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Atheism

After a repetition of first part of Paula Zahn's segment on atheism from last week came her interview with Richard Dawkins. There was no red meat, but I believe Dawkin's message was the right one. The panel on the other hand featured a Christian who was anything but, he constantly interrupted and talked over the other guests. The segment was too short as usual, but it was the Christian who came off as as the least tolerant. In the finest tradition of Fox News CNN uses the it's-only-a-question banner. Do Atheists Bring Intolerance On Themselves? Good question CNN, by insisting that others keep their sabbath day holy (blue laws) do Christians bring it on themselves? By claiming their definition of life is the only definition, do Christians bring it on themselves? Do Christians bring it on themselves when they attempt to have their theology taught in science class. When they work to prevent stem-cell research, to interfere with a women's right to choose, to forbid people to choose to die with dignity, do Christians bring it on themselves? And yes by insisting that we honor their gods on our money and pledge allegiance to our nation under the thumb of their god do the Christians bring it on themselves? In short don't Christians bring it on themselves when they subvert our Constitution? When they confuse a nation with a majority of Christians with a Christian nation, tell me CNN, tell me Christian apologists, do they bring it on themselves?




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The Panel




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Comments

THAT'S MY BABY!

Motherly voice

your right, way to short, if they got rid of all that smith crap and put it all on thier "headline news" channel prehaps they could come up with more time to devote to A SINGLE TOPIC!

Way too short, like you said. And the panel was far better, but immediately they had the exact same crap in the background with the "are athiests morally corrupt?"

And the "Christian" was pathetic. At least they hammered the point home we're a secular nation, not a Christian one.

CNN has lost my respect these past two weeks. A few minutes and no apology for broadcasting last weeks bigotry yet Larry King is giving his entire show to Anna Nicole Smith? Fuck you CNN, fuck you.

I'd like to ask the reverend if he felt that African-Americans were imposing themselves on other Americans when they decided to fight for equal rights.

Very nice to see Dawkins on there, and a much more balanced panel, although it was a bit too short and I would have liked an actual apology. And that Reverend...I can't believe he had to throw homosexuals in there as well.

Thanks for posting this. The whole thing was kind of, "meh" IMHO.

Here is the Digg link.

I've never posted, although i have been reading this blog for almost a year. I just had to comment on this.

I am an atheist and I hate it when people ask me, where i get my morals from, as the Reverend did in this clip. And I am always reminded of this quotation i read. I dont know who said it or where it came from but it says (rough interpretation):

3 men go through life. One man does good because he is promised eternal happiness after he dies for doing good.

The second man does good because he is threatened with eternal punishment if he does not do good.

And the last person does good because it is the right thing to do

Which man is truly good?

And i think that is how many athiests are. We draw goodness and morals and values from ourselves and from humanity. And this confuses those who think that you need some higher power to make these decisions for you. And to tell you what to do and feel. I just dont think they understand the concept of thinking for yourself and making your own decisions.

Hi Ken.

I just started posting here recently too, after reading 1gm for some time. Greetings!

I hear that the Dawkins interview was actually twenty minutes, but was edited down to four ... me no likey.

The panel was decidedly less pathetic than last week, though not by a whole lot. And why do they insist using those derogatory graphics in the back saying, "Are Atheists Morally Compromised?" and "Do Atheists Bring Intolerance On Themselves?"

Well, f*ck me.

I have to admit, I enjoyed Dawkins here. Every instance I have seen him before, he comes off as an unparalleled jerk. He was very civil on this show.

CNN has gone to hell. No pun intended. Those title graphics are straight out of Fox news playbook.

It would be the equivalent of asking is "Obama a terrorist?"

Of course he not, but the slander and damage has already been done by legitimizing the question.

Tanks for posting the videos guys! My PVR failed me on this one and I really wanted to see it.

Having said that though I was sorely disappointed that Dawkins wasn't involved in the debate. He would have maintained more order than the host of show I bet.

gasmonso

Ok, so Dawkins was chosen to be the token atheist apologist for 3 minutes and then they gathered a panel of ignorant trolls to duke it out for twice as long. Is this CNN or the Jerry Springer show?

To Ken and Frenetic,

I think by both of you coming out of the closet as OGM readers and posting on here you are imposing yourselves on us! --Reverend

jk ;)

I agree with Ken. Morals don't come from religion; religion comes from morals.

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ken, regarding your story:"Which man is truly good?"-i don't know, but i'd trust #2 with my money before the other 2. :)

subtitled: the REAL reason for religion

That Reverend was an idiot. Does he think that people only became moral once Christianity was established? Christians have done hundreds of immoral things throughout history so that they could gain power, and additionally, there are still more immoralities in the Bible; therefore, he is a hypocrite. It is nonsense to do something just because it is written in the Bible. If that doesn't show a lack of self-thinking, then I don't know what else does. If the Bible said to kill infidels, homosexuals, adulteresses, and people who work on Sundays, would you do it? No, because that sounds like some radical bullshit. But the sad thing is that the Bible actually really does say to do those things.

Here is my opinion: Morality is an innate characteristic in people (and any other animal species), and was selected for in evolution because being moral ensures the betterment of the species.

Now, think about this psychologically. Most normal, intelligent people do good things, not because it is written in the Bible, but because, basically, if you do good things for someone, they will inherently return the favor.

I mean just think about the relationship that wild animals have. Lions in the Sahara of Africa work together in groups by attacking its prey to survive. Without cooperating as a whole, they would surely die out.

If humans didn't cooperate and abide by innate moral standards, we would suffer the same result as hypothetical, immoral lions.

Outstanding. Thanks for posting this.

This is insane. That's the best they could offer us atheists?

CNN was removed from my cable service a few months ago, and I don't miss it. (It was replaced by BBC World and Sky News).

Greetings from Scandinavia, where CNN has died a very forgettable death.

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notice dawkins says "especially in america and also in islamic countries". his use of the words "especially" and "also" seem especially disingenous, since when called upon later to provide examples of religiously dangerous behaviour, he mentions flying planes into buildings and suicide bombings-not typically evangelical behavior. i don't mean to minimize the savagery of blowing up the occaisional abortion clinic, or even placing legislative stumbling blocks in front of potentially benificial scientific research, but get real, richard. sam harris is much more direct in identifying the danger. when dawkins tries to put evangelicals in the same boat as islamic fanatics, i see why he does it (he aint goin' to be debating the latter and would fear for his life if he did so), he loses a gob or two of my respect.

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in fact, i'll make an even bolder statement: any atheist who is arguing that religion is actually dangerous who focusus his arguments on modern evangelical christians is essentially employing a straw man- though admittedly with a heart of flesh-out of simple fear and the human tendancy to attack the weaker of two adversaries. you can attack the evangelicals all day long for hard cash, and in general not worry about them KILLING you.

how do you like them apples? :)

While I agree with most of what has been said here and that, compared to the last effort, the panel was better, there is something far more fundamentally wrong here.... the fact that athiesm needs a panel to debate it. If there were a panel to debate the benefits and flaws of christianity etc, especially with the perocative background titling, there would be outrage and condemnation, and if it were Islam, flag burning and rioting if not worse.

good eye, jonathan becker. i guess it was meant to give more "umph" to the statement, but when looked back on, seemed kind of silly.

thanks, norm! for posting this so quickly.

the panel seemed too lopsided towards the "atheists" in this one. i think that's cnn's way of apologizing.

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"I'd like to ask the reverend if he felt that African-Americans were imposing themselves on other Americans when they decided to fight for equal rights"

word.

Isn't it funny that the 24 hour newscast always seem to "run out of time."

Isn't it funny that the 24 hour newscast always seem to "run out of time."

I had a good chuckle. not the candy, the laugh.

So, your saying that he is "attacking" the evangelicals, because he is afraid that if he attacked anyone islamic he would be killed. Quite the bigot statement, you did a very good job of reinforcing an athiest point, that religions are dangerous because every religion believes all the other religions are dangerous. Which in itself is dangerous. So yes I would focusus my argument that religions, all religions are inherently dangerous. Another point, I don't believe Dawkins attacked anyone in his interview, I guess that is where this whole thing started, is when religious people mistaked different beliefs for an attack...

the apples are great, you could say they tasted like a "forbidden fruit," but then again that's just crazy

to jonathan becker, I think you are forgetting a little thing called northern Ireland when you limit Christian extreme violence to the occasional abortion clinic bombing. You could of course link lots of violence endorsed by churches in the same category. In fact I would guess that "Christian Nations" account for many more deaths then their Islamic brothers. It is hardly cowardice to take on Christians, in an era when Islam is stereotyped as a radical and violent religion. And its hardly "silly" to bring up the violence spurred on by religion.

I think its worth noting the frightening openness to bigotry in this broadcast. If they had A KKK member on a panel to discuss AA Civil rights or a Nazi on a panel discussing antisemitism they would be going off the air right now. But yet a man that hurls hate at atheists and gays is considered "equal time" to both sides of an argument.

atheism is supposed to be non-religion. these interviews and the comments here are ridiculous - the 'atheists' seem to be just as politically charged, just as happy to use their belief system as a flag to gather under as those that adhere to other religions. this kind of behavior is what is really problematic, not christianity, islam, paganism, hinduism, or atheism or any other belief system per se. stupid.

if one would look at life thru one who doesnt believe in the after life then it is only befitting that that person would live life to the fullest w but the question is, what does that "fullest" means? there are many fundamental things in life that is not without a doubt seemed difficult and not worth-doing at all but in the end creates a positive effect that is more lasting and influential to the person himself and to those around him thereby contributing more and living more fully. it is not true that to believe in God is to live in fear and to take this life not fully because believing in God more than anything else promotes living a life to the fullest and by that fullest we mean not only egoistically or a self-centered living but for the whole of humanity. there is a nobler feeling of fulfillment and happiness in self-sacrifice for others just as taught by religion than the "satisfaction" that one gets from an atheistic point of view when it promotes living your life to the fullest for there is no afterlife. and the fact that we are not all created equal monetarily, biologically,physically, and in all aspects, it would only be such a tragedy for those who are not as lucky as others. why do we have this idea of justice in the world when there is none?

