Christianity: Just Another Marketing Scam

Christianity: Just Another Marketing Scam January 26, 2018

I gotta tell you about the most brazen product ad I’ve ever seen. It had a can’t-look-away-from-the-car-crash stickiness that honest marketers can only dream of. It was an opportunistic seizing of—nay, a celebration of—consumer stupidity that I’ve never seen duplicated. Think of it as the commercial version of Donald Trump’s campaign.

This ad was in a Sunday newspaper magazine in the mid-1980s. At that time, cable and satellite TV were new and expensive. Each needed a decoder box that usually sat on top of the TV. This new GFX-100 promised to eliminate the monthly cable bills.

So you have the background of an educated reader from 30 years ago, let’s review a couple of points before we get to the ad.

  • Before TV came through a cable, it only came over the air as radio waves and was captured by antennas. A pair of these telescoping antennas were sometimes called “rabbit ears.”
  • RF = radio frequency. VHF and UHF are the two radio bands allowed at that time for U.S. television broadcasts.

Here’s the ad with every exclamation point, quotation mark, and font change lovingly preserved. The product is shown above. See if you can figure out what they’re actually selling.

Throw away your old TV rod antenna! The GFX-100 looks like an outdoor satellite “dish,” but works indoors like ordinary “rabbit ears.” No wiring or installation! Legal in all 50 states. You pay NO cable fees because you’re NOT getting cable!!! You pay NO satellite fees because you’re NOT using satellite technology or service!!! Works entirely via proven “RF” technology—actually pulls signals right out of the air. Instantly locks into every local VHF and UHF channel from 2 to 83 to bring you their movies, sports and special events just like an ordinary pair of “rabbit ears.” No cable box or special attachments needed! Enhances color and clarity, helps pull in weak signals. Compatible with all TVs from 3-inch portables to giant 7-footers. Sits on any TV top in less than 4 linear inches of space! Guaranteed not to utilize, replicate, transmit or interfere with any satellite signal. Complies with all applicable federal regulations. Not technical razzle-dazzle but the sheer aesthetic superiority of its elegant parabolic design make the GFX-100 a marketing breakthrough!

It worked “like ordinary rabbit ears” because it was ordinary rabbit ears. The little dish thingy and the two knobs were just inoperative decorations on an ordinary TV antenna whose technology had been unchanged for decades.

In a remarkable example of candor—or maybe cockiness—they admit, “Not technical razzle-dazzle but the sheer aesthetic superiority of its elegant parabolic design make the GFX-100 a marketing breakthrough!” Translation: there’s nothing interesting here, but the novel appearance means we’ll sell a boatload of these things! It was like male enhancement pills labeled “guaranteed placebo.”

Sound like Anyone we know?

And that brings to mind our favorite religion. Christianity is also just marketing. There’s nothing there, just promises.

What would Christianity look like if it were pressed into this mold? Maybe something like this.

Christianity marketing scam

But perhaps you’ve got some better lines? Share them in the comments.

The difference between education and indoctrination:
it’s whether the person at the front of the room
invites questions from the audience.
—  Richard S. Russell

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 6/16/14.)

Thanks to Dan Bornstein for preserving this ad.

Image via Petras Gagilas, CC license

"Conflation is the biggest tool in the apologists box. It is something those of us ..."

The Modal Ontological Argument? It Needs ..."
"The ontological "proof" merely straps perfection to existence. If God is not existent, God then ..."

The Modal Ontological Argument? It Needs ..."
"The argument is valid (the formal logic is correct), and premise 1 seems easy to ..."

The Modal Ontological Argument? It Needs ..."
"This reminded me of Galadriel: ALL SHALL LOVE ME AND DESPAIR!https://www.youtube.com/wat..."

The Modal Ontological Argument? It Needs ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Glad2BGodless

    Can we be sued for infringement of balderdash?

    • Raging Bee

      Talk to Baldur about that.

    • Yipes–I never thought of that. I may have to lay low, especially if, as Raging Bee suggests, it’s Baldur who’s offended.

      • Kodie

        Aw, who cares!

  • JustinL

    “Tired of those pesky feelings of guilt? With our patented Forgiveness™ you never have to take responsibility for anything ever again!”

    • “Certain exclusions apply. See dealer for details”

  • Bob Jase

    That ad sounds so Rosicrucian.

  • epicurus

    Reminds me of those polaris submarines advertised for 10 dollars in the back of comic books that two people could fit in. I wanted one sooooo bad and even saved my allowance forever but in the end my mom wouldn’t let me order it because she knew it was bogus and a ripoff made of cardboard or something.

  • Tony D’Arcy

    Good one Bob ! It reminds me of the advert placed in various papers about the same time for

    ” A biologically friendly fly killer. No harmful chemicals, 100% effective if used properly, no need for batteries or electricity, and can be re-used many times. YOURS FOR THE SPECIAL PRICE OF £10 including postage.”

    Of course what arrived in the post was an old newspaper and a couple of rubber bands. No false claims made !

  • whatwhat

    “Offend the brilliant! With one claim that one has achieved “bliss” in Christ, watch those around scoff with rabid disgust of your marginal mind! As religions are measured “responsibly” by years of existence and preferably the level of scholarly insight needed for advancement to reach higher levels of “deep knowledge”, lines of human rejection are preferred to know its real as the best and brightest are who God really loves….(us humans love them too!). Christianity will baffle those spending their years on earth marginalizing their fellow men or rising above them to the highest levels of self-aggrandizing glory. Hinduism!?…3 million gods cant be wrong! Existentialism! Just the name brings importance to humanism! The worship of humans? Truly a species of consistent glory! (way better than God frankly!!) Your a wiccan witch? Great, Brilliant! You worship “The Voice”!? Whoo Hoo! You believe in a New age word-less life force and sit in your own aura? Fantastic! You believe God spoke and showed himself to humans in books historical documents and then explained the future events through prophets at perfect accuracy as captured in the Bible? GROUNDLESS, BASELESS INSANITY!!!!!!! How dare you tell other humans they will not just turn to dirt….”

  • Halbe

    “Are you longing to hear the people you don’t like scream in agony for ever and ever, while you’re enjoying the eternal barbecue? Then look no further and join Team Jesus! (Note: icky gayz, people from shithole countries and cowards that don’t own guns are not welcome.)”

  • Drat

    “The difference between education and indoctrination:
    it’s whether the person at the front of the room
    invites questions from the audience.”
    — Richard S. Russell

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/04ee2809dcdc2c974153116026a54d3f96d2808fc2c3989f145bdc48c7066bd0.jpg

  • Nicholas

    Boy, you summed up Christianity perfectly … from the perspective of a 10-year old perhaps. Being Greek Orthodox and having visited Holy Sites in various parts of Greece during my many trips there (I, however live in Canada), I laugh at your rather comical, highly simpleton and dismissive analysis. Using the legal standard of “balance of probabilities”, I would say yourself, and those chiming in with similar sarcastic opinions are “probably” (cue up the Robert Deniro skit on Saturday Night Live … with Deniro character throwing out his “just a little bit” line) wrong. No one is asking you, and no one is ESPECIALLY forcing you to partake in the faith (that is left to proselytes and worst found in extreme forms of other religions; we know who they are). Maybe you will be like so many others that one day saw the light (pun seriously intended), but for now, keep preaching to your band of merry buffoons (I was honestly trying to come up with another adjective, but sometimes you have to go with what is a propos).

    • OK–so no Christmas card from Nicholas next year. Noted.

      But if you want to expand on this, go ahead. If your point is that Christianity is well grounded by evidence or that God’s existence is knowable by a certain argument, fill us in. I’ve searched for years, and new Christian arguments continue to dig the hole deeper.

    • RichardSRussell

      you summed up Christianity perfectly … from the perspective of a 10-year old perhaps.

      Which is exactly the perspective that most of the target audience has, which is why the flim-flam technique Bob has highlighted here is so effective with them.

      • Greg G.

        How many Bible scholars were not believers already by age 10?

        • sandy

          Let me guess…none? An ole saying from a catholic priest is, “give me a child for 5 years and will give you a catholic for life”. Sad, but this holds true to this day and forever.

        • Joe

          Nowadays it’s more like “I will scar them mentally for life”

    • Glad2BGodless

      It’s bad form to use a noun for an adjective. It makes you look like a simplistic.

      • Greg G.

        Never verb your nouns, either.

    • Joe

      I took absolutely nothing out of that post. It is devoid of any substance and was a complete waste of time even reading it.

      • Doubting Thomas

        To summarize:
        “I don’t believe in that nonsense. The nonsense I believe in is more sophisticated and nuanced than that.”

    • Kodie

      Plenty of people are trying to force me to pretend to behave as though I share their superstition, whether or not I do authentically, that doesn’t seem to matter that much, as long as I keep my thoughts to myself, while they can express their childish fantasies as though they are real, all they wish – that’s the issue. You can laugh all you want, but you didn’t say anything that would support your beliefs in a magical fictional character.

      • Nicholas

        Hi Kodie:
        First, as a journalism graduate and possessing an acute social conscience, I spend most of my time (besides on work) informing people, where their comments range from the puzzling to the downright shocking or stupid, in the areas of politics, social issues, etc. Having been born and raised in Quebec, NO SHORTAGE OF PRACTICE. Refer simply to our two referendum campaigns (1980 and 1995) and our at times ABSURD LANGUAGE LAWS, making news across the world!
        Second, if you want see a sample of the type of material I produce, go on public e-mail sites (Sean Hannity from FOX News; some public e-mails also posted on sites of other FOX show hosts as well) and see examples of my clarifying the record; “New on Trump TV”; “Sean’s Best AESOP Fables Book?” “Watergate a 3rd rate burglary”, etc.
        Third, I do not have ANY INTENTION (cause do not have the time) in opening up another debate-discussion front with respect to religion. I have my beliefs; VERY HAPPY that can now attend Church every Sunday after 18 years of organized hockey (most game on Sundays). I know what I have PERSONALLY SEEN, and have spoken to Priests, Bishops, etc. with respect to the religion. If you want a better authority, SPEAK TO THEM.
        Fourth. I will, however, later this week reply to Bob, in terms of what I have seen, with end point being … We all remember OJ Simpson, I grew up watching him play in NFL, and recalling also his famous Hertz car rental commercials and popular movies, never imagining what he would do later on. When looking at that trial, and his claim of innocence, I would have told OJ: “After the first piece of evidence against you, maybe a coincidence. But after the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th, probably something there!”
        If Christianity is the scam Bob claims, WOW! Incredibly elaborate and eventful!

        Finally: I think the Bob remarks can best be summed up (from my perspective and that of many others) with the reply from Richard Russell to me: See below.

        Sincerely,

        Nick

        RichardSRussell

        (I had written as a start, which Richard quoted) … you summed up Christianity perfectly … from the perspective of a 10-year old perhaps.

        Richard then replied: “Which is exactly the perspective that most of the target audience has, which is why the flim-flam technique Bob has highlighted here is so effective with them.”

        12:39 a.m., Saturday Jan. 27 | Other comments by RichardSRussell

        • Kodie

          I don’t care how happy you are with your beliefs, or how little interest you have in debating. Nobody here went to go find you and bring you here to post your opinion, of which I am only responding to the part where you claim no one is forcing me to partake in their faith, which is false. The rest of your rant against atheists sounds like a drooling, meandering, incoherent slob, and you’re a Christian, so that matches. You need to get your shit together – we have the right to exist and to not fall for the tricks and traps of theism. All the “evidence” you think you have amounts to ridiculousness. If you don’t care that I’m an atheist, not interested in arguing, and secure in your beliefs, your job here is done, entirely. You spoke your piece, now get on with your life OR prepare to be challenged. (I mean, you already sound deranged, so…).

          Journalism graduate, my ass. How can you get a degree from such shitty writing? You can’t get to a point or construct a coherent paragraph. What clown college rolled out a fresh shit ticket with your name in curly letters on it?

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I love when people come through here and claim to be amazing, excellent lawyers (Why do so many of them claim to be lawyers? If they are lawyers, I pray to the nonexistent gods that I never, ever, ever get represented by one of these bozos for anything, ever.), or that they have other degrees that suggest they should have at least very basic communication skills, when they can’t manage to express a single coherent thought. It’s stunning to see people exemplify the Dunning-Kruger effect this way.

        • Technically, it’s Klown Kollege, but no biggie.

        • Kodie

          I think that is for actual clowns, a noble profession of entertaining people (not scaring the bejesus out of them).

        • My son as a little kid wasn’t keen on clowns, and not just this kind.

          http://www.scaryforkids.com/pics/clown-stories.jpg

        • Kodie

          I don’t know how to say I’m not really afraid of clowns, never was, don’t get it. I get the “evil clown” kind of meme, but generally, I don’t get the afraid of clowns thing. I get that you can’t really see their face, I get the serial killers who dressed like clowns so ruined clowns for everyone, I guess. But generally, not really scary to me.

        • JP415

          Your son is absolutely right: All clowns are creepy — even the “normal” ones.

        • Nicholas

          ABSOLUTE WOW! Thank you for proving some points I have made in the past. But first, laughing (quite hard) at your writing criticisms, given I worked in the journalism field, and then at a major publishing company for 23 years (handling ALL their tax and legal journals, and the flagship loose-leaf service!). “A few people” would have a differing opinion to what you wrote.

          Also, I am not ranting against atheists; have your beliefs. DOES NOT CONCERN ME. Just try and not make these offhand “Christianity is a scam” remarks. Keep those to your inner circle! But here are my “key points” for yourself.

          (1) This is exactly why I DID NOT want to get into another realm of debates. I have enough of a history in the province I live in, of seemingly crossing paths with every buffoon there is. I should send you copies of the many published articles I have had over the years (rebutting stupidities … not that different like what you put forward above). Also, you sadly, fit the “buffoon” bill. THANKFULLY, I can see that Bob does not reply in the manner you do. I will have my civil reply to him and be done with it.

          (2) You are, again sadly, more proof of the type of lives I have seen too many people that are atheist live (more coincidences I guess!!!!). UNHAPPY, BITTER, ANGRY. I don’t need to get any “shit together.” How about you never reply here again, and let me continue, INTER ALIA, with my quite happy connection with God; my unbelievable friends (the hockey buddies been together with since elementary school!); my annual enjoyable trips to Greece, my basically annual trips to Indianapolis (since 2007 when they finally won a Super Bowl – myself having followed the team since 1976), etc. etc. etc.

