers)

          (now rare, chiefly historical) A person employed to perform computations; one who computes. [from 17th c.]
           [quotations ▼]

          by restriction, a male computer, where the female computer is called a computress

          https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/computer#Etymology

          So are you paying this male person doing computations for writing your posts or is this some kind of slave labour thing?

          Or do you agree that arguments from etymology are useless and mostly done by very obnoxious posters who don’t have any real arguments?

          PS: While you think about this, look up the etymology of “nice”, too.

        • “it” ≠ “him”

        • Ignorant Amos

          YahwehJesus….”it” = “him”….

        • Machines cannot think.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It depends on what definition of think you are using.

          I’m sure you could find a few definitions that would apply to a machine thinking…

          http://www.thefreedictionary.com/think

        • Kuno

          Aaaaaaand the point flew right over your head.

        • BlackMamba44
        • Kuno

          Do you think explaining it to him would help?

        • BlackMamba44

          You would probably just get a bunch of links to other comments, some condescension, and a long response that is irrelevant.

        • Kuno

          Welp, I guess you were right.

        • MNb

          We call it the Lukie Boy Show.
          The other trick that show is build upon is whining about every single accusation, how it’s not backed up by evidence and how he totally would change his attitude if someone actually provided it. Except that he never does but drags you in an endless discussion that whatever you bring up is not evidence.
          The guy is a total bore.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Regulars don’t even bother going down them there blue rabbit holes anymore.

          It’s a case of the boy who cried wolf…one just instinctively knows they don’t say what Luke thinks they do….all just a lot of Breuerism’s.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Regulars don’t even bother going down them there blue rabbit holes anymore.

          i’ve sworn off that noise. i only look out for purple rabbit holes.

        • adam
        • Kuno

          Now you are just getting even more incoherent. Who said machined could think?

          Maybe this will make it clearer for you:

          Noun

          computer (plural computers)

          (now rare, chiefly historical) A person employed to perform computations; one who computes. [from 17th c.]
           [quotations ▼]

          by restriction, a male computer, where the female computer is called a computress

          https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/computer#Etymology

        • “(now rare, chiefly historical)”

        • Kuno

          Man, you are dense, aren’t you.

          Yes, that was my whole point. This is the original defintion but no-one uses it anymore and the modern, common usage is very different.

          Exactly like your original defitnion of “worship”. Do you get it now!?

        • What “chiefly historical” definition of ‘worship’ did I appeal to? Take, for example, this:

          dictionary.com worship

          1. reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.

          LB: Compare “sacred” to:     1. “valuing as the highest good”
               2. “most highly value”

          I see no “chiefly historical”. Furthermore, there is the following:

          GG: The primary meanings of “worship” and “sacred” are religious in nature.

          LB: Have fun proffering a rigorous definition of ‘religious’ such that it operates in a scientific fashion, rather than in an ideological fashion. That is, such that it slices nature at her joints, vs. the joints you’d like to pretend exist.

          If you’re not interested in using words scientifically (see natural kind), do please tell me. Maybe you want to call things you don’t like ‘religion’, and things you do like, ‘secular’. I prefer to cluster things according to their causal powers, not whether I subjectively like or dislike them.

        • Kuno

          This is was your original post:

          Better to worship science? Or do you worship—worth-ship, or valuing as the highest good—nothing whatsoever?

          You are referencing the original use of the use worship, you even use the old form. Don’t try to weasel out of it now.

        • And the meaningful difference is… what, again?

        • Kuno

          That the word worship as used and understood today is only with religious connotations. And please don’t start with that “define religious” spiel again. You know damn well what I mean by it, same as you knew damn well what definition of worship was used in this discussion before you tried to derail it. Especially as Bob’s post you originally replied to made is absolutely clear what he meant by it.

          You are trying to play semantic word-games instead of providing arguments. I just wanted to return the favour.

          It was a nice way to waste some time.

        • That the word worship as used and understood today is only with religious connotations.

          So if we go back to when lynching blacks wasn’t considering murdering blacks because the definitions had been carefully jiggered—would you be just as ok with what is being done to language? Or do you think we should actually respect the fact that the dictionary itself does not require that ‘religious’ aspect? Again, since you seemed to miss it:

          dictionary.com worship

          1. reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.

          LB: Compare “sacred” to:     1. “valuing as the highest good”
               2. “most highly value”

          We can explore that word ‘sacred’ as it has been operationalized by scientists, if you’d like.

          And please don’t start with that “define religious” spiel again. You know damn well what I mean by it, same as you knew damn well what definition of worship was used in this discussion before you tried to derail it. Especially as Bob’s post you originally replied to made is absolutely clear what he meant by it.

          If you’re speaking scientifically instead of ideologically when talking about the act of worshiping, then you don’t get to define your terms willy nilly. However, if you merely wish to denigrate the worship of other people while setting your own on a pedestal—like one used to be able to lynch blacks without it being considered murder—then do make that clear.

          And yes, I know that is precisely what you are doing with the word ‘religious’. There’s a whole scholarly book on that disingenuous tactic: William T. Cavanaugh’s The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict. The culture wars are very much wars about the meanings of words, as the whole gay marriage thing made exceedingly clear.

        • Kodie

          Reverent honor or homage paid to.

          Greg G. answered your damn stupid question but you didn’t accept “oxygen” as an answer, because you know you’re looking for your own private sense of the word “worship” and you keep idiotically insisting the focus of the verb is the sacred object. In other words, it’s not just liking something the most. You agree, you just don’t realize it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are trying to play semantic word-games instead of providing arguments. I just wanted to return the favour.

          Welcome to the world of Breuerism’s.

        • Kuno

          And now he seems to think what I wrote somehow means that I am OK with lynching people. This is a very peculiar man.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I seen that…peculiar doesn’t even come near it.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • adam

          “You become like what you worship”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e71894366d405a2560c124d806904b75ddf8371641ab58bc4449b6c60b966fb8.jpg

          “Modernity worships bureaucracy and computation,”

          Nope merely uses such to dispel MAGICAL thinking

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b771a4ec57ad060b4acaad214ae436df6fd8facae4a468d9a6df580cb6f8dc21.jpg

          “Evil can be exceedingly rational—perhaps more rational than life.”

          Yes, like IMAGINARY

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/38a372d179f379b51cdb5f1c227e4a5bd6dd543347d09566c2aedd943b72e754.jpg

        • Greg G.

          You don’t worship everything you value. God would be jealous.

        • Does anything I said require that you worship everything that you value? No. Indeed, I said “highest good”. For a reason.

        • Greg G.

          The point is that you don’t have to worship anything.

        • Possibly; I would want to empirically explore what happens if there is nothing (or nobody) you most highly value. That immediately strikes me as a very bad evolutionary strategy. That isn’t to say there aren’t a lot of evolutionary dead-ends.

        • Greg G.

          You can highly value something without worshiping it. I highly value oxygen but I don’t worship it.

        • Do you most highly value oxygen? [Edit: or not: Again, you distort what I’ve said—or you issue red herring.]

        • Greg G.

          Yes, I would say that oxygen is what I value most highly. I inhale on a regular basis. I would try to burrow through solid rock with my bare fingers if I was deprived of it. But so would the ground hog in my back yard so it would be absurd to conflate our need for oxygen with worship.

        • Why do you value oxygen more than hydrogen? Without water and sugar, you could last a bit longer, but not much.

        • Greg G.

          Let me put you in an air-tight safe with no water and no sugar. What would be your primary concern? How about the same situation but you have your weight in water and sugar in there, too.

          I can last about 500 times longer without sugar and water than I can without oxygen, with or without sugar and/or water.

        • Do you value the fine structure constant more than oxygen?

        • Greg G.

          That’s as meaningful as pondering how any slight change in timing in my father’s life or mother’s life would have allowed a different sperm to fertilize the egg.

        • I see, so you can guarantee that the physical constants are indeed constant? Or do you just assume it?

        • Greg G.

          I see, so you can guarantee that the physical constants are indeed constant? Or do you just assume it?

          No, just constant enough for us to be here.

          If you change one constant, the universe is fucked, unless you change the weak nuclear force which doesn’t affect much. But if you change more than one, it’s not necessarily. a deal breaker. A computer experiment showed about a quarter of random assignments for physical constants would allow for complex chemistry.

          But Alan Guth has shown that mathematically, when matter-energy and space come into being together, the energy of the matter-energy is equal to but opposite the potential energy of the forces between them, meaning it is a free lunch.

          If a pair of particles can come into existence, then any number can, even a universe. If one universe can come into existence, it is more likely that any number could than that a single universe could somehow prevent every other universe from occurring.

          So, unless you can show that the universal constants are constant for all possible universes, the fine-tuning argument for a god is useless, if that is where you are going.

          Do you want to continue exploring how aMark wrote gMark? Will you be coming up with ever more convoluted arguments for how Jesus lived his life to be coincidental with Homer’s writings? Would you like to explore Luke 10:1 to 18:14 departing from Mark’s order to follow topics in the same order they appear in Deuteronomy?

        • No, just constant enough for us to be here.

          Oxygen is also necessary for us to be here. But for some reason, you say that “oxygen is what I value most highly”. But perhaps a different tack will work. Do you mean to say that you “most highly value” what you personally believe is contingent, over what you personally believe is necessary?

          A computer experiment showed about a quarter of random assignments for physical constants would allow for complex chemistry.

          Oooh, I would love to see that paper. I recall a great exchange between Sean Carroll and Hans Halvorson at a Veritas Forum, where Carroll pointed out that we don’t know the structure of the possibility space for physical constants, and thus the fine-tuning argument has problems. But 1/4 seems kinda high. I think I’ll require evidence/​reason for that claim.

          But Alan Guth has shown that mathematically, when matter-energy and space come into being together, the energy of the matter-energy is equal to but opposite the potential energy of the forces between them, meaning it is a free lunch.

          Lawrence Krauss certainly depends on negative gravitational potential energy for his A Universe from Nothing. Haven’t read the book, but I quite liked the hour-long YouTube lecture. I have a suspicion that Noether’s theorem is critical to some huge part of learning, meaning that conservation laws have to hold at least enough. Whether they must hold everywhere for science everywhere to be possible is, I think, more debatable. I don’t see anything immediately illogical and/or un-studyable were God to inject grace into our existence.

          If a pair of particles can come into existence, then any number can, even a universe.

          How about we start talking about the likelihood of a good vs. evil unvierse popping into existence? That is, one with more or less suffering—I’m thinking of how I’ve heard Sam Harris’ The Moral Landscape starts. (Maybe we don’t want to use the term ‘evil’—I could be ok with that for a while.) After all, you seem to have made clear that you “value most highly” the contingent—what didn’t have to be that way, and what doesn’t have to continue being the way it is.

          So, unless you can show that the universal constants are constant for all possible universes, the fine-tuning argument for a god is useless, if that is where you are going.

          Nope, I’m just trying to understand the functioning of your “value most highly”.

          Do you want to continue exploring how aMark wrote gMark?

          Not for now; you were unwilling to engage with my continuity/​discontinuity idea in a way I found sufficient. I recognize the importance of what you meant by continuity/​discontinuity, but I wanted to work with both dichotomies, not just yours. You seemed rather unwilling to work with mine at all.

        • Kodie

          You’re trying to insist everyone worships “something” or else they would be suicidal. You’re not satisfied with something Greg G. “values most highly” because it’s not something that maintains the “reverent honor or homage paid to” quality invested within the word “worship” as it’s defined. Using only your narrow adherence to the word, you don’t believe that anyone would worship oxygen. That’s because we don’t worship oxygen. Wish you would stop to notice that, and stop being a sick fuck propagandist who is trying to get someone to substitute worship of science or money or technology instead of your god, so you can call them cold, too rational, robotic, and evil. You got the answer you were fishing for, and it doesn’t fit what you were really hoping to get.

        • adam

          “Wish you would stop to notice that, and stop being a sick fuck propagandist who is trying to get someone to substitute worship of science or money or technology instead of your god, so you can call them cold, too rational, robotic, and evil.”

          The goal of religion is basic, DIVIDE people.
          This is the message of christianity DIVIDE people

          It is the same Tribalism that they NEED in order to blow up the world and kill almost always, so that the world will know the ‘love’ of their “Lord”.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t see anything immediately illogical and/or un-studyable were God to inject grace into our existence.

          Other than it being undefined nonsense?

        • Oh do please share your logical proof that “grace” is necessarily “undefined nonsense”. Or … do I get to do the same anytime someone uses the term “religion”? >:-]

        • Pofarmer

          So are you going to define what it means and how you are using it?

        • Yes, after you tell me what “nonsense” adds to “undefined”.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, since I haven’t ever seen a definition of “grace” that makes sense, I’m assuming that it’s “nonsense” and you haven’t defined it, at any rate.

        • I see, so you’ve hardened your conceptual categories—just like the dogma said happened before the Enlightenment shattered them and looked for anomalies (e.g. attempting falsification via an experimentum crucis) instead of suppressing them. Gotcha. Well, I’ll try to smash an idol.

          Grace is unmerited favor. This combines to aspects. First, unmerited means that there is no physical or mathematical “law” which predicts grace. One could call it “not nomological” in the same sense Gregory Dawes uses[1]. Second, favor means that the effect of grace is good—that is, it “shows up” in the normative realm, as well as the descriptive realm. Or perhaps it would be better to say “teleological realm”—that is, the realm of purpose. I suspect this can be deeply tied to Gregory Dawes’ “rationality principle”.

          I have purposely left out exactly how grace shows up—e.g. objectively vs. subjectively, or scientifically vs. experientially. I am not convinced those dichotomies are sound enough to build on when it comes to grace. I have also left out whether grace violates any conservation laws. Allegedly this whole universe came into existence without violating any conservation laws; they don’t seem particularly useful, unless one is attempting to artificially shoehorn ‘grace’ into violating laws of nature.

          Questions? Did I make any logic errors? Do I need to be more rigorous?

           
          [1] See the following from Gregory Dawes:

          3.4.1 Intentional and Causal ExplanationsA first objection rests on the very character of intentional explanations. It suggests that a theistic explanation could not be both intentional and causal, since these represent distinct and mutually exclusive forms of explanation. No intentional explanation is a causal explanation. But I believe this claim to be wrong, for reasons I shall outline later (Appendix 1.1). I have no argument with the idea, defended by Donald Davidson, that intentions are causes and that intentional explanations are also causal explanations.[76] There is one issue that needs to be clarified here. I have suggested that intentional explanations are not nomological (3.2.1). They do, if you like, depend on something resembling a law, namely the rationality principle. But they do not depend on law-like generalisations linking particular intentions and particular actions. Does this mean that they cannot be regarded as causal explanations? Only if you believe that the citing of causal laws is a necessary condition of a causal explanation. But I shall argue later that it is not (Appendix 3.3.1), that causal explanations do not necessarily involve causal laws.[77] If this is true, then there is no difficulty with the idea that an intentional explanation is also a causal explanation. (Theism and Explanation, 51)

        • MNb

          Example: square circle is nonsense – it doesn’t make sense. However it’s sharply defined.
          Another example: mass (as in physics) is largely undefined (amount of matter is just a tautology while amount of protons and neutrons just shifts the problem) but that doesn’t mean it’s nonsense.

        • TheNuszAbides

          quick clumsy question (for speculative fiction research) – does triggering a nuclear explosion require less energy input in a higher-gravity environment than in a lower-G? or does it depend on the nature of the triggering? or neither?

        • MNb

          You use the word “grace”. You give a definition, champ of shifting the burden.

        • MNb

          “I don’t see anything immediately illogical and/or un-studyable were God to inject grace into our existence.”

          “I think I’ll require evidence/​reason for the claim”
          that he did – something you somehow never provided.

        • Greg G.

          Oxygen is also necessary for us to be here. But for some reason, you say that “oxygen is what I value most highly”. But perhaps a different tack will work. Do you mean to say that you “most highly value” what you personally believe is contingent, over what you personally believe is necessary?

          Ask the groundhog. It’s beyond rational. People sometimes panic and will drown a rescuer when struggling to stay above water. Why try to make this hard?

          Oooh, I would love to see that paper.

          It’s in one of his books. I have it another room but I am treating my sore knee with heat and ice. Should be easy to find with the Google machine.

          I don’t see anything immediately illogical and/or un-studyable were God to inject grace into our existence.

          There is nothing inherently impossible for detecting any miracles if something supernatural was going on. It’s just that we have identified the forces that affect matter at the molecular level up to planet-size and there doesn’t seem to be another force. Either God is tricky or he doesn’t do such things.

          How about we start talking about the likelihood of a good vs. evil unvierse popping into existence?

          Are electrons good and positrons evil? A universe of plasma? A universe with dinosaurs? Predators would think eating is good, prey animals consider predators eating evil. Good and evil is a matter of perspective.

          Nope, I’m just trying to understand the functioning of your “value most highly”.

          Pragmatics. It’s not complex. There are no hidden agendas. When it comes down to it, if your finger was caught on something under water, you would chew that finger off to be able to get some oxygen, too.

          Not for now; you were unwilling to engage with my continuity/​discontinuity idea in a way I found sufficient.

          If the evidence is strong that Mark is completely fiction, the continuity/discontinuity question is irrelevant regarding whether it is true. If Luke is based on Mark, Matthew, and Deuteronomy with some Josephus and other sources, then it is. If Matthew borrowed topics from the Epistle of James, which never quotes Jesus, and has Jesus speaking them, then you shouldn’t believe it. When John tells the same stories we find in Mark and we can identify Mark’s sources, we know John didn’t know truth from fiction.

          It’s seems that you are using continuity/discontinuity to avoid the obvious truth.

        • Why try to make this hard?

          Because I am skeptical that your behavior is best modeled by “oxygen is what I value most highly”. I suspect you’re fucking with me. But instead of just claiming that, I am exploring what should and should not be entailed by “oxygen is what I value most highly”.

          It’s in one of his books. I have it another room but I am treating my sore knee with heat and ice. Should be easy to find with the Google machine.

          Sorry, but the expectation is always that I point people pretty precisely to a claim, not just hand-wave at an entire book all of an author’s books. I therefore make the same expectation of others. If you don’t want to do it, then we can strike the associated claim from the record. I’m not sure it was all that important anyway?

          There is nothing inherently impossible for detecting any miracles if something supernatural was going on. It’s just that we have identified the forces that affect matter at the molecular level up to planet-size and there doesn’t seem to be another force. Either God is tricky or he doesn’t do such things.

          If one of the things grace does is enable freedom (e.g. free moral beings who can voluntarily form significant relationships with zero manipulation), then I’m not sure looking for some impersonal force of nature (what science does) is the right way to go about things. Freedom itself is tricky, if it exists. If it doesn’t, ‘rationality’ is a farce or something very different from what Enlightenment folks meant by ‘Reason’.

          Are electrons good and positrons evil?

          lulz

          Pragmatics. It’s not complex. There are no hidden agendas. When it comes down to it, if your finger was caught on something under water, you would chew that finger off to be able to get some oxygen, too.

          Hey if we get to imagine crazy scenarios, let’s put you in a pressurized chamber with 100% oxygen. Do you then “value most highly” oxygen?

          If the evidence is strong that Mark is completely fiction, the continuity/discontinuity question is irrelevant regarding whether it is true.

          Don’t care. I’ve set the rules for me discussing that topic; if you don’t like them, we don’t discuss it.

          It’s seems that you are using continuity/​discontinuity to avoid the obvious truth.

          It seems that you are using the possibility that “Mark is completely fiction” to avoid dealing with a plausibility that disturbs you. (Yes, I can play this shitty-ass game.)

        • Greg G.

          Because I am skeptical that your behavior is best modeled by “oxygen is what I value most highly”. I suspect you’re fucking with me. But instead of just claiming that, I am exploring what should and should not be entailed by “oxygen is what I value most highly”.

          If you were to offer me $100,000,000,000 if I would go 15 minutes without oxygen, I would decline the offer. Maybe I would take you up on it for 60 seconds.

          Sorry, but the expectation is always that I point people pretty precisely to a claim, not just hand-wave at an entire book all of an author’s books. I therefore make the same expectation of others. If you don’t want to do it, then we can strike the associated claim from the record. I’m not sure it was all that important anyway?

          I couldn’t find it in the two Stenger books I have. The following quote addresses the issue but not in the words I remember:

          “Physicist Anthony Aguire has independently examined the universes that result when six cosmological parameters are simultaneously varied by orders of magnitude, and found he could construct cosmologies in which ‘stars, planets, and intelligent life can plausibly arise.’ Physicist Craig Hogan has done another independent analysis that leads to similar conclusions. And, theoretical physicists at Kyoto University in Japan have shown that heavy elements needed for life will be present in even the earliest stars independent of what the exact parameters for star formation may have been.”
            http://arizonaatheist.blogspot.com/2010/05/william-lane-craigs-arguments-for-god.html [The footnote says it is from “God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist, by Victor J. Stenger. Prometheus Books, 2007; 148-149”, though I think it was on pp. 154-155 in my paperback version]

          If one of the things grace does is enable freedom (e.g. free moral beings who can voluntarily form significant relationships with zero manipulation), then I’m not sure looking for some impersonal force of nature (what science does) is the right way to go about things. Freedom itself is tricky, if it exists. If it doesn’t, ‘rationality’ is a farce or something very different from what Enlightenment folks meant by ‘Reason’.

          I agree. We may just be a computer running fuzzy logic with a limited input of data. Since our brain uses biological signal channels that require energy to operate, making bigger, and thus more reliable, signal channels would require far more energy and take up far more space, leaving little room for neurons. But natural selection is a good way to optimize the diameter of signal channels and signal reliabilty which would allow for some error correction. This would account for optical illusions, creativity, and the illusion of free will.

          Hey if we get to imagine crazy scenarios, let’s put you in a pressurized chamber with 100% oxygen. Do you then “value most highly” oxygen?

          There is such a thing as getting too much of a good thing, especially when it is something that actually exists. When you drink water, you are taking a maximally diluted solution of every homeopathic remedy possible, yet it is completely harmless but it should cure you of everything. I can multitask my breathing without compromising other activities. If I worshiped oxygen, that would be detrimental to other activities.

          If the evidence is strong that Mark is completely fiction, the continuity/discontinuity question is irrelevant regarding whether it is true.

          Don’t care. I’ve set the rules for me discussing that topic; if you don’t like them, we don’t discuss it.

          You could do your thing. Maybe you could convince me that it matters in this context.

          It seems that you are using the possibility that “Mark is completely fiction” to avoid dealing with a plausibility that disturbs you. (Yes, I can play this shitty-ass game.)

          That’s to allow you to have hope.

        • I couldn’t find it in the two Stenger books I have. The following quote addresses the issue but not in the words I remember:

          Ok, but that goes nowhere near supporting your original claim:

          GG: A computer experiment showed about a quarter of random assignments for physical constants would allow for complex chemistry.

          I’ve emphasized the numeric aspect for clarity.

          We may just be a computer running fuzzy logic with a limited input of data.

          Turing machines cannot run fuzzy logic. They can only approximate it. Compare “real number” from that article to “finite alphabet” of Turing machine. The difference makes all the difference; once you have the right kind of infinity you can get hypercomputation, which is most definitely not “just … a computer”. And so you have all the same problems with “fuzzy logic” that you have with normal logic, when it comes to the kind of matters nicely elucidated by The Lucas-Penrose Argument about Gödel’s Theorem and, if you claim to “know that you know” (or this weaker condition), Fitch’s Paradox of Knowability.

          There is such a thing as getting too much of a good thing, especially when it is something that actually exists.

          But that’s not quite what you’re saying; you’re saying that you can get too much of “what I [Greg] value most highly”. Your stance precludes theosis (including any secularized version) and locks you into permanent mediocrity, with prison walls which cannot be tasted, touched, felt, heard, or seen.

          If I worshiped oxygen, that would be detrimental to other activities.

          My worship of God not only isn’t detrimental to other activities, but it helps them and it yields ever more wonderful activities to do which I couldn’t have otherwise imagined. Or do you (i) think that the previous sentence is logically impossible; or (ii) believe it is empirically known to be false?

        • Greg G.

          Turing machines cannot run fuzzy logic. They can only approximate it.

          Brains are not digital.

          Your stance precludes theosis (including any secularized version) and locks you into permanent mediocrity

          The mediocrity of reality versus the wonder of imaginary places like Neverland, Shangri-La, and Oz. You don’t need to believe in those places to take an imaginary trip there. The world we live in is wonderful enough that you don’t need to pretend there is a heaven.

          My worship of God not only isn’t detrimental to other activities, but it helps them and it yields ever more wonderful activities to do which I couldn’t have otherwise imagined. Or do you (i) think that the previous sentence is logically impossible; or (ii) believe it is empirically known to be false?

          That’s what I thought when I was a Christian, too. Now I enjoy this life more as it is rather than a prelude to the afterlife. A beautiful sunset is far more spectacular as a natural thing than to wonder “is that the best an omnipotence can do?” and “is that sunset for me to enjoy or is it a storm over the horizon killing a bunch of people?” That’s the problem with attributing things to the intentional acts of a powerful being.

        • GG: We may just be a computer running fuzzy logic with a limited input of data.

          LB: Turing machines cannot run fuzzy logic. They can only approximate it. Compare “real number” from that article to “finite alphabet” of Turing machine.

          GG: Brains are not digital.

          Then I don’t know what you mean with your “We may be just a computer …” Did you mean to rule out hypercomputation with the underlined? If not, it’s really not clear what you did mean to rule out, other than something really bland like Cartesian dualism.

          The mediocrity of reality versus the wonder of imaginary places like Neverland, Shangri-La, and Oz. You don’t need to believe in those places to take an imaginary trip there. The world we live in is wonderful enough that you don’t need to pretend there is a heaven.

          I see, so while Francis Bacon and crew thought that what humans had accomplished so far was pretty pathetic in comparison to what they could achieve with science, we’re in nothing like the same place, today. (Maybe this time it’s social ‘technology’ instead of the hard sciences. For example: building institutions which are massively collaborative and not hierarchical in the way pretty much every institution today is, including Linux and Wikipedia.)

          I had the opportunity to do some research on Peter Thiel (first private outside investor in Facebook) for a 2015-06-01 Veritas forum we wanted him to attend with N.T. Wright. Among the things I really liked in what I saw was his criticism of the term “the developed world”—as if there really isn’t a whole lot more development to do. One might connect this to the “we’re done” attitude we find in Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man. For you to mock all this and pretend that anyone who makes such criticisms is merely lusting after some otherworldly heaven is, well, quite arrogant. If enough people share your arrogance/​cynicism, you will in fact crush creativity that would lead us out of this mediocrity. It is a wonderfully self-fulfilling prophecy. Making bricks is satisfying enough, eh?

          That’s what I thought when I was a Christian, too.

          I see, so since you called yourself “a Christian” and I now call myself “a Christian”, everything from your experience is automagically a tool for understanding my experience. Got it.

          A beautiful sunset is far more spectacular as a natural thing than to wonder “is that the best an omnipotence can do?”

          You are the first person I’ve ever encountered who has/​had this problem.

          and “is that sunset for me to enjoy or is it a storm over the horizon killing a bunch of people?”

          Does that mean you also don’t have to be concerned about whether your consuming habits are supporting slavery around the world?

          That’s the problem with attributing things to the intentional acts of a powerful being.

          “the”, eh? Because the way you’ve construed “intentional acts of a powerful being” is surely the only way too, eh? Sigh.

        • TheNuszAbides

          There is such a thing as getting too much of a good thing, especially when it is something that actually exists.

          O God of Keyboard Protection, praise unto thee for ensuring that i was not drinking while finishing the quoted sentence.

        • TheNuszAbides

          There is nothing inherently impossible for detecting any miracles if something supernatural was going on. It’s just that we have identified the forces that affect matter at the molecular level up to planet-size and there doesn’t seem to be another force. Either God is tricky or he doesn’t do such things.

          damn that is an elegant nutshell. i tip my hat.

          but i’m still asking Santa for flawless two-way telepathy every year.

        • Kodie

          Why do you value a figment of your imagination more than oxygen? You’re really fond of your research into the etymology, but your point is lost – that’s not what worship means. You accuse people of being suicidal if they do not worship “something”. You accuse people of worshiping modern machines instead of god, and you accuse those people of being evil. You go really far out of everyone’s way to make your stupid silly delusional point.

        • Philmonomer

          So you’ve got multiple possibilities hanging out there:

          1) What do you worship?
          2) What do you value as the highest good?
          3) What do you consider to be of worth?

          You seem to be switching among them, when convenient. Or possibly, you simply are stating “what do you worship?” means “what do you value as the highest good?”

          If that’s what you mean then 1) that’s a weird way to put it. Most people don’t say “what do you worship” = “what do you value as the highest good.” and 2) personally, I consider the question sort-of meaningless.

        • So you’ve got multiple possibilities hanging out there:

          1) What do you worship?
          2) What do you value as the highest good?
          3) What do you consider to be of worth?

          You seem to be switching among them, when convenient.

          Actually, I’m attempting to tease out the differences between them. One option is that there is no answer to 2), because 2+ different values are in equal contention, kind of like how dualist (evil equally pitted against good) religions work.

          1) that’s a weird way to put it.

          Perhaps, but I’ll bet you that the idea that “you become like what or who you worship” is not a foreign concept to many people. Now, articulate understanding of this might have been stronger in decades past; here’s a nice example of it:

          In the choice between the somewhat arbitrarily distinguished realism and idealism, a sensible person would want to be both, or neither. But, momentarily accepting a distinction I reject, idealism as it is commonly conceived should have primacy in an education, for man is a being who must take his orientation by his possible perfection. To attempt to suppress this most natural of all inclinations because of possible abuses is, almost literally, to throw out the baby with the bath. Utopianism is, as Plato taught us at the outset, the fire with which we must play because it is the only way we can find out what we are. We need to criticize false understandings of Utopia, but the easy way out provided by realism is deadly. As it now stands, students have powerful images of what a perfect body is and pursue it incessantly. But deprived of literary guidance, they no longer have any image of a perfect soul, and hence do not long to have one. They do not even imagine that there is such a thing. (The Closing of the American Mind, 67)

          Consider: do you not try to become like your role models—if you have them?