In response to Jonathan's point. To believe it is weakness to 'attack' the Evangelical movement when radical Islam is a greater threat to lives is, in some regards, correct. However, Evangelicanism is the movement we are familiar with, it is the Western context of religious extremism and so what we most 'defeat' first I suppouse.

On top of that, and apart from the above, to say that Athiesm is moralless is a logical fallacy. Much of what we consider Christianity today, and its relative decency in comparison to other religions, is due to enlightenment (Secular/Athiestic/Deist) thinking. In other words, it is because society became 'sceptical' of religion and began to live by more universal 'morals' that religious extremists, like those in Islam, could, and cannot survive in modern Christianity, not because it is inherantly more moral

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It's good to see Richard Dawkins in the media more, even in such a limited way.

A minor nitpick to KevinR: traits are not selected for the betterment of the species, but for the betterment of the genes inside the individuals expressing the trait.

Anon, I think athiests would rather remain non political, but how can you watch the first segment and not see a need for atheists to stand up for their right to believe and not be discriminated against.

Although it does bother me that these panels continue to argue about the evidence of god, when really it should be about a real freedom of thought and freedom from discrimination. Even if atheists were wrong, they still deserve their liberty and that is really what is under attack here. Dawkins should not answer questions about why christians are threatened by Atheists, he should simple say that some peoples fear or beliefs does not justify hate and discrimination.

One belief system is trying to feaverishly screatch, yell, and stomp to replace another.

Such is the nature of the human condition. Governments don't get to decide who wins the argument, individuals do.

the panel seemed too lopsided towards the "atheists" in this one. i think that's cnn's way of apologizing.

Posted by: Thomas W.

Yeah, but they didn't give the panel any time to talk. The last panel felt like it lasted three times longer than this one.

Apparently the Bible gives you good morals, but it doesn't give you any manners. Because being an ass on national television lets people see how much you're full of the love of God.

It's too bad that the atheist was a conspiracy nut. I'd have loved for her to ask the Reverend if he thought it was okay to own slaves, because it IS okay if you're using the Bible as a moral guide.

Ann Coulter has used it, and now Reverend used it, but I still don't understand what's so awful about this "godless" lifestyle. Is it that we're more likely to cheat someone, so you wouldn't want an atheist banker? Is it that we supposedly don't give to charity as much? Is it that we can't drive behemoth SUVs with the thought that Jesus will return soon and all those extra dinosaurs we're burning aren't going to matter? I don't understand.

Where do they find all these brainwashed black christians??? "This great country was built by God?" This "Great" country was built on slavery...

click the URL to here the Maybe Meme try & evolve ideas with the likes of dawkins

http://www.myspace.com/maybememe

re eileen's comment:

CNN has gone to hell. No pun intended. Those title graphics are straight out of Fox news playbook.

It would be the equivalent of asking is "Obama a terrorist?"

Of course he not, but the slander and damage has already been done by legitimizing the question.

--

cnn's already linked him to the axis of evil though. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwDlTkWtJZ4

The self-proclaimed reverend claimed Atheists were imposing as were gays when they fight for their civil rights. Does he also think that when African-Americans fought for their civil rights would the "reverend" say that people were being imposed upon to become Black?

Perhaps the religious bigots are bigots because they are just mentally retarded. They can't see their own contradictions. Christians don't get their morals from a god, they have their morals and they have their bad morals but use religion to excuse their bad behavior. The "reverend" did it and so did his fellow Christians in white robes that burn crosses.

"any atheist who is arguing that religion is actually dangerous who focusus his arguments on modern evangelical christians is essentially employing a straw man"

Sam Harris deals quite well with the danger posed by "moderate" xians or other religious "moderates". In some ways they are more dangerous than the evangelicals because they enable the radicals and give the simple idea of religious belief a credibility it doesn't have.

As to xian morals, here is one example: kill the children if you think god tells you to.

http://brentrasmussen.com/log/node/1178

"If I am correct that my God is the Creator God, that we are all his creations, then killing every child under two on the planet is no more inherently significant than a programmer unilaterally wiping out his AI-bots in a game universe. He alone has the right to define right and wrong, and as the Biblical example of King Saul and the Amalekites demonstrates, He has occasionally deemed it a moral duty to wipe out a people."

Reverend: What they are trying to do is impose their godless lifestyle upon Americans and especially upon Christians...we saw the same thing with the radical homosexual movement, they decided to come out of the closet and what they did was they imposed their lifestyle upon Americans.

It's true, we're all living the gay lifestyle now! Whatever that means.

I would have prefered Dawkins to have been in the panel discussion personally. The fact that the 'athiest voice' on the panel was unable to deal with the "where do you get your morals" question bugs me. The majority of religious people who watched that will go away feeling it a victory. As we all know from the evolution v creationism debate (arguement really as debate requires reasoned conversation) if anything is left un-answered then God must be the answer.

Why is religion the constant fallback?

Wo. This is intense y'all! Um, has anyone ever heard of a thing called open-mindedness? The Dalai Lama preaches that we should nurture an open mind; open to all ideas, and ready to discuss with total sincerity the true nature of this "reality" we all seem to find ourselves in the middle of. Absolutist dogma, whether it's Atheism, Christianism, Judaeism, Islamism, KKKism, whatever ism you like; seems like it might be the area that needs some intelligent discussion. Any closed-minded absolutist that seems to have it all figured out care to respond to this? I hope that soon we will all open up, drop our defenses, and as a loving group of curious and grateful beings, examine the true nature of reality, in every way possible. Could it be that the human mind, once perked, suddenly becomes fearful at the prospect that it doesn't really have all the answers? and out of this fear grasps at whatever ideas that have been handed down from individuals that had personal experiences which convinced them of some dogma or another? I wonder... Pray for open-mindedness, pray for intelligence, pray for non-biased thought, pray for peace. To who should you pray?, you may ask... to the all. Simply the all of existence, which I can't help but feel somehow does hear my prayers! I ask, and I receive; I seek and I find; I wish you all the glorious life I seem to be enjoying with quite a few others who have learned to broaden their horizons, and take solace in the seeming response we get when we pray to whatever you like. Prayer seems to be something which I have found to have some truth to... so I pray that we all open up, and figure it all out; together, as one family. Or else I'm gonna blow you all to kingdom come!!!!(JK) Namaste

To all those who have attacked CNN, I must come to its defense. CNN is always a complete piece of shit, so why would anyone think that they could do justice to this weighty subject? Relying on CNN for guidance on this matter is like driving up to a 7/11 instead of the emergency room when you’ve suffered a gunshot wound. Remember: for intelligent topics go elsewhere. CNN is good for stupid crap like the OJ trial and dead or missing little white girls.

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"3 men go through life. One man does good because he is promised eternal happiness after he dies for doing good.

The second man does good because he is threatened with eternal punishment if he does not do good.

And the last person does good because it is the right thing to do"

Absurd as this might sound to some, Christian aren't always motivated by the cattle prod of supernatural torment and reward. The insistence of thinking so is premised on curiously stubborn one-dimensional take on spirituality. It discounts any merit from religious discussion, as thought it can never be approached in a more contemplative framework.

Has religious history shown a dark side? U-huh. Here's another question: Is there any institution immune from becoming corrupted? It's not exclusive to religion to see abuses of power in high places, although it does cast a certain pernicious shadow. And that's why nobody should leave their brains at the door of any church. It IS a spiritual endeavor to ask questions. There is simply not this water-tight separation between the intellect and intuition. To me, it's always in flux.

A guy like Joseph Campbell could demonstrate the meaning of myth and unravel the preponderance of shared archetypes. That's a pretty intellectual and useful exercise, but he himself admitted he'd never have the experience of a saint.

Arguing about religion is like having two hemispheres of the brain, both with legitimate function, constantly at war. In this perpetual contest, each side proffers its rightful contribution to the rise of civilization, trying to cancel the other out. This cheats the civilian out of examining a sublime mystery by subverting and sucker-punching emotions into bellicose chest-beating.

It's all too frequently assumed that your average religious person is a witless zombie. Aside from the fact that cliches do exist, you'd have to be a zombie to not to see this rhetorical raw meat for what it is.

How can a Christian not be embarrassed by that man?

"3 men go through life. One man does good because he is promised eternal happiness after he dies for doing good.

The second man does good because he is threatened with eternal punishment if he does not do good.

And the last person does good because it is the right thing to do"

There is truth in the last statement. It is the right thing to do. But I think you fail to see the obvious. Why is it right? We have what is good. We have what is bad. But now we have this third "thing" that is above the two. The thing that is right. It seems we have been able to agree, so far throughout civiliztion, as to what is right. Where does this sense of right come from? Someone previously answered that by saying "morals come from morals." Well, not only does that not make sense, but it is awfully convenient don't you think? Just about as convenient as Christians ending their arguements with "it came from God."

Was anyone else really unimpressed with American Atheists president Ellen Johnson? I just seemed like the only atheist on the show was not up for the debate, despite her somewhat presitigious position.

Atheistic morals are nothing more than individual interpretation of what is good. A reliance on ones self that he is above God. Such arrogance will one day be avenged by God himself. Enjoy the victory you think you have won on this earth for eternity you will suffer.

