Your Religion Is a Reflection of Your Culture—You’d Be Muslim if You Were Born in Pakistan

Your Religion Is a Reflection of Your Culture—You’d Be Muslim if You Were Born in Pakistan June 29, 2019

Don’t be too confident in the correctness of your Christian beliefs—they’re just the reflection of your culture. You’d be a Muslim if you were born in Pakistan (or Saudi Arabia or Iran or any other overwhelmingly Muslim country).

This argument feels right—it’s hard to imagine a baby born in Yemen growing up as anything but a Muslim—but let’s put our confidence on hold until we explore some popular objections.

Objection 1: The argument fails when stated in absolute terms.

There are people born in Pakistan and Somalia who grow up to not be Muslims. Some come from Christian communities, and some grow up to reject the Islam of their birth. Ayaan Hirsi Ali (raised as a Muslim in Somalia) is one well-known example. And a large fraction of the American atheist community must’ve rejected their Christian upbringing.

You’re right. We’re talking about a tendency or correlation, not a certainty. “You’d be a Muslim if you were born in Pakistan” is a concise way to express the observation, but it isn’t precisely correct. Better would be: “People tend to reflect the religion of their environment.” Or: “We find a very strong correlation between belief and the environment of the believer. Why is that?”

While adults can switch religions, this is rare. A 2015 Pew Research study of the changes in world religions estimates that of the 8.1 billion believers in 2050, just 65 million (less than one percent) will have switched into their belief (chart).

People don’t randomly pick their religion by throwing a dart at a grid of the hundreds or thousands of religions of history. They don’t even roll the dice and pick a religion based on its popularity at the moment (31% Christian, 23% Muslim, 15% Hindu, etc.). The religion of young adults is very strongly correlated with that of their culture.

Objection 2: So there’s a correlation; so what?

Does it therefore prove one’s religious beliefs are false? This is the genetic fallacy (think “genesis”—the genetic fallacy criticizes an argument based on where it comes from).

No, this argument doesn’t prove anything. It simply points out a correlation that must be explained. When someone’s religion can easily be explained naturally—that they are a reflection of their culture—then we don’t need to reach for a supernatural explanation.

Alan Shlemon of the STR ministry said, “[This argument] confuses motivation with justification. It makes no difference what motivates a person to arrive at their belief. It only matters whether or not the belief is true.”

When we have a very plausible natural explanation for their beliefs, that doesn’t prove those beliefs wrong, but the natural explanation is the way to go.

Shlemon again: “If a challenger wants to undermine your faith, they must first show why it is false with reasons or evidence. . . . It only makes sense to ask why someone came to believe something false after you’ve done the hard work of refuting that belief.”

Here again is the familiar Christian response: the atheist has the burden of proof. I don’t want it.

Uh, no. You’re the one making the incredible claim. The burden of proof is yours. Atheism is the default position.

Objection 3: A pro-Christian argument stands on its own.

When I present an argument for Christianity, you must respond to the premises. Let’s say I’m biased. Or let’s say that I’m a Christian because I come from a Christian society—so what? That does nothing to prove my argument wrong.

Agreed, but we’re not talking about your arguments. The issue is that upbringing correlates with belief, and therefore religion looks like nothing more than a cultural custom.

Objection 4: The atheist is hoist with his own petard.

The argument applies to the atheist as well. Was the atheist raised in an atheist environment? Then his conclusions about religion must be as suspect as those of the Muslim raised in Pakistan! Was the atheist instead raised in a religious environment? Then since the atheist is confident in his beliefs, adults can then be trusted to correctly wade through the possibilities, whether they arrive at atheism or Christianity (or any other religion).

Imagine four people. One has malaria, one smallpox, one yellow fever, and one is healthy. Which of these is not like the other? “Healthy” isn’t a kind of sickness just like bald isn’t a kind of hair color. We don’t see four people with different sorts of sickness; rather, we see three people sick and one healthy.

In the same way, the symmetry that you imagine doesn’t exist. Children raised in a religion-free environment usually aren’t atheists because they were taught to be atheists but because they were not taught to be religious. By contrast, Christians are Christian because they were taught to be. Remove tradition and religious books, and Christianity would vanish. There is no objective knowledge from which to rebuilt it. (I explore religions vanishing in such a scenario here.)

No supernatural beliefs are self-evident. Atheism is the default position. To see this, suppose we see this religious correlation of Muslims in Pakistan, Christians in Alabama, atheists in Sweden, and so on. So we dismiss them all and say that each is a biased worldview. They’re all invalid. So what’s left? What’s left is no opinions about supernatural beliefs at all—in other words, the default view is simple atheism.

Remember the chart of religious switching mentioned above. Religions must continually get new recruits to thrive, and adults switching in isn’t where they get them. They get them through childhood indoctrination: they get them through making babies (discussed more here).

These four objections are representative of the dust raising that I’ve found on the internet in response to this argument. But when the dust settles, the problem remains. The strong correlation between adult beliefs and environment must be answered: almost all religious adults got their religion from their families, friends, or elsewhere in their environment.

Glass House rebuttal

Christians must be careful about pushing back too much. If they deny that the correlation between upbringing and adult belief means much, they’re left explaining why there are 29 countries that are 95+% Muslim and ten that are 99+% Muslim. Is it because the claims of Islam are correct? Or is it (dare I say it?) that people tend to adopt the religion of their culture?

What explains this?

Religion is a cultural trait like customs, fashion, or traditional foods. If there really were a god, we would expect people to be drawn to the true religion over all the others because its claims were supported by far better evidence, not that people would mirror their environment and religions would fill their ranks by indoctrinating children before their critical thinking skills are developed.

Religion is like language. I speak English because I was raised in the United States. I didn’t evaluate all the languages of the world before I picked the best one; it was just part of my environment.

Language, customs, fashion, and food aren’t things that are evaluated on a correct/incorrect scale. English isn’t any more correct than French or Chinese or Farsi; it’s just what some people are accustomed to. It’s not incorrect to understand or speak or prefer French; it’s just uncommon in the United States.

In the United States, one speaks English—not everyone, of course, but mostly. And in the United States, one is a Christian—not everyone, of course, but mostly. There’s no value judgment behind either one. Religion and language are simply properties of society.

How thoughtful of God to arrange matters so that,
wherever you happen to be born,
the local religion always turns out to be the true one.
— Richard Dawkins

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(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 6/8/15.)

Image from Arian Zwegers, CC license

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • One could argue, in a late-Hellenistic or contemporary Universalist fashion, that that common kernel we can find among most if not all religions (i.e. the existence of a spiritual or metaphysical reality, good/bad consequences for our deeds, etc.) are expression of a single, universal higher power people from every walk of life have experienced and explained at the best of their abilities given their time and location; so that what’s really important is this common ground, whereas it can be conceded the differences among religions are indeed just a cultural/local matter

    In this spirit, the cultural/local challenge becomes less relevant, IMHO – unless one is not a strict believer in the exclusive truth of their religion.

    • Doubting Thomas

      Millions of people have been killed for the differences. Apparently the “higher power” didn’t see fit to clarify matters to avoid this. The “common ground” of religious belief is soaked through with the blood of innocent people.

    • NS Alito

      I see a shared cultural kernel in Abrahamic religions, but the Hindu pantheon, the indigenous American “animal spirit guides”, the Egyptians’ civic rulers who were also deputies for the gods, the local spirits of the aboriginal Australians, the theological structures of Confucianism, etc., suggest home-brewed ways to explain human experience.

      • Mustafa Curtess

        Precisely! “God” only exists in the human imagination.

    • Michael Murray

      One could argue, in a late-Hellenistic or contemporary Universalist fashion, that that common kernel we can find among most if not all religions (i.e. the existence of a spiritual or metaphysical reality, good/bad consequences for our deeds, etc.) are expression of a single, universal higher power

      Or you could wield Friar Ockham’s favourite shaving equipment and argue that all religions have in common that they arise in human minds. Probably due to Hyperactive Agency Detection or attempts to cope with knowing we will die etc.

  • Michael Neville

    The most reliable indicator of someone’s religious affiliation is the religion of their parents. If your parents belonged to a particular sect then it’s most likely that you’ll be a member of that sect. Some people change from one sect to another and some people drop religion entirely, becoming atheists or some other form of non-religious. But if someone is raised in a particular sect then they’re most likely to remain in that sect.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Another interesting point is that it’s the religious fervor of the *father* that’s predictive of whether or not the offspring remain religious.

      • Mustafa Curtess

        That’s only true to a limited extent. I submit that the mother has most influence in people’s beliefs and fathers have more influence on character or personality.
        Put another way: Fathers have influence on their kids’ conduct in society – while mothers are more influential in their personal philosophy.

  • Very nicely done. Even those who feel they have examined all religions, tend toward some religion sect close to the one of their birth. Somewhere I heard that children from strife-filled households tend to reject the beliefs of their parents while peaceful-enough households breed like-minded believers in both religion and politics.

  • Jim Jones

    “People tend to reflect the religion of their environment.” Or: “We find a very strong correlation between belief and the environment of the believer. Why is that?”

    People like to join in groups. There is a lot of similarity between religions and gangs. (Gangs have less virtue signaling although not zero).

    • Rational Human

      A sociologist might disagree with your last point. Subculture as gangs are all about signaling, it’s just that their virtues are not accepted outside the gang – style of dress, tatoos, violence and criminal activity, and loyalty to the point of incarceration or death. They are not the virtues of wider society, but they are the markers of the in group.

    • Mustafa Curtess

      I’m led to believe that violence IS a “virtue” in gang culture.

  • skl

    Don’t be too confident in the correctness
    of your Christian beliefs—they’re just the reflection of your culture. You’d be
    a Muslim if you were born in Pakistan (or Saudi Arabia or Iran or any other
    overwhelmingly Muslim country).
    … No supernatural beliefs are self-evident. Atheism is the
    default position.
    … the problem remains. The strong correlation between adult
    beliefs and environment must be answered: almost all religious adults got their
    religion from their families, friends, or elsewhere in their environment.

    If it were true that “No supernatural beliefs are self-evident. Atheism is the default position”,

    then one might expect atheism to have been the dominant “ism”
    in all the cultures of human history, instead of the minor minority that it has
    always been. In other words, atheism would be the predominant belief among
    adults, because they were likely influenced by the ‘default atheistic position’
    of their parents, families, friends, or elsewhere in their ‘default atheistic’ environment.

    But such is not so.

    • Khanh Ho

      Atheism is not a belief. It’s just the position of withholding judgments of thimgs that have not (yet) been proven. As such, atheism is the only “ism” that does not assert any beliefs, make any claims, or indoctrinate anyone. All cultures of human history are predominated by various supernatural believes that got passed down generations by means of childhood indoctrination. In spite of that fact, the “nones” in general and atheism in particular are growing significantly today. All of that, though, is besides the point. Atheism is the default position not because it is dominant, but because it is the correct position to not confirm any assertions before they are proven.

      • skl

        … atheism is the only “ism” that does not assert any beliefs, make any claims, or indoctrinate anyone.

        You could have fooled me. Maybe asserting beliefs and making
        claims and indoctrinating are in the eyes of the beholder.

        • Greg G.

          You could have fooled me. Maybe asserting beliefs and making
          claims and indoctrinating are in the eyes of the beholder.

          Tada! You are absolutely right. Anybody can fool you because you are so good at fooling yourself. If you do not understand the burden of proof and the null hypothesis, then you will be confused easily.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Saying “I won’t believe without evidence” isn’t a challenge-able assertion.

        • Are there obligatory beliefs within atheism that we’ve overlooked?

        • skl

          Are there obligatory beliefs within
          atheism that we’ve overlooked?

          Obligatory on this and other Patheos Nonreligious blogs –
          the belief that theism is stupid, foolish.

          And on some such blogs, even that “Christianity is
          definitely extremely dangerous, even in small doses.”

          https://www.patheos.com/blogs/reasonadvocates/2019/06/28/debate-is-christianity-dangerous/

        • And yet, as you’ve been told repeatedly, that’s not how anyone defines atheism. I don’t even think this.

        • skl

          Well, in keeping with the focus on “correlation” in your OP,
          let’s just say that, for those espousing atheism, there is a high correlation of belief that theism is stupid, foolish, even dangerous.

        • So are we in agreement that atheism doesn’t have “the belief that theism is stupid, foolish” in its definition?

          If you’re raised with a religious belief, that belief might well be stupid from an objective standpoint, but you won’t necessarily be stupid for believing it. It’s not stupid for children to believe what they’re told by their parents and society. Once a belief poorly supported by evidence is in your head, it’s hard to get out. That’s just how the brain works.

        • skl

          So are we in agreement that
          atheism doesn’t have “the belief that theism is stupid, foolish” in
          its definition?

          We are in agreement, I think, that virtually all
          atheists at your blog and other PN blogs, holds the belief that theism is stupid, foolish, even dangerous,

        • It’s always lovely chatting with you.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Not pretty to watch though.

          Ya have the patience of a saint.

        • I came across a good article today that summarizes the breadth of opinions of atheists. Conclusion: the only thing tying them together is their lack of god belief. That’s it.

          https://www.atheistrev.com/2019/07/atheists-who-believe.htm

        • Ignorant Amos

          The link appears to be broke Bob.

        • I hope you’ll excuse my strong language, but dang. Let’s try again.

          https://www.atheistrev.com/2019/07/atheists-who-believe.html

        • MR

          You’re link is missing an ‘l’ Bob. Oh, Jesus, can I say ‘l’? God, I hope that doesn’t send me to the pending pile… (Sorry, my sarcasmffeine levels are high today.) You need to make that .html, not .htm.

        • Correction made, thanks.

        • I made a pact with the devil to erase some of the stoopid words in the Naughty List. Try to speak freely to see if Thomas Bowdler is on holiday.

        • MR

          Hot damn! This is gonna be more fun ‘n a pig in shit.

        • Monster! Muslim! Stupid!

          I can use words again!

        • Wile F. Coyote

          Atheism does not require adherence to the opinion that theistic belief is stupid and/or foolish.

          Atheism is simply the absence of belief in theism.

          Nor does the atheist position require one to hold the conviction that any religious belief, including one in Christianity, is definitely extremely dangerous no matter how minute the degree of faith in said religious belief.

          Atheism is simply the absence of belief in theism.

          Now it is a true fact that like many Muslims, some atheists are convinced that Christianity is a dangerous belief system. Some atheists, also, agree with Christians who are convinced that Islam is a dangerous belief system.

          But atheists who agree with Muslims and Christians that Christianity and Islam are dangerous belief systems is a fact which is independent of atheism, as demonstrated by the fact that Muslim and Christian theist believers are included in the same group of people. Not everyone in either of the three groups shares these convictions, because the convictions are independent of belief (or lack thereof) in theism.

          Atheism is simply the absence of belief in theism. Nothing more. Nothing less.

        • Greg G.

          Nope. Atheism is the position that there is insufficient evidence to warrant a belief that a god thingy exists. If you believe a god thingy exists, you are not an atheist. Atheism is an obligatory non-belief about one thing. One does not have to believe theism is foolish or dangerous to be an atheist.

          Those ideas are not even exclusive to atheism. Monotheists might thing polytheism is foolish and polytheists might think believing in only one god thingy is foolish. Protestants and Catholics have tried to exterminate the other because they considered the other Christianity to be dangerous.

    • You seem to be confusing “default position” with “most attractive position” or something similar.

    • NS Alito

      If it were true that “No supernatural beliefs are self-evident. Atheism is the default position”, then one might expect atheism to have been the dominant “ism” in all the cultures of human history, instead of the minor minority that it has always been.

      I agree that lack of supernatural beliefs is not the default position: Human brains are biased to credit agency in circumstances and events that they don’t understand. Note that isolated cultures have different explanations (beliefs) to explain the origin of the world, storms, earthquakes, disease, etc. On top of that, we know that people with lesions and/or seizures in their parietal lobes often manifest hyper-religious behaviors and beliefs.

      Atheism is merely the default logical position. There is no reason to create arbitrary entities (without objective empirical evidence) to explain the unknown, whether supernatural or superhuman (like aliens).

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Atheism isn’t an organizing principle, so your thesis fails right there.

    • Mustafa Curtess

      I suggest that you study the experience of atheists in Abrahamic religious societies. Your ending sentence illustrates the very thing that theist societies have gone to such lenghs to deny to atheists. (And in some societies continues to do so today.) Just look at the attempt to teach Christian doctrine in public schools in the USA today. It has one reason, and one reason only: To halt the propagation of non-belief.
      It is absurd to suggest that the reason atheism doesn’t dominate modern society is its lack of validity or authenticity.
      Historically, until fairly recently few atheists were allowed to survive long enough to even HAVE families.

      • NS Alito

        So what’s the big deal? Taking your property, torturing out confessions, burning at stakes. Atheists could just stay in the closet and never tell their children that the torturers and executioners were wrong.

        (Do I really need a /s?)

      • Pofarmer

        This needs many upvotes. Your final sentence is also why I think modern religiosity has a genetic component. For centuries, we essentially selected for religious belief and weeded out non believers.

        • rationalobservations?

          “Weeded out”?
          Surely you mean committed genocide and mass murder to establish christianity in the 4th century and committed genocide and mass murder to enforce christianity thereafter until education and free, secular democracy caused the decline of religion all across the developed world and beyond?

        • Pofarmer

          Well, yeah………

      • skl

        It is absurd to suggest that the reason
        atheism doesn’t dominate modern society is its lack of validity or
        authenticity.

        What I said was closer to ‘It is absurd to suggest that ‘Atheism
        is the default position’.’

        • Greg G.

          It was wrong to say that in the first place and it is still wrong when you repeat it.

          A newborn baby has no Easter Bunny belief by default. A four-year old believes in the Easter Bunny if his/her parents have taught him/her to believe in it.

          A newborn baby has no Santa Claus belief by default. A five-year old believes in Santa Clause if his/her parents have taught him/her to believe in him.

          A newborn baby has no god thingy belief by default. A six-year old believes in the god thingy his/her parents have taught him/her to believe in or none if not taught about a god thingy.

        • skl

          It was wrong to say that in the first place…

          …. Which was:

          “‘Atheism is the default position”.

          I think I agree.

    • rationalobservations?

      The third largest and fastest growing human demographic are the godless non-religious and we already outnumber the membership of any individual religious business, cult or sect.
      Meanwhile the decline of religion is accelerating and empty rotting redundant churches litter the villages towns and city streets of the educated, free, predominately secular developed world.

      Without the enforced indoctrination of religion – atheism is asserting itself as the default position for the millennial generation and Generation Z.

      Your delusions will die with you and the delusions of religionists will die when the last one dies without passing on the indoctrination that deludes and enslave you and all religionists.

  • NS Alito

    …and some grow up to reject the Islam of their birth. Ayaan Hirsi Ali (raised as a Muslim in Somalia) is one well-known example.

    Having read Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s first memoir Infidel, I would humbly suggest that she is not the best example of someone “raised Muslim”. She had an upbringing with three distinct cultural dimensions: (1) Her father was regionally famous for bringing political opposition to traditional rulers, (2) her grandmother was very strict in having her memorize and appreciate her ancestry in her high-caste African tribe, and (3) her mother’s embrace of Islam dragged her to a number of different places, including living in Saudi Arabia where they were looked down upon as black Africans, rather than treated as Muslim equals. In thought, therefore, she was relatively cosmopolitan and independent, giving her the self-worth to escape her lot as a second-class citizen in her various home countries.

    • Thanks.

    • Mustafa Curtess

      Hirsi Ali has established a career in exploiting Christian Islamophobia. (She is a con-artist.) You are absoltely correct about her worth as an example.

      • NS Alito

        I dunno. Having a her filmmaker friend murdered and her own life plausibly threatened might give her a unique perspective on Is‌lam.

        Did you read the details of her early life and escape to Europe in Infidel?

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Yeah, I read parts of it. She’s had some experiences to build an interesting narrative around – but she’s far from credible. (She’s selling books and making money in the lecture circuit – after all)
          I have no doubt that her life is threatened. Most societies deal with those they consider “Traitors” severely – and Hirsi Ali has made a career of doing as much damage to Islam as possible.
          That’s an important insight into how Muslim countries react to their atheists TODAY. (Never mind what was written in the Quran 1500 years ago). The operational protocol is: “Dis-believe as you please – but don’t harm Islam or your community”.
          Muslims are no more uniform or monolithic than Christians are – not every Muslim is a radical fundamentalist. I know probably 100 Muslims that openly say that they don’t allow Islam to rule their lives. But they have no reason to try to destroy it or interfere with anyone else’s beliefs. Nobody (including officialdom) holds that against them.

        • Phil Rimmer

          You are aware that after her interactions with Maajid Nawaz Ali has softened her stance towards Islam and now accepts the need to engage and encourage moderate and cultural Muslims?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SV_GMeZ_XmA

        • Mustafa Curtess

          No. I have no interest in her at all since I came to my conclusions about her.

        • Phil Rimmer

          Fair enough. I too was dismissive of her for the longest time.

          But I would be happy if onlookers didn’t take away a now false impression.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          What “impression” and how could anyone possibly know that it is “false”?

        • Phil Rimmer

          I posted evidence for my case.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          OK – If that one interview is sufficient for you – that’s fine. As I said: I followed her closely several years ago and came to my conclusion on the basis fo quite a bit of exposure. I’m not sufficiently interested to follow up the interview you posted to see if the “new and improved” Hirsi Ali remains consistent over an extended period.
          At any rate: She can’t undo all the damage she’s done, and the millions of Muslims she’s offended won’t forgive and forget so easily.
          It’s rather academic to me. I have nothing invested in her.

        • Phil Rimmer

          Offence is damage!!?

          How does that work?

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Not all that complicated. “Offense” if she’s talking to Muslims. “Damage” if she’s making Christians hate Muslims more than they already did. (Got it?)

        • Phil Rimmer

          I fully concur with the FGM thing. More than it just being African, it is mostly about poverty and not losing girls to marriage early. My daughter for a while worked for an FGM charity.

          Like I said I was not an enthusiast of Ali…but she has softened and learned and she no longer calls FGM a religious practise at all. But as my daughter observes one of the major defenses she got from African mothers and grandmothers was exactly that of religion.

          What is needed is a complete Islamic rejection of the practise as nothing to do with them.

          They would win huge and transformative kudos from every decent person by doing so.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Thanks. I completely agree. I’m sure that those did validate FGM by using religion. They probably do believe that de-sensitizing by clitoral removal and discouraging intercourse by suturing the labia closed does achieve a religious purpose. People everywhere tend to think of anything they oppose as “sinful”, also. If you had any parental discouragement of sex – you may very well have been told that it’s “dirty” (I was and every boy in my community had been told that it was OTHER boys’ dicks and all vaginas were “Dirty”. and that touching and being touched was “sinful”. (I did it anyway and wasn’t struck blind or dead – so already at such a young age I had evdence that anything religious was a lie.
          So yes – I’m certain that women in the FGM cult believe that religion justifies (even demands) it.
          I didn’t understand that Hirsi Ali now recognizes that Islam is NOT responsible for FGM. (As I’ve said elsewhere – she didn’t display much real knowledge about Islam in all I saw of her a few years ago,) That is very common everywhere. (Christians commonly say things that indicate very little knowlege of Christianity and actual scripture. And other “good” Christians repudiate them.)
          I also agree that it would be beneficial for Islam to officially repudiate FGM. (Imams in mosques do so occasionally.) But only in the abstract or hypothetical because it has never been an issue in any Muslim community I was ever a part of. So it has no effect on anyone not there to hear it.
          Without an internationally-known spokesman like the Pope – there’s really no way that can be done by the Islamic religion. For that matter: The Pope asn’t categorically renounced pedophilia and specifically forbidden it – has he?
          Do you understand that I only discuss such matters casually? I have no driving interest beyond the fact that a lot of totally unnecessary blood is still bring shed – in part due to a lack of appreciation for simple facts. If I had my druthers – all religions would just disappear.

        • Phil Rimmer

          And, thanks for your fulsome reply. I agree pretty comprehensively.

        • Greg G.

          If you had any parental discouragement of sex – you may very well have been told that it’s “dirty” (I was and every boy in my community had been told that it was OTHER boys’ dicks and all vaginas were “Dirty”. and that touching and being touched was “sinful”. (I did it anyway and wasn’t struck blind or dead – so already at such a young age I had evdence that anything religious was a lie.

          A comedian had a joke that all he knew about sex was from a church in Lubbock, Texas, that it was the dirtiest, nastiest thing you could ever do and you should save it for someone you love.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Great Reply! I guess everybody raised by Christian mothers were told the same thing?
          (I could say a lot more about it – but it probably wouldn;t get past the censors. I have to remember that this isn’t the LGBT Nation page.)