          (3) You also remind me of the blustery type of IDIOTS that we would, at times, come across when playing hockey in our regular top-level league, as well as in provincial tournaments, and in Canadian National championships (after having won the provincials and representing Quebec at the Nationals). I will just reply with these words, but it does make me recall the “different” approach that was utilized by our less patient guys (several of them possessing black belts!) when things like the above was said (and in such an obnoxious, provocative manner). They did not try and reason with MORONS like yourself, as I have done. And once again, I can SEE THE LOGIC BEHIND THAT!

        • Kodie

          Geez, who hurt you? You sound like an unhinged sort of guy, so I will probably just ignore you anyway.

        • Nicholas

          Kodie:

          You are not doing a good job of ignoring me! Two more replies!!!

          Just to know, as to “who brought me here”, I ONLY replied when I saw Bob’s post on the “Christianity” site! I think that kind of material is better suited perhaps for the “Pagan post” or “Atheist almanac”, etc. sites. My issue after your query was with the site.

          Also, 2,000 years of DOCUMENTATION and other things seen by so many, and you guys ask to be challenged; ask for DEBATE! Do that amongst yourselves. Makes more sense, no? Are you going to change ANY (even one) Christian’s mind with your posts and snide remarks.

          Loved the Brit chiming in with: “You mean Temple of Zeus, Athena” as to supposedly the Holy sites in Greece I was referring to. Replied: “Yeah, that is it. And by the way, you might want to return the stolen Parthenon Marbles. The ‘safekeeping excuse’ as funny as your reply.”

          Any ideas as to questions I should ask the former First Lady, Michelle Obama, when she comes to our fair city next week, for the article I will be preparing? You are the literal and all else genius.

          But here is some good news. In our e-mail group with the hockey buddies and other friends as well as family, where we usually talk sports and politics, had to note your obnoxious, albeit laughable, reply. The decision was UNANIMOUS. You will not have to wait for the usual 5-year eligibility period (as exists for sports Hall of Fames) to make the “Lunatic Atheist Hall of Fame.” You get that very rare exemption, where you get immediate admittance. Congrats from all of us!

          As noted, I will reply civilly, as I did to yourself in the first post, to Bob later this week. Got a feeling will not see any remarks like your own!

    • epeeist

      Being Greek Orthodox and having visited Holy Sites in various parts of Greec

      You mean like the temple of Athena, or that to Zeus, or Apollo.

      • epeeist

        Oh and just as a matter of interest there is a programme of Ancient Greek music on the BBC. Whether those outside the UK can get it I don’t know.

        • Susan

          Whether those outside the UK can get it I don’t know

          I can. I assume Greg can too.

          Thank you.

        • Greg G.

          I’m listening to it in Vinh Long, Vietnam.

          It says it can only be downloaded in the UK, and that this program is available for 28 days, so you people in the future later than the end of February 2018, you are too late, which makes the present better than the future.

        • epeeist

          Thank you.

          No problem.

          This was a revelation to me, I was aware of the Skolion of Seikilos but not the rest of the music.

        • MR

          I have the option to listen for 30 days (US), but no download. I’ve only listened to the first 10 minutes on the way in to work (I’ll listen to the rest later) but, related to our other thread on finding purpose in life, I was delighted to hear of the excitement of the Saphosists upon the newest discovery of one of her poems. Indeed, purpose can be found in many things! Even more I was amused that there are enough people in the world to warrant the term Saphosist. I love the way it sounds, particularly the plural: Saphosists. It is my goal today, my purpose, if you will, to spread awareness of this fine term.

        • Greg G.

          Good luck working the word into a conversation.

      • epicurus

        I tried to find the site of Plato’s academy in suburban Athens sprawl but got hoplessly lost on foot and no google maps (1994).

        • TheMountainHumanist

          To paraphrase Bonnie Tyler… I need a Gyro

      • Nicholas

        Yeah, that exactly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! By the way, you may want to return the STOLEN Marbles from the Parthenon. That safekeeping excuse as funny as your above reply.

    • TheMountainHumanist

      I’m not quite tracking as to how seeing sites in Greece translates to anything to do with the article??????

  • NWaff

    Love it when people deconstruct Christianity into a cartoon caricature and are all proud of themselves because they knocked down Scooby-doo.
    I encourage reading this piece for a good laugh.

    • You and Nicholas seem to have a common view of the world, but you (like Nicholas) have also given us nothing but derision. So how should we see things? Give us the evidence and arguments. You’ve got an audience of atheists, so give us a defense for the hope within you.

    • Michael Neville

      Ah yes, the old complaint: “You’re not respecting something that I hold dear.” Perhaps if you gave us some reason to respect Christianity we’d have a better opinion of it. Just remember that most of us were Christians of various flavors so we do have a good idea of what Christianity is about.

    • Rudy R

      Well, when Christians stop tripping all over themselves from worshipping at the altar of Trump, you’ll starting climbing back out of that immoral hole you all dug yourselves into and won’t be laughed at so much.

    • Kodie

      Love it when Christians sound like cartoons complain about us making them sound like that.

    • Joe

      Love it when people deconstruct Christianity into a cartoon caricature and are all proud of themselves because they knocked down Scooby-doo.

      Christianity is more like Old Mr Johnston wearing a monster mask, rather than Scooby Doo.

      I encourage people to ignore your post altogether, completely lacking in substance as it is.

      • TheMountainHumanist

        And Jesus would have gotten away with it too if not for dem meddling kids.

  • sandy

    The difference between education and indoctrination:

    it’s whether the person at the front of the room

    invites questions from the audience.

    — Richard S. Russell

    What 5 year old asks questions at Sunday school? One of my best friends is 6 foot 8 and teaches Sunday school. What kind of influence do you think he has on kids? Sunday school is my biggest beef in this whole religious debate and fakery of christianity. End Sunday school and we are on the right to ending this charade.

    • Rudy R

      Again, it’s all in the marketing. It’s not Sunday school, but Christian indoctrination school. How cool was it that Noah built a boat to save a bunch of wonderful animals from the great flood! Nowhere in that rendition was God sentencing all those thousands of people to death by drowning.

      • epeeist

        Nowhere in that rendition was God sentencing all those thousands of people to death by drowning.

        The estimate of the human population for the time of the supposed flood is about twenty million, it was a global flood remember.

    • I did ask questions (well, not at 5), but they had no good answers.

      • Glad2BGodless

        Yeah, this was me, too.

    • TheMountainHumanist

      I’m not a huge fan of the Big Bang Theory Shared Universe but the new show Young Sheldon has a nice clip of young Sheldon eviscerating the reverend’s sermon during church.

      • sandy

        Yes I saw that which was a pretty good take down by young Sheldon. Another episode had young Sheldon investigate religion, read the Bible etc. and his conclusion was to start his own religion (they could have had him ripping religion apart but held back imo). Young Sheldon is smarter than we think!

        • TheMountainHumanist

          “Out of the mouths of babes…”

  • RichardSRussell

    And the trick with really effective marketing is to remain relentlessly enthusiastic and upbeat and never let them see you sweat. Here’s an example:

    Hurry, hurry, hurry! The framistans are going fast, fast, fast!!!

    Um, what’s a framistan?

    Unbelievably good bargains! We’ll probably be out of framistans by tomoro!

    I don’t know why I’d ever need a framistan.

    See? Everybody’s talking about how much they need framistans.

    Never even heard of ‘em before just now.

    We’re the experts! We know how to tap into the hidden avenues to these fabulous secret treasures.

    Not sure I can spare the time.

    Chance of a lifetime. Anyone who misses the boat today will regret it for the rest of their lives.

    Money’s kinda tight right now.

    Don’t think of it as a cost, it’s an investment. Whatever you can scrape together will double in a year.

    Framistans, you say?

    Yeah, but say it loud and proud: FRAMISTANS!! Believe me, you’ll thank me forever.

    • Susan

      I don’t know why I’d ever need a framistan.

      But… but… but….

      Not wanting and making regular payments on a framistan (to be delivered in the future, S&H may apply), there is nothing but nihilism.

      I may as well kill myself, taking down everything in my path before I do, if I don’t order one of your framistans. .

      you’ll thank me forever.

      When I’m dead, I’ll be eternally grateful (literally) that you told me to invest in a framistan.

      Order while supplies last.

      • Kevin K

        Everything must go!!

    • Greg G.

      I don’t know why I’d ever need a framistan.

      That’s what I was saying about cell phones about 20 years ago. Now I can’t live without it.

      I’m ready to get a framistan, sight unseen. I hope Spell Check doesn’t order Afghanistan.

      • Kodie

        Or Framingham.

      • TheMountainHumanist

        I do need a Thneed.

    • And at this point, I’m curious to see a photo!

    • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

      Meh. I have it on good authority that you’re only trying to push the old model of framistans so cheaply because there’s a new model coming out in March. I’ll wait to see if the new framistan has the features I’ve been waiting for.

    • Kodie

      You’re missing some of the essentials –

      How empty people feel when they don’t have a framistan, how ugly, old, tired, unpopular. Everyone else has one and you’re going to be left behind. People who have framistans think you’re a loser who doesn’t belong, and you want to belong, don’t you? I mean the bible says “a fool says in their heart there is no god”, oh ok, I don’t want to be a fool, so I guess I’m on board!

      • Greg G.

        Don’t forget the attractive female admiring the guy with a framistan.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Or in Shelbyville….they marry their attractive cousins..because..they’re so attractive.

  • sandy

    If you are a christian (or any other religion) you were either indoctrinated as a child, or you are totally gullible, or a con man…take your pick or defend your position.

    • Jim Dailey

      https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/blog/why-atheists-change-their-mind-8-common-factors/4729/

      Above is an article which describes the conversions of several articulate and celebrated atheists to Christianity.

      I do not think they meet any of your criteria.

      • epeeist

        Above is an article which describes the conversions of several articulate and celebrated atheists to Christianity

        That some atheists become religious is hardly a surprise, the question is how many go this way and how many of the religious become non-religious. Here in the UK some 44% of those brought up within the Church of England become non-religious while 32% of Catholics do so. These compare with some 5% of those brought up without religion who become religious (Source).

        • Jim Dailey

          Well, hopefully I demonstrated that not all Christians are victims of “indoctrination”, are “con-men”, or are “totally gullible”.

          I tend to agree that the atheist message is easier to understand, and the atheist lifestyle is easier to practice.

          Congratulations on the big numbers. Just remember that 50% of doctors graduated in the bottom half of their class.

        • epeeist

          Well, hopefully I demonstrated that not all Christians are victims of
          “indoctrination”, are “con-men”, or are “totally gullible”.

          But who was claiming that all Christians could be placed in one or more of the above categories?

          I tend to agree that the atheist message is easier to understand

          So what message is that?

          the atheist lifestyle is easier to practice

          There is an atheist lifestyle? All these years that I have been an atheist and I never knew that. Please enlighten me, I am obviously missing out.

          Just remember that 50% of doctors graduated in the bottom half of their class.

          The same would be true of theologians of course, but I am at a loss as to why this is any way relevant.

        • Jim Dailey

          1. Sandy. The initial commenter.

          2 and 3 – what message? What lifestyle? As I understand it, the message and lifestyle are both completely subjective and can be constantly revised based on whatever is expedient.

          The statistics quote was in response to epeeist. I was being jocular.

        • Joe

          2 and 3 – what message? What lifestyle? As I understand it, the message and lifestyle are both completely subjective and can be constantly revised based on whatever is expedient.

          Just like any lifestyle then?

        • epeeist

          Just like any lifestyle then?

          With the advantage of sleeping in on Sunday morning and not having to lie about going to church.

        • Joe

          Or lie about keeping to any of the other doctrines.

        • “Atheist” means “someone who answers ‘no’ to ‘Do you have a god belief?'”

          That’s it. No lifestyle, and not even a worldview.

        • Kodie

          I really don’t understand “worldview”. When Christians talk about having a worldview, it’s as though every experience and event we witness has to shoehorn into some predetermined way of looking at things. I have things like political preferences, social preferences, etc., but I don’t feel like that’s a worldview. I might have biases, but I don’t feel like I have to interpret anything through a lens so it is narrated by my worldview. If something that seemed like god came into view, I wouldn’t rationalize it away. I mean, I think by being an atheist, I would be careful and skeptical, but is that a worldview? These atheist-haters think we just reject anything, because the evidence is so compelling but doesn’t fit into our “worldview”. Anything I see fits into my worldview… I guess. How it will be interpreted really depends on what it is. With apologies to David Letterman, “Is This Anything?” That’s how I view the world. That would be the extent of my “worldview”.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UdLBwqmus4

          See also: Will it Float?
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdBkVRjEr4Y

        • For me, the collection of opinions you list wouldn’t be a worldview. Only if you can collect them with a simple umbrella term (Christianity, naturalism) does it become a worldview. “Christianity” is a standard concept that can be glasses that you put on to see the world through, but an arbitrary collection of opinions (“Let’s see—I’m OK with abortion, I’m pro SSM, I’m kind of anti-gun but I don’t know if I want them banned . . .”) wouldn’t be.

          But I see your point—the term “worldview” may be confusing. I wasn’t confused before, but I’m getting there.

        • MR

          I’ve always seen “worldview” as a Christian term to divide the world between the us and thems. A way to dismiss ‘others’ without acknowledging that most people’s world views are largely similar except in certain narrow beliefs that they like to divide us on.

        • Susan

          Ringo has become more interested in tone trolling and has dropped his requests for evidence since he got some.

          It’s a way to pretend that their version of my beloved Immaterial Snowflake Fairies are equally viable. Equally defended. That there are only two possibilities separated by a “worldview”.

          most people’s world views are largely similar

          Bombs, surgical procedures, antibiotics bridges and air travel work the same, no matter what you believe.

          narrow beliefs they like to divide us on

          And the burden is always ours.

          =====

          Edit (3 minutes later): To disprove the existence of their version of an immaterial being that they never support

        • Kodie

          I think of it as another word they use instead of religion to try to make it sound legitimate and rational. The Christian “worldview” is a way of seeing everything according to how Christianity dictates it is – objective morality, anti-science, mysterious reasons, etc. Such as, when you believe in god, these things just become obvious when you’re looking at the world. When they say “atheist worldview”, it sounds like they are really saying atheism is a religion we adopt, just like how they think we have to agree with all the other atheists like they are our leaders, leading the worldview that we must follow. Some atheists say ridiculous things, and some become theists for whatever reason, or something like Darwinism – it’s goofy. I don’t accept science because I’m an atheist, I just think that’s a goofy way of thinking about it. The world tells me what it is. I live in reality. I have opinions about what I see, and I guess some other opinions are contingent, but I don’t understand what’s a “worldview” about that, as though I have adopted a particular scheme of things. “Worldview” sounds like everything has to fit inside of a framework that I decide, something kind of black and white, rigid. Maybe I’m not communicating this well.

