Thursday, January 18, 2007

Baptists respond to Possum's essay.

My commentary is in black.
William G. said...
I am a Baptist minister in your area. Why does your daughter expect her teacher to ignore Christmas?

My daughter doesn't expect her teacher to ignore Christmas entirely. Neither do my husband and I, for that matter. Christmas is a great idea for a holiday: we're all for humans taking a day off and sharing that day exchanging thanks and gifts with family members. We're all for getting together as a family and spending time with mixed generations. It builds family bonds and makes for great memories.
You do realize that you are living in the United States of America and that the teacher has just as much right to talk about faith as you do to turn your daughter into an atheist.
Yes! I'm well aware that we live in the USA. I'm actually incredibly proud of the fact that I'm an American and, as such, entitled to believe as I see fit. But, I would disagree with your suggestion that her teacher has the right to use the classroom as a pulpit and actively discourage my daughter from discovering her spiritual path. In my opinion, her teacher overstepped the bounds of constitutionally protected speech when she erroniously informed my daughter that atheists couldn't be caring people. That was just pure nonsense and it exposed the teacher's true motivation: to air her unenlightened and false perception of what she believed atheists to be. She does not have the right to give my daughter religious instruction.
Which I find to be morally reprehensible, how can you deny your child the beauty of God and His promises? How can you deny your children the love that comes from choosing Christ?
Prove to me that choosing God/Christ automatically results in the gift of love. From what I have seen, choosing God often burdens the child with a misplaced sense of guilt and emotional blackmail. How can I deny my child the beauty of God? Simple: I expose her to the beauty of the world and the love of her family. Our world is wonderfully complex and beautiful even without a belief in God. In fact, I would counter argue that you are denying your children the full appreciation of the natural world by automatically ascribing every awe inspiring phenomena to an unproven, superstitious creator. There's plenty of beauty in understanding the natural world and the science of that world.
The love that comes from "choosing Christ" also comes with a heavy burden of manipulation, guilt, suspension of rational thought, and powerlessness. I'm sorry if you can't, as a parent, understand why I might choose to free my children from such archaic and unnecessary emotional trauma.
It's obvious that your daughter is already lost. You will allow her to spin off in to the darkness of atheism and all of those consequences? I will pray for your daughter and for your family and that your "smart" children will see that there choices are not smart and that all of the wisdom in the world can not by you the love that comes from simply accepting Jesus Christ into your heart.
My daughter is far from lost. In fact, she's one of the most grounded pre-teens that I have the priveledge of knowing. The consequences of hell and eternal darkness are only threats if one subscribes to the belief in God in the first place. Yes... it's so awful that I have freed my children of the constant burden of feeling less than adequate and emotional blackmail.

83 comments:

Anonymous said...

If this baptist is supposedly so smart, how come he doesn't know the proper use of "there" and "their"?? *rolls eyes*

Sara(sassyat30)

William said...

Excuse me for my mistakes in grammar, Sara.

Possummomma, I see that your refusing God's love and we will continue to pray for you.

Virginia aka Ginny said...

Grammatical errors don't bug me because I certainly make my share of them...oh and spelling too...ACK! I've been dependent on spell check far too long.

What does bug me though ALOT, is your lack of desire to understand why atheists are atheists, and your assumption that we're bad or flawed because we don't believe the way you do.

Religious intolerance comes to mind about now. As a minister isn't part of your job to teach people to love and respect one another? Who are you to teach "God's Love", when you yourself are not practicing it at a fundamental level?

I know Possummomma personally and she is one of the most dedicated and loving parents I've ever had the privilege to know. Her kids are extremely lucky to be her kids and not one of them doubts in their mind that they are loved and cared for deeply. We could all stand to learn a thing or two from her example.

As far as her response to you goes, I think she showed remarkable patience in light of the fact that you totally attacked her on several levels. She is a good person and a good mother. But unfortunately you are so blinded by your faith you can't see it.

Are you really in a position to be so judgmental?

btw, my name is Virgina...I couldn't remember my blog password so that's why I am showing up as anonymous so I could get my comments posted.

Anonymous said...

William, I find your judgemental and patronizing tone toward possummama to be offensive and disrespectful. I feel sorry for you b/c you feel the need to attack someone who doesn't believe exactly as you do, so therefore, in your shallow little mind, she is wrong. You do not put God's love in a very good light.

I also know her personally and like Virginia said, her children are blessed to have her as a mother. I wish I could be half the mother she is.

I find it quite ironic you call yourself a minister, yet continue to judge and damn someone. But, in my experience, that's the way the church (regardless of affiliation) works.

I think you could learn something from possummomma and her family about love, tolerance and acceptance of those that differ.

Sara (sassy)

William said...

Virginia,
I don't have to know rapists to know that they sow the sins of evil. I know all that I need to know about atheists and the Non Prophets show has shown me that atheists are foul-mouthed and full of themselves. We don't have drinking games in our church. I don't have to assume that atheists are bad people. I can see the lack of Christ in their lives and how it impacts their spiritual lives. There may be some atheists who can feign morality, but they will not pass the judgement of God.

My wife and I have raised a family of strong young men with morals and values. I don't need the example of an atheist, no matter how nice she might be. The Bible gives me all of the parenting advise I need and my wife can hold her head high in public. Our children do not attack their classmates with venom on the eve of Christ's birth. Our children do not spend Sundays playing useless games and sucking on the tit of sarcasm and skeptism. if that is being a good parent then I don't want to be a "good parent".

If I had a daughter, she wouldn't dare speak to an adult in the ways that Possums daughter speaks to adults. I do not tolerate insolense in my home. I would be ashamed of that essay.

I don't know Possummomma in real life but I don't trust your opinion. Her children may do well in this worldly life, but they may not do well in the next life. I pray that she will realize that God loves her and that she will share his love and promise with her children. I hope her husband is a better example than she is. Maybe there's hope.

Sarah and Virginia, when you aren't blinded by your atheism, you will see how these children are being abused and denied the only love that matters. God's love!

In my ministry, I wouldn't allow this sarcastic parenting to go on without trying to counsel the parents. I have a duty to the children in my flock. God has trusted me with people's lives and spirits. May God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, William, I'm not an atheist, nor have I ever been.

I am a well respected member of my congregation (which I am thankful to say is NOT baptist) who is very involved in my church.

I am able to see different viewpoints and say those that believe differenty have reasons for that and who am I to judge? I am not God or Jesus, which you seem to think you are. Your attitude is condescending, patronizing and disrespectful. I feel sorry for your wife and children for having to live with a judge and jury in their own home.