        • Mustafa Curtess

          The poverty angle might be interesting to look into. Since I was never very well acquainted with any communiy where FGM was known – I don’t have any insight into the economic classes involved. It would be interesting to know if FGM is more common in the poor than the wealthy. I would expect the tradition to decline as the community became better educated, tho. If only because the better educated would be expected to know more about Quranic scripture (“enlightened” vs “primitive”).
          No doubt that in the 2 countries that I was quite familiar with – the least devout (often down-right secular) tended to correspond to a “middle class”of craftsmen, technicians, and small businessmen.

        • Phil Rimmer

          Very quickly.

          For the very poor children are one of their few assets. They are health insurance and old age pension in one. There is a very strong correlation with total fertility and poverty. (We’ll reduce birthrates not by pleas to reproduce less but by lifting folk out of abject poverty.)

          FGM reduces the risk of losing girl children early is the hypothesis.

          Here’s where FGM happens.

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

          Total fertility rates in the developed world are already less than two.

          In sub-Saharan Africa it is currently 4.7.

          https://population.un.org/wpp/Graphs/Probabilistic/FERT/TOT/947

          The anomaly is Indonesia (total fertility 2.2) and Malaysia (2.0) and obscenely mutilating. Religious identity seems to play a strong part there studies have shown.

          No one owns a religion, least of all Islam. But a religion as lived is what its adherent’s believe it to be. Scripture has never been a reliable gate keeper for any religion. It loses and accretes (but never openly) what is expedient.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          That IS interesting – and entirely plausible. But it may be erroneous to conflate Islam with sub-Sahan Africa. With an exception or two – it’s heavily Christian. Also bear in mind that Indonesia is by far the most populous Muslim – and FGM popularity may be misleading unless related to total population.
          AS I’ve said: I have vey limited interested in the matter. Long standing USA foreign policy certainly isn’t concerned with poverty. If anything – we promote and perpetuate it in favor of corrupt but compliant dictatorships which are an asset to our paranoid geo-political ideology. (Which is bankrupting us – both morally and fiscally.) The Cold War ended a half-centiry ago – but the USA is still waging it. While Russia and China look on with amusement – lending us money and biding their time.

        • Phil Rimmer

          But it may be erroneous to conflate Islam with sub-Sahan Africa.

          That’s entirely the point of poverty hypothesis.

          Its the Malaysia/Indonesia thing that perplexes especially as the incidence appears to be going up.

        • I have no doubt that her life is threatened. Most societies deal with those they consider “Traitors” severely

          Are you saying that there’s a parallel to Hirsi Ali’s experience in the West? Seems to me that killing annoying people is mostly a Muslim thing.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It was a Christian thing first.

          Islam is just running about 6 centuries behind, that’s all.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          That is totally correct. Christianity had a 600 year head-start and it has maintained it.

        • rationalobservations?

          It’s only the propaganda of the 4th century founded Roman religion they called “christianity” that would have us believe that the many minor messianic cults that were involved in rebellions against Roman rule were early forms of the christian cult of th 4th century that was made a state religion and brutally and murderously imposed upon the empire and the world.
          There is no historical trace of evidence of the existence of “Jesus” (or a messianic claimant of a real Hebrew name from which that Greek word could have been an interpretation) and no trace of a messianic cult following any leader called “Jesus” or of any similar Hebrew name (Yeshua/Joshua/Y-Shua etc).

          Christianity can be traced back to 4th century Rome. All claimed earlier references are propaganda for which no evidence exists.

          Even the oldest/first 4th century founded “christian” church agrees:

          “Our documentary sources of knowledge about the origins of Christianity and its earliest development are chiefly the New Testament Scriptures, the authenticity of which we must, to a great extent, take for granted.”
          (Catholic Encyclopedia, Farley ed., vol. iii, p. 712)

          The Church makes extraordinary admissions about its New Testament. For example, when discussing the origin of those writings,

          “the most distinguished body of academic opinion ever assembled” (Catholic Encyclopedias, Preface) admits that the Gospels “do not go back to the first century of the Christian era”

          (Catholic Encyclopedia, Farley ed., vol. vi, p. 137, pp. 655-6).

          This statement conflicts with priesthood assertions that the earliest Gospels were progressively written during the decades following the death of the Gospel Jesus Christ.

          In a remarkable aside, the Church further admits that,

          “the earliest of the extant manuscripts [of the New Testament], it is true, do not date back beyond the middle of the fourth century AD”

          (Catholic Encyclopedia, op. cit., pp. 656-7).

          https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dlvl3KtWsAA3jDu.jpg

        • “the earliest of the extant manuscripts [of the New Testament], it is true, do not date back beyond the middle of the fourth century AD”

          That’s true for complete NT manuscripts, not for fragments of various NT books.

        • rationalobservations?

          The word “Jesus” (or any authentic Hebrew name/word from which the Greek scribes could have coined the word “Jesus” ) does not appear in any text, letter, poem, chronicle, inscription or graffito that originated from within the first century.

          The oldest claimed tiny fragments of papyrus (papyrus P52 – Ryalnds At John’s fragment) was (and is) claimed by unqualified religionists t ok date from around the mid 2nd century and would therefore be legend or hearsay at best – but recent forensic science dates all the so called early fragments to no earlier than the 3rd century not long before the first 4th century bibles were written and the oldest bible (Codex Sinaiticus) differs from modern versions in over 17,000 details includin two books in Sinaiticus being deleted from all later versions.

          You know all that but other readers may be interested to research and confirm the facts for themselves.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Christianity had a 600 year head-start and it has maintained it.

          Not when it comes to the topic at hand. Which is putting people to death based on religious reasons. Try and keep up.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          In 1500 the Spanish Inquisition killed thousands for religious reasons. Then there were the “Salem Witch Trials”. Islam has never done it that way.
          I’m going to leave the discussion now that it’s become nothing more than an opportunity to throw insults (that aren’t even based on well-known facts).

        • rationalobservations?

          Christianity was indeed blood soaked and vile before education and free, secular democracy rendered it impotent.
          Your defence of the barbarity of Islamic followers is however misplaced?
          All forms of religion poison everything they touch. The hope for mankind is that education and free, secular democracy have already proved to be the antidote to that vile poison in quite a few of the now most peaceful nations on Earth. Hopefully it will ccontinue to spread to the barbaric lands still brutally dominated by religion and religionists.

          Images say so much more than words:
          9/11
          https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/1eWsyfZ8f1GANF9-Ptw5e2PCaWI=/0x0:3008×1960/1200×800/filters:focal(1264×740:1744×1220)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/50727125/GettyImages-1161124.0.jpg
          The destruction of Palmeira by Isis:
          https://cbsnews2.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2016/04/01/bfed2369-90cf-47e3-b6ef-1958880925f1/resize/620x465g8/fee6eb326bbd867b2c2eb0030efdd346/gettyimages-518421244.jpg
          https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/9/2/1441216252441/9eb1d453-16f7-4731-8eba-24e5f5ed13e4-1020×612.jpeg?width=300&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=78f863eae7bfd07264413a3e8a585e4e
          http://en.protothema.gr/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/l41.jpg

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I have attempted to make clear that I am entirely anti- religious and that all religions have to be exposed as hoaxes, and abandoned simultaneously.
          Even if it were possible to eliminate Islam – it would do no more than make Christianity more ubiquitious and dangerous.
          I have also tried to make clear that telling lies and exaggerations about Islam does no more than distract us from the immediate problem of Christianity in the USA. I do not “defend” Islam – but I do believe that if I am compelled to profess or follow a religion, my life is better as a Muslim. (I do have experience as both to base that choice on – instead of propaganda and exaggerations.)
          The success of those secular European countries doesn’t go unnoticed by the Muslim world but because of our economic and military influence around the world – secularism won’t be so attractive until highly visible in the USA. (That is its biggest test and most convincing example.)
          Bear in mind that the Islamic world doesn’t find itself being influenced toward secularism. It finds itself under attack by Christianity – just as it has been continuously for 1500 years.
          It’s jarring to hear Atheists criticize Saudi Arabia because it does not allow Christian missionary activity – while we are beginning to allow Christianity to again be taught in our public schools.
          I condemn “freedom of religion” everywhere it exists – because in every instance it just normaly is exploited by the local majority superstition for its own advantage. (And all religions come together against atheismm/secularism.)

        • Ignorant Amos

          Mustafa Curtess…the stupid, it hurts!

        • Ignorant Amos

          WTF? Your’re mentally retarded….seek help.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          ??? She isn’t threatened by western interests. (She’s their “darling”!) She’s threatened in the Muslim world – where she is far more than just an “annoyance”.

        • Not what I’m talking about. Killing annoying people seems to me to be a Muslim thing. Is it equally a Christian thing? Seems like not. That’s an important asymmetry.

      • What has Hirsi Ali said that was unnecessarily inflammatory or wrong? There’s plenty that can be said about Islam that shows Islam in a bad light but is also true.

  • NS Alito

    Then since the atheist is confident in his beliefs, adults can then be trusted to correctly wade through the possibilities, whether they arrive at atheism or Christianity (or any other religion).

    I was devout when I was young. The transition away from the deeply held beliefs was disorienting almost to the point of madness. The human brain seeks certainty, and is prone to reinforcing those beliefs (neural paths) that already exist. Deprogramming your own brain is tough.

    Now that I understand more the cognitive mechanisms of the human mind, I appreciate that anyone who has pried out their instilled and embraced beliefs probably had to struggle to do it. This includes people who formerly embraced white supremacy, anti-vaxx, climate denial, misogyny/patriarchy, assorted forms of woo, etc.


    It is easier to fool a man than convince him he has been fooled.

    • Mustafa Curtess

      I’m a variant. The only belief instilled in me – was that I must “believe”.
      My struggle for 60 years was to do so. The older and “wiser” I became – the harder that struggle was to maintain.
      I was aware of the inconsistencies and contradictions in my religious indoctrination from the very beginning. There was nothing for me to intellectually reconsider and reject. It was only a matter of embracing the fact that it was a waste of time and an increasing source of frustration.
      The moment that I accceptd failure – I became a positive person and life had a point and began making sense.
      My simmering hatred of religious people is their relentless “need” to cheat me out of what I struggled so long to achieve: The liberation of my reason and imagination.

      • What religion were you indoctrinated in? How long have you been out? Do you have ongoing negative consequences due to your rejection of your family’s faith?

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Born (Oklahoma) and first 30 years Christianity (I experimented with most sects). Second 30 years Islam.(In North Africa.)
          Never any real family issues – except that the Christians were “hurt” by my conversion to Islam.
          They just couldn’t understand how anybody could leave such a “perfect and loving” religion for “heretical and hateful” Islam. (But in fact: Islam wasn’t nearly as personally oppressive as Evangelical Christianity.) Culturally, Islam was fine – but spiritually, I was an imposter.
          I could have devoted myself to a political leader – but just couldn’t believe in a supernatural “God”.
          Lots of Muslims are atheist – but just aren’t obvious about it.
          I loved it over there (people really are more “loving” and less judgmental than USA Christians are) and would still be there – except I saw this troube coming and moved my “home” back to the USA.

        • That’s quite a story.

          Perhaps being a nonbelieving Muslim is like being a Southern Baptist in the South who’s lost his faith. Life is much easier if you pass (though being an out atheist or apostate in a Muslim country can be more physically/legally dangerous, I imagine).

  • Eh, the gods call who they will.

    That said, yes, there are communities — whole regions, even — where social pressure to conform to XYZ beliefs and practises, and yes, humans — especially young ones — are highly vulnerable to said pressures, as parents tend to raise their kids in their preferred faith with specific beliefs. So it makes perfect sense that people would tend to follow the dominant belief system in a given area.

  • Phil Rimmer

    I have a post that explains everything (I never post anything less.) But you’ll have to wait until Bob has had his Sunday brunch, walked the dogs and released the little chap from the sin bin.

    In the meantime I recall a statistic showing how kids reflected their parents religious choices. Evangelicals, Muslims, pretty reliably bred evangelical or Muslim adults (90%) or some such. Less doctrinaire religions had a lower yield. Atheists were the least successful in indoctrinating their kids, I am rather proud to say. I propose because they more often consciously strove not to indoctrinate.

  • Better would be: “People tend to reflect the religion of their environment.”

    And I think it would be even better to say that people tend to reflect the religion of their parents. Mothers are often responsible for the religious education for the children, and they often imprint their religious beliefs onto their children. Changing religious beliefs doesn’t happen often, and most people tend to think of the religious beliefs of other groups as absurd. We are willing to accept our inherited religious beliefs specifically because we’ve been raised to accept them.

    • Mustafa Curtess

      A child’s mother IS its environment before and after birth.

      • It’s certain a significant part of the environment, but surely Muslim children in the US are exposed to Christianity, yet the vast majority of them will likely remain Muslims.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          You’ve lost me. I don’t see what you’re getting at.
          I can’t imagine that any Muslim children are exposed to Christianity by their parents at home – altho I know for a fact that Muslims warn their kids about how Chridtians like to entice kids into their religion and some of the ways they do it.
          Atheist’s kids are exposed to Christianity, too. But I don’t know how atheists prepare their kids to deal with Christian aggressiveness.
          If Public schools are mandated to teach Christian doctrine, I would expect some resistance from Atheist and Muslim parents. But that supposes that Republicans will retain political supremacy in the USA – and what choice Federal Justices make between their own superstitious beliefs and the Constitution. (At the present time – it can go either way, unfortunately).
          If it happens in some states that will certainly change EVERYONE’S environment.

        • You’ve lost me. I don’t see what you’re getting at.

          Muslims, in the US, represent < 1% of the population, and their environment is littered with Christianity. Airwaves are pumped full of Christian preachers selling Jesus. Roadways are filled with signs selling the Christian message. In a good chunk of the US you can't swing a dead cat without hitting some Christian proselytizing. Yet, even in this environment, the children of Muslims parents are almost certainly going to grow up Muslim.

          Children are indoctrinated into their religion by their parents, and this explains the vast majority of the religious "choices" that children make. I think talking about their environment is too vague, and we can narrow down the majority of cases as simply parental indoctrination into a set of nonsense beliefs.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Sorry for having to ask. Thanks for a very reasoned explanation. Now that I get it – I think you’re qute right.
          I looked into several Christian denominations enough to get some Idea about each – beause I was hoping to find one that resonated with me. (I never did – and some were down-right offensive or scary (Pentecostals – wow!)
          That makes me suspect that most people change when they feel a need to. If they don’t have a reason it seems unlikely that they would take up a different one just bcause they were heavily exposed to it. Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses seem to be the only ones aggressively trying to attract converts from other sects.
          Having been formally Muslim for over 30 years – I really can’t imagine a reason why anyone would leave it for another (especially Christianity. Because it’s so complicated, it demands such deep commitment, and pervades EVERY aspect of one’s life if allowed to. Protestants never hesitated to ask me: “Why weren’t you in church Sunday?” or: “Why haven’t you been coming to church lately?” (With a very accusative facial expression and tone of voice.)
          But I fully understand leaving religion entirely when it’s such a total waste of time.

        • Grimlock

          I guess the different influences in an environment can be given weights that correspond to their importance. Typically, parents would get a relatively large weight compared to, say, a classmate.

  • “If a challenger wants to undermine your faith, they must first show why it is false with reasons or evidence. . . . It only makes sense to ask why someone came to believe something false after you’ve done the hard work of refuting that belief.” This seems completely valid. Sure, if you’re not trying to show their view is wrong, there’s no burden of proof. If you are though… Yes, you do. This applies even if you assume atheism is the default view. A lot of atheists do more than just stand on their view and tell critics “prove it wrong” after all. Further, as people with other views do make arguments for whatever position they hold, that must shown to be wrong.

  • Polytropos

    Whether people find the correlation between religion and culture persuasive really comes down to the difference between religious and scientific thinking. Religious people often look at arguments in isolation, and if the argument doesn’t conclusively prove something then they think it has failed. On the other hand, scientific thinkers are used to looking at multiple lines of evidence and seeing where they converge, because that’s how science works. Of course the coefficient doesn’t quite equal 1.00 and correlation doesn’t prove causation, but it does suggest a strong possibility that there may be a causal relationship and we should evaluate that possibility alongside other lines of evidence.

    • Pofarmer

      The problem with religious “thinkers” is that they don’t, ya know, “think”. Let’s just take one example. There’s an “Evangelical Catholic”, inspirational speaker asshole named Mathew Kelley. Catholic Parishes were/are handing out his books like candy. His very first book is called “Rediscovering Jesus.” In the very first chapter of this very first book he describes a personal revelation from Jesus himself. Ok. Now, if one is even vaguely familiar with David Hume or Thomas Paine(who might be more widely read by a popular audience) Then you would understand that revelations to another person should ever be considered evidence even if they’re real. But they don’t know this, or ignore it, because they’ve been taught that revelations are “another source of knowledge” since forever, which is simply false. Then, the other thing that Mathew Kelly does, is in the middle of the book, he simply lies about the “evidence” for Jesus. Took me about 10 minutes to dismiss everything the jackass writes for what it is. It’s just faith. It’s not thinking, and anything that doesn’t support their faith beliefs is dismissed,and anything that does support it is used, no matter how shoddy it is.

  • RichardSRussell

    You will not find an American astronomy, a Baptist biology, a capitalist chemistry, a mammalian math, or a feminist physics. There’s only one worldwide version of each, because they’re all based on facts, not accidents of birth or matters of opinion. Conversely, religion is nothing BUT opinions, no facts involved, which is why anybody’s word on religion is just as good as anyone else’s (to wit, no good at all).

  • Kev Green

    Interesting how you hear a lot about people becoming Christians at a low point in their life; but you never seem to hear about someone converting after an extensive study of the options.

    There are very few facts one can state absolutely when dealing with religion, the fact that there’s a direct correlation between place and circumstances of birth and one’s eventual religion is one. Obviously this does nothing to prove Christianity false. But, it made God too much of a malevolent sociopath for me to continue to worship. To remain a Christian I would have had to believe that only Christians (or at least my kind of Christian) escape eternal damnation while also believing that billions of people are going to suffer infinite torture due solely to place of birth.

    At the very least we should be able to assume that a loving God that punishes people for not believing in Him would make sure that everyone who sincerely wants to worship Him is able to do so. That simply isn’t the world we live in. In our world only those arrogant enough to insist that their God is real and lucky enough to be right end up escaping hellfire.

    • There are very few facts one can state absolutely when dealing with religion, the fact that there’s a direct correlation between place and circumstances of birth and one’s eventual religion is one. Obviously this does nothing to prove Christianity false.

      You may not be able to prove Christianity false, but this does give strong support to the naturalistic explanation. This leaves no justification for supernatural belief.

      At the very least we should be able to assume that a loving God that punishes people for not believing in Him would make sure that everyone who sincerely wants to worship Him is able to do so.

      I may just be rephrasing your point, but God would first make his existence obvious. If I met you, you’d have made your existence obvious. God’s a billion times smarter, and he can’t figure it out?

    • Иван

      From a perspective of neuroscience, there is a theory that appeal supernatural is due to exhaustion. Brain goes into kinda power-saver mode. I believe in anglosaxon it’s called a soul cry.
      But from perspective of emotional appeal, people do chose religions. I never had much affinity for Israeli god.

    • Brian Curtis

      “Study one holy book and you’ll be hooked for life; study two or more and you’ll be done in a weekend.”

  • Kuno

    I am from Germany. Because of historical reasons (30 Years War and all that) Germany is divided in (by now only majorly) Catholic and Protestant regions. I was born and live in a mostly Protestant region but only about five kilometers to the North is a mostly Catholic region.

    The realization that I would have been raised Catholic if I had been born only that short distance away was a major part of my understanding that all religion was man-made.

    • Michael Neville

      A legacy of cuius regio, eius religio (whose realm, his religion), meaning the religion of the ruler determined the religion of those ruled.

    • Mustafa Curtess

      In effect: You lived in a dwelling owned by a slumlord – and he was no better than the slumlord 5Km away.
      (I see every aspect of religion to be negative. Anything it claims to offer – is available at far less cost elsewhere.)

      • Grimlock

        Let’s say that everything that religion can offer (a sense of meaning, community, and so on) can be obtained elsewhere at a lower (social? Economic?) cost. That in and off itself doesn’t mean that the things offered by religion is necessarily negative, but rather less positive than other stuff.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Add in all the social unrest, wars, and human misery that religion continues to be responsible for, and “less positive” sounds rather contrived.
          A few weeks ago I read some government figures for 2018 that showed religion to be a $3.8 Billion industry in the USA – so it definitely has an economic (as well as a social) cost. (That’s not just
          “pocket change”.)
          (I couldn’t invent a productive search title for the fiscal cost of atheism – which I can only assume was somewhat less.)

        • Grimlock

          I’m not talking about whether religion, in total, is negative. I was focusing on your claim that every aspect of religion is negative.

          That seems simply implausible.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I only see religion as a problem the world would be better without. I can see no aspect of religion that is beneficial. Whatever it may have contributed to civilization 1000 years ago (and that’s a major concession – coming from me) has been overshadowed by science in the world of today. If anything – religion has increasingly become an obstacle to meaningful and vital progress. (Religion is almost entirely the obstacle to gender equality and womens’ reproductive rights.

        • Grimlock

          Okay, let’s get specific.

          I have a friend who is quite Christian. This person is a part of a Christian community, and gets from that a sense of purpose in life, as well as a community of good friends and family. These are certainly good things, that makes my friend’s life better.

          Certainly, my friend could probably get those things through other channels as well. But that doesn’t mean that this aspect of religion cannot be a good thing. Religion as a whole might be a negative thing (or not), but that doesn’t mean that certain aspects of it can’t be positive.

          Do you agree?

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I agree that your friend has some theoretical benefit without seeking a substitute elsewhere.
          But in the context of mankind’s continued indulgence of a debilitating liability indefinitely – it’s absurd to make the decision based on one person’s coincidental situation.
          in a secular world – she would have the same advantage (possibly more options) – without all the other baggage that comes with religion (which I have mentioned previously).
          You just gave a fine example of how religion impedes progress. (Religion’s interests supersedes the interests of the entirety of mankind. Because of something that only exists in imagination.)
          There’s a compromise available, tho. Simply reform religion. Make it a benign activity that has no effect on those who do not believe in it. Simply make separation of church and state absolute and without exception.

        • Grimlock

          Let’s be clear on your original assertion that I’m challenging. You wrote this:

          (I see every aspect of religion to be negative. Anything it claims to offer – is available at far less cost elsewhere.)

          I find this to be far too sweeping a statement, and I believe I’ve now – anecdotally – illustrated why. Do you concede this?

        • Mustafa Curtess

          All the wonderful things your friend can have in church (sense of purpose, community of friends, and family) are also to be had in a drug cartel, Mafia Family, or street gang. That is not a valid reason to keep any of them. They are a danger to society and are illegal. Religion will eventually be recognized as a danger to society and made illegal as well.
          No doubt that you will see this as “sweeping” – and I do concede that it is.
          But unless religion is eradicated or reformed permanently and irreversably benign – I see little possibility that mankind can survive longer than another century. (Don’t forget that the Abrahamic religions do not WANT us to survive.)

        • Otto

          Making beliefs, or lack of belief, illegal is a bad idea and never works. As a person that agrees with you that religion often adds unnecessary baggage and often has negative outcomes I would still argue and fight against any legislation regarding belief/ non-belief. I would much rather deal with the consequences of people believing stupid garbage than any legislation outlawing it.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I’ll agree that eliminating religion has never worked before – but we know the reasons why it did not.
          We sent men to the moon and back fairly recently – that had not been possible before, either.
          We have technology already to analyse brain function, and soon we will have more. Religion is a mental condition – and soon it will be possible to reverse and prevent it.
          I suggest that you read the biblical Book of Revelations – and then ask yourself again if you would really “rather deal with the consequences” of people who believe such “stupid garbage” living freely among us. (Many of them in positions of highest influence and authority.) Especially when they believe that they (or some among them) must prove their obediance to their imaginary god – by accepting (or even facilitating) such a catastrophic event.
          If you believe that only radical Muslims are capable of martyring themselves for some “Divine” (or even political) purpose – you are sadly mistaken.

        • Otto

          You are missing the point. You are arguing for thought crime and that is never a good idea. Once that door is open any and all thoughts could be legislated against.

          I have read Revelation and I have my own fair share of negative experience in religion…I still would not, and will not, agree with what you are proposing and will argue that your ‘cure’ is worse than the disease.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I said nothing about crime. But Fair Enough – neither of us will be living 50 years from now – when the stakes for mankind are critical, options few-to-non-existent, and somebody is going to have to make VERY difficult decisions. (We can only hope that person is firmly grounded in atheism.)