        • MR

          I think you’re spot on. It’s black and white, but it’s also right and wrong. A “Christian” worldview is right by default. You and I might think the term “worldview” to be more nuanced. There are ways of looking at the world that are neither wrong nor right, that can add depth and understanding or can cloud our understanding of the world. You can view the world through your culture, your country, from our modern scientific understanding, from the viewpoint of a woman, a minority, a Republican, etc., etc., etc. Their use of the term is rigid, like you say. They don’t use the term to say there are different ways to look at the world, they use the term to say, “Their way of looking at the world is wrong. They are of this world. We are of God.”

        • epeeist

          I’ve always seen “worldview” as a Christian term

          If it is then it is one they have appropriated from elsewhere, because I am a wordy bastard I tend to use the term “Weltanschauung”.

        • MR

          I’ve no doubt it’s been appropriated, but for certain Christian circles this is pure dog whistle and fits in nicely with exhortation to be “not of this world.”

        • TheMountainHumanist

          We all pretty much share a similar worldview…..”Try not to be a dick and try not to harm others. And bathe often…”

        • Herald Newman

          The Christian “worldview” is simply a view that accepts that magic happens. Either the magic is from the devil (or demons), which is what all other religions see when they make miracle claims, or it’s magic from Jesus, which is what Christians see.

          Magical thinking pervades the minds of theists, and leads them to all kinds of wacky conclusions.

        • Kodie

          So would my “atheist worldview” be like, assuming everything happens for natural and statistical reasons and isn’t all about me and my imaginary relationship with the “author” of an epic tale that starts with humans and ends with me?

          I mean, the Christian worldview seems to position their life in the center of a story, where everything that happens has something to do with them? I mean, I would call a worldview an illusion. They have some sort of index to find a hidden meaning. When I hear them call it a worldview, I imagine them to like, say, everything in their refrigerator tastes like onions because there were onions in there, and saying every food outside of their refrigerator tastes like onions, even if they order ice cream at a dessert shop, they will insist it has an oniony flavor to it, because that’s their assumption. Evidence of tasting it doesn’t change their mind. Another religion may always brush their teeth before every meal, so they forbid certain foods like orange juice. So when they say “atheist worldview” sounds like another way to distort reality to them, to see the world like it isn’t, because we reject or hate god, see everything like they would see things – no hope, no meaning, drugs to do, fornicatin’ everything and anyone, sucked into scientismistic conspiracies against religions, fighting against a god we don’t even believe in, pointless!

          So when I hear them try to use “worldview” as a legitimate thing, they mean religion, they mean scheme, framework, they want to know why there’s an hurricane or earthquake, and it has to snap to the nearest Christian line – mysterious reasons, etc. I imagine we all have some shortcuts and prejudices, but I think they are also just trying to say “atheism is a religion” by calling it a worldview, by saying they have a relationship with god, by saying they were in the dark and now they see the light, when they imagine they see colors that we don’t but they find difficult to describe, when they try to rescue us on the boat where they hallucinate some kind of hazard, but ignore actual hazards, I just don’t think that word is anything but another marketing buzzword.

        • Herald Newman

          Well, there is no “atheist worldview”. There are worldviews compatible with atheism, but there simply cannot be an atheist worldview. For that matter there is no theist worldview either, since theism only says that you believe in god(s).

          When most Christians talk about a “worldview”, they’re really talking about the set of assumptions that they start with when they try to make sense of the world. For many fundamentalists, they assume that the world is 6000 years old, and that the Bible is an accurate history book. They also assume that there is something called the “supernatural” and that it has the ability to influence our world in strange ways, even though the concept is piss-poorly defined. I think that the vast majority of the assumptions they hold are unjustified, and because of that they end up reaching strange conclusion, all while weaving an intricate just-so story.

          The reality is, we all start with some assumptions because we have to. We cannot make an sense of our experience without some basal assumptions. Those assumptions, however, need to be limited, and need to be well justified to the point of being self-evident.

        • TheNuszAbides

          and need to be well justified to the point of being self-evident.

          one of the most interminable struggles I see is merely raising the bar on what passes for “well justified”.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I mean, I would call a worldview an illusion.

          apologies for the months-late meta-blast, but this is wrapped up into one infinite ball of deepity with

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_(religion)

          I just don’t think that word is anything but another marketing buzzword.

          spot on, it just gives warmth for the smug pseudointellect. the professional apologists profit from it while the stray comment-box-abuser (and whoever MR was dealing with) regurgitates it.

        • Michael Neville

          You’re right. Some Christians are delusional, some suffer from wishful thinking, some have succumbed to emotional appeals, and the vast majority have never given their beliefs any real thought. Tell us, Jim, why do you believe in your particular god? Did you make a logical decision to believe? If so, what was the rationale behind that decision? Or does believing in your god make you feel good? Or is it that you were brought up as a Christian from infancy and it’s something you’ve always done?

          Just remember that 50% of doctors graduated in the bottom half of their class.

          Just remember that 50% of all Christians have below average intelligence.

        • epeeist

          Just remember that 50% of all Christians have below average intelligence.

          Not necessarily true, certainly 50% of all Christians will have an intelligence level that is below the average for Christians though. I have seen evidence that religiosity is correlated with lower intelligence levels, but the correlation is weak and doesn’t discount other facts, such as the type and quality of education.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t know if you’d care to weigh in over here.

          http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/?m=0

        • Doubting Thomas

          So is that a place set up just to comment on the blog post at Strange Notions?

        • Pofarmer

          Yep. After a bunch of commenters got banned.

        • Joe

          I was never part of the whole “strange notions” phenomenon, so I checked that link out.

          That “Jim the Scott” is quite a character, isn’t he?

        • Pofarmer

          That’s one way to put it.

        • Pofarmer

          So, if you read through that comment section with Jim the Scoot, what is your takeaway?

        • Joe

          He’s an arrogant, rude asshole, which is sadly closer to the norm than the exception for theistic commentors.

          The Thomists were both obviously wrong, as they really had no ground to stand on. Modern science has advanced way beyond the days of Aquinas, and Fesser’s attempts to patch it up fail, IMO. They just can’t abandon their pre-conceived ideas though.

        • Pofarmer

          There are a few modern philosophers trying to deal with the idea of essences and so on, but it’s rather hard to say if it’s going to amount to anything . I’ve not seen any of them try to argue causation. Feser etal seem determined to drive their peg into any available hole, no matter what the shape. When that fails they resort to bile.

        • Joe

          Essences go away if you adopt nominalsim as a way of viewing objects. It’s certainly closer to what I subscribe to: Things are just a collection of properties that we as a society assign a label to.

          I had this argument with another Thomist asshole, Ameribear, who claimed things had essences. I asked what happens if you see a cat, which would have a “cat-essence”, then discover it was an elaborate animatronic. Would it still have a cat essence? Would it simultaneously have cat and robot essence? Did it change essence upon discovery, faster than light, which is impossible?

        • Doubting Thomas

          Of course the atheists got banned. Always remember, apologetics is by believers for believers. Pointing out how ridiculous the whole endeavor is kinda ruins the show and scares off the marks.

        • Michael Neville

          I was a regular at Strange Notions until I got banned for arguing that the Catholic Church cannot be a moral authority if bishops are supporting and protecting child raping clergy. That was a month or so before the Great Purge.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, that’s been going on pretty much since the Church’s inception. But, how can an organization claim moral authority who has wiped out whole groups of people for having a slightly different strain of belief? How can an organization claim moral authority when it gives Sainthood to individuals who killed people in the name of their religion, and called it good? The people who were killed simply had slightly different beliefs, as well. The whole thing is rancid, if you ask me.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Too strange of a notion?

        • epeeist

          Got there too late I am afraid.

          He is right in one way, there is a metaphysical basis to science but just because this is so and just because there happens to be a thing called “AT metaphysics” it does not follow that this is the basis for science.

          As it is I think he was bullshitting and simply insulting to obscure the fact that he had nothing.

        • Pofarmer

          As it is I think he was bullshitting and simply insulting to obscure the fact that he had nothing.

          Yeah, I thought that became pretty clear, as well. I can agree that there are some metaphysical concepts that undergird science, but that doesn’t make his particular brand of woo correct. But they equivocate on the definition of “metaphysical.” They want to say that there are metaphysics that essentially control the physics, but we can’t test them because they’re metaphysical and arrived at by reason. Well, I feel completely justified in saying that if you just said we can’t test them in principle, then I see no reason to believe them. Full stop. That’s it.

        • epeeist

          Yes, they seem to think that there is only Aristotelian/Thomist metaphysics. I think it would be interesting to get into discussion of, say, some aspects of Peter van Imwagen’s book Metaphysics or the underlying metaphysical assumptions for Bell’s inequalities and how this would be formulated in A/T terminology.

          One thing that Ameribear was singularly unable to do was to formulate a simple chemical reaction in A/T terms.

        • Pofarmer

          One thing that Ameribear was singularly unable to do was to formulate a simple chemical reaction in A/T terms.

          It’s not just Ameribear though is it? I mean A/T metaphysics as a whole seems to have a lot of problems with common scientific precepts. They don’t deal well with Probabilistic events, for instance, because then the causality becomes unclear. Which is a problem, because it certainly seems to me that most of modern science and understanding is based on probabilities. I’ve not read Feser dealing directly with that, and I doubt I’d learn much even if I did, frankly. He’d just throw up a bunch of obtuseness about how scientismists are ignoring metaphysics.

          Edit:

          One other thing. It seems like they are continually mistaking the map for the territory. “Well, you’re a reductionist materialist and philosophy has proven that view idiotic so you’re a rube.” Well, yeah, ALL philosophical viewpoints are ultimately wrong. They’re an attempt to describe us and the world around us, they aren’t us and the world around us. It’s just such a simplistic way of thinking as opposed to dealing with what, ya know, actually is. And if these metaphysical philosophers were actually teaching us new things and making discoveries and advancements it might be slightly easier to take them seriously.

        • Jim Dailey

          I was born and raised Catholic, Michael. I was encouraged to explore other faith systems as part of my education. I did, as much as was practicable.

          My belief in Catholicism is part experiential, part emotional, and part intellectual I am sure.

          But why am I Catholic? I assume you have read all the rational reasons for Catholicism, and found them lacking.

          So what do you really want?

        • Michael Neville

          I did more than read the “rational” reasons for Catholicism. I was raised as a Catholic and went to Catholic grade school, high school and college (if you’re wondering why an atheist went to a Catholic college, it’s because they offered me a scholarship).

          I’ve told this story before so the regulars can move on if they like. I was in 8th grade religion class and Br. Louis Meinhardt SM was pontificating on the Assumption of Mary. He ended his lecture by saying that the Assumption was a cornerstone of Catholicism. I raised my hand and asked why the Assumption was so important. Br. Louis went into a rage, declaring me a heretic and giving me six strokes with a rattan cane pour encourager les autres*. After school that day I went to the school library and looked up the Assumption in the Catholic Encyclopedia. There I read that in 451 the Byzantine Emperor, Marcian, ordered the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Juvenal, to send some relics of Mary to Constantinople. Juvenal couldn’t find any and told Marcian there weren’t any because Mary was bodily assumed to Heaven. Then the true miracle occurred: Marcian bought that song and dance. Flash forward almost exactly 1500 years. In 1950 Pope Pius XII declared ex cathedra the Assumption to be Catholic dogma and all Catholics were required to accept it. So an excuse became official Catholic doctrine.

          That was the first time I saw an important theological practice being done: Making it up. Over the next few years I examined Catholic teachings, then Christianity in general and then theism as a whole. None of it made sense. It was all made up, all based on absurdity, and none of it had any basis in logic and rational thought.

          So please explain to me how your beliefs have rational reasons because I haven’t seen any.

          *Note that I wasn’t questioning the doctrine, I was asking about its importance. I suspect that Br. Louis, who I consider to be one of the three worst teachers I’ve ever had, couldn’t answer my question and made it my fault that he couldn’t.

        • Jim Dailey

          Well our stories converge on some level. I also went to Catholic grammar, high school, and college. I paid full freight for college though, because it is a prestigious university, and I was lucky to get in.
          I also had a crazy Brother in high school, but he taught chemistry. He was also a lousy teacher, and would fly into rages after giving garbled explanations that no one understood. To this day, I avoid chemistry like the plague, and view anybody who likes it as somewhat odd. Further, when things go wrong (I work in pharma development, and believe me, plenty of things don’t go according to plan) I skeptically assume that no one really knows what is going on. So, I can empathize somewhat.
          But also in my high school, I had a hippy-dippy Brother who taught us how to find the “still, small voice” and it was a life altering experience.
          I have also found over time that my theological questions could be satisfactorily answered if I asked the right person. I was raised in a house that had a healthy respect for George Carlin and his comedy, so basically no questions were out of bounds.

          Not sure about the whole issue about the Assumption. Just reading your description though, I think your argument hinges on that “it was just an excuse.” However, if Mary did go bodily to heaven, it logically follows there would be no relics – no?

        • Michael Neville

          The whole issue of the Assumption was that I discovered, from an authoritative source, that Juvenal literally (and I’m not using that word incorrectly) made it up as in came up with a fiction, a make-believe, a LIE to explain to the guy with the torturers and executioners on his payroll why what was wanted couldn’t be done.

          Did Mary go bodily to Heaven? If you believe Juvenal and Pius XII then yes. If you look at the idea skeptically then no, it’s a silly idea. If I had been in Marcian’s place my reaction would have been: “Yeah right, Juvie, that’s a nice story. Now do what I told you to do and don’t make up nonsense about why you can’t.”

          I’ll respond to your “still, small voice” in another post.

          EDITED to fix grammar

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          “I was born and raised Catholic…”

          “I also went to Catholic grammar, high school, and college.”

          But no, you weren’t indoctrinated as a child at all. No sirree.

          How utterly improbable it was that you chose the correct religion of Catholicism from the myriad other options available to you, all of which I’m sure you researched quite thoroughly. I’m quite certain that had you been born in India to Hindu parents, and attended Hindu schools through college age, that you would have also chosen Catholicism. The fact that you were born and raised Catholic in a part of the world where Catholicism is common was entirely a coincidence, I’m sure.

          “But why am I Catholic?”

          I think the answer to that is pretty obvious to everyone here except you.

        • Michael Neville

          I had a hippy-dippy Brother who taught us how to find the “still, small voice” and it was a life altering experience.

          This is an emotional concept. I’m not doubting for an instant that it was meaningful to you however it’s not logical but emotional. It makes you feel good, which is good for you but isn’t compelling to me.