Possommomma's children are absolutely delightful and I wish every child in this country were being raised like hers are.

Oh, and it's S A R A....

Virginia aka Ginny said...

Like I said...religious intolerance.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

William,
Do you not have something better to do? I didn't realize that "trolling journals" and listening to atheist podcasts was part of your job description. Surely there is someone in your congregation that could use your help? Your heinous and obvious bigotry and intolerance is regretful.

Equating rapists to atheists shows me how little you have learned. You speak of open hearts and minds, yet- unfortunately- you have yet to obtain either. Your analogy is weak and shows your painfully small level of intelligence.

As for your children, I am not going to say a word. I'm sure, in your eyes, and by your standards, they are wonderful boys. However, if they are "chips off the old block", I can only assume that they view school as a time to proselytize and preach to their "friends". I'm not even going to justify your baseless attacks against my daughter with a response. As, evidently, even she is more mature than you.

Kazim said...

William's last post highlights everything I find distasteful about the fundamentalist perspective about morality. William likens atheists to rapists, and as evidence of this connection, he offers the observations that:
1. We use naughty words
2. We joke about "drinking games" (by the way, as far as I have heard, the Non-Prophets drinking game has never been PLAYED using any actual alcohol, although I wouldn't be surprised if anyone contradicts me)
3. We are often sarcastic.

In his mind, there is essentially no distinction between, say, rape and naughty language. This is because his notion of morality is not based on actual harm done to people, but the random whims that he has developed from his personal interpretation of a holy book. In William's mind, saying the word "shit" is in no way qualitatively different from actually raping someone, or even murdering them. Both are worthy of not punishment -- and not just any old punishment, but eternal torture, which William contemplates in silent glee.

Imagine if our legal system work this way. Every crime, including underreporting your taxes by one dollar or driving through an intersection just as the light turns red, would be a capital offense.

This, of course, is in addition to the assumption that saying naughty words is in fact EVIL, despite the fact that in almost every part of America, it is not even a misdemeanor offense when committed by a private citizen.

Make no mistake, folks, these people don't feel minorly inconvenienced because we don't celebrate their holiday. They are after theocracy, where you would eventually be required to go to church or be stoned to death. That's what a good, Bible-believing True Christian™ would want.

Kazim said...

PS: It's "I see that you're refusing God's love", not your. Please write this out a hundred times before posting again.

William said...

Kazim is right. In God's eyes, all sins are the same. However, God is perfectly just and His punishments will be distributed as such in the afterlife. I tell my flock to beware of "naughty words" because they lead to naughty thoughts and naughty behavior. Out of filth comes filth. It's easy to slide into the use of bad language. Satan has a slippery tongue.

I have read the rest of this blog and I think that we will find four possums with very black souls to account for. Too much pride and not enough respect. I don't have to judge. God will do that. It is sad that such a mother with an illness would alienate her children from the structure of religoin and the peace of heaven. When there mother dies, they will find no comfort. No one will be able to give them comfort because their mother will have turned them away from the people who want to help. I can not tell an atheist's child that their parent is in heaven. It's sad that their own mother wants to put them through grief like that.

Sin is a slippery slope. First these children will challenge authority and then the laws of society. Atheist children learn to be skeptical of everything but their own views. Why would any parent want their child to be in an ongoing fight with authority? How does the parent control the child's behavior if there is no law or authority? God was clear on this: obey thy father. That includes God.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

First these children will challenge authority and then the laws of society. Atheist children learn to be skeptical of everything but their own views. Why would any parent want their child to be in an ongoing fight with authority? How does the parent control the child's behavior if there is no law or authority? God was clear on this: obey thy father. That includes God.

William,
What, exactly, is wrong with children having the confidence to question authority? What, exactly, is wrong with a child having the mental capacity to question that which they find to be logically unsound? I would counter that we should be encouraging our children to question authority. If they don't learn to demand a rationale for someone's appeal to authority, then they will forever be at the mercy of those who assume the position without reason. Think of how many children would've been spared the anguish of molestation if they had been taught that it was okay to question the priest in their parish. Would Elizabeth Smart have remained a captive had she been raised to question those claiming religious motives?

I encourage my children to question authority because no one is perfect. I can't count the number of times I have said to my children, "I'm sorry. I was mistaken." Amazingly, and to the dismay of people such as yourself, this hasn't led to mutiny. To the contrary, I've found that my ability to admit my mistakes has contributed to my children following my direction and examples more "obediently", because they have confidence that if I have made a mistake, I will admit it. They respect that.

That's another thing...I would rather have children who respect me than children who fear me. You seem to parent based on fear. That's unnecessary. True, rational consequences are often punishment enough. You don't need to invoke superstition and absurdity to teach a child that hurting someone else is wrong. You don't need a God to teach a child that they shouldn't steal. All you really need to do is point out the natural consequences of such negative actions.

I also find it nauseating that you said parents need to "control" their children. Ugh. The only people who seek out irrational "control" over people are people who don't have enough FAITH or confidence in their own position.

You see, I don't see my children as slaves to be mastered. I don't see my children as possessions. They are gifts. I am responsible for making sure they grow up with the tools necessary to maneuver through this world and be productive, happy, secure adults. I am not their best friend, but I MUST BE a good example. Lording over them with an iron fist and an intolerable demeanor would only serve to create adults who mimic those behaviors.

Kazim said...

You see, Chris, this goes to show that some folks just cannot possibly be satirized. There really are some people who have beliefs so awful and sociopathic that any attempt to represent an extreme version of their views is going to fall short of the mark.

Case in point: My last post concluded with "They are after theocracy, where you would eventually be required to go to church or be stoned to death." Now I thought, even while writing it, that this was a shade over-the-top. I thought "Surely this guy will come back and object that he doesn't really think that."

But no, what's the first sentence of the response? "Kazim is right." Sure, he does some hand waving to indicate that only God metes out punishment rather than other people (which is curious -- does that mean no one should ever be tried for murder in a court of law?) but you don't see him objecting to my characterization that underpaying your taxes by a dollar is morally identical to murder and deserving of torture as a response.

If it's any small comfort, even the vast majority of religious people would balk at these opinions when laid out as nakedly as they are here. I think it's a good thing that William is willing to post this morally retarded filth out in the open, where others can be made aware of people like him.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

I hear ya', Kazim.
I, too, am glad that William made his true colors apparent. The fact that he didn't address your comment about theocracy is extremely interesting to me. Either he did not read it or he took no exception to your statement. Since he's not been quiet about his exceptions, I have to agree with you that he simply found your commentary to be an accurate reflection of his most sincerest wishes. Scary.

William said...