          Most people don’t say “what do you worship” = “what do you value as the highest good.”

          Most people don’t say many things because most people don’t carefully analyze things like this. What is better to ask is how many people act as if “what do you worship” ≠ “what do you value as the highest good”.

          2) personally, I consider the question sort-of meaningless.

          Possibly this describes you:

              The worry has been repeatedly expressed that the individual lost something important along with the larger social and cosmic horizons of action. Some have written of this as the loss of a heroic dimension to life. People no longer have a sense of a higher purpose, of something worth dying for. Alexis de Tocqueville sometimes talked like this in the last century, referring to the “petits et vulgaires plaisirs” that people tend to seek in the democratic age.[1] In another articulation, we suffer from a lack of passion. Kierkegaard saw “the present age” in these terms. And Nietzsche’s “last men” are at the final nadir of this decline; they have no aspiration left in life but to a “pitiable comfort.”[2]    This loss of purpose was linked to a narrowing. People lost the broader vision because they focussed on their individual lives. Democratic equality, says Tocqueville, draws the individual towards himself, “et menace de la renfermer enfin tout entier dans la solitude de son propre coeur.”[3] In other words, the dark side of individualism is a centring on the self, which both flattens and narrows our lives, makes them poorer in meaning, and less concerned with others or society. (The Malaise of Modernity, 3–4)

          It at least describes much of the West.

        • Philmonomer

          Thanks for your thoughts/response. As usual, I find you to be widely, widely off the mark. But so far off the mark (and based on past experience), I don’t really think constructive dialogue is possible. At least you make for interesting comments (even though they make me want to bang my head against a wall) 🙂 .

        • Thanks for your thoughts/response.

          Thank you for asking much better questions than is typical, around here. You appear to [competently] care more about actually understanding people unlike you than … I think any [other?] atheist I have seen regularly post, here.

          As usual, I find you to be widely, widely off the mark.

          Welcome to pluralism.

          But so far off the mark (and based on past experience), I don’t really think constructive dialogue is possible.

          Welcome to the fragmentation of our democracy.

          At least you make for interesting comments (even though they make me want to bang my head against a wall) 🙂 .

          Much of life makes me want to bang my head against a wall. At one point I requested a “Bang head here!” sign from my wife, but she thought it would be bad for my health. Oh well; such is the price of walking around with your eyes wide open.

        • adam

          “Welcome to the fragmentation of our democracy.”

          Welcome to the fragmentation of Luke’s philosophy.

        • Kodie

          Wow, such irony.

        • adam
        • Doug

          Luke did you dismiss me? According to Kodie you did I was just curious. I’m not sure how long you’ve been on here but I’ve been around this blog as a troll on and off for years. It’s the same names talking about the same things over and over again and they don’t care about good arguments wrapped up in high language, etc. (similar to your style). They dismiss pretty much everything. If you’re doing this as an exercise then I understand but I’m on here for other reasons.

        • Kodie

          For years? Is that you, Norm?

        • No. And I also have my reasons. 🙂

        • Kodie

          I’ve been around this blog as a troll on and off for years.

          — “Doug” the troll

        • You’ve been lurking for years? Then why are your Christian arguments so elementary?

          If you’ve learned anything, your arguments should incorporate and defuse my arguments and take the discussion into new territory. So far, I haven’t seen anything not in a Lee Strobel book.

        • BlackMamba44

          It’s the same names talking about the same things over and over again and they don’t care about good arguments wrapped up in high language, etc. (similar to your style). They dismiss pretty much everything.

          It’s the same names talking about the same thing over and over because asshole trolls like you (and numerous other Christians) come here and shit the same shit over and over, providing shitty arguments.

        • adam

          “Can you really consider nothing to be of worth?”

          Goddists do, obviously

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/16ff24b0a7ceb21423959ec810a1e8a2520675c1cde50d310879942c65ff9482.jpg

        • Doug

          The public school system that liberals love so much is far worse than any church organization.

          http://www.cbsnews.com/news/has-media-ignored-sex-abuse-in-school/

          “Hofstra University researcher Charol Shakeshaft looked into the problem, and the first thing that came to her mind when Education Week reported on the study were the daily headlines about the Catholic Church.

          “[T]hink the Catholic Church has a problem?” she said. “The physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests.”

        • You’re threatening sacred beliefs, Doug. Beware of what happens when that is done to people—atheist or theist.

        • Doug

          Oh but I can’t resist! As someone once said “trolls are the most honest people on the internet”

        • Pofarmer

          Here’s something that might be a little better.

          http://www.vocativ.com/usa/education-usa/teacher-student-sex-crimes-become-national-crisis/

          Terry Abbott, a public relations executive and former chief of staff for
          the U.S. Department of Education, has spent the past year combing
          through news reports of these cases with his PR firm, Drive
          West Communications, in an unprecedented effort that has generated some
          seriously troubling results. Throughout his long career in education,
          Abbott would hear about teachers sexually victimizing students from time
          to time, but nothing could prepare him for a number as high as 781 in a single year.

          O.k. 781 is pretty bad, right?

          There were 50.4 MILLION kids in school in 2016.

          How many public school teachers are there? Well, the best number I can find is about 3.1 million.

          So, what does that put the number at? About .0000015% unless I did a rounding error.

        • adam

          “facts are stubborn things”

        • adam

          ” As someone once said “trolls are the most honest people on the internet””

          And as someone once said, or will shortly

          The most dishonest people are apologists.

        • Doug

          I guess you should quit defending atheism against Christianity then huh?

        • adam

          Why?

          Because it encourages belief in reality instead of the MAGIC that you propose?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d8dc416612bbbd6243c461cfe2a6d4ee55f709d3183f0ea3f8770d4d4a294121.jpg

        • Doug
        • Yeah, see it doesn’t work if what you say isn’t what your opponent believes.

          Like this: “CHRISTIANITY: The belief that we should cannibalize the dead. After having sex with them.”

          It’s fun to write mean things about the people who are intellectually handing you your ass, but it makes you look like an idiot when you can’t state their position accurately.

        • Doug

          What’s inaccurate about this meme?

        • It’s good that you’re asking, though it’s rather shocking that you’d even have to ask.

          1. The biggie: atheism is no god belief. That’s it. The items in this list are scientific.

          2. There is no consensus that nothing was the starting point.

          3. There is no “magically” about it. It’s science, remember?

          4. Cosmologists don’t say that the Big Bang had “no reason,” though it could’ve been causeless.

          5. “No reason” also doesn’t apply to abiogenesis, either.

          I’ll leave it there. Others may have more points to make.

        • Dys

          Literally everything.

          1) “The belief that there was nothing” – No one knows if there was ever ‘nothing’, and atheism doesn’t rely on any belief on the topic.

          2) “And nothing happened to nothing” – That’s an incredibly ignorant understanding of Big Bang cosmology.

          3) “then nothing magically exploded for no reason” – The expansion of the singularity had a cause, and it wasn’t nothing.

          The rest of the meme is equally ignorant, and displays an appalling bad understanding of basic science.

        • adam

          But atheism is simply the disbelief in deity.

          So you are LYING for Jesus AGAIN..

        • Doug

          atheism is a belief. You wager just like the rest of us

        • Kodie

          Don’t try to feel better about your pathetic methods by casting aspersions on the rest of us. You made your claim, you tried to spew your arguments like a big boy, and I don’t believe you. I am not convinced by you, and furthermore, you are actually evidence for there being no god. You are another data point that god can’t do better than to send arrogant witless idiots to repeat garbage at us like it’s precious and original. You are a gullible and uneducated and dishonest moron, typical Christian bullshit believer, in the bottom 25% intellect among those who’ve tried.

          Just because you believe those shitty arguments doesn’t mean they’re good or convincing or flawless as you imagine they are!

        • Michael Neville

          Atheism is a lack of belief. If you were half as smart as you think you are you’d know this.

        • Greg G.

          Atheism is a belief like bald is a hair color, like perfect health is a disease, like not collecting stamps is a hobby, like OFF is a TV channel… A lack of belief is not a belief.

        • Doug

          Interesting never heard it put that way. But its still a false distinction. You exercise faith because you can’t disprove the existence of God and you secretly hope he doesn’t exist. You should be kissing Hanks ass like the rest of us.

        • Greg G.

          The human imagination is quite capable of coming up with concepts that cannot be disproved. That’s what the “supernatural” is, just a set of things that are protected from any investigation that could distinguish a thing from imagination.

          Since it is impossible to disprove anything that cannot be distinguished from an imaginary concept, it is not my burden. It is the burden of the person making the claim. You cannot actually disprove any other god or the Flying Spaghetti Monster because they are contrived to be not disprovable.

          You cannot even prove that God is not contrived to be not disprovable. We can see the evolution of the God concept in the writings of the Old Testament from a being who interacts with humans to a cosmic deity. There is even a lament in the Psalms that miracles don’t happen like they did in the old days that archaeology shows never happened.

          You are an atheist regarding every other deity ever invented but you use the same excuses they use for the lack of evidence for their deities and the same ambiguous evidence in favor of the deities.

          An atheist is just consistent where a theist cherry-picks.

        • BlackMamba44
        • BlackMamba44

          They’re polyatheists just like us.

        • Pofarmer

          you secretly hope he doesn’t exist.

          So you’re a mind reader now?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Which god do you think we wish didn’t exist? Specifically, which YahwehJesus version…please define…be precise?

        • Doug

          differences don’t equate to “not the same person”. Biblical Christianity has always had a stream of core beliefs that are the same across denominations etc.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nice non answer.

          But anyway.

          Let’s do a wee experiment, shall we?

          Name a core belief that is the same across denominations and I’ll see if there is a denomination to which it doesn’t apply.

        • epeeist

          Nonsense. If two things have properties that are discernably different then they cannot be identical. This was the principle put forward by Leibniz centuries ago.

        • TheNuszAbides

          but was Leibniz a trinitarian? 😀

        • Atheism is the default position. Just like “the earth is round” is the default position.

          Tell me that there’s a god or that the earth is a pancake, and I might listen, but the burden of proof is yours.

        • adam

          Nope, atheism is a DISbelief.

          So more Lying for Jesus from you.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh to be so asinine with just the one head.

        • MR

          Dude, did you just like your own post?

        • Poor Doug. Someone must like his comments … no?

        • Michael Neville

          You upvoted your own post. As the Brits would say: “That’s not done at all, Old Man.”

        • Dys

          Creation ex nihilo is a Christian belief, not an atheistic one. You’d think you’d have a better handle on your own beliefs.

        • adam
        • Susan

          Atheism. The belief that there was nothing.

          No. I just don’t believe you because you can’t make a clear claim and support it.

          and nothing happened to nothing

          No.

          and then a bunch of everything magically exploded

          Read some cosmology for laypersons. This has nothing to do with not believing your unsupported claims. But you’ve clearly been getting your cosmology from apologists. It’s just wrong.

          and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself into self-replicating bits which turned into dinosaurs for no reason

          Nope.

          Now, back to you.

          What did Adam get wrong?

          What are you claiming and how do you support it?

        • Kodie

          Oh my god, the stupidity! Doug, you have done nothing but spew your diarrhea asshole fucked up pawn shit. You’ve been banned more than twice! You don’t have any legitimate reason to be here.

        • Doug

          I’m an American? Does that qualify for you?

        • Kodie

          Non sequitur.

        • adam
        • TheNuszAbides

          You don’t have any legitimate reason to be here.

          au contraire, he has the Absolute and Objective(TM) Reason: to foster critical thinking skills while examining the issues and indications presented (his and anyone else’s).

          sadly, he doesn’t seem to “worship” (in the Breueristical sense) the bits of reality upon which we rely for Handing Down the Absolute and Objective(TM) Reason from the Great Golden Realm of Ideal Forms. so, as you’ve already indicated, he doesn’t seem at all likely to ever *grasp* that reason.

        • If you drive out the big bad spirit but don’t put something better in, it’ll just go out and grab seven more worse spirits and re-occupy.

        • Kodie

          And either one of you thinks you have credibility?

        • Doug

          I smell something is that Courtier’s reply?

        • Kodie

          No, it’s probably your ass.

        • BlackMamba44
        • adam
        • BlackMamba44
        • Doug
        • BlackMamba44

          Where did I, an atheist, say that?

          You’re not even a good troll.

        • BlackMamba44
        • Kodie

          Didn’t Doug already say he couldn’t be a troll because he was “dialoguing”?

        • BlackMamba44

          It sure did. I guess it lied.

        • You’re an honest person? I would like to see you adapt a bit, then. You’ve received how many hundreds of replies to your comments? You’ve been corrected on countless errors, big and small. How do you respond? Apparently, you just ignore the error and what it means to your argument. But wouldn’t an honest troll like you want to change and adapt? it seems like all you do is return to your old standbys.

          I would’ve expected from an honest person like you something like, “That’s a fair point, but one part of my argument remains…” or even a blunt “Yes, that’s true.” Has it been there but I’ve just missed those comments?

          What does it say about your position that you don’t work this way?

        • Doug

          Yeah I’ve even given you kudos multiple times.

        • OK, great to hear, but I’d like to see some evidence of your growth. Your arguments are elementary, and the atheist commenters are educating you about how they fail. This can be a good school for you, but only if you care to learn.

        • Doug

          Actually I think you’re blog posts are excellent for Christians to wrestle with. Although I disagree with the majority of your blog posts I still find them good fodder for debate. You’ll notice I didn’t post any memes until that Adam guy started doing it to me. Several of the “regulars” on this sight are jerks.

        • Kodie

          You’re not wrestling with anything, you douche. Many of us have a very low threshold for dishonesty and tired bullshit, so you should expect your claims to be challenged, and when you keep popping up with your pat answers from propaganda theology, I just have to wonder how many idiots do I share this planet with. You’re a troll, you’ve been banned for trolling BOB, the guy you’re complaining to about other people being jerks to you. I know why I don’t like you, if you want to know, you post a million different posts and claims that you don’t back up, you don’t engage in conversation, you think you’re ruffling feathers – a pretty funny tell of many Christians – you think we’re being harsh because you’re Christian, but we actually just think you’re a kind of bot, leaving your witness bombs all over the place and being oblivious to the idea that people might not believe what you say, and just repeating yourself and ignoring challenges to your claims. Can we get one honest Christian here?

          If any Christian actually “wrestled” here with our points, we’d notice. You have only been poisoned with the shitty arguments every other Christian has already tried. You don’t actually want to think – because you can’t; your brain has been washed. You are not wrestling with anything, you deflect every attempt to get you to even try to wrestle with a thought that conflicts with what you already believe. You’re certainly not challenging atheism with your tired bullshit.

        • Greg G.

          your brain has been washed

          I think major parts were thrown out with the bath water.

        • (You might want to be a little more careful with your homonyms. Not a big deal, but it does make your stuff hard to read.)

          Thanks for the compliment on the posts, though that doesn’t address my point. You’ve been corrected many times, and yet I see no acknowledgement that you need to change or any adaptation to the new understanding. Do you just ignore everything or do you learn things?

        • Dys

          And by ‘wrestle’ you apparently mean ignore. Because you’re not dealing with any of them.

        • adam

          “You’re threatening sacred beliefs, Doug.”

          Yes, beliefs that people like you and Doug can be honest and not LIE for JESUS.

        • Doug

          So far you were wrong on slavery and sexual abuse in the church and now you’re wrong on whether the dictionary is trustworthy.

          I have all day.

        • BlackMamba44

          So, you have no life except that of a troll.

          And you’ve been provided evidence that you were wrong on slavery and sexual abuse. But don’t let that stop you.

        • adam

          Nope wrong on none.

        • Pofarmer

          What a horribly written article. First off, they aren’t sorting for sexual contact between a teacher and a student or two students. Second, they give no actual numbers AT ALL. It’s apologetics.
          The 2002 Department of Education report estimated that from 6
          percent to 10 percent of all students in public schools would be victims
          of abuse before graduation — a staggering statistic.

          These statistics are uncertain, however, because no one has ever
          designed a nationwide study for the expressed purpose of measuring the
          prevalence of sexual abuse by educators. The Departments of Justice,
          Education, and Health and Human Services can’t agree on whose domain
          teacher sexual misconduct falls into, and Congress has shown little
          appetite to spend money on the issue. In the study described above,
          surveyors asked participants if they had ever experienced sexual
          improprieties at school, then asked students who reported abuse to
          identify the perpetrator. Since the study was intended to measure
          student-to-student sexual misconduct, the original investigators didn’t
          focus on teacher-offenders. A third-party academic later used the raw
          data to suss out the prevalence of teacher sex abuse. A few smaller or
          less methodologically rigorous studies have also addressed the question,
          with wildly inconsistent results. One looked at college sociology
          students and estimated that nearly half had experienced sexual
          harassment by a teacher. Another surveyed 4,000 adults, with 4.1 percent
          reporting inappropriate sexual contact with a teacher during their
          high-school years. But the sample included only urbanites, and white
          respondents were overrepresented. A third study used responses to a
          questionnaire published in Seventeen magazine and estimated that just
          3.7 percent of children suffer sexual abuse from their teachers.

          All based upon surveys from students? At least in the case of the Catholic Church, these are verified cases that were serious enough to warrant an inquiriy and a finding. And on the other side you have self reported cases by college sociology students? Really?

        • Doug

          I know it doesn’t fit with your narrative that Christianity is evil but unfortunately for you facts are stubborn things

        • Pofarmer

          I’ll accept facts. The problem is, these aren’t facts. They aren’t even remotely equivalent sets of data.

        • adam

          “facts are stubborn things”

          Not at stubborn as #altfacts

        • Greg G.

          The public school system that liberals love so much is far worse than any church organization.

          Sex abuse at New England private schools is widespread, Globe Spotlight report reveals

          The point being made by pointing out the sex crimes of churches is the hypocrisy of them touting themselves as a model of morality.

          I wonder how many school superintendents were getting advice about what to do with teachers who abusers.

          The study you are bringing up does not distinguish between sexual harassment and rape while the focus on the sex crimes of the church is mainly rape and not priests making inappropriate comments. I not excusing sexual harassment but it’s not in the same class as rape.

        • adam

          Really?

          where did they cover up and move teachers away from law enforcement.

          Baby Jesus is crying over your lying.

        • Doug

          Everyone knows in the US that the dominant media organizations are in the tank for the liberal agenda and hate the church

        • Greg G.

          Everyone knows in the US that the dominant media organizations are in the tank for the liberal agenda and hate the church

          That’s one of those lies Christains tell each other. The media loves pandering to Christains.

        • Amen, brother! If it’s not Fox News talking about God not existing, it’s Michael Medved or Rush saying that God’s a shithead. Frankly, I’m sick of this liberal stranglehold on the media.

        • Doug

          are you being serious or facetious? I’m shocked. We may have just found common ground.

        • ?? I just destroyed your argument. Again. That’s the point you should be focusing on.

        • Doug

          destroyed it by agreeing with it?

        • Look, if you have some sort of cognitive problem, let us know so we can be sensitive to it. If you’re a fully-functioning adult, you’re an idiot.

          You whined about the liberal agenda, and I lampooned that supposed agenda in the (imaginary) hands of some of the giants of conservative broadcasting. Your argument fails, again.

        • Dys

          You really think Fox News is railing against the idea that god exists? Whatever you’re ingesting or smoking, stop. It’s killing off what few brain cells you have left.

        • adam

          No, not everyone knows, just the whack job conspiracy nuts who believe in a MAGICAL SKY DADDY.

        • Dys

          And yet every idiot who makes this claim conveniently forgets that Fox is a dominant media organization that isn’t in the tank for any liberal agenda.

          Are you an idiot, or just a troll?

        • Kodie

          You’re a really sick fuck, Luke Breuer.

        • What are you asking? You’re marveling that Kuno can’t think of anything to worship?

        • I’m teasing apart just what “worship” is. If you’re not interested in that project, feel free to stay silent.

        • I didn’t know it was a private conversation, sorry.

        • That’s a weird definition of ‘private’. Aren’t you big on going by dictionary definitions?

        • Kodie

          Why are you distorting what the dictionary says? Maybe look up what it says under the entry for ‘sarcastic‘.

        • Doug

          There she goes quoting from her bible again. Darn bible pusher!

        • Kodie

          Maybe because you actually aren’t honestly trying to engage or wrestle, you missed the post where I explain how grown-ups carry on a discussion – by agreeing what words mean so we don’t miss what the other person says. You fucked that up real bad, dummy. You failed to comprehend any lesson about what dictionaries are today, and you keep pretending your insults are harming our arguments! How stupid you are. Also, Luke’s not going to get any help from you. He already dismissed you. LUKE dismissed you. Did you realize that when it happened? I even pointed it out to you. Luke is his own kind of dipshit, you can just stop trying to latch onto that hideous unwelcome mess. By the way, did you know that Luke is not a creationist like you? How did two different Christians come to two different conclusions about that?

        • Doug

          Where did he “dismiss” me?

        • Kodie

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/bad_atheist_arguments_atheists_dont_need_god_for_meaningful_lives/#comment-3169747728

          He’s saying you’re not doing him any good. That’s how he is far beyond your way of understanding. He speaks in riddles, he makes his own definitions, you think it’s hilarious that adults consult the dictionary to keep a conversation on track. That’s because you’re after a cheap shot, a dirty play, you’re a loser, a troll, not that smart, and you’re overcompensating for it by trolling “elitists” who know what dictionaries are good for.

        • Doug

          I haven’t found one good argument on here for the nonexistence of God or that Christianity is false. All of the arguments brought forth by people smarter than you and Bob are so much better and more convincing.

        • Kodie

          You haven’t honestly engaged with any.

        • The atheist arguments here suck? Interesting–I’m curious to know why.

          Destroy one for us.

        • Doug

          That design is somehow evidence against a Creator. That’s completely illogical

        • BlackMamba44

          That’s completely illogical

          Wow. You really destroyed that argument.

          Just in case you think I’m being serious, I’m not. I’m being facetious. IT’S CALLED SARCASM.

        • adam

          “That design is somehow evidence against a Creator. That’s completely illogical”

          Nuff said

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dfa1d5f877fc039ad3bd7801686b0d520ea5900bfcc9474012fdaaa5dbe69773.jpg

        • I’ve never made that argument.

          However, I have made the argument that the apparent design in DNA doesn’t exist and that DNA is actually a very good argument against the Design Argument.

        • Greg G.

          Pretty ballsy to exclude you from your own blog’s comments.

        • Kodie

          Well, everyone is invited to let Luke take over all the comments, because he’s invented a “project”.

        • Well, I know enough to step aside when old Lukey steps into the ring. He’s smarter than you and I put together.

        • TheNuszAbides

          that’s way more wit than he earned for telling you “feel free to stay silent”.

        • Kodie

          It’s not a project so much as a chore. Don’t flatter yourself.

        • adam

          “I’m teasing apart just what “worship” is. ”

          No, your not, you’ve already defined it.
          You are just being

          DECEPTIVE, yet again.

        • Dys

          I’m teasing apart just what “worship” is

          To presumably set up a case of false equivalence between what is generally meant by the word ‘worship’ and a significantly broader definition you’re trying to establish.

        • “what is generally meant by the word ‘worship'” is not necessarily a natural kind. If you wish to think scientifically, it is important to shoot for natural kinds. If you are not interested in thinking scientifically, do please make that clear so I may focus on other conversations.

        • Dys

          “what is generally meant by the word ‘worship'” is not necessarily a natural kind.

          So you’re not going to draw a false equivalence between god worship and the generic definition you seem to be shooting for? In that case I look forward to you dropping the silly “everyone worships something” nonsense.

          If you are not interested in thinking scientifically, do please make that clear so I may focus on other conversations.

          So we can expect you to continue the “pretentious, condescending ass” role indefinitely. Thanks for the confirmation.

        • Pofarmer

          So we can expect you to continue the “pretentious, condescending ass” role indefinitely.

          It’s his new Gig. It’ apparently what he thinks atheists do to him, or something. Hard to say.

        • TheNuszAbides

          it really is heroic of him to go to all this Holding-The-Mirror-Up trouble. it’s just that all this character assassination has been working so well that he increasingly points it at himself rather than anything of lasting importance.

        • So you’re not going to draw a false equivalence between god worship and the generic definition you seem to be shooting for?

          My guess is that you prefer to carve the world up ideologically—

          Religious diversity stands in the way of achieving a moral and political global consensus. (The Outsider Test for Faith, 162)

          —instead of scientifically/​philosophically:

          Religious Certain diversity in concepts of ‘the good’ stands in the way of achieving a moral and political global consensus. (The Outsider Test for Faith′, 162)

          If so, I’m not sure we have much more to discuss. Anyone interested in more on this topic can consult William T. Cavanaugh’s The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict.

          So we can expect you to continue the “pretentious, condescending ass” role indefinitely.

          I did not know that you viewed “thinking scientifically” as pretentious or condescending. Thanks for the confirmation.

        • Dys

          My guess is that you prefer to carve the world up ideologically

          And my guess is that you want to play semantic word games.

          If so, I’m not sure we have much more to discuss.

          The original issue surrounding your attempts to use an incredibly broad definition of the word ‘worship’ by performing an etymological examination of it to conclude that everyone worships something, yes? That’s not a scientific/philosophical approach, that’s playing semantics to make a disingenuous assertion.

          I did not know that you viewed “thinking scientifically” as pretentious or condescending. Thanks for the confirmation.

          Don’t pat yourself on the back too hard…you don’t want to injure yourself. Now that you’ve got this little bout of grandstanding out of the way, you can go on and try to make a real point.

        • And my guess is that you want to play semantic word games.

          Like … whether ‘marriage’ applies to the union of two persons of the same sex, or only to the union of two persons of different sex? Or is it only “semantic word games” when the evil people do it, while it is a righteous fight for civil rights when your own tribe does it? I’m reminded of this:

          In his 1965 essay “Repressive Tolerance,” Marcuse (1965) writes,

          “Tolerance is extended to policies, conditions, and modes of behavior which should not be tolerated because they are impeding, if not destroying, the chances of creating an existence without fear and misery. This sort of tolerance strengthens the tyranny of the majority against which authentic liberals protested… Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.”

          The idea of “liberating tolerance” then is one in which ideas that the left deems to be intolerant are suppressed. It is an Orwellian argument for an “intolerance of intolerance” and it appears to be gaining traction in recent years, reshaping our commitments to free speech, academic freedom, and basic democratic norms. (How Marcuse made today’s students less tolerant than their parents)

          If I must speak against Newspeak, so be it. As a Christian, I believe the real battle is in the spiritual plane, not the fleshly plane. Roughly, that can be translated to a battle of ideas, where words are the tools with which those ideas are fashioned, and the weapons with which they do battle. You would dull the edges of certain weapons, to give yourself illegitimate advantage.

          The original issue surrounding your attempts to use an incredibly broad definition of the word ‘worship’ by performing an etymological examination of it to conclude that everyone worships something, yes?

          Nope, maybe not everyone worships something. For example, perhaps Nietzsche’s Last man cannot really be said to worship anything. Such a being, pathetically obsessed with merely his/her own comfort, is probably too shallow a being to really worship. Such a being would be incredibly manipulable by the power elite. Hmmmm, I wonder how many such beings live in the West, today…

          That’s not a scientific/​philosophical approach, that’s playing semantics to make a disingenuous assertion.

          You are correct, the little caricature you had running in your head would be “playing semantics to make a disingenuous assertion”. That you thought I was doing that says more about you, than me.

        • adam

          “Like … whether ‘marriage’ applies to the union of two persons of the
          same sex, or only to the union of two persons of different sex? ”

          Marriage is civil contract.

          Biblical ‘marriage’ is something totally different.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b1420c6652b353bf50eff7954e5fba825f575ac4e97675c6864df6ee1b5fc967.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c04112ee9a7ba0649d0fd9409a68fa1c7d95d4b9d523272819641d52f45edf2e.jpg
          So YES,you are playing word games.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • adam
        • Kodie

          No! He’s asking Kuno why they haven’t killed themselves yet!

        • adam
      • Doug

        It’s not strange if you’re God.

        • Kodie

          No, it’s not strange if you’re human. It’s not strange if you’re a fictional character imagined by humans.

        • Doug

          Hey I’m not the one who believes human beings evolved. It takes more faith to believe in that. Last time I checked common sense dictates that machines are manufactured and human beings are machines. Nature is a machine.

        • Kodie

          Yeah, that’s because you’re proud of your ignorance and uneducated moronitude. If god demonstrates the worst qualities of humanity, then he’s not a god, he’s your nightmare and you let it control you. Why should what some moron lately calling himself Doug says on the internet affect me? I know biology – you don’t. I know your arguments are shit, you don’t.

        • Doug

          I know biology too I’ve taken the same college courses.

        • Kodie

          Does your plugin collect data on how much you’ve been flagged for inappropriate behavior? Like coming back with a new account after you’ve been banned? We already rejected you because you’re fucking too stupid to talk to.

        • Doug

          What are you talking about?

        • Kodie

          It’s obvious.

        • Doug

          Are you upset that people come on here and butt into your little atheist club?

        • Kodie

          No, but getting the same deluge of pathetic shit from someone demonstrating a low capacity for discussion and is only interested in repeating bullshit at us obsessively, who has already been banned for contributing nothing, making a new account, changing that account’s name 3 times and another account to agree with that account, YOU HAVE BEEN BANNED. We recognize you, it’s not something you can hide.

