Theology, the Queen Clown of Sciences (Plus the Argument From Dullness)

Theology, the Queen Clown of Sciences (Plus the Argument From Dullness) June 14, 2019

Father Dwight Longenecker (a Patheos blogger in the Catholic channel) has developed a new Christian apologetic, the Argument from Dullness. Here it is: atheism is really dull.

That’s it. There’s not really any substantive conclusion like “God exists” or “The gospel story is historically accurate” like the typical apologetic.

Genesis

I may have instigated this groundbreaking new argument. I wrote two posts about the new Pew study showing how religion would change over the next 35 years and had a few discouraging words for a commentary Longenecker had written. I alerted him in case he wanted to respond. Nope. He finds theism/atheism arguments to be dull—“one gigantic yawn,” he said.

So I like intellectual arguments and discussion, and he doesn’t. That’s fine. But apparently that inspired him to respond with “Atheism is Just So… Dull.”

The problem

Here’s the problem as Father Dwight sees it.

[Atheists are] all so serious all the time. So unimaginative. So pedantic and literal and dull.

I mean, what can be more tiresome than someone who’s always rabbiting on about “Facts” or “Evidence” or “Arguments for the Existence of God . . .”

Yeah, that’s atheists all over—trying to sift reality from nonsense. It’s a thankless job, but someone has to do it. You certainly aren’t. You make the incredible claims and don’t much care to back them up with evidence, and the atheists must hold you to account.

Stop being so seriously dangerous to society, and we won’t have to be so serious in return. You’re a clown saying, “Turn that frown upside down!” but we’re cleaning up your mess. For example:

  • “In God We Trust” as a motto in a country governed by a secular constitution
  • Christianity in government, with politicians climbing over each other to show how Christian they are and bragging how little they care about science plus a de facto religious test for public office.
  • Creationism in schools
  • Ken Ham’s Ark project allowed to both discriminate in hiring and get state tax benefits
  • pedophile priests
  • Catholic takeover of hospitals, where Catholic dogma overrides patients’ needs
  • Catholic opposition to abortion rights and same-sex marriage

The wall of separation between church and state is a dike leaking with a thousand constitutional insults. Father Dwight is the Cat in the Hat who leaves a wake of destruction, but he’s fun! Who cares whether his supernatural worldview is correct?

Religion is interesting!

Dwight lists examples of how fun religion is, but atheists can see eccentric religions as an anthropologist just like any Catholic.

  • “We have Christmas with all that good stuff like presents and St Nicholas and Black Peter”! (You mean the Black Peter who hauls off bad children in a sack back home to Spain? Yeah, fun.)
  • “They swim naked in the Ganges and say [it’s] something holy—and are they wrong?” (Hemant Mehta said: “Yes, they’re completely wrong. I’ve been to the Ganges. It ain’t holy. It’s disgusting.”)
  • Jews have cool hats! And Catholics have fun hats, too! (Don’t forget the dresses. You do know that everyone else is laughing at Catholics’ outlandish clergy, not with them, right? They look like wizards.)
  • “Snake handlers and people who speak in tongues and faith healers and televangelists”! (Yeah—Protestantism’s greatest hits. These are no asset.)
  • “Even the wacko religions are more interesting than atheism”! He lists Mormons’ special underwear, Scientologists’ e-meters, and Jehovah’s Witnesses’ obsession with the End. (You want wacko? How about a pope that rejected condom use to help prevent the spread of HIV? Or the Catholic hierarchy that moves pedophile priests around to avoid prosecution? Or a church that thinks nothing about the carrying capacity of the earth and fights against not just abortions but contraception as well?)
  • Cathedrals! (Each is a celebration of Man’s inventiveness and skill.)
  • “Show me an atheist building as wonderfully kooky as a Baroque church”! (I give you the Large Hadron Collider—$10 billion of shameless awesomeness.)

Atheism is one big denial of most everything that is infinite, that is wonderful, that is far out and unbelievable and unbelievably true. Religion, on the other hand, is interesting because, rather than close down all that is infinite and wonderful and strange and inexplicable it opens up to all that.

Wrong. Religion is mental shackles, it’s blinders, it’s make-believe. Drop religion to see reality clearly. Read stories of ex-Christians who are much happier now that they can follow the evidence where it leads rather than shoulder religion’s cognitive dissonance.

Religion is constrained by Man’s limited imagination. Replace the God goggles with science glasses and you get the universe.

And atheism is boring

Father Dwight’s initial post got pushback from the Friendly Atheist and Danthropology, so he published a rebuttal in which he doubled down on his original position: Christianity is fun, while atheism is “mind crushingly boring.”

This is one of the distinctive marks of a true religion: [its] followers are joyful. They know how to laugh.

Hey there, starving boy—here’s a Bible and a happy-face shirt! Now let’s see a smile!

Joyful is nice, but don’t give me that in place of accuracy. I hate to be a buzz kill, but is it true? First show me that your supernatural beliefs are correct—y’know, sift through all that boring argumentation and evidence—and then we’ll have something to celebrate.

[Believers] take God seriously, but they do not take themselves seriously.

You think this describes all Christians? You need to get out more.

[Believers] laugh at the human foibles and frailties in their religion.

That’s what you take from the Bible? The Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, the genocide of the Canaanites, advice on how to beat slaves—each a reason for a good chuckle? You’ve got a god cobbled together from human foibles and frailties.

Don’t have such a dangerous religion and we’ll have more to laugh at.

For anyone to slam atheists as dull
because we rely on evidence and reason
to decipher the truth is hardly a criticism at all.
It’s a sign that the best your side has to offer
is creative fiction.
Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist

.

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 5/27/15.)

Image from Tao WU, CC license
.

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  • NS Alito
    • Atheisticus

      I love xkcd.com.

  • NS Alito

    Atheist writers are the most boring of all!
    Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Harlan Ellison, Ken Follett, Stieg Larsson, UK Le Guin, Jack London, HP Lovecraft, Pablo Neruda, Larry Niven, Sir Pterry, Philip Roth, Maurice Sendak, GBS, Robert Louis Stevenson, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., HG Wells

    • Cozmo the Magician

      Heinlen

      • NS Alito

        I aborted in the first few pages of my first Heinlen book, when he introduced a woman character who was “not afraid of her sexuality.” Massive eyeroll. I really didn’t need that kind of shit.

      • NS Alito

        I aborted in the first few pages of my first Heinlen book, when he introduced a woman character who was “not afraid of her sex‌uality.” Massive eyeroll. I really didn’t need that kind of shi‌t.

        • I also had a hard time getting into Heinlein for that reason. He seemed stuck in 50s stereotypes. Still, he’s a scifi pioneer.

        • NS Alito

          I’ll grant he’s a pioneer. I didn’t like Libertarian Pournelle, either, by himself, but I enjoyed his Lu‌cifer’s Hammer collaboration with Niven.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Without any context it is difficult to understand your position. R.A.H. had many intelligent, strong willed, brave and moral women in his stories. Also keep in mind that the way a character is described by themself or others in a story does NOT reflect the author’s actual beliefs.

          If you are trying to imply that R.A.H. was some kind of sexists mysoginist I think you know very little about the man or his vast works.

          And interestingly, I am unable to find the quote you recall. Possibly you are thinking of something someone else said. Or even a quote fabricated that someone applied R.A.H.’s name to.

        • NS Alito

          IIRC, she had long red hair.

        • Illithid

          That’s about half the women in his books. He wrote his wife Ginny in a lot. I won’t disagree with your assessment; his work sometimes has that jarring effect on me, too, when you read a phrase or attitude that was perfectly acceprable or even progressive at the time, but not now.

          It made me laugh when Bob said he seemed stuck in 50’s stereotypes, since he was actually writing then.

        • He was writing sci fi in the 50s. Ideally, he should plausibly project all aspects of his society into the future.

          Of course, this is just one not-especially-literary person’s evaluation that his women were very stuck in the 50s, so give this criticism little weight.

        • NS Alito

          Contemporary Asimov had lots of women described in terms of their expertise. Asimov good.

    • Rudy R

      Atheist comedians like George Carlin, Ricky Gervais, John Cleese, Larry David, Bill Maher and Seth MacFarlane are really boring too!