          I have also found over time that my theological questions could be satisfactorily answered if I asked the right person.

          So if you get the right indoctrination then your theological doubts are taken care of.

          My 10th grade religion teacher, Br. Urban, hated to see my hand go up because I’d want him to justify what he was lecturing about. My 11th grade religion teacher, Br. John, loved to see my hand go up because we’d get involved in detailed discussions on various topics. One of my present co-workers is a Hindu priest and I’m learning a fair bit about Hinduism from him. However none of my theological questions have ever been satisfactorily answered. In particular I’ve never had reasonable evidence for the existence of any gods given to me.

          I’ve also seen over the years that the usually self-appointed spokespeople for various gods have all sorts of conflicting ideas about what the inexplicable, unknowable, enigmatic gods want, desire and don’t like. Have you noticed that whenever someone claims to know the mind of God that God has exactly the same opinions, biases and prejudices as his mouthpiece? Do you think this is a coincidence?

        • Jim Dailey

          Sorry. I can’t continue the discussion. As interesting and enjoyable as it is, family and work are demanding attention.

          Peace out.

        • Michael Neville

          Come back when you can spend some time with us.

        • Kodie

          Tricking you into associating the “still, small voice” with Catholicism is the con-man you gullibly allowed to control your thoughts. Sorry if that burns. Mary’s bodily ascension to heaven doesn’t warrant a beating, and any religion that unhinges people who are in the business of educating children when they ask a question, I mean, the thing that turned you off chemistry – you’d want to question the thinking, wouldn’t you? That still small voice is bullshit, and the guy who taught chemistry that you hated knew all about that still small voice too, but now you are prejudiced against people who like chemistry.

          That’s weird, you know. Your teacher was fucked up, that doesn’t make chemistry uninteresting or less than useful. And you work in a chemistry field. You don’t make any sense.

          Anyway, I would question anyone trying to tell me my brain could listen carefully for the voices. This is a religion that makes people angry enough to beat children for asking an innocent, predictable question that happened to have a handy answer, which of course, you refer to at the end, which would have satisfied the question and avoided any beatings or further questions. Michael Neville was beaten so the class would know questioning any lessons would not get them the answer but the beating instead. So the lesson is “never question”. Never question even the hippy-dippy who tells you how to train your brain to associate your own thoughts with Jesus’s thoughts. That’s just a mistake. That’s an illusion, that’s a distraction, that’s how they con you.

        • Jim Dailey

          I think you have the two Brothers mixed up. One was the hippy-dippy guy, and one was the crazy chemistry guy.
          Well, go ahead and tell me I’m crazy for hearing the small still voice. But please try to consider that describing such a thing is somewhat like explaining the color Red to someone who has been blind from birth.

        • Kodie

          It’s just your own voice. It’s the power of suggestion.

        • BlackMamba44

          Hearing a “small, still voice” in your head isn’t what makes you sound crazy.

          It’s claiming that that “small, still voice” is anything other than your own voice. That makes you sound crazy.

        • Pofarmer

          I had a trained Catholic “Philosopher” metaphysician tell me once that he could just think about God and get this warm feeling all over, and that was proof of God. And I told him that it’s the same feeling you get when you think about Grandma, etc. He’d basically trained himself. He replied “No, no, no, this is totally different!” Motivated reasoning is a bitch.

        • Kevin K

          Red is a particular set of electromagnetic wavelengths.

          Simple!

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          But please try to consider that describing such a thing is somewhat like explaining the color Red to someone who has been blind from birth.

          I’ve seen this argument made many times before, but I’ve never seen a theist connect the critical dots. Namely, while it is impossible for a blind person to understand color, but it is a trivial task to demonstrated that the sighted do, in fact, receive information that the blind do not.

          So what is the analog to color’s testability? How we show that your still, small voice is giving you accurate information?

        • Kodie

          Rocky explains colors to blind Diana. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwkdDhmf6PE

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I was thinking about that scene when I posted my comment. ☺️

        • Pofarmer

          Tricking you into associating the “still, small voice” with Catholicism
          is the con-man you gullibly allowed to control your thought

          This. They teach you to fool yourself.

        • Pofarmer

          However, if Mary did go bodily to heaven, it logically follows there would be no relics – no?

          Which is the more rational argument. A) That Mary must have been assumed bodily into heaven or B) Mary was a character in a fictional story?

        • Greg G.

          It amazed me how many names of people in Mark correspond to people in Jewish Wars. The followers of Jesus tend to be the parent used to identify a participant in the second war. All of the historical figures in Mark are in JW. Pilate is mentioned only by one name in both whereas Luke includes “Pontius” which is found in Antiquities, which is heavily used by Luke. There are about three names I haven’t found.

          But there is a Mary with a nursing child who fled to Jerusalem. Josephus said the soldiers were so desperate for food, the would ransack living quarters multiple times per day. One day they found Mary’s baby half eaten. I’m wondering if that is where Mark came up with “This is my body.”

        • Pofarmer

          That’s an interesting note about Pilate, and Pontius Pilate, and Kinda disqusting on the baby. It’s always been said that there is a ton of symbolism in Mark. Maybe more than we know because we simply don’t know hardly any of the stories that would have been going around the area at the time.

        • Greg G.

          Josephus says the soldiers were disgusted by the half-eaten baby.

          I think some of Mark’s allusions are delivered with a wink. “Legio”, (Legion) with an emphasis on “many” using “polys”, is similar to the Greek word for “speak” (lego), so it references “Polyphemus”, the Cyclops, as the name means “famous” because it is literally “many speak of”. It’s roots are “poly-“, as in “polygon”, and “-phem”, as in “blasphemy”.

        • Joe

          However, if Mary did go bodily to heaven, it logically follows there would be no relics – no?

          Why, did she take a suitcase with her?

          What’s the excess baggage limit for Heaven Airways?

        • Susan

          Why, did she take a suitcase with her?

          The ascension of Mary

          It’s all starting to make sense now.

          https://weheartit.com/entry/276759044

        • Joe

          “A spoon full of sugar helps the bullshit go down”

        • Pofarmer

          Wouldn’t the rational argument here be maybe that Mary never existed? That she was, ya know, a character in a story?

        • Michael Neville

          That’s certainly much more likely than Mary being assumed into heaven.

        • Pofarmer

          But see, they don’t believe it because it’s likely, they believe it because it’s not. That takes Faith. It becomes a test.

        • Greg G.

          The more absurd your beliefs are, the stronger your faith is, and that is admirable to them.

        • Pofarmer

          Absolutely. It’s bizarro world.

        • Glad2BGodless

          You say your belief in Catholicism is part experiential, part emotional, and part intellectual.

          Are these three legs on a stool, each bearing equal weight?

        • Jim Dailey

          Not sure what you mean by weight. They work in concert though.

        • Glad2BGodless

          I mean is each of these three equally important in arriving at your confidence in the congruence of your Catholicism with reality? Does your experience count for as much as your emotions, and do your emotions count for as much as evidence and reason?

        • Kodie

          If 3 things work in concert, and one is destroyed by facts, what happens to the other two? Are they strong enough to preserver your beliefs?

        • Glad2BGodless

          Elsewhere you argue that your god is necessary so that you can have meaning in your life, but that is really putting the cart before the horse.

          Before you can argue that your god confers meaning, you must at a minimum show that your god actually exists.

        • Susan

          But why am I Catholic? I assume you have read all the rational reasons for Catholicism, and found them lacking.

          They are lacking. If you have one that isn’t, it would be useful.

          Also, if you could stop strawmanning atheists instead of presenting support for theistic claims.

          What do you want?

        • Michael Neville

          Jim, I should warn you: Susan has a question. She will not let up until you answer it to her satisfaction. She is well-mannered and polite but persistent. I strongly urge you to give thought to your reply and don’t try to fool her or blow off her question. She’ll keep asking until she gets a decent answer.

          EDIT She’ll stop being well-mannered and polite if she thinks you are trying to blow her off.

        • Susan

          Ouch.

        • Michael Neville

          Sorry, Susan. I just wanted Jim Dailey to know that you were a serious player in these discussions.

        • Pofarmer

          I certainly wouldn’t take that as in insult.

        • Susan

          I certainly wouldn’t take that as in insult.

          I was (half) kidding.

          Of course, from Michael that is a compliment.

          I can be tenacious because I always have this little hope that they are interested in real discussion.

          It’s not that I’m looking for an answer that would “satisfy ME”. It’s that I’m looking for answer that would satisfy them if their mechanic tried it.

          The double standard is glaring, but you know how catholics keep the fire burning.

          Anyway,Jim seems to have run away. I’m not surprised. His commenting history shows that he has contempt for atheists and thinks drivebys are the only strategy.

          He showed up to point at Lewis and Librescor (“Oh look. Smart people who bought the snake oil.”) To wonder how atheists can find “meaning” (without showing how Yahwehjesus provides any, nor that it exists) and several other “Look over there1 Squirrels!” strategies.

          Also, his abhorrent statement that atheists prayed for the massacre of innocent people, which is as appalling as it is insane.

          He doesn’t actually address anything. He just knows we’re the bad guys.

          But you are all too familiar with how the church does this stuff.

          He might or might not be back. But if he comes back, he won’t acknowledge a single response to his substantive comments.

          He’ll just start all over again.

        • Joe

          I haven’t heard a single, rational reason yet for Catholicism, so I can’t say if they’re lacking or not.

        • Susan

          I haven’t heard a single, rational reason yet for Catholicism

          Neither have I and I was educated by catholics.

          so I can’t say if they’re lacking or not.

          You can say that so far, they’re lacking. At a certain point they’ll ban you for pointing that out or abandon the discussion (when they’re not in a place where they can ban you) for pointing it out.

          They still haven’t provided one.

          Their great intellectual resource is “A/T metaphysics” which is based on thirteenth century philosophy when no one understood what Newton understood or Einstein or anything since then.

          What they will do is put Thomas’s concepts derived from Aristotle on anything that has been figured out about how reality works and claim it hasn’t been disproven. They ignore that it has become (no fault to Aristotle or Aquinas, neither of whom had access to the discoveries that have been made since they tried to figure things out) false, or at the very least, mostly useless. .

          They will call it “metaphysics”. Which means, no matter what disciplined methodologies discover about the universe, A/T “metaphysics” saw it coming and gets to claim it for its own. And it can also claim an unmoved mover is necessary.

          All to prop up belief in Yahweh, Jesus, Yahwehjesus, demons, angels, heaven, hell and whatever the RCC proclaims is true.

          It doesn’t but when they refer to an “intellectual” or “rational” leg, that is what they mean.

          That is, if they can even explain it themselves. Most of them can’t.

          All this to prop up the claim that an immaterial omnibeing exists who spent a few decades in a backwater of history, courtesy of a virgin birth and a magic star.

          So, back to your origninal point.

          I can’t say if they’re lacking or not.

          Do they acknowledge their burden and support it?

          Not so far.

          They spend most of their time claiming it without supporting it and the rest of their time accusing people who don’t accept it of leading with their head, not their heart. When that doesn’t work, of not understanding the sophisticated, intellectual support that exists.

          You will encounter the same strategies if you tackle the mormons, the scientologists, any sort of muslim or jew.

          They just dismiss those guys.

          They live by claiming there are “two sides” and accusing us of all manner of unsavory things (like Jim accused us a while back of praying for innocent humans to be massacred, and then withdrew, when called on it.)

          Note that he’ll spend all (or most) of his time here, pretending to miss the point about “I don’t believe you.” If you dig deep enough, he’ll produce a PRATT. When you explain that the PRATT is a PRATT, he’ll sneak in something about your character.

          Reader’s Digest RCC apologetics.

        • Jim Dailey

          What is a PRATT?

        • Susan

          What is a PRATT?

          Point refuted a thousand times.

          https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Point_refuted_a_thousand_times

          For instance, the argument that atheists just want to have, and get, an easier life, in which they can change their positions willy-nilly…

          Instead of noticing that atheists don’t share your belief that an omnibeing plucked reality out of metaphysical nothingness, tortured beings with nervous systems to death for hundreds of millions of years, in order to give eternal life to a fuzzy percentage of homo sapiens, a species that it is a tiny, fuzzy percentage of life on this tiny, planet.

          It looks like a supernatural myth. Much like the evil eye.

          The “intellectual” arguments that christians point to don’t add up when you finally (and it usually takes a while to talk you into doing so) to engage in them.

          The “intellectual” arguments are an example of PRATTs.

          Maybe, I’m wrong and you have a good one.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Starlord….duh/.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Even their No Child’s Behind Left program seems to have failed…

        • Greg G.

          But where does reason come in? A logical argument with a fallacy is fallacious. A logical argument with an unsupported assumption is unsupported.

        • Pofarmer

          What you did was confirm your own biases.

        • Joe

          and the atheist lifestyle is easier to practice.

          What’s the “atheist lifestyle”?

        • You know–all that baby eating. And the orgies.

        • Joe

          Well, I’m sure I can find a religion that still allows me to keep doing that.

        • Greg G.

          I only eat free-range babies.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Ha! I just posted the same thing. I should have scrolled down. ☺️

        • MR

          My atheist lifestyle is exactly the same as my Christian lifestyle, except I don’t have to get up early on Sundays if I don’t want.

        • You clearly haven’t understood the “big numbers.”

        • Kodie

          Do you think atheists don’t believe in god because it’s just easier?

        • Kevin K

          Well, I’ll agree with you. There’s also laziness, cultural inertia, desire to fit in … all of those are reasons that people are/remain “Christians”.

          The one thing I think is very rare is someone coming from a non-religious background and objectively investigating the truth claims of Christianity (the eating IQ-raising sin fruit leading to the requirement that god had to sacrifice himself to himself) and converting on that basis. 2000-year-old fairy stories are really childish when you look at them from a distance.

          The myths of Christianity frankly are a complete and impenetrable barrier to my accepting the religion as being anything other than anti-intellectual nonsense. Want me to be a better person? OK. Help humankind? Sure. Eat a cracker and have it turn into Jesus? Don’t be silly, that’s childish nonsense.

          Conversion experiences, according to the literature in the sociology journals, is almost always rapid, emotionally charged, and non-intellectual. Mainly among people who are at a vulnerable point in their lives emotionally.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Atheist lifestyle?

      • Just a couple of points.

        “Then I became desperately unhappy”

        Whoops. She converted for emotional reasons. Yes, atheists do this, but it’s no argument for Christianity. We’re looking for intellectual arguments for Christianity, not emotional ones.

        “6. MODERN ADVANCES AND LIMITATIONS IN SCIENCE.”