          You’re now just a pathetic loser who is obsessed with getting some meaning out of creating 4 disqus accounts just to troll atheists. Is that the best god can do? Your life is about us validating your existence now? I thought you had god!

        • Doug

          We Christians aren’t allowed to ruffle feathers? Are their rules against that? Do I have to validate your influence over people that come across this blog?

        • Halbe

          Please, for once, “ruffle our feathers” in some sort of meaningful and interesting way. So far you have contributed with the following nonsense without any evidence or argument:
          – Objective meaning is superior to subjective meaning.
          – The God of your brand of Christianity exists and is the source of objective meaning. All other gods are figments of the imagination.
          – You are one of the very few that truly objectively understands God’s meaning for life; most other Christians get it wrong.
          – Objective meaning is rational, subjective meaning is irrational.
          – Altruism is only true altruism if you do it because God says you must do it. Otherwise it is selfish.
          – Genocide is a good thing, if it is done by your God or by Christians.
          – Slavery is good, if you do it according to God’s rules.
          – Discrimination is good, if it is done by Christians.
          – Bad analogies should be taken for compelling arguments.

        • Good list. Doug/Murph has a lot on his mind, but it’s all Lee Strobel-level stuff.

        • Kuno

          – If it takes you too long to come to a conclusion, this conclusion has to be wrong. No mention of how long “too long” is.

        • Doug

          You’re misrepresenting the Bible’s thoughts on slavery. There are different kinds of slavery. The slavery that was represented in the first century of the United States is known as “man stealing” which the Bible explicitly prohibits in at least two places.

          Exodus 21:16

          “”Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.”

          &

          1 Timothy 1:9-10

          “9 We also know that
          the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine.”

          The Exodus passage explicitly deals with the practice of
          “man stealing” prohibiting it as well as 1 Timothy 1:9-10 where it
          mentions “slave traders” in the same sentence as others considered
          “lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and
          irreligious, etc.”

        • We’ve been over this. I’ve pointed you to the post that makes clear how Old Testament slavery was the same as American slavery. If you can’t find it, I’ll find the link again.

          Respond to it rather than simply repeating your old, tired, wrong arguments.

        • Doug

          Your wrong Bob you didn’t cover the passages I’ve listed in fact two of my posts on this very subject were flagged as spam probably because someone doesn’t want me to bring it up

        • BlackMamba44

          If your posts were flagged as spam, then you are posting too many comments too fast. That’s Disqus, not Bob.

        • Someone doesn’t want you to bring it up? Like your truth is so powerful that it’ll knock over our house of cards?

          Dream on. I haven’t read every comment you’ve made here, but I’ve seen nothing but crap in what I’ve read so far. You flatter yourself that you have insightful arguments.

          I follow the evidence. If atheism is wrong, I’ll drop it and find something that fits the evidence better. You’ve done nothing to push me in that direction. The atheist commenters here are pretty experienced with these arguments. It’s good that you’re taking your show in the road, but you’re not ready for Broadway yet. (In fact, I can’t think of a single apologist who is.)

        • Halbe

          So, according to the superior objective morality of the Christian God certain kinds of slavery are good. Which kinds would that be? Are you advocating for the reintroduction of these kinds of slavery in society? If not, why not?

          And the Christian slave owners and slave traders of the past were absolutely convinced that they, just like you, had objectively understood God’s superior objective morality as well. They just came to different conclusions. Hmm… it is almost like Christian objective morality subjectively adjusts to the surrounding culture.

        • MNb

          Even “better” – christian theologians were equally convinced.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobus_Capitein

          I’ve yet to meet the first apologist who comments on this guy.

        • Doug

          I’d be okay with self slavery to pay off debt and taking slaves as plunder during wartime absolutely. The Christian slave owners in the early days of the U.S. were not the most informed Biblical exegetes on the planet. It’s plain as day in 1 Timothy that slave-holding is considered an immoral and vile practice by God.

        • Halbe

          So, you would be okay with the US army taking thousands of Iraqi citizens home during the Iraq War to work as slaves in the US? Really?

          So, why did President Bush not order to take slaves from Iraq? He is a Christian after all and would of course want to do the morally right thing for his country.

        • Ctharrot

          You’d be okay with combatants taking civilians as slaves? Let’s unpack that a bit.

          Deuteronomy 20:10-15 (NIV), for instance, describes Moses instructing the Hebrews to subject neighboring communities to “forced labor.” If a community declines to be subjugated, the Hebrews are to besiege it. All of the surviving men are to be summarily put to the sword, while the women and children are to be taken as “plunder,” like livestock.

          Would you be okay with U.S. armed forces behaving that way?

        • BlackMamba44

          Not sure if the html will work properly here. But here it goes.

          I’d be okay with self slavery to pay off debt and taking slaves as plunder during wartime absolutely.

          It’s plain as day in 1 Timothy that slave-holding is considered an immoral and vile practice by God.

          So, then you don’t agree with your god.

          EDIT: it worked.

          And once again, you show your lack of morals and empathy, troll

        • Doug

          slave trading key word “trading” in other words “man stealing” I’m opposed to just like God. I’m not opposed to the two methods the Bible is for both selling yourself into slavery to pay off debt and taking slaves as plunder during wartime.

        • BlackMamba44

          Trading is stealing? Really? Where I’m from trading is trading; I give you this and you give me something in return, no “stealing” involved. It’s purchasing but without the money exchange.

          And the word you used that I quoted back to you was “slave-holding” that is considered immoral, not “trading”, not “stealing”. And holding slaves was not considered a vile and immoral practice by your god.

          And what was among the typical “plunder” during wartime in the bible?

          Deuteronomy 20:14(NIV)

          14 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies.

          Plunder is stealing. You take issue with “man stealing” but no issue with “women stealing” or “children stealing”. Gotcha.

          You’re still showing your lack of morals and empathy, troll. You also have no issues with women and children being stolen as plunder during war and being kept as slaves.

          You don’t even make sense.

        • BlackMamba44

          1 Timothy says slave-trading. So, this means what? Trading slaves is immoral? You can’t trade slaves? But you can hold slaves, and sell slaves, and buy slaves, and take slaves as plunder and sell yourself into slavery; but you can’t trade slaves. And that is the one you don’t like?

          Gotcha

        • Liar

        • Kodie

          Please offer something intelligent.

        • And you know that all that evolution stuff is crap? Wow–that takes some balls to declare yourself Judge of All Science, deciding what science is valid and what is not.

        • epeeist

          I’ve taken the same college courses

          Care to name the college…

        • You can too get a good science education at Arkansas Trinity Blessed Savior Bible College!

        • adam
        • Greg G.

          Did you pass?

        • It takes more faith to believe in that.

          I’m confused. You seem to be using “faith” in a different way. Didn’t you say that faith was belief well grounded with evidence?

          Is that the way you’re using “faith” here? I don’t think so.

        • adam

          “Hey I’m not the one who believes human beings evolved.”

          No, you believe we are the result of MAGIC.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/57d8812041d27bff15f48eb5ac5edd1f3cb26a8df7bfd55a8bae3b5a093d53c8.jpg

        • It’s not strange if [fill in completely insane thing here]

          This isn’t an argument. You don’t start with the crazy thing. If you end with it, after a well-evidenced series of steps, that’ll work.

          We humans are given hypotheses. You have given us the God hypothesis. If it’s a crazy story that doesn’t hold together (one tiny facet being the worship thing I mentioned) then we humans must reject the hypothesis. That’s how it works. Christianity doesn’t get a pass.

        • adam
    • Kuno

      ^This.

    • we humans were created to be nothing more than unquestioning worship engines

      Huh? There is tons of questioning of YHWH in the OT alone.

      I am completely comfortable with the fact that my life is a result of unintended, undesired, and undirected biological processes in an uncaring, unconscious universe. I don’t see the need to hide from that reality behind a façade of naval gazing.

      Then will you face the evidence and admit that democracy in the West is a façade for the excercise of raw power? See Democracy for Realists and Rationality and Power: Democracy in Practice. Or see this, which nobody is making a [sufficiently noisy] fuss about:

      Schäuble came under criticism for his actions during the “Grexit” crisis of 2015: it was suggested by Yanis Varoufakis that Schäuble had intended to force Greece out of the Euro even before the election of the left-wing Syriza government in Greece.[77] This was confirmed by former US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in early 2014; calling Schäuble’s plan “frightening,” Geithner recorded that Schäuble believed a Greek exit from the Eurozone would scare other countries in to line.[78] Schäuble also received extensive criticism toward his austerity recommendations from Twitter via the hashtag #ThisIsACoup.[79] Such criticism focused on the fact that Schäuble’s insistence on policies of austerity was contradicted both by the empirical evidence that the policies he had insisted on had shrunk the Greek economy by 25%, a degree hitherto paralleled only in wartime, but also by reports from the IMF insisting that only massive debt relief, not further austerity, could be effective.[80][81] (WP: Wolfgang Schäuble § Criticism)

      Yep, Greece’s GDP plummeted in a way that used to only happen during physical war. You know, the per capita physical violence thing Pinker discusses in Better Angels? You know, economic war could never be terrible. It could never cause great harm. We are PROGRESSING!!11

      Let us see who is more unquestioning. Let us see who does more burying of his head in the sand. Hard-headed, emotionless evidence and reason for the win, right? Any emotion = irrationality, amirite?

      • Halbe

        Do you have an actual point to make against Mark A Siefert’s point that God demands worship? Because nothing in your little tirade actually refutes it. All I see is you very angrily and incoherently attacking a strawman…

        • Sure: I doubt he can construct an account based on the [textual] evidence for his characterization. Or do we not actually give a shit about evidence around here?

        • Joe

          Luke never has a valid point. He just posts a non-sequitur and gets defensive when we don’t understand his off-tangent point. I’d recommend not engaging, you won’t get a straight answer and this thread will run into thousands of posts.

      • adam
        • Doug

          but they will sue you if you don’t bake a cake for their “wedding”

        • You’re OK with discriminating against protected classes? Prove it. Say that you would support a shop owner who refused to serve black people for religious reasons.

        • Kuno

          One: As it is their right.
          Two: That’s your equivalent? “It’s OK that our book says we should stone them to death, because they will sue us if we discriminate against them.”

          Boy, that’s weak, even for the “standards” you so far provided in this thread.

        • Doug

          the point is that they aren’t innocent. Instead if you don’t agree with them they’ll ruin your business.

        • Kuno

          So it is OK to stone someone as long as they are not innocent?

          And it is not about disagreement. It is about illegal discrimination.

        • Greg G.

          Charging them the going rate for baking a cake is their job. Not doing it for religious reasons ruins their business because people don’t put up with that shit anymore.

        • BlackMamba44

          That’s on the bakery owners, not the couple. Provide your service to everyone in the same way and your business won’t be “ruined” (which it wasn’t). They also released the couple’s personal information to the public. The couple started getting harassed and received death threats from “loving Christains”. That is why they sued. The couple was completely innocent; the bakers were assholes. But that is your typical loving Christain. (Yes, purposely spelled this way).

        • Greg G.

          “Christain”

          Oh, the number of times I have typoed that and corrected it without seeing the full implication of the error. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I will certainly use it when a Christain spells “athiest”.

        • Kuno

          I always see athiest as the superlative to atheist.

        • Greg G.

          I see. I’m more athiest than thou. I’m athiester than thou. Oooh, I coined a word I like.

        • Kuno

          Isn’t it curious that people who are outraged about how those poor bakers were ruined, ruined I tell you, by those evil homogays always manage to not mention this part of the case?

        • BlackMamba44

          They also don’t mention that their fellow “loving” Christians donated half a million dollars and yet they didn’t pay the fine until they had their account frozen.

        • Admittedly many things are the gays’ fault (hurricanes and other natural disasters, for example), but not this one. Your complaint is with the law.

        • adam

          ” Instead if you don’t agree with them they’ll ruin your business.”

          It has NOTHING to do with agreeing or not agreeing with sick people with delusional thinking.

          You are Lying for Jesus, AGAIN.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e756c865447f103898c53d1bb08c93970817141b321dbc704d6284be6f83b48d.jpg

        • adam
        • adam

          “but they will sue you if you don’t bake a cake for their “wedding” ”

          well, of course the HATRED needed to not bake a cake…..

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e756c865447f103898c53d1bb08c93970817141b321dbc704d6284be6f83b48d.jpg

  • MNb

    “If atheism is true . . . what awaits us—our civilization, our race, our planet, indeed the universe as a whole—is destruction and extinction, no matter what we do.”
    Has Bannister ever read Revelation?

    “Atheists have a problem: namely that we cannot live as if life is meaningless.”
    We can’t? Then once again Bannister’s god is a piece of shit for not helping these people out.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persistent_vegetative_state

  • Jim Jones

    > Can I make a difference? We can be part of God’s greater purpose.

    “Join the millions over there. They spend all day marching around in a big circle, doing nothing else. Like ‘god’ wants.”

  • Hans-Richard Grümm

    I utterly disagree with Bannister: meaning is always meaning according to someone (or a group), thus it is inherently subjective. He wants to sell us the meaning according to an allegedly existing God as objective, but that’s a fraud on the intended buyer.

    • Anat

      It is doubly wrong: Once in that we don’t have evidence for this god figure’s existence (and that anything else claimed about it is true), and second in that even if this god were real the meaning would still be subjective, except instead of being in relation to each one of us it is in relation to this god being.

  • KarlUdy

    Bob,
    Please explain to me how an atheist creating purpose for their life is different to the common example of “straightening the deck chairs on the Titanic?”

    • guerillasurgeon

      Please explain to me why this is a bad thing?

    • Joe

      Please explain how it’s any different for a theist.

      • Tete Rouge

        Theists would only straighten the deck chairs for themselves

        • Doug

          I think what Christians would say is there would be no reason to help save others because we would only be living in a survival of the fittest scenario. So, rationally speaking they’re saying “If there’s no God there’s no reason to be altruistic.”

        • It’s odd how atheists see the idea of “you only have one life” as an opportunity to do the most good in what little time we have.

        • Kodie

          To go beyond that and back to religion, I don’t see how Jesus sacrificed his life. I mean, we’ve all become accustomed to this idea that sacrificing your life means to die, but that means you are no longer useful. Sacrificing your life ought to mean that there is a lot of fun stuff you could do and ignore other people and their problems, but you sacrifice that life, and instead use your life like a tool to help others. Jesus didn’t do that. He died like he was an animal to please god from his death instead of act in service for a full long life. You only have one life, and there are so many choices you could make, and you can be selfish, or you can be exceedingly generous with your life. And so next, they look to Mother Teresa, who lived a very long life, and according to most people, spent that life serving others, which she really didn’t do, but I think the main focus on her is that she didn’t live herself in luxury. How tough to live without so many luxuries and care for the poor (in a way that could have paid for their health and comfort, but decided nah), which is, I mean, you don’t see a lot of Americans leaving their comfortable lives and living among the poor in another country (or even our own country), to just keep them company.

          Anyway, I think about Jesus a lot. How many more people could he have taught and spread a message to, if it were true? If you thought you could tell a very important secret to a handful of people, which needed to be spread to be useful, I just think a more useful sacrifice of his life would be to travel land to land proving he had a connection, and leaving at least a million witnesses, and even if it never took, there goes a guy who thought what he was sharing was more important than living at home with his ma and treating himself to having his feet oiled on a weekly basis. I am thinking about those people who endure discomforts to make a point and bring awareness, who solo walk or ride a bike or whatever, across the country. They only have one life and they want to spend it walking hard, and I never heard of most of those people, they never get famous, and the causes never get solved.

        • Doug

          when you think about it Jesus spread his message to more people than anyone else in history didn’t he?

        • Kodie

          No, the message was brutally and violently forced on many of them, and then idiots like you bring us tired shitty arguments like who would die for a lie and other memes that tickle you but are bullshit.

        • Doug

          brutally and violently forced on who? You’re thinking of Islam not Christianity.

        • The Thirty Years War was a Christian-on-Christian war (though I’ll grant that non-religious factors entered into it). 2% of the entire world’s population was killed.

          Christianity has some blood on its hands, too.

        • Doug

          agreed but ridiculously and outlandishly small in comparison to Islam or 20th century atheism under Mao, Pol-pot or Stalin

        • 2% of the world’s population? In one war? I wouldn’t call that “outlandishly small.” But I guess God works in mysterious ways.

          Stalin was an atheist, but there is no atheist dogma. He didn’t kill in the name of atheism. He limited churches because he didn’t like the competition. The problem was that he was a dictator, not that he was an atheist.

        • BlackMamba44

          And another Woo/Murph argument. I’m getting Deja Vu.

        • Kodie

          Absolutely.

        • al kimeea

          oh come on, you forgot Hitler

          And Kaiser Wilhelm

        • MNb

          Ah – the one that killed the least people must contain the Truth!

        • Doug

          Not necessarily I’m just making the point that the shoes on the other foot if we’re going to indict God for killing people. Humans have personally killed more people then God has.

        • Humans never claimed to be morally perfect, Murph. That kinda puts God in a bad light, though.

        • Kuno

          Seriously, that is one of the most depressing parts of history I’ve ever encountered. And basically it was about which slight variation of a religion was the correct one.

        • Halbe

          Christianity spread throughout Europe mainly through the “Convert or Die” method. And then it spread to the America’s and Australia by means of just taking the lands from the natives and slaughtering them if they were in the way. In Africa it was by means of brutal colonialism. And still the missionary work in poor countries uses mafia methods for conversion: “Of course you can get the healthcare you need, but first you must accept Jesus in your heart”.

        • Doug

          No it didn’t that’s completely false. You wanted human sacrificing native Americans to govern the territory?

        • Halbe

          What a surprise, a Christian that endorses genocide. Must be that super-duper “objective morality”.

        • Doug

          You atheists believe in infanticide isn’t that worse?

        • Halbe

          I have never met an atheist that “believes in infanticide”. Many atheists are pro-choice, but that has of course nothing to do whatsoever with infanticide.

          And, the “tu cocque” defense is a logical fallacy only deployed by losers.

        • epeeist

          You atheists believe in infanticide isn’t that worse?

          But your god “designed” the female human reproductive system so that the vast majority of fertilised eggs are spontaneously aborted.

          As far as I am concerned that makes your god the abortifactor-in-chief.

        • adam
        • MNb

          How is that any worse than christians sacrificing committing genocide?

        • Doug

          Well we can debate what happened to Native Americans in the early days of America but that’s a separate issue. The point I’m making is that by and large Christians have been promoters of peace throughout history not violence. Yes, there are some notable exceptions but the exception isn’t the rule in this case.

        • Human sacrifice bugs you? Your own god demands it.

        • Kodie

          You’re thinking of Islam, not me. Christianity would not be the success it is today without an ISIS-like effort in the past. They are terrorists.

        • adam
        • MNb

          No.
          Newton’s F = m*a beats Jesus.

        • Doug

          Really? Common.

        • Kuno

          It took him centuries to get it really going, so how smart can he be?

        • Doug

          Not really if you read the New Testament and even documents outside the New Testament this was a movement that rivaled the authority of local governments. Even with the extreme persecution they endured Christianity thrived during those early years. Regardless, he succeeded whether you want to critique his speed of influence or not.

        • Kuno

          Wait a second. You were the one who brought up that anything that takes too long is worthless. So now the speed does no longer matter?

          How convenient for you.

        • Greg G.

          I have read the New Testament and documents from the early centuries. I see the religion divided into whole mess in the early second century. The claims of extreme persecution appears to be made up. We see some saints being martyred in different ways in different parts of the world. How does that work?

        • BlackMamba44

          Lies, lies, lies. You’re not too fond of the Ninth Commandment, are you.?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d3c716167e807551f75b322b668e3e6814ccf2ed3129220cfbc310a496d36321.jpg

        • Greg G.

          It was Paul’s misconstrued message which spread to more people than anyone else in history. But Paul was making it up as he went along. It’s quite a pity.

          But even that message became more and more misconstrued over time and is still being misconstrued.

        • Dys

          Nope. But Constantine sure did.

        • “Most people aren’t appreciated enough, and the bravest things we do in our lives are usually known only to ourselves. No one throws ticker tape on the man who chose to be faithful to his wife, on the lawyer who didn’t take the drug money, or the daughter who held her tongue again and again. All this anonymous heroism.” — Peggy Noonan

        • Doug

          That’s just it Bob if there’s no God there’s no such thing as good – there would just be preferences. Didn’t Dawkins say all we have is “blind pitiless indifference” and that we just “dance to our DNA?”

        • Pofarmer

          This has become stupid. It’s your God,that commits Genocide and calls it good. Even though a tri omni being should have seen it coming. Holy fuck, bring better arguments.

        • Doug

          How many people have died from the hands of other people throughout history?

          How many people have died at the hands of God?

          If God can provide eternal life to people doesn’t that outweigh our temporal existence here?

          Is there a contradiction between God taking life and God being good?

        • Kodie

          There is a contradiction between god and reality.

        • Doug

          What do you mean?

        • Kodie

          I mean, the industry of inventing rationalizations for god, and why he doesn’t behave in many of the ways he is claimed to be, is plenty of bullshit. The only way you can believe in god is to make excuses for the god who never says anything, but you think he relies on dummies like you.

        • Doug

          you rationalize for your beliefs why aren’t Christians allowed to for theirs?

        • Pofarmer

          Primarily because you want to involve the rest of us in them.

        • Doug

          Dido

        • al kimeea

          Dido is doG? What’s she got to do with it?

        • Doug

          *ditto (my bad)

        • Kodie

          It would be nice if you could join us in reality, but we never say you have to stop believing in god or stop going to church. I mean, what caused you to come to an atheist blog and start posting your nonsense at us? Did someone try to force you to change your mind?

        • Pofarmer

          You don’t want to do that. I warned ya.

        • Pofarmer

          “Is there a contradiction between God taking life and God being good?”

          Absolutely if it’s the tri omni Christian God. This falls directly into Ethyphro.

        • Doug

          What if God has a good reason for taking life? Death may not be as important to God as it is to us first of all. Secondly, if those children who died went straight to heaven what’s the problem if God thought that was best? Millions of babies are aborted around the world every year why would an atheist care if God killed some on the Old Testament? That seems like a glaring contradiction.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s the small matter of being consistent and honest.

        • Doug

          you mean like holding Christians feet to the fire or something? We’re not uncomfortable with the Old Testament you guys are. But what’s odd is you guys complain about how God killed babies in the Old Testament and yet it’s okay for millions of babies to be killed around the globe every year? Common.

        • Pofarmer

          No, I mean like realizing when your beliefs are shit. An all loving, all knowing , all powerful God wouldn’t have to take anyones life, he could perform as many miracles as necessary to prevent it. Ethyphro figured this out 2000 years ago.

        • Doug

          Euthyphro was wrong. Although God could do what you say evidently that’s not the best way for life to play out for the best. If the goal is “for the best” than Euthyphro could very well be wrong.

        • Pofarmer

          Lol. The whole point is that for a God that can easily produce as many miracles as he would need to “for the best” is a meaningless metric. A bald excuse, really.

        • Kuno

          If God is omnipotent then he can make anything “for the best”. He should be able to come up with a plan that doesn’t rely on human suffering.

        • Doug

          Not if you want to retain any type of free will

        • Kuno

          Why?

        • Greg G.

          If he was omnipotent, he would be able to come up with a plan that doesn’t rely on human suffering and doesn’t reduce free will.

        • Greg G.

          “God could do what you say” but doesn’t means that the suffering is unnecessary. If God thinks it’s “for the best” that unnecessary suffering exists, then God is a sadist and not a benevolent being.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Are you claiming babies can survive birth after a woman has been pregnant a month or two?

        • Doug

          I’m asking for the atheist to be consistent. If the baby has 3/4 of its body still in the womb and only the head is sticking out is it a baby or a fetus (which is ironically Latin for baby)?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          All that matters is whether the “baby” requires the informed consent of the pregnant person to use their body to continue living. If they do not, the baby is its own body and person who can live with the help of machines/doctors/an adoptive family.

        • Doug

          What? Women shouldn’t have sex if they don’t want babies. It’s not the babies fault for growing inside of the mother. Don’t even bring up rape cause that’s only an excuse in a minuscule amount of cases.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          ” Women shouldn’t have sex if they don’t want babies.”

          The real anti-choice motivation shows up once again: punish hetero/bisexual women for wanting sex, despite them not having any choice in that matter any more than the hetero/bi men having sex with them. Those women were the “unborn babies” not long ago, and now you want to justify using them as machines when inevitably some of them become pregnant. “It’s not the babies fault” that you want to use them as incubators. Get the hell out of people’s genitals you human trafficking apologist!

        • Doug

          Two things.

          1. the man in the consensual relationship should work on his pull out game

          2. people shouldn’t have sex if they don’t want to abide by the consequences. It’s called being an adult I know that’s hard for you to understand.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Pregnant people have abortion if they become pregnant and do not want to be for any reason whatsoever. You don’t get to use their bodies nor the bodies of any future children just because you want to shame them for the innate desire for sex. Grow up.

        • Doug

          Which is the worst reason for an abortion, i.e. convenience. Which brings it back to one of my points – part of being a grown up is to abide by the consequences of a choice in this case having sex might mean a baby is conceived. If that occurs whether by accident or because it was desired and then later regretted it makes no difference the parents have no right to kill what they helped create.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “Which is the worst reason for an abortion, i.e. convenience. ”

          Using someone else’s body being called an “inconvenience” is a common lie you authoritarians use. The “unborn baby” of a relatively few years ago doesn’t want you to use their now pregnant body like a machine that can’t say, “NO!” They are now an adult and have taken responsibility for a pregnancy they were not going to go through with and got an abortion. The zygote/embryo/fetus dies on its own without an organ donor giving informed consent just as they would at any other point in their life when their body cannot sustain itself (no one is killing them then, either).

        • You say that abortion is a terrible holocaust? I don’t believe you, because if that were the case, you’d be working with pro-choice advocates to reduce unwanted pregnancy, the cause of abortion. One good source shows how unwanted pregnancy can be reduced by 90% through more reliably contraception and accurate sex ed.

          You can’t have it both ways.

        • Halbe

          And, in addition to Bob’s argument: You would be advocating for medical research into preventing that about 70% of the zygotes (or babies as you would call them) die in the first 3 weeks after conception. By your logic this would be the most important public health crisis out there: 70% of all “babies” just dying like that!

        • Kuno

          Wait a minute! I thought a woman has no say in if she gets pregnant or not? So why is it fair that she has to bear any consequences?

        • You shot yourself by accident? Sorry, pal–regretting the consequences of your action after the fact is no reason for us to treat you here at this emergency room. Now move along for the people who are actually sick.

        • MNb

          “part of being a grown up is to abide by the consequences of a choice”
          Exactly what christians avoid when they claim that Jesus died for their sins.

          “the parents have no right to kill what they helped create.”
          Only god has. Thanks for confirming that your morals are subjective.

        • BlackMamba44

          Consequences? So, you want to use a child as punishment?

          And you say atheists have no morals.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2801593f6d634659e60f8c755bc09cafdc5d371c0ba63419fd730fa0f9e95d31.jpg

        • Women shouldn’t have sex if they don’t want babies.

          People shouldn’t drive in cars if they don’t want accidents. I’m petitioning to have emergency rooms reject accident victims for this reason. Can I count on your signature?

        • Wow—so many mistakes!

          1. If God kills people, then we need to evaluate the claim that God is all-loving. Does the evidence stand up? If not, then you should reject the claim.

          2. Children went to heaven? Can I kill the kid next door and do everyone a favor? If not, then why is it OK for God? Wouldn’t our morality and his be the same since we’re made in his image? Or does God have his own morality? If so, give me the rules he follows.

          3. Babies aren’t aborted. Fetuses are.

          4. If you want to pretend that fetuses are babies, then abortion is doing them a favor just like God did when he drowned all those real babies. Consistency, please.

        • Doug

          1. there’s no contradiction between the existence of evil and Gods goodness

          2. You can’t kill the kid next door but God can because he gave that kid his life to begin with. You’re not authorized to act the same as policemen in your neighborhood are you?

          3. disagreement over terms. If a baby is half out of the womb and the other half is still in the womb are you saying that the half in the womb is fetus and the half sticking out is baby?

          4. No because humans aren’t the author of life God is. We aren’t authorized to take away what doesn’t belong to us.

        • 1. there’s no contradiction between the existence of evil and Gods goodness

          There’s a contradiction between an all-good god and gratuitous evil (Bambi gets injured in a forest and, after starving for a few days, gets eaten while still alive by vultures and mice.

          If a baby is half out of the womb and the other half is still in the womb are you saying that the half in the womb is fetus and the half sticking out is baby?

          Who cares? Give me useful hypotheticals. When it’s 5 months along, it’s a “fetus.” Don’t talk to me about abortion being “killing babies.”

        • Kuno

          You can’t kill the kid next door but God can because he gave that kid his life to begin with.

          A mother gave life to her unborn fetus. So what’s your problem with abortion?

        • al kimeea

          she’s not the celestial cop

        • Doug

          the mother can’t author life. she can’t pick and choose when to become pregnant

        • Kuno

          So there is a different standard for God. How very objective.

          Also, special pleading.

        • BlackMamba44

          Sure, she can. She can choose to have sex during a time she isn’t ovulating. She can choose to use birth control. She can choose not to have sex.

        • Doug

          Not really it just grew in her body. She didn’t choose to be pregnant as many women will tell you getting pregnant can be extremely difficult and frustrating.

        • Kuno

          She didn’t choose to be pregnant as many women will tell you getting pregnant can be extremely difficult and frustrating.

          Now this is just gibberish.

        • Kodie

          Sock puppet! Why can’t you stay banned, what is your obsession? Obsessivefucksdon’tmatter!