      • Greg G.

        Add Sam Kinison to the list.

        • Rudy R

          Great addition.

        • Pofarmer

          Sarah Silverman.

        • Rudy R

          Another great addition.

    • Michael Murray

      Tolkien ?

      • NS Alito

        Catholic, I think.

        • Michael Murray

          Yes I know. I was just suggesting some good writers who aren’t atheists to be annoying.

        • epeeist

          Hey, at least you didn’t mention C.S. Lewis, not only annoying but a bad writer as well.

        • Michael Murray

          Exactly. I didn’t see him as supporting my case. The one thing I’ve learnt from apologetics is you don’t need to declare the evidence against your case!

          What was Chesterton like as a writer ? My exposure is limited to watching Father Brown on TV which I assume has very little to do with the original.

        • epeeist

          What was Chesterton like as a writer ?

          Mostly dull, the only book of his I have liked is The Man Who Was Thursday. The Father Brown stories are plodding and predictable. I much prefer Dorothy L. Sayers

        • Pofarmer

          I tried to read “The Everlasting Man” and found his arguments so fallacious I never made it into the book.

        • Sample1

          Found a free audio version for The Silmarillion just yesterday. I think I’ve only read it once completely, long ago. Narrated by Martin Shaw, it’s excellent. Now Tolkien, he could write. Agreed about Lewis, meh.

          Mike, excommunicated

        • Carol Lynn

          Well, Tolkien’s stories don’t have much to do with the glorification of religion per se the way Lewis’s do. It’s as odd as saying, “Science is intrinsically Christian because some scientific discoveries were made by Christians.” Why would a work of fiction be intrinsically religious or not-religious depending on the beliefs of the author? Would any one of the atheist authors above be incapable of writing a story with a strong religious background or positive religious spin just because they themselves are atheist if it made for a good story (and not the drek that most ‘Christian’ writers manage to get published)?

          There’s no ‘revealed religion’ in Tolkien’s legendarium at all. None of his characters would understand a fundy’s insistence on the sinner’s prayer or religion thinking a baptism could make a difference to the outcome after death. Many people have put a specific religious angle on Tolkien, but it’s not demanded by the text. I’m not arguing that Tolkien or his works are ‘atheist’ in any way, because they are not, but Tolkien went out of his way to make any applicability of his own religious background obscure. I mean, sure, the quest starts on Christmas day and ends at Easter-time, but not realizing that does not detract a whit from the story.

        • NS Alito

          I read a lot of them, too.

        • epeeist

          Catholic, I think.

          Conservative Catholic at that.

  • larry parker

    You know what’s fun? Commenting on articles that I read. Can’t do that on Longenecker’s blog.

    • It’s the little things in life that really matter, y’know?

    • Pofarmer

      Ah. First blog I was ever banned from. He doesn’t like you questioning Fall theology, apparently. Or much of anything else.

      • You never forget that first time, do you? Ah, memories. I’m tearing up …

    • My habit now is that when I see an article that I suspect I’m going to hate, I look for comments. If I can engage with the content, the time to read it might be worthwhile (at least, that’s what I tell myself). If I can’t, it’s a waste.

  • “Even the wacko religions are more interesting than atheism”

    Why does this guy think that atheism is meant to be interesting? It’s a single position on a single question. Why do they never seem to get it? I don’t think Big Foot skepticism is particularly interesting either.

    If Longnecker wants to talking about something interesting, he should talk about secular humanism, which is closer to a religion than atheism ever could be. Alternately, take a look at science, which is fabulously interesting.

    • abb3w

      Heck, there’s even some spiffy corners of mathematics (the language underpinning science) that are weird as anything. My favorite “what the hell” bit of mathematics is the Banach-Tarski paradox sphere dissection.

      • Cozmo the Magician

        FFS what word triggered the CensorShip in my comment THIS time…
        Ohh I bet I know:

        Topology can be a real blast. Give a fundie a mobius ‘st&#8203rip’ and watch head go asplody (:

        Edit: Ayup st&#8203rip is such a NAUGHTY EVIL MEAN WORD.
        and that Ampersand#8203 works fine IF you know ahead of time what words is causing baby jesus to cry

        • Jim Jones

          Here – banned words: http://disq.us/p/228afq7

        • NS Alito

          Funny, I see a möbius strip as a metaphor for some of the more long-winded theo‌logical arguments that are too convoluted to be called circular arguments.

        • abb3w

          So, THAT’S why the fundies’ heads go splode on encountering one.

      • Jim Jones

        I’m watching Jim Al-Khalili on quantum mechanics. Which makes my brain scream like a goosed soprano.

        • abb3w

          I’ve heard mixed things on him. My impression is that he’s better on physics than on biology or general philosophy.

        • epeeist

          I’ve heard mixed things on him.

          He is pretty good on The Life Scientific

      • Gabriel’s Horn is a fascinating bit of math. Take the curve 1/x from 1 to infinity. Rotate it around the x-axis to get a horn or trumpet kind of shape. The surface area is infinite, but the volume is finite. So you could fill it with paint … but you couldn’t paint it.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel%27s_Horn

        But yeah, Jesus using two tries to get spit-mud to cure blindness is probably riviting. Or God putting the bad tree where Eve would find it. Or Elisha finding an ax head that fell into the water. If you’re into that kind of fiction.

        • I remember my first year calculus prof telling me about this, but I think you mean 1/(x^2), rather than 1/x. The integral of 1/x doesn’t converge, but 1/(x^2) does.

          https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=intergal(1%2Fx,+1,+infinity)

          https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=intergal(1%2F(x%5E2),+1,+infinity)

        • That sounds better!

        • NS Alito

          I loveses the Internet!

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          yes, but that’s not the integral you’d use to calculate the area/volume of gabriel’s horn, which is given by revolving x -> 1/x around the x-axis, and in the case of the area you do want the integral to diverge.

        • and in the case of the area you do want the integral to diverge.

          Then how are you going to get a finite volume for an infinite length horn?

          If the integral diverges then the volume will be inifinte, will it not? It’s been over 20 years since I looked at this, and I rarely put my math education into practice, but something about using 1/x (rather than 1/x^2) doesn’t seem to work at first glance.

          What am I missing about this? Wouldn’t the 2-d area under the curve act as a lower bounds for the 3-d volume?

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          bob gave the link to the wikipedia page. there you find the calculation for area and volume. in the case of the volume you calculate pi*integral f(x)^2 (from 1 to a first, then you let a go to infinity). if f(x) = 1/x, then you end up with f(x)^2 = 1/x^2 as the integrand.

        • Ah, because the volume of a cylinder is calculated as πr^2h.

          The strange paradox of this is that in two dimensions you have infinite area, but finite area by rotating into three dimensions. 1/x turns into 1/x^2 in the volume calculation. Just goes to show that sometimes the third dimensions isn’t extraneous.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          yes. if you calculate the area under a function (define the riemann integral) you use a bunch of rectangles (riemann sums). in this case you end up with cylinders (by rotating the rectangles around the x-axis), which makes the integral for calculating the volume intuitively understandable.

        • Greg G.

          The surface area is infinite, but the volume is finite. So you could fill it with paint … but you couldn’t paint it.

          So if you make the units small enough, it wouldn’t take much paint to fill it but you still couldn’t paint it. >Head explodes while thinking about paint makes an interesting splatter pattern on walls<

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          real paint isn’t really 2-dimensional. one could model a “splatter pattern” on a flat surface as a function IR^2 -> IR (the height or thickness at each point), which can be non-zero everywhere but also arbitarily small. it’s not that difficult to come up with a function which “covers” an infinite area but bounds a finite volume (even the whole plane). for example: the probability density of a bivariate normal distribution …

        • Pofarmer

          Reminds me of an episode of myth busters. Lol.

        • abb3w

          Yeah, the horn seems another fun one. (Wikipedia suggests it triggered theological debate circa the 17th century.)

    • Doubting Thomas

      Why does this guy think that atheism is meant to be interesting?

      They just can’t help it. If the Christianity they offer is a worldview that offers fun, morality, eternal bliss, community, etc., then they criticize atheism for not offering those things. You could tell them (and most of them have probably hear it) a thousand times that that’s not the case, but they need something to be mad at so they are amazingly adept at being obtuse.