        Flew became a deist because he was confronted with arguments he didn’t understand. Why use him? The article could’ve listed any feeble old man who changed his mind for no good reason. “Antony Flew was one of the world’s most famous atheists of the 20th century” is true but irrelevant.

        Anyway, “Science has no answer to question X” is certainly no argument in favor of Christianity, which has never taught us anything about reality.

        I respond to the “I used to be an atheist, just like you” argument in detail here:
        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2012/10/i-used-to-be-an-atheist-just-like-you-2/

        • Jim Dailey

          I am responding to Sandra’s assertion that “If you are a christian (or any other religion) you were either indoctrinated as a child, or you are totally gullible, or a con man…take your pick or defend your position”.

          I do not believe any of the former atheists cited in my linked article fulfill any of those criteria.

          Not sure why you feel personal emotions and rationality are mutually exclusive. Somebody became desperately unhappy after finally realizing the logical endpoints of atheism? Seems pretty rational to me. In fact, to me it seems irrational that someone would think they are a meaningless sack of atoms passing time and waiting for the lights to go out, and be anything but miserable.

          I skimmed your blog post, but do not have time to digest it properly. At first glance, it appears as well written and considered as all your opinions. I look forward to taking a detailed look at it.

        • I would say that Sandra’s claim is in general correct but that you can find counterexamples. There are indeed children indoctrinated as Muslims or whatever who eventually become Christians. So if your point is simply that technically this claim is incorrect, I’ll agree with you. Sure, we do need to be precise in our language. That seems a rather hair-splitting position, however, when people do indeed tend to mirror their environment in their spiritual beliefs.

          Believing for emotional reasons happens, but that’s not what we’re interested in. We want purely intellectual arguments. If Christianity doesn’t stand up to reason, I have no use for it.

          Somebody became desperately unhappy after finally realizing the logical endpoints of atheism?

          My suggestion: talk to an actual atheist rather than get your information from nutty apologetics sites. When you talk with that atheist and find that they see no reason to be dismayed at the consequences of no god, maybe your conclusion needs to be rethought.

          to me it seems irrational that someone would think they are a meaningless sack of atoms passing time and waiting for the lights to go out, and be anything but miserable.

          And I see things differently. Perhaps you as an outsider don’t get it. Possible?

        • Jim Dailey

          I really do not get how atheists assign any meaning to life. In the absence of God, there simply is no answer to why we exist. I am talking to atheists, but as you can see, am still perplexed.
          Now turn to Christianity. Do you seriously think Christ was wrong? That is, if everyone loved their neighbor, if everyone served a higher purpose than their own satisfaction, if we treated the morally and physically impoverished with love and respect, that the world would not be better off? Yes, these bromides are virtually impossible and impractical. And it opens people up to potential abuse by those paying lip service to the message. Evil will always be there. Christians are an easy target. So therefore, because it is a difficult message, and it is difficult to actually put into practice, we should mock it and treat it with contempt? I don’t get that either.

        • Pofarmer

          I really do not get how atheists assign any meaning to life.

          I have my family, my Parents, my farm, my goals, same as anybody else. I want to see my kids succeed and be good people. We have the drive in us to reproduce and see our species increase, that’s nature. Do dogs need a meaning of life? Do oak trees? Do apes? Just because we tend to make things more complicated than they are, doesn’t mean that all the complicated stuff is necessary. I don’t get the “meaning of life” that many theists assume. It seems so – pointless. Here we are, we have a life and a conscious, let’s use it.

          In the absence of God, there simply is no answer to why we exist.

          There is no “Why” Jim. I know that’s uncomfortable, but it’s the truth. Here we are. Enjoy it.

          Do you seriously think Christ was wrong?

          I think Christ was a fictional character. It think some of the teachings attributed to him were good and some are pretty piss poor. I think we can do better and we know a lot more than the writers of those stories.

          That is, if everyone loved their neighbor, if everyone served a higher
          purpose than their own satisfaction, if we treated the morally and
          physically impoverished with love and respect, that the world would not be better off?

          This is actually a humanist message. Christians tend to suck at it. Look at the history of your own Church.

          Evil will always be there. Christians are an easy target.

          And now we have the persecution complex. Lovely.

          So therefore, because it is a difficult message, and it is difficult to
          actually put into practice, we should mock it and treat it with
          contempt?

          It’s not the message, it’s the supernatural gobbledygook that attempts to undergird it.

          I don’t get that either.

          Then maybe we can help you with that.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Do dogs need a meaning of life? Do oak trees? Do apes? Just because
          we tend to make things more complicated than they are, doesn’t mean that
          all the complicated stuff is necessary.

          THANK YOU.
          holy fuck somebody fit that in a bumpersticker.

        • Greg G.

          You might need a bigger truck with a bigger bumper.

        • epeeist

          I really do not get how atheists assign any meaning to life.

          The almost standard opening (sometimes “understand” is the word used) to an argument from personal incredulity.

          Do you seriously think Christ was wrong? That is, if everyone loved their neighbor

          You think that Christ is the only person to make such point? It has been made by a number of people from different religions and none.

        • Kevin K

          “Jesus” was merely quoting Leviticus. He did not come up with the concept, as much as Christians like to claim it.

          Leviticus 19:18 — You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

        • BlackMamba44

          Do you seriously think Christ was wrong? That is, if everyone loved their neighbor, if everyone served a higher purpose than their own satisfaction, if we treated the morally and physically impoverished with love and respect, that the world would not be better off?

          Oh, Jeezus…

          Your Christ wasn’t all sparkles and rainbows. He was a cult leader that expected you to cut off your family to follow him. He also expected you to hate your life:

          Luke 14:25-26 (NIV)

          The Cost of Being a Disciple
          25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.

          He didn’t seem to like family much at all:

          Matthew 10:34-38 (NIV)
          34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

          “‘a man against his father,
          a daughter against her mother,
          a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
          36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[a]

          37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

          EDIT: Added to comment.

        • Greg G.

          Don’t forget that Mary was his mother in Mark 6:3 where his brothers are named. In chapter 15, at the cross, she is only mentioned as the mother of two brothers, as if she was disowned when they came to get him in Capernaum.

        • I really do not get how atheists assign any meaning to life. In the absence of God, there simply is no answer to why we exist.

          Imagine this scenario. An atheist is talking with a Hindu. The Hindu says, “I totally don’t get how you guys imagine any meaning in life. There are no gods to answer that question!”

          The atheist replies, “You can imagine whatever supernatural you want, but you have no evidence. But to answer your question: I find meaning in life just the way you do. My profession and hobbies, my family and community work, and so on. And you find meaning the same way. You might imagine some supernatural grounding, but that answers no question, especially because it itself isn’t grounded in evidence.”

          This is rather like some of the esoteric arguments Christian apologists like to throw out, ignoring the lack of evidence for their supernatural. “Why does 2 + 2 = 4? God grounds our reality.” Uh huh. Show me that in a godless world, 2 + 2 could equal 9.

          “Why is there something rather than nothing? God!” Uh huh. Show me that nothing is the default so that it’s surprising that we have something.

          Do you seriously think Christ was wrong? That is, if everyone loved their neighbor, if everyone served a higher purpose than their own satisfaction, if we treated the morally and physically impoverished with love and respect, that the world would not be better off?

          (1) Do you think obese people would be better off if they’d eat better? Do you think alcoholics would be better off if they’d lay off the booze? Sure, but this is hard. Walk into a Klan meeting and suggest that they love everyone equally, and they will respond that they think their way is actually a much better approach.

          (2) Why mention Christ? Why not enumerate the other billion people who also said the same thing?

          because it is a difficult message, and it is difficult to actually put into practice, we should mock it and treat it with contempt? I don’t get that either.

          I didn’t mock it.

        • MR

          I really do not get how atheists assign any meaning to life.

          I really have to wonder if he really doesn’t get it or if he read that argument on an apologist website somewhere. Go ask the average Christian on the street what gives their life meaning, and I bet you’re going to get the same kinds of answers that an atheist would give.

          “Apologetics: Crippling thinking since the dawn of religion.”

        • Exactly–family, community, a job well done. I guess they wonder how that can give meaning without a nonexistent god?

          I’ve heard that the nice thing about being a Christian is that you know what you’ll be thinking tomorrow. It saves a lot of bother.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          For people like this guy who ask about atheist meaning, I’d like to offer the Life Observation Challenge.

          My life (atheist):

          1. Married 25 years, two grown and smart kids.

          2. Challenging vibrant career

          3. Fun, deep, insightful relationship with friends.

          4. Community service and fellowship via secular means (Rotary)

          5. Active player in local business community (Chamber).

          6. Active in sports, wellness, recreational activities.

          7. Enjoying quality film, reading, etc.

          8. Finds insight and wonder in spending time in nature, stargazing, meditation.

          Now…compare that to the life of my neighbor who is a devout Christian.

          You will find our lives are almost identical…I just sleep later on Sundays.

          Given I live in the South, I imagine most people think I’m a good Baptist or Methodist.

        • Bill

          http://www1.cbn.com/movies/superman-and-jesus-supermans-origin-and-parallels-jesus

          Apparently a hobby of Bobs is writing a blog post based on someone else’s thoughts.

        • BlackMamba44
        • Herald Newman

          Alternate, I still like Dan Barker’s answer:

          Asking, “If there is no God, what is the purpose of life?” is like asking, “If there is no master, whose slave will I be?” If your purpose of life is to submit as a slave, then your meaning comes from flattering the ego of a person whom who should detest.

        • MR

          What need would an omnipotent God even have of us? What purpose would we even fill? It’s not really purpose they’re appealing to.

        • Kodie

          I think that’s why they all feel like filthy scum. They realize god’s a big deal in the universe, and yet he loves me as an individual, he lets me live, he makes chocolate taste delicious, kittens soft, and sunsets look beautiful just for me. I certainly don’t deserve all that.

        • Susan

          What need would an omnipotent God even have of us?

          An omnipotent being, by definition, needs nothing from anything but itself.

          As far as I can tell.

          Corrections are welcome.

        • Kevin K

          George Carlin answered that question.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r-e2NDSTuE

        • TheNuszAbides

          “…family and friends have no worth in their own right.”

          just a quick sweep of any nuance under the rug, and they can get the fear put back into them with the Pride card (oh, Vanity of puny mortals, assigning themselves value!)

        • Herald Newman

          In the absence of God, there simply is no answer to why we exist.

          We exist because life happened and our ancestors had offspring. Why assume there is some great cosmic reason why we exist?

          Do you seriously think Christ was wrong? That is, if everyone loved their neighbor, if everyone served a higher purpose than their own satisfaction, if we treated the morally and physically impoverished with love and respect, that the world would not be better off?

          You’re asking the wrong question. Who cares what is said that Jesus thought or said. I don’t know that any of the sayings in the Gospels can actually be tied back to something that Jesus may have said. We don’t know what words were placed in his mouth by later authors.

          Yes, respecting other people, and valuing their satisfaction over your own, has a positive influence on the society that we live in, but it doesn’t take a god-man to come up with this stuff. These ideas had been around for centuries before Jesus. That Jesus may have said them doesn’t make Christianities claims any more true. It certainly doesn’t tell me that there’s an afterlife. It certainly doesn’t tell me that God exists, or that Jesus died to save me.

          In other words, I can adopt humanism and ditch all the woo-woo. The world is still better off, and my beliefs line up with the evidence.

        • Michael Neville

          I really do not get how atheists assign any meaning to life

          I really do not get how Christians assign any meaning to life if the only thing they have to live for is pleasing a figment of their imaginations. Don’t Christians have family and friends? Don’t Christians have their work, their hobbies, their interests? Don’t they find meaning in these things? Because atheists certainly do. I pity Christians like Jim Daily who lack any meaning in life other than their god.

        • Kevin K

          They have their god-goggles on. Like welder’s goggles, only darker.

        • Kevin K

          The meaning of life: Perpetuate the species. Simple!

          Do I think Christ was wrong? I think Christ (aka, Jesus the Nazarene) was non-existent. I think the moral philosophy of loving their neighbor was a direct quote from Leviticus and not invented by “Jesus”. And that the Buddhists do the rest of what you’re describing way better without any deity at all, especially one invoking eternal hell-fire punishment for disbelief.

          Edited to add:

          That is, if everyone loved their neighbor, if everyone served a higher purpose than their own satisfaction, if we treated the morally and physically impoverished with love and respect, that the world would not be better off?

          What you’re describing is in perfect keeping with the tenets of the Satanic Temple. Not unique to Christianity at all. And certainly not practiced by a wide range of sects that are more interested in repression than “love and respect”.

          End edit.

        • Kevin K

          Sorry, dog with a bone ….

          What you’re offering here is what is known as the “Argument from Consequences” logical fallacy. It doesn’t matter what you believe or what you think the consequences are for belief or non-belief. The only question I’m interested in is the one that demonstrates whether or not your beliefs are true. That is, can you verify that the truth claims of Christianity, and especially the … frankly … nuttier parts of the Catholic catechism are actual-and-factual.

          You can’t do that. Nobody can. It’s the reason faith is seen as a virtue.

        • Joe

          I really do not get how atheists assign any meaning to life.

          I decide what gives my life meaning, and pursue it to the best of my ability. For me it is friends, family, good food and good drink. Preferably together. I have other hobbies but they’re superfluous to real happiness.

          I find that infinitely better than worshiping an unknown and unknowable being on the off chance that I complete all the necessary rituals correctly (and don’t put a foot wrong) so I can claim my reward. Which is to do the same thing for eternity, hopefully with some of my loved ones that made it and didn’t end up being roasted alive.

          Now turn to Christianity. Do you seriously think Christ was wrong?

          The character was wrong on multiple occasions. What he got right wasn’t anything that we hadn’t figured out for ourselves.

        • Who better to assign meaning to your life than you? Much better than some corporate religious bureaucracy.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Not to mention that various kinds of Christianity claim various life meanings.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          I just ask the Magic 8 Ball….it’s hasn’t NOT worked 😉

        • Philmonomer

          I really do not get how atheists assign any meaning to life. In the absence of God, there simply is no answer to why we exist. I am talking to atheists, but as you can see, am still perplexed.

          “There is no (ultimate) meaning rooted in God” makes the most sense of the world I see around me. If you think the world is different, why?

          Now turn to Christianity. Do you seriously think Christ was wrong? That is, if everyone loved their neighbor,

          Hold up. Christ came to bring a sword, not peace. Mathew 10:34. But if you think that’s what Christ taught, great!

          if everyone served a higher purpose than their own satisfaction, if we treated the morally and physically impoverished with love and respect, that the world would not be better off? Yes, these bromides are virtually impossible and impractical”

          I think if that’s what you think Christianity is, that’s great. I support that. The problem comes when you start to veer away from treating people with love and respect because of your Christianity. For example, if you start to think gay people practicing gay sex is bad. That’s neither loving nor respecting them.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          “In the absence of God, there simply is no answer to why we exist.”