        • Otto

          This…

          I said nothing about crime.

          does not jibe with your quote here…

          Religion will eventually be recognized as a danger to society and made illegal as well.

          My children will be alive and I would rather they not live in a situation where thoughts and beliefs are crimes.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I agree with you. All the more reason to legislate the ACTIVITIES (not the thoughts and beliefs themselves) of religion. Religious “rights” need to be discussed and regulated.
          Public display of superstitious symbolism and advertising must be “criminalized” – if that is the only way to stop it.
          Religion itself needs to be discussing their own activities that the public finds offensive – and simply stop doing them. Because it will eventually lead to the criminixation of their belief itself if they do NOT avoid offening the public (even only a minority of the public).
          The way things are – basically, crazy people are being allowed the insane asylum (at sane people’s expense).
          Evolving society simply can not tolerate that indefinitely. If they are allowed to impose their “Comandments” on me – I insist to impose my “commandments” on them. There need be only one: “Keep thy religious BS in thine homes and churches”.

        • Otto

          So now you are advocating for curtailing freedom of expression…again your cure is worse than the disease and I doubt that it would be effective regardless.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          “Freedom of expression”? You mean like when it became illegal to advertise cigarettes on TV? (Come to think of it – I haven’t seen wine or distilled beverages advertized on TV recently. either.
          Or the kind of “freedom” to advertize only Christian religion on public property?
          Or when the government hiled taxes on tobacco so much that a pack now costs $5 (each cigarette $0.25) at the same time advertizing was prohibited. (“Taxation without representation”)
          You’re getting pretty parsimonious about “free speech”, aren’t you?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Or when the government hiked taxes on tobacco so much that a pack now costs $5 (each cigarette $0.25) at the same time advertizing was prohibited.

          Waoh!

          The average price of a 20 deck of smokes in the UK is £10.77…that’s $13.55 at todays exchange rate.

          Given the median wage in the US is $47,060 and it’s £ £36,611 ($40,806) in the UK…ya do alright.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I just told someone that I consider it highly inappropriate for citizens of any country to judge socio-political issues of any other country.
          But you compel me to voice my opinion that citizens of the UK get far greater benefit from their taxation – than citizens of my country do. Most of ours go into the pockets of the rich and our warmongering around the globe. Yours appear to go into education, healthcare, and programs that benefit all taxpayers.
          I wish that people in the UK would consider that – before they complain about their high taxation.

        • rationalobservations?

          Who’s complaining?
          We just put your complaints into some perspective and offer sympathy for all that blights the USA.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I interpreted it as a complaint. No reason to post it, otherwise.
          Clever! I tried to find something good about the UK (not easy) and just set myself up to be insulted. (After kindly begging non-Americans to stop doing it.)
          “We”? (Do you have a rat in your pocket? Or are you speaking for Ignorant Amos?)

        • rationalobservations?

          Lets make a few comparisons ti help you with your assessment of the UK compared with the USA?
          USA = 5th most ignorant nation on Earth. UK 2nd best educated nation on Earth.
          USA – 340 mass shootings in 2018. UK 0 (zero) mass shootings in the last decade and more.
          USA – 128 in the Global Peace Index. UK 45 in the Global Peace Index.

          There are many more but these three are quite significant and fundamental.

          Stay safe y’all.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The arse dropped out of the housing market just as I was selling up. I lost a fortune. Greedy financial institutions in the U.S. tipped the first domino.

          https://www.thebalance.com/mortgage-crisis-overview-315684

          But the socio-political domestic shenanigans of the U.S. are not any of our business, so it seems.

        • rationalobservations?

          As an asset holding citizen of The UK – the corruption of the US financial system that caused the most recent financial collapse is everyone’s business.

          Otherwise the brutality of the USA leaving forty million of it’s citizens without health care and not caring about the endless mass shootings and school massacres must make any humanitarian think that it is our business to try to talk sense to the senseless?

          http://politicalpunchline.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/NRA-safe-cartoon.jpg

        • Ignorant Amos

          I interpreted it as a complaint. No reason to post it, otherwise.

          Ya coulda asked ya arsehole. Why the feck would ya think it was a complaint….unless you are daft as a brick?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I just told someone that I consider it highly inappropriate for citizens of any country to judge socio-political issues of any other country.

          Then you go right ahead and do that thing you consider inappropriate, and to which you are not averse to doing elsewhere either.

          A few things here. What aloada ballix.

          First of all, I really don’t give a shite what you deem appropriate, policing someone else’s comments is a form of trolling unless you are the moderator. Second, I wasn’t judging anything, I was making a comparison. I was simply pointing out that all things being equal, $5 isn’t a lot compared with here.

          This is a blog on the WORLD wide web, and as such, has an international audience. If you don’t want “outsiders” remarking on the contents of your comments, then think about said content.

          I hold a Green Card, I have a Florida drivers licence, I’m married to a U.S. citizen, though estranged for 9 years now, and have lived in the U.S., and given that the socio-political issues of the U.S. have far reaching implications for the rest of us around the world, I think that gives me the right to comment on the U.S.’s socio-political issues. Not least because of your foreign policy.

          But you compel me to voice my opinion that citizens of the UK get far greater benefit from their taxation – than citizens of my country do.

          Compelled are you? Someone holding a gun to your head, or got your arm shoved up yer back, have they. No, you are just demonstrating your hypocrisy, that’s all.

          Now to the content of that sentence. I could give zero fecks about that opinion. It’s a non sequitur…UK citizens get far greater benefit from their taxation, whoopity doo. That changes the fact that we pay 2.5 times for a pack of cigs how exactly?

          Most of ours go into the pockets of the rich and our warmongering around the globe.

          Your warmongering around the globe doesn’t account for “most” of
          of the U.S. tax spending. The U.S.’s total outlay for defence and internal security accounts for 15% of the total budget (UK 5.3%). While that may still be too much, it is still less than social security at 24% of the U.S. budget, and Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and marketplace subsidies at 26% of the U.S. budget, according to this 2017 report. Even with slight shifts up or down, your hyperbole is duly noted.

          https://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-budget/policy-basics-where-do-our-federal-tax-dollars-go

          As a percentage of GDP, the UK spends 2.3%, while the U.S. spends 3.3%

          As for your taxes going into the pockets of the rich, citation required?

          And again, what has that got to do with difference in the cost of a packet of fags when one is writing to back home?

          Yours appear to go into education, healthcare, and programs that benefit all taxpayers.

          You seem to be a bit confused. U.K. income tax is means based. That means the rich pay more, the poor pay nothing, because if ya earn nothing, or next to it, then ya have nothing with which to pay. Value added tax, on the other hand, is not. What that means is that a millionaire and someone receiving welfare and living below the poverty line, like me, all pay the same tax on consumer goods.

          The tax on cigarettes in the UK can be as high as 90% for some brands. This policy has resulted in taxes on tobacco products in the UK being amongst the highest in the world and comfortably ahead of those in other EU Member States. The poor bastard that has a nicotine addiction and needs to smoke is less interested in how the tax is divided up, when deciding whether to put something in their belly, heat the house, or buy a packet of ciggies.

          And still, none of this has any relevance to the fact that comparing the cost between the two countries, there is a huge disparity. How you lot choose to blow your tax budget is of no consequence to that issue.

        • MR

          …given that the socio-political issues of the U.S. have far reaching implications for the rest of us around the world, I think that gives me the right to comment on the U.S.’s socio-political issues. Not least because of your foreign policy.

          I’m an American who lived overseas for a couple of years as a young man where I realized for the first time just how profoundly the things we do affect other countries in a myriad of ways. It really changed my views about our role in the world. We don’t usually mean harm, but we are like a clueless, flopping, self-absorbed giant who doesn’t realize or care that his actions have consequences for others. The things we do can directly impact other countries, and almost nothing they do even appears on our radar. But, oh, if they object about anything we do, we can sure turn into a mean and spiteful bully. I do wish we could be more aware and empathetic.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ve a lot of respect for some of the things the U.S. has got involved in on the world stage. Not least the sacrifice they made during two world wars. We could possibly be speaking German otherwise.

          Being dictated to that it is none of my business about the tax affairs is quite ironic, given the thread I first seen Mr. Curtess throw his oar in, was a couple of weeks ago at Hemant’s place, on this thread here, “Quebec’s Bill 21, Now a Law, Foolishly Bans Religious Symbols for State Workers”. Whole boat loada meters exploded on that one.

          https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2019/06/17/quebecs-bill-21-now-a-law-foolishly-bans-religious-symbols-for-state-workers/#comment-4512085693

          Now call me auld fashioned, but surely Quebec is in Canada, not the U.S., and any laws they pass on the wearing of religious symbols in state employment, is a socio-political domestic one for the canucks, not yanks. So by his own dictate, he should keep his bloody nose well and truly out. I guess it’s a case of not do what I do, do what I tell ya. Rank hypocrisy.

        • MR

          =D

          I’ve got a sale on crow!

          Funny how elsewhere all atheists keep being accused of being on a team…. 😉

        • And it’s gotten worse since the Trumpster fire.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah…anthropomorphic global warming is fake news apparently…but why should that socio-political policy concern a non US citizen? There’s some imbeciles about, even withinin the so-called bright atheist community.

          Asininity with just one head knows now bounds.

        • Shootings? Why should I care? I won’t be going to any public schools anytime soon.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Fuckin’ halfwit…doesn’t he realize the that some fuckwit shootin’ up an American tourist resort has an impact on the tourist?

          Imagine a gunman running amok at the Florida theme parks.

        • rationalobservations?

          You just demonstrated that Americans do know how to do irony.
          However there are also many mass shootings of innocent Americans that do not take place in schools.

          When will Americans stop sacrificing their fellow citizens and other people’s children to the great religion of the gun?

          https://cbsnews1.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/2017/10/02/4b2a3194-cc6f-4a84-9c2b-bd2992fd30be/las-vegas-shooting-856538172.jpg
          https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/gettyimages-856536570.jpg
          https://d3i6fh83elv35t.cloudfront.net/static/2018/05/RTS1FTCL-1024×689.jpg

        • I don’t know what motivates the pro-gun sector. Maybe this is just another boogie man invented by Fox News and the GOP. They like “the sky is falling” claims because that turns into votes.

          “That Kenyan in the White House is coming for your guns!” works just like “Pweshush babeez!” and “Eww, fags!” did. Humans are more malleable when they’re afraid.

        • rationalobservations?

          If you find that unfair don’t do a comparison with tax and prices of cigarettes and gasoline in the UK.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I wouldn’t do that. Our two countries share only a similar language. Our realities, rulership, and world view are totally different. I don’t comment on domestic issues of the UK and would greatly appreciate if they refrained from comment on ours.

        • rationalobservations?

          I can understand your embarrassment as a citizen of the 5th most ignorant, gun crazy mass shooting capital of the world that is ranked so low in the annual Global Peace Index.

          The rear of us in the (more) developed world look on in horror but rarely comment as it is America’s barbaric mess and only Americans can resolve the horrors that beset you.

          Best wishes and kindest regards in the hope that you and yours are not murdered in yet another mass shooting.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          No question that you are talking our of your rear – indeed.
          Keep to your little totalitarian police state, groveling to your useless, expensive, monarch – and our mass shootings won’t concern you.
          You “look on in horror” and we look at you in disgust (and see the “error in our ways” for siding with you in WW1 – which you most certainly would have lost without us).

        • Ignorant Amos

          I don’t comment on domestic issues of the UK and would greatly appreciate if they refrained from comment on ours.

          Apparently the domestic issues of Canada are fair game though, right?

          “Ours”? (Do you have a rat in your pocket? Or are you speaking for all Americans here?)

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I replied to the comment about the UK. But my attitude applies to every nation – including Canada ((which i admire in many respects).
          I’m confident that most citizens of USA share my reserntment of foreign influence in our sovereign priorities.
          Prove me wrong.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You’re one arrogant prick.

          But my attitude applies to every nation – including Canada ((which i admire in many respects).

          WTF? You seem happy to comment about the socio-political domestic goings on of a sovereign state that is not the U.S. while criticizing others who you “perceived” were criticizing the socio-political domestic issues of the the US.

          All I did was to point out the difference in cost between the US and the UK between the cost of tobacco products and intimated ya have fuck all to gurn about. Ya fool.

          I’m confident that most citizens of USA share my reserntment of foreign influence in our sovereign priorities.

          Prove me wrong.

          Wise up ya senile auld fuckwit. No one on this thread is seeking to influence anything in your sovereign priorities ya daft paranoid bat.

          I won’t even justify that fuckwittery by asking the regulars here that I’ve known for years, some more than a decade, the question ffs.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Stating that citizens of the UK seem to get better value from their taxes is “criticism”?
          Do you really believe that a couple of “regulars here” represents a majority of Americans?
          (Even if 100% agree with you – means nothing).
          I think that if you have to rely on adhominum slurs to reinforce your position indicates that you have a very weak one. (I also think that you’ve chosen yout username aptly. I’ll give you that.)
          Now let’s get back to the topic of the negative effect that religion has on American society.
          (Since you have one on other issues – I would like to hear yours about that.)

        • rationalobservations?

          You are almost certainly right in view of the facts that America is ranked as the 5th most ignorant nation in the world and confirmed it in another way by electing an ignorant bigoted clown as president.

          Do you have more examples?

          Keep up the good work!

        • Ignorant Amos

          …confirmed it in another way by electing an ignorant bigoted clown as president.

          Tut tut!

          Ya can’t say that. You’re not qualified to comment if yer not a U.S. citizen…so cut it out, ya hear?

        • rationalobservations?

          How about venal, self obsessed misogynistic moron with an unconvincing comb over who styles himself on Mussolini – so long as I don’t name names? I am sure folk will know who I mean by the accuracy of both descriptions?

          (The following image is pure coincidence to the above.)

          https://www.rawstory.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/trump_benito.jpg

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’ll do!

        • Yeah. Trump would look cute in a military uniform. I’m surprised he hasn’t designed one for himself. (But on second thought, Putin and Kim Jong Il haven’t done so, and since they’re the fashion trendsetters in Trump’s mind, that probably explains things.)

        • Ignorant Amos
        • OMG–Li’l Kim with 4 general’s stars. Wow.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Aside from maybe a sanctimonious vicarious thrill in hearing/seeing themselves make such accusations – I’m curious what anyone expects to accomplish with such opinion.
          If enjoying the Constitutional freedoms that we still do in a few regards – I really don’t mind being called 5th in something.
          The fact remains that a lot more people are trying to come to the USA than are wanting to leave it.
          Surely that’s worth something?

        • rationalobservations?

          Far more folk are risking their lives to get into Europe and most of them head for the UK and many are losing their lives trying to cross the English channel in unsuitable crafts.

          If the USA is to your north and you live in a deprived region of the world it is natural that some wish to migrate away from their poverty.
          If the UK is known to you – it is a magnate for a better life as the many who are blocked from entry only discover when they try to get into the UK.

          I am somewhat surprised that you are happy to be a citizen of the 5th most ignorant nation in the world? Perhaps you are annoyed that the USA is not No.1 in ignorance as well as No.1 in mass shooting and gun crime generally?

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Immigrants come to the USA from all over the world (including the Utopia of the UK.)
          Why are you so obsessed with our guns? I suppose it’s useless to point out that (in the reality of the USA) far more crime is deterred by armed citizens – than is committed by them.
          Obviously it also escapes your notice that the “mass shootings” that dominate your imagination invariably happen in genuinely undefended places. And they will continue to happen until they are effectively defended as a DETERRENT to attack.
          We Americans are NOT “British”. We are multi-ethnic and multi-cultural to the point that there is no one magic formula that can be effective. If we do have problems, they are uniquely ours (as the solutions must be likewise).
          One of our Founders famously stated that “anyone who sacrifices liberty for security will soon have neither”.
          And he did so specifically to Americans – in the American context.

        • rationalobservations?

          Firstly your young and vulgar nation has little history of diversity and only two significant languages – one of which came from Britain before it got mangled by ignorant Yanks.

          The UK has a 20,000 year history of immigration and we are a truly mongrel race with equally treated citizens from all around the world – including many of the more intellectual and better educated ex US residents who have found a home in civilisation.

          As for diversity? Over 300 different languages are spoken in the schools of London and unfortunately thousands of would be immigrants queue at our borders and hundreds are literally dying to get into our safe, free, secular mother of modern democracy.

          Thank you for yet another example of why the USA was evaluated as the 5th most ignorant nation.

          The UK has one school massacre and banned guns. Almost all guns were handed in and destroyed while a highly trained armed police department was developed and authorised to shoot to kill any armed civilian. A few idiots with fake guns have been shot but there has not been one mass shooting since measures to stop such events were vigorously enforced.

          Your pathetic excuses for the crazy armament of punk kids and homicidal maniacs so you can own a gun that could not protect you from the lunatic you insist must be armed is stupid beyond craziness.

          It’s your problem fortunately. The UK solved that problem and no longer accepts the sacrifice of other folk’s kids for some macho fantasy that all gun nuts express.

        • (EDITED)

          I suppose it’s useless to point out that (in the reality of the USA) far more crime is deterred by armed citizens – than is committed by them.

          Yes, that is useless. I’ve never heard it, so what would be useful, instead, is giving some backing to this claim.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          That comment was not addressed to you – but its Impossible because many so episodes are unreported. Nobody in their right mind reports having to use a gun when no one was injured and no shots fired. (Law enforcement has remarked numerous times.)
          I won’t comment further. Peoples’ minds are made up on the gun issue and can’t be changed until they need a gun and don’t/can’t have one.
          There were 3 replies from a blocked user who may not know that he’s blocked.
          (Another instance of a nice discussion on an entirely different subject spoiled by someones’ anti-gun/anti-America hysteria.)

        • Ignorant Amos

          There were 3 replies from a blocked user who may not know that he’s blocked.

          Blocking someone just means the only person that can’t see the person being blocked comments, is you.

          There comes a time when interacting with ones interlocutor becomes futile in affecting the quality of discussion, but doesn’t mean that replying to numbnuts comments is completely futile. There are the lurkers to consider. Then there are the rest of us who may learn something, or at least get some entertainment.

          I block eejits as a last resort. Usually because I don’t need my e-mail inbox cluttered with inane notifications from someone with absolutely nothing to say.

        • MR

          There comes a time when interacting with ones interlocutor becomes futile in affecting the quality of discussion, but doesn’t mean that replying to numbnuts comments is completely futile. There are the lurkers to consider. Then there are the rest of us who may learn something, or at least get some entertainment.

          I dunno. Obviously DavidBehar is either a Russian troll or some species of alt-right provocateur, and frankly I’m not entirely convinced this Mustafa isn’t the same. I’m not sure there’s much to be gained by engaging the ones who are obviously here just to promote extremist views and rabble rouse. Especially when they stray from the topic of religion, I’m not convinced it’s worth engaging them. It just distracts from real issues and provides them a platform to spread hate, disinformation, propaganda and dissent. We battle enough real life examples of that here without taking on invented one. It’s all so much fake news.

        • DB insisted that I ban him, so I did. It seemed heartless to not give the cute little fella what he wanted.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You’ve got a point. They should be put in Quines petting zoo for trolls. But when things are a bit slow…sharpening the tools on fuckwittery can still be a fun bit of craic.

          I suppose, on reflection, I shouldn’t be complaining about not getting to my books while wasting time on such wastes of space. Perhaps I need to take a sabbatical from engaging on the web and seek a different medium. As they say, “a change is as good as a rest”.

        • MR

          No, no, no…, we need you here. Remember what it was like when Kodie was on her sabbatical? T’just wasn’t the same.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          The only Russian word I know is “nyet” (and I’m not even sure about that).
          “Alt-right provocateur” is equally laughable – since (aside from the 2nd Amendment isssue) I’m about as liberal as anyone could be.

        • MR

          And yet, that’s exactly what a Russian troll or an alt-right provocateur would say, innit? Anyway, my bet is on whackaloon. Regardless, I’ve personally lost interest in your ramblings.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Good! The interest has been unwelcome. I made one or two brief comments on the OP topic and someone took me to task for it. I would have much preferred to be ignored – than being forced to try to defend my view point.

        • MR

          I would have much preferred to be ignored – than being forced to try to defend my view point.

          Being forced to defend one’s view point can be a way to test to see if that view point is sound. There are plenty of others here who would be happy to help you with that.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          The “soundness” of one’s viewpoints are purely opinion. I’m quite satisfied with mine (which is shared both by millions of other citizens – and the Constitution as well).
          No help needed.

        • MR

          I’m quite satisfied with mine

          Clearly.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Didn’t you comment that you weren’t going to respond to my “ramblings”? (After accusing me of being a Russian troll – or an alt-right saboteur). What happened with yout “resolve” – guy?

        • MR

          You’re not strong in attention to detail.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Fine. Why not leave it at that?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Because you can’t stop commenting. Someone has to pull you up on your asinine twaddle.

        • Ignorant Amos

          He can’t read for jack shite.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Sufficient to my own needs (and that’s all that matters).

        • MR

          As expected.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          It’s my pleasure to accomodate you! (In fact: It makes my day!)

        • MR

          You’re an attention hound, aren’t ya?

        • Ignorant Amos

          A feckin’ toss bag, that’s what he is…an absolute knob jockey.

        • Pofarmer

          I think I’m kinda done with his stupid. See if I can maintain it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          …which is shared both by millions of other citizens…

          Argumentum ad populum

        • If you make a surprising statement without backup, sure, you’re likely to be asked for what grounds it. You seem to think this is a bad thing. Isn’t that what you want from atheists? Shouldn’t atheists have high standards for each other and for themselves?

        • Mustafa Curtess

          “”Think it’s a bad thing”? Not really. And being an atheist doesn’t lock anyone into established rules, catechisms, or dogma. (Sure – i’m aware that many among us believe that it should – and that we need something like a Pope to organize us more effectively.)
          But back to basics: Anyone who has no reason to believe in a deity is atheist.

        • Pofarmer

          (Sure – i’m aware that many among us believe that it should – and that
          we need something like a Pope to organize us more effectively.)

          Like who? In my experience that’s a caricature that theists paint.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          So it’s a conundrum and you “get It”. Balanced against some of your other boilerplate nonsense , I guess that’s progress.

        • Pofarmer

          Holy shit. It’s not a “conundrum”.

          Who makes that argument?

          You’ve hitched onto yet another un-evidenced position.

          Mainly a strawman.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Shouldn’t atheists have high standards for each other and for themselves?

          Which is why I get a red face when someone who claims to be an atheist spouts ballix. I know I shouldn’t. But for the most part, the atheists I come across on line are intellectually superior to me, so when faced with one more ignorant and stupid than I, I can’t help but get embarrassed for them.

        • I guess it’s just human nature to resist change, but when the feedback is aimed at helping the person, it’s frustrating when they push back.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Liar can be added to your repertoire.

        • MR

          =D

        • So then your claim is just your opinion. You don’t have data to back it up.

          Careful–with a controversial opinion, you want to be sure you give it with solid evidence.

          Another instance of a nice discussion on an entirely different subject spoiled by someones’ anti-gun/anti-America obsession.

          Guns are a big problem in America. Anti-gun = pro-America in many people’s minds.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Mustafa Curtess

          “Careful”? What moral right to you claim – to hold me to a higher evidentiary standard than you hold believers in superstition to?
          “Opinion”? Hell Yes! (And mine is just as valid as yours is.)
          I propose a solution to a (monumental!) problem – and you shoot it down because you think that you are the center of the universe and aren’t prepared to make any sacrifices whatsoever. Cool! Why can’t we leave it at that?
          What “evidence” have you offered – to support your “be nice to them – and they will be nice to us” simple-mindedness? (I see no indication that is working – whatsoever.
          In my last reply – I conceded everything you asked of me. (WTF more do you want from me?)
          (Anti-gun = Absolute cowardice.)

        • “Careful”? What moral right to you claim – to hold me to a higher evidentiary standard than you hold believers in superstition to?

          I don’t.

          “Opinion”? Hell Yes! (And mine is just as valid as yours is.)

          Let’s first find out who has the evidence to back up his opinion, then we’ll see whose is more valid.

          I propose a solution to a (monumental!) problem – and you shoot it down because you think that you are the center of the universe and aren’t prepared to make any sacrifices whatsoever. Cool! Why can’t we leave it at that?

          We’re apparently on the same side. I’m trying to strengthen your argument.

          What “evidence” have you offered – to support your “be nice to them – and they will be nice to us” simple-mindedness?

          None. Why should I? I never said that.

          (Anti-gun = Absolute cowardice.)