      • And, as I tried to point out in my comment, atheism doesn’t try to offer a replacement for Christianity, but secular humanism sure does. Secular humanism has a rich history, with plenty of ideas, and always has room at the table for new ideas.

        As skeptics, we tend to speak a lot about atheism, but atheism only tells a tiny fraction of our story. Humanism has a lot to offer those who want a rich worldview without the need for the supernatural.

        • Doubting Thomas

          And that’s exactly why they ignore secular humanism. It can offer real things (morality, community, fun, etc) without all the nonsense (eternal bliss, zombies that love you, demon pigs, etc). So instead they chastise atheism for not doing what is was never supposed to do in the first place.

          It’s much easier that way.

        • adhoc

          “And that’s exactly why they ignore secular humanism.”

          Yeah, but secular humanism does rake in the dough like nonsense does. And the nonsense doesn’t have to show results, or prove they have a product.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Which just goes to demonstrate secular humanism’s superior morality.

        • NS Alito

          Humanism has a lot to offer those who want a rich worldview without the need for the supernatural.

          To be fair, supervillainy can have a rich worldview, too.

        • To be fair, supervillainy can have a rich worldview, too.

          And it’s different from Catholicism in what meaningful way?! 😉

        • NS Alito

          No need for the supernatural rigamarole.

    • Michael Murray

      You are exactly right. But I suspect he sees apologism as being about winning some kind of cultural war not a logical argument. To some extent he has a point. He needs kids to think Catholicism is cool. Remarkably when you look at World Youth Day some do.

      • He needs kids to think Catholicism is cool.

        All I can say is “good luck with that.” There’s a reason that the pews are stuff with old geezers.

  • Father Dwight’s position: “Christianity is fun, while atheism is “mind crushingly boring.”

    Let’s not forget that Dwight is a Catholic, and catholic masses last hours. Meanwhile, atheism lets us stay at home on Sundays and play video games, or we can go out on a bike ride, or a nice walk in the park. Also, we have an added perk, in that we get to avoid being sexually abused by priests.

    • , and Catholic masses last hours.

      Really? As a former Catholic, I don’t ever remember going to any mass that lasted longer than an hour. They were always incredibly boring, but I don’t remember them ever taking hours.

      • My wife is a catholic, and she assures me that they often last hours. In fact, I know at least some of them last hours, because I’ve been to a few of them. Sure, you can go to what she calls the “short mass” (which only seems like it lasts hours), but my wife’s parents seem to think they aren’t real masses.

        • I consider myself fortunate in my ignorance.

        • I just looked it up online, and the consensus seems to be that the average Sunday mass is around an hour (unless they have some other business to perform). However, different churches seem to have different guidelines, so maybe my wife’s family go to a church that’s more strict. Also, since the only masses I’ve been to have been special events (marriages, confirmations, etc.) that might explain why my experience is that they’re longer. Plus, my wife’s family often like to stay after mass to talk to the priest. Yeah, they’re THAT catholic.

        • adhoc

          The Catholic church my elementary school was associated with had lots of masses.

          Tuesday(only while school was in session)
          9:00 AM
          Wednesday
          6:00 PM
          Friday(only while school was in session)
          9:00 AM
          Saturday
          6:00 PM
          Sunday
          7:30 AM
          9:00 AM
          10:30 AM
          12:00 PM
          1:30 PM

          There were three priests at the church, they would rotate Masses so they could chat with folks before Mass and those that were still around after the next Mass had started.

          Each Mass lasts an hour, with 30 minutes for folks to leave and arrive.

          Now, Catholic weddings, that involve a Mass, can be long.

          The only other reason I can see for a Mass taking such a long time, is that there was 500 people(our school’s church could hold 500-600 people) and only one person handing out communion. This is why Easter and Christmas mass tend to run long, because more people show up. The church countered this by having more people hand out Jesus crackers. You really gotta know how to move the people through line on those big money days.

        • NS Alito

          Also, since the only masses I’ve been to have been special events
          (marriages, confirmations, etc.) that might explain why my experience is
          that they’re longer.

          Those are the worst! Not only is the attendance (and Communion) greater, but there are generally longer hymns and, especially, the priest gets to give a special long sermon to infrequent (but now forced) attendees.

        • RichardSRussell

          The doc says you might wanna have that suspicious mass looked at. Just sayin’.

        • NS Alito

          IIRC, the variables are
          (1) length of the Communion line
          (2) length of the sermon
          (3) length of the chosen hymns or choir pieces
          The ritual parts just move right along.

        • They may last 45 minutes. That said, the only ones that I know that can last hours are vigils, as in the Holy Week.

      • Cozmo the Magician

        This is NOT what scientists call the ‘Missing Mass’ problem. O_o

        • NS Alito

          Ouch.

    • Jim Jones

      Atheism: more chocolate and less sodomy.

  • abb3w

    “So unimaginative”. Odd; my impression is that LARPers tend to be slightly less religious than the population overall.

    It’s not that atheists don’t enjoy fiction; however, they seem to dislike conflating it with fact.

    • al kimeea

      yes, Harry Potter books do not teach witchcraft that works

      I was shocked when a born again coworker mentioned that quirk of the series. So I lurked a few xian sites. Wow. Apparently, there is no greater imagination than god…

      • epicurus

        I wonder how many though have actually watched it. The born again evangelicals I know all refuse to watch or read any of it because it contains witchcraft.

      • Nor Dungeons & Dragons how to cast spells or realize ceremonies to summon dark gods.

      • abb3w

        Harry Potter books do not teach witchcraft that works

        Probably. I’ve never tried any of the provided incantations while waving a walnut wand with a core of dragon’s heartstring; I suspect most other people haven’t either.

        • al kimeea

          Apparently, people in SAfrica have the ability to cast a spell and call down lightning down to a science, a lefty science…

  • Atheisticus

    [Believers] take God seriously, but they do not take themselves seriously.
    You think this describes all Christians?

    Hell, this doesn’t even describe all Catholics.

    That whole column reaks of Trumpian disdain for reality.

    ‘Truth? Who cares about that. Truth is what the Bible and I say it is.”

    Religion is the most dishonest way of looking at the real world in existence.

  • Greg G.

    Off topic:

    I just learned a trick to use naughty words.

    &#8203 is not rendered by browsers so if it is used at the beginning or in the middle of a moderation trigger word, the filter won’t recognize it.

    bo&#8203obs = bo&#8203obs

    • Cozmo the Magician

      Thank you for that. But it only works if you know WHICH word is making baby jesus cry.

      • Greg G.

        You could type out the comment in Notepad, then do a replace operation to replace all space characters with space + &#8302

        • Jim Jones

          That may not work. Replace all vowels with & # 8302 plus vowel.

        • Greg G.

          It might make a difference on where the non-joiner goes. “A‌ss” might need it after the vowel.

          But you may be correct that this whole cr‌ock of sh‌it needs a lot of vowel movements.

      • Jim Jones

        See Banned words: http://disq.us/p/228afq7

        • ǝɹǝɥʇ ollǝɥ

        • NS Alito

          “taw‌dry”?

        • Jim Jones

          Many st‌upid words on the list.

    • wtfwjtd

      I must have triggered the filter…I have a comment that is waiting to be approved below.

    • I wonder how long it will be before Disqus starts removing any zero width spaces in comments before applying their filters? If they’re like most developers I’m guessing it won’t happen until it becomes a problem.

      • Jim Jones
      • Greg G.

        Right, when the advertisers complain, Google will put out new guidelines for filters.

        • Jim Jones

          We could start screwing with the advertisers. And tell them why.

    • MR

      I thought that existed! I briefly searched for it the other day, but didn’t come up with anything. Thank you! But, like Cozmo noted, you don’t always know which word trips the filter, I have one of those now, but I’ll totally use this for all the usual suspects God &#8203damn it! I don’t give a &#8203shit what the censors say!

      • Jim Jones
        • MR

          Oh, my God, I still have no idea, but I sure was laughing my &#8203ass off.

      • Greg G.

        I still can’t believe “urgent” was on the list. Plus the Old Testament book “Job” gets a post moderated.