KAZIM
I am not after a theocracy. I only know that there is God's law and man's law and we would all be better served by serving God's law. God's law is that all sin is the same. Men have their own law and that's why we have different punishments for different crimes. God allows man to create his own law on this earth. This is not hard to understand. Anyone with a passing knowledge of Christ knows that your words are just liberal, atheist dogma.
Kazim. You never responded to my counter argument about foul language. I'm disappointed. You must agree with me since you didn't respond.

Possummomma. You say that you don't want to control your children, but I'm sure that you do. Do you tell them when to go to bed? What about cleaning their rooms? Without control there is chaos and children need discipline. Children are not little adults and shouldn't be treated like them.

erin said...

Please tell me William did not honestly compare atheists to rapists. I can't even respond to anything else because I'm astounded by the ignorance of that statement. Instead of worrying about the blackness inside of possummomma and her children, perhaps you should worry about the blackness and intolerance inside of your own heart and soul.
And this is coming from a Christian (and believe me, it pains me to have something in common), so please don't feel that you have to lecture me on your misguided doctrine.

William said...

Erin, as a Christian you should already know that in God's eyes every sin is the same. James 2:10-11 teaches us that.

James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

In God's eyes, rape is the same as denying God. I would even wager that God views denying him to be the bigger sin and will punish the atheist more than the rapist. The rapist might believe in God but be misled in his actions. The atheist knowlingly denies God. The atheist commits the unforgivable sin. The rapist only sins towards his fellow man.

My doctrine is not misguided. My doctrine is directly taken from the Word of the Lord. I do not pick and choose the verses that suit me in order to befriend the atheist. In supporting the atheist in her defiance, you are condoning her defiance and the sin counts against you. Have you attempted to witness to possummomma? Do you approve of the way she raises her children? Would you let her babysit your children? If you answer yes to any of the above, then you are guilty of helping her to sin and pass along the defiance of God.

Anonymous said...

William said: I have read the rest of this blog and I think that we will find four possums with very black souls to account for. Too much pride and not enough respect. I don't have to judge.


You don't have to judge, but you do. Constantly. Every post here clearly demonstrates your constant and irrational judgement against non-Christians, or Atheists in particular. (Equating atheists with rapists? Brilliant! You deserve an award!)


William, you personally see the world in black and white, while other people see it in colour (regardless of their religion or lack thereof). You're never going to understand what those with colour-vision can see. When you rant and rave about how everyone else is wrong when they say that the "grey" grass is actually green, it simply makes you look more tragic and foolish.

Sunday Student said...

Our pastor pointed out this blog and read aloud the childs essay in our Sunday School meeting. Yes our pastor is the William that is posting here and I have to say that he was not this mean sounding when he talked about this little girl and her mother. He asked us to pray for the family and told us where we could find the essay. He also told us about the NonProphets. I think it's strange that atheists have a talk show but I don't see the harm in it. The child's essay made me sad because I know how it feels to be the kid with no beliefs. I was 15 when I accepted Christ into my heart and before then I didn't know God's love. I'm sad because this child is being kept from discovering God's love. I do think I need to say that I don't think this mother is a bad mother. I think she's doing all of the right things for all of the wrong reasons. Maybe she just never knew God when she was a Catholic. So that's all I have to say.

Matt said...

William spewed:
"I only know that there is God's law and man's law"

Oh how we wish you knew just a little bit more than that.

"...and we would all be better served by serving God's law. God's law is that all sin is the same."

As a former Baptist who was studying for seminary, I'm familiar with that doctrine. It's unfortunate that you're not willing to meet your obligations as a Christian and actually demonstrate the reason(logos) for your faith (1 Peter 3:15)...and that you're content to spit out assertions and condemnations from your ivory tower.

I'm not only familiar with the doctrine that all sin is the same, I've actually managed to discover that this doctrine is fundamentally immoral.

This doctrine that you worship - and make no mistake, you're worshiping a book and a doctrine, there's no reason to think there's a real god behind it - is an abomination.

Picking up sticks on the sabbath warrants the same Earthly penalty as killing someone. Unruly children should be stoned to death. And, if you claim that I'm referring to outdated, Old Testament laws (like those pesky Ten Commandments) the entire doctrine of the New Testament is also immoral.

Infinite punishment for finite crimes can never be considered "perfectly just". Punishing one person for the crimes of another can never be considered "perfectly just".

Your god - is a fraud.

Your acceptance of this immoral doctrine has shackled your mind. Your attempts to shield your beliefs from reasonable investigation and rational evidentiary standards have confused your mind. Your inability to reconcile your beliefs in the face reality has poisoned your mind.

Your religious beliefs have rendered you incapable of tolerance or compassion toward those who don't share your beliefs. They've ensured that you'd rather misrepresent the opposition with straw-men than actually discuss the issue.

I bet you've got one of those "God said it, and that's good enough for me" plaques on a wall somewhere.

And now, when your precious beliefs are confronted, you lash out. Dangling red herrings, tossing out threats of damnation and frantically doing whatever you can to prevent us from pointing out that the emperor is naked.

While you're welcome to believe whatever you like, and you're welcome to think whatever you like about atheists - the truth is that you, as a Christian, as a Baptist minister, should be able to provide - better than anyone - the justification behind your beliefs.

You should be able to have a reasoned, civil, discussion or debate about your beliefs.

Instead, you fall back to the revivalist mantras about hellfire and damnation.

If you think you're actually able to defend your views, civilly, in a reasoned debate - I'll be happy to engage you in a structured, formal, written debate. Baptist vs. ex-Baptist.

If not, kindly stop trolling the blog. You're making yourself look EXCEPTIONALLY bad. A member of your own congregation has pointed this out:

"I have to say that he was not this mean sounding when he talked about this little girl and her mother."

You not only appear mean, but now that we know you had a significantly different tone with your congregation, you're apparently two-faced as well.

It's time to kindly put up - or shut up. If you don't like the way this mother is raising her children, make a cogent, salient argument - or turn the other cheek.

-Matt

Atheist in a mini van. said...

New post coming, for those who've been caught up in this drama and discussion. Stay tuned.

A friend of ours is a member of William's church and sat in on his "young adult" bible study this morning.

Virginia aka Ginny said...

Ah, I wait with anticipation. ;)

Talzh said...

William wrote:
"I would be ashamed of that essay."

You dare call honesty and rational speech, "insolence"?

Be ashamed of your silly assumption, instead.

The age of the speaker has no effect on its truth content.

Somebody like you would probably have told twelve-year-old Jesus to STFU when he tried to speak at the Synagogue.

Talzh said...