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Since ol' J.D. Roberts was in too much of a rush to allow the Reverend's question about where atheists get their morals to be answered, I wrote him and answered his question myself (from the society in which we live, of course). I also explained to him that his idea of right and wrong is derived from the same source, and how his choosing one religion as the right one and the others as wrong is an example of his employing that internal yardstick. As was said above, 'morals don't come from religion, religions come from morals.'

Maybe I'll even get a reply.

dawkins video, at about halfway through, the newsticker: "New York teen's defective heart stops beating, then restarts four days later; doctors amazed, parents call it divine intervention." Kind of funny, the missing evidence - right there!

'morals don't come from religion, religions come from morals.'

So you believe this as an absolute fact? I suggest you read the bible first before you usurp the authority onto which who wrote it.

I think what needs to be clarified is whether or not these two things are the same:

-Not believing in the existence of god(s) (because of lack of evidence).

-Believing (and making it a point to try to somehow "prove") that there is NO god (the Christian god for example).

Personally, I don't believe in gods, but I have no desire to prove my "disbelief" to anyone because I don't feel like I'm the one making any kind of strange claim about the Universe. Seems to me if someone wants to say everyone needs to believe in god, the burden of proof lies with them.

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MikeV, maybe YOU should read the Bible.

It's clear that your morals don't come from that book either, because if you did half the stuff that book suggests is moral, you'd be in jail. For starters we don't stone people to death for committing adultery. We don't make burt offerings. We don't do a whole host of things that the laws written in those books absolutely require you to do. No one with even a passing familiarity with the Bible could claim that our laws and morals are based on biblical law or moral teachings, so why don't you take your own advice and READ IT?

Matt, the burden of proof need not be proven to you because you have made up your mind already. The burden of proof need only be proven for those who honestly seek it. For now you can be content being a fence sitter but a time will come when you will have to defend your chosen faith.

The interview with Dawkins definitely looked pasted together, and yes, the Panel discussion was too short, and really didn't address the questions well because they kept talking over eachother (especially the reverend, as noted). The mediator should do a better job at giving them each a set amount of time.

I actually really would have liked to have seen them address were we do get our morals from. Was the Reverend implying that anyone who doesn't have a bible has no morals? That's a few billion people in this world, and I can't believe societies in India and China could function without moral and ethical standards of some sort.

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Austin Tashis, I am not claiming to be the most righteous person but only proclaiming the claim in the bible that Jesus is the only righteous person who lived on earth.
The laws of man is not above the laws of God. I suggest you read everything before you start quoting the bible.

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MikeV wrote:

I suggest you read the bible first before you usurp the authority onto which who wrote it.

Hopefully the Bible is more comprehensible than your syntax...

Austin Tashis, read this before you start slandering me.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OldTestament#Christianviewofthe_Law

Albatrossity, you can ridicule me all you want on my grammar but to suggest that the bible is other than comprehensible is foul.

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MikeV sez

Albatrossity, you can ridicule me all you want on my grammar but to suggest that the bible is other than comprehensible is foul.

If you read Aramaic or Hebrew, I'll cede that it could be comprehensible to you. But even the English-language version seems incomprensible to me; I blame it all on bad translation...

They really didn't address what I thought was the real problem with both segments.

The questions.

Every question they put up is about equal to saying "Why are christians pedophiles?" The debate is framed from the start in a negative tone toward athiests which I don't feel is a positive way to approach this type of conversation.

So... Anna nicole Smith gets almost two full days of mind-numbing coverage... but Darwin/Dawkins/Atheists get all of 7 minutes... so sad

MikeV

Criticizing your syntax is hardly slander, and the bible has many contradictions. People have to interpret it in order to form a moral code, and many people interpret it many different ways.

And in my mind Atheists form their moral code based on many things, including religious doctrine. They take what reason would support and look for more from other philosophies and from life. And I at least have a certain amount of reverence for human beings and life as a whole. One part of religion I find most insulting is the propsal that without someone telling me what is right and believing in an almighty I will of course become an amoral animal.

Unless "god" himself has a printing press and printed out the bible for us, with various translations for the different ethnic groups (maybe he had a little difficulty finding a rep in Asia...) then...

the bible is a work of man.

Man 's word is fallible and subject to misinterpretation, skewering and bad translation. (Ever played the game "telephone"?) Morals are nothing more than codes that enable man to live more harmoniously in larger groups. You learn morals through the word of man. Much like the bible. But the benefit of just learning moral behavior w/o the bible is that you begin to understand that these rules are adapted to each society/culture. It encourages critical thinking unlike the bible which preaches what could be considered moral atrocieties and blanket statements that must be taken at face value or suffer eternal damnation.

So pfui. The bible is the word of man. Just like the koran, the Bhagadvagita (?) etc...

Take that "day of reckoning" stuff somewhere else. I don't care what you believe, just remember that you CHOSE to believe it a one point and stop trying to validate your views by attempting to convert others.

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MikeV,

I read that article. Does this mean I can start slandering you now?

As anyone can see from that article, there are a variety of opinions, even among Christians, as to what the Bible says about law. My point is that none of them actually follows the Bible word-for-word. No one does. First of all, it's impossible because the Bible contains far too many internal contradictions to be consistently followed. Second, the laws of man are, in this country anyway, above the laws of any particular religious group. There are a large number of things that the Bible says you must do, if you are to be a good Christian, that would, if taken literally, land you in jail. Surprisingly, there are very few "prisoners of conscience" in prison for these types of offenses. Why? Because even Christians don't take those particular things literally. And that's my point. When it comes to morality, you Christians do the same as anyone else. You pick and choose. You take the parts of the Bible you like and reject the rest. The only difference is that you like to say that your preferences carry some special weight because they are taken from the Bible. This is not only untrue, it's irrelevant, because in the United States of America, the Bible has no more authority over legal or moral matters than Moby Dick or any other work of literature.

Why do they always get a black person to be the most vociferous, vitriolic person on these panels? It's like they're saying "See even black people agree with us white Christians?" Stop using ignorant black folk for your own personal agenda because they are so ignorant they don't know any better. They want to curry favor with white Christians anyway to further their own selfish ends. That's a very Christian approach.

Another thing is Christians always say this country was founded on Christian values. Most values are the same across all religion. It would be fairer to say this country was founded by men who identified with Christian values although they were not Christians themselves. They maintained an air of Christianity to keep people from turning against them, just like our government does.

The statistics say that 70% of Americans are Christians. Bullshit!!! The only people that can be counted as Christian are people that are actually devout. 90% of that 70% are just people that fear the stigma of being a non-Christian, whether it's another religion or nonbelief. In other words they are cowards, afraid to come out of the closet.

The 1-3% statistic for nonbelievers is grossly underestimated. Church attendance is way down here. There's a difference between calling yourself a Christian and actually being one as I said. There are probably around 50% or more people in this country that are basically atheist. Many of them call themselves spiritual because they don't go to church. Black people for some reason, no matter what, still cling to Jesus because of how we were raised but it's still the same effect. Younger blacks are atheists but they still fear going to hell for eternity because their parents beat it into them.

The atheist/agnostic movement needs to redefine exactly what it means to be Christian because there aren't that many of them in America. Surveys and polls don't mean anything when the stigma of non-Christianity is alive and well.

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So you believe this as an absolute fact?

Yeah, pretty much. Religions are man-made just like any other institution.

Reed
It does not surprise me that you take reverence to life and human beings more because that is all that you have. My reverence is with God because I know my life is for eternity.

Austin Tashis
The Jewish belief is based on man's persuit to follow the laws of God. The Chirstian covenant and salvation is through the Grace of God, the blood of Christ and his atonement of our sin.

CNN and the networks are useless. having 4 minutes to discuss an issue that can easily be dealt with in depth for well over an hour is not doing anyone justice. The religious have no time to make their point, and neither do the atheists. The end result is the viewer is left with the impression that there are two groups that strongly disagree and possibly hate each other. What use is CNN when they cant report in any meaningful way?

There is truth in the last statement. It is the right thing to do. But I think you fail to see the obvious. Why is it right?

From the same place it did before religion began: certain behaviors benefit the social group and therefore the survival and flourishing of its members, and other behaviors don't, though they may benefit one individual in the short term.

As far as the viewpoint that atheists are shoving their views into everyone's face, that's what's always said about us when we don't hide our lack of belief and publicly pretend to be like the majority. It's the same argument used against gays who want to do such 'in your face' things as, oh noes!, go on a date or hold hands while walking down the sidewalk - things that straights have been doing for years.

This country wasn't founded on belief in any god, nor will you find the word god anywhere in the US Constitution. It wasn't in the original Pledge of Allegiance, written in the 19th century by a minister. That was added later so that during the 'red scare' of the 1950s, an American could be differentiated from a godless commie.

The fact that anyone would even ask whether atheists are morally compromised is proof that atheists need to be concerned about discrimination and bigotry. The rhetorical term for what is done to a debate when the questions are phrased to be automatically biased against one side is 'poisoning the well.' That's exactly what Paula Zahn and CNN have done.

The question "where do atheists get their morals" really pisses me off. It's as if the entire history of literature and philosophy mean absolutely nothing. Go do a little research would ya reverend? This question has been studied, discussed, and written about at length by some of the brightest minds that ever existed. The volume of literature on this topic is exhaustive. They even have whole degrees based on it at most accredited universities world wide. Imagine that. Why would anyone ever get a degree in philosophy when all the answers were in the Bible the whole time?

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MikeV:

< blockquote > The Chirstian covenant and salvation is through the Grace of God, the blood of Christ and his atonement of our sin.