          Do you know how much that bothers me? Not even the slightest. I don’t need there to be some deeper meaning to my existence to enjoy things in this life.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          “In the presence of God, there simply is no answer to why we exist.”

        • Glad2BGodless

          How would the existence of a god change the amount of meaning in my life? You seem to assume that a god would make my life more meaningful, but this is a claim you have to demonstrate.

        • Chuck Johnson

          “I really do not get how atheists assign any meaning to life. In the absence of God, there simply is no answer to why we exist.”

          For you this is true.
          Your ignorance and your indoctrination are showing.

        • Ficino

          “”La seule raison d’être d’un être, c’est d’être.” ~ Henri Labordit [The sole reason for existence of any entity is to exist.]

          From there, we go on to put ourselves together and find plus create significance.

          When I realized the injustice of the Bible God, I could no longer continue with the system that promotes belief in and worship of same. And yes, there was an emotional impact of that system – it was making me depressed.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          “I really do not get how atheists assign any meaning to life.” Cognition.

          “Do you seriously think Christ was wrong? ”

          I have no idea if the person upon which the stories/gospels were based ever said any of those things so to ask he if were right or wrong is moot. Do you think (Buddha, Vishnu, Lao Tsu) was wrong?

          “That is, if everyone loved their neighbor, if everyone served a higher purpose than their own satisfaction, if we treated the morally and physically impoverished with love and respect, that the world would not be better off? ”

          Do I think if we adopted the pre-Christ humanist idea things would be better? Sure. Alas, the growth of major religions has not actually practiced such an ideal.

        • Pofarmer

          Somebody became desperately unhappy after finally realizing the logical endpoints of atheism? Seems pretty rational to me.

          Dude, that’s the exact opposite of rational. Conversion because of existential angst is anything but rational, it’s the exact opposite.

          In fact, to me it seems irrational that someone would think they are a
          meaningless sack of atoms passing time and waiting for the lights to go
          out, and be anything but miserable.

          So we just, what, dive into fantasy? Reality is hard, Jim.

        • Kodie

          Grown-ups learn to live without external validation so much, and instead of being depressed that life ends and doesn’t mean something to your great fictional genie, it’s more like, hey, bonus. Being alive is a little bit like finding a $10 bill on the ground. What kind of angst at the meaninglessness? Who dropped it? What am I supposed to spend it on? That kind of bullshit. Just put it in your pocket and be happy.

        • epeeist

          Somebody became desperately unhappy after finally realizing the logical endpoints of atheism?

          The end point of atheism is the lack of belief in the existence of gods, why should that entail unhappiness? Let’s switch around, one of the endpoints of Christianity is the unknown likelihood of you ending up in hell, isn’t that going to lead to existential angst and unhappiness?

        • Otto

          It did for me.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Ditto.

        • Having the same end as a slug (that is, an afterlife of nothing) is a lot better than winding up in Jesus’s hell.

        • Joe

          Somebody became desperately unhappy after finally realizing the logical endpoints of atheism?

          That any number of gods probably don’t exist, including the evil ones, and that billions of Jews, Buddhists, atheists, Muslims and more aren’t being burned alive for all eternity? That would make me very happy.

          In fact, to me it seems irrational that someone would think they are a meaningless sack of atoms passing time and waiting for the lights to go out, and be anything but miserable.

          Why would anyone think that?

        • Otto

          I became desperately unhappy after I finally realized the logical endpoints of Christianity, it didn’t make me an atheist, but I sure was relieved when I eventually got there anyway. That knife cuts both ways.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Somebody became desperately unhappy after finally realizing the logical endpoints of atheism? Seems pretty rational to me.-Jim

          Seems pretty ignorant and indoctrinated to me.

        • Kodie

          I don’t know what you mean.

      • sandy

        1. GOOD LITERATURE AND REASONABLE WRITING.

        “Reasonable atheists eventually become theists because they are reasonable; and furthermore, because they are honest.” That’s as far as I got Jim. That is one of the most intellectually dishonest articles I have ever read. Absolute BS and falsehoods. You have been conned Jim.

        • Jim Dailey

          I may have been conned, but C.S. Lewis? Leah Libresco?
          I have to go take care of more mundane matters like food and shelter. It’s been a pleasure.
          Peace out.

        • Pofarmer

          C.S. Lewis started out religious and stayed religious. And, yes, Lewis conned himself. His arguments, in general, are pretty piss poor. Leah Libresco? Yes, Libresco seems to have confused herself over “objective morality” and is now doing the full beatitudes and all that Jazz. It’s almost become a hobby for her, or something. It’s been a while since I read LIbresco, but I remember at the time of her “conversion” thinking, “Holy shit, really? This is some horrible reasoning.” If you’d like to talk about some of Lewis’s arguments, I’m sure that folks here would be happy to tackle that for you.

          P.S. And wordonfire (Fr. Barron) and Brandon Vogt are irredeemable hacks.

        • Kevin K

          The article also mentions Liar for Jesus™ Lee Strobel. OMG, if that’s the standard, there are no standards.

        • Herald Newman

          I think Lee Strobel resonates with conservative Christians because he tells them exactly what they want to hear, and reinforces their religious views. Frankly, his idea that the gospels are eye-witness accounts is laughably out of date by more than a century, yet he keeps peddling it. People who love Strobel already believe that the say-so of first century, superstitious, authors is enough to establish that a guy was raised from the dead by God. By those kinds of standards practically every religion is true.

        • Kevin K

          It’s also a demonstrable lie. “Luke” (whoever it really was) says right at the outset that zhe is an historian and not an eyewitness. FFS: These people don’t even read their own book of myths.

        • Herald Newman

          Indeed, but “Luke” does claim that he “investigating everything carefully from the very first.” Many take this to mean that he gathered the testimony of people who witnessed the resurrection of Jesus, but it never states this.

        • Kevin K

          The evidence suggests that zhe (there is at least some speculation that “Luke” was a woman, so I’ll equivocate) had access to gMark and then went on a flight-of-fancy.

        • Herald Newman

          Well, yes. I totally get that. Conservative Christians tend to ignore the whole synoptic problem.

        • Bob Jase

          Der are no proplims mit der bible.

        • Kevin K

          Ha! It’s only a “problem” when you read them side-by-side. Though I wonder why they then put them all bound together one-after-another like that. Must have been running out of leather for the bindings.

        • sandy

          Remember only one in ten, at best, could read back then and those who could read were running the scam. Illiteracy definitely was one of the factors in the rise of christianity. They probably never thought that one day, pretty much everyone, would be able to read not to mention computers would come along that would be capable of doing literary analysis. I also find it dishonest how when binding them all together, the gospels come before Paul’s letters. But of course they have to for it to make any sense at all.

        • Kevin K

          True that. And I do believe (someone will correct me in a minute if I’m not right) that the Catholic Church still frowns upon individuals reading the bible by themselves. That’s the job for the priest.

        • sandy

          and other things by themselves!

        • Michael Neville

          It’s an article of faith among certain Protestants and a number of atheists that the RCC discourages Bible reading. This is incorrect. In the 1960s I was reading the Bible with priests’ blessings. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Please don’t beat me.)

        • Otto

          Vatican II liberal snowflakes

        • Greg G.

          But the Protestants want you to read for inspiration and to memorize verses to keep you from reading for comprehension.

        • Kodie

          I may be wrong about this, but isn’t the bible chock full of go-to platitudes that are perfect for reconfirming your faith when you are troubled or in doubt?

        • Greg G.

          Those are the verses you memorize first.

        • al kimeea

          Luke? Lucretia… did not know that

        • Greg G.

          I think Mark was the primary source, also Matthew, John (sometimes as a counter-source), Deuteronomy (Luke 10:1 to Luke 18:14), other OT passages, and Josephus

        • Herald Newman

          John as a source for Luke? I’ve heard that recent scholars started to consider that it’s likely that John used Mark as a source for his work, but I’ve never heard of John being a source for any of the synoptics. Do you have any sources that discuss this?

        • Greg G.

          I have seen some theories about it but I don’t know that I have any in my notes. I am traveling so I don’t have access to my notes, anyway.

          Mark never mentions Joseph and John never mentions the name of Jesus’ mother, though three of the four named women are named Mary and the other is Martha with a sister named Mary. Jesus’s mother is at the cross with her sister Mary, so John doesn’t know the name of Jesus’ mother but he seems to think her name isn’t Mary. Mark 6:3 has a parallel in John where Joseph is named instead of Mary.

          Mark never mentions the high priest’s name but the others do.

          The Feeding of the 5000 is obvious fiction and it looks like Mark made up the two mass feedings from the feasts attended by Telemauchus in Homer’s Odyssey and Elisha’s feeding of the 100 from 2 Kings 4. John changes the verbiage but the elements of the story match up in order except where one has mention is a large amount with the specific number later and the other gives the number at that point.

          Mark has Peter’s denial wrapped around Jesus’s trial where he is beaten and ordered to “Prophesy!” while his prophecy is being fulfilled. John has the same elements but leaves out the “Prophesy!” It shows that John was using the text and literary device but omitting the point of the device.

          So John using Mark becomes obvious. But there are other common items in the other gospels which indicates they knew the previous ones but the direction is in question.

          In John 7 (IIRC), people are questioning if Jesus is the Messiah who was supposed to be from David’s line and from Bethlehem, not Galilee. That would be strange if John had read Matthew’s and/or Luke’s genealogy and nativity stories. But it may have inspired Matthew to create his genealogy and nativity. Luke may have seen Matthew’s errors in the genealogy and abhorred the baby killing prompting a new genealogy and nativity. That’s the main reason I put John second in the order the Gospels were written.

          I think Luke’s Rich Man in Hades is a refutation of John’s Lazarus resurrection. Antiquities 20 tells about the high priest, Ananias, who had five sons who became high priest’s. John 18:13 says that Caiaphas was the son-in-law of Ananias. So the rich man who wanted Lazarus sent back to his father’s house to warn his five brothers would be Caiaphas. But Abraham refuses because sending Lazarus back wouldn’t change a thing.

          The last chapter of John is much like an earlier chapter of Luke. Some think the chapter was added on to John. If so, I think it was done before Luke got a hold of it.

        • Kevin K

          Do you think Luke relied on Matthew? Seems like the writer would have taken some care to not contradict it. I mean, right at the outset, we get completely different birth stories. Seems to me that if zhe was using Matthew, zhe would have merely embellished that story and not created a new one out of whole cloth.

          But, of course, they never would have thought that a century later, the two accounts would be tied together so firmly. So, anything’s possible.

        • Greg G.

          Both of them rejected parts of Mark, like spit miracles and the naked boy in Gethsemane, as if for theological reasons. If Luke had lost a child, as Helms suggests, that would be a reason to reject the baby killing episode but it could be rejected for theological reasons, too.

          Matthew makes a big deal of there being three sets of fourteen generations. The first set of Abraham to David is correct according to the OT. But Matthew is missing four ancestors in the second set, and there is only thirteen generations in the third set unless the Exile is being counted. Luke may have rejected it for those reasons. Matthew also includes a king who was cursed so that his offspring would not prosper. Luke may have rejected the genealogy because of that on theological grounds.

          There’s are many cases of editorial fatigue in Matthew and Luke. Each have examples of making a change in Mark’s text but the passage reverts back to Markan text further down. We also see editorial fatigue in Luke of at least one story in common with Matthew where Matt has three servants and Luke makes it ten servants, but the rest of the story is about three servants. That shows directionality. Luke has a thing for fives and tens.

          I think if the gospel authors agreed with their sources, there would have been no need to write a new one.

        • Kevin K

          Almost as if they’re making stuff up … oh wait …

        • Kevin K

          I really wish you’d write a book…

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “Do you think Luke relied on Matthew? Seems like the writer would have taken some care to not contradict it.”

          If Matthew did factor in it was because Luke thought it got the story WRONG XD

        • Greg G.

          Randal Helms, Who Wrote the Gospels?, and Bernard Muller, an internet anti-mythicist whose name just came to me in a moment of lucidity, both give about a dozen reasons to think Luke was a woman with only one overlap. Helms thinks she was a well-to-do widow who had lost a child, and may have been in the textiles. I have seen speculation that Luke was from the Philippi region, IIRC, because of detailed geographical knowledge in Acts but I think that could come from a different source.

        • Pofarmer

          Exactly if they accept those claims then they should accept all the claims of all the religious folks but we know that they don’t. Special pleading.

        • al kimeea

          That’s what apologetics are for, reassuring the flock. They dress up old word salad for a new generation. Anyone remotely familiar with the history of xianity, islam etc recognizes these ancient arguments

        • Herald Newman

          Apologetics is not for the lost, it’s for the saved.

          I don’t know who crafted that little nugget, but it quite nicely describes Christian apologetics.

        • Pofarmer

          True Dat. Strobel is horrible.

        • Pofarmer

          I mean the thing about strobel is that hes mainly printing falshoods. I don’t know if he doesn’t know it or doesn’t care but neither is particularly a ringing indorsement. Another that’s come on the scene in Catholic circles is Matthew Kelly. I read the forward to one of his books and hit 2 fallacious arguments within the 1st page. By then just opened up to the middle of the book and found a flat out lie. At that point I just figured what’s the use.

        • Libresco struck me as someone converting for emotional, not intellectual, reasons.

        • Otto

          I have absolutely no idea how you go from ‘Objective morality’ to therefore ‘Catholicism is true’…especially given what we know.

        • Agreed. Furthermore, I have no idea how anyone gets to objective morality in the first place.

        • Otto

          Well there is that…

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Ask any Baptist…Catholics are on the crazy train to HELL.

        • Pofarmer

          Absolutely.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Reading C.S. Lewis did more than a little to make me an atheist.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Lewis did help me believe in talking lion kings

        • Glad2BGodless

          Extra up vote for Ron Swanson.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Ron Swanson doesn;t need upvotes….upvotes need Ron Swanson

        • Ficino

          I have listened twice to Libresco’s radio interview with Hemant Mehta. She starts off on the wrong foot by asking whether morality is like geometry, so that there are moral facts as there are geometrical facts, or whether it is like art, so that we like this or that moral precept as we like this or that work of art, as matters of taste. Morality does not match either pole of her comparison. Assertions in moral discourse contain disguised or even overt “oughts,” but geometrical discourse does not. On the other hand, had Libresco looked more closely at aesthetic judgments, she may have seen some fruitful points of comparison to moral judgments. It is possible to have robust discussion of whether a given artistic work is well executed, apart from the question, whether I find it pleasing. The whole topic is much more complicated than her framing of it, and her answer – because God! – does not get us very far toward a robust morality.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Perhaps…they were not conned…but simply drew mistaken conclusions.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Alice Walker believing in lizardmen overlords…

        • Jim Dailey

          I am not making an appeal to the authority of the aforementioned atheists, simply trying to dispel Sandy’s assertion that all Christians are “gullible”, “indoctrinated” or “con men”.