"Faith, hope, and charity... and the greatest of these is faith.

William wrote:
Atheist children learn to be skeptical of everything but their own views.

That's an silly outright falsehood, William. Atheist children are taught to be skeptical of their own opinions. Learning to spot fallacies of reasoning in one's own thoughts as well as that of others, is a big part of learning what Atheists are all about.



But you know... all the humility in the world, all the self-doubt and self-effacement can't make what we write any more true. It might make it more palatable but a falsehood in a sweet voice is still a falsehood, exactly as much as if it were shouted with rage.

Tone, attitude, have NO EFFECT on whether or not what you say is right.

If we're not hard on our own reasoning, after our words go out into the world, they get hammered upon by Theist and Atheist alike.

That's why skepticism of one's own thinking isn't important. Actually listening to others, honestly attempting to understand them, is far more important.

...But why are you speaking well of skepticism? *Your* belief system patently condemns skepticism and endorses 'faith'- belief without question- as the highest of all virtues.

And then again...

When the Bible said "be like unto a child", maybe it meant one who was honest and courageous, rather than an obsequious one with prettily downcast eyes who was only parroting back what he/she thought you wanted to hear."

Paul said...

I want to go back and ask a question, because I think you missed the boat on one point, possummomma. William asked, [h]ow can you deny your children the love that comes from choosing Christ?"

You replied, "[s]imple: I expose her to the beauty of the world and the love of her family." I was surprised, possummomma, that your reply appears to indicate that you agree with William that you are, indeed, denying your Daughter something. Let me ask you a question. If your daughter one day decided to start attending church, and "accepted Jesus," would you attempt to forbid her? Would attempt to stop her from going to church, stop her from reading The Bible, stop her from praying? I suspect I know your answer, but I won't presume to put words in your mouth.

William, let me ask you the same question in reverse. If one of your children came to you and told you they didn't believe in God any more, and didn't want to go to church any more, would you accept that? Would you allow them to stop attending Sunday service? Again, I'll let you answer for yourself, but again, I believe I already know your answer.

Virginia aka Ginny said...

Paul I know your question was directed at Possummomma, but I wanted to comment.

As an atheist mom myself, I have let my children go to church whenever they felt like it. They've been to several different churches with their friends and I can quite honestly say I was never threatened by it.

On the other hand, the parents of these friends NEVER let their kids attend anything social or educational that was sponsored by the Atheist Community of Austin.

Anonymous said...

In response to Sunday Student's comment: The child's essay made me sad because I know how it feels to be the kid with no beliefs. I was 15 when I accepted Christ into my heart and before then I didn't know God's love.

Atheists have beliefs. They believe that there is no God.

Some people just aren't in need of God's love; they have enough love from their family and friends. Being an atheist doesn't prevent you from experiencing love or joy, just like being a Christian doesn't prevent you from experiencing hatred or anger.

Kazim said...

William says:

I am not after a theocracy. I only know that there is God's law and man's law and we would all be better served by serving God's law. God's law is that all sin is the same. Men have their own law and that's why we have different punishments for different crimes. God allows man to create his own law on this earth. This is not hard to understand. Anyone with a passing knowledge of Christ knows that your words are just liberal, atheist dogma.

I have to say, William, that I do not for a moment think that YOU believe that "man's laws" and "God's laws" should be separate. Separation of church and state is a firmly rooted principle in "man's laws" right here in this country that you profess to like living in, yet you are tremendously outraged by the suggestion that it should be applied properly. I bet I am correct in saying that "man's laws" should be respected only to the extent that they agree with "God's laws". And if I'm right, then why not stone heretics to death? It's a far lighter punishment than you believe they DESERVE to receive throughout eternity.

Kazim. You never responded to my counter argument about foul language. I'm disappointed. You must agree with me since you didn't respond.

I didn't respond to your argument because it was not good enough to even pretend to take seriously. In the first place, the "slippery slope" argument (i.e., "we have to avoid doing X because it will inevitably cause us to do Y") is a universally recognized logical fallacy. If you think that making certain sounds with your mouth is bad in its own right, then give me a good reason why. In the second place, you tried to convince me that swearing is evil because of Satan. This wasn't terribly impressive since I, along with the other atheists here, do not believe in any of your imaginary friends, including Satan.

Why would any parent want their child to be in an ongoing fight with authority?

Because someday those children will be with adults, and it is right and proper for all people to think for themselves about whether "authority" is asking for something that is right or wrong. It would have been good if Germans had thought about it more before obeying Hitler. It would be good if radical Muslims thought about it before flying planes into building. And in this country, we have the right to challenge authority and try to CHANGE laws that are not advancing a good cause.

Kazim said...

Anonymous said...
Atheists have beliefs. They believe that there is no God.

Actually, that is incorrect. Atheism itself is not a belief. See this article for elaboration.

It would be correct to say that atheists have beliefs; it's just that none of those beliefs are in the existence of God.

Paul said...

Actually, Kazim, though that is a common argument here in the blog-o-sphere, the argument that a lack of belief in a God and a belief that there is no God are different things rests on a semantic knife edge. Those atheists who insist upon the former and deny the latter are trying to somehow appease the masses, or avoid the atheism requires as much faith as belief argument. The truth is, if I ask you the question, "do you believe that there is a God?" there is only one way for an atheist to answer.

Kazim said...

The truth is, if I ask you the question, "do you believe that there is a God?" there is only one way for an atheist to answer.

The answer is "No, I do not have that belief." I don't see how this contradicts what I said.

Do you believe in leprechauns? If not, is your failure to believe in leprechauns either a belief, or a belief system?

Atheist in a mini van. said...

You replied, "[s]imple: I expose her to the beauty of the world and the love of her family." I was surprised, possummomma, that your reply appears to indicate that you agree with William that you are, indeed, denying your Daughter something. Let me ask you a question. If your daughter one day decided to start attending church, and "accepted Jesus," would you attempt to forbid her? Would attempt to stop her from going to church, stop her from reading The Bible, stop her from praying? I suspect I know your answer, but I won't presume to put words in your mouth.


Well, as to your first point, that I would agree I was denying her something, I suppose that's true. Of course, I also deny her the experience of ramming her head into brick walls and drinking alcohol. I try to deny her the access/experience to/of a plethora of damaging stimuli.