    • Jim Jones
    • A “zero-width space”? Now you see the silver lining in curious present predicament. We’re improving our HTML skills!

    • NS Alito

      For zero-width non joiner, I think Right Wing Nut Job with a ‘Z’.

      sh&zwnj;it becomes sh‌it.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    OT: but this is insane. the word S&#8203TRIP is a ‘bad word’ yeah.. go figure.. So here are the totally EVIL things we have to play games to discuss here…

    S&#8203TRIP malls. S&#8203TRIP mines. Test S&#8203TRIPs for diabetics. The Mobius S&#8203TRIP. The Peanuts Comic S&#8203TRIP. The Las Vegas S&#8203TRIP the list goes on and on and on..

    But hey at least it still OK for priests to m&#8203olest little kids.

    • NS Alito

      No discussion of brea‌st cancer, or Vir‌gin Mary or her wo‌mb or holy tam‌pon or Di‌ck Clark or fly‌ing spag‌hetti or mon‌ster.

      • Ingeborg Nordén

        Speaking of that last censored term: here’s a protest meme I created when I thought the ban was Disqus-wide (not just on Patheos).

        http://fav.me/dd8ulmi

        • More embarrassing: words like Muslim and Mohammed are on the list.

        • Ingeborg Nordén

          That could get extremely awkward in the section of Patheos dedicated to (ahem) the religion with the Arabic holy book. Catholics will have trouble discussing Mary’s miraculous pregnancy; and all Christians will have to pretend that the Bible has one less book. (Chances are good that the next software update may counter the ZWNJ workaround; I’m paraphrasing auto-modded terms just in case.)

  • Ann Kah

    OK, what triggered the moderation this time?

    • epicurus

      Disqus now looks into your heart to find any impurity or uncleaness. Only the truly righteous may post.

  • Rudy R

    George Bernard Shaw’s quote comes to mind when I hear theists claim they are so much more happier, or in this case, so much more fun than atheists: “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality of happiness, and by no means a necessity of life.”

  • Jim Jones

    > “Show me an atheist building as wonderfully kooky as a Baroque church”! (I give you the Large Hadron Collider—$10 billion of shameless awesomeness.)

    I’ll give you the Apollo 11 mission when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed their Apollo Lunar Module (LM) on July 20, 1969, and walked on the lunar surface. All three men landed safely on Earth on July 24. Five subsequent Apollo missions also landed astronauts on the Moon, the last in December 1972. In these six spaceflights, twelve men walked on the Moon.

    On the moon!

    “Science, bi‌tches, ‘cos you can’t pray that sh‌it into space!”.

    • Have you seen the Onion front page for that date? Find out what the astronauts and Mission Control really said. (The Patheos naughty list would have a field day.)

      https://i.imgur.com/o7GJYDW.jpg

    • Apollo is a great example. I used the LHC because it’s a fixed thing you can visit, like a church (which was Longenecker’s example).

      • Jim Jones

        When they can fly a cathedral to the moon I’ll be impressed.

        • Len

          When they can pray it there, I’ll be more impressed.

    • I’ve heard from older relatives in the religion that right up to the actual Apollo 11 landing there were people thinking God would block it because of their interpretation of the obscure verse:

      The heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to mankind. (Psalm 115:16)

      (I would have thought if God was worried about people being off the ground he would have acted earlier – maybe blocking the amazing Apollo 8, striking down Sputnik, or even preventing planes from being developed).

      • bluearkie

        I remember one evangelical who claimed it was impossible to walk on the moon because it was just a light, like a light bulb.

        • One of the things that interests me about the Apollo 8 mission (first men in orbit around the moon) was that they read from the Genesis creation account – and yet they showed a completely different universe from the one in Genesis.

          Bill Anders said about the first approach to the “lesser light to rule the night”:

          I can remember looking back, and suddenly becoming aware that here were all these stars, and yet there was this very sharp line. Absolutely no stars. Total blackness. And – that was the moon. … Anyway, I can remember literally feeling a little bit of a hair-on-the-back-of-the-head [sensation], thinking, “Are we falling into this black hole?”

          Then of course there’s the famous Earthrise, looking strangely like a colourful version of the moon…:
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c0e62a95b7881b9dd0b247aec77788d541b66572273f0f80a999685113dacae1.jpg

  • Gotcha!

    You said “bodily.” That’s on anyone’s naughty list.

    • wtfwjtd

      Ah, horse feathers, I’ll be a (censored). It may take me awhile to get the hang of commenting with the P@the0s P0l1ce on the Pr0wl.

  • Michael Murray

    Who cares ? The question is does God exist. Longenecker has clearly given up wanting to argue that. I wonder why ?

    • I Came To Bring The Paine

      prodies = protestants?

      • Michael Murray

        Yes sorry. Trying out my non-existent Irish accent.

  • Michael Murray

    So I guess all that study he did missed the fallacy of argument by consequences or as he no doubt prefers “argumentum ad consequentiam”.

  • It was “pre-teen.”

  • Anthrotheist

    My rebuttal would probably be more along the lines of, “Yeah, and the Bible is so boring compared to Harry Potter. I mean, one has magic and wonder and mystery and heroic struggles of good versus evil, and the other one talks a lot about God.”

  • JustAnotherAtheist2

    Contrary to Longnecker’s argument, my wonder and appreciation for the world soared immediately after dropping religious baggage. Learning what we know and why we know it was positively invigorating. Even digging through philosophical minutia like the nearly limitless errors of apologetics scratched a curiosity itch that had been long dormant.

    Perhaps I’m an exception, but I suspect this is yet another in a long line of theist projection.

    • Pofarmer

      This, right here. That’s exactly what happened to me. The World opens up, it makes sense. There are no limits to where you can dig. Longenecker is an idiot.

      • Lark62

        But is there a limit to Longenecker’s idiocy? I doubt it.

        • Pofarmer

          Genius has limits. Stupidity does not.

    • Greg G.

      my wonder and appreciation for the world soared immediately after dropping religious baggage.

      Exactly! Admiring a beautiful sunset or sunrise while considering all the refraction going on is more amazing than “godidit,” as we must always ask, “Is that the best omnipotence can do?”

      • epicurus

        If I have to conclude a god created all this, then I also have to conclude that god is a stumblebum.

    • I don’t think you’re an exception. I felt that myself, and I’ve read lots of commenters online saying the same.

    • Everytime I read an article about observations reaffirming our models about the origin and evolution of the Universe I have a feeling of awe, beauty, and magnificence “the book” does not give at all.

  • TheBookOfDavid

    So is Father Dwight ready to walk back the stale old argument of “atheism as an excuse to sin”? After all, when it comes to fun, prayer beads, funny hats, and medieval architecture are not exactly in the same league as guilt free s​ex.

  • Michael Neville

    [Believers] laugh at the human foibles and frailties in their religion.

    Does rap‍ing children count as a foible or a frailty?

    • al kimeea

      only when caught

  • TheBookOfDavid

    There’s one thing I don’t understand. If Father Dwight is the Cat in the Hat, why haven’t we heard from Thing 1 and Thing 2?

  • Michael Neville

    Medicine is boring. Medical people wear white lab coats and disposable paper suits. They do stuff that hurts like surgery and vaccines and physical therapy. They do undignified things like prost‍rate exams and mammograms. They’re no fun at all.

    Woo is exciting and fun. It has crystals and water that remembers and chakas and copper bracelets and proper alignments and aromatherapy and curing cancer with cannabis and Orgone energy (aka The Force) and cool stuff like that.

    • Len

      I always ask whether the water also remembers when it was in the sewage treatment centre. For some reason water then seems to have a very selective memory.

      • Using the logic of homeopathy–that a super-dilute dose of something that causes X will cure X–I’m guessing that water that’s been around shit might prevent being a shithead? But I’m just grasping here, of course.

        • Len

          That is definitely a good question to ask.

        • bluearkie

          That’s a very relevant question.

        • vinny152

          It all boils down to the “placebo effect”-Right??If one would only stop “thinking”-Life could be pure and simple-Minimalist-v152.

  • Len

    Religion, on the other hand, is interesting because, rather than close down all that is infinite and wonderful and strange and inexplicable it opens up to all that.