          Replay my advice about providing evidence. If you’re just trying to toss out a non sequitur that you’re pro-gun, OK, that’s fine. We get it. If you’re trying to change minds, you should … well, you know.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I haven’t seen any evidence to support your opinion that we can eliminate religion while keeping all the trappings of religion. I believe that getting rid of those trappings will accelerate the pace of elimination. Until it’s tried – there can be no evidence either way.
          I’m not trying to change any minds. I expressed my thoughts on an issue and you disagree.
          On the gun issue – I’m confident that you anti-gunners are going to get what you want – probably sooner than anybody expects. Only then we can know for sure who is right. (We have to drink the poison to know for certain that it is lethal.)

        • Indoctrination perpetuates religion, not church buildings or religious displays.

          We have to drink the poison to know for certain that it is lethal.

          We’ve tried the status quo, and it sucks.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          ???? (You lost me completely there.) What’s “being tried”?
          You’re the “status quo” (and indeed – it is sucking.)

        • ???? What’s “being tried” is ignoring the issue of widespread gun ownership and easy access to guns. And we have lots of public shootings. And the NRA and Congress are doing their best to drag their heels to avoid implementing sensible restrictions on ownership of guns, ammo, high-capacity magazines, etc. So the status quo sucks. You’re questioning this?

          School shootings so far in 2019:
          https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/09/us/school-shootings-2019.html

          If your point is that there are no better options and that, suck though it does, the status quo is the best we’ve got, make that clear. But it does suck.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I guessed that your remark related to the elimination of superstitious belief. (Which I still consider the main topic – and the status quo is basically doing nothing at all – which you avocate.)
          Every additional “sensible restriction on gun ownership” has just been a step toward no gun ownership. (Beginning with the draconian Gun Control Act of 1968.)
          The Founders predicted this – and that’s why the words “shall not be infringed” were included.
          As for school shootings – there is at least one excellent option that is flatly refused because it is NOT a step toward the prohibition of individual gun ownership. “Stopping school shootings” is merely camouflage for the real goal.
          In fact: For anti-gunners’ purposes – they have been a windfall. I’m not the only one that’s noticed it. (And No – I’m not implying anything.)
          One thing about those statistics: The same organizations also have statistics on other hazards in the home. Poisonings are so common that there’s a national poison-control “hotline”.
          Poisonings are also a popular suicide method. (Perhaps THE most popular.)
          It’s entirely likely that some of the individuals doing the studies and tabulating the results – also have guns and poisons in their own homes.
          Incidentlly: Stabbings have become so common in the UK that the government has asked everyone to remove the points of knives in the home and may well enact legislation that prohibits pointed cutlery nationwide.

        • I guessed that your remark related to the elimination of superstitious belief. (Which I still consider the main topic – and the status quo is basically doing nothing at all – which you avocate.)

          If we’re talking about religion, the “status quo” is Christians shrinking at 1% per year. That’s not “nothing at all.” Or were you not referring to religion?

          Every additional “sensible restriction on gun ownership” has just been a step toward no gun ownership.

          A law that says “bump stocks are illegal, but don’t let us dissuade you from killing schoolkids” is a step toward no gun ownership?

          And in the case where it does curtail gun ownership (mandatory background checks, no mental illness, etc.), you’re saying that this is bad?

          The Founders predicted this – and that’s why the words “shall not be infringed” were included.

          I wonder what the Founders would say about the status quo. I think the word “militia” was also included.

          As for school shootings – there is at least one excellent option that is flatly refused because it is NOT a step toward the prohibition of individual gun ownership.

          Is this option a secret?

          “Stopping school shootings” is merely camouflage for the real goal.

          Is the real goal also a secret?

          In fact: For anti-gunners’ purposes – they have been a windfall.

          The only windfall that I’ve seen is for gun owners, gun sellers, and ammo sellers. Every now and then the conservatives get their knickers in a twist and say, “Obama is coming for your guns!” or “They’re gonna soon ban X ammo, so stock up now!” and then there’s a boost in sales. Tell me about the anti-gun windfall, cuz I could use some good news.

          One thing about those statistics: The same organizations also have statistics on other hazards in the home. Poisonings are so common that there’s a national poison-control “hotline”.

          And . . . ?

          Poisonings are also a popular suicide method. (Perhaps THE most popular.)

          No, not the most popular. Firearms kill almost 4x more than poison in the US. Research is your friend.
          https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide.shtml

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Yes I’m referring to religion – and in view of the problems we’re facing, 1% per annum ( who must accept to be in a powerless, beseiged minority) IS “nothing”.
          The option is by no means a secret. Those teachers who accept the responsibility for their own lives and those of their students must be allowed to be armed. Attackers MUST be aware that once their shooting begins – to expect a bullet between the eyes the NEXT classroom door they open. Schools (and other venues required to be un-defended BY LAW) are irresistable to the disturbed and deranged types who are perpetrating these tragedies. A cop or two “somewhere on the premises”(maybe!) is a proven failure. (Have you followed the firings of Deputies in Parkland, FL – for cowardice and dereliction of duty?)
          Mandatory background checks is a recommendation BY the NRA. Nobody is opposing it. Only to the extremes that it may be taken – to prevent a father from giving a gun to his child, or interfering with the individual sale of a firearm between individuals, and for the system to become a “firearms registry” to be used for whatever purpose a government buerocrat deems fit.
          The Founders would be arising from their graves in opposition to the fraud that the word “militia” has become. Our “militia” is no less than a branch of our standing Army. Commanded, Trained, Paid, and Equipped by the Pentagon – available for use by Governors with Pentagon PERMISSION. The Founders would be doubly incensed to know that the notion would be used to disarm the civilian population (as is being done).
          Firearms are only 4x (?) popular for suicide – because they are most efficient, certain, and painless. (As an atheist – I believe in the idividual right to end one’s life. Eliminating guns will have no effect on peoples’ need to end their lives. No “magic” is inolved.)

        • Pofarmer

          Research is your friend

          If only.

        • rationalobservations?

          Your wiliness to sacrifice other folk’s kids for your cowardly gun fetish is truly loathsome.
          In the USA last year there were over 300 mass shootings and none in the UK for decades.

          The number of stabbings are small and there have been fewer this year than last. Your fake news is risible and your cowardly bloodlust unforgivable.

          The answer to the growing massacre of Americans by Americans with guns is to ban guns Anand train cops to shoot on sight any one with a gun.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Incidentlly: Stabbings have become so common in the UK that the government has asked everyone to remove the points of knives in the home and may well enact legislation that prohibits pointed cutlery nationwide.

          Bwaaaahahahaha! The UK government has asked everyone to remove the points of knives in the home and may well enact legislation that prohibits pointed cutlery nationwide, really?

          Where do you pull this crap from?

          I’m going to go with it being the vestigial remnants of your days with the god virus infection. Confirmation bias.

          A retiring judge has advocated for manufacturers to restrict the sale of kitchen knives with large pointed blades.

          He wants manufacturers to produce knives with rounded points for domestic use and those with points to be sold under strict rules.

          He also said…“You will never get rid of stabbings. There have always been stabbings, there always will be stabbings,”

          The idea is totally unrealistic.

          As for the straw man that this knife crime obfuscation is, and ya do love that fallacy, the majority of the stabbings are youth gang related. What do you think the stats would say if access to firearms was as easy here as it is in the US, eh, soft boy?

          There were 34 firearm homicides in the US per million of population in 2016, compared with 0.48 shooting-related murders in the UK.

          Knife murders are also higher stateside: there were 4.96 homicides “due to knives or cutting instruments” in the US for every million of population in 2016.

          In Britain there were 3.26 homicides involving a sharp instrument per million people in the year from April 2016 to March 2017.

          You really aren’t very good at this at all.

        • Pofarmer

          All right. As an aside here, I’m a shotgun instructor for 4H kids, and pretty much a lifetime shooter.

          But.

          I suppose it’s useless to point out that (in the reality of the USA)

          far more crime is deterred by armed citizens – than is committed by

          them.

          This is dubious at best. Mulitiple studies have shown that defensive uses of handguns are greatly over reported. Some studies have shown that you are more likely to kill a family member than ever need to use a handgun in a defensive situation.

          Obviously it also escapes your notice that the “mass shootings” that

          dominate your imagination invariably happen in genuinely undefended

          places.

          The most common cause of gun death in the U.S. is suicide. The next most common is domestic violence, where a spouse, generally the wife, is killed with a gun kept legally in the home. There have been a spate recently of multiple homicides involving firearms. There was one recently in Iowa, where 3 were killed another a year or so ago in Dallas Texas where, I think, nine were killed.

          And they will continue to happen until they are effectively defended as a DETERRENT to attack.

          Why are folks so enamored of this siege mentality? Statistics pretty clearly show that the more guns are available, the more gun crime and gun deaths there are. It really isn’t debatable, at this point. But I could dig it up if you’d like? Predictably, after Missouri liberalized it’s gun laws, Missouri had more gun related crimes and gun deaths, but ALSO our guns started showing up in crimes in Illinois, almost immediately. In the 1980’s, early 1990’s, you had criminals getting 15 round glocks, and the police only had 6 round 38 specials. What did we do? Stop the sale of high magazine capacity handguns? Hell no, we up armored the police, and now we have a nation awash in firearms that were meant for one purpose only, killing other people effectively and quickly.

          One of our Founders famously stated that “anyone who sacrifices liberty for security will soon have neither”.

          But your liberty isn’t absolute. You can’t steal with impunity. You can’t maim or kill. In general, your liberty extends up until it affects the liberty of someone else. That’s where we are now, IMHO. The amount of gun deaths, and the amount of mass shootings in the U.S. is unacceptable, and adding MORE guns into the mix isn’t going to solve it.

        • Susan

          Beautifully thought out and expressed, Po.

        • Pofarmer

          Thank you.

        • Susan

          Thank you.

          Seriously.

          This comment should be framed.

        • Some studies have shown that you are more likely to kill a family member than ever need to use a handgun in a defensive situation.

          Yes, this is the key issue for me. Add up all the good instances (armed citizen comes to the rescue) and compare them against just one category of bad uses (guns in the house used to shoot someone who’s not an intruder). As far as I can tell (please provide better stats if I’m confused on this one), guns numerically lose just in this instance, and this doesn’t even get into public mass shootings.

          I’m a fan of much of what Sam Harris says, but on the gun issue (he’s a big proponent, and he trains very seriously), I haven’t seen him address the domestic violence side of guns. He brings up the popular example of the 120-pound woman using her gun to fight off a 250-pound attacker at night in her house, and I see the appeal of that example. But when you turn it into numbers, isn’t the domestic violence count higher?

        • Ignorant Amos

          He brings up the popular example of the 120-pound woman using her gun to fight off a 250-pound attacker at night in her house, and I see the appeal of that example.

          Most folk don’t realize just what it takes to shoot another human being.

          The study of killology found…

          S.L.A. Marshall did a study on the firing rates of soldiers in World War II. He found that the ratio of rounds fired vs. hits was low; he also noted that the majority of soldiers were not aiming to hit their targets.

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

          The level of training and mental manipulation that has been developed in order to get the problem solved for the modern soldier has been intense.

          There is a reason why a far superiorly armed and in numbers force, well dug in, failed to hold the Falkland Islands. The poorly trained conscripts and reservist amateurs who really don’t wanna be there, are no match for highly trained volunteer professionals.

          Argentina sent it’s elite trained troops, those with winter wartime training, to the Chilean border, fearing conflict with Chile while distracted by the invasion of the FI. Britain didn’t play the game the way Galtieri expected. British troops were not expected to be deployed. Argentina had it’s bluff called and those poor troops hung out to dry, suffered.

        • Pofarmer

          I’ve shot quite a little bit. I see kids shoot all the time. And yet they still make simple mistakes, like leaving the safety on on the trap line, etc, etc. We sometimes host shooting days at our house. Most people, probably including myself, couldn’t use a weapon defensively if they wanted to, with the possible exception of a loaded double action revolve. Rack the slide? Safety off? Clip in? What rounds are in it? Target picture? Don’t limp wrist it or it won’t cycle. There’s just a million things to go wrong and most people simply don’t train enough with firearms of any stripe to really get it right. We coach safety and what to do with misfires and the like all the time, hours and hours, and kids still get it wrong. Adults aren’t much better.

        • I have vague memories of reading something like this, but this is interesting. I know on TV I often see the good guy/girl holding a gun and say, “Don’t come any closer!” in a timid voice and the bad guy easily disarms them, while I’m shouting, “Shoot him!” Maybe that’s more realistic than I realized.

          Back to Harris, this is yet another thing he needs to explain. If he’s going to celebrate the handgun as a force equalizer (the smaller woman is now in control of the situation), he needs to address this fear of shooting in an amateur (who in many cases will have never been to a gun range) and address the dangers of having a gun around the house.

          Again, what he’s said about his own use of guns sounds very laudable–monthly gun training plus his guns in gun safes and death threats that justifies his need to protect his family.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Even experienced and highly trained weapons handlers have apprehension when it comes to shooting someone. Especially when there are repercussions for getting it wrong.

          The “Yellow Card” was the instructions for opening fire in NI, the repercussions are being felt by pensioners today, for actions they believed justified 40+ years ago. How will that affect the confidence of the young folk enlisting today in carrying out their duties, time will tell.

          The Yellow Card carries no statutory authority and even if a soldier obeys the rules he is still subject to the civil law.

          https://alphahistory.com/northernireland/british-army-instructions-opening-fire-1973/

          http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-lMz5x7D5JYM/Ttp6Q6I_0CI/AAAAAAAAANA/jOLOU7EwjTY/s1600/yellow%2Bcard%2B1.jpg

          https://i.pinimg.com/originals/87/54/ec/8754ec44dae60afb2fa2157f44a6f3a0.jpg

        • The Yellow Card carries no statutory authority and even if a soldier obeys the rules he is still subject to the civil law.

          Huh? Can’t the Yellow Card also include any restrictions due to civil law? Or is civil law simply not well defined enough to set down simple rules?

          I can see how that can put the soldiers in a no-win position.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s a fudge.

          It just meant that every shooting has to be investigated and declared a lawful use of force.

          Can ya imagine the same in a wartime scenario?

        • Hopefully that investigation is done ASAP while the details are easily accessible, and the issue can be put to bed.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Wow. Tough situation.

        • Pofarmer

          Contrary to common misconceptions, access to firearms does not increase victim safety. A woman is far more likely to be the victim of a handgun homicide than to use a handgun in a justifiable homicide. A study found that for every time a woman used a handgun to kill an intimate partner in self-defense, 83 women were murdered by an intimate partner with a handgun.In general, firearms are rarely used in self-defense by victims of violent crimes. From 2007 to 2011, crime victims engaged in self-protective behaviors that involved a firearm in only 0.8% of the cases.

          https://nrcdv.org/dvam/sites/default/files2/FirearmsandDV-TalkingPointsForm.pdf

          This is basically a compilation of a bunch of different studies.

          6. Guns in the home are used more often to intimidate intimates than to thwart crime

          Using data from a national random-digit-dial telephone survey
          conducted under the direction of the Harvard Injury Control Research
          Center, we investigated how and when guns are used in the home. We
          found that guns in the home are used more often to frighten intimates
          than to thwart crime; other weapons are far more commonly used against
          intruders than are guns.

          https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/hicrc/firearms-research/gun-threats-and-self-defense-gun-use-2/

          Guns kept in the home are more likely to be involved in a fatal or
          nonfatal unintentional shooting, criminal assault or suicide attempt
          than to be used to injure or kill in self-defense.1 That is, a gun is more likely to be used to kill or injure an innocent person in the home than a threatening intruder.
          Though guns may be successfully used in self-defense even when they
          are not fired, the evidence shows that their presence in the home makes a
          person more vulnerable, not less. Instead of keeping owners safer from
          harm, objective studies confirm that firearms in the home place owners
          and their families at greater risk.

          https://lawcenter.giffords.org/dangers-of-gun-use-for-self-defense-statistics/

          So, Guns make us feel safe, but they don’t actually make us safe.

          Kinda like religion.

        • Fascinating stats, thanks. It’s good to have the numbers. It’d be nice to move on to discuss ways to improve guns’ place in society, but I think we’re still stuck at square 1, debating the numbers. And (yes, like religion) people who don’t like what the numbers say will just reinterpret or misinterpret or ignore them.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Talking to anti-gunners is like talking to Christians. Always the same tired old litany and self-serving interpretations of cherry-picked factoids.
          Be of good heart – because you are going to get what you think you want in due time.
          People will find other ways to kill themselves or their spouses, and friend or foe will enter your home with complete impunity once they get past the triple-locked doors and burglar bars on all the windows (which they shall). People will scurry from safe place to safe place during the day and lock themselves up in their fortified dwellings at night – and live happily with their delusions ever after.
          End of discussion. You ARE going to get what you want. Relax.

        • Pofarmer

          You are allowing yourself to be controlled by fear. It’s not a good place to be.

          Guns make us feel safe, but they don’t actually tend to make us safer. You’ve simply traded one religion for another.

          Defense

          Guns kept in the home are more likely to be involved in a fatal or nonfatal unintentional shooting, criminal assault or suicide attempt than to be used to injure or kill in self-defense.1 That is, a gun is more likely to be used to kill or injure an innocent person in the home than a threatening intruder.

          Though guns may be successfully used in self-defense even when they are not fired, the evidence shows that their presence in the home makes a person more vulnerable, not less. Instead of keeping owners safer from harm, objective studies confirm that firearms in the home place owners and their families at greater risk. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that living in a home where guns are kept increased an individual’s risk of death by homicide by between 40 and 170%.2 Another study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology similarly found that “persons with guns in the home were at greater risk of dying from a homicide in the home than those without guns in the home.” This study determined that the presence of guns in the home increased an individual’s risk of death by homicide by 90%.3

          https://lawcenter.giffords.org/dangers-of-gun-use-for-self-defense-statistics/

          I’m sure you’ll dismiss it as “bogus statistics” because it doesn’t fit with your preconceived world view.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I’m not dismissing anything as “bogus”. (And I’m not “controlled” by anything.) I fully agree that traffic fatalities could be vastly reduced merely by making it illegal for individuals to own an automobile. The same statistics would apply.
          While I can’t provide any evidence – life has become much more confident and I have much more freedom of movement since my state enacted the program that allowed me to legally carry a gun.
          Our legislators had to understand and embrace some simple realities in order for that to happen.
          (I doubt if they were being “controlled by fear” – altho you’re apt to say that they were.)
          I don’t have a “preconceived world view”. I only have 82 years experience with the (sometimes sad) realities of the maybe 1/3 of the world that I’ve worked, lived, and travelled in.

        • Pofarmer

          I have no doubt that you feel safer carrying a gun. The question is, are you? The statistics say you are not. If you’re going places you wouldn’t go before because now you can carry concealed, you may just be convincing yourself into making dumb choices.

          I fully agree that traffic fatalities could be vastly reduced merely by
          making it illegal for individuals to own an automobile. The same
          statistics would apply.

          I think this is a pretty bogus comparison.

          The chance of dying from gun violence overall is about 50%
          greater than the lifetime risk of dying while riding inside a car,
          truck, or van (a category that excludes pedestrian, cyclist, and other
          deaths outside of a motor vehicle). It’s also more than 10 times as high
          as dying from any force of nature, such as a hurricane, tornado,
          earthquake, flood, or lightning strike.

          These measures
          suggest Americans are more likely to die from gun violence than the
          combined risks of drowning, fire and smoke, stabbing, choking on food,
          airplane crashes, animal attacks, and natural disasters.

          https://www.businessinsider.com/us-gun-death-murder-risk-statistics-2018-3

          But, here’s the thing though. How much more exposure to motor vehicles does one have than Guns? It’s not even close. The average person spents multiple hours a week in cars, yet never sees a gun. Even people like me, who shoot regularly and instruct regularly, spend much more time in vehicles than with firearms. In short, I think this is a dishonest argument, NOTWITHSTANDING the fact that firearms killed more people than guns in 2017.

          https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2018/12/11/18135976/gun-deaths-us-2017-suicide

        • Mustafa Curtess

          My gun as saved me 3 times that I’m certain of and has bever harmed me or anyone else in any way. (It’s also been my primary recreation for most of my adult lifetime. I’m never as happy as when I’m at a shooting range. Unlike fishing or any other pasttime – satisfaction is guaranteed.)

        • What kinds of situations did your gun save you in? Were you in a war zone, or was this in suburbia?

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Pointless to provide specifics – but none was a war zone. (And believe it or not – there are realities beyond “war zones or suburbia” Really.)
          I’m sure that the likes of you (“armchair quarterbacks”) can imagine other purely hypothetical options. “You could have done this”, or: “You should have done that”, or: “Why didn’t you just ——-?”. or: “Just give them what they wanted and everything would have turned out fine”.
          (Everything DID “turn out just fine” – because my gun instantly convinced someone that they were acting out a really bad idea.)
          Be my guest – and let your imagination run wild.

        • rationalobservations?

          It was your good luck that they did not have a gun or have taken your gun from you or you would almost certainly be dead now.

          It’s also good for you that you did not wave a weapon around in Britain or you would certainly be dead as the highly trained marksmen police shoot dead on sight lunaticsand idiots brandishing real or fake guns.

          The UK no longer has a gun problem and no mass shootings.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          My guns have saved me 3 times that I’m certain of and have never harmed myself or anyone else in any way. They have also been my primary form of recreation for most of my adult life. (I would rather be at a shooting range than any other place available to me. Unlike any other recreational interest – shooting offers guaranteed satisfaction.)
          Now you are taking it upon yourself to dictate what constitutes the standard of safety I choose for myself? You have no idea where and how I live, where daily life takes me, or the people that I encounter. (Guns are the LEAST of my concerns.)
          Yeah – I know: In your gun-free Utopia – everything will be sweetness and light. There won’t be any bludgeonings, stabbings, stranglings, or simply people literally stomped to death – will there?
          Also – one has to wonderif your ANA and CDC will deign to be so gratituously forthcoming wit statistics in a gun-free USA. (I’m betting that they won’t want the egg on their faces to be seen.
          You are also claiming the right to determine what kind of statistic I may be. (Doesn’t individual freedom and self-determination mean ANYTHING to you?)
          And in bragging about the shooting you do and teaching 4H (which I’ve done myself, incidentally) all the while hysterically condemning individual gun-ownershup – aren’t you being a mite hypocritical? How is it possible that firearms killed more people than guns did in 2017? (Are you classifying “firearms” for military purposes and “guns” in civilian use? If so – that statistic is almost certainly true of every year of about the last 3 – 4 decades. I thought you would have excepted the military.) Desperate – much?
          LOL! About 50 years ago I was in a town where as good as EVERYBODY had a holstered handgun on their belt. (No police force was necessary – or present.) Everybody was polite and considerate. Outrageous – isn’t it?

        • Pofarmer

          My guns have saved me 3 times that I’m certain of and have never harmed myself or anyone else in any way

          This is where we need to discuss “anecdotes are not evidence”. Your story doesn’t tell the whole picture. You see, I don’t know anyone who claims to have used a gun in a defensive nature. I do, however, know two people where were injured in firearm accidents, 1 suicide, and one near miss due to carelessness. Individual stories don’t tell us much, it’s the aggregate information that matters at the policy level. Is your apparent, possible safety worth more than the people killed of domestic violence? Or the person who commits suicide primarily due to the easy access to a weapon?

          Yeah – I know: In your gun-free Utopia – everything will be sweetness

          and light. There won’t be any bludgeonings, stabbings, stranglings, or

          simply people literally stomped to death – will there?

          Try not to be an idiot. I’ve been entirely civil.

          You have no idea where and how I live, where daily life takes me, or the

          people that I encounter. (Guns are the LEAST of my concerns.)

          No, I don’t, and at the aggregate a a policiy level it doesn’t matter in the slightest. Because you live in a bad neighborhood or do unsafe things does that dictate a housewife in Omaha has to die?

          And in bragging about the shooting you do and teaching 4H

          I’m not bragging, I’m merely stating a fact for a frame of reference.

          all the while hysterically condemning individual gun-ownershup –

          Where have I done that?

          aren’t you being a mite hypocritical?

          No. I’m actually being the opposite of hypocritical. I’m acknowledging that while I have a great deal to do with guns, use them, shoot them, instruct about them, we have a problem with firearms and gun deaths in this country compared to pretty much every other civilized country in the World.

          LOL! About 50 years ago I was in a town where as good as EVERYBODY had a
          holstered handgun on their belt. (No police force was necessary – or
          present.) Everybody was polite and considerate. Outrageous – isn’t it?