But, to your next question, I have allowed (and will continue to allow) her to attend any church she chooses or no church at all. My goal is not to deny her the experience of any one church or religion, or even to get her to choose atheism, my goal is to allow her to see all sides of religion- the positives and the negatives- so that she can decide where she wants to be (if she wants to be). I wouldn't stop her from going to church. I would, however, stop her from joinung any religion as a child. There's a reason why we don't allow children to enter into contractual agreements before they are adults. Similarly, I think it's unfair to ask children to commit their lives to ONE belief set before they are old enough to be considered an adult. And, yes,...the answer to the next question would be: I probably will not allow her to pigeon hole herself as an atheists at this point. I'm going to encourage her to continue studying other religions, if for no other reason than it will educate her on the mindset and belief structures of other people- who she will, at some point, undoubtedly have to deal with.

I can't control her thoughts. Nor would I want to. She's a beautiful, bright, compassionate child...one of the reasons I love her so deeply is because she asks hard questions and expects cogent answers...why would I want to change that?

Matt D. said...

"though that is a common argument here in the blog-o-sphere, the argument that a lack of belief in a God and a belief that there is no God are different things rests on a semantic knife edge."

That is, I'm sorry to say, fundamentally false. The argument isn't limited to the blog-o-sphere, it's a philosophical and logical one that extends to any serious discussion about epistemology.

Semantic arguments are about meaning - and those who are dismissive of arguments as being 'semantic' are often misusing the word and (more often) misunderstanding the significance.

I'm not saying that's necessarily the case with you, but I think you certainly seem to have misunderestimated the significance here.

In this case, the significance goes to the nature of the claim, the default position and what can or can't be proven (and to what degree of certainty).

"Those atheists who insist upon the former and deny the latter are trying to somehow appease the masses, or avoid the atheism requires as much faith as belief argument."

I make the distinction, because it is an important one - not because I'm avoiding claims that I'm relying on faith.

"The truth is, if I ask you the question, "do you believe that there is a God?" there is only one way for an atheist to answer."

Exactly. The answer is no. Because you asked whether or not we believed that the proposition "there is a god" was true.

If you had asked "do you believe that NO god exists" that question may have a different answer - because the proposition is different. It is a positive assertion that requires a significantly different justification.

I would, by the way, answer that question with a "yes" - and would be willing to provide the justification for it.

'Do you believe claim X?' is a yes or no question, but your argument is, essentially, that:

"a god exists" and "no god exists" are direct, logical opposites - which isn't true.

The logical opposite of "a god exists" is "a god doesn't exist". Where you put the 'not' is important. Additionally, there's a huge problem when we move from the general (a god) to the specific (no god).

For example, do you believe that I have a million dollars in my back pocket? I'll assume, for the sake of argument, that your answer is no. Does that mean that you believe I have NO money in my back pocket? Absolutely not.

Let's say several other people made similar outrageous claims about their wallets, without supporting evidence. Some claim $1M, some $5M some $835,423.

If you've considered each of their claims and the evidence (or lack thereof) supporting them - and then determine that you do not believe any of their claims...that doesn't mean that you positively assert that NO ONE has $1M or that no one has any money.

In the case of atheism, or maybe I should say "my atheism", every god hypothesis with which I've been presented has been utterly unconvincing. Because of this, I lack a belief in a god. That doesn't mean that I have a positive belief that no god exists.

I might (and I, personally, do) but that isn't a logically necessary effect of my lack of belief.

In my case, as I said, I do believe that no god exists. I don't relying on faith for this - I rely on reason, and I therefore have no fear of arguments about relying on faith. I've already gone on at length, so I'll save the justification - but I'll point out that it is not an assertion of "absolute certainty" (which is an absurdity, by the way).

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Hello there, Paul!
Can I just put a big, fat "DITTO" on everything Matt said?

I wouldn't have done nearly as impressive a job of answer your question, but I feel very much the same. It's not merely semantics and atheism, in itself, is not a belief system (in the same way that Christianity is a belief system). When I say, "I am an atheist.", I am not telling you anything more than I do not believe in God (specifically, the Judeo Christian God). Personally, I don't believe in any God, but that does not mean that I reject the possibility that one might exist...I just haven't seen enough evidence to BELIEVE that one does. Atheism is quite the opposite of "a belief", it's the lack of belief.

Kazim said...

Hello there, Paul!
Can I just put a big, fat "DITTO" on everything Matt said?


What am I, chopped liver? I made Matt's point first, just more concisely! :P

Just funnin' with ya...

Anonymous said...

My only problem with baptists is they don't hold their heads under water long enough.

Seriously, I can only hope my perfect little eighteen month old daughter is as bright, insightful, and empathetic as your daughter when she gets older. Good for you. You should be proud.

Scott

Atheist in a mini van. said...

What am I, chopped liver? I made Matt's point first, just more concisely! :P
You know what's funny? Right after I hit post, I thought: "I should ammend to say "Ditto Russel and Matt.""

So...you are not chopped liver. I love you, too!

Matt D. said...

Oddly enough, I also love Russell. Not only do I often wish that I'd written some of the stuff he's written - I'm also a bit jealous of his ability to be a bit less wordy. :)

Craig C Clarke said...

"If atheism is a belief, then not collecting stamps is a hobby."

I stole that from someone's comment to a different blog, a comment that followed my own, longer, clumsier attempt to express the same thing.

Anonymous said...

I don't have to know rapists to know that they sow the sins of evil

This is absurd and illogical. Nor does it see with the eyes of faith. Given the various pedophile and gay-sex scandals that have, in recent years, exposed the Christian community to criticism, there is no positing a less sinful, safe critical perch. Your distinction is meaningless.

I know all that I need to know about atheists and the Non Prophets show has shown me that atheists are foul-mouthed and full of themselves. We don't have drinking games in our church. I don't have to assume that atheists are bad people.

I'm sorry "Non Prophets" You have something against NGOs? You're contradicting yourself, what you describe is an assumption of guilt based upon your own predispositions. What you're (not your) describing is a prejudice. What you are is arrogant. Is that a gift of the spirit? Arrogance?

I can see the lack of Christ in their lives and how it impacts their spiritual lives.

Really? How exactly can you see this? Are you psychic? Do you have special, gnostic knowledge unavailable to others? If I remember my catecism correctly, gnosticism is as egregious a sin as pride.