If that were true then all you need to do is believe in Christ and, morally, anything goes, isn't that right? But that's not what you actually believe or else you'd just shut up and leave the rest of us alone.

...a time will come when you will have to defend your chosen faith.

Why should that frighten an atheist? I can imagine the defense now: "Well, God, you gave me no means of communication, no reliable way to know your nature or will. Furthermore, you gave me no reason to even believe you exist at all. So, in your absence, I did the best I could with the brain that, as it turns out, you gave me."

A god who would punish such a person is deeply immoral. Is this your God? Or is the wrath you ascribe to Him merely a projection of your own all-too-human psychology?

AC Jeremiah 5:21-23 (NIV)

21 Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear:

22 Should you not fear me?" declares the LORD. "Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it.

23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away.

AC
romans 1:18-28 (NIV)
God's Wrath Against Mankind

18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

There is a reason why Christianity is taken on more than Islam, by American Athiests. It's simple really, you'll kick yourself for not having thought of it before.

America, as we know it, is under no significant danger from Islam. Unless you believe that islamic terrorists could get hold of so many nukes as to wipe us off the map.

The only religion that imposes any significant threat to America, as we know it, is Christianity. I'm not talking about violent danger (leaving aside abortion bombings and the militia movements), just fundamental dangers to American values. Values like separation of church and state, a woman's right to choose, scientific excellence, etc. Islam threatens none of those things (at least in America, which is where I'm limiting my discussion), Christianity does.

I would imagine that athiests from Israel spend most of their time taking on Judaism, and athiests from muslim countries taking on Islam. Funny how that works, huh?

MikeV,

You're attempts at using html are flawed. Line breaks are automatically inserted just by hitting the return key. You're putting the slash in the wrong place it goes after the br It's br space slash enclosed in brackets. Further no one is impressed that you can cut and past scripture. If you have something to say use your own words.

Just about the last comment that needs to be made on Biblical literalism and its adherents:

http://russellsteapot.com/images/rsgallery/original/000100000.jpg

Although... if you sell all your possessions and give them to the poor, then what are the poor supposed to do?

Maybe the smart thing to do is just load everything you own on a barge and sink it in the middle of a lake, like P'ang Yun.

Norm,

HTML was never my forte and never said I was good at it. Can we stick to the substance.

I did not aspire for you adoration in any way. I only wish to be heard and defend my faith from atheists who blaspheme againts God. The best way to support my argument is to quote the scriptures.

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matt writes:"Seems to me if someone wants to say everyone needs to believe in god, the burden of proof lies with them."

thus it is, and thus it has ever been. it seems, however, that atheists are feeling a bit left out, and have begun rather aggresively accepting the burdenofproof, which no one really asked them for and which they cannot, of course, provide. religious people can provide evidence pointing to at least a creator, if not their own particularly anthropomorphisized version of her, but not CONCLUSIVE evidence. atheists can provide a different model theory to explain the phenomena of organization, intracacy and even purpose previously left to the god-model, but its not even mutually exclusive of "gods'" existence, let alone proving her non-existence, let alone airtight. this would all be a lot of fun, but for the fact that athiests and religious believers have come to see each other as actually DANGEROUS, therefore justifying all manner of hostile, draconian thought and action.

maybe if the atheists come up with their own version of jihad (in self defense, of course) it'll unify all these religious people who, until now, have hated each others' guts based on conflicting interpretations of gods' instructions. then the question becomes, is unity a positive value in itself?

sorry for rambling so much. i'm fascinated by the whole thing, it's one big reason i'm here.

btw, being able to read hebrew/aramaic doesn't make the bible more "comprehensible". what it does is allow one to sit back and chuckle and feel unjustifiably superior to people arguing heatedly over a word or a sentance that has been obviously mistranslated. i do it all the time. :)

Defend your beliefs with your own independent argument, I and I'm sure many others have already read the bible.

Why do you feel the need to defend your beliefs on this site? How does it negatively impact you if people don't believe the same as you do?

The best way to support my argument is to quote the scriptures.

Few here recognize your scriptures as any anything but the mumblings of superstitious old men. The fact that they're quoted by someone who is unable to make a rational argument adds nothing to the argument. Making yourself feel better by posting them is not a good enough reason. It's also nice that you don't seek my admiration, what is it that makes you think I would want it? How sad that you've replaced thinking for yourself with posting scriptures.

Since we're quoting scripture and all, what's your favorite bible story? I have 2.

The first is the story of the bald man who is teased by children on account of his baldness. He prays to God to murder these children. Our loving God grants this man's request and sends a female bear to brutally murder the small children. This story is so full of moral lessons on which to run a society it's not funny. John Wayne Gacy would be proud of the Christian god.

My 2nd favorite story is one that's very famous, but no one tells it in the true manner. It's the story of Soddom and Gomorrah. So this angel falls down from heaven or something, and the citizens of Soddom decide to have a good ol' fashioned gang rape (San Fransisco style, if you catch my drift). Our hero, Lot ("the Righteous") takes this angel into his home. The angy, gang-raping homosexual crowd comes to Lot's house to demand their prize. Lot, "The Righteous," instead offers up his daughters to the gang-raping crowd of homosexuals (Family Values!). The gang-raping homosexuals decline, and yadayadayada, our Loving and Benevolent God destroys the city.

Along the way, God murders Lots wife by turning her into a pillar of salt because she had the audacity to turn her head.

At the end of the story, Lot "The Righteous" goes to a cave. His daughters get him drunk and Lot "The Righteous" has sex with BOTH his daughters and impregnates them.

I love getting my morals from the bible.

I only wish to be heard and defend my faith from atheists who blaspheme againts God. - MikeV

It is impossible for me to "blaspheme" something about which I do not believe. And how sanctimonious of you to think Biblical quotes have any meaning to me (or any other atheist) as they do to you. They don't. The Bible is no more the "word of god" than a Keats poem, Vonnegut novel, or Michaelangelo painting. It's just another human construction.

Your quoting the Bible certainly won't help you in a rational discussion with me. I have read the Bible, studied it, and found it to be a useless relic from our superstitious past. Your god has no more relevance to me than Vishnu, Thor, Zeus, or any other diety constructed from the ancient, superstitious, human mind.

Furthermore, if you wish to "defend" your god with such vim and vigor, why not do it in your own forum and not on Norm's. It's not like anyone here begged you to join this debate, and we're certainly not interested in reading the thousands of words you cut from the Bible and pasted here.

Sadly, the truth is that the Bible is the only literary source for many frightened little sheep like you. The fact you take it so literally, and believe with such certainty it is the word of god, is a sad state of affairs for you.

Wow.. all I can say is wow. If it wasn't for Richard Dawkins getting interviewed I would os said there is no hope for America at all. Just from the previous spokespeople its about as tolerant of others as fanatical Islamist states.

I was raised Roman Catholic, we were taught that you treat everyone as you would expect to be treated. Watching those idiots debating just made me weep.

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voodoochile, your retelling of the lot story is pretty warped (for instance, there are 3 "angels", not 1, and no one said they "fell from heaven"- in fact the hebrew "malach" means messenger as well as "angel". but i get your point. but has it never occured to you that this, and stories like it in the bible, are negative examples? after all, there are no examples of human perfection in the old testament, at least. even the greatest humans, with god in their pockets, as it were, (moses, david,etc.) are always presented warts and all. and lots' behavior with his daughters is pretty clearly condemned.

As an atheist, I'd like to apologize for insisting on my civil rights.

I'm sorry for insisting that religion be kept out of government.

I'm sorry for questioning your beliefs when they don't make sense to me, which is most of the time.

I'm truly sorry, and I'll try not to use my freedom of speech and from religion in the future.

Favorite bible stories!

This one's in the gospels a couple of times: Jesus and the disciples are hungry. They come upon a fig tree, but figs are out of season, so the tree is bare. Jesus curses the tree, causing it to wither and die, then tells his disciples that if they have faith, they will be able to do the same (but not, apparently, to cause trees to bear fruit).

Jesus' violent anger at a tree that's only behaving as God intended it to seems slightly unhinged if taken literally, but I believe it's meant to be taken as a metaphorical rebuke to the Jews: the tree which is out of season for fruit represents those Jews who were unwilling to accept Jesus as Messiah. Which to my mind makes it worse than unhinged. Like much of the New Testament, it could be taken as an endorsement for the extermination of Judaism.

I consider it a favorite because it's frequently interesting to relate this story to believers (many of whom haven't read much Scripture) and see what they think of it.

For the world-beater in terms of Bible shockers, you can't do much better than Psalm 137. The sudden transition from heartbreaking lamentation to heart-stopping violence is unparalleled in literature. From blues to black metal in nine short lines.

Sadly, the truth is that the Bible is the only literary source for many frightened little sheep like you. The fact you take it so literally, and believe with such certainty it is the word of god, is a sad state of affairs for you.

Maybe for the Protestants. They cut themselves off from 2000 years of history and attempted to rely on "Bible alone", and a truncated Bible at that. They tend to ignore or discount the early church and how they left a coherent set of writings. Ironically in light of today's controversy, the Romans thought Christians were "atheists" for denying the Roman gods and killed them for it.

Did Jesus exist and do the miracles that are recorded in the Bible? Only from documentation outside the Bible do we know how many people who witnessed these things were willing to die still proclaiming what they saw and would not recant their stories.

For Catholics, Coptics and the Orthodox, it is sad when people take the Bible so literally, and rely on it as their only source. The Bible is a literary work. It contains historical fact, yet included exaggeration to help tell its stories. Even the oft-cited command to commit genocide against the Canaanites is told through a filter of storytelling - we know from history that all of the Canaanites were not killed.