          See, now I think you’re just full of shit. My Grandpa was a bigtime quail hunter. Raised English Shepherds. Hunted literally every day after work. Trapped when he wasn’t doing that. He had a .22 rifle nad two shotguns and ran thousands of rounds through the shotguns. My Dad growing up had a Deer Rifle, a .22, and a shotgun. That’s it. I was never around handguns. They simply weren’t necessary. Now you have guys with safes full of guns. Hand guns, AR’s. You name it. Now there’s a wave of guns getting stolen out of peoples cars. They know they’re there, so they get stolen. If you have more guns, you have more illegal guns, then you have more gun crimes. As legal guns proliferate, so do illegal guns, because essentially all guns were at one point bought legally. We’ve allowed a problem to fester out of controol, and, in fact, have helped the problem along by liberalizing gun laws when we should have been tightening them. And now guns are everywhere. Are we safer? You don’t seem to think so.

        • (You got dinged on that one because of a typo. If only our robot overlords were smarter.)

        • Pofarmer

          All he had to do was click on the link to the damned article.

        • I admire your civility.

          At least one of you is informative, and I’m learning a few things.

        • Pofarmer

          It seems like he’s switched one Dogma for another.

        • Agreed. He’s an atheist but not much of an asset.

        • Pofarmer

          Indeed. Kind of an ass, though.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Demonstrating that being atheist is no exclusion to being a complete dickhead.

        • MR

          Why can’t he follow atheist doctrine like he’s supposed to!?

        • Susan

          Why can’t he follow atheist doctrines like he’s supposed to!?

          The problem is very simple.

          Only psychic christians know what atheist doctrine is.

          And they keep it secret from atheists.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Good advert for demonstrating there is no “Team Atheist”.

        • MR

          Yup!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Try not to be an idiot.

          Too late, that ship sailed a long time ago.

          Where have I done that?

          Loves a straw man does that Dime Bar.

        • Ignorant Amos

          See, now I think you’re just full of shit.

          Don’t ya now yer talking to Wild Bill Hickok and the town was Deadwood?

          I thought 50 years ago, soft boy was a Muslim living in some Islamic paradise in the east. Feckin’ Ali Baba and the 40 thieves.

          More holes in his back story that a colander.

        • Pofarmer

          I’m really trying to give this poster the benefit of the doubt here.

        • I appreciate that. But more so, I appreciate that you’re speaking from a position of experience and knowledge and aren’t letting this blowhard’s nonsense stand without rebuttal.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I give up on that quite a while ago.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          You “have no doubt” – but you also have no experience with the realities of the world we live in (and have always lived in). All you have are some one-sided numbers that support your opinionated, self-serving anti-gun prejudices.
          RELAX! Man – You’re going to get what you want. (I can’t stop it – so get off of my case.)

        • All you have are some one-sided numbers that support your opinionated, self-serving anti-gun prejudices.

          Yet again, citation needed. Do you not know how this works? Pofarmer provided some numbers. If you know of a reliable source that has different numbers that would inform the conversation, provide those numbers and the source. This sentence of yours makes clear that you have an opinion, and evidence isn’t relevant. You’re just going to hold onto your opinion.

          Just like the Christians. It looks like the mindset that kept you in Christianity and Islam for decades still has a strong hold on you. Ideally, when you drop the religion, you take on a new approach to evidence–evidence first, then the conclusion. Perhaps that’s something for you to consider.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Citation WANTED. According to the numbers – atheists are such a minority that (by your rules) should not exist. (“Citation needed” – that God does not exist. Sounds familiar?)
          No thanks for the free psychoanalysis, Dr. Seidensticker. But it was the “numbers” that kept me in religion for so many years. The vast majority believes in a god – and I thought that it was “wrong” of me – that I never had. I was convinced that if I kept trying – that I could discover the magic in numbers (and the comfortable riteousness of being in the majority).
          I suppose the AMA and CDC would have something to say about that – based on numbers.
          “Something to consider” is that you boot me – because I don’t follow the rule (that every comment agree with the opinion of a site moderator).
          Oh! And while you’r at it – see that fb users aren’t led here by clicking for more info on an OP that appeared there. (That’s what happened to me – otherwise I wouldn’t be such a problem to you.)

        • Pofarmer

          Reality?

          https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/2/16399418/us-gun-violence-statistics-maps-charts

          America’s unique gun violence problem, explained in 17 maps and charts

        • Sorry–invalid. They’re one-sided because they don’t support Mustafa’s position.

        • Pofarmer

          This reminds me of arguing with another group. hmmmmmm.

        • One possible weakness with “8) States with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths” is that states with more sane (with respect to guns) people may also demand tougher gun laws. That is, “tough gun laws are the cause of fewer gun deaths” may not be a valid conclusion.

          But overall, this is a great list.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, States with the toughest gun laws have had them for quite a while, too. People like to point out the crime stats in Chicago. The thing is, Chicago is spitting distance from Indiana and Wisconsin with very lax gun laws. And then there’s Missouri. I haven’t looked at the Stats in a while. But gun related Deaths in mo, and crime, and Missouri guns showing up in other states, all predictably followed MO liberalizing it’s gun laws.

          Here’s one good resource.

          2ABSTRACTIn the United States, homicide is a leading cause of death for young males andamajor cause of racial disparities in life expectancy for men. There is intense debate and little rigorous research on the effects of firearm sales regulation on homicides. This study estimatesthe impact of Missouri’s 2007 repeal of its permit-to-purchase (PTP) handgunlaw on states’ homicide ratesand controls for changes in poverty, unemployment, crime, incarceration, policing levels, and other policies that could potentially affect homicides.Using death certificate data available through 2010, the repeal of Missouri’s PTP law was associated with anincrease inannual increase in firearm homicides rates of 1.09per 100,000(+23%), but was unrelated tochangesin non-firearm homicide rates.Using Uniform Crime Reporting datafrom policethrough 2012, the law’s repeal was associated withincreasedannual murders rates of 0.93per 100,000(+16%).These estimated effects translate to increasesof between 55 and 63homicides per yearin Missouri.

          https://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/missouri_background_checks.pdf

          The number of guns sold in Missouri and later recovered by police in Illinois and Iowa, two border states with 12handgun purchaser licensing laws,increased 37 percent (from 133 to182) from2006 (just before Missouri’s PTP law was repealed) to 2012 when the overall number of crime guns recovered by police in those states actually declined by 6 percent.12

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Yeah! Realities have a nasty habit of being individual and momentary.

        • Pofarmer

          Don’t mistake reality for your experience of it.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          That’s a bit too metaphysical for me. That’s vying for top place on the list of the most arrogant things I’ve heard. You are the self-appointed arbiter of what’s real in a total stranger’s life?
          (That’s typical of jesus freaks, incidentally.)

        • Pofarmer

          You are the self-appointed arbiter of what’s real in a total stranger’s life?

          Uhm. No. I’m simply stating that what is “real” in one persons life may well not reflect what’s “real” in the aggregate. But, sooner or later, statistically, the aggregate will catch up with you. For instance. In MO, we significantly liberalized our gun laws in around 2007. The result of that was murders increasing in the State by something just under 100 per year. It also means that MO guns started showing up in crimes in Illinois and Iowa with tougher gun laws. I’m not sure there are any statistics on the defensive uses of guns in MO, but just from the increases in murders, not, murders, it would appear that the easing of gun laws actually had opposite the intended effect.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          It’s obvious that you fail to understand that realities are individual – and that nobody else arbitrarily dictates them for everyone else (as you are attempting to do).
          School and other massacres are on YOUR head – simply because you adamantly refuse to allow the simple deterrant to them.
          In every other instance: It never occurs to you that maybe people who deserve to be killed – just ARE?
          (And that must not continuously be left to the discretion of cops. alone.)
          If I arranged my existence on statistics – the best place to live would be in the ICU ward of a (secular) hospital.
          From the moment each of us are born – we deal with all the ways that nature has to kill us. A defensive capability merely eliminates one of those ways. (Along with immunizations from various diseases, blood-pressure reducers, blood-thinners, heart surgery, door locks, etc.)

        • Pofarmer

          Sigh. Morning coffee gets me again.

          It’s obvious that you fail to understand that realities are individual

          Our realities are individual. We all share a reality. That’s why things like statistics work and are useful.

          and that nobody else arbitrarily dictates them for everyone else (as you are attempting to do).

          So, you are immune from statistics then? You can just arbitrarily dictate what affects you and what doesn’t?

          School and other massacres are on YOUR head – simply because you adamantly refuse to allow the simple deterrant to them.

          If the guns weren’t available or accessible, no deterrent would be necessary.

          And the rest is just – wow.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Everybody doesn’t live their lives statistically. (Did you look to see what car is most popular and buy one?) Statistically I guess I shouldn’t needed to pull a gun on somebody – but I did. Those are OTHER people’s statistics. (Mine are different. And so are yours.) And they don’t come with a guarantee.
          Guns are available and accessible because the Constitution says that they must be – and SCOTUS continues to rule so. (In fact: It ruled that it is an INDIVIDUAL right (and I daresay that your statistics were argued in court by whoever was trying to have them taken away from us.)
          Weren’t explosives also found on one of the shooters? You just consider that for a moment.
          Pipe bombs are messy (and also highly illegal) but ANYBODY who knows how to use a pipe wrench and a drill can make one.)
          So those kids need to be defended against something even worse than a gun.
          So it’s still on idiotic people’s heads and NOT on mine. (I would stop that nonsense once and or all before school starts this fall.)
          Statistically – how often are schools expected to be attacked?
          (And the rest is just – wow.)

        • Pofarmer

          It’s too bad ignorance isn’t painful.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Amazing! I was thinking the exact same thing!

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s painful for me to watch that Dime Bars ignorance. Which ignorance is quick to digress into stupidity.

        • Greg G.

          Yeah! Realities have a nasty habit of being individual and momentary.

          In individual and momentary realities, the rate of fatalities consistently go up when firearms are involved.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I haven’t experienced a fatality (and everybody dies of something).

        • Greg G.

          I was on a jury a little over 20 years ago in a case where an eighteen year old found his mother’s boyfriend’s revolver in a closet. They removed the bullets and were playing with it. Then the kid put one bullet in and spun the cylinder. He saw the round and pulled the trigger, killing his best friend. They grew up next door to each other.

          The prosecution was trying to tell us that he shot his friend intentionally and that he was very familiar with guns. They had found a semi-automatic pistol a year earlier but a third friend testified that it didn’t work. We took that to mean they didn’t know how to get it to work and anything they learned from that would have misled them about how a revolver functioned. In the video of the interrogation, the kid was clearly baffled how the bullet “jumped right in there.”

          There was never any testimony about why the gun was there. Most likely,the gun was perceived as protection and safety.

          There is a difference between a teenager dying from a gunshot and the elderly dying of natural causes. My grandfather died and no family members got divorced. Seven years later, my brother died in an accident and it destroyed my parent’s marriage.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          That is a nice story that is absolutely meaningless – and would not be to;d 100 – 2000 years ago when a firearm in the home was as common as a skillet. (Als0 – we can’t know that the kid would drown in the lake the next day’- and you would be in a campaign against motor boats and water-ski’s,

        • Dude–someone has hijacked your Disqus account and is posting meaningless crap under your name!

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I guessI i don’t see it because I’ve blocked them
          WTF can I do about it? It’s impossible to contact an admin. or moderator
          It’s getting relly crasy. One Guy hinks I’m a Russian saboteur ot an alt-right troll (Amazing! Since excep for tgr gun issue = I’m totll liberal.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • The problem is not that you’re liberal or conservative but that you’re uninterested in considering new evidence or even in providing evidence to support your own position.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Have ya ever thumped an atheist into the banhammer bin?

          If ever there was one that is ticking all the boxes, it’s that moronic waste of space.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          We just have to agree to disagree. I can’t evidence it – but I like my country just the way it is and I am certainly uninterested in making it like the UK in any way.
          If the UK is so far ahead of us – it’s easy to emmigrate to there.
          You’ve just scored a “first”- by saying that loving my country is my “problem” (Honestly – I’ve never heard that before in my 83 years.)
          The only “tradition” I respect is Independence day. (Or are you forgetting that we had to kick Britain’s asses to gain that independence? It seems that you are.)

        • I like my country just the way it is and I am certainly uninterested in making it like the UK in any way.

          I said that the UK is ahead of the US in the area of moving away from Christianity.

          You’ve just scored a “first”- by saying that loving my country is my “problem” (Honestly – I’ve never heard that before in my 83 years.)

          Actually a “zeroth” since I didn’t say that.

          are you forgetting that we had to kick Britain’s asses to gain that independence? It seems that you are.

          Not even close to anything I ever said. Make sure you’re responding to the content, not what your imagination adds.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Thanks for adding “from Christianity”.
          That does make a difference – altho I’m not so sure. The Anglican Catholic church (Episcopalian, here?) Is rather benign – compared to all 100 Evangelical cults.)
          Please read your post – which clearly states that my problem is uninterested in considering “new evidence”. What evidence has emerged to reinforce Atheism? (” No credible reason to believe that a God exists” says it all.
          I’m not imagining your glowing appraisal of the UK and your stated obedience to “centuries of tradition” (Kissing their Royal Asses – is NOT a tradition that I respect.)

        • athanks for adding “from Christianity”.

          No, that was my position all along.

          which clearly states that my problem is uninterested in considering “new evidence”. What evidence has emerged to reinforce Atheism?

          ?? I’m talking about the guns discussion.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I thought that your first remark was about guns and that we need to be like the UK (Which is anathema to me).

        • Well, I’m glad we’ve got that figured out, but perhaps your quick draw mentality is a problem here as well. This conversation is quite confusing already for you to add additional entanglements.

        • rationalobservations?

          I am sorry that you imagine that the UK leads the USA only in the decline in the number of wacko religionists within the population.

          Firearm-related death rate per 100,000 population per year: USA 19.51 – UK 0.23
          Guns per 100 inhabitants: USA 120.5 (1.2 guns per citizen) – UK 0.02 ( 1 gun per 20,000 citizens)
          Mass shootings in 2018: USA 340 – UK 0 (Zero)
          Mass shootings in 2019 in USA Jan to July ytd see https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/

          In other respects?
          USA 5th most ignorant nation – UK 2nd least ignorant nation. – https://www.unilad.co.uk/life/these-are-the-most-ignorant-countries-in-the-world/
          USA 128 of 163 – UK 45 of 163 in the Global Peace index
          UK first in battle to defend freedom and democracy in two world wars. USA last in battle to defend freedom and democracy in two world wars and sold assistance and equipment to UK in shameful “lend-lease” scheme.
          UK :- Universal health care at the point of delivery for all citizens. USA – 40,000,000 citizens with no health care at all.
          USA – An elected tyrant President with more power than any UK king or queen for 100s of years.

          There are so many areas in which the USA lags behind the rest of the developed world that it is amazing that so few Americans leave the chaos and crime. .

        • I am sorry that you imagine that the UK leads the USA only in the decline in the number of wacko religionists within the population.

          No, not my opinion. Sorry if my previous comment was unclear.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Make sure you’re responding to the content, not what your imagination adds.

          A proverbial straw army being deployed.

        • Greg G.

          You’ve just scored a “first”- by saying that loving my country is my “problem”

          He said no such thing.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          That was the meaning I took from what he wrote. That is my summation of his words. I try very hard to make myself very clear – alto it makes my posts longer than may be necessary.
          For some reason – I think he may be an admin. Otherwise I would block him.
          With both of you attacking my pro-gun position Ive confused you a time or two. It’s easy to do because anti-gunnerrs use the same litany and cooked statistics.

        • That was the meaning I took from what he wrote.

          Then read more better. You waste everyone’s time when we have to put out the fires you light because of your carelessness.

          For some reason – I think he may be an admin. Otherwise I would block him.

          Yes, this is my blog. That’s the “Mod” next to my name. You’re here because I say you can be here.

          Stop responding to my comments and I’ll have fewer things to reply to.

          It’s easy to do because anti-gunnerrs use the same litany and cooked statistics.

          I’ve used zero statistics, though I’ve pointed out that you, the one with the very strong gun opinions, have also offered zero. Perhaps you’re thinking of Pofarmer, the guy whose stats devastated your position.

          “Cooked statistics”? Show us. Please. Show us that you understand the value of evidence. Just show us one statement and then give us a reliable source to back it up so that we know you know how this whole evidence-y thing works.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Have you seen any study that balances “bad” uses of guns against “successful defensive”? There should be some – you know. I consider that dishonest.
          I mentioned much earlier on that defensive uses that didn’t result in injury are as good as never reported. (I’ve had 3 of them myself.) Also – law enforcement personnel are far from all being anti-gun. (But where would I find that figure?) I have a retired cop just around the block who believes that disarming the public would result in a law enforcement nightmare.
          It’s your option not to reply. I’m getting a bit bored, myself. Neither is accomplishing anything.
          (I’m not the one holding up the disarmament of the U.S. Public.)

        • rationalobservations?

          Your failure to find more than anecdotal non-evidence is unsurprising since all the actual evidence and data supports the absolute fact that outlawing private gun ownership reduces the number of deaths resulting from citizen on citizen shootings to near zero. How could it be otherwise?

          Your demand to own a gun (that is more likely to be used against you or members of your family) IS what is holding back saving hundreds of children’s lives and and the mass slaughter of Americans by Americans each year.

          Would you retain a gun if you knew that any cop seeing you with it would shoot you dead in sight and when someone revealed that you still owned a gun to the law that your would end up in a prison cell for a very long time?

          Strict gun control has worked in all nations that have implemented it and it is now working in New Zealand after only one significant mass shooting occured there. How many more American kids and American citizens are you willing to sacrifice to your gun fetish and your cowardice?

          The profits of the gun industry and the ignorant obduracy and cowardice of gun nuts is what is holding up a more civilised and less deadly future for the USA.

        • Greg G.

          I have a retired cop just around the block who believes that disarming the public would result in a law enforcement nightmare.

          Unemployed homicide detectives?

        • Mustafa Curtess

          What relevance to that snide remark? Over 20 years as a Deputy Sheriff in his late 60’s is “unemployed” to you? (Altho I suppose that “statistically”- it may be.)

        • Greg G.

          I am not referring to your friend the deputy. I refer to all the homicide detectives with hardly any homicides to investigate if the civilian public was disarmed. Get it?

        • Mustafa Curtess

          The deputy is not “my friend”. (No law enforcement professional possibly could be.)
          And I do NOT “get it” – because your remark was a direct response to my statement (which you quoted verbatim.) The expectation is that with a defenseless population – they will be overwhelmed by “homicide investigations”. Which is what clear-thinking cops refer to. (Just as they are in large cities and states which seriously infringe law-abiding citizens’ right to be armed (In spite of SCOTUS.)
          Where do you people get the notion that only guns are responsible for homicides – and that the criminal element will abide by anti-gun laws? (Which will suit them just fine.)
          Wikipedia statistcs (you’re gonna’ LOVE this): 393 million individually-owned guns in the USA. 35% – 42% households protected by a firearm, and 120.5 guns per 100 people. (“Gun Politics in the United States”)
          My conclusion: We can not be effectively disarmed in decades (or even generations).
          Prudent gun-owners have long been BURYING guns and ammunition on their property in hermetically-sealed containers designed and sold for this purpose. (More are so protected at every new gun-control scare. A common anti-gun shibboleth is that every scare results in an increase in gun sales. (True/Untrue IDK / IDC.) Only the National Guard bulldozers and excavators can locate them – after the buildings have been razed and every square inch of property unearthed. (Will that ever happen?)
          Even without statistics, I think that you can be plausibly sure that fact is taken into consideration by anyone that ponders establishing a tyrannical U.S. government – or invading and occupying us.
          The only viable option you hysterical idiots have – is to either exploit it (with supportive or enabling legislation) – or keep whining with your “gloom and doom” delusions.
          Heartwarming video:
          Cops stop an elderly driver for some minor BS infraction, and her DL indicates that she has a CCW permit.
          Cop : “Do you have a weapon with you?”
          Lady: “Yes – a 9mm in the glove box, a 357 Magnum in the console, and a 38 special in my purse.”
          Cop: “What are you so afraid of?”
          Lady: “Absolutely NOTHING.”

        • Greg G.

          It was a joke with a point. You got neither. I expect that others did.

          My conclusion: We can not be effectively disarmed in decades (or even generations).

          I agree.

          Prudent gun-owners have long been BURYING guns and ammunition on their property in hermetically-sealed containers designed and sold for this purpose. (More are so protected at every new gun-control scare. A common anti-gun shibboleth is that every scare results in an increase in gun sales. (True/Untrue IDK / IDC.)

          I have known a few of those guys. None of them came across as prudent.

          This comment thread is slow. It takes too long to respond. I would prefer to abandon this article.

        • Ignorant Amos

          This comment thread is slow.

          It’s not only the comment thread that is slow. The flash to bang time of MC could be measured on a calendar.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s just-wow level of Dunning Kruger.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          The joke appeared in a pro 2nd mendment group – where I expect pretty much every member got the appropriate point.
          Yes I agree to abandon. Thank You.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Get it?

          Nope…the belligerent auld fecker just refuses to deal with the facts. A rational and critical thinker, he is not.

          How U.S. gun deaths compare to other countries

          https://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-u-s-gun-deaths-compare-to-other-countries/

          We are obviously dealing with a certified cretin.

        • Pofarmer

          Apparently you missed the memo that statistics don’t apply to him.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Demonstrating that being atheist is no metric for the minimum level of asinine moron one can attain.

        • Greg G.

          I was wondering about the “death rate in homes with guns vs homes without guns”. So I Googled the quoted portion and found out.

          https://www.vox.com/2015/10/1/18000520/gun-risk-death

          https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/3/23/17155596/gun-ownership-polls-safety-violence

          Dam‌n, this page is slow to post in.

        • Pofarmer

          It killed my phone yesterday and stalled out my desktop last night,

        • Greg G.

          I have tried two computers and two browsers plus my Android phone. It’s frustrating to even hit the up arrow.

        • Pofarmer

          Hey now. That’s not MC’s reality, so it don’t count.

          I reject your reality and substitute it with my own.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Too stupid for words…get back on yer medication ya senile auld twit.

        • Pofarmer

          Have you seen any study that balances “bad” uses of guns against “successful defensive”?

          Yes,. I posted it. You ignored it, because it didn’t have the answer you were seeking.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          No such study exists – for the simple reason I’ve mentioned more than once.
          Even if it were attempted, it would not be – because it conflicts with the purpose of the studies.
          You’re just having fun riduculing everything I post (including why a spare wheel assembly is stardard equipment on most new cars and trucks.)
          Your snide remarks prompt me to end this discussion.

        • Pofarmer

          Certainly the studies exist. Fairly famous ones too, if you had a hint of the intellectual curiosity to read them. https://www.forbes.com/sites/paulhsieh/2018/04/30/that-time-the-cdc-asked-about-defensive-gun-uses/#263be6e1299a That article has a few links to studies and talks about different studies.

          latest data show that people use guns for self-defense only rarely. According to a Harvard University analysis of figures from the National Crime Victimization Survey, people defended themselves with a gun in nearly 0.9 percent of crimes from 2007 to 2011.

          The researchers who look at [Kleck’s study] say this is just bad

          science,” Hemenway says. “It’s a well-known problem in epidemiology that

          if something’s a rare event, and you just try to ask how many people

          have done this, you will get incredible overestimates.”

          In fact, Cook told The Washington Post

          that the percentage of people who told Kleck they used a gun in

          self-defense is similar to the percentage of Americans who said they

          were abducted by aliens. The Post notes that “a more reasonable estimate” of self-defense gun uses equals about 100,000 annually, according to the NCVS data.