        • Michael Neville

          Christianity, along with all other theisms, is unevidenced nonsense, so what other choices are there besides gullible, indoctrinated or con men? If you think there is evidence to support your Christian delusions, then bring them out so we atheists can have a good laugh about how gullible and indoctrinated you are to believe your con men.

        • Jim Dailey

          I don’t know what other choices there are.
          Why don’t you go to Leah Librescos site and ask her?

        • Michael Neville

          Why should I when I’ve already asked YOU that question?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          I made the case that even very intelligent people can be gullible when faced by ideas outside of their relevant fields. Indoctrination, such as the garbage heaps of religious/lizardmen overlord/alien truthers/infinite other conspiracy “theories” in humanity’s history and yet to be apologetics media, is the primary predator of gullibility and vulnerability.

        • Jim Dailey

          Ok. I agree.
          I would go further and say even experts on a field can be mistaken.
          But calling them “gullible”?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          How willing were they to change their mind when presented with evidence? It’s the rationalizations dismissing all fault and preserving a positive self image that people often characterize as gullibility. Dissonance theory predicts that we all have this capacity, and that even being aware of it is not necessarily a defense against our own behavior predicted by the theory. I cannot recommend enough the book, ‘Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)’.

        • Jim Dailey

          The article I linked in the original post describes the conversion of several renowned atheists to Christianity, some of whom converted after examining evidence.
          Here is the link for your ease of reference: https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/blog/why-atheists-change-their-mind-8-common-factors/4729/
          Presumably since they started as atheists they did not become gullible.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “whom converted after examining evidence”

          It looks like to us that they didn’t. Just like my mother appealing to me the other day to come back to belief, it rests on good feelings and confidence (as sold by some men).

          Your link also flies in the face of my first rule concerning claims of and/or about the existence of any God and the supernatural:

          If a believer wants a non-beilever to read or observe media or speakers claiming the existence of beings who are omnipresent (or at least not as spatially limited as humans) immortal (or at least still alive now and for the foreseeable future) people (can receive, retain, and communicate information; has thoughts, likes, dislikes, and desires; can do most common human functions at least as well as the average human adult in otherwords) then those beings could do likewise for everyone to observe. If those beings can do that, then there is no necessity to rely on such media and speakers as their non-existence would not hinder observer’s consensus of the apparent existence of such beings.

          I Corrolary: Any such being not presenting the claims of and/or about their own existence can corroborate, contradict, or dismiss those claims.

          II Corrolary: Any human account of personal experiences with such beings necessarily implies such beings can give their own account corroborating, contradicting, or dismissing a human account. All accounts must be observed before any judgement can be made of the accuracy of the historical record directly concerning the claimed events.

          I think that tidily takes care of a lot of other sophistry and scams as well if we use slightly different language (part of this rule was inspired by someone I worked with who made claims about what the supervisor on duty said. All attempts to make the supervisor part of the conversation were interpreted by them as a negative response).

        • Jim Dailey

          I am having a difficult time following your argument, so I apologize if I am missing the point. I am no one to criticize writing, but I think there are some indefinite pronouns that leave me guessing as to your point.
          I think your point comes down to the observation that the “supernatural being” appears to insufficiently communicate and otherwise interact with all people, and that such interactions are not independently verifiable?

          All true. But please consider that email prose may read one way, but when read with different inflections, body language, and facial expression may be understood completely differently? I am trying to give an example where common human experience tells us that transmitting and receiving a message often relies on several different factors, many of which may be only understood by the people in the transaction.

          I am sorry if I missed your point.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “such interactions are not independently verifiable?

          All true. But please consider that email prose may read one way, but when read with different inflections, body language, and facial expression may be understood completely differently?”

          Exactly. That was a major point in an earlier argument about how a God, defined as an omnipresent immortal person, really shoots themself in the foot communication wise. Why would a real God want to appear to be a hoax (history tells us that hoaxes have been fooling lots of people even until their death, and in some cases staying bewitched caused their deaths)?

        • Jim Dailey

          I am not sure why a message may be interpreted in different ways by different people. Communication is a pretty tricky thing.
          One dog I owned understood “fetch” with virtually no training.
          One dog understood “fetch” after some training.
          One dog never understood “fetch” at all.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Since you have the ability to say, “Fetch”, to your dog, why didn’t you decide NOT to say that and have someone else just write a dead language’s equivalent of “fetch” in a book? Do you think the results might have been better?

        • Jim Dailey

          My little analogy was to show that in communication, sometimes we come to an instant understanding of the message, sometimes we need to study the message, and sometimes we just don’t get the message.

          The problem may not in the transmission of the message, but in the reception of the message.

          Or it may certainly be in the transmission of the message. Perhaps a different training technique would have worked on the third dog.

          I am not sure why it is this way. I do find it interesting.

          My dog story was pretty oblique. Sorry. I do not understand what you saw in it or what your counter-point was. Can you advise?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Would a dog understand what you wanted if you weren’t even around the dog, and you used an even more abstract form of communication than just saying, “Fetch”, directly to the dog? Surely you could run much faster if you shot yourself in the foot?

          Also, I find it a bit unintentionally (probably…) humorous that your last comment talked about doG(s) XD

        • Jim Dailey

          Very punny.

        • Have I given you this link? It’s my response to the Christian “I used to be an atheist, just like you” claim.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2012/10/i-used-to-be-an-atheist-just-like-you-2/

        • Jim Dailey

          This is the first I have seen of the post. Thank you.
          However, I think that saying all the renowned atheists cited in my link were not “true atheists” does sound like “no true Scotsman”.
          In any event, my only issue here is again the characterization of Christians as being either indoctrinated, gullible, or con men.
          I know you agreed that this was an inappropriate description, and I am grateful, but my correspondence continues with those commenters who feel this is an absolutely correct way to classify Christians.
          We have, of course, veered off into interesting discussions having only the slightest link to the original topic.
          I am eagerly waiting to hear what Linus Pauling and Jenny McCarthy have in common.

        • However, I think that saying all the renowned atheists cited in my link were not “true atheists” does sound like “no true Scotsman”.

          At first glance, yes it does. But I’ve thought about this for quite some time. Here’s the key: “You will know them by their fruits.”

          Is there an ex-atheist who (1) knew the Christian apologetics and atheist counter-apologetics arguments that I do, about as well as I do, and who (2) now knows that they are mostly intellectually false?

          Great. Show me that person. I know that if I went through that conversion, I would spend quite a bit of effort to tick off the arguments that I had used and show the intellectual error in them.

          Where is this person?

        • Jim Dailey

          You appear to be making the no true Scotsman again. That is, you could simply say that whomever I named did not know the arguments as well as you do.

          But whatever, I’ll throw a name out. Leah Libresco. She was on Patheos Atheist before she converted. I assume you have to have some credible chops to get a blog here.

        • I’ve explained why it’s not. You don’t like my answer, so I guess we’re at an impasse there.

          As for Libresco, yes, I’m familiar with her. I had a brief blog post exchange with her years ago about objective morality. (1) She’s done nothing as far as I can tell in summarizing how the atheist intellectual arguments are wrong. And (2) her writings sound like she’s made the transition for emotional, not intellectual, reasons.

        • Jim Dailey

          In Librescos “last post” she writes:
          I’ve heard some explanations that try to bake morality into the natural world by reaching for evolutionary psychology. They argue that moral dispositions are evolutionarily triumphant over selfishness, or they talk about group selection, or something else. Usually, these proposed solutions radically misunderstand a) evolution b) moral philosophy or c) both. I didn’t think the answer was there.”

          Since the atheist arguments mentioned above are largely a matter of theory or opinion, does it suffice to say one has considered them and found them wanting, or is there some other proof required that they are wrong?

          I read your blogs on the topic of atheist conversions, and the links to Libresco. Are these the “blog post exchanges” you mention, or did you have direct exchanges? I would be interested to read them if so.

        • It’s all in that post. I’m just repeating myself now.

          If it were me (that is, if I knew how and why the intellectual arguments I’d made in the past were wrong), I would, as a new and energetic Christian, publicly summarize those mistakes. Bob the Christian would make sure that Bob the atheist had no place to hide. In this blog, I’ve responded to a dozen or so Christian arguments and made a dozen or so pro-atheist arguments. Where are the rebuttals?

          You’ll say that you can find a response for every single one. In the first place, not quite every single one, but that’s a quibble. In the second place, that’s now what we’re talking about. Yes, you can find a Christian response, but they all suck. The imaginary Bob the Christian would know where Bob the atheist made a mistake. Very rarely will I read a Christian article that gives me any new insight that reveals a flaw. I certainly have seen nothing like what I need to show that my arguments are flawed.

          That’s the evidence I need. I don’t see that in Libresco’s work. She certainly looks like a convert for emotional reasons, not intellectual.

          All my interactions with her are documented in posts here.

        • I am eagerly waiting to hear what Linus Pauling and Jenny McCarthy have in common.

          Since each backed health positions that weren’t well supported by evidence, I’d say, Not following the evidence. No?

        • Jim Dailey

          I’m not familiar with Jenny McCarthy. She’s a former Playboy bunny turned b-list celebrity – right? Did she agree on vitamin C or something?

        • She’s the celebrity vaccine-causes-autism person.

        • Jim Dailey

          I see. With her I would accept gullible.

          Still not with Pauling though. Mistaken, yes, but he was probably hanging around with eminent people who gave good reasons it was plausible. And again, assuming he ran a small proof of concept study, might have been convinced just from luck of the draw.

        • epeeist

          even experts on a field can be mistaken

          Absolutely, look at Einstein and the completeness (or otherwise) of quantum mechanics.

          But Pauling and Vitamin C is another matter, he continued pushing vitamin C for a whole stack of ailments despite evidence that it had no effect.

        • Jim Dailey

          Evidence of efficacy can be elusive. There are certain drugs that will not work on an entire patient population, but for one reason or another work very well on certain sub populations.
          Could be that Pauling saw the effect on some sub population, but could not replicate results in a wider population?

        • epeeist

          Evidence of efficacy can be elusive

          Which is why we have randomised, controlled trials.

          Could be that Pauling saw the effect on some sub population

          Essentially he was doing what the likes of Jenny McCarthy do, namely promoting something despite the evidence against it.

        • Jim Dailey

          Jenny McCarthy and Linus Pauling have something in common?

        • Ignorant Amos

          They became “gullible”, “indoctrinated”, or “con men”, when they claimed they converted to Christianity. Remember, talk is cheap…second hand car salesmen don’t actually believe their own dishonest patter…now would you like to but some magic beans?

      • sandy

        Seriously Jim, the arguments in that article are very weak and have been proven false or to be extremely doubtful, and that’s being kind. If that is your defence then I fear you are uninformed. If you are honest about your beliefs, as the article loved to point out, you should do some due diligence on the history of christianity and the bible. Do some reading on critical analysis of your religion. There are very good reasons why most of us here are atheists. Just be honest with yourself and do some homework, then make an educated decision. You just might have an aha moment. BTW if not a Sandra.

      • Giauz Ragnarock

        I present you with Linus Pauling. Intelligence doesn’t save anyone from cognitive dissonance. In fact it may just make them better bullshitters.

        • Jim Dailey

          Can you please expand on this? I do not understand the point you are making.

        • epeeist

          Pauling, a Nobel laureate in chemistry, is infamous for pushing the idea that taking extremely large amounts of vitamin C everyday could prevent you having colds. There was (and is) no evidence that it does so but this didn’t prevent Pauling from pushing something that merely generated extremely expensive urine.

          There are other examples, the point being that high intelligence does not guarantee immunity from cognitive dissonance and compartmentalisation.

        • Jim Dailey

          I see – sort of. Does that make Pauling “indoctrinated”, “gullible”, or a “con man” (Sandy’s only choices for believing in Christianity, which now appear to apply to Pauling and Vitamin C(?))

        • epeeist

          Does that make Pauling “indoctrinated”, “gullible”, or a “con man”

          Gullible is the one that would seem to fit, he obviously didn’t check the evidence for this in the same way as he checked his working for quantum chemistry.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          What do you know of Linus Pauling’s relevance to a discussion about beliefs and gullibility?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Why do these eejits feel that this is some sort of salm dunk that they even have to make shite up about it?

          The Fantasy of the Deathbed Conversion

          https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-fantasy-of-the-deathbed-conversion

          The Oscar Wilde conversion is suspect. It might well have even been a Paschal’s Wageresque type joke, as in “just in case”.

      • Ignorant Amos

        I do not think they meet any of your criteria.

        Ahem…”totally gullible” fits just fine.

        As for your link. Seriously?…the article is by a chiropractor and the banner at the top has a shop and a donate facility on it ffs.

        And as for that prick Brandon Vogt and his mentor Bishop Barron, the experience of interacting with them that I, and a number of others here have had tells us they are a pair of dishonest gangsters.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Thanks to the phenomenal work of leading New Testament scholars, including Gary Habermas, William Lane Craig, and N.T. Wright, the case for Christ’s resurrection has become more airtight than ever.

        Bwaaaahahaha…you think this sort of bullshit isn’t for the gullible or indoctrinated from the con man. Wise up. There’s three con men right there.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Lee Strobel, the former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune and author of the influential work, The Case For Christ, is a prime example of what happens when an honest atheist sets out to establish once and for all whether the claims of the Gospels are reliable or not.

        Bwaaahahaha…Lee Strobel, an honest atheist? Yer having a bubble. You think Lee Strobel isn’t a lying con man that is playing to a fee paying peanut gallery? He is a charlatan, pure and simple, and if you believe otherwise, put yourself into the gullible section.

        https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Lee_Strobel

        https://infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/strobel.html

        You do know that most atheists came to their disbelief by researching, or just by actually reading the Bible, right? Have you read the Bible…cover to cover I mean? Have you done any research as to it’s origin and compilation…both old and new testaments? I think not.

  • Mark Dowd

    At least a new antenna design might improve (or worsen!) things if it had different directionality than rabbit ears. The knobs could be a mechanism that aligns the dish with more sensitivity than just yanking by hand.

    It’s probably just usless plastic garbage like you say, but I’m just saying that it’s not obviously worthless. It’s possible that a real product could be made that looks like that and actual has useful improvements over rabbit ears.