    I guess that by “religion” he means “christianity”. After all, that’s the only religion there is.
    /s

    • epeeist

      I guess that by “religion” he means “christianity”

      I guess he means his particular version of Catholicism. After all, that’s the only religion there is. /s

  • Michael Neville

    Having read Longnecker’s rebuttal to Hemat’s and Essel’s posts, he said he was being humorous and the replies were evidence that atheists have no sense of humor. Too bad the good father doesn’t allow comments on his blog or else I’d suggest to him that a clue that one is being humorous is to make one’s writing be funny. Longnecker fails in this respect.

    • epicurus

      The old pretend you were just kidding trick.

    • I’d suggest to him that a clue that one is being humorous is to make one’s writing be funny.

      😀

    • smrnda

      It’s the last refuge of the not-funny to claim that if nobody is laughing, the don’t have a sense of humor.

  • epicurus

    I took a class on the synoptic gospels from a Catholic college on the campus of my university (secular) and once the prof/priest said that mass in the old days used to last way way wayyyyy longer than it does now. Then he got a smirk on his face and said “ Because in 1600, with no tv or radio or movies, what else would you have to do with your one day off”?

  • For a practical example: The other day I went to my local theatre’s production of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, and enjoyed it. But I also remembered that one author from my former denomination who had been a big influence on me specifically condemned reading Agatha Christie as a waste of time. Maybe atheism didn’t specifically give me joy, but it gave me peace and wonder and allowed me to ignore the commands that I should put God’s requirements first in everything.

    “Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean; the world has grown grey from thy breath” – Swinburne

  • Otto

    When my daughter was 4 the make believe world in her head was far more interesting than the reality I lived in too.

    Not sure what his point is…

  • JBSchmidt

    Ever think you played into his hand? Your post is full of hostility, finger pointing and boring self righteousness. You don’t counter with the joys found in your beliefs, just reasons why Christians should be miserable like you and a pitch to be non-religious because you can indulge in any vice you want. It’s those vices that become true shackles and which Christian converts find freedom.

    The left, growing ever more non-religious, is also growing more angry, more authoritarian and far more shackled then Christians.

    • You don’t counter with the joys found in your beliefs

      And what does that have to do with the truth of said beliefs? Even if not believing in gods made everybody miserable, I would still be an advocate for skepticism regarding the existence of gods.

      and a pitch to be non-religious because you can indulge in any vice you want.

      Who thinks that because there is no God that I can simply engage in whatever activity I want? I don’t see where you got this from. I’m still accountable to others regardless of whether God exists or not. I seriously doubt Bob, or anyone else here, thinks that such a thing is a good idea.

      It’s those vices that become true shackles and which Christian converts find freedom.

      There are no vices that cannot be resolved by secular means. Religion bills itself as a panacea, but cannot show itself to be any more effective than non-religious means.

      The left, growing ever more non-religious, is also growing more angry, more authoritarian and far more shackled then Christians

      As opposed to the religious right, which is ever so kind and gentle in their ideas. The hatred they harbor for others is amazing. The far right, and the far left, have much more in common with each other than they care to admit.

    • Yes, I could’ve responded to him in a lighthearted way, but that leaves untouched some big problems problems. First, he wants to focus on the lighthearted aspects of religion–funny hats, wacky beliefs, nutty practices. I’d rather focus on the harm. Second, that’s the high-level critique of religion–how fun it is? How about how it loses the intellectual argument every time? How about how it has no evidence for its supernatural claims?

      • JBSchmidt

        “but that leaves untouched some big problems problems”

        No kidding. That is the point of being lighthearted. You continue to prove him right.

        • Otto

          Oh those wacky, lighthearted Catholic Priests…their problem is they are just too full of fun.

        • Especially when Mr. Happy wants to play.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Ow…

        • And to resolve those big problems, we should be lighthearted? Nope.

        • JBSchmidt

          If you can’t 1) stand behind your beliefs without cutting others down or 2) find common ground in some of the things he is saying; this is a you problem.

          Big problems deserve their stage, but if your claim is that all problems must be resolved before we can have a joke about each other. Then the Priest is right and you are shackled.

        • I found no common ground with Longenecker’s post. Sorry, but all the problems caused by the church must’ve put me in a bad mood.

          If you want someone to have a good laugh along with Longenecker, find someone else.

        • Kodie

          The superficial trappings of any particular religious tradition don’t make it any truer. That’s what’s wrong with Longenecker’s “argument”. Atheists point out what’s actually effed up about religions, the danger, we’re not hating on it because the priests wear funny hats and satin nightgowns.

          We’re hating on it because it’s a fantasy in denial of reality, that poisons the well against reality, that hates and fears atheism for its members, and this is the most phony and desperate grasp to hate atheists for not laughing at their funny outfits? We laugh at their funny outfits plenty, I’m pretty sure that we do that. It’s just not what’s important, and Longenecker and you can’t handle substance here. You can’t handle substantive criticism of why your beliefs are not only harmful, but false. It’s a cult, it’s brainwashing, it’s the deep power of suggestion, to not only hop when the priest says hop, and swallow a cracker, ha ha, you get to drink a thimble of wine, and that’s pretend world, that’s blood, which is kind of gross if it wasn’t actually just wine after all. Suit yourself, but these are the rituals that tell the world you belong to a special cult, and only the true cultists get to do the ritual.

          And from there, you believe many dangerous, offensive, oppressive, cruel, and regressive things that harm actual other people, and the future of humanity. Do you take that seriously? Can you support why we should follow you into dreamland to sip Jesus blood, so we can have a sense of humor too?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Since when was asking for evidence “cutting somebody down”?

        • Kodie

          He makes you all sound like cackling idiots in denial. Ha ha, the funny dresses and the stupid underwear and the Ganges River. Lol! End of the world! I had an 8-year-old I know traumatized by a classmate, another young child, telling him the world was going to end in one year. Traumatized. Longenecker is laughing his dumb butt off at the terror of an 8-year-old because those ridiculous JWs know how to make the children cry!

          So hilarious. You sick fuck.

        • Greg G.

          Who are you to be telling other people to be lighthearted? You have never come across as a lighthearted person in this forum.

        • Kodie

          If Christians were so lighthearted, why do they care if someone doesn’t believe them? Why do they get so upset when someone wants to move their illegal cross to somewhere legal? Plus, Christians don’t get sarcasm and tend to have the worst senses of humor. Lame jokes, if any! I don’t get this article.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Y’all stop lying and a busi ng, and we’ll lighten right up

        • Kodie

          I have a question about your morality then. If you can take a break to laugh about the moral problems of believing what you believe, or the beliefs of others, then what about you is better than being an atheist? I think most theists take the time to attack the actions of other theists, if they are all Christian, but only if they are Muslim. If some other Christians do something you think is outrageous, do you laugh it off? I think you just feel good about yourself that “they’re not true Christians”, and go on your merry way, without laughter. If a Muslim does just about anything you don’t like, you are on the attack immediately. So, this article and your reaction to Bob’s counter tells me you don’t know the first fucking thing about being light-hearted. You ignore serious offenses of other Christian denominations because they seem so ridiculous, but in the real world, you don’t put up a fight about ANYTHING YOU KNOW OR BELIEVE TO BE WRONG, as long as the people are other Christians. If they are Muslims, you complain with zero irony or perspective.

          You have proven yourself the least lighthearted poster, so go fuck yourself. Even Dwight Longenecker is more lighthearted than you, but he is a professional idiot, while you are just an amateur.

        • LastManOnEarth

          Call the Tone Police!

        • Greg G.

          That is the point of being lighthearted.

          There is a difference between being lighthearted and being lightheaded.

        • 😀 That’s a difference that flies over JB’s light head, I suspect.

    • be non-religious because you can indulge in any vice you want

      Where did this come from? I mean, it came from you, obviously, but how do you justify pinning this belief on me?

      growing ever more non-religious, is also growing more angry, more authoritarian and far more shackled then Christians.

      Isn’t reality important enough to believe in for its own sake? Don’t you think that believing in true things will lead to better consequences personally and nationally than believing in false things?

      And where did the angry, authoritarian, shackled come from (again, besides you)? Doesn’t fit my worldview. You’re the one who wants to shackle yourself to an imaginary character from a 2000yo book.