          Another

          problem is that there is no consensus on the definition of defensive

          gun use. Some incidents could involve illegal carrying or possession, or

          they could amount to aggravated assault, the Rand Corp. writes:

          Perceptions

          about the incident and an individual’s role are important because much

          of the literature relies on self-reports: The respondent must have

          perceived there to have been a crime (or, in some surveys, a suspected

          or averted crime) and must consider himself or herself a victim rather

          than a mutual combatant. Even such stringent definitions, however, may

          not be sufficient to determine whether the event was lawful, legitimate,

          or desirable from a social perspective.

          https://www.npr.org/2018/04/13/602143823/how-often-do-people-use-guns-in-self-defense

          https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&channel=tus&q=defensive+use+of+handguns

        • Mustafa Curtess

          And WHO were canvassed in those studies? Continue to ignore the reasons why as good as nobody reports self-defense that deters any gunfire or injury if you wish.
          Look: I know that many of the things that make our lives better are dangerous. (I daresay that you have lethal chemicals in your home – and that you might be “statistically” more “safe” if you did not have them.) I also know that the tools used to burglarize your home are “lethal weapons”.
          I know that I almost certainly wouldn’t be wasting time talking to a gullible child if I had not had a handgun on my person. There is NOTHING that you can say to change that. (It’s idiocy that you persist in an attempt to try.) As I have maybe already said: There’s detatched views (AKA “objective”) views supported by dispassionate “studies”. (Very poorly informed ones like we are discussing) but the human realities are exluded from consideration. Many people who survive a violent criminal attack subsequently arm themselves and abandon their anti-gun delusions.
          (Google “Suzanna Hupp” for a telling example.) Possibly more than any single individual – she deserves credit that I can now live and travel confidently anywhere in Texas.
          I have at no time suggested that unless you take responsibility for your own security – you should own, learn to use and enjoy a firearm.
          But at the present time it is my constitutional right to do so – and you have no moral or human right to disparage me or insult my intelligence for it.
          It would be entirely unlike me to wish for you an experience which will change your viewpoint in the blink of an eye – but it can (and does) happen to an exception to statistics numerous times in our country daily. (Any gun-vendor can tell you that.)
          That is simply the last that I can say to you on this issue.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And still you are too dumb a fuck to understand that everything in that comment is irrelevant to the facts. You are just wrong and too stupid and ignorant to even know why. Time ya got fecked off.

        • Greg G.

          Als0 – we can’t know that the kid would drown in the lake the next day’

          Actually, we can know that in all probability, the man would probably still be alive with kids of his own around that age.

          and you would be in a campaign against motor boats and water-ski’s,

          Nope. An uncle died in a car crash. He ran into a bridge abutment. I suspect it was suicide. I am not against cars or bridges.

          My brother died in an accident with a farm tractor, not a farming accident, just goofing off. I am not against tractors.

          A friend was an out-spoken liberal. He told me he used to have a gun “for protection.” One of his co-workers collected many guns because “he wanted to protect his home.” He knew the guy lived in a trailer and drove an old, beat-up car. He thought how the guy didn’t have anything worth stealing but the guns themselves. Then he thought about himself and the most desirable things he had that a thief would be after was a gun and a ten year old television. He decided he didn’t want to kill someone over the old TV so he got rid of the gun.

        • Then you have the problem of weighing probabilities. Someone might be afraid of a burglar, so they buy a gun. Not only do they ignore the probability of unintended stuff happening now that there’s a gun in the house, but does this person use a seatbelt? Text while driving? Eat poorly?

          If staying alive were the primary goal (and we were all perfect calculators of risk), gun ownership wouldn’t be so popular.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Another nice but meaningless post.
          Do you lock your doors at night? If So – WHY?
          The only time I lock mine is when I expect to be away overnight. There’s no need to – since a gun is always within reach (and the one under my pillow)
          (But then: I live in very small rural town where it’s understood that pretty much every house has a gun of some kind.) So the crack-heads in neighboring towns keep their distance. I think that most of us have carry licenses, too. Miles and miles of lonely highway in every direction exept the bay. A flat tire or some mechanical problem needn’t be a scary experience. (911 is 30 miles away, incidentally.)
          Unlike your wussy friend, I will not hesitate to shoot somebody just for the $50 bill I keep in my wallet. And for the moment – it is legal for me to do so. (Our Constitution says that we have the right to be safe in our person and in our effects.)
          The only problem with your “Probability” index is that a man can only die once – and it’s unnecessary if a person is merely prudent. I don’t worry about the statistics or probability . In fact: I don’t have to worry about ANYTHING (except you gutless liberals who want the criminals to have free rein).

        • Unlike your wussy friend, I will not hesitate to shoot somebody just for the $50 bill I keep in my wallet. And for the moment – it i legal for me to do so’

          It’s hard to imagine the calculus that goes on in your head. You could lose $50, or this guy could lose his life. You’ll go to bed that night after your confrontation with your manhood intact knowing that you kicked this punk’s ass, but if you killed him, wasn’t that too high a price to pay just for your dignity?

          I ask that rhetorically for the conversation as a whole. I already know that you’ll simply double down on your position.

          You’re turning the clock back to the Wild West. They had to put honor at the top because there was little law enforcement. Every man had to be his own sheriff. I think I prefer civilization.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Unlike your wussy friend, I will not hesitate to shoot somebody just for the $50 bill I keep in my wallet.

          What your problem is, not that you can shoot someone dead for the $50 in your wallet (is $50 the magic number?), it’s the fuckhead that has easy access to firearms that shoots you and anyone getting caught in the crossfire, dead, for the same $50 you so prize.

          Fortunately, at 83, and it pains me to say this, you won’t be such a liability to humanity for much longer.

        • Ignorant Amos

          All you have are some one-sided numbers that support your opinionated, self-serving anti-gun prejudices.

          Which, so far, is more than you’ve presented. Imagine that.

        • life has become much more confident

          Do you live in a terrible part of town? Are conditions unsafe? I’m trying to figure out why a gun gives you confidence.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          If you can’t “figure it out” – only means that you are a victim of a prejudice. There is nothing that I could tell you that would change that. (There really are worse things than being shot.)
          Only finding yourself defenseless in a life-threatening situation (that statistically shouldn’t happen) might do that (and then only if you are a rational human).

        • End of discussion.

          This conversation has gone off the rails. Maybe you should let it go. Try to find some commonality.

        • Surely that’s worth something?

          Sure, something. But that’s hardly anything to brag about. “America–we ain’t as bad as we could be.” I have far higher standards.

          I’m outraged by the current administration, but that doesn’t mean that the good things about the US aren’t still good things. I’m just focused on the bad things.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I’m confident that we’ll never be perfect. (Nobody can even agree what “perfection” is.)
          I like us a lot more – than I do any of the countries where people think they’re better than us.
          I spent several years in a lot of different places before I became aware of that.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m confident that we’ll never be perfect. (Nobody can even agree what “perfection” is.)

          What is it with you and the straw man fallacy?

        • MR

          Oof, Otto, it’s kind of frightening how easily the pendulum can swing in the opposite direction, isn’t it?

        • Instead of prohibiting religion, why not create good social conditions where it can’t thrive so that it withers on its own?

          The Soviet Union prohibited religion, and when the limits on the Russian Orthodox church were lifted, it sprang back. IMO the focus should be on the social conditions that allow it to thrive.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          rI don’t believe that would work. Wealthy people are suckered into religion as much as disadvantaged people are. and they indoctrinate their kids the same. The only social condition that would cause religion to wither would be a secular one – so you are presenting a “Catch 22” scenario.
          Russia attempted to eliminate the church strictly for political reasons. Had Stalin been humanitarian and prohibited religion on humanitarian grounds it would have been successful.
          Governments must be proactive in educating to eliminating religion

        • Research has shown that poor social conditions encourage religion and good social conditions don’t. If you ignore this and just prohibit it, those conditions conducive to religion will still be there. Best approach: fix the social conditions and let religion wither away on its own.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Modern Democrats are devoted to improving the social condition of the USA – and Republicans block them every inch of the way. (They have vastly different theories about what constitutes a “good society”.)
          I actually agree with you – but I know that it simply can’t happen.
          Another “Catch 22” is that without religious influence – the social condition would automatically improve dramatically by itself. Religion thrives in feudalistic poverty.

        • I actually agree with you – but I know that it simply can’t happen.

          Why not? It happened in Scandinavia.

          Bandaging up a wound that won’t heal doesn’t do much. You’ve got to fix the wound. That’s why improving social conditions is the way to go. It’s like draining the water from a swamp.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          It is easier in smaller countries where the vast majority share the same psyche, ethnicity, and history. Also the modern history of religious influence is more “real” to Europeans – if only because they lived it and are products of it.
          The USA is arguably the most influential nation around the globe – and yet we do not enjoy that uniform historic and genetic advantage.

        • rationalobservations?

          Are you sure you have actually been to the UK?
          Britain has had ,20,000 years of migration since the ice receded and the sea closed the land bridge from continental Europe to what is now the UK.
          Centuries of immigration make the population among the most diverse and best integrated populations on Earth.
          In the Capital City- London, more than half the population are of non-British origin. Over 300 languages are currently spoken in London schools. Some of the most established of these are Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Cantonese, Mandarin and Hokkien.

          You appear too be doing your best to represent the reason that the USA is ranked 5th most ignorant nation?

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I can’r be bothered to present 40 years-worth of passports showing all the UK entry and exit stamps for Heathrow and Gatwick. You continue to believe anything you please.
          No doubt that Britain has long been in the ebb and flow of humanity for thousands of years. Time enough for everyone to be fully-assimilated. And of course there are always recent arrivals from elsewhere – often from the outposts of Britain’s failed colonial empire. Wherever they go in the world – they’re readily identified as Brtish, Irish, Scots, or Welsh, however.
          I’m going to have to block your offensiveness now. I’ve had a surfeit of it.

        • The US is pretty white. Yes, there are lots of new immigrants, but there’s been lots of new immigrants for 2 centuries.

          But to your point, a country like Sweden is a lot more homogeneous than the US … although that’s changing with more Muslims. It’ll be interesting to see how everyone accommodates. The US has a long history of accommodating Irish, Poles, Jews, Italians, Chinese, and on and on at various points. They become -Americans. I hope it works that way in Europe, too.

          Seems to me that the real issue isn’t “let’s make religion illegal” or something similar but “let’s make society suck less.” Despite the best efforts of Christians and Republicans, that’s a reasonable goal.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I don’t really disagree with you.
          I don’t have the demographics at my fingertips – but for several years it seems that the USA may be “pretty white” by barely 50% (given our hysterical inclination to consider Latinos “non-Caucasian”).
          I’m convinced that is the source of our up-tick in racism.
          As for “making society suck less” – that is relentlessly opposed by the religious community (which believes that “worse is better”). Drastic curtailment of individual liberties, etc.

        • Greg G.

          The current administration doesn’t want them counted in next year’s census, or for the next decade.

        • our hysterical inclination to consider Latinos “non-Caucasian”

          It’s not just that. A black person and a white person have a baby. And then the baby is black.

          Huh? Why isn’t it just as logical to call the baby white?

          As for “making society suck less” – that is relentlessly opposed by the religious community (which believes that “worse is better”). Drastic curtailment of individual liberties, etc.

          Yes, religion does fight, but its strength wanes as conditions improve. It’s positive feedback.

          Again, we have northern Europe as a precedent.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          The issue of race in the USA was well established from the beginning. One or more of the original states made it official that one drop of black blood makes a person black. That remains ingrained in our national psyche.
          Then there’s biblical scripture that also condemns blacks to inferior or sub-human status. (For the life of me I can not fathom the attraction of Christianity to Africans and homosexual men.)
          I place no confidence in any other countries as guides or examples for the USA to follow. Aside from the coincidence that we are one species – there are simply no other similarity in national realities.
          (It’s “apples and oranges”).

        • Ignorant Amos

          Then there’s biblical scripture that also condemns blacks to inferior or sub-human status.

          Ballix! Citation?

          (For the life of me I can not fathom the attraction of Christianity to Africans and homosexual men.)

          And yet withall, you, a homosexual man/boy, remained a Christian until you were 30…and then…converted to homophobic Islam for 30 plus more. Go figure.

          I place no confidence in any other countries as guides or examples for the USA to follow.

          “I loved it over there (people really are more “loving” and less judgmental than USA Christians are) and would still be there – except I saw this troube coming and moved my “home” back to the USA.”

          Aside from the coincidence that we are one species – there are simply no other similarity in national realities.

          And the nonsense continues to flow.

          Because the U.S. has just the one similar national reality? Right?

          You talk like the U.S. is just one big happy homogenous entity with a single national identity.

          The regional diversity within the U.S. affirms that one part of the U.S. has more national similarities with non-U.S. countries than they have with competing U.S. regions.

          https://www.businessinsider.com/regional-differences-united-states-2018-1?r=US&IR=T

        • Ignorant Amos

          It happened in Scandinavia.

          And happening elsewhere….including the U.S…..am I allowed to say that?

        • Ignorant Amos

          – but I know that it simply can’t happen.

          Whhhaaatttt ta fuck? An 83 year old one time Christian convert to Muslim, now atheist homosexual, knows it simply can’t happen?

          Are you a fucking Poe here?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Doesn’t that hypothesis pan out as we look around the world?

          And as long as it causes no resentment among my online American chums here, can I say this?

          “Even within the U.S. it seems to be the case. The best states to live in are among the least religious.”

          https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/22/americas-best-states-to-live-in-2018.html

          https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/02/29/how-religious-is-your-state/?state=alabama

        • Greg G.

          Aw, quit rubbin’ it in.

          Over the last decade or so, I have researched that twice for myself and found it to be the case. The ten most religious states tended to be in the undesirable range for divorce rates, crime rates (violent or non-violent, education level, and poverty. The ten least religious states tended to be in the more desirable range for such categories.

          I have seen it claimed that this holds true at the national level and the county level, too, but I would need a grant* to do all that work to verify those claims.

          *Just big enough that I could retire comfortably.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Aw, quit rubbin’ it in.

          Far be it for me to comment, but I think Alaska doesn’t make the top 10 through it’s remoteness and inhospitable landscape regarding easy living. Am a wrong?

          It’s well done the list of the most religious.

          *Just big enough that I could retire comfortably.

          }8O)~

        • Agreed. Poor conditions correlate with high Christianity. That doesn’t give us the cause, but it does seem that the Christianity is a symptom of the poor conditions (that is, the poor conditions are the breeding ground for religious belief).

          Unfortunately, vice versa is also true to some extent, especially when you look at Christian/conservative leaders whose policies seem deliberately designed to mess with society. It’s like they’re zombified by the meme and can’t help it.

        • Grimlock

          Okay, so I’ll take that as a concession that your original claim (that every aspect of religion is negative) was wrong. Rather, you hold that religion as a whole is, in sum, negative. Which is a different proposition altogether.

          Now, that is also a sketchy proposition at best. Or at least far too sweeping. “Religion” is not one thing, and even individual religions, such as Christianity, is hardly monolithic. I suspect that you’d find certain branches of Christianity that currently exists to be quite “benign”.

          That being said, there are certainly plenty of consequences tied to religion that I find highly undesirable. Such as some religious folks’ desire to police others’ thoughts.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          That’s nicely expressed. Thanks!
          Chat groups are an exchange of opinions and postulations. We are not a Scientific Journal or a Technical Manual.
          I must “concede” to your points – but with some caveat in every instance.
          Indeed: “Religion” may not be a bad thing in EVERY single instance. (Exactly as if you step into a nest of rattlesnakes – you will not be bitten by every individual one of them.) But they are ALL dangerous. And allowing them on my property or any place I have to go in order to conduct my life is intolerable.
          In your insistence on semantic precision – you aren’t precise enough to name that branch of Christianity that is “quite benign”. (And that’s assuming that we would have the same standards of “benignity”.)
          Every society does some really terrible things that it would not do if it was strictly secular.
          If you wish to go into that rattlesnake den and remove only the bad ones – you are welcome to do so. (But I won’t feel safe untill they’re ALL gone.) The trouble with rattlesnakes, you see, is that they do NOT keep to their den. Their nature leads them to places that they are not wanted (and often to places they really have need to be).
          Relligion IS “one thing”. It is the belief in the existence of something supernatural and to allow one’s thoughts and actions to be influenced by what one imagines about that superhuman’s expectations of them.
          And rattlesnakes are a part of nature with some natural function that is not needed in the world of today. Religion is NOT a part of nature. It is man’s invention to gain authority over other men.

        • All the wonderful things your friend can have in chirvh (sense of purpose, community of friends, and family) are also to be had in a drug cartel, Mafia Family, or street gang. That is not a valid reason to keep any of them.

          Wow! I’ll have to think about that one.

        • I have heard that community is something that religion can uniquely provide and that the loss of organized religion has left some people aimless. Of course, that is self-serving if coming from a Christian source, so I don’t know how valid that is.

        • I’m not sure what to make of that given this article: “Religion Worth $1.2 Trillion in U.S. Economy, More Than Google and Apple Combined.” (I haven’t read it.)

          https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/lauretta-brown/georgetown-study-religion-worth-12-trillion-us-economy-more-google-and

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Interesting link! I’m surprised – but by no means shocked.
          When the net worth of everyone whose life’s priority is religion (which is demanded of Christians in order for them to consider themselves “devout”) – it is totally plausible to me.

        • Greg G.

          But is it a net gain? If the 10% tithe was mostly spent on wine, women, and song with the rest just wasted, it would still be the same amount of trade, but with businesses that pay taxes to support infrastructure and municipal services like police and fire departments.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Money in circulatio is always beneffitting someone. And anything productive that individuals’ money is invested in probably does have be a coproduct or service that is intrinsically valuable

        • Greg G.

          Mankind will be atheist eventually.

          Thirty years ago, I expected that to happen in my lifetime.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I never expected it in less than a century (now half-gone with little progress).
          However – all the while I’ve understood that a major humanitarian catastrophe could accelerate progress by exposing religion for the dangerous fraud that it is. ( Certainly not something to be wished for – but perhaps unavoidable indefinitely.)

        • Ignorant Amos

          I never expected it in less than a century (now half-gone with little progress).

          Something fishy here.

          Sums seem a bit skewed.

          First 30 years a Christian, next 30 years plus, a Muslim. That’s at least 60. From 83, that’s no more than 23 an atheist. So unless you were expecting the world to become atheist most of the time you were a Muslim too, which is a possibility I suppose, then your sums are quite a bit off.

    • Aram

      Interesting to think that if the Bundesrepublik/DDR split had been north/south instead of west/east, it’s highly unlikely that Germany would’ve ever reunited.

  • RichardSRussell

    I’m waiting to see the map of the world showing all the regions where E does not equal mc^2, F does not equal ma, O comes with 4 Hs instead of 2, and π = exactly 3.

  • Connie Beane

    “Imagine four people. One has malaria, one smallpox, one yellow fever, and one is healthy. Which of these is not like the other? “Healthy” isn’t a kind of sickness just like bald isn’t a kind of hair color. We don’t see four people with different sorts of sickness; rather, we see three people sick and one healthy.”

    I adore this analogy! It’s a great response to those dolts who try to argue that atheism is just another form of “religion.”

    • Greg G.

      I like “Off is not a TV channel.”

    • A variant of this analogy is this: when someone goes to the doctor with yellow fever, you don’t wonder what you should replace that disease with. You cure him and send him on his way. Similarly, you don’t replace Southern Baptist belief with Russian Orthodox belief or Satanic belief or Bahai belief. You cure him and send him on his way.

      • MR

        When I began to lose belief in my particular faith tradition I had the very real thought, “I can’t just jump to some other tradition just because.” I had to explore the root of the issue. “Why do I believe?” Once I understood that, I understood that the real reasons we believe have nothing to do with any kind of evidenced truth. That’s when it all really began to unravel, the paradoxes resolved themselves and the cognitive dissonance lifted. It was very much like being healed. So many of the comments I read from the Christian commenters here make me think, “Why would I want to go back to that kind of irrationality?” It’s a sickness in itself.

        • I often read of some Christian marveling at how much better the Christian worldview is. You can leave your troubles at the feet of Jesus, “God dun it” explains so much more than naturalism, etc.

          Of course, this ignores the ex-Christians who are much happier at not having the cognitive dissonance–rationalizing to themselves how their problems may be at the feet of Jesus but that doesn’t mean that they’re solved, “God dun it” explains zilch since it’s identical to “I dunno,” etc.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Well, “it’s what I’m comfortable with” is a powerful feeling.

          Going back to the Microsoft DOS days, I’d argue with a buddy over whether WordPerfect or MS Word was the better product. Each of us argued for the one he learned first.

      • Иван

        Though from my perspective, replacing Southern Baptist or Russian Orthodox with Satanism is an upgrade, I don’t think humanity is a disease that need curing. We will lose it eventually anyway.

        • Greg G.

          The gullibility to give 10% of your income to a beggar behind the pulpit because some ancient book says God needs your money seems like a disease one would be better off getting cured of.

        • Иван

          I’ll agree with it because I’m not a Satanist. Satanists believe weak and gullible should be taken advance of.

          Honest monotheism))

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Really?

          Find me that in the Seven Tenets..

        • Иван

          A what? Did you just made that up?

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

        • Greg G.

          Satanists believe weak and gullible should be taken advance [sis] of.

          You are thinking if televangelists and megachurch preachers.

        • I admire your optimism.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          A cowpox infection prevented smallpox.

          Didn’t make cowpox good.

    • Иван

      I can destroy that really easy. Can you feel no feelings?

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        That’s both incoherent and irrelevant to the discussion.

        • Иван

          Ok so you don’t have an argument.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Reminds me of an old joke: A bunch of psychologists are asked what they would do if they came across a perfectly well-adjusted person. After some consternation, one sputtered, “Well, if we find him/her, we’ll *cure* him/her!”

      😉

  • JBSchmidt

    1) Please provide scientific evidence that atheism is a default.

    2) In 2015 11% of the worlds population claimed to be atheist. That means 89% believed in a high power. It would seem the ‘sick’ are the 11% while the rest acknowledge the ingrained understanding of a creator.

    3) Are the beliefs of the non-religious universal? If not, your belief system suffers from the same problem.

    • Mustafa Curtess

      Only one fact makes one atheist (and it is universal): We have not found a reason to believe that a god exists.
      That’s it, there isn’t any more, and it’s unassailable. There is no reason to believe. Either one does – or one does not.

    • 1) Please provide scientific evidence that atheism is a default.

      That you don’t understand what the null hypothesis is, and how atheism is the null hypothesis with respect to gods, tells me a lot. That you’ve been commenting here as long as you have, and haven’t figured this out yet doesn’t speak well for you.

      2) In 2015 11% of the worlds population claimed to be atheist. That means 89% believed in a high power. It would seem the ‘sick’ are the 11% while the rest acknowledge the ingrained understanding of a creator.

      The fact that a belief is popular does not tell us that said belief is actually true. Even if everyone believed that deities existed this doesn’t make their position correct, or justified.

      • JBSchmidt

        To address both of your points, I will use science.

        There was research published in 2015 journal Cognition that questioned whether non-religious adults “despite their explicit disavowal of religious beliefs – have a tacit tendency to view nature as purposefully created by some being? ” It found that “Despite strong performance on control trials, across all three studies non-religious individuals displayed a default bias to increasingly judge pictures of natural phenomena as “purposefully made by some being” under processing constraints. Personal beliefs in the supernatural agency of nature (“Gaia beliefs”) consistently predicted this tendency. However, beliefs in nature as purposefully made by some being persisted even when such secular agency beliefs were controlled. These results suggest that the tendency to view nature as designed is rooted in evolved cognitive biases as well as cultural socialization.”

        Based on this study everyone appears to be ingrained with the notion of a creator. So again, do you have any proof that “null hypothesis” exists?

        While ‘popular’ doesn’t make something true, what is the simplest explanation for a near universal belief in a creator? A contrived story stringing together a series impossible events that created the seed of a creator in our subconscious to do a reaction to some environmental pressure, or, a creator? At what point does Occam’s Razor come into play?

        • everyone appears to be ingrained with the notion of a creator.

          Or creators. Theists can’t even agree on the number of gods in charge. Or what their names are. Or what they want from us to not get smited.

        • JBSchmidt

          I am reading lots of dogma, but I am the only one to present a research study to back up my statements.

          Where is the study showing a atheism is a default? The YouTube vid linked by another even acknowledges that children are born with the belief in a intelligent design. According to the video only with years of re-education can the atheist hope to indoctrinate these children with the approved dogma.

        • 1. It’s explained in the post

          2. It’s been explained to you how you’re using a different kind of “default” with your studies.

        • JBSchmidt

          The post was all dogma based on assumptions with no proof.

          “different kind of “default””

          Call it what you want. You have zero evidence that no religion is the default. While science continues to show that people are born with the notion of a creator. Again, if the simplest explanation is the best. Taking just this discussion. Does an impossibly long story of contrived evolution that can’t be proven outside of theoretical propositions make more sense or the possibility of an actual creator?

        • You have zero evidence that no religion is the default.

          What a coincidence! You have zero evidence that your god even exists.

        • JBSchmidt

          I didn’t think you anything beyond dogma.

        • Phil

          That sentence made sense up to where you said “I didn’t think”. It went down hill after that.

        • Pofarmer

          Thinking is hard.

        • Greg G.

          Most people would rather die than think and many of them do! –Bertrand Russell

        • Greg G.

          I didn’t think you anything beyond dogma.

          You’ll notice the bold fonts underlined with red. Those are links to his sources for the information presented in the article.

        • Greg G.

          You have zero evidence that no religion is the default.

          Everybody is born with no belief in the Easter Bunny by default. The idea must be taught.

          Everybody is born with no belief in Santa Claus by default. The idea must be taught.