        • adam

          “2. You can’t kill the kid next door but God can ”

          Imaginary Gods cant do anything, only its ‘believers’ can.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a18a3237d360e002dbdd901e4a3f5688a3463b7d939dbc595090ceadb5ae4faa.png

        • Doug

          the cruelest thing of all at the hands of men who have no fear of God instilled in them is to kill a helpless child inside the womb. Utter filth!

        • adam

          Nope, the character God in the bible killed perhaps milllions of such ‘helpless child’ in The Flood.

          The cruelest thing of all is the delusions that this character https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/399c1022fd17d83255a20fac5966c628aa950fa0fd4a935be54e8b676bde95e7.jpg is REAL and justified cruelty in it’s name

        • Pofarmer

          1. there’s no contradiction between the existence of evil and Gods goodness

          But there is with the Tri-omni Christian God. A God that is all knowing, all powerful, and all loving could do anything it wanted to do without evil.

          2. You can’t kill the kid next door but God can because he gave that kid
          his life to begin with. You’re not authorized to act the same as
          policemen in your neighborhood are you?

          Which means that our lives are worth literally nothing to God. And, Yes, citizens can perform many acts of policemen in their neighborhoods.

          3. disagreement over terms. If a baby is half out of the womb and the
          other half is still in the womb are you saying that the half in the womb
          is fetus and the half sticking out is baby?

          It’s in the act of being born. So what?

          4. No because humans aren’t the author of life God is. We aren’t authorized to take away what doesn’t belong to us.

          Well, shit, their goes free agency and free well and any idea of self worth again. Humans sure do suck.

        • Greg G.

          1. There is a contradiction between the existence of evil, God’s goodness, and God’s omnipotence. You can pick only two.

          2. By specifying “the kid next door”, are you implying that parents can kill their own children since they gave the children life? God would have no more right to kill those he gave life to than parents. Otherwise, God could damn Christians to hell for the same reason.

          3. Doctors in Catholic hospitals are in a dilemma during birth or pregnancy when there is a “no win situation” where they can save the fetus/baby or the mother but not both. Because of their religion, they must wait until one heart stops beating before trying to save the other, even if it is too late.

          4. My friend needs one of your kidneys. Without it, that person will die. If you refuse, you will be responsible for that death. if you outlive that person, you can have your kidney back. Glad to see you argue that you are not authorized to withhold your body parts.

        • Joe

          What if God has a good reason for taking life?

          Such as?

          What if God has good reasons for allowing millions of babies to be aborted?

        • Greg G.

          Atheists don’t believe God did anything the Old Testament says. It’s only an issue for those who believe the Old Testament.

          If fetuses go to heaven, why do you care? Most of them would be damned to hell if their mothers were forced to give birth to them, if you believe the Bible.

        • adam

          “What if God has a good reason for taking life? ”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1e284ecfcf8f4a4da8adb8c8992def60d555414158c237b83a5d3f4c4ffb2fa2.jpg

          What if Hitler has the same ‘good reason’?

        • adam

          ” Secondly, if those children who died went straight to heaven what’s the problem if God thought that was best?”

          Then WHY would you be worried about abortions?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/da97513ded992878f70d716a46b1d083ee748a342fee4fca91634ecf854646be.jpg

        • God drowned everybody. Kind of a dick, wouldn’t you say?

        • Doug

          Don’t liberals want women to be able to kill their babies anytime they want for any reason?

          Who has killed more people God or man on his own?

          God can take life as he thinks is best since he is the author of it.

        • Don’t liberals want women to be able to kill their babies anytime they want for any reason?

          Where I come from, killing babies is “murder.” Where I come from, abortion kills fetuses.

          Who has killed more people God or man on his own?

          God killed the entire world except for 8 people. Impressive, I’ll grant, but still a dick.

          God can take life as he thinks is best since he is the author of it.

          Wrong. Learn a little about morality.

          If you build a sand castle, you can destroy it because you built it and because a sand castle isn’t alive. See the problem?

        • Doug

          So if a child being born has its head sticking out and the rest of its body still in the womb is it technically a fetus in your book because 3/4 of it hasn’t been born yet? What’s your dividing line?

          God killed the entire world at one point in history except for 8 people. But when we total the rest of the human races war on itself the body count stacks up considerably higher for us then him. Who’s better morally in that case?

          Learn a little about morality? I know it’s only rational if God exists otherwise it’s just preferences.

          But again, God taking someones life is his choosing. 50k die every day. Are you just upset that he took someones life at a wrong time?

        • So if a child being born has its head sticking out and the rest of its body still in the womb is it technically a fetus in your book because 3/4 of it hasn’t been born yet? What’s your dividing line?

          Not an interesting question for me. I don’t have much to offer.

          God killed the entire world at one point in history except for 8 people.

          Yeah—crazy, right?

          But when we total the rest of the human races war on itself the body count stacks up considerably higher for us then him.

          God kills everyone . . . but then Europeans kill 2% of the population in the Thirty Years War, fighting largely over Christian sectarian issues. God wins the Biggest Bastard contest!

          Who’s better morally in that case?

          Yeah—who looks worse in these two situation? Is it imperfect humans . . . or is it the guy who’s supposed to be morally perfect?

          Learn a little about morality? I know it’s only rational if God exists otherwise it’s just preferences.

          Does objective morality exist? Show me. Demonstrate it. I’ve seen no evidence.

          But again, God taking someones life is his choosing. 50k die every day. Are you just upset that he took someones life at a wrong time?

          I’m saying that the claim that the Christian god is omnibenevolent is false. Gratuitous evil exists.

        • Kuno

          You are all over the place. “God is good. OK, even if he killed some people, humans have killed more. OK, maybe he killed more but he is allowed to, because he created us.” Have you fitted those goalposts with wheels by now?

        • al kimeea

          those wheels are standard equipment

        • Zeta

          Kuno: “Have you fitted those goalposts with wheels by now?

          I like the way you put it. Maybe those wheels are also powered by an engine?

        • al kimeea

          a perpetual motion machine

        • al kimeea

          Apparently all according to your doG’s plan

          As far as the numbers game goes, doG murders millions in the Buybull, while Satan offs less than a dozen (with a hockey stick)

        • Doug

          allowing is not the same as performing

        • Kuno

          It is if you are omnipotent and omniscient.

        • Doug

          Allowing it may factor in the event occurring by free will creatures for an eventual greater good

        • Kuno

          Nope. If you are omnipotent and omniscient you are capable to create any effect you want without anyone suffering for it.

        • Doug

          but other elements may be sacrificed such as free will

        • Kuno

          Omnipotent.

        • Greg G.

          You are saying that God can’t accomplish what suffering can do without the suffering and without compromising free will, you are saying God is not omnipotent.

        • Pofarmer

          We’ve been over this ground with Doug, but maybe you can beat it into his head. You’re better at it than I am.

        • adam
        • adam
        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Murder is not murder if one has high enough social status?

        • Doug

          If a nation has the plague (every man, woman and child) would it be wrong for the neighboring nation to completely wipe the plague nation off the map? Would that be ethical?

        • Halbe

          No of course that is not ethical, you ugly Christian genocide-apologist. Your ethical framework is really weird: Killing fetuses – bad. Killing human beings with a curable disease – good. Killing native Americans – good.

        • Doug

          If early American settlers killed some Indians because they were committing human sacrifice that’s okay with me. I don’t have a problem with that. That’s called justice. At what point does a fetus become a baby? If it’s feet and torso are still in the womb and the head is just poking out does that mean because 3/4 of its body is in the womb its a fetus? Common – geography doesn’t change a thing this is exactly why atheists hate ultrasounds.

        • Halbe

          Well then why not kill all Catholics because many RCC pastors sexually abuse children? You would obviously call that “Justice” . The genocide of native Americans by Christians had nothing to do with “stopping human sacrifice”. It is nothing but a terribly evil act, that you somehow want to justify with your “superior” objective morals. What’s next? “The holocaust was not so bad because many Jews were criminals”?

          And your argument about fetuses is just a stupid smokescreen. Fetuses before the 25th week of pregnancy are just fetuses, who cannot survive outside of the womb. Nobody argues for legalising abortion after that (except in very exceptional and tragic cases where the life of the mother is at stake). So, abortion is about fetuses (and zygotes and embryos) and nothing else.

        • Kodie

          Were you or are you currently being homeschooled? That’s some dirty lies you are repeating. American settlers didn’t just kill some Indians, or kill them because they were committing human sacrifice. They killed them because they demonized them and wanted their land. It was genocide. Learn some fucking history.

        • Greg G.

          If early American settlers killed some Indians because they were committing human sacrifice that’s okay with me. I don’t have a problem with that. That’s called justice.

          WTF?

          At what point does a fetus become a baby?

          Irrelevant. No person has the right to use another person’s organs without consent of the other person.

        • adam
        • Doug

          If you worship yourself your moral standards are meaningless

        • adam

          “If you worship yourself your moral standards are meaningless”

          Exactly

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c4e3bbea2d1e4d81dbd3798980be2ee8b39f893fee5d1d2b81b76b5e7ba184e1.jpg

        • Greg G.

          I don’t worship anything or anybody, including myself. My moral standards are based on fairness, minimizing harm, and maximizing benefits. If your moral standard is based on what you imagine your imaginary friend would prefer if he existed, your moral standards are meaningless.

        • Halbe

          And if you worship your God your morals obviously get so perverted that you start justifying genocide and slavery. I think I will just keep my own subjective morals, thank you.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          The nation is under attack by bacteria, and we want to kill them faster?

        • Doug

          We want to eliminate the neighboring country so that the disease doesn’t spread. God did that to certain nations in the OT namely the Canaanites because of sin. Sin is a disease and if it goes unchecked it can ruin a nation. It ruined the Roman empire it’s about to ruin the United States.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Strange how Jesus’ power level and “goodness” seem to be all over the place. Here Jesus is so powerless against whatever the hell “sin” is that he has to watch his disciples murder children for some reason.

        • Doug

          His disciples murdered children? Care to quote the passage?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Jesus to his disciple, King Saul: “3Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroya all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” (1 Samuel 15)

        • Funny! Your god can’t even figure out that slavery is wrong, but your knickers are in a twist because America is falling away from the Bible’s Bronze Age morality?

        • BlackMamba44

          Hmmm…I am probably wrong but Doug is starting to use the same arguments as Woo/Murph etc. And some of the same wording.

        • Kodie

          I have no doubt it is the same poster.

        • Kodie

          Sock puppet.

        • BlackMamba44

          Yep.

        • adam

          “God can take life as he thinks is best since he is the author of it.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c95e927c4e95d2cffdd3ef1e9366cb46bfed529f568bfad72911e50e30e88468.jpg

        • adam

          “Don’t liberals want women to be able to kill their babies anytime they want for any reason?”

          No, that statement comes from an idiot.

          “Who has killed more people God or man on his own?”

          Imaginary God, has killed or will kill everyone, remember?

          “God can take life as he thinks is best since he is the author of it.”

          God is IMAGINARY
          Women are the author of all children, so OBVIOUSLY, you believe women should be able to kill their babies anytime they want.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ab1bc7cb47df140d2e012e4bc5a99edb763d3aed95ae30e236e1b1b79a38e852.jpg

        • In the first place, I am not obliged to follow what Dawkins says. In the second, I don’t see any difficulty with what Dawkins was saying.

          You’re confusing good with absolute or objective good. We define what “good” means. Look it up—there’s no appeal to absolute or objective anything.

        • Doug

          I’m confused are you saying the dictionary is always right or?

        • BlackMamba44

          You need a god to be good? I don’t.

        • BlackMamba44

          And there’s that word “preferences” that Woo/Murph/etc. used on another post. Hmmm…

        • Kuno

          Then those Christians would be wrong about the meaning of the phrase “survival of the fittest”.

        • Doug

          survival of the fittest doesn’t involve altruism unless it advances ones goals to survive, i.e. selfishness

        • Kuno

          Altruism in a social species increases the chances of survival*, i.e. the more altruistic an individuum is, the more fit it is.

          * Actually not even the survival, but rather the propagation of its genetic traits.

        • Tete Rouge

          Yes, sadly that is probably their viewpoint when all too frequently their motives are anything but altuism

        • Doug

          But whose view is more rational? We’d have to say the Christian’s view is more rational because it’s grounded in objectivity. The atheist by contrast is grounded in subjectivity. Altruism is simply a means to an ends with the atheist. A means to benefit the atheist. True altruism (rational altruism) is about benefiting the receiver not the giver.

        • Kodie

          Well, the Christian, or any theist, makes believe that their life has objective meaning because they invent an imaginary object to give them meaning, but you really have fantasy of any such thing. You’ve been brainwashed to be dependent on a superstition fictional character. You cling to that magical invisible friend like he’s a lucky penny. Just like that, it’s just a superstition. If you’re trying to convince anyone otherwise, I don’t know, just ha ha, you’re so pathetic.

          True altruism benefits the receiver, not the giver? Still no god in that equation. You don’t need god and I don’t know why you think people who don’t find your god claims credible or necessary don’t perform altruism, ie to benefit the recipient.

        • Tete Rouge

          Err nope. Quite the opposite is true. A Christian is only religious to curry favour with their god. No other reason. What ‘objectivity is there in that? What ‘means to an end’ does the atheist have other than to benefit the receiver?

          Altruism definition, the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others (opposed to egoism).

    • Greg G.

      Our lives matter to us all. Substituting an imaginary meaning is like pretending to straighten deck chairs on the Titanic.

      • Joe

        The titanic sunk a century ago, but I believe it will resurface and sail into port any day now to ferry true believers away to paradise!

      • TheNuszAbides

        like pretending to straighten deck chairs while actually on the Titanic?

    • eric

      Easy, you leave the world a better place for your friends, loved ones etc. who continue after you’re gone. Thus its more ‘helping others to the lifeboats’ than it is ‘straightening the deck chairs.’

      Now it sounds to me like you’re telling me Christians demand more. That they see no point in helping others to the lifeboats unless they are guaranteed a place on them. Is that right? Because you can’t really object to humanist meaning-of-life as insufficient or meaningless without salvation, unless you’re saying something like that.

    • Michael Neville

      I really pity those people who need an imaginary sky pixie to give their lives purpose. It’s like lying on the deck of the Titanic waiting for the waves to wash over them while the band plays “Nearer My God to Thee”.

      • Doug

        Christians pity atheists because they’re simply going through life “straightening the deck chairs on the Titanic.”

        • Atheists pity Christians because they think there’s something bigger and better than this life … without evidence.

        • Doug

          Fair enough. But obviously they disagree as to what constitutes evidence don’t they?

        • Christians seem to have a very low threshold for evidence supporting their position and a much more skeptical level for the other guy’s religion. Is that what you mean?

        • Doug

          I think honest Christians are willing to admit what they don’t know or can’t be sure of. Most Christians I know believe that design in nature is a pretty solid indication that we didn’t get here by accident.

        • And most Christians are happy to accept evolution.

        • Doug

          theistic evolution that’s correct.

        • And is that your view?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          I have no trouble reading what you write or what is written in the Bible. Why is there no god expressing any of their thoughts?

        • Doug

          God chose a specific method for his thoughts to be received.

        • MNb

          Thanks for demonstrating your double standard of what constitutes evidence – a very low one pro god and a very high one con god.

        • Doug

          If you want we can discuss the empty tomb. Does that constitute as evidence? What do you think happened to Jesus’ body or do you believe like Bob Price that he may not have even existed?

        • Otto

          I know the first thing I would think if I saw an empty tomb would be …”hey, the guy who we put here is now gone and must be God”.
          Tell us again how you are so reasonable, literally ANY natural explanation would be more reasonable than that supernatural claim.

        • Otto

          Apparently that method is using other people as a mouthpiece and is completely unreliable.

        • Doug

          when you think about the billions of people throughout history and the over 2 billion alive right now who believe the method is legitimate evidently it wasn’t “completely unreliable”

        • Otto

          So the messages they relate are consistent then right?

          40,000+ denominations of Christianity and growing would say otherwise….and that is just Christianity. I would not call that reliable and I am astounded you do.

        • Kodie

          Why do you have to keep creating new accounts so you can bug us about god? Doesn’t he have a more reliable method? He can’t think of a better way than sending idiot after idiot (and sometimes the same clueless persistent idiot)?

        • adam
        • Giauz Ragnarock

          It would be hilarious to hear this from a God, but there doesn’t appear to be any to give this opinion as awkward as that would be.

    • Kodie

      Christians want more life than we get and more love than there is. How pathetic to think that pretending that you can have it is meaningful? Besides the pathetic rationalizations for god that theists tend to make, what I hear when theists think their life has meaning and mine doesn’t is like saying your family is the only meaningful family, and mine isn’t meaningful and is really just passing the time until we die. Or that your favorite tv show is the only decent entertainment on television, and my favorite show is not, according to you, or maybe I don’t watch tv, and you decide that means I’m not experiencing a full life and will never achieve eternal salvation.

      That’s what your pathetic beliefs sound like to an atheist, and yourself as an example of the heights one can achieve with god, just sound like a loser begging to be seen as cool by atheists. You know you’re not, that’s why you had to invent god. God is like your mother telling you “oh don’t listen to them, they’re just jealous”.

    • Susan

      Please explain to me how an atheist creating purpose for their life is different to the common example of “straightening the deck chairs on the Titanic?

      Please show me how it bears any resemblance.

  • Joe

    He makes his own meaning. And then he gets eaten by a sea lion

    The most baffling theistic arguments: describing something that actually happens and saying it wouldn’t happen if god existed.

    Checkmate atheists.

    • Doug

      What example are you thinking of specifically?

      • Joe

        Well, the one I quoted for one.

        Other than that, the argument form objective morality: “If there was no God there would be war, crime and moral disagreement.”

        • Doug

          It’s an incoherent example because death and suffering are not mutually exclusive with the existence of God

        • Joe

          That’s not my point. Try again.

        • Doug

          What’s your point then?

        • Joe

          That pointing to war or crime as a defeater of objective morality is a bad argument in a world where wars are fought over moral differences.

  • eric

    If humans are just the result of happenstance, isn’t life meaningless? If we protest otherwise, aren’t we just like the penguin?

    Yep, we’re like the penguin. Why is this an argument against meaning?
    I don’t see why a hypothetical sentient penguin couldn’t find meaning in
    living a penguin’s life. In a weird coincidence, Planet Earth II just aired
    this week, talking about an island of penguins. And what they do to survive,
    prosper, and raise chicks is quite amazing.

    Why am I here? Our purpose “is to know God and enjoy him forever”

    While billions burn in hell eternally? Unlikely, unless I’m somehow mentally
    transformed to not be bothered by the thought of billions of people suffering
    eternal torment.

    Because humans desire absolute meaning, purpose, and value “this would make us fundamentally irrational—poor, mad, deluded creatures”

    I’m not sure how he justifies that “absolute” in there. I’m happy to agree that (most) humans desire meaning in their life. I’m not sure it’s true as a general principle that they desire some sort of absolute meaning. Even if that were the case, though, I’m not sure it makes us ‘poor, mad etc.’ This goes back to his use of penguins as some sort of counter-example-which-isn’t. I suspect he sees a penguin attempting to live and raise it’s chicks as a ‘poor, mad, deluded creature.’ I don’t. I think it’s quite an incredible creature. I’m not at all bothered by the
    thought that we humans are eking out our lives as best we can the same way the
    penguins are.

    • Doug

      Meaning is a philosophical concept far beyond any animal least of all a penguin (nothing against penguins of course)

      • Kodie

        Humans are animals. Don’t you agree that we are?

        • Doug

          to a certain extent. Obviously were able to understand reality on a different plain than the rest of the natural order at least in terms of philosophical concepts. When is the last time you discussed a philosophical concept with a penguin?

        • Kuno

          That just makes us animals that are “able to understand reality on a different plain than the rest of the
          natural order at least in terms of philosophical concepts” It doesn’t answer Kodie’s question.

          When was the last time you discussed anything with a penguin? And why would you feel the need to talk to a penguin in the first place?

        • Michael Neville

          Maybe penguins aren’t particularly sentient but dolphins and whales might be another kettle of fish. (Sorry, couldn’t resist. Please don’t hit me.)

        • Kuno

          I usually abhor violence, but you kinda asked for this:

          http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view/178856/fish-slapping-dance-o.gif

        • al kimeea

          one of my favourite bits of theirs, it always makes me laugh

        • al kimeea

          Thanks for all of that

        • Kodie

          I am doing that when I reply to you.

        • Doug

          Does that mean we’re friends and you don’t hate my guts? I don’t hate you.

        • Kodie

          I think you’re a dummy.

      • Kuno

        I would say a penguin that is not only sentient but also capable of human speech should be considered able to grasp philosophical concepts.

        And why would the fact that it’s been eaten mean that its life doesn’t have meaning. It just doesn’t follow.

        Does life only have meaning when you are immortal?

  • Michael Murray

    Irrelevant though it is to the argument the Australian Sea Lion

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_sea_lion

    eats penguins.

  • Anthrotheist

    …God, who won’t get off the couch to make his mere existence obvious.

    This seems to me to be an insurmountable issue. It’s one thing to say “I am following the plan that God has given to me”, and another thing entirely to say “I am following the plan given to me by some guy who read a book which was written by some guy who purportedly was inspired by God to write His perfect word. And then translated innumerable times by equally perfect scribes.”

    “this would make us fundamentally irrational…”

    I don’t know about fundamentally, but I would certainly argue that we are intrinsically irrational. When was the last time you looked at an infant or toddler and said “oh, what a perfectly reasonable and rational person”? We learn to be rational, and it takes a long time.

  • Otto

    Let’s take a page out of Bannister’s book… his car obviously has no real meaning since it will cease to function at some point and be irrelevant, he won’t mind it if I jack it and sell it for scrap.

  • Doug

    If God were to “get off the couch and make himself obvious” that would remove the need for faith. Faith requires us to “get off the couch” and seek him. Knowledge on the other hand makes demands akin to ordering from a fast food restaurant…”What’s taking so long!?”

    But I think the atheist needs to be aware of something here. If he says “my life has meaning” how does he know he isn’t lost in self delusion? How does he know that his belief here is even rational? Perhaps meaning is not something we come to believe we have but it’s something we come to accept more like a gift than anything else.

    But how can the atheist be sure he isn’t self diluted? How can he know his belief is even rationale? Unless there’s an objective source to measure meaning by – meaning becomes rather meaningless doesn’t it?

    • Otto

      “If God were to “get off the couch and make himself obvious” that would remove the need for faith.

      Yes it would, that isn’t a bad thing. It was apparently ok to give all kinds of people in the Bible personal evidence so it isn’t wrong to expect some too..

      “If he says “my life has meaning” how does he know he isn’t lost in self delusion?

      How do you know you are not lost in delusion? That knife cuts both ways…

      “But how can the atheist be sure he isn’t self diluted?”

      I think you mean ‘deluded’, and I would again ask you the same question. Being a Christian does not magically make that issue go away.

      “Unless there’s an objective source to measure meaning by – meaning becomes rather meaningless doesn’t it?”

      1) no it doesn’t.
      2) When you can demonstrate your measuring stick and what it exactly measures you be sure to let us know.

      • Doug

        You didn’t answer the question you just ping ponged it back to me.

        My question was “How does he know he isn’t lost in self delusion?” Are you saying that the atheist position is self deluded? (never mind the Christian position right now lets just talk about the atheist position)

        If God exists the Christian has meaning because God is an objective reference point.

        The “measuring stick” in theory would be whatever God says adds up to a meaningful existence

        In contrast the atheist is saying “my existence is meaningful because I say so” but notice that it’s not someone else giving meaning to the atheist’s life such as a friend, spouse, or something abstract like a job, etc.(and these are all subjective). The Christian has an objective source saying “this is what adds up to a meaningful existence.” If God says “this is what is meaningful” it’s a whole lot different than your friend, family member or spouse saying it.

        • Joe

          If God exists the Christian has meaning because God is an objective reference point.

          How do you get meaning from that?

        • Doug

          The same way the trainee gets meaning from his trainer or the student gets meaning from the teacher, etc.

        • Joe

          It’s not the same and you know it.

          My height is objective, but you can’t get any meaning from it. Only what you subjectively apply.

        • Doug

          It is the same especially if the trainee highly esteems his trainer or the student his professor and isn’t just going through the motions.

        • Joe

          It’s not the same. A trainer imparting meaning is still subjective to what the trainer deems meaningful.

          Plus, the relationship dynamic is completely different in the case of a trainee who actually interacts with his trainer.

        • Doug

          But I’m saying the trainer is akin to God which means its the same. It’s not a literal analogy its a metaphor.

        • Joe

          They’re not akin to God. What training does god give?

        • Doug

          He tells human beings how they should live if they want to have meaning

        • Joe

          How?

        • Otto

          You know what I find interesting, people like you say “God” says this and “God” says that….but it is always another person claiming what God says…and what God wants. It is never actually God. So you are really just taking your orders from another person, that being the case you are just as subjective as an atheist, you are just self deluded about it.

        • Joe

          The same people also say “God is unkowable”. Consistency is not held in high regard by these people.

        • Greg G.

          you are just self deluded about it.

          Don’t put words in his mouth. He says “atheists are self diluted.”

          Best laugh of the day.

        • Kuno

          There is a homoepathy joke somewhere in that.

        • Joe

          He doesn’t say shit.

        • al kimeea

          no, it provides a set of rules one must follow if one wishes to spend eternity with the Abrahamic Prick

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          That’s not the experience of any God.

        • MNb

          What does “tell” mean? Does he use words? Scripture? How can an immaterial/ supernatural/ transcendental entity use material/ natural stuff like that?
          It is and always has been humans (like you on this very page) who tell other beings how they should live if they want to have meaning – on behalf of an imaginary sky daddy.

        • Doug

          I’m not telling anyone how they should live I’m just trying to answer your question. Is God not able to speak through prophets to have his message communicated? Is that against the rules? You might ask “Why can’t he speak to me in that way?” The answer is “Because he has reasons for not doing so.” Just because it’s difficult to comprehend how God would speak through an individual (supernatural to natural as you put it) doesn’t negate his existence. I don’t comprehend how my phone conversation can travel through the air via satellites, etc. but that doesn’t negate the fact that it happens?

        • Otto

          When you understand why you reject the prophets of other religions you might understand why they all can be rejected.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Doug is obviously just a suppressive person. He doesn’t realize Ron L. Hubbard needs Doug’s dough (OT research beyond his physical body, don’cha’know!)!

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “Is God not able to speak through prophets to have his message communicated?”

          I don’t know. I’m asking a God.

          “You might ask “Why can’t he speak to me in that way?” The answer is “Because he has reasons for not doing so.”

          Why would I ask the first question using an informal noun (also, I have no idea of a god’s gender/chromosomes/sexual characteristics)? If there is an answer, getting it would be quite the surreal experience. I have no idea if any God agrees with your answer in place of any God’s answer (again, if a God did answer that question it would be quite surreal. Any God(s): Are you shitting me?).

          Since no God has come forward during the typing of this reasonably long comment………………………………………………………………. postinggggggggg

        • Doug

          But if you claimed to have this personal revelation of God how many people would believe just you alone? If everyone had the same experience as you and could talk to God everyday, etc. how would that change anything in terms of repentance, etc.? I think I see what’s going on here – you and your friends on this blog are misconstruing knowing God as that means you’re “in.” Like if you say “I believe you exist God” that means you’re “in.” That’s not the case and that’s not what Christians believe. James said in James 2 that “even the demons believe in God.” So knowing God exists does nothing to change a persons eternal destiny. That takes faith and faith produces works.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Now there are whatever the hell “demons” are? Demons, do you believe in God? What do you think, God? Nothing I guess.

        • adam

          “He tells human beings how they should live if they want to have meaning”

          (Deuteronomy 22:23-24 NAB)

          If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife.

          It is clear that God doesn’t give a damn about the rape victim. He is only concerned about the violation of another mans “property”.

        • Greg G.

          He didn’t tell me. Christians say they get their morals from the Bible but they reject some of the teachings as they realize that they don’t work. They don’t stone their children for sassing them. The eat shellfish and pork, which are supposed to be abominations.

          If you don’t already have a good moral code before you pick up the Bible, then you won’t know which are good examples and which are bad examples. If you do already have a good moral code, you don’t need to pick up the Bible.

        • Kodie

          So your way, I envision you’re a pawn in god’s dollhouse. He moves you this way and that, and if he didn’t pick you out of the toy box, you don’t have any meaning. You’re making it sound so appealing!

        • Greg G.

          Doug is the idiot to be named later.

        • Otto

          Yeah and when I used the analogy of a parent to God you said they were not equivalent…that just makes you a bit disingenuous.

        • MNb

          Yeah – one that says nothing about what you want to argue for.

        • Doug

          I’m arguing that God just like the trainer and because he is perfect has the ability alone to define meaning. If we want to have meaning and he’s the trainer than it would make good sense to get on board with that program wouldn’t it?

        • Otto

          The God you believe in is demonstrably not perfect.

        • Kodie

          If you believe that shit before you step on the treadmill, you’re just brainwashed. You are so brainwashed to think there is no other meaning, and you desperately want to mean something – that’s why you’re so obsessed with us you keep making new accounts, when you also believe there’s a perfectly good god who has perfectly better ways of reaching us than this loser argument.

        • adam

          “I’m arguing that God just like the trainer and because he is perfect”

          But your God is not perfect:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/60865103a336b5d68f96eb3254e706491af8f8a5dbd80dafef9edf2beab0319d.jpg

        • adam

          “But I’m saying the trainer is akin to God which means its the same. ”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ce3e2324b98895780cbec04a7249873cf7953da6fa1db9e81e361f1a11a122a5.jpg

        • adam

          No, it is only the same if the trainer or professor is IMAGINARY.

        • adam

          “The same way the trainee gets meaning from his trainer or the student gets meaning from the teacher, etc.”

          Nope, because trainers and teachers are REAL, not IMAGINARY.