There may be some atheists who can feign morality,

I hate reusing this one, but, after Hurricane Katrina, I took time off of my job - believe you me, I needed the money, but the decision wasn't hard - and was there the day after, helping to unload the worst victims as the helicopters disgorged them onto LSU's running track, and carrying them back to triage in the Field house. I wiped asses, fed the infirm, touched sores I had no business touching, but had to on account of a lack of proper hygienic supplies, I babysat the elderly and insane, drove supply runs for the Refugees at the River-Center and walked dogs at the Ag Center, I You might have even seen me on the papers, a big, confused looking guy who hadn't slept in a while, holding a women from Chalmette's kid so she could take a few minutes to rest, having spent the previous 2 days on a roof, waiting to load them on a bus. And I got nothing for it, not even the satisfaction of a cleansed conscience. The only thing that I did do was satisfy the drive me, common to ALL humans, to ease suffering. Deny the morality of my actions. The purity of my actions and those of tens of thousands of other people like me are beyond academic and philosophical quibbling about the nature of good, righteousness, and the moral. Deny it, go ahead, cease to be credible, not just here, but in your workaday life.

but they will not pass the judgement of God.
There is no judge in judgment. It's nice to see that some people are still willing to step into the role of the almighty, in his absence, and speak for him.

I don't need the example of an atheist, no matter how nice she might be.
Then kindly do without, it neither breaks your leg nor gives your fine young men with strong moral values herpes, they can manage that one all their own.

The Bible gives me all of the parenting advise I need
Oh really? So, how many kids did you stone to death before you spawned some compliant enough not to merit the requisite stoning for many and sundry offenses against your honor? Or do you selectively follow the parenting advice of the bible? Is that someone cavalier of you, to arrogantly ignore some advice from the bible?


Our children do not spend Sundays playing useless games and sucking on the tit of sarcasm and skeptism.
You must have some pretty boring Sundays.

if that is being a good parent then I don't want to be a "good parent".

Don't worry, you're not. You sound as if you barely pass as an "asshole."


If I had a daughter, she wouldn't dare speak to an adult in the ways that Possums daughter speaks to adults.

Exactly, children should ALWAYS demur to the advice, consent, and orders of adults cf. above.

I do not tolerate insolense in my home.
/insolence
Do you tolerate dictionaries? Would you consider it?
I would be ashamed of that essay.
Of course you would. You're an arrogant, control-freak asshole. God's gift to you is an early stroke-out, and an ironic resemble to Islamic Fundamentalists.

Her children may do well in this worldly life,
Wow, faint praise emerging from the straining cofferdams of ignorance.

but they may not do well in the next life.
About which you claim a monopoly of esoteric knowledge. Again, arrogating to yourself unknowable insight into the mind of god.

you will see how these children are being abused and denied the only love that matters.God's love!
Or the coy fondlings of some minister of Christ placed in an unquestionable position of authority over children who have been trained to always obey, never to question, and above all to love god and his emissaries on earth. What are you, recruiting for NAMBLA? Seriously, you're sick.

In my ministry, I wouldn't allow this sarcastic parenting to go on without trying to counsel the parents.
You must have a pretty small flock. Sarcasm in children is born of disingenuousness in adults.

Anonymous said...

William, your spiteful words and hateful spirit makes baby Jesus cry.

Paul said...

Perhaps my comments have been somewhat ambiguous, and I would like to state, for the record, that I am an atheist. I lack a belief in God. I also believe that no God exists. I understand the semantic difference betweeen those two statements. I have from the beginning. I just don't believe that there is an atheist out there for whom one is true and the other is not. If someone comes to me and makes that claim, I will suspect that they either do not understand the statements themselves, or that they are not truly atheists.

Possummomma, your reply about allowing your daughter to explore religion on her own and come to her own conclusions was exactly what I expected you to say. I say the same about my son. While I do nothing to actively expose him to religious teachings, neither do I promote an atheist point of view to him. I have simply tried to give him the tools to evaluate his world critically, and will happily let him make his own decision in the area. If he one day becomes an evangelical Baptist minister, I will be surprised, and disappointed, but I will accept his decision, accept him as he chooses to be, and rest easy in the knowledge that he'll be one hell of a good one, as opposed to say, William, whose answer to my question I would also like to hear, but somehow doubt I will. I suspect he has forsaken us.

Natasha Yar-Routh said...

Possum #1 is PRE-TEEN!. Damn she is indecently good as a writer. She also demonstrated more compassion and love in her short easy than William has in several pages of bombast and threats. He is a arrogant small minded thug. He can’t conceive of the possibility that some one who does not believe as he does might be a good and moral person. I your and tour daughters case considerably better and more moral then he has shown himself to be.

After reading how you are handling possum #1’s spiritual upbringing I no longer want to nominate you for mother of the year. It’s mother of the decade now, you are awesome.

Phoenician in a time of Romans said...

Her children may do well in this worldly life, but they may not do well in the next life.

William, there is no next life. All "you" are is a pattern of information running on a neural network made out of meat. When that meat dies and rots, the information is lost. You are dead.

Now, I realise you're scared of death. So am I. I also realise that you tell yourself that you're not just the result of a neural network doing its thing - that somehow you're this little spirit thing called a "soul" which will survive your body dying.

You're not. When your body dies, you die. Your personality does not survive death. There is no soul, there is no life after death. There is no Heaven, there is no God.

I know you think I'm wrong - but you only think that because you *want* me to be wrong. That you want to live forever doesn't mean you will. The fact that you want to have an immortal soul doesn't mean you have one. The factthat you want there to be a Big Sky Fairy who loves you doesn't mean there is one.

Somewhere under all the denial, you know I'm telling the truth. Grow up, act like an adult and face the fact of your inevitable death like a man.

Anonymous said...

My doctrine is not misguided. My doctrine is directly taken from the Word of the Lord. I do not pick and choose the verses that suit me in order to befriend the atheist.

Thanks William. That was very enlightening. I always wondered how a person's mind would be configured if s/he actually took Biblical law seriously, with all its barbarism and absurdity and shallowness. Up until now, I doubted that such a creature existed, but your comments in this thread provide an excellent illustration.

peter said...

"The love that comes from "choosing Christ" also comes with a heavy burden of manipulation, guilt, suspension of rational thought, and powerlessness."

Don't forget lifelong financial extortion. What kind of God applauds the taking of a widow's mite?

Your critics are very good at erecting straw men and making loose arguments and you're a dab hand at dealing with them. Bookmarked.

wintermute said...

> I know all that I need to know about atheists and the Non Prophets show has shown me that atheists are foul-mouthed and full of themselves.

Ted Haggard has shown me that all Christians are gay meth addicts.

Kent Hovind has shown me that all Christians commit tax fraud.

What, you don't think that works so well?

wintermute said...

> Atheists have beliefs. They believe that there is no God.

I also believe that Mickey Mouse doesn't really exist.

If someone wants me to believe that Mickey Mouse is real, I'm going to ask them to provide evidence. If all they can do is point to Disney cartoons, then I'm going to remain unconvinced.

Anonymous said...