Likewise with 6-day creationism. Genesis is poetry, not a scientific treatise. It tell stories (there are two creation stories in Genesis and they disagree!) in order to make certain points about humankind and their positioning in a universal context (relationship with God, if you will). Humankind being master over his environment, yet subject to universal principles.

Principles that arise from a fundamental postulate: the existence of God. Scientific empiricism has a different set of postulates, as does music, as does mathematics, as does epistemology, as does philosophy. Strict scientific empiricism can't prove or disprove the postulates of theism in the same way that music and epistemology are not falsifiable. Are music and epistemology therefore false and fruitless endeavors?

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"Why do they always get a black person to be the most vociferous, vitriolic person on these panels? It's like they're saying "See even black people agree with us white Christians?"

Well, Jesse Lee Peterson's main mentor was Roy Masters, who runs a self-styled religious compound in southern Oregon. Masters is on the hit list of the mainstream Protestant community for being a cultist. So "white" (read: monolithic) Christianity is actually rife with serious divisions.

By the way, it's not hard to become a Reverend. Now you can do it too! It's info-mercial easy and fun.

[footnote: I like your perspective MrSteve.]

I see the response to my post is Bible quotes. Why should those concern me? There is no reason to believe that anything in the Bible is divine in nature or origin. It is not the only "holy text", nor is Christianity the only religion. Humans have been writing myths and creating religions since long before Jesus, Moses, or any other biblical figure supposedly lived. How am I, using the brain God gave me, to arrive at your convictions?

voodoochile, your retelling of the lot story is pretty warped (for instance, there are 3 "angels", not 1, and no one said they "fell from heaven"- in fact the hebrew "malach" means messenger as well as "angel".

Right, because those are the relevant parts of the story... not the gang-rape, not the incest, not the murder.

but i get your point. but has it never occured to you that this, and stories like it in the bible, are negative examples?

Umm, gonna have to go with no. Most of the worst stuff in those stories was done by the Christian god himself. Murdering children via angry bear for making fun of a bald man? How is this a negative example of human behavior?

God murdering Lot's wife for having the audacity to turn her head? How is this an example of negative human behavior?

And as for Lot, he's refered to as Lot "The Righteous." Maybe you'd have a point if Christians refered to him as Lot "The Guy Who Tried To Have His Daughters Gang Raped And Then Took Them To A Cave And Had Sex With Them And Got Them Pregnant."

and lots' behavior with his daughters is pretty clearly condemned.

My apologies to the community... And Koresh have mercy on my soul... but could you please quote scripture that condemns Lot for trying to get his daughters gang-raped and then having sex with them in a cave and getting them pregnant?

Just one or two small verses will do, please don't give me a bible-sized screed.

For the world-beater in terms of Bible shockers, you can't do much better than Psalm 137. The sudden transition from heartbreaking lamentation to heart-stopping violence is unparalleled in literature. From blues to black metal in nine short lines.

Indeed. Psalm 137 has the added bonus of once again calling for the murder of children, a Biblical favorite, and apparently where we get our values from and the foundation upon which America was built (no it's not Enlightenment thought, it's actually a thousand year old musty tome)

Happy shall they be who take your little ones
         and dash them against the rock!
-Psalm 137

Family Values!

I think christians as well as atheists need to both be more tolerant. I mean religion, right or WRONG, is just something people use to try to get by in life, because lets face it, life lacks something. or because everybody wants to live forever. I hate religion being shoved in my face as much as anybody else, and thank god for the constitution and the founding fathers, because those evangelicals would have us impose religion on everybody and off with the head of anybody who complained. But a christian homophobe, would still probably be an atheist homophobe. We should all look to the things we all have in common, like the human condition, instead of trying to seperate ourselves. This is just as stupid as racism. And didnt people learn all this already? the renaissance? But i guess history is doomed to repeat itself, the human condition.

is just something people use to try to get by in life

Just? JUST?! Have you been reading, listening, and viewing anything on this blog? My word! If it were JUST about that, I could care less really. I would still hold it irrational but I wouldn't really care so much if it were JUST a placebo.

Yeah Brian, when can we expect the Christians to stop trying to destroy the school systems, or usher in the Apocalypse by enabling wars in the Middle East or being pro-Global Warming?

Christianity doesn't "just get by" because it's an evangelical religion that tries to recruit others. It doesn't take too long for this attempt at evangelism becomes inappropriate and invasive, especially when it tries to take the reins of the Government.

I know i know, believe me if i had to choose to be on a deserted island with 10 random atheists or 10 random christians id pick the atheists everytime, unless the christians were all hot lingerie models. But I just think tolerance is a two way street, we should give some away if we expect anyback. Im not saying we shouldnt fight with the religious on prayer in school, pointless wars, global warming and anything else that our constitution protects or will screw up the planet, and countless lives. Im just saying that i know some christians who are good people, and we dont treat eachother differently because we believe different things. I know the fanatical christians are nuts, but not all christians are bad. Im reminded of the paradox of terrorists, we (the us) invades a country to stop terrorism yet we create more. If atheists come off as hating christians and intolerant of religion in general, then we are exactly what they portray us as, and might create less atheists. I know better than anybody its a giant brainwashing cult, but we wont recruit any christians by telling them they're stupid, regardless of whether they are. Hopefully eventually all fanatical religion will fade. But i see sam harris point on it being the moderate religious that make religion seem ok and then that gives rise to the extremism. So that really its not the extremist that are the problem but the moderates, for furthering the belief that religion isnt harmful.

MikeV - You seem to be under some confusion as to who wrote the Bible, maybe this will further your understanding.

The work of many hands

The answer to 'Who wrote the Bible?' turns out to be complex. For a start, the Bible isn't a single book, but contains 66 separate books which were collected over something like 1,200 years. Christians and Jews have usually been careful to say that the scriptures weren't delivered from a passing cloud, but were, they believe, written, edited and compiled by human beings under the inspiration of God.

...Take the Five Books of Moses, which open the Bible and include the world-famous stories of the creation, the Garden of Eden and Noah's flood. Known in Hebrew, the language they were written in, as the Torah, these books contain the foundations of Judaism and Christianity. It turns out that the Books of Moses weren't written by Moses at all, but by four anonymous writers, each with his own particular view to promote. These writings were only brought together when an Israelite king found them useful to promote his political agenda, many centuries after the time of Moses. Says Beckford: 'King Hezekiah turned the Bible into a party political manifesto for monotheism. He definitely knew something about spin.'

Also, you may wish to watch this interesting program Who wrote the Bible? - 1h:43m RT

But I just think tolerance is a two way street, we should give some away if we expect anyback

But see, here is what I think you don’t comprehend. We are NOT intolerant for the mere fact that we chastise religion. It's beliefs being attacked, not people. Furthermore, the "attacking" is being done on a conversational level—sometimes political, though it is more of fighting back to uphold Constitution law that protects everyone not oppress the religious—and you are confusing and blending the terms 'tolerance' and 'respect'. No one here is asking for the persecution of theists at all. At all! However, since when are we required to respect anyone's views of other social issues? I have conservative friends whom I respect, but I do not need to respect their ideologies. Of course I most certainly don't go out of my way to become a crude person either by attacking needlessly for the sole purpose of passing myself off as high and mighty. When it comes to debating the issues I (as well as other atheists here) have tried to do it in a very articulate manner, dissecting the issues at hand—issues that need questioning—and discussing them in appropriate venues. This idea of “can't we all get along?” by not criticizing viewpoints is what can get us into MORE trouble because, like Sam Harris has repeated relentlessly, "We have a choice between conversation and violence, both at the level of individuals and at the level of nations." Free speech is going to offend people. I’m sorry if their face turns red, but these issues need discussing—and not bending over backwards with political correctness. Words do not make the world unpleasant. Unpleasant behavior makes the world unpleasant. Approach the issue timidly and you’re going to get squashed like a bug. Speak your mind and be heard. Stand up for what you think is right!

I agree with you but i just think it makes atheists look just as bad once we get into the "you're wrong" "no you're wrong" arguement with christians. Dont get me wrong if an atheist thinks a religious person is invading their rights, id be just as mad as anybody. Hey atleast we're all normal.

I have more tolerance for christians than conservatives.

I met Rev. Jesse Peterson briefly back in 1998 when I was involved in the immigration restrictionist movement. Below is a link to an article from The Nation that pretty much tells you everything you need to know about him.

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20050411/blumenthal

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22 Should you not fear me?" declares the LORD. "Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it.

Wow. I'm thinking maybe some people in Indonesia and some other territories might take issue with gawd's inclination that the waves can't cross the "boundary" of the sand.

-paz

I think you all are too serious. You missed the great humor of the good Reverend attacking gays in front of the proud to be lesbian Rachel Maddow. Even the host shot her a glance of surprise.

Being the classy lady she is she let it slide and stayed on topic. I recently started listening to her two hours during evenings on Air America Radio and she is the best host they have (IMHO).

Oh yes Mart, that had me rolling! There's nothing like discrimination to sooth the humoristic soul.