          Everybody is born with no belief in Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Norse gods, Hinduism, or any other religion by default. Those ideas must be taught.

          Nobody has a religion unless somebody starts lying to them about it.

        • The Godzooks blog recently suggested using “superstition” instead of “religion” since the definitions are pretty much identical.

          https://www.patheos.com/blogs/godzooks/2019/07/religion-superstition-definition-atheism/

        • Ignorant Amos

          Call it what you want. You have zero evidence that no religion is the default.

          And you have zero evidence that religion is the default. And I have evidence that it isn’t.

          “The available sociological and historical data show that what we believe in is mainly based on social and educational factors, and not on cognitive styles, such as intuitive/analytical thinking.

          “Religious belief is most likely rooted in culture rather than in some primitive gut intuition.”

          https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/877527/religion-belief-faith-god-belief-oxford-coventry-research-born-Christianity

          While science continues to show that people are born with the notion of a creator.

          Ah…innatism. Which is a million miles away from being born with a religion or concept of a creator. I notice you never support these throwaway comments with evidence, why is that? So. Which creator is it they are born with? Could it be their Ma ‘n’ Pa? You do know that rats have been shown to be born with innate qualities…is it god belief?

          Again, if the simplest explanation is the best.

          Ah, William of Occam’s razor being used erroneously. The problem is, that the simplest is not necessarily the best.

          A problem with Occam’s razor is that the sentence is not really about things (entia = entities), but about explanations or hypotheses.

          I would suggest you go learn about stuff before embarrassing yourself further. You might want to start with something like “Hickam’s dictum” for an example of your stupidity.

          Your explanation isn’t the best explanation. It is “simple”, but not the way in how you are using the word.

          Taking just this discussion. Does an impossibly long story of contrived evolution that can’t be proven outside of theoretical propositions make more sense or the possibility of an actual creator?

          Yep. God-did-it fails as an explanation, as it has done in every case that science has discovered the actual explanation for a given phenomena. Gods fail as an explanation…always…science wins everytime. I’ve got absolutely no reason to expect a different outcome moving forward.

          Because you are too asinine to understand the theory of evolution as a better explanation than God-did-it, can’t be helped by those of us with a brain with the ability to use it, that’s all on you.

        • Greg G.

          Again, if the simplest explanation is the best.

          You forgot the part about the simplest explanation accounting for ALL THE EVIDENCE!

        • Otto

          Based on this study everyone appears to be ingrained with the notion of a creator.

          Did the study come to the conclusion that a notion of a creator is ‘ingrained’ or did you make that part up?

          Pretty sure where I would put my money…

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          but I am the only one to present a research study to back up my statements.

          You did? Where? The only thing I saw was you offering an obvious misinterpretation of the data.

          Where is the study showing a atheism is a default?

          Why do you continue to ask this even after it’s been shown to be malformed?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Really?

          You offered YOUR interpretation of the data, which we need not accept.

        • Pofarmer

          You didn’t present a study. You provided apparent quotes from somewhere.

          Links?

        • Greg G.

          I take it as a reminder of our predisposition toward hyper-active agency detection that sometimes needs to be reined in.

          Edited to add the rest of the sentence.

        • Based on this study everyone appears to be ingrained with the notion of a creator

          So what? The popularity of a belief does not tell us that the belief is true.

          While ‘popular’ doesn’t make something true, what is the simplest explanation for a near universal belief in a creator?

          Agenticity. It’s a product of our genetics, namely that we’re wired to see detect agency, even if this detection produces false positives. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwP9QusSxfc explains more on the subject.

          A contrived story stringing together a series impossible events that created the seed of a creator in our subconscious to do a reaction to some environmental pressure, or, a creator? At what point does Occam’s Razor come into play?

          Occam’s Razor should apply right away. The supernatural, something that we have no idea if it even exists, let alone any way to investigate it, is going to be less parsimonious than a natural explanation. When you can show me that the supernatural exists, and that you have some way to establish supernatural causation, we can start to talk about a creator deity.

        • MR

          Well, I don’t think people are ingrained with the notion of a creator. Agenticity is not the same thing, but it does lay the framework for cultural indoctrination to work its deception. It seems obvious to me that there are very few human beings, perhaps none, certainly in the cultures I’ve experienced, who haven’t had some kind of indoctrination in God belief from a young age. Even if a person is raised in an atheist home, they can’t escape the wider culture of God belief or even supernatural belief in general. Humans for millennia have passed these beliefs from generation to generation. God belief is not self-evident and I’d like to see a Christian, or any religious person for that matter, show the steps of how one can arrive at God belief if one has never been indoctrinated in it in some fashion.

        • My answer was intentionally simplistic.The biggest problem with showing that God belief is innate in humans is that monotheism probably isn’t much older than 5000 years, and most likely evolved out of polytheism, which evolved out of even more primitive beliefs.

          We’re a superstitious, and credulous, species, and explanations that invoke agents tend to be preferred over explanations that do not. Our intuitions (which is what god belief depends on) is good for everyday activities, but tends to fail miserably when it comes to really big, and complicated, subjects.

        • MR

          Right. And I understand the need to be simplistic for JB’s sake. Even a 15-year-old could see through his not-argument. It always amazes me, too, when Christians try to use science to reach a conclusion that science would never reach. That’s actually one of the reasons I lost my faith. Science may or may not be correct on any given topic, but if you’re misrepresenting the science, well, I already know you’re wrong.

        • Wile F. Coyote

          ‘There was research published in 2015 journal Cognition that questioned whether non-religious adults “despite their explicit disavowal of religious beliefs – have a tacit tendency to view nature as purposefully created by some being?’

          Please provide a link to this research published in Cognition. I’d like to know exact numbers. There is a significant number of the US population which identifies as “nones” which does not identify as atheist. This group is all over the place about “belief”(s), which I suspect is because while they have decided to not affiliate with any particular church or sect, has nothing to do with critical thinking implementation.

          There are lots of “nones” — and some atheists, too, to be sure — who either do not choose to identify with a specific set of religious strictures (e.g. call themselves Christians) and/or reject the notion of a supernatural spiritual creator/ruler entity, but then credulously express belief in some “spiritual” explanation or other for origin of things/existence/purpose where I don’t know is the only accurate answer to such queries (as yet-unverified physics hypotheses notwithstanding).

          Or you could save us both time and effort: is there a 5-10% of research population which did not conclude that nature is ‘purposefully made’ by some sort of ‘creator” thingy? Some number of survey participants in the did not group which maps fairly closely to the 11% or so of self-reporting atheists in American society?

        • Damien Priestly

          We are evolved primates that have a knack for recognizing patterns, for better or worse…That helped our species survive and prosper. That ancient pattern recognition is the basis for religious and superstitious peculations.

          Belief(s) are actually very different all over the world. “Creators” are completely in the eye of the beholder. As the article states…culture mostly assigns each of our religions.

        • Greg G.

          There was research published in 2015 journal Cognition that questioned whether non-religious adults “despite their explicit disavowal of religious beliefs – have a tacit tendency to view nature as purposefully created by some being? ” It found that “Despite strong performance on control trials, across all three studies non-religious individuals displayed a default bias to increasingly judge pictures of natural phenomena as “purposefully made by some being” under processing constraints. Personal beliefs in the supernatural agency of nature (“Gaia beliefs”) consistently predicted this tendency. However, beliefs in nature as purposefully made by some being persisted even when such secular agency beliefs were controlled. These results suggest that the tendency to view nature as designed is rooted in evolved cognitive biases as well as cultural socialization.”

          When you hear your house creak, you think it might be an intruder. If you are eating on the ground where there are predators and hear a noise, it is better to run to safety than to wait to be sure it is actually a predator. It is better to be wrong a lot from a safe place than to be wrong once in a dangerous spot.

          Sometimes it is prudent to react quickly and be wrong a lot. Sometimes speed is better than certainty. at some point in the development of civilization, humans took the thought patterns that were always right and called them logic while the thought patterns that were useful and usually right were called fallacies.

          Critical thinking tries to eliminate the thought patterns that lead to error and promote the thought patterns that lead to justified beliefs. Humans tend to have religious beliefs that are usually wrong and probably always wrong, so we should require evidence to support them.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So?

          Being raised in a superstitious culture affects people emotionally before they reach the age of reason.

          Atheists are willing to fight that in their own lives…and ANYbody who has to actually produce results BETTER fight superstitious beliefs concerning their trade, or they’re doomed to failure.

        • Pofarmer

          Got a link to the study?

        • Greg G.
        • Pofarmer

          Oh, I figured we could find something I wanted/still want to know his direct source.

    • From the post:

      “No supernatural beliefs are self-evident. Atheism is the default position. To see this, suppose we see this religious correlation of Muslims in Pakistan, Christians in Alabama, atheists in Sweden, and so on. So we dismiss them all and say that each is a biased worldview. They’re all invalid. So what’s left? What’s left is no opinions about supernatural beliefs at all—in other words, the default view is simple atheism.”

      • Phil

        I replied with the same before I read your response!

        • Clearly, great minds think alike.

        • Phil

          Ah, but idiots seldom differ! 🙂

    • Damien Priestly

      1) That’s easy — a new born child has no religion…by default, they are in essence, atheists.

      2) Percentages of populations that believe / disbelieve — tell us nothing about the existence of any creator.

      3) There is no such thing as a universal belief.

    • Greg G.

      1) That is not a scientific claim. It is a logical position. You don’t believe in flying purple people eaters because there is no evidence for them. It is illogical to believe in things that you have no evidence for. There are lots of religions with many god thingies that all have one commonality – no evidence whatsoever for any of them.

      2) But those 89% believed in different god thingies. If Christians were right, then &frac23; of the world is wrong. If Catholics are right, then &frac56; of the world is wrong. So any theist is probably wrong. It shows that humans have a predilection for false religious beliefs. One should therefore choose a religion wisely by picking one that has the benefit of evidence or just hold no belief until one does produce evidence.

      3) There is no atheist belief system. Bald is not a hair color, it’s a lack of hair. Perfect health is not a disease, it is a lack of disease. Atheism is not a belief system, it is the lack of belief on one particular topic.

    • Mustafa Curtess

      Because 89% of the world’s population believe in something for which not even a scintilla of evidence exists – that means that they’re sane? (Really?)
      11% attest that they have found no reason to believe that a supernatural being exists – that makes them “sick”?
      (How do you avoid being scammed out of your money on the way home from work on payday?)

      • Greg G.

        (How do you avoid being scammed out of your money on the way home from work on payday?)

        Probably because his preacher has already scammed him to give all his money to the church.

    • Phil

      Even if you treat atheism as a belief system and treat it like the others, it was well put by this “To see this, suppose we see this religious correlation of Muslims in Pakistan, Christians in Alabama, atheists in Sweden, and so on. So we dismiss them all and say that each is a biased worldview. They’re all invalid. So what’s left? What’s left is no opinions about supernatural beliefs at all—in other words, the default view is simple atheism.”

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Learn logic.

      The Null Hypothesis is to withhold belief pending sufficient evidence.

      NO religion has yet offered reputable evidence.

      Thus not believing ANY religion is the default position.

      QED.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    I found only one flaw n this essay: The issue of those who are born to atheist families. They are by no means isolated from religious influence – and at some point they DO make a choice. It takes a great deal of self-confidence, integrity, courage, and perseverence – to be and remain atheist virtually anywhere in the world today.
    We are all under relentless, intense, almost irresistible pressure to absorb and reflect superstitious indoctrination – regardless where we are.
    Even in a progressive, secular country like Iceland (which tries so hard to protect its population from religion) if there is only a single theist – they WILL attempt (however subtly) to infect everyone around them.

    • Grimlock

      Even in a progressive, secular country like Iceland (which tries so hard to protect its population from religion) if there is only a single theist – they WILL attempt (however subtly) to infect everyone around them.

      Here is a “fun” anecdote to support this idea that even in the most secular of countries, theists will try to influence everyone else.

      In Norway (where more people say “no” than “yes” if asked whether they believe in God), we have a small social democratic Christian party. (They get around 4 % of the votes.) As they have supported, and are now a part of, a coalition government, they have some influence in shaping policy.

      What do they do with their influence? Temper the less socially unfair policies of their more conservative partners? Put more emphasis on fighting climate change? Nah. They change the religion class in school (which is descriptive, not prescriptive) to focus more on Christianity, and make a minor (but principled) change in the abortion law that impacts a handful of people each year.

      /rant

  • I suppose if human babies were competent faster and had to rely on instinct, we’d never have developed calculus.

    • Mustafa Curtess

      Had so much of our conscious concentration not been preempted by superstitious belief – we may have deeloped calculus ages sooner.

    • Phil Rimmer

      All of our humanity is vested in our impossibly large brains, way too big for the pelvic girdle, necessitating being born pre-maturely with all important neural development still to happen and within a cultural flux.

      The comparatively new discipline of neuro-constructivism shows how neural form is highly contingent rather than simply pre-mapped. Data/experience drives form as well as chemical gradients. We evolved usefully to have a super abundance of mirror neurons to facilitate early skill acquisition. We developed a mad super abundance of cross coupling between neural modules in the stretching growth of our brains before age two. Until puberty these are ferociously pruned back to net a skilled Inuit or aborigine or scholar. Switch babies at two with little difference.

      By evolutionary luck this mad cross coupling is possibly to be thanked for our our ability to work with metaphor and even form abstract ideas. Insufficient pruning back may result in synaesthesia. We are even starting to get a handle on many neurologica/cognitive traits deriving from larger differing levels of pruning, underpruning for autism, over pruning for sociopathy.

  • Иван

    Very interesting topic. I fully agree that religion is a reflection and often extension of culture but Christianity is a manufactured religion. It did not grow naturally with culture. It is based on Israeli native faith. Wide-spread monotheism adapts to cultures. Both Christianity and Islam are highly adaptable. I wouldn’t compare it to language because religion influence different aspects of humanity. (Language is rational and faith is emotional) But there is a certain correlation in languages and religions shaping mindset and morality.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      Fwiw, the fact that religion and language affect different aspects of humanity makes no difference to the analogy Bob offered. He’s only comparing the manner in which each are adopted in our youth.

      • Иван

        yeah I got that part. just being pedantic.

  • rationalobservations?

    “While adults can switch religions, this is rare. A 2015 Pew Research study of the changes in world religions estimates that of the 8.1 billion believers in 2050, just 65 million (less than one percent) will have switched into their belief (chart).”

    I am puzzled that anyone outside of the PEW organisation think that this extension of the number of religionists is valid? It assumes that the population growth predictions are accurate and that the offspring of religionists will automatically become religionists of the same brand of religion as their parents? This is contradicted by much historical and current evidence:
    1) The third largest and fastest growing human demographic today are the godless/non-religious many of whom are the offspring of religious parents.
    2) Religion did not withstand the onslaught of evidence based education and the “common sense” rationality of not accepting anything that was not supported by tangible evidence.
    3) The millennium generation contains a high proportion of younger people who are the offspring of religious parents yet they are the least religious demographic in history.
    4) The “tipping point” of non religion has been reached in many northern European nations as as religion becomes irrelevant and ridiculous to the vast majority of any population – it declines ever more rapidly to near nonexistence if nations like Sweden and the UK where church attendance is at an all time low and the villages towns and city streets are littered with empty redundant churches.
    5) Regardless of the lies folk tell to pollsters and survey researchers, the actual figures of church attendance in places like America (that have presented themselves as “bastions of christianity”) are much lower than pollsters assume. The attendance figures published by the American Church Leaders organisation reveals that fewer than 18% of Americans (including the children of religionists currently too young to refuse attendance).
    6) Even in totalitarian theocratic tyrannies where expressions of non-religious belief and rejection of the single available state religion is a capital offence – underground atheists are making their views known and while the “Arab Spring” failed, the educated, globally linked youth that demonstrated for freedom may appear to be merely waiting for their religiot oppressors to die out and for the educated, free, secular democrats to free their countries from the brutal oppression of religion that is so similar to the oppression by christianity before democracy rejected and neutralised that oppression.

    If religion poisons everything – we may take some reason for optimism for our species in the fact that education and free, secular democracy is already proving to be the antidote to that vile poison.

    • Greg G.

      5) Regardless of the lies folk tell to pollsters and survey researchers, the actual figures of church attendance in places like America (that have presented themselves as “bastions of christianity”) are much lower than pollsters assume.

      They should ask when was the last time the person went to church, then ask about the time before that, and the time before that. If they have trouble remembering when they attended three visits ago, it would be a clue that it wasn’t three times in the last month or two.

      • rationalobservations?

        It’s always worth noting who (or which institution) paid for any survey also.
        It’s refreshingly honest (or amusingly naive) that a religionist organisation reveals the lies paid for by another religious organisation?
        See: https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/139575-7-startling-facts-an-up-close-look-at-church-attendance-in-america.html/2

        • Greg G.

          From the link you gave:

          The study found that 24.5 percent of Americans now say their primary form of spiritual nourishment is meeting with a small group of 20 or less people every week.

          I think he means that a quarter of the population takes sustenance from the spirits at the local tavern.

        • rationalobservations?

          My spiritual nourishment comes in the form of Johnny Walker Scotch whisky.
          Cheers!

      • Mustafa Curtess

        Never mind what questions are asked. A % will give answers flattering to religion. (In that instance it is moral to lie for the glory of God).
        Many more will not admit to themselves that they no longer believe. (I was that way myself for 60 years.)

    • Mustafa Curtess

      Great essay!

      • rationalobservations?

        Thanks.
        Evidence supported facts beat assumptions, presumptions and suppositions all the time.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          True. But chat groups arem’t Scientifical Journals or Technical Manuals.
          I’m often astonished by the unwarranted hostility and intentional insult expressd in comments.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    GW: Excellent article this time, Bob!

    BS: The issue is that upbringing correlates with belief, and therefore religion looks like nothing more than a cultural custom.

    GW: On the other hand, scientific conclusions correlate much less with culture and geography than do religious beliefs. They are tapping into objective reality.

    BS: Remove tradition and religious books, and Christianity would vanish. There is no objective knowledge from which to rebuilt it.

    GW: How many generations of no religious indoctrination would it take to flip the stats to 90% atheist and 10% theist? Probably just two.

    • Mustafa Curtess

      I think it is equally important to destroy all religious “art” – as well.

      • Gary Whittenberger

        I think you are being sarcastic, right?

        The owners of the art could decide what they wanted to do with their property. When the stats flip in a couple of generations, most of the owners would probably put their pieces of religious art in museums while others would destroy, discard, or give it away.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          So long as that art exists – it lends validity to the superstition from which it derives. Museums would be the very last place for it to end up.
          The time will come when mankind’s challenges will be too critical to continue to indulge religion.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          MC2: So long as that art exists – it lends validity to the superstition from which it derives.

          GW2: So you aren’t being sarcastic; you are serious about this. There is no validity to superstition, so religious art cannot lend superstition any validity.

          MC2: Museums would be the very last place for it to end up.

          GW2: I disagree. Museums will be one of the first places where religious art will end up as religion declines in influence.

          MC2: The time will come when mankind’s challenges will be too critical to continue to indulge religion.

          GW2: Governments should not support or facilitate religion, but they should not ban religion. Religion will dwindle over time. This is happening already.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          So long as people see that art and understand that it represents superstitious belief – some will consider it a validation of that superstition.
          “Should not support —- etc”. That totally ignores reality.
          At the present ithe USA government is overtly pandering to Christianiy and positively empowering and promoting it.
          You are correct that it should be allowed to dwindle. Are you unaware of “Project Blitz” – designed specifically to PREVENT any “dwindling” (actually to reverse it)?

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Given our clarifications, I don’t think we disagree.

      • Assuming you’re being serious, I disagree.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Your disagreement was already understood. I’m quite serious and I expect the vast majority to disagree – if only because they’re art-lovers. Entirely to be expected.
          My point is that some future people will still be inclined to take religion seriously – when they see works of art devoted to it. Neither of us can be proven right without that actual experience.
          (Likewise nobody can know the benefits of a secular world – until an example exists.)
          I do agree that left to its own lack of merit – superstition will dwindle. My concern is that it won’t happen before it destroys us (and perhaps all life on earth) “for the Glory of God”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          My point is that future people will bbe inclined to take religion seriously – when they see works of art devoted to it.

          Which religion?

          Are folk rushing to follow the Greek god of the sea because of the statue Poseidon of Melos?

          How about the droves of followers to the 25th century BCE Egyptian Sun god Ra, influenced by the hordes of religious artwork depicting said deity found all over Egypt?

          Who is taking those religions seriously because of the surviving artwork?

          Neither of us can be proven right without that actual experience.

          The problem is that experience tells us that of all the dead religions from antiquity, how many people have been inclined to take them seriously based on the existing artwork? Not many, if any, have been revived as a serious belief because of the artwork associated with those beliefs?

          So the actual experience shows you are wrong, again. Of course, you can try and pull what the religidiot apologetics does, and claim that there is time for it to happen yet. Well, yeah…but we are talking about current experience, and on that, it doesn’t happen.

        • I can see beautiful artwork depicting Egyptian or Greek gods and am not tempted in the least to sign up.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ve seen all sorts of Christian art and even visited many churches to look at the artwork and decoration…never a single moment was I inclined to take any of it seriously? But I guess my experience proves nothing and doesn’t count.

          A favorite haunt of mine was St. James chapel in the Old Town, Benidorm…I lived just around the corner.

          https://www.google.com/search?q=st+james+chapel+benidorm&rlz=1C1CHBF_enGB797GB797&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=fVzpbYdzRrlU-M%252CAAAAAAAAAAABAM%252C_&vet=1&usg=K_VEzgjiRg4yKIrWetPER-36raPBM%3D&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjXsKiRhKbjAhWORhUIHdbHBM0QuqIBMA56BAgQEAY&biw=1536&bih=722#imgrc=_&vet=1

        • A beautiful building.

          When I’m in Europe, I rarely see a church that I don’t visit. There’s zero pull to sign up.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Yes – I entirely overlooked the liklihood that 50 – 100 years from now – everybody will think exactly like you do. And because you are capable of reason and have intellectually exposed the fraud of superstition (and are immune to its tricks and subconscious manipulation) the vast majority of mankind will also be able to discern art from indoctrination.
          Thank You! I now see the error in my thinking. (I too have visited some of the cathedrals of Europe and have thought deeply about the murals and frescoes everywhere, and the “bling” and overwhelming ostentation.
          I was completely mistaken that their purpose was the visual part of the brainwashing – designed to stimulate a sensation of awe and appreciation for the “Devine inspiration” (and “God-given” artistic ability itself) of the artists. Using artistic beauty to sell something didn’t exist before my lifetime. (I was obviously wrong in thinking that it had. (So sorry!)
          Because you say that it doesn’t have that effect on you – then of course it wouldn’t on anybody else.

        • Uh, yeah.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I also see depictions of Greco-Roman gods (the excavations of ceramic mosaic in Pompei alone are spectacular) but they have no negative influence on my existance and realities (that the equally imaginary Abrahamic “God” does).
          Those Classical Greek and pre-Christian Roman “Gods” inspired their devotees to richer and more fulfilled lives. (My favorites are Priapus and Pan.)

        • Then I guess we agree that seeing depictions of gods you don’t believe in isn’t particularly likely to make you suddenly believe in them.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Yes – We only disagree on how to get to that point. You believe that we’ll get there by coddling and indulging theists and I favor a faster, more aggressive approach. Because I don’t know how much time we have left. (There’s another speculative argument there,)
          Rumor is that the government of France is earmarking $2Billion to restore the Gothic monstrosity Notre Damn. (Coddling.) I would spend a million or two to raze it and convert it to badly-needed public parking space. (Pro-active, opportunistic, and fiscally sensible.) (But you win – again.)

        • coddling and indulging theists

          We “coddling and indulging theists” when we let churches stand? The Taliban told a justifiable step forward in not coddling and indulging theists when they destroyed those Buddhist statues? (https://www.nbcnews.com/video/flashback-the-destruction-of-the-buddhas-of-bamiyan-409457219869 ) We’re pretty far apart on this one.

          Rumor is that the government of France is earmarking $2Billion to restore the Gothic monstrosity Notre Damn, I would spend a million or two to raze it and convert it to badly-needed public parking space. (You win again.)

          You want to go there? OK, let’s go there. Compute the value of tourists visiting Paris and then compute what fraction was due to Notre Dame? Then compute the payback time.