First these children will challenge authority and then the laws of society.

it seems to me that this country, in which even baptists may occasionally be free to act rudely and offensively on other people's blogs, was only ever founded because some people had the sinful impudence to challenge authority and the laws of society.

but perhaps improving on the status quo is considered an outdated notion in some baptist congregations these days... ;-)

Matt D. said...

Paul,

I'm not going to tie up any more space on this - especially after giving a clear analogy. I find your "not truly atheists" claim to be as absurd as the "not truly Christian" claims we get from fundamentalists.

Active disbelief of a universal claim is a *subset* of the set of people who lack belief in a god. You claim to understand this and recognize the difference, yet the superset is - to you - empty.

The millions of people who claim to be a part of that superset - just aren't true atheists? Because they don't agree with you?

Drop me a line if you want to discuss this - but I'm pretty sure we're clear on where we stand.

-Matt

Anonymous said...

The whole "atheists have their own faith/belief system" argument drives me nuts. "Atheism is a belief system/religion too" -- one of the most pig-headed things I've ever heard.

The reality is that most religions consist of statements of fact, about reality and the cosmos, that are demonstrably false. Just not factual at all. And those beliefs come from a shockingly small number of shockingly flawed texts written by people claiming to have some sort of direct contact with supernatural beings.

I don't know about you, but aren't you struck by the sheer number of people who claim to have had direct contact with supernatural beings? Why should we privilege some of them over others? Why should we believe a handful of them who lived 2000 years ago in the Middle East over the ones who lived, say, in the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas?

Adopting beliefs because they were written down by someone 2000 years ago is a fool's game. Do you honestly think people back then were immune to delusion? Do you think they had a better grasp on reality than people do now? Were they more moral? More scientific? Do any of the writings in the Bible stand up to any of the scrutiny they would receive if someone were to march forward with them now and say that an invisible superhero had dictated the story of the universe to him?

It's all nonsense. None of it would stand up to reality-based scrutiny. The tension that religious people feel is the tension between what their rational mind believes and what they want it to believe. Theology is a rather tragic attempt to relieve that tension by closing religion off from real-world scrutiny by engaging instead in examinations of internal logic. That is to say, the logic of the arguments contained within the religious belief systems. But theology can't address the issue of whether or not it makes any sense to choose to believe in a religious textbook in the first place, because to do so requires one to cleanse one's mind of the assumptions that are necessary to already believe those texts, and that kind of cleansing is the most terrifying thing that any religious follower can imagine.

"Atheism is a faith" -- so if you reject a bunch of nonsense, you therefore believe in it?

Drives me nuts when people say that having a belief about religion -- i.e., that it's nonsense -- is the same as having a religious belief.

Gee, it sounds like William has a belief about atheism -- i.e., he believes it's wrong.

So if having a belief about religion is a religious belief, then isn't having a belief about atheism a form of atheism?

How does it feel to be an atheist, William?

The Inoculated Mind said...

Atheists are worse than rapists? Water off a duck's back, but I'm saddened by your desire to lob erronious moral comparisons. You don't even know what morality is - it is not obeying laws and instructions, it is doing what is right because it is right.

Darwin loves you, William.

The Inoculated Mind said...

By the way, William, you contradicted yourself, which doesn't surprise me.

You said both:
"In God's eyes, all sins are the same."
"I would even wager that God views denying him to be the bigger sin and will punish the atheist more than the rapist."

Hyyyyypocrisy!

Lym said...

Where to start?

I guess by the good stuff, first, congrats on raising your daughter possummomma, a fine example of good parenting. Nice words to Matt and Kazim and others, gonna be feeling like i'm repeating tho, but feel like i should bother to say a word or two.

Second. The Rapist analogy, William, I'm gonna be blunt, real blunt, but if you had been in front of me when you "said" that, i would have likely killed you in cold blood. And i would have gladly went and burned in your god's hell for all of eternity at that. Can't be worse than being in your god's heaven with you.

Third. You pretend not to judge? Have you done anything else in any of your posts? (even tho you seem to have decided to just hide away from the conversation...) I can't recall the bible all that well, been a damn long time since i burned mine, 7 years or so ago in fact, and my catholic upbringing (while complete and thorought (mom is an important member of nearby church, tho she never felt like forcing it on me and my bro, may her God (which isn't William's, obviously, i mean that mom's got some compassion...)) as been quickly forgotten, but isn't judging a sin? welcome to hell.

Fourth. Questionning authority. It's the base of free speech and democracy (working democracy at least) and others. Good to know you don't want a Theocracy, i mean, it's not like people blindly following the laws of god and sheepishly believing everything his/her "representants" on earth says is a Theocracy, now is it?

On the matter of crimes and punishment. Crimes must not be punished in the exact same way, circumstances and other factors oblige. If we were to condemn to death everyone that at one time or another committed the smallest misbehavior, we would all be dead by now. I mean, even your savior recognized it. Something around "May he who is without sins cast the first stone." if i recall. I guess you could get newborns to throw a small pebble...

As for James 2:10, from a literal viewpoint, it seem he was referring to a lawgiver, "whoever keeps the law" seem to indicate such at least, but that doesn't make it right to say they broke it all tho. I mean, i'm all for harsh laws (I'm for Harsh but fair laws, kindness got nothing to do with laws as far as i'm concerned, but taht's my personal belief and even there, there is such a thing as overkill. no point killing someone because thier shoes laces was untied....) but you shouldn't punish somene for a crime they didn't commit... that's just not fair.

As for your doctrine not being misguided, then that must mean lots of good for us women... i mean, as i recall god casted Adam & Eve out saying something about Eve having to serve Adam forever, doesn't it? (One of the reason i didn't want to have anything to do with religion when i made my choice. I rather die and go to hell than be someone's slave. (note. i go by a "if i can't agree with the whole belief system and writtings i can't agree with it" contrary to mom who go "take the good and throw the bad outta the window.")

I'm looking forward to the Day of Judgement, i'm gonna ask if i can stay around and watch your trial. It should be interesting. Then i'm gonna try to get in Lucifer's minions, so that i can avenge myself on you. I really don't like Rapists, being compared to one is really pissing me off. All that assuming god, Satan, hell, heaven and souls exist, of course. If not all the better, will spare me being sick from hearing you plead your innocence.


As for the other discussion (Atheism Belief/disbelief), Personnally i'm Agnostic, tho hinting toward atheism, I don't know, nor care, about weither or not there is a god or life after death, i'm also not scared of death, but according to many i'm insane so yeah. I do have a rationale over why i ain't afraid : Why live in fear in hope tehre is something after life, when you can try and enjoy life a little and just have the joy of discovering it when time's up?