PLEASE WATCH THE MOVIE "THE SECRET" (the non-fiction (or not, depending on your view) movie, not the hollywood movie of the same name) AND THEN LET US ALL KNOW WHAT YOU THINK. ALSO, "WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW". THESE MOVIES ARE THE REVOLUTION IN THE UNION OF SCIENCE AND SPIRITUALITY. NO INTELLIGENT DISCUSSION CAN TAKE PLACE WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING THE TRUTH WITHIN THESE MOVIES, SO STOP WASTING TIME AND WATCH THEM ASAP, AND THEN RESUME DISCUSSION. THANK YOU. NAMASTE, Jasha

ALSO, PLEASE UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPTS OF ABSOLUTIST THINKING, DUALISTIC THINKING, LINEAR THINKING, AND ESPECIALLY, ABOVE ALL, THE CONCEPT OF MAKING AN ASS OF ONES-SELF, BY SPEAKING WITHOUT READING EVERY POSSIBLE ANCIENT TEXT ON THE SUBJECT OF UNIVERSAL TRUTH. ESPECIALLY READ "THE EMERALD TABLETS, of THOTH", and "THE KYBALION", and if your mind can handle it, "THE CORPUS HERMETICUM". IT IS POSSIBLE THAT WE MAY FIND THE ORIGINAL SOURCE OF ALL RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE, AS WELL AS THE DOCTRINE OF EVERY SECRET SOCIETY THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN, IN THE EMERALD TABLETS. ALL SEEM TO POINT TO THE CIVILIZATION OF EGYPT AS THE SOURCE OF THE OLDEST RECORDED SPIRITUAL IDEAS WHICH HAVE TRICKLED DOWN INTO EVERY RELIGION AND SCIENCE WHICH WE HAVE TODAY. REALLY, STUDY THEM AND SEE FOR YOURSELF; AND, NO, I HAVE NEVER BEEN ONE TO BELIEVE IN EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL INTERVENTION, BUT....... WHAT THE @#&* DO WE KNOW ANYWAY????

Erik, I do not see humor in discrimination. The fun for me is when preachers talk of gods love by explaining how god hates certain folks. I find it ironic and chuckle at their stupidity.

The Dawkins segment isn’t very informative but the original panel discussion is interesting albeit in a negative way.

Just a few points.

In the original panel discussion, the phrase in God we trust from the dollar note was mentioned.

Didn’t the US government put that it only during the 1950s as a counterpoint to Godless Communism? I think the words was also used for 20 years on an American coin in the 19th century as well.

Second, why did Ellen Johnson, the President of American Atheists, say that “religion is losing out in America?” Isn’t 80% of Americians Christians and don’t the American majority believe in Creationism as compared to evolution?

How can Reverend Jesse then say Atheist imposing their “Godless lifestyle” on Christians in America? When Christians form the majority in USA? Funny that he is justifying Christian “militarism” as a response to Atheist militarism?

It’s always a hoot when bullies justify their belligerence and aggression on the so-called aggression of their victims when the bullies are the one who threw the punch first.

Rev. Jesse becomes even more ridiculous in his reasoning by equating the Atheist movement with the Gay movement who he claimed succeeded in imposing their lifestyle on all Americans i.e. redefining the concept of marriage.

This is a good one -- both bible quotations and posts entirely in uppercase. I figured I'd introduce profanity and fucking nazis, just to make it complete. Ta-dah!

By the way, if someone posts more than say, a dozen times in a thread, accuses people of religious crimes like "blasphemy" and keeps quoting goddamn bible passages -- can we throw him to the lions? Please?

But yeah, truly depressing -- the 7 min. of atheism vs. 2 hours of Anna Nicole Smith on CNN. The only reasonable English language news available now is PBS, NPR and Canadian and British news.

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voodoochile, sorry for taking so long getting back to you on this. i'm sure "the community" doesn't have the interest or the patience to deal with an argument on the fine points of a bible story, and in any case it seems like your mind is already made up. just a few points:

1.your reading of the story of lot and his daughters is simply incorrect. i know, its hard to get the nuances or even the facts of a tale straight when you come to it predisposed against its having anything meaninful to say.

2.your lumping together of "all those stories" (and all those bibles, as well) is just lazy, and confusing to anyone who might want to engage you in conversation about them.

  1. since we don't cherry pick but look at the text as a whole, i would point out that the same bible that prohibits murder, incest and, i daresay, gang rape is probably not holding up lots' behaviour as an example of his "righteousness". as i already pointed out, the bible is full of examples of bad behaviour on the part of (even)its greatest "heroes", including god himself.

4.no one in either jewish, christian or muslim tradition considers the story in question to be other than a negative example or, at best, a simple telling of "what happened". so i think the burden of proof would be on you.

Dzwonka "The only reasonable English language news available now is PBS, NPR and Canadian and British news."

There's also C-SPAN

Sorry, I was the anonymous poster above.

Jonathan, I think that some people get all bogged down in these stories and different references in the Bible as a way of attempting to demonstrate that morals don't come from the Bible.

If morals came from the Bible, wouldn't everyone interpret the Bible the same way? People use the societal rules that they have been brought up with to interpret the Bible. These societal rules and morals were developed over the years by people using common sense and love for others. The Golden Rule is the most basic concept that people use for determining what is right and what is wrong.

Clear something up for me. The bible is supposedly cherry picked, and interpreted to establish some moral structure. Then Jon tells voodo that he's interpreting it wrong. So now we're back to two interpretations of the same text with different meanings.

How do morals come from the bible then if you can get opposite meanings from the exact same passage?

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its like with catcher in the rye. you can see holden caulfield as a whiney little prick, or a holy rebel. but in order to make either judgement call, you have to have the story straight. i don't see any contradiction in drawing moral lessons from texts that may be subject to any number of interpretations. most of the good ones are. i, for instance, derive my moral structure from the lyrics to little feat songs. hey, is the "spanish moon" a place you would like to go, or not? depends.

Jonathan, I don't see any problem in drawing moral lessons from the Bible. But each person, church, or whatever draws different moral lessons. Why is that?

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jo ann, its a good question and one i am only partially qualified to answer. first, i cant agree with this statement:"each person, church, or whatever draws different moral lessons". true, there are many possible interpretations, but they ARE finite. the talmud states that the torah has 70 "faces"- a high number, and certainly enough to cause confusion, but not one per person or even one per "church". people who bother with this stuff at all (mostly religious people) are probably grouped around 2 or 3 main interpretations of the lessons to be drawn from a particular story, with a bunch of tiny minority offshoots, original thinkers and heretics at the fringes.

what bothers me are people who, because they don't believe in god, or believe there to be no god, dismiss or revile these stories out of hand, in spite of or even because of their enduring influence, for good and bad. personally, i don't give a shit about maos' little red book, but if i lived in china in the 40s you better believe i would read it carefully before opening my mouth.

what bothers me are people who, because they don't believe in god, or believe there to be no god, dismiss or revile these stories out of hand

Sorry to "bother" you but no I don't give those stories any more weight than any other piece of literature.

original thinkers and heretics at the fringes.

That's why I could never be religious. I choose to think for myself instead of allowing someone else to tell me what to think. You seem to take issue with the "original thinkers" which is fine but just because you follow the interpretation of the majority doesn't make it any more valid than that of another's interpretation. Like you said "i don't give a shit about maos' little red book" well likewise when it comes to your bible.

what bothers me are people who, because they don't believe in god, or believe there to be no god, dismiss or revile these stories out of hand

It's not the stories I 'revile' it's the claim that they come from a God and therefore have some special meaning, some special authority. They are just stories, what we make of them is a human endeavor, nothing more.

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dar, i don't know how you could come to the conclusion from what i wrote that i take issue with original thinkers. quite the opposite. but one thing they all have in common- a solid understanding of the basic storylines.

and norm, understand that my respect and love for literature is VERY great, and has nothing to do with the personal habits (or the very existance of :)) the author. when you say "just stories", i hope, to be fair and assuming you don't feel as i do about literature- especially extremely influential literature- that you include hamlet, catcher in the rye, the constitution of the united states and the lyrics of bob dylan in your dismissive categorization. and i find it surprising that you, of all people, would be dismissive of "human endeavor".

Jonathan, The Bible cleary states that women should be submissive to their husbands. Do you agree with this assessment? Many people use the Bible to say that homosexuals are sinners. Do you agree with this assessment? The Bible does not denounce slavery. It was the morals of society developed by using principles not in the Bible that were used to denounce slavery.

I enjoy the works of many philosophers, but I don't buy hook, line, and sinker everything that they say.

The problem with the Bible is that the moral principles are not questioned by those who follow them because what is said in the Bible is supposed to come from God.

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and dar, that's the thing- i DON'T live in china in the 40s. but you DO live in america (i'm guessing)now, where the bible is even more influential than maos' little red book back then. for you "not to give a shit" about it is just plain foolish- and i don't believe it, either, or you wouldn't be here.

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jo ann, 1. it doesn't say they should be submissive, it says they will be. there is no commandment that a wife should be submissive to her husband.

2.yes, according to the bible homosexuals are sinners. but since this word has no meaning outside a religious context, i don't see why atheists should concern themselves with it, except for church/state legal issues, and rightfully so. no religious body today (certainly not jewish ones) has the authority to punish homosexual behavior, except insofar as they can influence secular legal systems, and i'm with you in trying to prevent this.

3.the bible does not "denounce" slavery, but makes it clear that its an undesirable position to be in and attempts to regulate mistreatment of slaves. the abolitionist movement was, in fact, inspired by many biblical precepts, cheif among them man (including black man) being made in the image of god.

and i don't know about anyone else, but among the jews every word of the bible is questioned BECAUSE it comes from god.

All stories are simply stories, "just stories", some better than others. I meant nothing more than the fact they are found in the Bible does not make them special. Each story stands on its own merits. I'm surprised I needed to explain that.

Believe what you like. It does not "bother" me when someone has a different opinion than mine and I hold the constitution higher than any religious or non-religious literature where you lumped them together. The constitution is a living document the others are not.

and dar, that's the thing- i DON'T live in china in the 40s. but you DO live in america (i'm guessing)now, where the bible is even more influential than maos' little red book back then. for you "not to give a shit" about it is just plain foolish- and i don't believe it, either, or you wouldn't be here.