      • MR

        Oh, good lord, such drama kitties. They live in such a fantasy world.

        • Pofarmer

          Complete fantasy world, and it shows up in how they vote and how they govern in office.

      • JBSchmidt

        “Where did this come from?”

        Your critique of the Catholic church and its stance against abortion and open sexuality.

        “shackle yourself”

        I am shackled to nothing. I have chosen my belief based on evidence.

        “And where did the angry, authoritarian, shackled come from (again, besides you)?”

        It starts with your continued writing from a place of anger. The lighthearted and at times self deprecating humor of a priest seems to have you clutching your pearls. Not unlike the rest of the left slowly as it looses its grip on reality. Authoritarian, because world view of the left (non-religious) must now stamp out Christianity and any views that challenge it. Shackled because the left (non-religious) is now defending a gender stance that is eating its own, a sexual stance eating its own and a political class that is either 100% in tune with the current narrative or it is eliminated.

        • “Where did this come from?”
          Your critique of the Catholic church and its stance against abortion and open sexuality.

          And from that you conclude that my goal is to “indulge in any vice [I] want”?

          (1) You need to read for comprehension. (2) Not my goal.

          I am shackled to nothing. I have chosen my belief based on evidence.

          Doesn’t that belief have some shackling in it?

          “And where did the angry, authoritarian, shackled come from (again, besides you)?”
          It starts with your continued writing from a place of anger.

          Read for comprehension. When you extrapolate, you embarrass yourself.

          The lighthearted and at times self deprecating humor of a priest seems to have you clutching your pearls.

          I’m clutching a barf bag.

          Maybe if I were in a lighthearted mood, I’d let pass that he’s bypassing really important issues, but I guess I’m just not in that mood. You want me to apologize? For focusing on the important issues in life?

          Not unlike the rest of the left slowly as it looses its grip on reality.

          A groundless and meaningless jab. Nice one! I guess I should’ve expected a political agenda.

          Authoritarian, because world view of the left (non-religious) must now stamp out Christianity and any views that challenge it.

          Don’t you have a vivid imagination! Wrong again.

          And it’s nice that you can come from a conservative viewpoint and still have a bit of dignity. Good for you!

        • JBSchmidt

          You can’t help but be mad. At me, the priest, all of religion or anything that disagrees with your worldview. Your the opposite of the priest. Have you written a piece that discusses the virtues of being non-religious, without attacking that opposing view.

          As an example, you counter the Priests claims regarding church buildings with the Hadron Collider. While, I can’t dispute they are both buildings, they are hardly similar. The collider was built purely out of utilitarian need, not unlike a nuclear power plant. It has no soul (for lack of a better word). In 1000 yrs will the collider or the power plant be held in as much awe as Notre Dame, of course not. In those buildings, we see our humanity and feel that there is more to this world than the particles that make us up. Whether that feeling is fake or not, people look for it and the non-religious world view offers nothing.

          “Don’t you have a vivid imagination!”

          Actually you are wrong. With the censorship on social media and the recent discover that a right to life group was categorized as a porn site by pintrest, I am very correct.

          “A groundless and meaningless jab.”

          Again, you are incorrect as I followed it with categories that are no longer logical. Let’s take a couple of recent examples: 1) Uproar over not having pride flag at embassies. Really? Name one other group of people that has their flag flown on an embassy. 2) Men in women’s sports. This is literally mysogyny. 3) Can’t buy alcohol till you are 21, vape/smoke at 18; but a parent can reassign a child’s gender at any age. 4) Hate the pedophile priest, but praise the 10yr old dancing for dollars at the gay bar.

          If that is the non-religious reality, I want none of it.

          “And from that you conclude that my goal is to “indulge in any vice [I] want”?”

          Then you side with the church in its ideas of vices? Like, selfishness as you “kill” (Sophie Lewis) the child inside you out of convenience, indulging sexually in any fantasy you can imagine, making marriage between anything, drug use or allowing millions to to ignore their own personal responsibility and litter public spaces with homeless camps.

        • You can’t help but be mad.

          Wrong again. Wow, you suck at reading people, don’t you? Some occupations come to mind as ones that someone with your handicap shouldn’t go into . . .

          you counter the Priests claims regarding church buildings with the Hadron Collider. While, I can’t dispute they are both buildings, they are hardly similar.

          Because the LHC is useful by uncovering and verifying new beliefs and the church was built on a false belief?

          In 1000 yrs will the collider or the power plant be held in as much awe as Notre Dame, of course not.

          The LHC taught us new, accurate things about reality. Notre Dame cathedral made false claims. Yes, I see the difference.

          the non-religious world view offers nothing.

          Go out at night and hold up your hand at arm’s length. Your little fingernail covers a million galaxies. Each galaxy holds 100,000,000,000 stars.

          Thanks, science.

          Actually you are wrong. With the censorship on social media and the recent discover that a right to life group was categorized as a porn site by pintrest, I am very correct.

          You get hit on the head with an acorn, and the sky is falling. Watch something besides Fox News. I have no desire to shut down religion. I don’t care about your fantasies about the Left.

          1) Uproar over not having pride flag at embassies.

          Pride flags forbidden at embassies. So where’s your problem? Trump was able to dictate his views.

          As for the rest, society is changing. If you want to get your knickers in a twist, enjoy. I’m not interested.

          If that is the non-religious reality, I want none of it.

          Then don’t. Where’s the problem?

          Then you side with the church in its ideas of vices?

          Holy shit, you’re all over the map. The point is: don’t toss out accusations. You make groundless accusations, and then you look like an idiot when you’re corrected. You said that I want to indulge in any vice I want, but that’s not a goal of mine.

          Just be a reasonable person and the ire is much less.

          Like, selfishness as you “kill” (Sophie Lewis) the child inside you out of convenience

          ?

          making marriage between anything

          Did I say this? If not, why include it in a comment to me?

        • MR

          Another thing I learned about the nanny filter. If you have an offending word and Bob clears your comment, then you go back and edit that comment but keep the offending word, it will go back into moderation.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I’m ma d at your assumption of privilege and authoritarian overreach, both of which are ab usiv e.

          Shouldn’t I be mad about somebody abu sin g me?

        • Notre Dame is a work of art. The LHC is a work of engineering. If we do not go down the drain due to climate change or simply our own stupidity, both will be remembered for different reasons. Not to mention the reality revealed by the LHC goes above and beyond what’s that cathedral for.

          I will pray Selûne, the Night White Lady, for you.

        • Kodie

          You seem pretty delusional about atheists, so you should take a seat and listen.

        • Kodie

          As an example, you counter the Priests claims regarding church buildings
          with the Hadron Collider. While, I can’t dispute they are both
          buildings, they are hardly similar. The collider was built purely out
          of utilitarian need, not unlike a nuclear power plant. It has no soul
          (for lack of a better word). In 1000 yrs will the collider or the power
          plant be held in as much awe as Notre Dame, of course not. In those
          buildings, we see our humanity and feel that there is more to this world
          than the particles that make us up. Whether that feeling is fake or
          not, people look for it and the non-religious world view offers nothing.

          What is a cathedral’s purpose? Compared to the purpose of, say, the HOOVER DAM. Oh, look, one has the power to compel humans to the purpose of foolishness, and the other can control and distribute water. Anything built out of a utilitarian need is for humans, while you point to dumb churches as a place dumb people can sit and listen to a dumb guy tell them why they need to pay Jesus some money for the upkeep of the building.

        • Kodie

          If you weren’t so stupid, nobody would have to put you down.

        • epeeist

          I am shackled to nothing. I have chosen my belief based on evidence.

          And yet when asked for evidence, for creationism or the Noachic flood for instance, all we ever get is crickets.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The R api ng Children Church stands for authoritarian overreach and con temp t / dismissal of choice, consent, and personal agency.

        • LastManOnEarth

          Drama Queen much?

        • Greg G.

          I have chosen my belief based on evidence.

          You are doing it wrong then. You do not choose to believe based on evidence. You take the evidence seriously and believe what it tells you. Don’t make shit up and choose to pretend you have evidence, or worse, choose to believe what somebody else made up without evidence.

    • Otto

      It’s those vices that become true shackles and which Christian converts find freedom.