          Next, work on the role of that building to the French people’s feelings about themselves, using the rebuilding project on the site of the World Trade Center towers in NYC.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          If France has no more to attract tourists than a rotting old remnant of Christian oppression – then France is in really desperate shape. Personally – I was only attracted by the free-wheeling sexual liberation. (The decision is theirs to make – and theirs alone.)
          As was the Taliban – when it (belatedly) destroyed the (Buddist?) monstrosities from its meaningless past. (It’s frustrating! I could have done it MUCH better.)
          (I’ve made it perfectly clear what I think about superstitious symbolism. Don’t try to tax me with it.)
          And how come you’re so parsimonious about who does what with religious antiquities? How about some recognition of the U.S. Military sacking of the museums in Baghdad – and everything sold off to museums and private collections in Europe and America? (And Paul Wolfowitz laughing all the way to his Swiss bank.)
          (I detest “whataboutism” – but that one is too ripe to be left hanging on the tree.)

        • Phil

          Raise a sledgehammer to Stonehenge and you will have me to deal with!

        • Ignorant Amos

          He’s a knuckle dragging Philistine that would bulldoze the Pyramids ffs.

        • Ignorant Amos

          How about some recognition of the U.S. Military sacking of the museums in Baghdad – and everything sold off to museums and private collections in Europe and America?

          And the barefaced lies and bullshit hyperbole just keeps on being spewed.

          https://web.stanford.edu/group/chr/drupal/ref/the-2003-looting-of-the-iraq-national-museum

          https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/revealed-the-real-story-behind-the-great-iraq-museum-thefts-515067.html

          (And Paul Wolfowitz laughing all the way to his Swiss bank.)

          WTF are you burbling on about?

          (I detest “whataboutism” – but that one is too ripe to be left hanging on the tree.)

          Spoooiiiiinnnng! goes another shipment of irony meters.

          For someone who so detests “whataboutism”, you sure like to use it regularly.

        • Pofarmer

          Where the hell does he come up with this stupid shit?

          I mean the gun stuff I know where that comes from. But the rest of it?

        • Ignorant Amos

          The poor feckers head must mince. A guess at 84, 30 years of that brain riddled with Christian fuckwittery, convert to Islam as a once gay Christian appstate, to being a gay Muslim…musta been a mind fuck….then for another at least 30 years as a gay Muslim living in the Muslim world, happily apparently, where such stuff is frowned upon…then apostatizing…. 20 plus years feeling fucked up about the shafting religion had give me for around 60 years. Tortured as a gay Christian come Muslim, given what those two religions advocate for gay folk. Well. What is to be expected. Head fuck of the highest order.

          Or just he’s a lying bastard.

        • NelsonC

          I agree. Religious art is like confederate monuments, the practice of naming buildings, roads, parks and children after confederate heroes. The Civil War will never be over until all of these are dismantled, moved, renamed and buried. The public cannot live one day without being reminded that, in some people’s minds, the war is not over.

  • rationalobservations?
    • Ignorant Amos

      Brilliant…exactly like an abusive partner.

  • rationalobservations?

    I am sorry to learn that you have a phobia regarding egalitarianism, democracy, racial equality, secularism, history, culture, freedom from the fear of mass shootings and the peace that the elimination of firearms among the population has given the UK. It’s a shame that you don’t enjoy visiting the greatest museums. libraries and theatres on Earth. Many enjoy that sort of thing but then it is so scarce in America it must come as a culture shock to some who have never experience such an advanced and civilised culture before.

    • Mustafa Curtess

      To say that the USA doesn’t have important museums, and that the fine and performing arts aren’t represented is ludicrous. “Scarce in America” Really? (Not to mention our universities and research assets.)
      And to assume that I haven’t enjoyed and absorbed my fair share of them is insulting.
      You also don’t seem to be aware of the incredibly dumb and backward Brits that I’ve worked with several places around the wourld. You flatter yourself.

      • rationalobservations?

        Ignoring your straw man.
        You appear to be a far from typical American.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ignoring your straw man.

          He loves them.

          You appear to be a far from typical American.

          Indeed. Though I can think of alternative explanations.

  • Phil Rimmer

    I even imagine a psychological edge enhancement, exaggerating distinction at the dividing lines.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Try going into work in the morning Phil, ya’ve no remote idea.

  • RathfordTheRude

    I can’t tell if this article is justifying one’s religious belief or if it’s critical of it.

    • Ignorant Amos

      You’re confused? Why am I not surprised?

      • RathfordTheRude

        What? What a weird response.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well, ya stated ya can’t tell. Meaning ya don’t understand. That’s what confused means.

          Anyone with a brain cell to spare can see the article is critical of religious belief, I won’t give away the clue and spoil it for ya…puzzles are fun.

        • RathfordTheRude

          Insults, how mature.

        • Ignorant Amos

          nsults, how mature.

          You’re comments are being met with the level of maturity they deserve.

          Your first comment was either stupid or snark. I settled on the former given that this is an atheist blog and is by virtue, critical of religion generally, but Christianity specifically. Hence your confusion, based on stupidity.

          Your second comment seemed to support my initial suspicion.

          My reply to that suspicion confirmation, was based on that second confirmation.

          No insult anywhere in my subsequent reply. It’s purely based on observation. I can only deal with what you supply.

    • eric

      It’s pointing out that the pattern of religious belief is consistent with what one would expect for human-developed beliefs, and is not consistent with what one would expect if those beliefs were handed down from a ‘globally concerned’ deity.

      A similar/related point is that the pattern of religious belief seen in the world is consistent with them being subjective values, and is not consistent with them being empirically supported conclusions of reason.

    • This is an atheist blog.

      • Ignorant Amos

        I can almost smell the burning of the circuit boards as they frazzle.

      • RathfordTheRude

        Good. I’m an anti-theist myself. I just thought it wasn’t a well written article. I don’t think it was well thought-out.

        • OK. But you need to be specific if this is going to help inform the post (and future posts).

        • Mustafa Curtess

          The author mentions Atheism as a religion or belief system in #4. That spoiled the rest of the article for me. In fact – He merely re-invented the wheel. We already pretty much know that people overwhelmingly practice the religion of their parents.

    • Mustafa Curtess

      Ditto

  • Yes, Christian persecution did play a role. Maryland was where the Catholics went, and so on.

  • Ignorant Amos

    I’ll just leave this here…

    Latest British Social Attitudes survey shows continuing rise of the non-religious

    https://humanism.org.uk/2019/07/11/latest-british-social-attitudes-survey-shows-continuing-rise-of-the-non-religious/

    • Britain has a big head start, but at least the US numbers are also trending strongly in that direction.

      • Mustafa Curtess

        If you’re an American – you may not like the life Brits live (and take for granted). I guess being sheep is OK. I don’t criticize it. and I know that it will happen to us. too – (we never have really been free of British rule – and your coment acknowledges it) and that we will adjust to it.

        • If you’re an American – you may not like the life Brits live (and take for granted). (I’been there A LOT, and it sucks!)

          I’ve been there a little, and I think it’s great. I’ve never lived there, however, I’m sure that experience is different.

          I guess being sheep (Rodents, really) is OK.

          WTF?

          (we never have really been free of British rule – and your comment acknowledges it)

          WTF?

          Youu have no idea the hurt I feel to see evety U.S. President kiss the British monarch’s ass (even symbolically.)

          I’m sure I don’t. I can’t imagine what bothers you.

          Then there’s the American blood shed in two world wars to maintain that monarchy

          ?? The monarchy is a figurehead. The monarchy is also an enormous moneymaker for the UK. Where’s the problem? You don’t like centuries-long traditions?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Then there’s the American blood shed in two world wars to maintain that monarchy

          With mindwankery like that, there’s no hope for that Dime Bar. The asinine drivel just keeps on coming. Truly embarrassing stuff.

        • Some of it has yet to rise to the level of “embarrassing.” It’s still at the “WTF are you even talking about?” stage.

        • Phil

          You have no idea the hurt we feel to see every PM kiss the US president’s ass.
          If you’re a Brit – you may not like the life the Americans live. Eat or medicine, what a choice. And I know that it will happen to us too once the conservatives introduce medical insurance, which will go to their US company paymasters.

        • Mustafa Curtess

          I really do feel you. It hurts to see my President cosy up to some of the most totalitarian and homophobic leaders in the world (and kissing THEIR asses). We long for the day when we’ll be rid of him – but with no confidence that we ever shall.
          Trump is a disgrace to himself, our nation, and in my opinion – every decent man anywhere in the world. (How could it have happened?)

        • Mustafa Curtess

          Oh! I very much DO feel your hurt – every time I see our President cosy up to the most totalitarian and repressive leaders on the planet – and see him kiss THEIR asses.
          We so much want to be rid of him – but many of we seniors have no confidence that we ever shall.
          Trump is such a disgrace! To himself, to our nation, and in my opinion to every decent man on earth.

  • Pofarmer

    I don’t see us sliding into no gun ownership here, either. What I would like to see, personally, though, is every Tom, Dick, and Harry not being able to just walk in off the street and buy an AR and a bunch of high capacity magazines or a 9MM pistols with 15 or even 30 rd extended clips.

    Let’s face it. You don’t need more than 3 rds in the magazine for hunting. And I say this as someone who has an AR10 in .308, and has a couple of 20 rd clips. When I take it to hunt I have a 5 round clip in it.

  • That “dignity” crack. Where did you get that from? It’s a matter of survival and nothing more.

    Wrong. Giving your $50 to the robber has zilch to do with survival. If I guessed wrong about your dignity/pride driving your actions, then correct me.

    If you bother to – I’m sure there are statistics of burglaries and robberies which were escalated to homicides to eliminate witnesses. All 4 employees of a fast-food place were murdered after closing that very way several years ago in my home town.

    You’re the one who’s eager to shoot punks. Don’t you know? Or are you a shoot first and ask questions later kind of guy?

    In this imaginary $50 situation, how would this guy kill you? If he already had a gun drawn, then you drawing yours is clearly the worst thing for your survival (which you said was your objective). Why not give him the money and then, in the [put probability of escalation here, which you should know before you declare you’re going to pull your gun] chance that he then turns hostile, you whip out your gun.

    You sure you’ve thought this out? Or was that just your libido talking previously?

    You kibbitzers want your opinions to dictate someone else’s life.

    The life we’re talking about is the robber’s. If you’re saying that the issue was your life vs. his, then I completely understand shooting. But that’s not the scenario you’ve laid out.

    I’ve already admitted that I’ve hd to pull my gun 3 times. If it was you – you’d be dead or a cracked skull or something’

    If they’re as deadly as a punk demanding my wallet, I doubt it.

    And please don’t try the wild west gambit on me. It’s a romantic myth conjured up by Hollywood. Nothing has changed. We still live in a world where some people want something belonging to somebody else – for a hundred reasons and thousands of different circumstances. I do what I believe is best for me and you think whatever you please about it.

    If you lived in Somalia or some hellish inner city housing project, then I’d understand your attitude. Otherwise, it just sounds like you bragging about how big your dick is. “Yeah, I’d plug that punk faster ‘n you can spit. You betcha.” There’s too much Clint Eastwood here for me to see a well-reasoned argument.

    Prosecuters will tell you that no armed robber expects to shoot anybody.

    When you’re armed as well, does that make him more or less likely to use his gun?

    May I ask if you’ve been military? A certain psyche is part of it and I still have mine.

    Nope.

    Something else you can take to the bank: Is that if I shoot anybody – they deserve to be shot.

    And that’s what we’re discussing. You said, “I will not hesitate to shoot somebody just for the $50 bill I keep in my wallet.” As I’ve stated, this sounds like bravado more than common sense and humanity.

    But since I’m just wasting your time on this topic, I need to find an exit to this conversation.

    • MR

      I will not hesitate to shoot somebody just for the $50 bill I keep in my wallet.

      I mean, that about says it right there.

      • For a moment I thought how I could respond to your comment with a snarky defense of his position, but nothing comes to mind. It’s self-parodying.

  • Greg G.

    I carry a (licensed) gun for the same reason I carry a properly-inflate spare tire and 2 gallons of fuel I use one or the other
    about once a year or less – even tho it’s extremely improbable that I will need them every time I drive my car.

    That’s a nice story. I haven’t run out of gas in forty years or more. I have changed one flat tire in the last twenty years and that was for somebody else. Maybe you shouldn’t run down pedestrians with knives.

    • Mustafa Curtess

      Maybe you don’t live 30 miles from a gas-station, maybe you can afford Michelins, or maybe you’re just being asinine.

  • Ignorant Amos

    All 4 employees of a fast-food place were murdered after closing that very way several years ago in my home town.

    Carrying a weapon didn’t seem a useful ploy then, did it? Or were those four the exception to the rule in your town, where ya claimed everyone was tooled up.

    You kibbitzers want your opinions to dictate someone else’s life. You have absolutely no right to critisize my personl choices.

    Bwaaaahahaha! That takes the biscuit. There’s only so much irony that a sane buddy can withstand…am well past that threshold.

    I’ve already admitted that I’ve hd to pull my gun 3 times. If it was you – you’d be dead or a cracked skull or something’

    Written like a true cowboy. Every gunslinger runs out of luck in the end. The next guy might get the drop on you, or hear about your prowess and come at ya from behind. But since your the quickest gunslinger in the village, you’ll always be safe.//s

    Even law enforcement officers crap out, but you’ll be okay.

    May I ask if you’ve been military? A certain psyche is part of it and I still have mine.

    Yeah…we see you still hold a gung-ho attitude. You are dangerous to be around. You come across as a catastrophe just waiting to happen.

  • David M

    Can religious belief be explained in naturalistic terms? The argument being made is that Muslims hold their beliefs because they were born in a Muslim culture, Christians hold their beliefs because they were born in a Christian culture and so on. But why is there a Muslim or Christian culture to begin with? Answer: Because each generation inherited its belief from the previous generation. And this extends all the way back to the first generation of Christians, Muslims etc.

    So if we are trying to “explain” religious belief, then we must explain how the first Christians or Muslims acquired their beliefs. And, ultimately, if we are going to say that the beliefs of Christians and Muslims are equally unfounded then we must show that in each case the first generation had more or less the same inadequate basis for its beliefs. But is that true?

    I won’t try to argue that one group had an adequate basis for its beliefs while the other didn’t. Instead, I shall just point out that the two cases are fundamentally different. Islam began when one person claimed to receive a revelation from God. Christianity began when a group of people claimed that their leader had risen from the dead. It seems to me that these are two very different claims with very different implications for testability. In particular, the question is whether it is as easy to fake a resurrection as it is to fake a revelation. If the answer is No then it is reasonable to distinguish between Christianity and Islam.

    • the question is whether it is as easy to fake a resurrection as it is to fake a revelation.

      Fake? What’s there to fake? The gospel authors put pen to paper decades after the supposed events happened. Who’s going to stop them?

      They simply wrote down what their religious community was saying. They didn’t need to invent it or otherwise lie. They presumably believed it just like you do.

      • David M

        It would be too tedious to reply to all the comments that you have rattled off, so I shall pick this one as a typical example. What strikes me is its utter shallowness. There was nothing to stop the Gospel authors from writing what they wanted. Problem solved. So anyone who wants to start a new religion and make it look as if it began with a miracle could do the same thing? And yet that didn’t happen with Islam. Or perhaps you have forgotten the comparison that is being addressed. You think that if you say something dismissive about the resurrection then the difference between Christianity and Islam disappears.

        The Gospel authors just wrote what their communities were saying. And why were those communities saying such things? Why did people believe that Jesus had risen from the dead? Are there many other cases where a group of people suddenly become convinced that someone they know has risen from the dead?

        • Ignorant Amos

          So anyone who wants to start a new religion and make it look as if it began with a miracle could do the same thing?

          Yep. And if you need examples, Google is your friend.

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

          And yet that didn’t happen with Islam.

          Oh, but it did.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracles_of_Muhammad#List_of_miracles

          You think that if you say something dismissive about the resurrection then the difference between Christianity and Islam disappears.

          Resurrection myth isn’t even original the the Jesus yarn.

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

          The Gospel authors just wrote what their communities were saying.

          Were they? Nope.

          The Gospel According to Mark… http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/gospel_mark.htm

          And why were those communities saying such things?

          Well we can’t know what the various Christian communities were saying, just some of them. Lots of stuff was destroyed as heretical. But we know Paul doesn’t mention most of the stuff in the gospels, even when it would benefit him to do so, if it was something he knew about.

          Why did people believe that Jesus had risen from the dead?

          Why do people believe all sorts of nonsense? Really? You’ve never heard of the term “urban myth”?

          When you eventually figure out why you don’t swallow the nonsense claims of others, then you might be able to figure out why atheists go one lot of nonsense further. It really isn’t rocket science.

          What did the first Christian sects believe about Jesus?

          Are there many other cases where a group of people suddenly become convinced that someone they know has risen from the dead?

          Apparently, yes. But you’ve worded the question to be biased skewed.

          “Are there many other cases where a group of people suddenly become convinced that someone they know has risen from the dead some supernatural mumbo-jumbo or fantastical phenomena nonsense claim?”

          Well, the answer is still yes…all the bloody time as a matter of fact.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8T_jwq9ph8k

        • David M

          “The Gospel authors just wrote what their communities were saying.”

          And there it falls apart. If you had considered the context, you would have known that I was echoing what Bob had said before responding. There is little point in replying to a commenter who shoots first and thinks later. If you had done that little bit of preliminary thinking, you would also have realised that the context required a suspension of disbelief regarding miracles, since it was a debate on whether Christianity or Islam is the true faith, assuming for the sake of argument that one of them might be.

          Does Islam have an equal or greater claim to the miraculous? Well, the article to which you linked says that Islam’s greatest miracle is the Koran. Let’s just say that I’m not convinced.

        • Greg G.

          Well, the article to which you linked says that Islam’s greatest miracle is the Koran.

          No, it doesn’t. It says, “Quran – The revelation of the Quran is considered by Muslims to be Muhammad’s greatest miracle…”

          The article says nothing about actual miracles happening.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And there it falls apart.

          Not for me it doesn’t. It can be demonstrated the gospel writers were plagiarizing older texts. So there was no need for them to write what their communities were saying, unless what they were saying was plagiarized from older texts.

          The earliest Christian texts are supposed to be the letters of Paul. He wasn’t writing anything that the communities were saying. He specifically says so. Everything he wrote came from revelation and scriptures. Revelation is another word for dreams/hallucinations and scripture was the existing Hebrew texts. Paul knew nothing of the biological life of Jesus found in the much later gospels.

          If you had considered the context, you would have known that I was echoing what Bob had said before responding.

          Why should I care. I’m pointing out why the statement is problematic. Even if it is something Bob holds as what might’ve happened.

          “The communities were just saying what the Gospel authors wrote.”

          Other Christian communities were saying what other non-canonical gospel authors wrote. Or didn’t you know about any of that?

          We know the author of gMark used the popular texts of the day. Hebrew scriptures and hellenistic pagan works.

          We know the authors of gMatt and gLuke plagiarized gMark, while adding their own embellishments, also from identifiable texts around at the time.

          There is little point in replying to a commenter who shoots first and thinks later.

          And yet, here you are, doing that thing that there is little point in doing. Go figure.

          But if that’s what you think I was doing, then you comprehension skills in reading my comment are sorely lacking.

          If you had done that little bit of preliminary thinking, you would also have realised that the context required a suspension of disbelief regarding miracles, since it was a debate on whether Christianity or Islam is the true faith, assuming for the sake of argument that one of them might be.

          Your claim was that the resurrection is harder to fake than a dream. The problem is, the resurrection is a supernatural event. The original report was by Paul. He only knows about it by scripture and, guess what, revelation. The Muslims believe that Mo rode a flying horse and received Allah’s word via the archangel Gabriel. To Muslims, that was as real an event as the resurrection of Jesus. But what’s the evidence for either?

          Does Islam have an equal or greater claim to the miraculous?

          Yer darn tootin’ it does. That you don’t seem to know it does, makes me wonder if you actually know, or have done the most basic of research into the details. The irony of warning an adversary off for shooting first and thinks later, isn’t at all lost on me.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isra_and_Mi%27raj

          You seem to have the impression that the crazier the miracle claim, the more likely it was to have been real. That thinking doesn’t bode well for ya.

          Well, the article to which you linked says that Islam’s greatest miracle is the Koran.

          Indeed. Riding a flying horse like animal, to get the words for the Qu’ran from an archangel, is some miraculous claim. When the details of that journey as believed, are taken into account, the resurrection yarn is nowhere near on a par.

          The miracle claim of Mormonism is the Book of Mormon. On the face of it, we have books with nonsense stories in them. The miracle claims of how the books came to be is the central point.

          Let’s just say that I’m not convinced.

          Of course you’re not convinced. Otherwise you’d be a Muslim. And your not convinced by the nonsense claims of every other religion either. But you seem to be convinced with the nonsense claims of the Christian books. Is that because of where you were born? Seems likely to be a major driving factor.

          By the way, there is no actual resurrection of Jesus in the narratives of the gospels. That bit of the story is inferred. Now if ya want an actual resurrection narrative that was scripture in it’s time, check out the Gospel of Peter. That nonsense was even too much for later Christians.

          Seems to me that you are unaware of the early Christian scriptures and what was being believed.

        • Greg G.

          It would be too tedious to reply to all the comments that you have rattled off, so I shall pick this one as a typical example.

          CE was rolling last night. My Recent Comments list showed 25 comments within a half hour. I can’t keep up with reading comments at that pace, let alone making a response or two.

          The Gospel authors just wrote what their communities were saying.

          Three of them mostly wrote what Mark was saying. Mark had to explain Aramaic to his readers so they were not saying that.

          Why did people believe that Jesus had risen from the dead?

          Paul (1 Corinthians 15:3-8) attributes it to Cephas, some others, and James and says they got it “according to the scriptures”. Paul says he “died for sins” (Isaiah 53:8), was buried (Isaiah 53:9), and “was raised on the third day” (Hosea 6:2). Now if Paul meant they had witnessed these events, they would only be able to say that he died, but there is no way they would be able to say that one particular death was for sins. The “died for sins” shows it came from Isaiah 53 rather than a first century event.

          if Paul’s “gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ” was “according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings” (Romans 16:25-26), the 22 verses in Isaiah 53 and the Septuagint version of Zechariah 3 would provide much of the basis for Christianity, including the name “Jesus”.

          Are there many other cases where a group of people suddenly become convinced that someone they know has risen from the dead?

          According to Paul, it seems that Cephas came up with the idea, then convinced twelve others who convinced 500. Then James came around and Paul did at a later date. It doesn’t seem to be all that sudden.

          The Jews believed the Messiah was coming soon, which led them to pick a fight with the Romans counting on their big brother to bail them out. Josephus discusses this in Jewish Wars 6.5.2-4, IIRC. He appears to be saying that the Testament of [Judah? (It’s in the footnotes of the Brenton translation)] was their inspiration but many OT books could have contributed such as God’s promise to David that his throne would last, and that it would be restored when it didn’t last. Josephus indicates the signs they saw, one of which would have been Halley’s Comet.

          Paul agreed with the Jews about the Messiah coming during their generation. When he talks about the coming of the Lord, he always used the first person plural for the living and the third person plural for the dead.

        • What strikes me is its utter shallowness. There was nothing to stop the Gospel authors from writing what they wanted. Problem solved. So anyone who wants to start a new religion and make it look as if it began with a miracle could do the same thing?

          Gee, maybe you should’ve read those other comments less dismissively since you got it wrong.

          Let’s try this again. “anyone who wants to start a new religion” is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a true believer who documents the beliefs of his religious community. There’s no lying in this hypothesis.

          The Gospel authors just wrote what their communities were saying. And why were those communities saying such things?

          So it had to be based on something historic? If you scrape off the layers of paint there must be some good wood somewhere?

          Nope. Legends develop. There doesn’t have to be any historic core.

        • rationalobservations?

          “Why did people believe that Jesus had risen from the dead?”

          For the same reason that ancient Egyptians knew their god-man Pharaohs rose from the dead and lived on for eternity.
          Do you share that belief?

          For the same reason that believers that the son of Zeus was Herakles/Hercules and he did miraculous deeds, was acclaimed as a saviour of mankind, was killed to “rise again from the dead” to join his boss-god father in eternal life.
          Do you share that belief?

          For the same reason that whole populations believed the now defunct mythologies of their cultures that have disappeared down the ages to be replaced by the religious garbage that humanity appears to be finally growing out of blind belief in today.

          The confused and contradictory legends of “Jesus” were written in bibles for the first time in the late 4th century and those prototype bibles are very different from the later ones written by later generations and teams of men. Editions that include the historically unsupported, historically inaccurate, scientifically absurd versions of bibles in circulation today.

          Myths legends and lies evolve down the ages and always long after the time to which they are backdated and in which they are merely set. This is the evidence supported history of the legends upon which the 4th century Roman religion they called “christianity” was founded and the first bibles were written after that in the late 4th century.