        • If God exists

          If God exists, then you’ve won the argument. But you have given us zero evidence for this incredible hypothesis. Don’t bother with God speculation until we know this guy exists.

        • Doug

          What would you require as proof? I mean, what’s your personal criteria for that?

        • Hard to say with certainty, but let’s start with this: for me to accept the Christian claims, I need the same quality of evidence you would need to change your own worldview and accept as true the evidence from some other religion.

        • Doug

          I can’t accept what isn’t rational though. I can’t look at the way the human body most obviously operates as a machine. I would be lying to myself then.

        • OK. I don’t see how this is relevant. Weren’t you about to give me evidence for God?

        • Doug

          Like I said, evidence for God must be rational. It’s rational to believe that the body operates as a machine. Perfectly rational. Machines are made. How did the first machine get made (by evolution or created as Christians say)? The human body and natural systems in general point to a Creator which is perfectly rational again machines are made are they not? Could you give an example of a machine you know of that isn’t manufactured?

        • Pofarmer

          Look sport even machines are evolved.

        • Doug

          If you mean they go through changes I agree. I’m talking about parts assembling themselves without human intervention to form a machine.

        • Pofarmer

          Atoms self assemble in the aftermath of stars into heavier elements. Chemistry happens without intervention. Life is chemistry.

        • Doug

          Perhaps they assemble because of gravitational forces? Chemistry happens because of chain reactions. What started the chain reaction in the first place? “Life is chemistry” – that’s cool I like that.

        • Pofarmer

          “What started the chain reaction in the first place? ”

          Not the right question. How.

        • Doug

          You’re focusing on the process wheres I want to know what started it. Both are good questions. You’re asking “how” and I’m asking “what” – both are good.

        • Pofarmer

          What implies agency, which is an interesting cognitive bias. But it’s not useful here.

        • Doug

          It’s useful because we’re talking about the origins of meaning. Bob says it can be self declared but I think that’s self deluded and irrational.

        • Explain how meaning can’t be defined by ourselves, that it must come from outside us. I recommend starting with the dictionary’s definition of “meaning.” Show me.

        • Doug

          again, is the dictionary incapable of error?

        • ?? You’re asking about the definition of a word! OK, let’s look it up. If the dictionary (or any other reliable source) doesn’t have “objective” in the definition, then you’re not allowed to stick it in!

          This is an easy concept, right?

        • al kimeea

          Aren’t you?

        • Doug

          yes but that wasn’t the question. you guys read the dictionary like Christians read the Bible.

        • MNb

          In the end: quantum fields.
          Now you can ask what started quantum fields and define the answer as “god”. That’s OK with me – as Einstein already realized you end with a god playing dice, contradicting all abrahamist theology.
          But of course you won’t reconvert to say pastafarianism and that demonstrates the intellectual dishonesty of your line of thinking: you don’t take your own question seriously.

        • Doug

          Einstein said that god played dice? I think the exact quote is “God DOES NOT play dice with the universe” and with that I agree wholeheartedly. What we see with fine tuning is exactly that – no rolling of the dice, no coincidences. Everything is there for a reason in nature.

        • Kuno

          Perhaps they assemble because of gravitational forces?

          Please tell me that you are not serious.

        • Doug

          otherwise we’d have to believe in your theory of “science of the gaps” since you can’t explain how they assemble

        • Kuno

          There is no gap is this case. We know why atoms and molecules assemble. There are several branches of industry which use this knowledge to create much of the technology we have today.

          What’s next? Will you bring up the tides and how no-one can explain them? Or how magnets work?

        • Greg G.

          Have you never heard of the science called “chemistry”?

        • BlackMamba44
        • Are you saying, “Don’t bother giving me the results of any scientific discipline until they have no questions remaining”?

        • Humans are like machines; I wouldn’t call them machines.

          Evolution explains why humans are the way they are.

        • Doug

          What ever happened to if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and smells like a duck than it must be a duck?

        • Biology looks like a Rube Goldberg machine, not the elegant design of an omniscient creator. As for your duck example, you want to sneak in the “designed by a supernatural being” thing, which is insanely not like a duck.

          DNA alone defeats the Design Argument. More here:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2015/11/the-design-hypothesis-dna-and-dysteleology/

        • Doug

          One of the co-discoverers of the DNA molecule is a Christian. Are you smarter than him?

        • Show him my arguments. He’ll agree with me.

          Or perhaps you’d like to respond to the argument. I gave you the link.

        • MNb

          Not regarding DNA.
          But regarding gods yes.

        • Doug

          Why would someone as smart as that believe in something irrational?

        • Otto

          History is full of smart people believing stupid things for bad reasons.

        • MNb

          Because he/she is human and humans are very good at fooling themselves, especially when they begin to talk about things outside of their expertise.

        • Doug

          And you’re an expert when it comes to Christianity?

        • Kuno

          It took him decades to discover DNA so he can’t be that smart.

        • al kimeea

          God’s name is Howard?

        • epeeist

          Machines are made

          Indeed they are. They are made by human beings (we have evidence for the existence of such entities). These human beings exist inside they universe and are made of material from within the universe (i.e. they are contingent and not necessary beings). They also die (they are not immortal), are fallible (they are not omniscient), require tools to fabricate these machines (they are not omnipotent). It also usually takes a team of human beings to produce a machine.

          The ridiculous thing about the Paley “watch on a beach” argument (of which yours is a minor variant) is that it was refuted before it was made, namely by David Hume in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. In brief, because I know that you won’t go read Hume, it is a weak analogy and begs the question.

        • Indeed, Paley’s argument defeats itself.

          He sees a watch that stands out from the surrounding rocks and trees. Yes, the watch looks designed, but since it’s so different from the rest of nature, then apparently they don’t.

        • Susan

          What would you require as proof?

          Whar are you claiming and how do you support it?

          Stop talking about “God” unless you are able to define what you are talking about in clear terms and able to support it.

          The old “what would constitute evidence” is never the first strategy of someone making a clear claim who has evidence for that claim.

          And yet, it seems to be a standard apologist response.

          And consequently, a favourite one of yours.

        • Otto

          Doug if I was trying to sell you a bridge and you wanted proof that I owned it…that it was actually mine to sell…and my response was to ask ‘what would you require for proof?’…you would rightly think you were being conned….at least you should.

          Do you see the problem here?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          It’s not like we need to read a religious text and apologetics books to say you and the rest of us are conversing. How hard is it to just exist? Perhaps Jesus is an invalid cryptid, illusive bugger.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          What have you got? That wouldn’t work just as well for any *other* ‘god’ out there?

        • Otto

          My point is the possibility that the atheist position is one of delusion is no different than the possibility that of the theist position. If you are pointing it out as a problem don’t you have to overcome it in your position first before you try and stick that on your opposition?

          If God is an objective reference point how come so many Christians are unable to agree on said reference point? That does not look very objective to me.

          “The “measuring stick” in theory would be whatever God says adds up to a meaningful existence”

          If your parents told you what you were going to do in life, who you were going to marry, if you could have children and how many children you could have…i.e. they defined your meaning in life…would you consider that a good thing or a negative thing? So why is it suddenly good when you think a God does this for you?

        • Doug

          absolutely both have to answer the question that’s what I’m saying too

        • Otto

          I didn’t see you say that…but ok…how do you answer it?

          From my atheistic/skeptical position all I can do is follow the evidence where it leads…apparently you think having evidence leads to not needing faith. So is religious faith (believing things in lieu of evidence) help or hurt with the delusion issue?

        • Doug

          Well in reference to my original post I think faith is the opposite of knowledge. We could say that the scientific method is faith based yet when the scientist arrives at knowledge he discards his “faith” like a used condom only to put on a new one the next time and start all over again. With faith you never arrive at knowledge you only arrive at “sureness”

        • Otto

          “Well in reference to my original post I think faith is the opposite of knowledge.”

          No it isn’t…that is like saying an apple is the opposite of an orange, it literally is nonsensical.

          “With faith you never arrive at knowledge you only arrive at “sureness”

          Well there is a whole lot of Christians whose “sureness” contradicts the “sureness” of other Christians…so that means there is a whole lot of deluded Christians. You can’t all be right….but you could all be wrong.

        • Pofarmer

          “No it isn’t…that is like saying an apple is the opposite of an orange, it literally is nonsensical.”

          Maybe not in this case.

        • Otto

          I don’t follow…what do you mean?

        • Pofarmer

          I mean dude has faith in a lot of things but doesn’t appear to know shit.

        • Doug

          I didn’t say that he did. I didn’t say an orange is the opposite of an apple. I responded and said I think faith is like the acorn seed and knowledge would be akin to the actual oak tree assuming you were only able to see one or the other at a given time.

        • Pofarmer

          You said faith is the opposite if knowledge, or are we in 1984 now?

        • Doug

          Which is true – faith is the opposite of knowledge.

          If I have a dollar in my pocket and I just tell you have a dollar in my pocket but don’t show you and you believe me that’s faith because you haven’t actually see the dollar.

          On the other hand if I show you the dollar that’s just knowledge there’s no need for faith in that case.

        • Pofarmer

          But if I ask to be paid, you produce the dollar.

        • Doug

          Why should I pay you if you haven’t given me a reason to?

        • Pofarmer

          Just assume I did.

        • Doug

          no such thing as a free lunch

        • Susan

          no such thing as a free lunch

          Exactly.

          I’m not sure how that statement works for your argument.

        • Doug

          because she demanded the dollar and I said she should give me a reason to

        • Susan

          because she demanded the dollar and I said she should give me a reason to

          She didn’t necessarily demand the dollar.

          You claimed you had one and expect her to believe you.

          If you expect her to take you seriously, you will find some method to demonstrate that you have a dollar in your pocket. If you expect to take yourself seriously about the existence of the dollar in your pocket, you should find a method to reliably know that there is a dollar in your pocket.

          If you expect her to work for you because you promise her a dollar that you claim to have in your pocket, you had better have evidence for that dollar.

          Apologetic diversions to metaphor have so far been nothing but diversions and they never pan out very well for the apologist if followed to their logical conclusion.

          So….

          What are you claiming and how do you support it?

          It’s an honest question. Get back to us when you are able to define your claim and support it.

        • Otto

          You are demanding we agree with you…and we said you should give us a reason to….see how that works?

        • Pofarmer

          Don’t be a douche, it doesn’t help your argument, such as it is.

        • TheNuszAbides

          to the extent that this guy seems like a very loud brick wall, i rather suspect that going back in time to never begin the argument [such as it is] would be most helpful.

        • Otto

          You are right there is no such thing as a free lunch…assumptions are a shortcut, they are not superior to actual evidence.

          So we are not going to assume you are telling the truth, you will have to demonstrate it…same with your God

        • MNb

          Except when your god is involved. Faith is all about free lunches.

        • Doug

          No faith is about trust

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          faith is about gullibility, which is boundless trust without any evidence…faith is a way to be taken advantage of, repeatedly, without ever learning the lesson of skepticism.

        • MNb

          False equivalence based on a category error.
          Faith is about statements not arrived at via deduction and/or induction.
          Trust is about statements arrived at via deduction and/or induction.
          You don’t make any sense anymore.

        • Doug

          false, faith is about trust. The Bible itself says this over and over again.
          Proverbs 3:5-6 says
          “Trust in the Lord with all your heart…”

          Trust in God is a core concept in Christianity feel free to google it you’ll find all kinds of passages on it.

        • What do you think about the book title, “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist”? Does that misuse the word “faith”?

        • Otto

          Dollars are known to exist….now if you told me that you had a tiny dragon in your pocket, but you can’t show me because that would give me knowledge and would be unfair, I would walk away slowly trying not to make eye contact.

        • ?? If you’re trustworthy, then I might trust that you reliably tell me what’s in your pocket. I follow the evidence.

        • Doug

          Correct!!! That’s exactly what faith is. You win.

        • Then use the word “trust.”

          More on the problems of faith vs. trust here:
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/07/faith-the-other-f-word-christianity-atheism/

        • Susan

          That’s exactly what faith is.

          Then, be consistent.

          Provide evidence and show that you’ve followed it.

          No special pleading.

          No more “dollar in my pocket” crap.

          (Which showed “faith” to be the opposite of following the evidence.)

        • MNb

          Not at all. Dollars are material. I can touch them, see them, taste them, measure their weight and volume.
          That’s why I can trust BobS and you regarding dollars.
          Your god is supposed to be material/ supernatural/ transcendental. Your god transcends trust. That’s why you call it faith.
          False analogy again.

        • Doug

          Jesus Christ is trustworthy. Do you think Jesus is a liar?

        • Otto

          The only things you think you know about Jesus come from other people…and people often lie.

          But yes if Jesus actually said the things he is claimed to have said he is a liar.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I’m not sure your jebus even existed.

          Also, false dichotomies are a cheap, sleazy trick. Haven’t you got anything better?

          after all, your jebus could have just been ‘wrong’…didn’t the story have him saying that he’d be back before the ‘disciples’ died?

        • MNb

          When using present tense only “Jesus is dead” makes sense.
          When using past tense I prefer “Jesus was self delusional” – a scatterbrain who had convinced himself that he was the messias (not exactly original in his time and place) and the son of god.
          Do you think self delusional people trustworthy? Your nearest asylum is full of them.

          However in our 21st Century your beloved Great Hero still is supposed to be immaterial etc. Your analogy keeps on failing.

        • Doug

          Jesus was crazy? This has been dealt with ad nauseam in the Lord, Liar Lunatic trilemma by C.S. Lewis. If Jesus was crazy or self delusional how was he able to pinpoint the human condition with surgical precision? He so far understood the human condition better than anyone else and many of the greatest minds throughout Western History would agree here. If he wasn’t a lunatic than maybe he was a liar? But if he was a liar how did he deceive so many people into thinking he was alive after he died on the cross? Why would the disciples die for a lie? What did they have to gain? The only option is Lord.

        • The old kindergarten try, eh? Nice try, but this is the adult’s table. These arguments suck. For starters, here’s the response to Lewis’s Liar, Lunatic, Lord false trilemma:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2015/08/12-reasons-why-jesus-is-a-legend/

        • Dys

          Jesus is a long-since dead Jew who never wrote a single thing.

        • BlackMamba44
        • adam
        • adam
        • adam

          “Jesus Christ is trustworthy. Do you think Jesus is a liar?”

          Apparently almost all christians do:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/89d230f179881be8275da4101e50e5e24d2a0bb95addba201026fbc36fa9a751.jpg

        • Doug

          When we investigate the person and work of Jesus Christ we find that he is trustworthy. When we investigate the manuscript evidence for the Bible we find that it’s trustworthy.

        • Kodie

          How are you defining “trustworthy”? You mean, the quality of a person who pretends they are just asking questions and has to keep harassing a group of people by changing their account after being banned 3 times because they’re just that much of an asshole? When you know something, we’ll talk. It’s clear you are just gullible and oblivious to how gullible you have been.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope, you assume and assert trustworthiness of a story handed to you across generations.

          We don’t accept your assumptions OR assertions. Give me evidence even as strong as that for gravity.

        • MNb

          When I investigate the physical manifestation of your Great Hero I find that he was self delusional and hence not trust worthy. When I investigate the manuscript evidence for the Bible – especially Revelation, that book full of unintended absurdist humour – I find it is totally untrustworthy.

        • Doug

          Jesus was self delusional? How was he able to impact humanity better than anyone else in history and for the better. What atheist in history has accomplished what Jesus accomplished in his 3 year ministry?

          Show me.

        • Kodie

          What did Jesus accomplish?

        • Doug

          exactly what he set out to do. What didn’t he accomplish? He rose from the dead didn’t he unless you believe in the swoon theory or the stolen body theory or maybe you believe he never existed?

        • Kodie

          I think you’re deluded. That’s a myth. You think rising from the dead was his greatest accomplishment? It wasn’t what I was expecting, but then, you theists are blinded by fictional parlor tricks.

        • Is this hard? Jesus was a legend.

        • Doug

          Will you show me an atheist who accomplished more for the betterment of human kind than Jesus?

        • Kodie

          I asked you, troll, banned fucking sock puppet, a fucking question.

        • Doug

          I asked you first. Stop stalling and give me one atheist who trumps Jesus in terms of bettering the world we live in.

          Show me.
          Do it.

        • Kodie

          Except you didn’t ask me first. I asked you what Jesus accomplished and you think “rising from the dead” is his greatest accomplishment. Not spreading love and companionship to billions of people for thousands of years, or whatever you think Jesus is even good for. Your meaning has been exposed as shallow, and you are blinded by impressive fictional feats and not so much on the fucking function of your religion, which isn’t something accomplished by Jesus.

          Goddamn bloody fuck, you are a fucking moron. I’m flagging you Woo/Murph/Murphy/Reckit S. Nedies I know it’s you, and I know you’re banned twice already, and I know you’re a fucking moron who is obsessed with trolling atheists.

        • Doug

          Jesus accomplished everything he set out to do didn’t he? He rose from the dead and successfully passed on his teachings to billions of people throughout history.

          So, who was that great atheist you wanted to mention who trumps Jesus?


          That’s what I thought.

        • Kodie

          Dough, doggie, whatever you name yourself this time, Jesus didn’t even do those things. Other people spread with violence the message that you call “good news” which is really just a chain letter. Rising from the dead never happened. Every atheist I know is better than that shit story.

        • Doug

          Jesus did rise from the dead that’s the best explanation of the facts unless again you believe in the swoon theory, stolen body theory, hallucination theory, etc.

          Christianity did not spread with violence you’re thinking of Islam. What happened during the first three centuries of Christianity? Oh that’s right, the Roman emperors persecuted the hell out of them.

        • Greg G.

          Jesus did rise from the dead that’s the best explanation of the facts unless again you believe in the swoon theory, stolen body theory, hallucination theory, etc.

          You forgot that it’s all bullshit fictional stories and there are no facts to explain theory.

        • Doug

          what’s all fictional stories? You don’t think Jesus died and his tomb was later found empty?

        • Greg G.

          what’s all fictional stories?

          We can identify many of the sources aMark used to write gMark. aMark used OT scripture and the literature of the day to create the stories. aMatthew seems to have used the topics from the Epistle of James, which never claims to quote Jesus, to put them in Jesus’ monologues. That means aLuke was using gMatthew and not Q.

          You don’t think Jesus died and his tomb was later found empty?

          In Acts 26, Paul is testifying in Agrippa’s court. In Acts 26:4-5, he uses the Jews of Jerusalem as character witnesses. Then he tells a crazy story about his conversion where aActs has combined Galatians 1:17 (Paul says he went to Damascus), 1 Corinthians 15:9 (Paul says he persecuted the church), 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 (Paul implies he had a vision), and Deuteronomy 4:12 (God speaks to Moses out of the fire) but in this chapter, aActs adds Paul apparently speaking Greek quoting Jesus speaking Aramaic while quoting Dionysus from Euripides’ Bacchae asking, “Why do you kick against the goads?”

          If the empty tomb was such a good argument, why didn’t Paul just tell Agrippa to ask the Jews about that? Didn’t Paul know anyone who knew about it?

        • Kodie

          So basically, violence is the solution every religion needs.

        • BlackMamba44
        • MR

          Bizarrely he told me bodily resurrection was a requirement in order for him to believe in even the Hindu God. You might as well go worship zombies if that’s your criteria.

        • Doug

          I’m not going to believe in anything regarding life after death unless it can be demonstrated here on earth to be factual. The best explanation for the empty tomb is Jesus rising from the dead. Let me guess you believe in the swoon theory or similar?

        • MR

          Then demonstrate it to be factual.

        • Doug

          Jesus already did which is why I asked you to explain the empty tomb.

        • MR

          First, why is this even a requirement for you to believe in any God? It’s a stupid claim to even make. If the resurrection hadn’t happened, would that be a reason not to believe in God? Claims have been made of plenty of other deities and mortals to have risen from the dead. I doubt you believe them to be God.

          Second, demonstrate that the story is accurate or even real. Even mundane tales written a thousand years ago are unreliable. Even yesterdays news is unreliable. Much more so a supernatural claim.

        • Kuno

          If God were to “get off the couch and make himself obvious” that would remove the need for faith. Faith requires us to “get off the couch” and seek him. Knowledge on the other hand makes demands akin to ordering from a fast food restaurant…”What’s taking so long!?”

        • Norman Borlaug has saved perhaps one billion lives because of improved strains of wheat, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

          Your turn.

        • Otto

          No ‘we’ don’t…the investigation is the reason I am no longer a Christian.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I’ve seen exactly ZERO evidence of your ‘god.

          Show me.

        • Susan

          If I have a dollar in my pocket and I just tell you have a dollar in my pocket but don’t show you and you believe me that’s faith because you haven’t actually seen the dollar.

          And if you don’t have a dollar, but say you have a dollar…

          If I say I have magic beans in my pocket, the faith you seem so fond of should believe that I do.

          On the other hand if I show you the dollar that’s just knowledge

          That’s knowledge. You are only placing an editorial “just” in front of it, because you can’t show us anything.

          For the same reason, you are elevating “faith” without justifying the esteem you want us to give it.

        • Kodie

          I have a dollar too, I know what dollars are. If you said you had a million dollars in your pocket, I say probably bullshit. You’re not saying you have a common dollar in your pocket (which may be a lie), you’re saying you have a zillion dollars in your pocket and you’re sure I do not.

        • Doug

          again it comes down to trust as Bob pointed out. If you know the person is extremely wealthy wouldn’t that make believing them more rational?

        • MNb

          No. Pockets are not big enough for a million dollars, silly. That’s how rationality works.

        • Doug

          You can’t write a check for a million dollars?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Now you’re just trying to slide out of being trapped in your miserable lie.

        • MNb

          You were talking coins, not checks.
          And no, millionaires are not as stupid as you – they don’t walk around with checks for a million dollar in their pockets.

        • Doug

          No I was talking money period. Regardless, someone could write a check for a million dollars if they had the cash in their bank account.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Trust is earned. Faith is gullibility. Trust is also based on a heuristic evaluation of the probability of a claim being true.

          Religion fails even a heuristic evaluation for lack of evidence.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Dollars and pockets exist, and almost everybody has seen them. Imagination alone can generate the idea of a dollar in a pocket.

          Show me your ‘god’

        • Doug

          I think faith is like the acorn and the oak tree is like knowledge

          I agree there are a lot of deluded Christians. The Bible doesn’t mince words about that either and takes it pretty seriously.

        • Otto

          “I think faith is like the acorn and the oak tree is like knowledge”

          Wait… you just said ‘knowledge’ and ‘faith’ are opposites….now you are saying they are part of the same thing. An acorn is not the opposite of an Oak. I am getting the distinct feeling you really have no idea what you are talking about.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Yep, Douggie-poo’s flailing like mad.

        • Otto

          So apparently you have the non deluded version of Christianity, you must feel rather special. How come you are unable to get the other Christians to see you have the real answers? I would think since you are such a reasonable Christian you would easily be able to show these other Christians how they have strayed from the path of reason…why wouldn’t you start with bringing them into the fold instead of dealing with us? I mean… we have no meaning, no morality… seems like someone who learns to ski by launching themselves on the most difficult slope.

        • I have no use for faith as a route to reliable knowledge. More in this post:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/07/how-reliable-is-a-bridge-built-on-faith-christianity-atheism/

        • Doug

          that’s not what you said below when I talked about the dollar bill – you said you’d follow the evidence if I was trustworthy. That’s faith.

        • That’s trust.

        • al kimeea

          They always conflate the two.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          acorns and oak trees exist, and we have an understanding of the mechanism by which they exist and grow.

          Demonstrate your ‘god’

        • MNb

          Again: if faith is the opposite of knowledge it’s useless trying to find god.

        • Doug

          not if the reward is the greatest

        • Halbe

          The reward being wasting the only life you get jumping through all sorts of hoops in hope and fear for the non-existent afterlife? How is that “the greatest reward”?

        • MNb

          It has nothing to do with reward.
          Knowledge requires empirical evidence.
          Faith works without empirical evidence.
          Trying to find something – like your god – means looking for evidence. Which faith doesn’t work with.

        • Doug

          Knowledge is arrived at by faith. Someday our faith will produce pure unadulterated knowledge. When the scientist is hypothesizing he’s merely exercising a form of faith.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Knowledge is arrived at by hypothesizing and testing.

          *Religious* ‘faith’ has nothing to do with it.

          Reasonable certainty that phenomena will repeat themselves as has happened for generations in order to not spend one’s life reconfirming the obvious may be called ‘faith’, but it’s a misnomer.

        • MNb

          Knowledge is arrived at by using deduction and induction. Neither requires faith. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          in jest, “Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off right now”

        • Otto

          God plays hide and seek…

        • TheNuszAbides

          and rolls dice when He thinks we can’t hear Him!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “…the reward is the greatest…”

          E-V-I-D-E-N-C-E, dammitsomuch!

        • al kimeea

          “sureness” like I’m sure mental illness is demonic possession or your smallpox is doG’s will

        • Greg G.

          We could say that the scientific method is faith based

          You could say that but you would be saying the opposite of truth.

        • adam

          “Well in reference to my original post I think faith is the opposite of knowledge.”

          So, IGNORANCE….

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8313efa128f4b69f835c9e1249ec7e0a3c6f4ac39bee5f86101f2692e380791d.png

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Faith is gullibility.

          re the scientist, read Isaac Asimov’s “The Relativity of Wrong” before you embarrass yourself further.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          For one (religion), the answer has meaning, since it’s rather final.

          For the other, it’s less urgent, since there’s always time to pick another path.

        • Doug

          the problem with your parents analogy is that parents are not the same as God – not even by definition. Of course parents can’t offer an objective reference point.

        • Otto

          You have not shown you God can offer an objective reference point either….so we are even. The point is…is meaning that is defined for you more valuable? I don’t think it is.

          You can’t even objectively demonstrate your God is real, I can demonstrate my parents are real.

        • Doug

          I just asked Bob this same question. What are your criteria to know that God is real?

        • Otto

          I don’t know for sure…but if your God is real (and omniscient) and wants me to believe he is real… he would know exactly what it would take. So there are 2 possibilities, he either isn’t real, or he does not care if I believe.

        • Doug

          I might rephrase your second idea that “he doesn’t care if I believe.” I’d rephrase it to be “he won’t make you believe.” Which, lets be hones if God shows himself to you or whatever and at that point you won’t need faith but you’ll have knowledge that would be really unfair wouldn’t it?

        • Pofarmer

          Was it unfair to Moses or Paul or Noah or Jonah or Elijah or Elisha or Abraham or Jacob or Adam or Cain or?????

        • Doug

          I think you’re forgetting that these guys were widely criticized by the people around them (Adam not so much). I mean, yes they had special contact with God but they still had to have faith and knowledge didn’t guarantee that the individual wouldn’t stray (Adam, Jonah, and Cain). In many ways, special knowledge of God for these guys made life harder not easier.

        • Pofarmer

          So what?,

        • Otto

          That really isn’t the point…did they have more evidence or not? You are saying it would be unfair for me to have that level of evidence and yet your never explain, short of trying to dodge the issue.

        • Doug

          It’s not right of you to demand what you aren’t entitled to just like it’s wrong of me to complain about the rich kid down the street who has more toys than I do.

        • Pofarmer

          Gods gonna burn us in hell FOREVER if we get it wrong. I think everone’s entitled.

        • Otto

          Doug…you really are not making any sense. Why wouldn’t I be entitled to the same evidence? Are you saying your God plays favorites and then punishes those he shorts? That just makes your God an ass.

        • Susan

          Are you saying your God plays favorites and then punishes those he shorts?

          I think what he’s saying is that he has no evidence and therefore has to divert to metaphors that go nowhere.

          I know you already know that. But sometimes, it’s useful to state the obvious.

        • Otto

          I think he is saying we have to believe before evidence will be provided. That is the playing field of con men and cult leaders, and it is ironic in that he started all this by asking how we would know if we were deluded.

        • al kimeea

          well, there was that incident with the hardened heart of the pharaoh

        • Kuno

          Don’t forget Job and his poor family.

        • al kimeea

          Yeah, they got a whole lotta love didn’t they…

        • Pofarmer

          I think that was kind of the story that broke the Camels back. Here’s the “all loving God” allowing all of Jobs servants to be KILLED. all of his livestock to be KILLED. His Children to be KILLED. Whhhaaattttttt?????? “God, is infinitely Good.” Said really slowly in your best preachers voice. Nearly gave me a panic attack.

        • God gives him a new batch of children, just like they were interchangeable, like livestock. (And a farmer might object to the idea of even livestock being interchangeable.)

        • Kuno

          At least he got a new wife and new children after the whole ordeal.

          Must have been a real concolation for his first family, but somehow the writers of the Bible didn’t much care for them except as plot devices…

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Glengarry Glen Ross ‘god’

        • Susan

          More dreadful analogies.

          So, you have no reliable evidence?

          Nor do you have a clear claim.

          All you have (so far) is standard bullshit.

        • MNb

          Now this is lame. You are saying that we must logically conclude that god exists because we aren’t entitled to use logic. Go tell that all the apologists with their god proofs.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Fuck your ‘god’ if it supposedly demands that I cravenly kowtow without evidence or more than a hollow threat.

          Google “Kissing Hank’s Ass” and read it, to understand how you sound to us.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          It’s not ‘faith’ when you know it’s real…not religious faith, anyway.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “I think you’re forgetting that these guys were widely criticized by the people around them (Adam not so much). I mean, yes they had special contact with God”

          Wait, so now Jesus isn’t a real person?

        • Doug

          What do you mean?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          None of these “prophets” ever seem to say, “Just ask God.” It seems fairly obvious that real people can speak for themselves. I wonder why the Bible authors never thought of that?/s

        • Otto

          I have no idea why it would be unfair…I hear Christians say this type of thing all the time but when it is unpacked it makes little sense.