You just summed up what I find to be the problem.

People assuming that the bible should have some relevance in how society in the US is governed.

BTW, please stop assuming you know anything about me. Make your point without making assumptions about what I think or my motives.

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i've been meaning to say something here about slavery in the bible for a long time. i hear a lot of shit about it, especially from americans consumed with guilt about their racist past.

slavery in the bible has nothing to do with racism. its an option that a person who cannot pay their debts has, to sell their physical freedom in return for freedom from debt. its not so different, and preferable in many ways (when all the laws are taken into account) to modern wage slavery. no one is saying its a good thing. but slavery, on the biblical model, makes physical freedom a commodity to be bought and sold, giving the poor another option besides prison, death or worse-the creditor moving on to the poor persons' family, which is what happens in the modern american legal system. slaves, according to rabbinic law, are treated MUCH better than, say, nike factory workers in china. i know thats not saying much, but remember, we're talking about the neediest members of society. imo, the torah, together with its rabbinic interpretation, is much more merciful to such people than the modern democratic, capitalistic state.

i know this is off topic, i beg your indulgence and i'll shut up now. somebodies probably going to accuse me of defending slavery as a great thing, and i won't answer. :)

I have been enjoying reading the discussion, but it seems to be degrading a bit as people get a bit offended. I think it is a very valid point that no religious books are really moral guides. There are small exceptions like the ten commandments, which spell out some rules, but those aren't terribly practical really. "thou Shalt not Kill" Outside of the quakers, not many take that to heart. The bible and the Torah and Koran are all interperet and that is where moral teachings come into play. Hard to argue those aren't human institions. and to Jonathan's point on the fact that non-believers should read the bible if they want to argue religion, I agree. But in a secular democracy as set out our founding fathers they shouldn't have to defend their right to freedom of religion with a quote from the bible. Nor should atheists freedom from discrimination be subject to an arguement of validity, any more then we should ask religious people to prove the existence of their god before we protect their rights. There is no real evidence that non-believers are better or worse citizens. There are less atheists in jail, but I would guess that if you corrected for education and income they are no more or less likely to have a negative impact on our society then any other group.

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hey dar-i'll assume whatever i damn well please. and right now i'm assuming you're not even as bright as i was previously giving you credit for.

I'm not surprised with that response, back to personal insults I see.

Yeah,

Anyway, as an atheist, I think the bible does and should have relevance to the governance of our country. THe beliefs of Christians are very relevant to this country. I just think when religion comes to the table in a democracy it is subject to the same reason and discussion as any other line of thought. That is how our country was set up. and that is how it should stay. Because the bible tells me so should be laughed off the stage as quickly as because I saw it in a dream. Ideas need to be backed up with real fact regardless of their source.

Millions of people like Harry potter books. I wouldn't want their flights of fancy to be what the US is Run on any more than the Bible.

Numbers are not the question, but principles the nation was founded on. And christians, as much as they like to claim or at least believe, do not have the monopoly, last word, corner stone, however you want to phrase it, on morality or freedom of religion in the USA.

One could really argue that the founding fathers wrote the constitution to protect Americans from the kind of religion that ruled Europe for centuries before. So rather then a Christian nation we are more a nation defended from the Christian churches.

In the Friends of God Movie I saw that Harry Potter and the other warlocks are allies of the devil.

"In the Friends of God Movie I saw that Harry Potter and the other warlocks are allies of the devil. "

Some see Star Wars as a tool of Satan: http://www.ooze.com/toolofsatan/

Religion needs enemies, it's a way to unite sheep.

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norm writes:"I meant nothing more than the fact they are found in the Bible does not make them special."

and i meant nothing more than the fact they are found in the bible DOES make them special-not because they are "gods word", which is obviously arguable, but because they are a-if not the-foundation text of western civilization-which is not arguable. i further believe that, authorship and influence aside, that the stories, especially in the book of genisis, stand "on their own merits" as having deep insights into the human condition and hold up well as literature which, as i mentioned, i hold in high regard as a catylist for cultural evolution and understanding. the fact that those same stories are now being used by a bunch of cultural luddites to oppress nonbelievers is an unfortunate byproduct of their universal qualities. if catcher in the rye were believed to be the result of divine authorship, some "catcher in the rye fundamentalist" might try to make bullshit punishable by death- and then where would we be?:)

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i know, i know, don't say it: i'd be dead.

Jonathan,

I was really disappointed with your response to Dar.... but, be that as it may, you said, "the fact that those same stories are now being used by a bunch of cultural luddites to oppress nonbelievers is an unfortunate byproduct of their universal qualities. if catcher in the rye were believed to be the result of divine authorship, some "catcher in the rye fundamentalist" might try to make bullshit punishable by death- and then where would we be?:)"

however...,ahem, well,.... The Bible stories are being used as an unfortunate byproduct by many people worldwide,even moreso in the U.S., Israel, and the countries where Muslims are the majority, while few people in any given country are familiar with Catcher in the Rye, and there is not one person (well, maybe some kook somewhere, who knows?), who considers this little story divine authorship.

Oops... that was me as anonymous again.. sorry... and I forgot to close a few HTML tags... :(

Another clarification... Of course the Muslims are using primarily that other book of stories and philosophy known as the Koran (Qu'uran), but they also believe that the Bible is inspired by Allah or God or whatever any of these people believe some almighty being's name to be. The two religions just have a different idea of which prophet it is that they worship, while Jews don't worship either prophet... More confusion about religions that no believer in holy books can ever provide the answer to..

I see that someone made the argument earlier that Dawkins doesn't have the guts to confront fundie Islamists head-on. Quite the contrary, there is a segment in his "Roots of Evil" program (found at Google video) in which he gets into a very heated discussion with a Muslim convert who is very hostile towards the atheist. Dawkins stands his ground rather well and his opponent looks like your typical Muslim terrorist rambling on about "death to infidels" and such.

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jo ann, i have to admit to finding these recent posts of yours almost incomprehesible. i'm really not sure what you're getting at. i'm sorry if you find my response to dar dissappointing. he's been sniping at me for months and i've tried to answer him with patience and respect. i obviously don't fit into his little box of what people who "talk about the bible" and "defend israel" are supposed to be, and his attempts to put me there, all the while demanding that i make no assumptions about him finally drove me to my safe haven of ad hominum. i wish i had a better response, but i'd rather have someone just come out and call me an asshole than deal with that underhanded schtick of his.

jonathan, Jo Ann's replies to you on the issue of slavery is not reprehensible.

Your attempts to defend slavery as justified or condoned in the Old and New Testaments are laughable at best and truly demeaning at worst.

Not only does slavery pour boiling idea on the universal theme that all men are born equal, it shoves a hot spade right up the ass of the right to individual freedom and free will.

Through the centuries, both the Old Testaments and the New Testaments have been used to condone or support the practise of slavery such as the story of Ham and the tale of how the negroes were one of the decendents of Moses who were not punished by God.

This fantastical bigotry and intolerance is taken to greater heights from older writings.

You are trying to say that such practises are ok as they are current with the moral norms there.

I disagree. No religion or culture will say the following are justified.

The Jewish God of Abraham supports or encourages slavery and the ownership / oppression of women as if they are cattle. Exodus 21: 20-21 states:

“And if a man beats his male or female servant with a rod, so that he dies under his hand, he shall surely be punished. Notwithstanding, if he remains alive a day or two, he shall not be punished; for he is his property.”

Deut 25:11-12 11. If men get into a fight with one another, and the wife of one intervenes to rescue her husband from the grip of his opponent by reaching out and seizing his genitals, 12. you shall cut off her hand; show no pity.

Num 31:14-18 14. Moses became angry with the officers of the army, the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, who had come from service in the war. 15. Moses said to them, ‘Have you allowed all the women to live? 16. These women here, on Balaam’s advice, made the Israelites act treacherously against the Lord in the affair of Peor, so that the plague came among the congregation of the Lord. 17. Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man by sleeping with him. 18. But all the young girls who have not known a man by sleeping with him, keep alive for yourselves.

Furthermore, many characters portrayed as beacons of virtue and goodness had slaves including Abraham himself.

==============

The basic rights that women fought for (and we now take for granted) are trampled on in the Bible.

1 Timothy 2: 11 says: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

Many more passages condone the subjugation of women (Ephesians 5:22-24, 1 Corinthians 14:34-36, 1 Peter 3:1).

What is truly enlightening is that Christian, Jewish and Islamic teachings seem to highlight that the woman is the source of most of the sins and temptations in the world.

And thus they need to be harshly disciplines even enslaved to shield them from their evil natures.

Funny when the problem are the guys who can't keep it in their pants.

Even more funny are women who can come to terms with the anti-women elements in these 3 religions.

OMG! Richard Dawkins Outed! Someone alert Salon.com!

jo ann, i have to admit to finding these recent posts of yours almost incomprehesible. i'm really not sure what you're getting at. i'm sorry if you find my response to dar dissappointing. he's been sniping at me for months and i've tried to answer him with patience and respect. i obviously don't fit into his little box of what people who "talk about the bible" and "defend israel" are supposed to be, and his attempts to put me there, all the while demanding that i make no assumptions about him finally drove me to my safe haven of ad hominum. i wish i had a better response, but i'd rather have someone just come out and call me an asshole than deal with that underhanded schtick of his.

Contrary to what you say I don't have a "box". You have a habit of turning discussions into ad hominem attacks which is what I dislike. Stay on topic and make your argument without making comments about the other posters. If you're unable to defend your POV don't resort to ad hominem.

I thought I was polite about asking you not to do it but my request was met with immaturity.