      Yeah…that’s the ticket.

    • LastManOnEarth

      Call the Tone Police!

    • Kodie

      Christianity is the answer to addiction?

      • No, Christianity is the answer to everything. There’s no problem that fundamentalist Christians won’t assert can’t be solved with even more Jesus. It’s the ultimate panacea, except that it doesn’t work.

    • epeeist

      You don’t counter with the joys found in your beliefs

      This isn’t a blog about Bob’s beliefs.

      just reasons why Christians should be miserable like you

      Now I know that you will ignore this, in exactly the same way you ignore any post that asks you to justify your assertions, but let’s try for it anyway. Got any justification for your claim that Bob, or any of the rest of us are miserable?

      because you can indulge in any vice you want.

      Same thing, what vices is Bob, or the rest of us, indulging in and evidence for your assertion.

      The left, growing ever more non-religious, is also growing more angry, more authoritarian and far more shackled then Christians.

      Once more to the breach with the unsubstantiated assertion.

      EDIT: missing words

    • Phil Rimmer

      The left is growing ever more rational and pragmatic about harms done to others in the name of some groups’ ideals. It always loved Jimmy Carter as a moral man and loves Pete Buttigieg. It is secular and can tell a good idea from a harmful one, whatever its source.

    • Lark62

      Boring and true is preferable to exciting and fraudulent.

      Duh

      Define freedom. There is nothing “free” about groveling before an invisible, capricious and petty tyrant why handing over your valuables to scammers.

    • al kimeea

      laugh. out. loud.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      How so?

      He lied about us, lied about his own position, and we’re supposed to blithely let him get away with it?

      YOUR KIND’s days of unchallenged supremacy are OVER.

    • bluearkie

      Life is far too short for anybody to be miserable – Christian or atheist. I am not miserable and hope we all find joy in life. Forgive me if I don’t find snake handlers, people speaking in tongues, “holy” water, or intentional stupidity to be amusing.

      • Kodie

        Considering at a time, they censored fun, they are against sexual freedom, for example, but things like heavy metal music or anything else “too much” for them, to accuse us of being too serious on one hand, while accusing us of chasing whatever makes us happy without any regard for an afterlife, because we have “no absolute morality”…. plus no Christian can take a joke or detect sarcasm to save their life. It’s sort of like this article is about how Christians throw a birthday party with a mime, and then accuse atheists of not having parties at all.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      Lol! Thanks for going out of your way to clarify that you are a Poe.

    • Thanks4AllTheFish

      “You don’t counter with the joys found in your beliefs, just reasons why Christians should be miserable like you and a pitch to be non-religious because you can indulge in any vice you want. It’s those vices that become true shackles and which Christian converts find freedom.”

      Christians don’t need to read this blog to find reasons to be miserable. They apparently relish the feeling of persecution, the constant fear of saying the wrong thing among their peers, the need to always be doing God’s will and hoping their latest transgression will be forgiven before they inevitably do it again, always looking over their shoulder, stifling their sinful inner thoughts and desires, and always worrying whether or not they are living their lives piously enough to be accepted into God’s grace. Then you build a straw man you label ‘vice’ and boast of true shackles and freedom oblivious to the irony of that statement when your religious tome calls for marginalization and victimization of fellow humans merely for being true to themselves regardless of their strength of character and/or spiritual faith.

      You are so pleased with yourself for finding a God that thinks the same way you do, that you feel the need to inform everyone else about how they are living their lives all wrong. I want you to think about that for a minute. I want you think about it because I have no problem with you worshiping whatever God you choose to worship, imposing whatever filters on your speech or behavior you feel you need to, and enjoying the freedom to ignore or reject any worldly pleasures you deem unworthy of your faith. But here’s the caveat; Don’t expect the rest of us to buy into your narrative. Most of us have been where you are now and we reject it for many, many different reasons all because we actually have the freedom to do so. Speaking for myself, it was very liberating.

      “The left, growing ever more non-religious, is also growing more angry, more authoritarian and far more shackled then Christians”

      “The left”… – Let me just stop you right there. You have no idea how ignorant and cliche-like that statement sounds. When I see someone use that phrase to preface a point, I immediately think of a person who hasn’t listened to anything that hasn’t reinforced their own cognitive biases for a very long time. We get it. You don’t like liberals, non-believers, and pretty much anyone who doesn’t Jesus juke exactly the way that you do.

      As for the rest of your statement; frankly it is pure projection. Evangelical Christians desire to take over the government of this country and impose their personal brand of toxic religion upon us all. I don’t know how you could find a more authoritarian group of people outside of Gilead.

      • Nice!

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Thanks. Likely leads to naught.

      • Greg G.

        Nailed him.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Thanks. Unfortunately, it was likely a futile effort. Some people….

      • Sample1

        Liberal and The Left, have been repeated loudly in a Big Lie way for some two to three decades now. I remember when it “started” with Limbaugh on AM radio here in the US. Even back then I sensed what he was doing. Constantly repeating the refrain, Liberal, as a bad word and attaching whatever problems he wanted to it.

        Nothing new. Scapegoating. Why have dialogue and problem solving when a single word masquerades as real thinking?

        Mike, excommunicated

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Apathetic, indifferent and uninformed people, too self-absorbed and too lacking in self-awareness to even bother to use critical thinking skills in making determinations that end up affecting mostly them.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      My joys are in the wonder of the Universe, the beautiful and the sublime, WHILE recognizing that terrible things also exist.

  • rationalobservations?

    I tend to agree that religion is fascinating.
    All those millions of undetected and undetectable gods, goddesses and god-men and all those exclusively self serving and dishonest institutions, cults and sects of religion – and nothing evidence or logic supported in any of them.

    The fact that religion is in sharp decline and the third largest and fastest growing human demographic are the godless nonreligious is not boring at all and neither are the rapidly growing number of empty redundant churches that litter the villages towns and cities of the developed world is pretty encouraging and interesting also.

    Meanwhile the nonsense of religion and religionists is amusing and sometimes downright hilarious!

    • bluearkie

      My favorite T-shirt says: “Science doesn’t care what you believe.” Religious wackos think it singles them out, but rational people know it applies to everybody.

  • Pofarmer

    What’s his excuse for still having the mentality of a pre-teen?
    Being Catholic?

  • ?? “iPhone” was the verboten word there.

    Weird.

    • MR

      It must be used a lot in scam emails.

  • tatoo

    Circuses are more interesting than daily life, but, in the end, all that is left is elephant dung.

  • Greg G.

    I like the character NS Alito showed: &zwnj;

    It means “Zero Width Non Joiner”. The zero width means the text looks the same to the eye but the non joiner means the text looks like two different words to the computer when you put it in the middle of a trigger word.

    NSA’s mnemonic for it is “right wing nut job, with a z”.

    • MR

      Yes, I’ve been using the other code you gave out. [I can say &#8203shit, &#8203fuck and &#8203damn just fine.] It seems to work even if you put it at the beginning of a word, too, but you have to know what the word is. &#8203iPhone? Really?

  • Otto

    I used to be on the CNN religious site when they allowed comments. If you used the word “Constitution” your post wouldn’t post because it had ‘t*t’ in it. All kinds of standard words were banned because of the offensive words within words.

    (I had to re-post because of the offensive 3 letter word…fainting couch to your left)

  • Lark62

    I read Longenecker’s post. It looked like the work of an above average Poe.

    I mean, what can be more tiresome than someone who’s always rabbiting on about “Facts” or “Evidence” or “Arguments for the Existence of God…”
    In comparison, consider how very, very interesting religion is.
    In religion you have curious things like happy little elephant gods or those holy water bottles with Mary and the crown unscrews at the top.

    Seriously? He thinks sane people should trade reality for an elephant god and overpriced magic water?
    And then it gets worse. He praises millennia of scams and abuse, and calls it good.

    Think of all the really very, very interesting stuff we religious people have. We’ve got snake handlers and people who speak in tongues and faith healers and televangelists. That’s all very interesting, and that’s just the Protestants. We’ve got levitating saints, incorrupt bodies of Saint Bernadette and others.
    We’ve got relics. Now that’s very interesting and curious. Have you ever seen the head of St Catherine of Siena?
    Then we’ve got visionaries and apparitions of Mary and the Turin Shroud …
    They’ve got nice stuff like those Buddhist boy monks in orange robes and shaved heads who look real cute ….