          Didn’t Satan have unequivocal knowledge of God? Was his free will to accept God diminished?

          Wasn’t Moses and many other people in the Bible given direct evidence? Why wasn’t it unfair for them?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Lucifer, again. per the story, *knows* that your ‘god’ exists, rebels anyway.

          So much for the free-will (bullshit) argument.

        • Susan

          What are your criteria to know that God is real?

          Define “God” and support its realness.

        • MNb

          1. Coherence. God is incoherent.
          2. Methodology. God defined as an immaterial/ supernatural/ transcendental entity cannot be reliable researched.
          3. Knowledge and understanding. God doesn’t add anything to our knowledge and understanding.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          What have you got?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Your ‘god’ is quite the elusive little thing, isn’t it? Maybe it’s all in your head, and those of your co-delusionists?

        • Doug

          The reason it could be called good by the Christian is similar to how a personal trainer could tell his trainee to do this that and the other in order to have the best shot at winning the next race. God in theory would be the best trainer in other words he would know what was good or bad for us.

        • Otto

          He would have to prove he is the best trainer, I am not just gonna assume it, that would be a recipe for delusion.

        • Doug

          Agreed

        • Pofarmer

          Then your vaunted free will just went poof.

        • Doug

          How does free will go poof if I’m the trainee choosing to be trained?

        • Pofarmer

          If the trainer reveals the plan and the outcome then there’s no point in it.

        • Doug

          Well, in connection with Bob’s post the point is meaning

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’re not choosing to be trained. You’re *claiming* to be the *trainer*, and demanding that we all submit to your tutelage.

          So fuck off, asshole…I have no need for your delusion.

        • Hans-Richard Grümm

          How would a god know what is good *for me*, according to the values and purposes I’ve defined for my life ?
          God X if existing could only be an objective reference point for meaning according to God X – just like I am an objective reference point for meaning according to me.

        • Halbe

          But, but, but… how could you, being the worthless sinner that you are, overcome your innate desire to sin without a Divine Authority? You arrogant little human, suggesting God created you to think for yourself! Now go arrogant do repent before it is too late. /sarcasm

        • Doug

          but God by definition is objective humans are not

        • Kuno

          By what definition is God objective?

        • Halbe

          Even if this were true you still need an objective means to access this God and understand its “plan”. So, by what objective means do you access and understand God’s ‘meaning’ for your life?

        • Otto

          By definition unicorns have a horn…

        • Doug

          correct

        • Otto

          That whooshing sound is the point flying over your head

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Unicorns are more likely real than your ‘god’…at least we have an agreement about what they’d look like, their attributes, and pictures that most people would agree are of the unicorn concept.

        • MNb

          That’s one step closer to the Immaterial Fuhrer.

        • BlackMamba44

          How would you know? You’re aren’t human. You’re a sock puppet and a troll.

        • Doug

          I’m dialoging which is typically something that trolls don’t do

        • BlackMamba44

          No, you’re not dialogue-ing. You’re changing your user name and shitting the same shit you shit in a number of other comments sections. A lying, dishonest sack of shit. In this comments section, your most recent username – Doug – is a troll. Doug fully knows the response it is going to get now. Yet it keeps trolling.

        • BlackMamba44

          http://www.smosh.com/smosh-pit/articles/18-types-of-internet-trolls

          4. The Never-Give-Up, Never-Surrender Troll

          This troll is ALWAYS right and will battle to the death to prove it. There’s no point in trying to fight her. If she can’t back something up with reality, she’ll make something up, just to show you how wrong you are.

          http://www.smosh.com/smosh-pit/articles/18-types-of-internet-trolls

          The Self-Feeding Troll

          This guy likes to argue, even when everyone else in the fo tells him he’s wrong. Without support from his nonexistent friends, he changes handles—or makes up new ones—to show the fo how loved he is.

          Troll.

        • Kodie

          You’re obviously the account that was banned that came back from the one before that who was also banned. OBVIOUSLY. You spelled “diarrhea” wrong, but I notice you spell a lot of easy words wrong, like “come on” you spell “common” and “ditto” you spelled “dido”. Like, you think we’re going to take you seriously, you have no education, and you have an obsession that we have to pay attention to you and take over threads until you are banned and then make another new account. Learn how to take a hint! You’re not an intelligent Christian – we have had many conversations with people who can dialogue. You are just shitting all over the place and painting it with your chubby little toddler troll fingers and want attention, like the troll we know and recognize that you are. There’s a big difference between what you do and what other Christians who wish to have a dialogue do. You can’t, you are incapable. You are intellectually deficient to do so.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’re throwing out a bunch of assertions that we don’t accept and demand we respect that, rather than providing evidence. Even *gravity* has evidence…why doesn’t your ‘god’ idea?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope. You can’t *define* your delusion into existence.

          Show evidence, or recant.

        • You can define whatever silly thing you want. Now show us that God exists.

        • Kodie

          Funny you bring up a trainer, as I often think deluded theists sound just like diet fanatics, who have found a diet that works for them, and insist everyone else get on this diet, that no other diet will work or give the same results, and besides that, won’t shut up about how good they feel and how amazing their diet is. You all sound so much like that. You don’t agree (even if you can’t be me) that I found good results on another diet, that I lost just as much weight and feel healthy and fit. You insist that only your diet works and my diet is giving me false results, or that I will just gain back the weight, or that I can’t feel as good as you do, and if I do, it’s just temporary.

          The problem here is that losing weight isn’t the meaning, feeling fit isn’t the meaning, looking great isn’t the meaning. Both diets provide results, but to you, there is some extra meaning with your diet that mine will never give you. No, there is no other meaning. You have goals and I have goals, and maybe similar goals and different ways to achieve them, and you do the similar type of things to reach your goals that I do to reach mine, and then you tell me that doing stuff is not the purpose, losing weight is not the purpose, looking fine, and feeling fit, and being healthy is not the purpose.

          What else could possibly be the purpose? There is no more when you get to your goals than when I get to my goals. You think, if you look good, you can get into a famous bar, well, I look good also. If you feel healthy, you can live longer, so can I. If you are more fit, you can keep up with grandkids or travel all over the world or take up surfing, or whatever. So can I. What else is the difference? You didn’t exercise or diet to reach any of those goals? Those are earthly and meaningless? But you’ll get into heaven on your diet, and live with god forever because he will love you because you loved him enough to do that diet his way, and try and try and try to make me feel…. worthless for finding an equally good diet and exercise routine? That my goals are worthless? That I’ll still die and I might as well have stayed fat and slow and unhealthy and lived a short life? That it’s a lot of work to reach all those goals and enjoy the quality of life if I can’t also go to heaven when I die?

          Basically, you’re desperately clinging to a fantasy that your life will go on after you die, even without that body you worked on, but it doesn’t matter because it wasn’t the goal in the first place, and my goals are shallow and empty and worthless.

          ALL WITHOUT EVIDENCE. You are just bragging about your diet and telling me my diet doesn’t work because you just can’t imagine how it could, because if my diet was just as good as yours, that means yours is worthless. You theists get yourselves all caught up in propaganda and fantasy and your invented meaning is no more meaningful, and might even be less meaningful because it misses the point. You live, you work, maybe you have kids, it’s the same as everyone else relatively. But you are more likely to conform to strict set of instructions, and take away your individuality and fit into an acceptable mold that your church says gives your life meaning. How absurd.

        • al kimeea

          Nice analogy.

        • Dys

          In other words, it would be the subjective valuation of humans of god. Which you’re not supposed to do, but is completely unavoidable.

        • Atheisticus

          It is not God who is setting the meaning for you, but someone else who is interpreting a translation of a copy of a copy of a translation of a committee approved collection of stories copied from long lost originals, selected and assembled with a particular time and place related viewpoint. This renders your “objective meaning” meaningless. No one can truly say where I find meaning in my life EXCEPT me.

        • Doug

          That’s already been debunked. You can’t determine meaning with an objective source backing the meaning up otherwise your “meaning” is just Monopoly money.

        • Otto

          You seem to have no idea what objective means

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’ve objected, but hardly ‘debunked’ anything.

          Still waiting for the evidence of this ‘god’ thing you want to use to control the rest of us.

        • MR

          What is your objective meaning and how do you objectively determine that?

        • Doug

          I don’t determine objective meaning only God could do that by definition. All God would have to do is communicate what meaning is in order for people to know.

        • MR

          Interesting, at least we muggles can state what gives our lives subjective meaning, but you can’t even formulate nor apparently access what your objective meaning is. It can’t mean all that much to us if God is keeping it a secret. Personally, I think the argument’s just a ploy by certain apologists (WLC comes to mind) to appeal to our selfish desire to live forever. I notice even in Bob’s example above the author states that our purpose “is to know God and enjoy him forever.” Notice how the author slips in the subtle appeal to immortality. I find that it’s nearly always the case.

        • If you got such a communication, how would you know it was from God? Masquerading as God is just the kind of trick that the Dark Lord would pull–how do you know it’s not him? I want a reliable way to show objective truth here, not just your gut feeling.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Personal trainers exist. Show me evidence for your ‘god’ before trying any analogies.

        • Pofarmer

          “The Christian has an objective source saying “this is what adds up to a meaningful existence”

          And so do Hindu’s and Buddists and Mormons and Druids and Vikings and followers of Sayet Sae Baba and a thousand other new age Shamans. Time to grow up and look around.,

        • Doug

          You’re 100 percent right they all make a claim to objectivity. That still doesn’t negate whether or not one of them or all of them are true. I’m not advocating getting rid of reason in the investigation process. In fact from the get go this would eliminate most religions.

        • Pofarmer

          Then quit making empty claims and start providing evidence.

        • Doug

          What kind of evidence would qualify to you?

        • Pofarmer

          Wow me.

        • al kimeea

          Let me get some popcorn

        • Susan

          What kind of evidence would qualify to you?

          What are you claiming and how do you support it?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          What have you got? (with thanks to TAE)

        • MR

          Presuming we’re all wrong and Hinduism is right, what kind of evidence would qualify for you?

        • Doug

          Nothing would change. I would require evidence for God, evidence for bodily resurrection and evidence for a reliably transmitted, coherent and rational message.

        • MR

          Okay, that was incoherent on several levels. What kind of evidence (for the Hindu) god(s)? That doesn’t answer the question at all. Why would you require a bodily resurrection in order to believe in the Hindu (or any) God? What does that have to do with anything? And as for the last, the Christian message is anything but reliable, coherent and rational or else we’d all agree, and more importantly Christians themselves would agree.

        • Otto

          In one sentence you say this…

          “I’m not advocating getting rid of reason in the investigation process.

          In the next you are holding up religious faith in lieu of reason…you are not being consistent.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Truth is based on objective reality, which is based on evidence.

          So show your supposed ‘evidence’ for this ‘god’ of yours before making reality-based claims about it.

        • MNb

          From “may be deluded” to “is deluded” is quite a jump.
          Your god is a subject. If he is the reference point you have made meaning subjective – only changed the subject.

          “The “measuring stick” in theory would be whatever God says adds up to a meaningful existence”
          I cannot think of anything more subjective.

        • al kimeea

          I hope you don’t beat your slaves too meaningfully

        • Doug

          there’s more slavery today then in Bible times

        • Atheisticus

          “there’s more slavery today then in Bible times”

          Your evidence for that is?

        • Pofarmer

          This should be good.

        • Halbe

          So, the rise of Christianity has only led to more slavery? Oh yes, I forgot, the God of the Bible loves slavery.

        • Doug

          No the rise of the Bible has led to less slavery. During the 1st century the Greeks and Romans considered slaves to be dogs essentially. They had zero rights. In contrast, the Bible elevates the status of slaves commanding Gods people to treat them as neighbors, brothers and family. See Galatians 3:28 below

          NIV
          “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

        • Halbe

          Yeah, tell that to the African slaves in the Americas, who were totally treated like “neighbors, brothers and family” by their Christian slave owners. You are so full of shit. With each comment you just give more and more evidence for the total bankruptcy of Christian morality.

        • MNb

          My favourite remains WLC’s defense of the Canaanite Genocide with exactly the same argument nazi-criminal Paul Blöbel used at the Trials of Nurnberg when defending the actions of the Einsatzgruppe.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Try again. The Renaissance, prompted by the weakening of the catholic church by the protestant ‘reformation’, led to a rediscovery of Greek ideas of the value of the individual and began progressive thought.

          Your ‘bible’ has specifically retarded progress to the point of retrogression, excluding only those progressives who were able to be both good people and religiously deluded, said progressives being opposed by all ‘right-thinking’ religious people of their day.

          It’s only after religion has *lost*, ignominiously, yet again, that religion reclaims and lauds those few progressives .

        • Greg G.

          No the rise of the Bible has led to less slavery.

          but in the post that Halbe replied to http://disq.us/p/1gdq84f , about four hours earlier, you said,

          there’s more slavery today then in Bible times

          Did that much slavery happen in four hours or are you confused?

        • adam

          The following passage shows that slaves are clearly property to be bought and sold like livestock.

          However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your
          children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

          The following passage describes how the Hebrew slaves are to be treated.

          If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would
          rather not go free.’ If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)

          Notice how they can get a male Hebrew slave to become a permanent slave by keeping his wife and children hostage until he says he wants to become a permanent slave. What kind of family values are these?

          The following passage describes the sickening practice of sex slavery. How can anyone think it is moral to sell your own daughter as a sex slave?

          When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to
          marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may
          leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

          So these are the Bible family values! A man can buy as many sex slaves as he wants as long as he feeds them, clothes them, and has sex
          with them!

          What does the Bible say about beating slaves? It says you can beat both male and female slaves with a rod so hard that as long as they don’t die right away you are cleared of any wrong doing

          When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the
          slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

          Your DISHONESTY is appalling.

        • adam
        • MNb

          The rise of the Bible has led to this nice book.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobus_Capitein

          And that slavery he wrote about looked like this.

          https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/10/Stedman-hanging.jpg
          Your cobelievers justified it with your favourite Holy Book. During the 17th and 18th Century your cobelievers considered slaves to be less than cattle. Last week I learned where the word maroon came from: the Spanish word (a christian language) for cattle gone wild.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “In contrast, the Bible elevates the status of slaves commanding Gods people to treat them as neighbors, brothers and family”

          Then why are they slaves?!!?

        • Doug

          You can’t overlay your supposed moral superiority on a culture that didn’t think slavery was that bad. Moreover there’s more slavery happening today than there was in Bible times. The Bible goes to great lengths to elevate slaves which is in stark contrast with the cultures around the Israelite’s. We come to the New Testament and the Greeks and Romans treated their slaves horribly. It would have been completely counter cultural to say what the New Testament says about slaves being equal to free men, etc. (see Galatians 3:28 for example)

        • Kodie

          I love this, you know, part of the bible, the Jews are slaves, and they fucking hate it. The culture didn’t think it was that bad? The culture in power never thinks it’s that bad.

        • Doug

          People of the time didn’t think it was that bad. It was common. It was commonly used as a tool for men to get their families out of debt. In other words, if you were in too much debt you could enslave yourself. That was extremely common.

        • Kodie

          You are so immersed in the bullshit you believe, you think it smells like flowers. I told you something, and you just ignored it.

        • Otto

          We are not talking about the people. We are talking about you God…you know the one you say wrote the book. Your God’s morality is garbage.

        • Kuno

          So if it was common at this time, that makes it OK. So what is your problem with abortion again?

        • Nice!

        • Kuno

          It is funny how he can run around in circles like this and at the same time his own arguments continue to bite him in the ass.

        • Lark62

          Yeppers. They thought slavery was so grand that after the Babylon captivity they wrote about Babylon “Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.”

          Yessirree, they loved that captivity. Of course, this did not stop the Isarelites from taking slaves when they won.

        • adam

          “People of the time didn’t think it was that bad.”

          Well EXCEPT for the slaves, huh?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a18a3237d360e002dbdd901e4a3f5688a3463b7d939dbc595090ceadb5ae4faa.png

        • Doug

          disbelief in God makes morality and meaning irrational

        • Kodie

          Imaginary friends don’t actually make your life meaningful or more moral, and possibly less than meaningful or moral, because you march like an obedient no-name soldier for a figment of your imagination and parrot tired propaganda to insist others don’t compare to your pathetic slave to gawd life. Think about how you are going to eat something. It’s going to be a turd later, but you won’t starve, and you get to stay alive a little bit longer, and you’re only going to get hungry again. What’s the point of eating, is basically what you’re saying.

        • Greg G.

          You don’t seem to have a logical basis for the things you say. It’s like it was installed in your brain by rote with no critical thinking allowed. You should start reconsidering these ideas you have been force-fed.

        • adam
        • Dys

          You’re making vapid assertions with no substance. You’re once again ignorantly trying to define things out of existence while defining god into existence. And you can’t do either.

        • BlackMamba44

          Evidence, please.

        • Pofarmer

          It was commonly used as a tool for men to get their families out of debt.

          And yet there’s a provision that specifically tells the owner how to ensnare the indentured servant for life with his wife and kids.

          guys a Maroon.

        • BlackMamba44

          Haha! Bugs!

          I looked up “What – a – Maroon – Bugs” and found this! We have figured out Doug’s problem.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3fe4abd5666e0e20d604d5622eb5b629d227b266df0d6c6c673165e45a0346ca.jpg

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Cut the moral superiority crap! Why were they slaves at all?

          “The Bible goes to great lengths to elevate slaves which is in stark contrast with the cultures around the Israelite’s.”

          Bullshit (read ‘Is God a Moral Compromiser?’ by Thom Stark, a Christian who believes dishonesty harms Christianity) and completely beside the point.

        • Kuno

          I’ll try to make the question as easy as possible: Why did God not make a commandment “You shall not keep other people as slaves.”?

        • Lark62

          Doug said”You can’t overlay your supposed moral superiority on a culture that didn’t think slavery was that bad.”

          You are the one trying to sell the nonsense that there is one objective, unchanging standard of morality good for all time.

          Methinks thou ist full of shit.

          Either argue that slavery is moral or admit that standards of morallity are subjective and adapt to the culture.

        • adam

          “You can’t overlay your supposed moral superiority on a culture that didn’t think slavery was that bad.”

          When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that
          the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the
          slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the
          slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/24003acbe259fbd4611386b7a0761bc045ddcbd367319e26bdeed765705d3e8f.jpg

        • Doug

          these are complex passages. First of all notice that the man would be punished and you should know that for killing someone (murder) the punishment was death. That’s that. The second part of the passage is more complex and I’d have to do more digging on but a few passages scattered throughout the Bible do not discount the fact that God exists

        • adam

          ” First of all notice that the man would be punished and you should know
          that for killing someone (murder) the punishment was death.”

          Not if his PROPERTY survived for a day or too.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/60865103a336b5d68f96eb3254e706491af8f8a5dbd80dafef9edf2beab0319d.jpg

        • Slaves for life, thus sayeth the Lord. Lev. 25:44-46.

          If God was so concerned about slavery, I wonder why it wasn’t in the Ten Commandments. Just slipped God’s mind?

        • Lark62

          God found time to say that people cannot envy their neghbor’s slaves, and wives and donkeys and similar property.

          But he could not manage “do not own people.”

          Their god is a prick.

        • Otto

          “Thou shall not eat shellfish”

          Made it as a rule…

          “Thou shall not own other people as property”

          Was just too much to as from you ‘objective’ law giver…

        • Doug

          If you studied the Ancient Near East you’d know that the Bible goes to great lengths to lift up the status of slaves. For example in the New Testament and during the 1st century Greeks and Romans considered slaves property the same as a horse – they had zero rights. They couldn’t even marry, etc. In contrast, the Old Testament and the New Testament talk about treating slaves as brothers, family and neighbors.

        • Otto

          Exodus 21: 20-21

          “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.”

          So do you often beat your family members and neighbors till they almost die and consider them your property?

        • Greg G.

          If you studied the Ancient Near East you’d know that the Bible goes to great lengths to lift up the status of slaves.

          If you had actually bothered to study the ancient Near East instead of apologetics, you would know that isn’t so.

          Hammurabi Law: Three Classes, circa 19th century BC, appear to be better than the OT. Hittite Law had an aversion to the death penalty that favored slavery instead, circa 15th century BC, which would be better than the OT. Code of the Nesilim, circa 16th century BC, doesn’t seem so bad for slaves.

          You shouldn’t believe the slavery apologetics. There were laborers who were paid a daily wage, there were indentured servants who Israeli men who served six years and were not to be treated harshly, and there are slaves bought with money who could be bequeathed to heirs and were excluded from the “not being treated harshly” restriction.

          There is nothing in Hebrew law that a slave bought with money could not be freed with nothing. An indentured servant was given something to live on. A Roman could free a slave but would have to provide them with a way to survive and to help if the former slave needed some, but they could not just release a slave who was too old to work anymore.

          Jesus gives a parable where slaves are expected to do their work and the master wouldn’t think of thanking them for it in Luke 17:7-10, which is juxtaposed with Luke 17:11-19 where a Samaritan does give thanks. Compare that with Roman philospher Seneca the Younger (4BC-65AD) who thought of slaves as friends:

          ” ‘They are slaves,’ people declare. NO, rather they are men.
          ‘Slaves! NO, comrades.
          ‘Slaves! NO, they are unpretentious friends.
          ‘Slaves! NO, they are our fellow-slaves, if one reflects that Fortune has equal rights over slaves and free men alike. That is why I smile at those who think it degrading for a man to dine with his slave.

          But why should they think it degrading? It is only purse-proud etiquette … All night long they must stand about hungry and dumb … They are not enemies when we acquire them; we make them enemies … This is the kernel of my advice: Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your betters.

          ‘He is a slave.’ His soul, however, may be that of a free man.”

          –-Seneca the Younger, Epistulae Morales, 47.

        • adam

          “If you studied the Ancient Near East you’d know that the Bible goes to great lengths to lift up the status of slaves.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/60865103a336b5d68f96eb3254e706491af8f8a5dbd80dafef9edf2beab0319d.jpg

        • BlackMamba44

          the New Testament talk about treating slaves as brothers, family and neighbors.

          Luke 12:47-48New International Version (NIV)

          47 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “Dammit, you can’t use quotes in here!! This is a biblical argument!!” (with apologies to Dr. Strangelove)

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          but eating shellfish is *baaaaad*, mmmmkay?

          Slavery in the US “Old South” was in no wise objectively different from what your book says is allowable to either ‘those of other tribes’, or even members of your *own* tribe under certain circumstances.

          Here’s a whole article pulling cites from original sources of how the US South justified slavery as ‘biblically’ correct: http://www.ushistory.org/us/27f.asp

        • MNb

          Correct. The Bible lifted slavery from very bad to slightly less but still very bad. Foster that accomplishment – it’s one of the few.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Why are they slaves AT ALL?!!?

        • Doug

          slavery was common in the ancient world. It wasn’t as big a deal to the ancients as it is to us. In fact, if you were in debt you could enslave yourself in order to get your debt paid off. That was actually very common during Bible times and I’m sure many people would do the same thing today if the opportunity were available. You also have to keep in mind that statistically speaking slavery is more common today than it was then. What are you doing to combat human trafficking today since you’re such a social justice warrior?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          I currently don’t have the means to do much of anything about human trafficking, but I won’t defend it either with “people would do the same thing today if the opportunity were available” bullshit! Humanity came up with health insurance, public schools, homeless shelters, and numerous other aid programs. Jesus was a dipshit compared to the people who make all this help possible.

        • Otto

          But it should have been a big deal to your moral law giver…and it wasn’t. that is the point. You think your religion (and god) is the source of morality when this is demonstrably not the case.

        • Kuno

          It wasn’t as big a deal to the ancients as it is to us.

          Sorry, I thought God was the objective moral authority, so why are you now trying to find subjective moral excuses for slavery?

        • Dys

          Doug’s God is subjectively objective. He believes the same things Doug does, no matter how contradictory or inane they are.

        • Dys

          It wasn’t as big a deal to the ancients as it is to us.

          And that’s why such an obvious moral failing was okey dokey with God. Because the people wrote him to be that way.

          God makes more sense as a fictional character.

        • “The Bible is pretty good, considering”—is that your position? That’s the best that an omniscient god can pull off?

          God justified slavery. That makes him a dick. Deal with it.

        • Kuno

          Then why couldn’t God just abolish it? You cannot use God as an example of absolute good and then go and say “Well, at least he wasn’t as bad as X”.

        • MNb

          Or at least say “whenever a slave expresses his/her wish to be free set him/her free”. That would not be unthinkable during Antiquity.
          No such thing, not even by the perfect embodiment of agape called Jesus.

        • Lark62

          That sounds like a subjective standard.

          Objective is “do not buy, sell or own human beings.” But the authors of the perfect, objective God given font of perfect morality were too busy with rules about shrimp, tattoos, and fabric.

        • Doug

          You’re obviously misrepresenting the Bible’s thoughts on slavery. There are different kinds of slavery. The slavery that was represented in the first century of the United States is known as “man stealing” which the Bible explicitly prohibits in at least two places.

          Exodus 21:16
          “”Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.”

          &

          1 Timothy 1:9-10

          “9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine.”

          The Exodus passage explicitly deals with the practice of “man stealing” prohibiting it as well as 1 Timothy 1:9-10 where it mentions “slave traders” in the same sentence as others considered “lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, etc.”

        • Tell us more about your background. Are you self-taught, and if so, how did you go about your education? do you have some sort of theology/apologetics degree?

          As for slavery, American slavery and Old Testament slavery were pretty much identical. Explained more thoroughly in my post here:
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2014/08/yes-biblical-slavery-was-the-same-as-american-slavery/

        • Kodie

          Seen it already. Something new and smart? You’re in denial.

        • adam

          “Exodus 21:16
          “”Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.””

          And the slave?

          PROPERTY

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86effa5e2bc761ae95f687bf44f1632c13ebd40a54b07502d779f242a887cc3e.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ae1afb4336eb43eac4eb6542320889b4c9068fa20364f91b3a3a3b8f6e3a0f88.png

        • adam
        • Doug

          If your atheistic agenda tells women its okay to murder their babies in utero than it disqualifies atheists for a moral code.

        • Otto

          If your holy Book that you base your morality on justifies beating people, genocide, enslaving people, treating women as property and rewarding/punishing based on whether someone believes that garbage, it disqualifies followers of said book from having anything resembling a moral code.

        • Greg G.

          Atheism is the disbelief in any gods. It is not a moral code.

          Can I borrow your liver for nine months? Would you let me die rather than give it up? No person has the right to use another person’s organs without the consent of that person. Even temporarily.

        • adam

          “If your atheistic agenda tells women its okay to murder their babies in utero than it disqualifies atheists for a moral code.”

          Since atheism has no agenda, you really just sound stupid.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/898b47b5d4ffdbca435abd06d3ef1fddbd50a9350bac4b8c5b6f8e4eaa553860.jpg

        • MNb

          If you rely on a Holy Book that’s totally OK with slavery and genocide it disqualifies you for a moral code.

        • Kodie

          He’s still in favor of slavery by mandating that women stay pregnant because of the superstitious little matter that is allowed to enslave her, and he does on its behalf, not because it doesn’t have a voice, or doesn’t have a mouth, or can’t learn to speak any languages for a couple years, but because she’s a dirty whore who deserves it, just like those American Indian human sacrificers he keeps telling us about.

        • Greg G.

          He is OK with the Wound Knee massacre as it was justified by Mayan sacrifices a few centuries earlier.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Throwing baseless, not even your ‘holy’ book based, assertions gains you nothing.

          Per your book, ‘life’ begins with the first breath, and abortion isn’t murder (note than *secular* law agrees).

          Here’s the citations from your own book to put your butthurt whining to rest:

          http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/says_about/abortion.html

        • Kodie

          If you’re realistic and not defining a few cells to be a baby, there’s nothing wrong with abortion. “Murdering babies in utero” is rhetoric, and sounds just like something Murph used to say. You are a sock puppet who is obsessed with us.

        • adam
        • adam
        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Is the alternative giving birth after finding out one has been pregnant about a month and the baby living just fine? If not, then it is ultimately not abortion that causes the death but lack of a informed consent to use the organs of another person, the same as anyone after birth.

        • Doug

          Your opinion is that if the fetus has all its parts its then a baby?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          How is abortion killing? The alternative is not a living baby.

        • (1) Women aren’t murdering babies in utero. We’ve been over this.

          (2) Who died and left you God? You get to judge everyone’s morality? And you wonder why people think you’re a pompous jerk!

        • Kuno

          What atheistic agenda?

        • Philmonomer

          It’s almost as if everyone is just making up Morality as they go along–a product of human nature combined with the world/environment they live in.

        • Dys

          And I’m disqualifying you from having a moral code since you’re encouraging forced pregnancies.

          Isn’t subjectivity fun?

          Oh…zygotes and fetuses aren’t babies. You’re making an emotional appeal, not a rational one.

        • MNb

          Aha. Rationality a la Doug equals “alternative facts”.

        • Doug

          Have you check it out?

        • MNb

          Have you? If yes show your work. Will be more fun.

        • Susan

          Letter to a Trolling Sockpuppet :

          Have you check it out?

          Checked what out? You made a claim. Get back to us when you can support it.

          Not that I see how it helps your case any on the subject of an unevidenced and unsupported “God”.

          But, it’s such a brash claim.

          If you can support it, we could all learn something.

          Of course, you have no interest in supporting anything. Just in poking everyone with a stick. You are an apologist sock puppet who’s shown no interest in learning anything. Just in repeating a section of the twenty or so terrible arguments that most of us have heard a thousand times before, and in which we’ve invested far more energy than any of those arguments deserve.

          The entire thing is constructed on lies and evasion.

          Thanks for providing a clinic.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          E-V-I-D-E-N-C-E for that if you want to posit it, asshole.

          Oh, and note that slavery exists in MORE religious areas, rather than less…it’ll be fun watching you spin it.