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dar, contrary to what you say you DO have a "box". you have a habit of turning discussions into exercises in the falsly "polite" casting of aspersions which is what i dislike. you issue unequivical orders from the most transparantly self-righteous high horse imaginable, such as "Stay on topic and make your argument without making comments about the other posters.", and "If you're unable to defend your POV don't resort to ad hominem." while i humbly accept such rebuke from norm, as this is his forum, i just don't see how you justify your own chutzpah. what you "politely" asked me not to do in your last post was not to avoid ad hominem, but to not make assumptions about you and your motives- a totally unreasonable demand, given the parameters of our "relationship", and the fact that you are making such assumptions about me and my motives on a regular basis- which i have no objection to in principle, btw, though i may object strongly to to your conclusions arrived at in this way. your posts to me since i arrived on this fantastic blog have been absolutely jam-packed with thinly disguised and often blatent ad homimem, which i have for the most part tried to overlook in my responses. yet another example of this is your characterization of me in this last post of yours as "immature"- a badge i may wear with pride but which you assuredely don't intend as a compliment. does the term "passive aggressive" mean anything to you?

still, your actual points and occaisional non-rhetorical questions point to a glimmer of intelligence and a kind of self-conscious curiosity which gives me hope for a possible future of dialogue. therefore, i apologize for my ad hominum attacks and my perhaps unwarranted delight in my own immaturity and would like to express my hope for a more civilized and fruitful future here, for both of us and for those poor, tortured readers who are even now showing more patience than either of us probably deserve. :)

I had never been attacked on this blog by anybody but the Joe_Average/TieThatBlinds troll.

And then I read that you, Jonathan, feel that my posts are uncomprehensible.

Well, I find your way of justifying the citations in the Bible vis-à-vis women being submissive by saying "they will be",not "they shall" to be uncomprehensible.

I also find uncomprehensible your attempt to compare a novel with the Bible.

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jo ann, peace. i'm sorry that i said your posts- only the last 2 btw-were incomprehesible. what i meant was that I couldn't comprehend what you were getting at.

i wasn't trying to justify the "submissive" thing about women in genisis- rather attempting to clarify what i felt was an important difference, between "should be" and "will be". it's not just semantic.

and my comparing the bible to a novel was just exactly what norm and dar were doing on this thread. but whereas they were comparing it negatively, as in "only man-made literature", i was comparing it positively, as in "man-made literature is one of the finest and most inspiring life on this planet has produced".

i truly did not mean to offend. and for whatever it's worth, i have much more respect for women than i do for anything said about them in the bible. and if this weren't true, assuming you are a woman, i wouldn't be behaving like such a groveling kiss-ass right now.:)

ok Jonathan. Peace. Yes,

Although I still don't see the dramatic difference between "shall be" and "will be".

And, yes, I'm a female.

Oh, one more thing.

Yes, they are both "man made". But no one is claiming that any novel is divinely inspired.

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jo ann, sorry to get nitpicky with you again. you're right, there is no real difference between "shall be" and "will be". but there is a significant difference between "SHOULD be" and "will/shall be."

the statement is in the context of a series of curses the human race would suffer as a result of adam and eves' disobediance. these also include that man "will eat bread by the sweat of his brow"- in other words, work his balls off to survive. it doesn't say, however, that man in future MUST work his balls off- rather, thats just how its going to be, in general. the text does not imply, nor do the rabbis mandate, that man is not allowed to do everything in his power to escape this horrible fate, and it's the same for the woman and her "submissive" position. the way i understand it, if man and woman work together, there will be a lot less backbreaking labor and a lot more equality- and this would actually please god. but that's just me, and i should warn you- i'm a heretic.

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and fyi, there have been many claims through the ages that many novels or works of literature have been divinely inspired. many of these claims have been made by the authors themselves.

and fyi, there have been many claims through the ages that many novels or works of literature have been divinely inspired. many of these claims have been made by the authors themselves.

and those claims of divinity are no more persausive than those made for the Bible which is the only point I've been trying to make.

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fair enough, norm. i guess i'm just more in awe of this kind of genius, and wonder where it comes from. we jews are born idol worshippers, you know. that's why god gave us all those laws. :)

The bible is man-made literature..

But when is the Bible "man-made literature is one of the finest and most inspiring life on this planet has produced".

You need to be able to prove such claims, jonathan, before making them.

I notice that you avoid providing any direct quotes, sources or references to back up your claims in religious topics as well as Israeli issues.

All you do is to turn criticism of your comments into personal attacks on your critics.

No one is buying it here. And everyone is on to you.

Try to make lucid points on the things you do know and can prove and maybe, just maybe, people will give you the time of the day.

I have already refuted your comments to justify slavery and women oppression based on Old and New Testaments quotes.

Kindly read for yourself your attempts to defend the morally indefensible.

YOU SAID: "it doesn't say they should be submissive, it says they will be. there is no commandment that a wife should be submissive to her husband."

You only succeeded in strengthening Jo Ann's point that the Bible is against the emancipation of women.

And you need to retract your claim that the Bible is against slavery in principle i.e. "makes it clear that its an undesirable position" when the Bible and its religious figures clearly condones and allows slavery to be practised.

Example:

Exodus 21: 20-21 states:

“And if a man beats his male or female servant with a rod, so that he dies under his hand, he shall surely be punished. Notwithstanding, if he remains alive a day or two, he shall not be punished; for he is his property.”

By the way, I find your reading of religious scriptures contradictory and self-serving. Since you brought up the Book of Talmud at this thread, I have to ask you why you support the present occupationist and military regime of Israel.

Didn’t the book of Jewish law or Talmud teaches that believers may not use human force to create a Jewish state before the coming of the Messiah?

As such one can’t help but be skeptical of jonathan’s claims that he does not fit into the box of “that people who "talk about the bible" and "defend israel" are supposed to be”.

I see otherwise.

There is much in the Bible I consider great literature. There is also much that is trash. I just don't consider any of it divinely inspired.

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kes, will you please just join all those people who won't give me the time of day?

Can't do that.

Have to put a fact in where it's missing in your claim.

It makes me at the same times angry, sad and happy to watch this:

Angry and sad, because the fight against religious hypocrisy, bigotry, superstition and hatred seems to be a fight against overwhelming odds, against a - forgive the hubris - stupid f*ing majority of frightened, enslaved, braindead mankind.

Happy, because I know I am not the only one who tries to upheld reason, humanitarianism, and appreciation of the precious gift of life, which is too miraculosly awesome to be explained away with horrendous fairy tales...

The christian athiest argument typically is pointless, Atheists on one hand will acknowledge that anyone has a right to believe anything they want to, from religion to conspirocy theories. There is a whole lot of stuff available out there to believe and its not just theism. Christians on the other hand hold the belief that they are right so unfortunatly it also means that they will not consider any ideas outside of their own circles, meaning they will not ever accept the possibility that someone other then themselves is more knowlegable about truth. All Evangelical and Violent Religions follow this patten. When the religios governments in the past would come to power, they would destroy any evidence of any other belief systems trying to rewrite history as they would have it. Philisophical religions tend to be more peaceful because they are concerned with bettering themselves, not trying to fit everyone else into the mold of what they "think" is better. Christians for the most part will ignore historical and archeological evidence if it contradicts what they believe the Bible says, even it their belief is not what their scripture was actually saying in the first place. Their God of the old testament seems to be afflicted with mulitiple personality disorder, not only going by many names but displaying many different personality types. However no christian will acknowledge that the very names of their god are taken from the polytheistic belifs of babalon and sumeria as a result of the early jewish ancestors living in these societies. Most of the stories in the old testament predate judaism by over 1000 years however the faithful christian cannot acknowlege real historical finds such as these without shaking his foundations. Luckily this day and age religion has lost the foothold they once held on the world to cover up and destroy the evidence that tells the real truth.

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Mega-dittos, Mike, about the names of the Unnameable:

"Elohim" is the plural of allah (or el, abd=" slave", abdel= abdallah), the PLURAL.

And who the hell is Jehovah?

Also it's obvious the "angels" are not messengers, they are Gods in their own right, Satan included.

And the Trinity, as Sheikh Osama has so astutely pointed out, is Polytheistic.

"I believe it BECAUSE it is absurd."

If a belief is reasonable and natural you can't use it as a means and proof of your dominance and power over someone.

Christianity, God, Islam, it's all about Hierarchy and Dominance, the symbolic mounting of someone, by bringing down the absurd "Truth" from the mountain where God has been mounting you (you the prophet, preacher, teacher, etc.), and f__ing with their mind.

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Mega-dittos, Mike, about the names of the Unnameable:

"Elohim" is the plural of allah (or el, abd=" slave", abdel= abdallah), the PLURAL.

And who the hell is Jehovah?

Also it's obvious the "angels" are not messengers, they are Gods in their own right, Satan included.

And the Trinity, as Sheikh Osama has so astutely pointed out, is Polytheistic.

"I believe it BECAUSE it is absurd."

If a belief is reasonable and natural you can't use it as a means and proof of your dominance and power over someone.

Christianity, God, Islam, it's all about Hierarchy and Dominance, the symbolic mounting of someone, by bringing down the absurd "Truth" from the mountain where God has been mounting you (you the prophet, preacher, teacher, etc.), and f__ing with their mind.

Sorry for the double post, i became temporarily confused :(

I found myself wanting to ask the Rev only one question. Where would you be, sir, if your ancestors had simply slipped up the Underground Railroad and lived their lives quietly, as they chose, as free men while not attempting to change the majority thinking of the country at the time? Seems that was exactly what he was asking atheists to do - quietly live your life as you choose, but do not seek to change or effect popular thinking in this country.

{sigh} Sad.

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