    • Given that the cost is $5 (plus S&H), the only problem I can imagine this thing solving is not having rabbit ears.

      • Kodie

        I see some kind of tv antenna being marketed on tv currently. I haven’t had cable… I think as an adult, I only had cable when I lived with someone who wanted it and paid for it. When I visit my mom, there are too many channels and I can’t find anything to watch on the cumbersome guide channel, and can’t fathom scrolling through hundreds of channel numbers to find something to watch, only to find out she doesn’t pay for that channel. I’m not there long enough to develop habits, but I think her daily programming choices are at most 4-5 channels. Anyway, a couple years ago, my tv broke, and after a weekend without tv, withdrawal was over and I got totally used to not having a tv at all. The old antenna I had was from before digital, and it was kind of in bad shape, so I threw it out. Within about a year, my dad wanted to give me a tv so bad, and eventually I let him. I took it home after I visited for Thanksgiving, and plugged it in, and guess what, I didn’t have an antenna. What I did have was internet, a drawer of old wires, plugs and cables, and 3/4 of a pumpkin pie sent home with me. Within an hour, I had made an antenna for free, and get about 25-30 channels with watchable programming, and another dozen or more with bullshit. For about $20 on this tv offer, you can get exactly the same effect – not cable but dozens of broadcast channels, but the ad makes it sound like you’ll get a little bit of cable without paying for it every month. https://lifehacker.com/5976689/the-pietenna-hd-antenna-looks-terrible-but-gets-great-signal

        • Within an hour, I had made an antenna for free

          Using a pumpkin pie?? You’re like MacGyver!

        • Greg G.

          It was pie made from the Great Pumpkin. Sorry, Linus.

        • Kodie

          In reality, I offered to make the pies, or bake the pies, I mean. They were Mrs. Smith’s. I told my mom I was ok with apple if everyone else likes apple. She said, no, you like pumpkin, so also bring pumpkin. The frozen pies were on sale, and I could bake them at the same time, so it was literally no extra effort. I did not see the point in having a pumpkin pie anyway, but I did as I was told, and brought both apple and pumpkin. The next day, I was sent home with the rest of the pumpkin pie, because nobody else would eat it. Sometimes reason is not a friend. I would have been happy enough to eat apple pie and gone home with no leftover pie, but in this case, it turned in my favor. I baked an extra frozen pie, brought it 200 miles, ate a slice or two, and then brought it back home so I could make an antenna for my new tv.

        • al kimeea

          Now I’m so hungry for pie, I could eat 3.14159 of them

        • Michael Neville

          I remember one of Andy Rooney’s 60 Minutes rants about Mrs. Smith’s Lemon Cream Pie. He went through the ingredients listed on the box and ended with: “Mrs. Smith’s Lemon Cream Pie. No lemons, no eggs, no cream, just pie.”

        • al kimeea

          me too

        • Michael Neville

          What I did have was internet, a drawer of old wires, plugs and cables, and 3/4 of a pumpkin pie

          I understand using the internet for instructions on antenna making and the cabling with associated hardware for making the antenna, but what was the function of the pie?

        • Kodie

          Pie-tenna, pie plate antenna.

        • Pofarmer

          Why question pie? I mean really. Lol. It makes more sense than most of the religious answers we get.

        • Kodie

          If I had gotten the tv any other time, I wouldn’t have had a convenient antenna material right that very evening.

        • Pofarmer

          It was a pie miracle!

      • al kimeea

        Well, they aren’t really saying anything other than it is cheaper than cable. It’s not really promising anything other than aesthetics, but it really, really tries to make a TV antenna exciting. Too gaudy, not Goddy. His marketing department is as you describe and a far worse den of iniquity.

        Look to alt-med for examples of a similar con. First sell your confidence, then the mark on the idea they have a problem and finally, only you have the sol’n to that problem. Trust me they say, water has a memory & like cures like… I can absolve your sins…

        It’s like audiophoolery. Very expensive CD cables make the music “dance-able” to the ears of a pro reviewer of about 50. Listening to dance music to critique the pricey copper wires. IIRC, hearing falls off quite quickly after age 18. I stopped buying Stereo Review not long after. I had my hearing tested when I got to 50, 12kHz is as high as they go, give or take.

        Hicks was right about marketers, imho 😉

    • Glad2BGodless

      The ad itself makes no claims for any functionality beyond ordinary rabbit ears.

  • grasshopper

    Not a bullshit-detector, but a bullshit detector

    The ADE 651 is a fake bomb detector that was produced by ATSC (UK), which claimed that the device could effectively and accurately, from long range,
    detect the presence and location of various types of explosives, drugs,
    ivory, and other substances. The device has been sold to 20 countries
    in the Middle East and Asia, including Iraq and Afghanistan, for as much as US$60,000 each. The Iraqi government is said to have spent £52 million on the devices.

    At least someone is in gaol for ten years.

    • Greg G.

      The ADE 651 is a fake bomb detector

      So it detected fake bombs?

      • grasshopper

        It detected fake bombs 200% of the time, but R&D was working to improve that figure.
        Hyphen’s are as important as apostrophe’s.

      • epicurus

        A handyman or a handy man:
        https://youtu.be/QdHKYMJoviU

      • al kimeea

        pretty much

    • Chuck Johnson

      The halfwits who purchased and deployed this dangerous fraud were co-conspirators.

  • Scenario

    I somewhat disagree with the argument above. TV’s before cable usually came with two antennas. A VHF antenna which allowed you to watch channels two to thirteen. This antenna was a long straight rod that stuck out strait up from the TV. This antenna could be made longer or shorter and be turned in any direction. It was generally pretty good at picking up the local channels. Since the major networks, CBS, ABC and NBC were almost always on VHS channels many people were happy with these antennas. (This is one of the reasons that many tvs didn’t come with remote controls, since you had to get up and move the antenna every time you changed the channel anyway.)

    The second type antenna was the UHF antenna. It allowed people to watch all of the channels above channel 13. Most of the independent channels were there. So If you wanted to watch local sports or local movie channels, you needed to access UHF channels. The UHF antenna that came with the set usually looked like a wire coat hanger bent into a circle, which it frequently was if you broke or lost the original antenna. Because TV signals were directional, you sometimes had to move the entire TV to a different part of the room to get reception with these type antennas. Because the antennas were attached to the back of the set with limited mobility, they were frequently placed between the wall and the TV which limited reception.

    Third party companies invented top of the TV antennas that were better than the original cheap antenna that came with the set. Since they sat on top of the set, they could be moved to get the clearest signal. This product is a typical example of a TV top antenna. It probably worked reasonably well. It’s cost doesn’t seem to be out of line with what it would cost at your local K-mart. The ad uses big words to make it sound great but it doesn’t really promise anything that the antenna can’t do. This makes it different than religion.

    If this antenna were marketed like religion, it would be saying things like,”Do you miss watching your home team just because you’ve moved 1000 miles away from where you grew up. Well you’re in luck. With our new Jesus approved antenna, you can watch any TV channel from any place in the world at any time, if you have enough faith. The Faithomatic 2000 uses the latest Jesus approved Christian, bible based technology. And it only costs four easy payments of $49.95. …”

    • I see the value of antennas if you don’t have one. My objection to the original ad was its implication that it would do more than what an antenna would do.

      • Scenario

        The antennas that came with tv’s before cable took over were useless if you wanted to watch channels that originated from more than a few miles away. Most people who lived in an urban area bought something like this. The advertisement doesn’t lie. It’s like advertisements that say “Our water has zero calories.” Since all water has zero calories, they’re not lying. Good advertisements always try to make their product sound better than their rivals without actually lying. People believe what they want to believe. Put enough !!! and some people think the antenna will cure cancer.

  • ptbren

    I actually enjoy Christianity for it’s ASMR value. Something about that smarmy conman sales pitch that’s so tingly and relaxing.

    • ASMR is a thing for me, too, but certainly not with Christian con men!

  • Jack Baynes

    I remember the 80s as the time when cable DIDN’T require a bulky decoder box. You just plugged your TV in to the wall and you were good to go.

    • Chuck Johnson

      At first.
      But then they added more channels and you needed a box to get the higher ones.

      • al kimeea

        4 boxes now – phone, router, media hub and tv – on all the time. Considering total power off…

        • Chuck Johnson

          50s and 60s when the family came home, the TV went on right away.
          Never a thought about watching or not watching.
          Now, I don’t watch the TV.

        • al kimeea

          ya, I was more outside but did see a lot of TV. Don’t watch much now. Those four boxes are on all the time, not TV. I coulda been more clear.

  • Chuck Johnson

    Don’t forget Sea Monkeys and X-Ray Specs !
    https://tinyurl.com/yb4balty

    • al kimeea

      I wanted Sea Monkeys. Was told they were brine shrimp. I had already eaten bigger cousins. The X-ray specs were tantalizing so I opened an encyclopaedia to X and started looking at what that meant. I moved onto that submarine…

      • Otto

        My first scam was the army men. They were flat pieces of plastic, not even close to what was advertised. It was a cheap lesson I have never forgotten.

        • al kimeea

          I did get the scuba divers, minutes of unbridled enjoyment

    • Giauz Ragnarock
      • Chuck Johnson

        A Nazi Jew !
        Read the Youtube comments.
        That Harold Von Braunhut caricature is like Frank Sinatra and Mel Brooks.
        It reminds me that Sea Monkeys and acid trips were popular around the same time.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Yeah, I wanted to save that horrific irony as a surprise.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Folk can be strange. Like Jacobus Capitein, a freed black slave who got educated and then wrote a dissertation on the rights of Christians to have slaves.

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

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          He and Darth Vader sound vaguely similar… though I don’t think Vader built any orphanages or schools (apprenticeships to assassinate the Emperor not withstanding).
          ((..-.||.-..)
          /|O)¥(O|
          _Y/||°||Y_
          ,,)°::::/°(,,

  • Snagglefritz Sagenschnitter

    In Australia in the 1970s, B&W TVs cost about $200. In the lead up to the introduction to color TV some dealers (Ernsmiths was one) began selling “colour compatible” TVs for $800. Customers assumed they were colour TVs and expected to see their favourite shows in colour when the chageover occurred. But no – the over-priced TVs were just the old fashioned B&W sets with a sales gimmick. They were colour compatible alright – they could pick up the colour transmissions – and you could watch them in black and white!

    • al kimeea

      also a colour converter screen to place on the B&W box for a realistic image – iirc, sheet of translucent plastic split into 3 horizontally – from the top: blue,clear or pink(?) and green on the bottom

      • Chuck Johnson

        It was pink.

        The top (blue) represented the sky.
        The middle (pink) represented human flesh tones.
        The bottom (green) represented the grass.

        Just as with progressive Christianity, it was a metaphorical picture of our universe.

        • al kimeea

          LOL

          later

          some human flesh tones

  • al kimeea

    Guaranteed not to utilize, replicate, transmit or interfere with any satellite signal.

    I knew someone who thought the reverse was happening to his masted antenna at his cottage. The neighbour’s dish attracted the signals from space. I chose not to raise the issue, because I once saw him chase a bear away with his bare hands.

    • Michael Neville

      What do you call a man who can chase a bear away with his bare hands?

      SIR!

      • al kimeea

        Then we went back to chip-and-putt, approaching the corner

        Mr. W, always.

      • TheMountainHumanist

        Teddy Roosevelt

    • Tangent: I remember the story of some guy who built and sold pirate satellite TV descramblers. Without them, the TV signals were garbage, but with them, you could watch pay TV without paying the monthly fee.

      It’s kind of hard to be visible to your customers without also being visible to the authorities, and he went to court. One of his arguments was, “If you don’t want me to watch your TV channel, don’t put the signal in my bedroom.” Doesn’t address any laws he might’ve broken, but a clever retort, I thought.

      • Greg G.

        If you don’t want me to ignore your “No Parking” sign, then don’t put it up.

      • al kimeea

        Actually, in the 80’s my F-I-Law worked on the electronics in aircraft and some guy in the shop made a little box with a knob for “tuning” and a foot long wire you wrapped around the cable. Pay-TV for free, although the picture wasn’t exactly as nice.

  • Nicholas

    Hi Mountain Humanist.

    (1) The part about what I have seen in Greece was just a quick note; and then to be made part of an OVERALL REPLY to Bob AFTER HE WROTE BACK. I have not had time (just too busy, sorry!) but will get to it AS SOON as I can.

    (2) I had replied to another individual who sent something to me, Kodie. He then replied back with VILE comments, and noting how (i) I should be be prepared to be challenged (ii) prepare for debate (iii) and how I got onto the discussion site. I replied back quite angrily, noting over 2 posts (as he sent a 2nd, toned down, item):

    (A) “I am NOT ranting against atheists; have your beliefs. DOES NOT CONCERN ME. Just try and not make these offhand ‘Christianity is a scam’ remarks. Keep those to your inner circle! But here are my “key points” for yourself.”

    (B) “… 2,000 years of DOCUMENTATION and other things seen by so many, and you guys ask to be challenged; ask for DEBATE! Do that amongst yourselves. Makes more sense, no? Are you going to change ANY (even one) Christian’s mind with your posts and snide remarks.”

    (C) “You are, again sadly, more proof of the type of lives I have seen too many people that are atheist live (more coincidences I guess!!!!). UNHAPPY, BITTER, ANGRY.”

    (D) “Just to know, as to ‘who brought me here’, I ONLY replied when I saw Bob’s post on the “Christianity” site! I think that kind of material is better suited perhaps for the “Pagan post” or “Atheist almanac”, etc. sites. My issue after your query was with the site.”

    (E) “As noted, I will reply civilly, as I did to yourself (KODIE) in the first post, to Bob later this week. Got a feeling will not see any remarks like your own!”

    If you like, you can ask Bob to send you a copy of the reply when kit is done.

    Nick

    • Kodie

      Yeah, you sound so balanced.

      • Pofarmer

        What the hell was that?

  • Ignorant Amos
  • Ignorant Amos

    If only YahwehJesus used Paypal…that religion wouldn’t last the craic.

  • After graduating from college, I was in despair. Being a Spanish and later English major with a newborn, I slowly started accepting my fate of being a stay-at-home mom who would barely be able to make the ends meet. Studying art, literature or humanities in general is still seen as a whim of one’s character and never a serious aspiration that might provide you with a stable life. Maybe it’s true. However, the value of the humanities is that they keep us humans, they spark our spirit back to life even in times of darkness and they teach us to see things beyond the surface.(The Role of Humanities in our lives – https://order-essays.com/the-role-of-humanities-in-our-lives/ )