        • As a percentage, it may be the lowest it’s ever been.

          But that’s not the issue. The issue is that God (remember the guy who was supposed to be perfectly moral?) condones and regulates slavery in the Old Testament. Ouch–what do you do with a religion that can’t get a softball challenge like slavery right?

        • Kevin K

          And his human avatar condones slavery in the New.

          Luke 12:47 — “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows.”

        • Philmonomer

          And yet, somehow, you know slavery is wrong–even though it is never condemned in the Bible/God never condemns it.

          It’s almost as if your morality comes from somewhere else.

        • BlackMamba44

          In contrast the atheist is saying “my existence is meaningful because I say so” but notice that it’s not someone else giving meaning to the atheist’s life such as a friend, spouse, or something abstract like a job, etc.(and these are all subjective).

          How do you know an atheist says this? Because you say so?

          My existence is meaningful BECAUSE of my friends, family, spouse etc. They give meaning to my life and I hope I give meaning to theirs. They also provide me evidence of their existence. I don’t have to go looking for them.

        • Doug

          but if these points of reference are subjective one can’t arrive at a rational version of meaning. It’s true that you can have an irrational version of meaning but not a rational one. For a rational version of meaning there needs to be an objective source who gives the meaning not a subjective one.

        • BlackMamba44

          Maybe you can’t. I have no issues with it.

        • Halbe

          What is a “rational version of meaning” as opposed to an “irrational version”? And why would subjective meaning exclude rationality?

          And even if there is an “objective source” of meaning (for which you have provided zero evidence), you still need a fully objective way to access this source, otherwise it all becomes subjective again. So, how do you objectively access your elusive “objective source”?

        • Dys

          but if these points of reference are subjective one can’t arrive at a rational version of meaning.

          You’ve confused objectivity with rationality. They aren’t the same thing.

          I can counter your silliness by saying nothing more than one can have a rational, subjective meaning.

        • MNb

          So what if meaning is irrational? Psychology has established that especially such decisions are impossible without an emotional component. So shrug.
          Plus when rationality applied properly your god must be rejected anyway.

        • Doug

          If meaning is irrational it becomes a pointless conversation to have.

        • Otto

          If someone claims something is objective…but in no way can support that claim they are unable to demonstrate their point…so yes this conversation is pointless thanks to you.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Why?

        • adam

          “If meaning is irrational it becomes a pointless conversation to have.”

          Only with the IRRATIONAL like you. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/71c822a33e2f503a5c2aa115c0094164e08db6aecdfede3adb527ddd547dde25.jpg

        • Kodie

          So I don’t know why you’re obsessed with having it with us, despite already being banned several times.

        • MNb

          Meh. Everything you have contributed to the conversation is largely irrational anyway. For instance you jump from faith (and incoherently claim it has an objective reference point) to evidence (fine tuning, which doesn’t argue what you think it argues). So shrug again.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Meaning need not be rational…look at all the people whose world-view doesn’t comport with reality badly enough for them to be institutionalized to protect themselves or others.

          If objective reality matches to a reasonable percentage with a person’s self-selected meaning, YOUR KIND have nothing useful to say about the matter.

          In fact, devotion to your ‘god’ has produced a far-too-large number of devout nutters, many of whom have killed others in their care because of the religious delusion.

        • adam
        • eric

          if these points of reference are subjective one can’t arrive at a rational version of meaning

          Yes you can. You decide what ‘meaning’ means. Then you develop measures or proxy measures for it. Then you go out and measure them. That tells you whether you’ve achieved ‘meaning’ the way you’ve stated it. Just like we can have rational measures of ‘who won the boxing match’ even though winning a boxing match is a subjective judgment. We can have rational measures of ‘popular album’ (such as: platinum record = 1,000,000 units sold) even though the term ‘popular’ is subjective.

          Humans rationally discuss subjective measures all the time. All it takes is a decision about what it is you want to analyze. Rational discussion about it would then be discussion of measurements or ways of achieving it that are logically or strongly conceptually related to the thing you’re trying to achieve.

          You want to discuss a joke’s funniness? % who laugh at it is one rational measure. # of professional comedians who rated it 8-10 on a 1-10 scale of funniness is another rational measure. ECG brain readout associated with surprise and good feeling might be another rational measure. Poundage of the next flounder you catch? Not a rational measure of the joke’s funniness. The first three are logically and conceptually related to the thing you’ve said you’re trying to measure; the last is not. And that’s how you rationally measure a subjective quality.

        • adam

          ” For a rational version of meaning there needs to be an objective source who gives the meaning not a subjective one.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6a501c56d444d84595e85ff5c66f894b78a9aeeb9163865e0d1ecaf7e7f90ea2.jpg

        • Dys

          Once again, you don’t understand that objective and rational are not the same thing. There is nothing concerning subjectivity that omits it from also being rational.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Demonstrate your ‘god’ before attempting to use it, DAMMIT!

        • adam

          “If God exists the Christian has meaning because God is an objective reference point.”

          Since God is IMAGINARY, the ONLY meaning a christian has is IMAGINARY as well. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f142f77c52e865076a01b3a3efee03253df1fedf08474a3e33c625d3a5aea940.jpg

        • eric

          If God says “this is what is meaningful” it’s a whole lot different than your friend, family member or spouse saying it.
          God is welcome to show up in person, knock on my door, and tell me what he thinks gives meaning to my life. However, a book is not God. A priest is not god. A proselytizing Christian on the internet is not God. These things have no more credible claim to some sort of absolute meaning than I do. So I have no particular reason to trust them.

        • Greg G.

          If one harms another, a responsible person will try to make up for the harm. A Christian just has to pretend God forgave them. That is the difference in a religious meaning versus a real meaning.

        • adam

          ” If God says “this is what is meaningful” it’s a
          whole lot different than your friend, family member or spouse saying it.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dc554b74af68425056b8a4228b7f09490a1e80f6c6bf14f85bbce2e8015a0bfb.jpg

    • And removing the need for faith would be a bad thing? There’s nothing rational about wishful thinking.

    • MNb

      “Faith requires us to “get off the couch” and seek him.”
      Not at all. This assumes there is something to find, for which there is no reason. So the correct formulation is

      “Faith requires us to “get off the couch” and seek him without expecting to ever find him.”
      Because “find him” requires evidence ie “making himself obvious”.
      Your questions assume that meaning is objective. It isn’t.
      The atheist never is sure he isn’t self deluded. The remedy is skepticism.

      “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.”
      Richard Feynman, physicist and atheist.

      It’s believers like you who demand absolute certainty, usually not atheists.

      “Unless there’s an objective source to measure meaning by – meaning becomes rather meaningless doesn’t it?”
      No. Why would this be correct for “meaning” if you don’t apply it to “faith” either? You’re guilty of a double standard.

      • Doug

        I never said faith shouldn’t have an objective reference point which God by definition is.

        • John Hodges

          But “god” is not objective. You don’t seem to understand the meaning of the words you are using. “Objective” means “apparent to the senses, capable of being observed by multiple independent observers”. If “god” were objective there would not be thousands of different religions, nor any atheists.

        • Zeta

          John Hodges: “You don’t seem to understand the meaning of the words you are using.

          I don’t think Doug can think and understand concepts and meanings independently. So far, he has just been regurgitating very stale arguments he heard from his religious teachers and preachers.

        • Greg G.

          Doug pays 10% of his wages to his church to do his thinking for him.

        • adam
        • Pofarmer

          Sorry, you don’t get to define your deity into existence.

        • Doug

          You’re right that’s why I rely on evidence such as the fine tuning of the universe.

          1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause
          2. The universe began to exist
          3. Therefore, the universe has a cause

          Which premise do you disagree with because number 1 is common knowledge and number 2 is virtually undebated today.

        • Otto

          You do realize that syllogism does not conclude with ‘deity’ right?

          1. Physicists do not agree at all
          2. This is absolutely debated

          Additionally the ‘fine tuning’ argues more against a God than for it… After all an ‘all powerful God’ would not have to fine tune anything, he could make it work in any circumstance.

        • Kevin K

          And why all the extra stuff? I mean, we’re a bit of fluff on a tiny little ball of nothing in the context of the vastness of the universe. And the entire thing was “fine tuned” just so we could live here?

          That’s about as far from “fine” tuning as you can get.

          The fine tuning argument should have been demolished once it was established that the Earth is small and insignificant compared to the rest of it, isn’t the center of the universe, and everything doesn’t revolve around it. 500 years after Copernicus, and theists still don’t “get it”. Their hypothesis has been disproved by the evidence.

        • Otto

          It used to be that the earth was all there was, the stars, etc. were just lights. Then someone realized there were planets and the stars were like our sun, so the Milky Way was thought to be all there was…until someone realized there were billions of galaxies.

          What happens when if/when we realize there are untold numbers of universes as is becoming more and more likely? Will they get it then?

        • Kevin K

          Exactly so. Used to be the Earth was fixed, immovable, and flat. And the largest thing in the universe, of which it was the center. Once we discovered it wasn’t all about “us”, this ridiculous notion of the universe being built specially for us should have been thrown out the window.

          As to your conjecture — I think not. Motivated reasoning is a “thing”.

        • epeeist

          Used to be the Earth was fixed, immovable, and flat.

          It might have been to the followers of Yahweh, the Greeks knew better.

        • Kevin K

          True. Likely centuries before the Yahwehists wrote down their myths.

        • Pofarmer

          No, no they won’t. Their beliefs hinge on not getting it. The very immortality of their soul depends on it.

        • Pofarmer

          The fish bowl world of the Ancient Israelites makes a lot more sense vis a vis fine tuning that what we actually see. Are we sure they’re working off the correct model?

        • Greg G.

          1. Did it?
          2. Name one thing that has been caused to exist since the universe began. Changing states or phases is not being caused to exist. Certain things may result from quantum events but those are not externally caused.

          We can point out that if we go with your premises, in point 1. the cause is not supernatural, so the conclusion would have to be that the cause of the universe is not natural.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          ‘Fine-tuning’ is in the other direction. WE are fine-tuned by billions of years of multiple concurrent parallel attempts and failures of living matter.

          Read Douglas Adams’ “Parable of the Puddle” before trying to peddle that tripe again.

        • MNb

          Fine tuning rather argues for polytheism than for christianity as there are about 30 natural constants to be fine tuned and hence there must be about 30 fine tuners.
          Premise 1 is false. The exact moment a radio active atom decays doesn’t have a cause.
          Plus you must show that quantum fields have begun to exist. They very well always have existed in the same meaning as you say “my god always has existed”.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          BTW, check out ‘Feynman Diagrams’ for virtual particles popping out of nothing, if that’s yer thing 😉

        • MNb

          That’s one of my other favourite examples. The third one is quantum tunneling.

        • eric

          1 Our best understanding of QM is that for some conditions, #1 is wrong. Human intuition failed us, which is not that surprising given we don’t live at the scale at which these phenomena take place.

          2 Most cosmologists accept that the pre-inflationary state is unknown. As in; there could have been something else there.

          3 doesn’t say anything about the cause needing to be sentient. Or benevolent. Or omnipotent. It certainly doesn’t require that cause to be the same as the god you believe in.

          And in any event, you started this thread with the statement “If God were to “get off the couch and make himself obvious” that would remove the need for faith. Faith requires us to “get off the couch” and seek him.” That is a justification for why God can’t be evident; it’s an apologetic argument explaining his hiddenness. But now you’re claiming he’s not hidden, because if the fine tuning argument was sound that would be God making himself obvious. So which is it? Are you claiming there isn’t convincing evidence because faith would suffer if there was, or are you claiming you have convincing evidence? Because both claims can’t be true.

        • Kevin K

          I didn’t read your reply before posting mine. I’m glad (and more than a little bit relieved) that we seem to have the same understanding of how things work.

        • Kuno

          So which is it? Are you claiming there isn’t convincing evidence because faith would suffer if there was, or are you claiming you have convincing evidence? Because both claims can’t be true.

          Doug moved the goalposts so far that he arrived on the other side of the field and managed to score an own-goal at the same time.

        • adam

          “You’re right that’s why I rely on evidence such as the fine tuning of the universe.”

          So just how much of your universe is so finely tuned for humans?

          Much over 5 miles above this tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,tiny, tiny,dirt clod in space.

          Is TOTALLY hostile to human beings.

          THIS is your ‘fine tuned’?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6865a4cce3282762d39ccbf755e5a9a9ac316fdc6eeed7b3093b367aedf73658.jpg

        • Kodie

          Most of the earth is inhospitable to humans. We force by invention to live almost anywhere on it.

        • adam

          Well of course, inhospitable to humans PROVES fine tuning.

          Doesnt it.

        • adam

          “Everything that begins to exist has a cause”

          So what is the cause of your “God’s” knowledge?

        • Greg G.

          We are fine-tuned to live in a sliver of a biosphere on a small planet in a narrow orbit around a small star in a mediocre galaxy among billions and billions of galaxies where we would not survive more than a matter of seconds.

        • Kevin K

          And don’t forget that for much of the history of early Earth, this entire planet was completely and totally unsuitable for human life. It was only after about a BILLION years of blue-green algae pumping oxygen into the atmosphere that the environment could support our kind of life.

          And then came “Snowball Earth”, which effectively froze the planet solid, making the planet completely inhospitable to human life. And let’s not forget the K-T asteroid that did in the dinosaurs. A million years of “nuclear winter” and 90% of all species went extinct. Not exactly “fine tuned” for humans then, either.

        • Kuno

          And if the universe weren’t “fine-tuned” we wouldn’t be here to ask the question.

        • Kevin K

          In reply:

          1. No it fucking doesn’t. Quantum physics is based on the notion that things DO happen that are “uncaused”. And the device you’re using right now to communicate wouldn’t be in existence without a working understanding of quantum physics.

          2. Yes it did. About 14 billion years ago, our space-time started. Congratulations, you got that small part right.

          HOWEVER, one cannot say anything for certain as to the impetus for this “Big Bang” if you will.

          3. Prove it. People who are way smarter than you are arguing for a completely uncaused universe. One which came into being via quantum effects (see point 1 above).

          IN ADDITION, even if there was a “cause” for the universe, that “cause” is not of necessity your white man with a beard speaking magic words. The multiverse model posits universe causality from an all-natural source. In fact, there is no scientific model currently extant which posits the need for a supernatural anything. You trying to shoehorn a deity into a science question is insulting and childish.

          Seriously, if you’re going to use such inane arguments (that have been refuted a bazillion times), at least have the decency to look them up, read them CAREFULLY, understand them, and then DON’T USE THEM BECAUSE THEY’RE WRONG.

        • adam
        • You need to go back to your teachers/mentors and get your money back. They’ve armed you with blanks. The Kalam argument sucks.

          It’s all in this post:
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2015/10/how-does-the-kalam-cosmological-argument-suck-let-me-count-the-ways/

        • adam
        • epeeist

          1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause

          Really? And can you demonstrate that this is a necessary truth?

          2. The universe began to exist

          Did it? You have evidence to show this.

        • MNb

          Correct, you never said that. I assumed you were smarter than that. Apparently you I was wrong. See, your faith results in a conclusion entirely different from the faith of a Papua of New Guinea. Good luck establishing that objective reference point of yours.

        • Doug

          They have to deal with general revelation – Romans 1:20

        • MNb

          Not at all. Their faith tells them they can ignore that.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Literature? “What does ‘god’ need with a starship?” — Captain James T. Kirk, in a movie more coherent than xtianity can *hope* to be.

        • adam
        • Giauz Ragnarock

          You make an excellent case to shoot your own missionaries on site.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Yeah, Doug has a bad case of cargo-cult religion.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          It’s not objective unless it exists and can affect you whether you believe in it or not.

          The only way your so-called ‘god’ could affect me is through the mechanism of hard-hearted deluded followers. Your book supposedly provides examples of your ‘god’ impinging directly on the Universe, but such ‘miracles’ only happen where there’s no way to objectively assess them…since all ‘miracles’ that HAVE been objectively assessed are found to have natural causes.

        • adam

          “I never said faith shouldn’t have an objective reference point which God by definition is.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fc08e92607fbb10ca5d9fec66168d9bf582a2748fa716fdb4283c37e046c25e1.jpg

          But even your “God’ is not an objective reference point.

        • Lark62

          Ha

          God is so objective that 3000 to 4000 gods have been worshipped by mankind. The christian god is so objective that there are at least 33,000 variations of christianity each believing that they are the only ones to get it right. And many were so convinced that they murdered anyone who was the wrong type of christian, often by burning them alive.

          There is nothing whatsoever objective about an invisibe deity every one creates in their own head.

          You are amusing. Deluded, but amusing.

        • Doug

          You’re missing the point. Even if God “made himself known” in the way that you’d like him to we’d still have 3000 to 4000 gods worshiped and all of the other variations within Christianity. Let’s think about this logically. Think about some of the different famous historical individuals throughout history – Lincoln for example. How many different books are out there that have a different take on the man and his work as president?

        • Lincoln? Biographers? These are ordinary people.

          Why do I have to explain this to you? God is perfect. If he wants us to understand him, we will understand him. Correctly. End of story.

        • Lark62

          You are calling Jesus a liar.

          That’s not what Jesus said. He said that his followers would be as one, and by that the world would know he came from god.

          According to Jesus, everyone being in agreement was proof of the truth of his message.

          Oops.

        • Otto

          So you are saying that it is impossible for your God to be able to make himself known in a way that is consistently understood by everyone. Your God is not all powerful then and is quite frankly inept.

        • adam

          “Lincoln for example. How many different books are out there that have a different take on the man and his work as president?”

          WOW, Lincoln was Omnipotent, who knew?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/83e17eedbe4ea16a70235cd3c8b3c7e032ddeeb8190e9090a5427e8266691f23.jpg

        • Doug

          should’ve spellchecked you’re meme you spelled “not” as “no”

        • Kodie

          You’re one to talk. Did you get the message, or did you have to have your teachermom read it to you?

        • adam

          I know
          THIS is the very best that your ‘Faith’ provides you for in demonstrating your “God”

          But it is still pathetic…

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ae97f946c372f0c383b185246d5fb96c16e496e1fda9fbce601351eac4aab4df.jpg

        • BlackMamba44

          Lincoln existed.

        • adam

          There are ten known descendants of Lincoln. The family line is believed to have been extinct since its last undisputed descendant, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, died on December 24, 1985 without any children.

          And produced lineage.

        • Doug

          How can you be sure you weren’t there?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          I was. Also, apologist BINGO!

        • MNb

          There aren’t 3000 to 4000 Lincolns worshiped.

        • Doug

          No but there’s been around 15,000 books written about him. You think they all agree?

        • Michael Neville

          But there’s a major difference between gods and Lincoln. We have pretty good evidence that Lincoln existed. There’s zero evidence that even one god exists, let alone the thousands that human imagination have dreamed up.

        • Doug

          you think the fine tuning of the universe is “zero evidence”?

        • Kodie

          Yes.

        • Michael Neville

          The universe isn’t fine tuned for humans, humans are fine tuned for the universe. But considering 99.99999 recurring percent of the universe is hard vacuum at 3 Kelvin, it’s only our tiny speck of the universe that’s hospitable for humans.

        • Don’t bring up a Christian argument until you search to see if it’s already been dealt with on this blog. If it’s an old standby, it probably will be.

          One of many on fine tuning:
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/11/frank-tureks-criminally-bad-c-r-i-m-e-s-argument-fine-tuning/

        • Are you Woo/Murph?

        • Otto

          I actually think it is evidence against

        • Doug

          That’s nonsensical. That’s like saying my car in the driveway is evidence against it being manufactured in a plant somewhere by humans.

        • Otto

          Oh yeah…why would an all powerful God have to ‘fine tune’ anything Sherlock? God could make the universe work under any conditions…wouldn’t need fine tuning.

        • Doug

          he could make a universe work without gravity is that what you’re implying?

        • Greg G.

          That’s what omnipotence implies.

        • Otto

          Yes, are you saying he could’t? Or couldn’t make it work with a lot more or a lot less gravity? I mean God could literally make it work under any condition.

        • Susan

          Even if God “made himself known” in the way that you’d like him to we’d still have 3000 to 4000 gods worshiped and all of the other variations within Christianity.

          Yet, we have gravity and we don’t have 3000 to 4000 theories of gravity. One theory suffices to get planes from Chicago to Madrid (for instance) or humans to the moon and back.

          Your explanation works for any non-existent entity.

          It is no explanation at all.

        • Doug

          Gravity compared to God hmmmm…which is more complex?

        • Dys

          Since God is a fictional character created from the imagination of humans, he is pretty complex.

        • adam
        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Are you saying Jesus no longer exists just like Lincoln?

        • Greg G.

          Nobody claims that all the books about Lincoln are correct, including the contradictory claims.

      • Doug

        Dollar bills without a gold standard are meaningless – Monopoly money. The same is true of atheists saying they can have meaning on their own. It’s akin to saying “I don’t need the gold standard for my Monopoly money to have value.” It’s just incoherent.

        • Dys

          Dollar bills without a gold standard are meaningless – Monopoly money.

          Gold only has value because humans decided it does. Same thing with dollar bills. Sorry, your examples are terrible and poorly thought out.

          The same is true of atheists saying they can have meaning on their own.

          And it’s akin to having a gold standard. It all relies on human valuations.

          It’s just incoherent.

          No, you just don’t understand it, because you can’t deal with the notion of subjective meaning.

        • Pofarmer

          Talk about your shit analogies again. Holy cow.

        • Dys

          Yeah, I facepalmed. Doug is just doing the inane “if something isn’t objective, it can’t mean anything to anyone ever” and falling on his face with it.

        • Kuno

          The USA have been off the gold standard for a while now. If all your dollar bills are meaningless*, would you mind sending them to me?

          *I think you are conflating worthless with meaningless. They are not the same.

        • MNb

          False analogy. Money plays an entirely different role for humans than meaning.

        • Doug

          different role same application. In order for meaning to be rational and not Monopoly money it must be backed up by an objective standard, i.e. gold = Gods standard. Without God as the standard the Monopoly money is worthless.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Again, wrong. Not since 1933, for when the original divorce between the dollar and gold happened.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          As soon as I can buy a house from you and pay with meaning I’ll grant you that it has the same application as money.

        • Greg G.

          You must not understand the game of Monopoly. You must think it is merely a game. When you take things seriously, things have meaning. But the meaning of a Monopoly game is like the meaning of religion, which is not the same as the meaning in real life.

        • al kimeea

          Money has been issued by fiat for decades since the gold standard was dropped. As I see the great HairyEyed one has already mentioned and you’ve ignored.

        • adam
        • adam
        • Are you mentally deficient? I can dial back my demands on you if you have some sort of cognitive impairment.

          We make our own meaning. It might be nice to have God tell us a single, right meaning, but you’ve given us zero reason to imagine that God exists. But no problem—God isn’t necessary, and we weave our own meaning just fine, thanks.

        • Lark62

          Gold is not an objective standard. Its value is based on human whims.

        • Dys

          Gold isn’t an objective standard, you yutz. Your example has been completely shredded – it doesn’t work, so stop using it. You’re just embarrassing yourself.

        • Kuno

          If gold is an objective standard, why does its value change daily?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Dollar bills aren’t on a gold standard, nor have they been at least since Bretton Woods.

          Yet another assertion goes flat for lack of evidence and confluence with reality.

        • eric

          Wait, your argument against human-developed meaning is that it would only be as useful as modern currency?
          I think I agree. Yes, it would only be useful in the same way currency is useful. But that’s pretty useful.

        • Kodie

          Then you’ll give me all your money, since you don’t like it.

        • You didn’t respond to my point about the dictionary, presumably because it defeats your argument. “Meaning” has an objective component in your mind only, not in the dictionary.

        • Lark62

          Gold has no intrinsic value either. It is valuable because people have decided it is valuable.

          For a while beanie babies were valuable, some selling 100% or even 1000% above cost, until people decided they weren’t valuable after all.

          I can buy a carton of salt for 89 cents, but during Roman times, salt was worth the same as gold, ounce for ounce. Times change, values change.

          The value of gold is as subjective as the value of monopoly money. And I’m willing to bet that a complete, original monopoly game from the 1930s would be worth a pretty penny.

        • Michael Neville

          I won’t go into the theory of money but there were real reasons why every capitalist government went off the gold standard during the Great Depression and none of them have gone back to it. One reason is that recessions can be largely mitigated by increasing the money supply during economic downturns. A gold standard means that the money supply would be determined by the gold supply and hence monetary policy could no longer be used to stabilize the economy.

          I make the strong suggestion that you find some other analogy when you’re showing your disdain for atheists.

        • Kuno

          From his other posts I would guess that “Doug” didn’t know that the USD is no longer on the gold standard.

          Someone with a bit of honesty would admit this mistake.

    • Giauz Ragnarock

      “If God were to “get off the couch and make himself obvious” that would remove the need for faith.”

      You grasp a big problem. You are thinking more than any writer of a religious text.

      “If he says “my life has meaning” how does he know he isn’t lost in self delusion?”

      The word, meaning, has function. By definition, we cannot be delusional. ‘Meaning’ describes a shared experience of humanity like most English words in the case of English speakers. For people of unrelated languages it is gibberish (they may have their own words to describe similar experiences).

    • Kuno

      Meaning of life is completly subjective. So one cannot be delusional about it. If I think my life has meaning, then my life has meaning. This is for no one to decide or judge than myself.

      Think of it like taste in movies, music or food. If I (think that I) like a movie, then no one else has any say in this. If I say that I don’t like the taste of ananas then no one can tell me that I really like it.

    • Kevin K

      You want to know the meaning of life? I can give it to you if you’re willing to listen. It’s pretty much summed up in a couple of simple sentences.

    • Dys

      If he says “my life has meaning” how does he know he isn’t lost in self
      delusion? How does he know that his belief here is even rational?

      How do you know you aren’t? Belief in god doesn’t provide any real assurance, because you could be delusional about that. You’re in the same boat.

      One can’t give himself meaning anymore than he give himself an ability to play basketball or be a mathematician.

      One can decide to become a mathematician, make that their personal meaning in life, and work tirelessly at it. Sure, some people don’t have a natural aptitude for it, in which case it might be foolish to set that as the purpose of one’s life. But that doesn’t change the fact that it can be done.

      Meaning is a gift it’s not a Facebook status.

      Self-gifting is possible.

    • If that’s true, how do you explain God blatantly showing himself to the Israelites, not to mention coming as Jesus? People could reject him even there, as the Bible relates, since to most Christians faith means trusting God, not simply believing he exists (that’s really a given).

      As to self-delusion, that’s a problem all of us can face. Descartes, a famed Christian philosopher, struggled with it greatly for instance.

    • adam

      “If God were to “get off the couch and make himself obvious” that would remove the need for faith. ”

      so?

      Why does anything but an IMAGINARY character need ‘wishful thinking’ to exist?

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b12fa1635e121ebbb3409640826d721ba93278771f0064bd133804faa3f01397.png

    • Kevin K

      If there were evidence for the existence of god, then the word “faith” would be unneeded. And would be considered a mortal sin by the religious.

      • Doug

        When you get into your car do you expect it to work and get you where you need to go? That’s faith.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          ‘faith’ in something that happens so often, and so consistently, as to be a truism is FAR different than ‘faith’ that requires iron adherence without ANY evidence.

          Stop conflating…it’s childish, dishonest, and frankly distasteful.

        • Greg G.

          No, faith is getting into an imaginary car and believing you went somewhere.

        • Kevin K

          Faith would also be praying for the car to start instead of turning the key. Or praying for it to drive itself to your destination instead of … you know … driving it.

        • Greg G.

          Faith is actually letting God, the co-pilot, drive while you take a nap.

        • Kevin K

          “Jesus, take the wheel!”

          Followed by loud crashing noises and air bags being deployed.

        • Kuno

          To be fair, Jesus never had driving lessons, what with the car not being invented when he was on Earth, not to mention his inherited aversion to iron chariots.

        • Michael Neville
        • Kodie

          You’re trying to tell us the car will work even if you pour maple syrup in the gas tank, and use a stick of celery instead of a key. I mean, that’s how absurd your beliefs sound to a rational person.

        • Kevin K

          Nope. Not even a little bit. Because my experience with cars and them starting is based on 1) the history of the car starting every time I want it to (or nearly so); and 2) an understanding of the mechanics of why a car wouldn’t start. And I HAVE had instances where the car wouldn’t start.

          So, I have no “faith” in my car starting whatsoever.

          Faith is the dirtiest word in the English language.

          * Faith flies airplanes into skyscrapers.
          * Faith kills diabetic children whose parents would rather pray than give them life-saving insulin.

          And on and on and on and fucking on.

        • Lark62

          And the people who chose prayer over medical care for children never rely on pray to fix cars. Because they know it’s bunk and they need the car.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          If they need to use your body to get another kid, life is precious. If the kid conflicts with the faith, kill the fucker!/sarcasm

          “And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” Mark 9:42

          I wonder whose kid that “whosoever” was 🙁

        • adam

          ” That’s faith.”

          If you are going to talk about biblical ‘Faith’, then use the definition from the bible – “wishful thinking”

        • MNb

          Nope. It’s an extrapolation of past experiences (ie induction) plus understanding that there is a theory that predicts the car will work (ie deduction). Neither has anything to do with faith.

        • No, it’s trust.

        • Lark62

          No. It is confidence based on evidence and facts.

          Confidence that the sun will “rise” everyday is backed up by evidence and our knowledge of physics and laws of planetary motion. OTOH, Belief that the sun could stand still in the sky violates the laws of physics and is simply silly.

          Confidence is supported by evidence and facts. Faith is the product of wishful thinking and a failure to consider facts.

        • adam
        • adam
        • Dys

          No, that’s a reasonable expectation based on prior experience. Not faith. You don’t know what words mean.

        • Kodie

          Well, he’s anti-dictionary, so of course.