    Televangelists steal from the poor and vulnerable. Relics exist to separate the faithful from their money. And let’s not forget to celebrate the exploitation of children.

    Wow.

    That entire article is nothing more than an explanation why anti-theists are necessary.

    • bluearkie

      I would almost think Longenecker was being snarky… except that he’s too consistent.

    • Yeah, it’s pretty amazing. I suppose if you’ve already discussed at great length the many problems with supernatural beliefs, powerful human institutions like the church, and so on, you could spend a few minutes on the anthropological insights and trivia that fall out of religion study, but let’s not imagine that that’s anything more than a footnote.

      • Kodie

        I can’t remember what I was listening to or reading the other day about the saints, the difference between Europe and the US (or probably anywhere in North or South America, really). In the US, if you had a saint, we wouldn’t tear up the body, but in Europe, apparently, the bodies of saints are torn up so some place gets an arm, some place gets a foot, some place gets the other foot, etc., so every place gets a little physical remnant of a saint so you can pray to St. whomsoever’s shoulder locally instead of making a pilgrimage. In the US, for whatever reason, we get all weird about splitting up bodies. It has taken a while to get to the point where a person felt better about organ donation, i.e. going in the grave not fully intact with all their own dead organs that could have helped someone else, or donating your body to science.

        Even if you believe in heaven, why are people so warped about what happens to their body? We’ve been living inside the vehicle of the body for our whole lives, so it feels pretty personal what happens to it.

        • IIRC, a pope around 1100 declared that every church (or maybe just every cathedral) had to have a relic. That demand was happily supplied by relic creators.

        • Michael Neville

          The trade in fictitious saints’ relics was a real thing.

          Saint Philomena was a young virgin whose remains were discovered in 1802 in a Roman catacomb. Tiles on the tomb bore an inscription: Pax Tecum Filumena (Peace be unto you, Philomena), that was taken to indicate that her name was Filumena, the Latin form of Philomena. She was the patron saint of infants and babies. Her relics were placed in a church in Mugnano in 1805. Various miracles were ascribed to those relics and the church became a place of pilgrimage. In 1833 a Neapolitan nun named Maria Luisa di Gesù claimed to have received a revelation from the saint herself describing in considerable detail how the saint was a virgin martyr who was killed by Emperor Diocletian (reigned 284-305).

          It was later determined that the tomb dated from the late 4th or early 5th Century, after the persecution of Christians had ended. Nothing in Roman records from the reign of Diocletian suggested that Philomena had ever existed. She never was in the Roman Martyrology, the official listing of all saints. In 1961 the Holy Office (now the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, originally the Inquisition) ordered the removal of all mention of her from liturgical calendars. In 2005 Philomena was declared to be “probably non-existent”.

        • But at least the nonexistent Saint Philomena was able to get a few miracles done, before she was exposed.

          I dunno, but I’m starting to lose faith in the Shroud of Turin.

        • I Came To Bring The Paine

          So they raided and desecrated some poor woman’s tomb for nothing?

  • Lark62

    in a discussion of abortion, the word w o m b was nannied.

    • MR

      I saw some railings recently by Christians about censorship. Oh, the irony.

  • epicurus

    Watch longnecker become very interested in facts and evidence if a person who held to Is**m or Mor**nism told him his Cath***c was false.

  • eric

    I, too, find fiction very interesting – often more interesting than my life. But a healthy escapism doesn’t imply or require philosophical commitment.

  • Ficino

    I thought the Argument from Dullness was going to be that the Bible is so mind-numbingly dull (I even remember an old Pentecostal lady who said, “There ain’t no inspiration in Leviticus”) that only God could have inspired it. To rephrase the popular misquotation of Tertullian, “Credo quia me taedet.” (I believe because it bores me.)

    • C’mon. All those people sitting through church service, week after week, for a god who is determined to prove that he doesn’t exist? They wouldn’t do that if it weren’t true!

      Checkmate, atheists.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        LOL

  • abb3w

    On further consideration, I think terming theology the “clown of sciences” may give it too much credit. It may be a branch of philosophy, but I’m not sure its assumptions are compatible with being termed a “science”. Calling it the “Clown of philosophy” might be closer, except there’s an argument that Dialetheism may have the better claim. (Nohow, I don’t see why philosophy can’t have more than one clown; after all, it’s not unheard of for philosophy departments.)

    • It’s supposed to read “Theology, the Queen Clown of Sciences (Plus the Argument From Dullness),” but the HTML strikethrough command isn’t interpreted in all situations.

      It’s a reference to theology being “the queen of sciences” centuries ago.

      • abb3w

        Again, even calling it “clown” of sciences seems to give it too much credit.

  • Seems to me that more comments means more ads, which means more revenue. Conversely, obstacles to commenters means the reverse. But that’s just me.

    The easy answer is to allow me to put some bloggers on the trusted list so that their comments are never moderated. Lots of blogs have something like this–your first 5 comments are moderated, and then we trust you. Or some variation.

    Another obvious improvement (giving the List of Moderated Words some credit for being useful, which I’m doubtful of) would be to take ordinary English words off the list–monster, job, abortion, Islam, and so on.

    It’s a pain for me, but it’s more a pain for commenters engaged in a real-time conversation. I might not approve a comment for hours, which bogs things down.

    • Kodie

      You said I was trusted, but some of my comments are still pending, but then while pending, some of my comments have an upvote or response, because disqus and patheos are two different things.

      • I clicked the Trust User button for you and some of the other regulars. It didn’t initially realize that it’s a placebo button. I’m lobbying for it to get turned on. That would make this word list much easier to live with.

        • Kodie

          I think my comments are being seen by anyone who follows me, because some people have upvoted a comment that was still marked as pending when I look from my disqus page. But you also said it was a disqus button, and I don’t know what controls you have going, but seems you already trusted every poster. I don’t know how it works, but I gather that some bloggers like to approve every comment before it posts, and then can set individuals as trustworthy so they don’t have to approve those comments, just new users. Since new users to this blog only need a disqus account and have to cross your line of usefulness to get banned. So I think the button works if you have a different posting policy than you do. Patheos is the problem.

        • Yes, I think the ball’s in Patheos’s court.

        • Kodie

          And Patheos’s head up its own asss.

  • Seriously? They got 10% more bread than they ought to have, so they think their flour bag is a cornucopia (that just gives a teensy bit extra)?

    God certainly is shy if that’s the way he shows himself.

    • Greg G.

      Why not do what Elisha did in 2 Kings 4:1-7. A widow had debts to pay and the collector was going to take her sons. Elisha had them collect as many oil jars as they could. Then they filled them all from one small jar of olive oil and were to sell them to pay the debt with much left over.

  • Interesting. I read the article. They asked the baker how long a 50-pound bag would last.

    This was in June. The baker estimated that if my brother baked two loaves a day the flour would last until September.

    Turns out that the baker underestimated. Wow. A guy doesn’t do his mental math right and it’s a miracle.

    https://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2014/08/did-i-experience-a-miraculous-multiplication-of-food.html

    • Pofarmer

      O.k. So it’s even dumber than I remember.

      • The baker does his mental math poorly and it’s a miracle. And now Pofarmer misremembers …

        Holy shit! Who thinks we’ve just seen the hand of God?!??

    • epeeist

      The baker estimated that if my brother baked two loaves a day the flour would last until September.

      Err, what sized loaves?

  • smrnda

    Many nations have a large % of atheists. They also produce music, movies, books and other entertainment. If I remember correctly, Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, was an atheist or an agnostic, and people are still entertained by both TOS and spinoffs. We can find large numbers of influential creative types who were atheists. Many of them don’t even make criticisms of religion particularly central to their work, mostly because it’s just normal in some places.

    Deciding ‘atheists are boring’ based on what he’s reading on the internet is like deciding someone is boring because their grocery list isn’t exciting to read.

  • Pofarmer

    Theology is just made up stuff about made up stuff.

  • vinny152

    Think of religion as a means to “connect” with a non-judgmental entity-who is not into “objectivity”-;^))….v152(vinny152@yahoo.com)