        • Jim Jones

          But it isn’t “religious faith” which is a poor synonym for wishful thinking.

          When you pray for your car with a dead battery to start you expect it won’t. Every time.

          Just like Jesus. Click.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Your supposed ‘god’ was, per the story, well known to Lucifer/Satan, who rebelled *anyway*, so there goes the faith/’free will’ argument.

      The “what’s taking so long!” statement is frankly incoherent.

      And as for meaning, I make my meaning. If I find it’s wrong later on, I have the option to change. Compassion and respect for informed consent guide my life, neither of which requires any supernatural claptrap.

      In fact, why don’t you demonstrate this supposed, impotent, so-called ‘god’ of yours before you start pitifully attempting to throw around orders in its name?

    • Greg G.

      But how can the atheist be sure he isn’t self diluted?

      Anybody who drinks water is self-diluted.

      • Kevin K

        I gave him a one-time-only free pass for that one…but probably won’t be so kind moving forward.

        • Greg G.

          I gave him a one-time-only free pass for that one

          I enjoy my lack of will power.

        • Kevin K

          Honestly, I don’t know what came over me.

      • Adam King

        I prefer to dilute myself with copious quantities of gin.

    • adam

      ” Faith requires us to “get off the couch” and seek him”

      Wrong, “Faith” requires you to CREATE ‘him’

      ” If he says “my life has meaning” how does he know he isn’t lost in self delusion?”

      You mean as compared to those who ‘believe’ in MAGIC?

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/04570f3531aa4e675333fdcce29973e95d6ad5b518125333d607badb96b99c03.png

      • Doug

        Barker is a con artist. If he’s so brilliant how did it take him decades to conclude what he criticizes in the above quote? Hmmmm… (Tommy Boy) that’s a mystery!

        • Kodie

          You think your opinion counts at all? You’ve proven yourself idiotic beyond a shadow of a doubt. We’ve engaged in discussion with literate Christians before – you’re not one of them.

        • Doug

          I take no offense. Care to refute my reply go ahead I’m waiting. Barker evidently wasn’t as smart as he thinks he is if it took him decades to conclude what was said in Adams post

        • Kuno

          So what is the time you are allowing someone to come to a conclusion before this conclusion automatically becomes wrong?

        • adam
        • MNb

          And christians were as stupid as the rear end of pigs if it took them more than 17 centuries to figure out that slavery is “objectively” evil.

        • Barker evidently wasn’t as smart as he thinks he is if it took him decades to conclude what was said in Adams post

          Careful–remember the glass houses.

          You still haven’t figured it out.

        • Now it’s slander? Back up your charge against Dan Barker.

        • Kuno

          “If Einstein was so brilliant, why did it take him so long to come up with his theories?”

          How do you think that makes sense?

        • adam

          ” If he’s so brilliant how did it take him decades to conclude what he criticizes in the above quote?”

          Likely, because he suffered from the same abuse and indoctrination that you are in.

        • Greg G.

          I have met Dan Barker and that is essentially what he says.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          If the Bible is anti-slavery, why did it take christians more than 17 centuries to figure out it’s a bad thing? According to your own illogic it follows that the entire Bible is written by con artists.

        • RichardSRussell

          Dan Barker grew up in a devout household, where all he was spoonfed from birth onward was religious orthodoxy. He became a child preacher and had much success at it, so he was being positively rewarded for his faith. It’s difficult to imagine the intellectual integrity it must have taken for him to reject it all in favor of what he eventually perceived to be a superior approach. But he did it. I think he is most admirable.

        • Otto

          That’s what indoctrination does…I think you should revisit whether you yourself are deluded.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Barker is was a con artist.

          FTFY.

    • adam

      ” How can he know his belief is even rationale? ”

      An atheist has DISbelief, and what is rational about disbelieving in MAGIC?

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3da7f08a3390ef2111a626073dd7132a22b19bc1ce34ac9d4883c5e2d74a0eb8.jpg

    • Lark62

      “..how does he know he isn’t lost in self delusion? How does he know that his belief here is even rational?”

      You believe a book that says man was created last after all other living things and first before all other living things contains no errors.

      You believe god came to earth as his son, had himself / his son murdered and spent 1.5 days dead before springing back to life, and this was the only way he could think of to forgive us for violating trivial rules he made up.

      You follow a book that goes into detail on eating habits, clothing choices, and tattoos but never condemns sex without consent or the ownership of human beings.

      May I suggest you invest some serious time considering the concept “self delusion.”

      • Greg G.

        spent 1.5 days dead before springing back to life

        According to the story, we can assume that Jesus was still dead when he was put into the tomb and the tomb was found empty a day and a half later, so he could have resurrected at anytime in between. How inconvenient having to play dead until he was buried!

    • RichardSRussell

      But how can the atheist be sure he isn’t self diluted?

      None of us can be sure we’re not self-deluded. None of us. Not atheists. Not Christians. Not Muslims. Not Jews. Not Buddhists. Not Mormons. Not pagans. Not Hindus. Not Shintoists. Not ancestor worshippers. Not cultists. Not people who claim to be “spiritual but not religious”. Nobody. Nowhere. At no time. Never.

      The one and only thing anybody can ever be sure of is René Descartes’s dictum je pense, donc je suis [“I think, therefore I am”]. Your own existence is the one and only thing you can ever be sure of. Everything else is potentially something about which you are deluded. For all you know, the entire Universe sprang into existence 5 seconds ago, you with your memories all intact. Or you may be a brain in a vat, as in The Matrix. Or a pattern of brain cells in some super-intelligent being who’s only imagining you.

      If what you seek is absolute assurance, you are doomed to failure. And so is everyone else.

  • epeeist

    It’s basically a fallacy of division. Assume the universe has the property of “meaningless”. It doesn’t follow that the property distributes to the constituent parts of the universe.

    “My computer is black, therefore the molecules that make up the CPU must be black”.

  • Kevin K

    The whole thing is an exercise in speaking Christian “code”. In this case, the word “meaning” is translated as “the location and comfort level of my after-death apartment.”

    Once you do away with the notion that there is such a thing as an after-death apartment, then the entire Christian concept of “meaning” disappears in a puff of logic, just like Douglas Adams’ god.

    • MR

      It’s not about meaning, it’s about getting to live forever.

      • Kevin K

        Exactly. Without the slightest consideration of how long “forever” is and why that might not actually be something to aspire to. Never mind the sheer impossibility of such a thing.

  • Contrary to what many people claim, bringing God into the equation does not by itself solve any question about meaning. Much like using God as the origin of all things, etc. it can still be lacking. Christians throughout history have asked much the same questions, though tweaked to reflect their religion: Why were we created this way? What sense is there in so many going to hell?

    Ecclesiastes is entirely about this, and could have been written by any modern existentialist. It’s fair to assume however that it’s author believed in God, as this ends up his solution. Again, however, many will find that lacking. The father of existentialist is not Nietzsche, in many scholars view. It was the Christian Soren Kierkegaard.

    Further, what the meaning is varies. Liberal and conservative Christians have highly various ideas, of course. Some agree that most going to hell is a terrible “meaning”, replacing it with annihilationism, universalism, etc. Conservatives will of course disagree, and atheists find both views lacking (though the former likely more appealing).

    The same goes for objective morality, which is often held up in the same way. It is usually merely asserted in both cases that only Christian theism somehow gives us objective meanings and morality. I have yet to see a convincing argument that this is true.

    • MR

      …replacing it with annihilationism, universalism, etc. Conservatives will of course disagree, and atheists find both views lacking (though the former likely more appealing).

      Likely more appealing or likely more likely?

      • As I said.

        • MR

          Sorry, wasn’t familiar with the term annihilationism and assumed it meant everyone ceasing to exist, not just non-believers. Still I’d be surprised to find that most atheists would find annihilationism more appealing than universalism. Present company and MNb excepted, of course. I see no particular reason to dislike universalism. For me the issue lies, rather, in that Christianity itself is a crock. Were it true, I’d rather lean toward universalism, and it seems that questioning Christians generally tend to take the path of universalism over the other when they begin to have doubts about the rationality of Christianity precisely because it is more appealing. My thoughts.

        • Susan

          For me the issue lies, rather, in that Christianity itself is a crock.

          Yes. Any form of it that I have encountered. And that is many forms.

          Still I’d be surprised to find that most atheists would find annihilationism more appealing than universalism

          I find them both unsavory. I really do.

          Anything that is OK with natural selection as long as I’m OK in the end does not sit well with me. It’s beyond meaningless. It’s wandered into anti-meaning.

          Most importantly, it appears to be a crock. On the level of astrology, phrenology, miracle diets and magnetic bracelets.

        • MR

          Agree with everything you say, but the hypothetical was which was the more appealing? Granted the whole thing is illogical, and meaningless, but I’m just trying to understand why he thinks atheists would find annihilationism more appealing than the other. If I were a Christian reading that, I think it would strike me simply as a reactionary statement. “I didn’t want to come to your party anyway, so there.” And I’d likely disregard the rest of his very important points.

          I will walk back my statement “I see no particular reason to dislike universalism,” because that could be misconstrued as believing it to be a possibility. Universalism still carries all the baggage and hurdles that Christianity does. It still all is illogical, irrational and without any compelling evidence, i.e., a crock.

          [Note: please see Michael’s and my further comments.]

        • Susan

          the hypothetical was which was the more appealing?

          I’ve been struggling with this all day but I still say that neither is more appealing than the other.

          Both are hubristic and cold-blooded.

        • I meant to say they find those options preferable compared with an eternal hell, although yes, universalism is better still for most I suppose. Personally I’m not sure which would be preferable-I guess it would just depend on what they think heaven is like. Yes, of course the truth is the main issue, and your thoughts reflect my own.

        • MR

          Ok, I see, thanks. I think also we carry certain presumptions when considering such hypotheticals and sometimes those presumptions don’t always match. I liked what you posted (and should have upvoted, btw–remedied), just that one point raised an eyebrow because it seemed to me to undermine your point unnecessarily.

        • Yes, we all have some assumptions. My point wasn’t to say one or the other is best.

        • Jim Jones

          > Still I’d be surprised to find that most atheists would find annihilationism more appealing than universalism.

          I’m pulling for the rapture. No more evangelical assholes.

  • John Hodges

    Meaning is the story that you choose to join. There are many stories available, and you can make up your own if you wish. A story does not have to include supernatural elements to provide a satisfying feeling of meaning. Usually the person to whom it gives meaning has to believe that the story is at least POTENTIALLY true in its essentials; that if we live by its implied precepts, the story can be made true. The history of the human race is, for example, a story that anyone can join, choosing to take an active role toward making this Earth a better place for ourselves and our posterity.

    • Michael Murray

      The history of the human race is, for example, a story that anyone can join, choosing to take an active role toward making this Earth a better place for ourselves and our posterity.

      That’s more than just the history of the human race though. You are telling a particular story about history. You are assuming that we have in the past and can in the future make the earth a better place for ourselves and posterity.

      • Jim Jones

        I sleep indoors and eat new food.

        It isn’t half bad.

        • Greg G.

          I come from the foothills of the Appalachians but I now live in a city. My neighbors cook outside and shit in the house. What’s wrong with those people?

    • Doug

      I agree that we can establish our own subjective meaning but that doesn’t guarantee the meaning we’ve claimed is rational or objectively true

      • Otto

        You can claim your meaning is objective, but that doesn’t mean it is.

        • RichardSRussell

          What do we mean by “objective”? AFAICT, it’s that X can be confirmed anywhere, at any time, by any impartial observer. For example, the acceleration of a solid object due to gravity, or the temperature at which water freezes.

          With this understanding, there are such things as objective facts, but no such things as objective opinions.

          Including this one.

      • MNb

        Silly, subjective meaning never can be objectively true.

      • Dys

        And it doesn’t guarantee that the meaning we’ve claimed is irrational either.

        As for it not being objectively true…no shit. That’s why ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ are two different words.

    • RichardSRussell

      If this is the same John B. Hodges who used to participate on the SecHum listserv, you may be interested to know that I’ve saved (and often reused) your statement on “Atheist Ethics in 200 Words”, which is also relevant here:

      Purpose is ours to choose.

      There is a natural “default” purpose, which we may choose if we like. We all have parents, as did they, back to the beginning of life. Every one of our ancestors had children. Health is the ability to survive; the goal favored by natural selection is “promote the health of your family.” We are all members of Darwin’s family, all kin from the beginning of life.

      The Good is that which leads to health, The Right is that which leads to peace. If you want to maintain peaceful and cooperative relations with your neighbors, don’t kill, steal, lie, or break agreements. As Shakespeare wrote, “It needs no ghost, Milord, come from the grave, to tell us this.” If you value anything, value other humans, for they are the only help you will have in times of trouble.

      Meaning is the story we choose to join. Instead of seeking a ticket to Heaven by being obedient on Earth, we can gain meaning by seeking to make this Earth a better place, for ourselves and our posterity.

      This wondrous Universe is more than enough. We have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.

      Do justice, love mercy, and be irreverent.

    • This is awesome. Thank you.

  • Kevin K

    One of the things I find interesting is that the “hard sell” comes at this particular juncture of the book. Out of nowhere, suddenly the author thinks now is the time to go into full “convert the heathens” mode. Never mind that none of the arguments put forth have been even the slightest bit persuasive.

    I find this to be the typical theist’s gambit. They go on for a while with the usual arguments, and then suddenly veer into the “wanna come to my church?” — never mind that you’ve just said that going to church makes you nauseated. (It does me at least; I have a visceral negative reaction to Christian church services.)

    Earlier in this series, I wondered exactly who was the target audience for this drivel. While most of us figured it was all about preaching to the choir, here’s where Bannister declares that his intended audience is us heathens.

    Swing and a miss, Andy. Bigly miss.

    • Greg G.

      (It does me at least; I have a visceral negative reaction to Christian church services.)

      I am reluctant to go because the last time I did, I was barely able to contain myself from saying “Bullshit!” out loud.

      I’ve been to a few weddings however. Two of those were between a Buddhist and a Catholic, one in the US and one in Vietnam. In Vietnam, my wife told me they were worried whether I might refuse to set foot in the Catholic church for that part of the ceremonies. They must have thought I might be a Baptist.

      • Kevin K

        My reaction stems from years of Sundays of being the dutiful son, going to church and reciting words I did not believe. Eventually, my brain couldn’t handle the cognitive dissonance, so while my mouth was saying words like “We believe in God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth”, my brain was saying “fucketyfuckfuckfuck.” It was an effort of will not to run out of the church screaming every week.

        • Michael Neville

          I was at an evangelical Baptist wedding some years ago. The preacher did a “come to Jesus” recital in his remarks. It was with great effort that I managed not to stand up and say something along the lines of “save the Jesus preaching for a revival, a wedding is about a couple starting a life together so how about talking about them?” I kept hoping the preacher would show up at the reception but he didn’t.

        • Michael Murray

          You could have done the John Belushi, Blues Brothers scene where he sees the light.

        • Greg G.

          At my uncle’s funeral, the preacher was telling how my uncle would throw is hands up and praise Jesus whenever he came to visit. I thought it was funny because my mother had told me that a cousin of theirs had told her that he had “saved Donny” and gave him a beautiful Bible. The next time she visited him, she asked to see it. He said he had thrown it away. Uncle Donny always was a leg puller.

        • Kevin K

          My dad’s funeral. Same thing. I gave the eulogy, which everyone later said was spot-on. And then the preacher had to have his 2 cents, which was basically a rage-inducing dissertation on what Christians believe about the after-death experience. I damn near punched him.

        • epeeist

          My dad’s funeral

          Same with mine, He had been brought up Catholic and become a Marxist by the time he died. We gave him a Catholic funeral because my grandmother, a devout Catholic, was still alive.

          The priest took the opportunity to deride Marxist ideology and implicitly my fathers view point. It was all I could do not to deck him at the end of the service. He wasn’t invited back to the wake.

        • Jim Jones

          Needs an air horn.

        • Kevin K

          Grifters gotta grift, preachers gotta preach, I guess.

        • DoorknobHead

          You’re being redundant, are you not?

        • Kevin K

          True.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Holy roller clerics love a captive audience. I recently attended the funeral of our British Legion Chairman where the padre had a pop at atheists as part of the sermon. It was misplaced in the circumstances and drew some whispers of the wtf kind. The fuckers rely on ones respect for the occasion to get away with blue murder.

        • BlackMamba44

          Same here. I’ve been to a couple of memorial services where they ask people to “come to Jesus”, my father’s was one of them. My father died in February 2015. His wish was be cremated and buried in the same plot at Arlington National Cemetery with his first born daughter (she died in ’66 at 5 weeks old). He DID NOT want a memorial service. His born again sister just HAD to have one, though. At her church of course. The pastor talked about our 6,000 year old earth. I wanted to laugh out loud. Then when he asked the audience who wanted to be saved? Well, if looks could kill. If my mom hadn’t been sitting beside I would have got up and walked out.

        • Pofarmer

          You out to go to a good old Southern Baptist wedding. I’ve only been to one, and it’s the only fire and brimstone wedding I’ve ever been to. Very unique experience.

        • Jim Jones

          Never hire anyone religious for weddings or funerals. And even baptisms aren’t good.

          Plenty of alternatives exist.

        • DoorknobHead

          …and make sure they don’t serve kool-aid.
          [sorry, that was too easy — now I feel I should go take a shower]

        • RichardSRussell

          At my wedding last year, which we did as a piece of performance art, we had one section entitled “readings from a famous book”. And it was, indeed, the Bible. So our guy started in on the traditional Corinthians 13, at which point I leaned over and, in a stage whisper, said “Not that! It’s so trite!“. So he quickly flipped thru the pages until he came to Genesis 31:38: “I have been with you for twenty years now. Your sheep and goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten rams…” At that point Abigail leaned over and muttered something about liking ram, and there was another flurry of pages. This one made it all the way thru to the end:

          Let’s try one last time. Deuteronomy, Chapter 22, Verses 13-21, tells us “If any groom takes a bride and says, ‘I took this woman, but when I came near her, I did not find her a virgin,’ and if this charge is true that the bride is not a virgin, then they shall bring out the bride, and the men of her city shall stone her to death.” Thus endeth the reading. So mote it be! Amen! Selah!

          At which point I handed my sister a scroll attesting to my own (completely imaginary) virginity, so as to escape the stoning which the Bible held to be my just lot in life.

          Oh, we had a splendid time twitting the various religious conventions, frequently rewarded by gales of laffter from the audience. Afterwards many people assured us that it was the best wedding they’d ever been to. If I can ever get around to editing the videos we took of it, I’ll post the link here.

        • Greg G.

          Seeing the videos would alleviate the disappointment of missing it.

      • I’m going to the first session of an Alpha course (a 10-week Christianity 101) tonight. Again.

        We’ll see how long I remain an atheist.

        • Lark62

          I expect given the quality of christian arguments you are quite safe. The bigger questions are Why would you do such a thing? And Will yountell us all about it?

        • Greg G.

          I suspect he is taking the course for article fodder. 👍

        • I attended last night. It was at a Catholic church. Somehow I’d seen it as more Protestant-y, but that was just because I’ve done it a few times at Protestant churches. The guy who started it is Anglican, and it’s high level, so the divisions within Christianity aren’t relevant.

          The food was good, as always. The people were nice, though the ones in my group don’t look very lively. I like to mix it up with people. There’s one young couple, but the others are older and mostly seemed reserved.

          The wife of the couple noted that her position (raised Catholic) is symmetric with someone raised Muslim or Buddhist. (Yeah! You go, girl.) That seemed a surprisingly clear observation that religion is just a regional custom.

          For anyone who’s done Alpha before, they have done a reboot on the videos. Nikki is still there, but instead of it being just him speaking to a chapel full of people, it’s like a documentary, with text animations, stock footage, and so on. Very professional looking.

          I’d love to get some insights or hear arguments I’d not heard before, and that’s why I’m going. I’m not optimistic … but I’ll let you know.

        • Kevin K

          You have a much stronger constitution than I do.

        • I’m usually the best-educated person in the room on the subject, so I get to apply some gentle pressure on the Christians. But I can appreciate how hanging out with Christians where most of the clever insights are actually tired reruns isn’t for everyone.

        • Kevin K

          I’ve been doing the counter-apologetics thing off and on for 10 years or thereabouts…and if there were a new argument, I would giggle like a fool. It would actually be intellectually stimulating.

          Never mind if someone actually came up with an idea on how to objectively and verifiably demonstrate the existence of their invisible friend.

        • Pofarmer

          ..and if there were a new argument, I would giggle like a fool.

          I’ve had a person IRL say “But I don’t know the really good arguments.” And all I can do is respond and say, “You just used them.” Many believers think there are these bang up arguments that only the pros get to know, or something, I dunno. They can’t fathom that the crap[ they’ve got is all the crap there is.

        • Greg G.

          Many believers think there are these bang up arguments that only the pros get to know, or something, I dunno.

          The difference between the common arguments and the professional arguments is the average number of syllables per word.

        • Kodie

          You know it’s really funny – these believers fell for weak arguments, which means if there were better arguments, those “pros” didn’t even use them. It’s so facepalmingly idiotic that these people think there must be better arguments for god but didn’t need to hear them to believe this shit.

        • epeeist

          and if there were a new argument, I would giggle like a fool. It would actually be intellectually stimulating.

          It really is like Groundhog Day all over again every time a new god botherer turns up isn’t it.

        • Pofarmer

          But I can appreciate how hanging out with Christians where most of the
          clever insights are actually tired reruns isn’t for everyone.

          I’d say that’s putting it mildly.

        • Philmonomer

          I’ve never been to one, and the National Cathedral in Washington DC is starting a course one week from today! It’s being led by the founder of Alpha (and others). I’d love to do it.

          The truth is that I don’t have the time/space in my life to go. I simply cannot give up every Thursday night for 8 weeks….At least I don’t think so….maybe if there was some way to make it work….

        • It’s a lot to schedule in, but if you do make it (or make it to some of them, anyway), let us know what you think.

          The groups I’ve participated in have had less than 100 people total. A good number, but not cathedral sized. That might be pretty cool.

        • Philmonomer

          I suspect it would be held in a classroom or something like that–and I have no idea how many people will show up (a 100 seems like a lot). I’m thinking I’m going to try to make it work. I’ll let you know.

        • Philmonomer

          How’d it go?

      • Kuno

        I have no problem to go into our local evangelical church for weddings or funerals, but our evangelicals are quite a different breed than your American ones. I actually quite like our local pastor, he is a good guy. Actually, all pastors I can remember have been decent guys.

    • It’s like WLC, who adds an altar call conclusion in his debates.

      • Kevin K

        Does he really? Blerg. Yet another reason to avoid him like the plague he is.

        • Pofarmer

          He believes that the truth of his words is laid down from the feeling of the Holy Spirit. So why not?

          I felt a little icky typing that.

    • eric

      The more into science I got, the less this sort of ‘hard sell’ made sense to me. Not, however, because the answers were lame (that was only a lesser problem). It made less sense to me because the concept of me getting to figure it out for myself stopped being fearful and started being fun. I got over wanting answers, and got into curiosity.

    • Giauz Ragnarock

      The service on the Sunday before last that I sat through with my mom, I sat with my best perplexed look wondering if things were going cult south. The sermon used military themes heavily, emphasizing authority and how soldiers can’t question or just quit when their bosses give them “bizarre” orders and that we are at war with the Devil (no mention of the Nuremburg defense or the problem of evil or the euthyphro dilemma). Then their examples of how “the world is messed up” all involved “radical Islamic terrorism”. Shit is getting bad.

      • Kevin K

        Sad faced emoji.

        • Greg G.

          😞

      • adam

        Remember, in Evangelical future, the world has to be destroyed and almost all people have to suffer a horrible death in order for Jesus’s ‘love’ to come and save them.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cdf1945c329723ddbb7c03a5aa7c5a3ef1bae3c5f93caabe7aed79f438227c78.jpg

      • Ignorant Amos

        Soldiers must disobey an illegal order.

        These articles require the obedience of LAWFUL orders. An order which is unlawful not only does not need to be obeyed but obeying such an order can result in criminal prosecution of the one who obeys it. Military courts have long held that military members are accountable for their actions even while following orders — if the order was illegal.

    • TheNuszAbides

      Bannister declares that his intended audience is us heathens

      why take him at his word? considering how clueless he makes himself look with all other tactics, it’s even a charitable interpretation that he doesn’t even know his intended audience. maybe his delusions extend to imagining that the money he makes from sales of this book comes mainly from curious non-believers. but being charitable in assessing his intelligence can also make it plausible that this is one more shitty, cynical lie aimed at comforting the choir: “aww, look, he’s casting his pearls before them swine! what a brave and generous soul …”

  • Mr. A

    It’s one of the weakest arguments in the christian playbook- and that’s saying a lot. So no, that’s the reason you feel bad this time.

  • Herald Newman

    As Dan Barker has quipped in the past: Asking “if there is no God what is the purpose of life?” is like asking “if there is no master who’s slave will I be.” If your purpose is to submit as a slave, then your meaning comes from flattering the ego of a person whom you should detest.

    I always thought that was an effective retort to the kind of thinking that Bannister is using.

    • Otto

      I hadn’t heard that quote from Barker…good point

    • Great quote

    • al kimeea

      I must remember that one

  • RichardSRussell

    If there is no God what is the purpose of life?

    Still whatever you want it to be. And isn’t that a better deal than the alternative? It’s as if you’re walking down the cereal aisle in the grocery store and you want to indulge in some Sugar Corn Pops or maybe some Honey Nut Cheerios, but there’s a stern guy in a black shirt with a white collar tab standing there instructing you that, if you know what’s good for you (at which point he hauls out his blowtorch), you’ll go with the cardboard bran nuggets. Isn’t it a better deal to be able to choose the cereal (or the meaning) we prefer, rather than have one forced on us? And a not particularly palatable one at that?

    • Greg G.

      Those “cardboard bran nuggets” are the manna from heaven that the Exodites complained about.

  • disqus_y7d1jVOPml

    THEIST: Anything that doesn’t last forever is ultimately meaningless.
    ATHEIST: Would you decline to go to heaven if you knew it would end in a void in 100 years?
    [crickets]

  • Captain Marvelous

    Whenever this whole “An Atheist’s life has no meaning” thing is brought up, it makes me think. If God exists, what is the meaning of God’s existence? Who assigns God his meaning? If God is the all powerful creator of all who has no creator, then he effectively has as much meaning as I do. Sure, he could erase me from existence, but that wont give his existence any more meaning than that of an Ant’s.

    I don’t think they understand it, but Christians do worship an Atheist.

    • Kodie

      They invoke the parental qualities of their god sometimes, so I think it is like, if you don’t have parents, where did you come from, who teaches you, and cares for you? When it comes to this subject, they deny it, but also refer to it., because, even with parents, extended family, etc., how could you possibly anchor yourself to the rest of humanity without god? How could you relate to others morally without god from the outside? Why would you care about other people if you could die without any consequences to catch you like a net, in case you weren’t caught while alive? That’s the dumbshit “confusing” trap their religion traps them in. If you have to be good, and you’re going to die and your neighbor’s going to die, why can’t you shit all over your neighbor’s house? The feeling that you shouldn’t, the discipline to hold you back from doing everything you could do, must be an invisible grounding, and not your empathic social conditioning. Because, you know, some people do shit all over their neighbor’s houses and do whatever the fuck they want and don’t feel bad about it – I am sick of morality as a topic, because, to me, people are immoral to each other all the fucking time. Nobody has ever murdered me, but they don’t give two shits about a lot of other shitty things they do. That is another product of empathic social conditioning – it’s ok to do something as long as it’s (a) legal, customary, or nobody sees it, (b) the other person would have to make a scene, (c) if the other person does make a scene, you can call them crazy, and most people would take your side.

      The issue with meaning is – what meaning does my life have that could not have been meant if it was not me. The main thing is that most people live ordinary fucking lives that could be interchangeable. They might as well not live, they might as well not procreate, nothing means anything, and they know it. That’s the main thing here. If some outside auditor did not require them, personally, to live, they understand very profoundly that they might as well have never been born, and all their inconvenience and struggle is pointless. Most people’s lives are inconvenient struggles, possibly punctuated by moments of personal meaning, like their wedding day or their child being born. Those are generic events like lunch and bedtime if someone is not looking down at them and giving those people credit for being themselves.

      • Michael Neville

        Most people’s lives are inconvenient struggles

        “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” –Henry David Thoreau

        • Kodie

          I think it’s pretty common idea to ask “why me?” but maybe the questions to ask is “why not me?” It’s not an existential crisis. Plenty of people have some bad thing happen to them and feel they must be being punished, or even blame this punishment they’re being dealt on others because god sometimes sends a message but doesn’t care about accuracy. Like, these people who don’t want to sell a cake to gay couples are trying to drive away god’s violent “justice” from their general vicinity. I mean, I can almost see this from their point of view! I can see some people thinking they’re not bigots, they don’t hate people, they are merely superstitiously trying to ward off evil consequences that will hurt innocent people, because god can’t be bothered afflicting specific people with a specific immediate negative consequence – he’ll tsunami or hurricane an x-miles wide location, regardless of who lives there. He’ll go ahead and “afflict” all these people with perfectly specific meaning and worth, perfectly destined marriage partners and car keys and football wins, but when they don’t do what they think he wants, it’s stomp all over the region and fuck everyone’s shit up, the real shit – their shelters, their lives, even, no matter who they are.

    • It is rather pathetic, isn’t it? God can speak into existence a universe with 100 billion galaxies, but what gets him off is playing house with teeny, clueless humans. He tells them what to do, and they keep screwing up–frustrating, I’m sure.

      I bet God’s friends make fun of him for it. Maybe he lives in his mom’s basement.

      • Kuno

        He’s basically playing The Sims.