And on that i shall apologise for teh ranting and probably a bit confusing order of and what not... Just be glad i forgot half of what i wanted to say while reading...

Lym

new.atheist said...

Wow... what a pastor...

William obviously rules his household and his parish with fear instead of love.

Possum #1 did not attack her classmates, she showed compassion for them, and no doubt William's children would never speak their mind to an adult as they are good-little-sheep. When their superiors in this world tell them to do as their told, they will no doubt follow all the other lemmings over the cliff, for they never thought to think for themselves.

What would William expect of his children if their teacher asked them to write an essay on what they wanted for Hanukkah or Ramadan? If you haven't taught them skepticism, what will they think? Would he expect them to not question the teacher's authority? Or to speak up for their religion? (I have no doubt that someone like William would initiate a lawsuit over such an issue actually, but what would he expect of his children before he found out?) What if another adult tries to touch them inappropriately? What if their squad leader tells them to kill innocent women and children? Skepticism of adults and authority can be valuable for a child.

One must raise children to be adults who will need to think for themselves, and therefore that means allowing children to make some decisions on their own, even if they're the wrong ones. We all learn by experience, and without experience, we are more likely to fail when left to our own devices.

Anonymous said...

You know what's really sad? I would never come into William's church or home or onto his blog, if he had one, and question his or his congregation's beliefs. I would never try to belittle them (though, I automatically belittle them by not believing in their god). I would never mock William's children or condemn them for their beliefs, nor would I question his parenting skills. And far more importantly, never, not even for a fleeting moment, would I consider myself to be morally superior to any of them.

But here he is, a supposed representative of God and his son, doing just that. Belittling those who believe differently and mocking their parenting skills. Condemning another person's children based on a few paragraphs from a blog. Does that make you feel good, William? I would remind you that "pride" is right up there with "lust" and "gluttony" and "murder" according to your belief in the equality of all sin.

Are you proud of the remarks you've made here? Because you certainly didn't come here to spread God's love. I see nothing but nonacceptance and ridiculing. So I have to assume you came here not for that reason, but because you are proud that you are better than us godless heathens. You even sent some of your "flock" to interject their opinions. How pleasant. Are you proud of your disciple?

It is an absolute hypocrisy that any person who is educated in the teachings of Jesus Christ could transform those words so they could spread intolerance no matter WHAT the reasoning.

My prayers would fall on deaf ears, William, but I will HOPE and WISH that you and those that share your hatred and ignorance could follow Christ's example and practice love and acceptance of ALL of your god's creatures, not just the ones who think the same way you do.

Atheism poses no threat to you, your family or your religion other than the few that exist only in your mind. This misguided mental photograph you have of the sarcastic, alcoholic, foul mouthed stereotypical atheist (rapist?) is an illusion. Don't be a blind fool. Are we to believe that all baptists behave in the same manner as Fred Phelps and his inbred followers? Does that seem fair to you, William?

However, ignorance, intolerance and hatred pose a HUGE threat to not only Baptists, Catholics and Muslims, etc., but the entirety of mankind. Think about it, William.

Think about it...

Anonymous said...

Her children may do well in this worldly life, but they may not do well in the next life.

At last, the thin, watery boogeyman of Pascal's Wager finally makes his tremulous appearance.

Next!

Anonymous said...

The number of gods an atheist believes in is simply one less than that of a Christian. Tell us, William, why you don't believe in Zeus.

Jon said...

To be equated to a rapist simply because I don't delude myself is rather insulting, especially considering the sadistic, horrifying track-record of abrahamic religions. Hypocrisy seems the order of the day to people like William, whether we're talking rape, murder, slavery, or other oh-so-"good" behavior.

Not to mention how often I've heard "well if god wasn't stopping me I'd (insert various grotesque acts) all the time" claims often directed at atheists. I fail to see how refraining to do such acts on a daily basis out of fear of torture is more 'good' or 'pure' than not doing so because its against our nature as a social creature, and just frickin cruel (and wrong, and evil, often illegal too). Unable to be nice unless a giant godly belt's being waved around? That's some ethics alright.

My family is close, loving, and barely religious if at all, and all have turned out to be very decent law-abiding folk with strong morals, with no 'overrides' from indoctrination. None were stopped from going to church.

To say that Possum's children, or, in the future, my own, will be tortured for all eternity by giant invisible skyfairy just because some of us choose not to force our kids to live in constant fear, guilt and denial, says much about how utterly sick your mind must be, but very little about why we should be trying to please a hateful, perverted deity with an obvious inferiority complex.

What, "He" isn't powerful enough to earn some respect and worship, and so must try to cow the populace into it? Hey, I may respect that other people believe things I do not, but when you go attacking us, don't expect all of us not to turn around and pop that little illusory bubble after we've had enough.

Should my offspring ever wish to go to church, I might even be convinced to take them myself. But there's no way I'll allow them to be brainwashed until they've taken a good look at ALL mythology (not just select bits and pieces as are so often offered), and are old enough to decide for themselves which path they would follow. Maybe they'll take to one of yours, or maybe they'll make up their own; the important thing is their happiness, and to ensure it does not come at the cost of everyone else's...

At least then I can be certain that this way, whichever road they choose, they will have a modicum of respect, humility and love I've rarely if ever seen of the fire&brimstone crowd.

Mike Pelletier said...

Such brazenly willful ignorance. "I don't know, I don't need to know, and I don't WANT to know." Truely sickening from someone who styles himself as a role model.

Russ said...

In responding to Virginia, William said

"The Bible gives me all of the parenting advise I need... "




This is clearly a person who is living the delusion of Richard Dawkins' book title "The God Delusion"(currently #4 on the New York Times Bestseller list. 17 week on the list)(ISBN-13: 978-0-618-68000-9) 2006, Houghton-Mifflin.

Biblical Parenting Advise
1. Biblical Imaginary God(B.I.God) models parenting by abandoning his children, Adam and Eve, for the simple reason that they made, what to B.I.God was, a mistake. A loving human father does not follow B.I.God's example and abandon his children no matter how upset he may be.

2. B.I.God punishes all of his children for the perceived misdeeds of others. For example, B.I.God says all women will suffer in childbirth for what Eve did. A truly loving human father might discipline a misbehaving child as fits the deed, but a loving human father does not follow B.I.God's lead and punish others

3. B.I.God keeps himself hidden, absent from his children's lives, except for the occasional incendiary shrubbery, or punative catastrophe. A truly loving all-natural human father, unlike B.I.God, makes himself available to his children for comfort, for learning, for growing, for the parent to relive the great joy and beauty of childhood.

4. B.I.God speaks to his children through professional self-interested interpreters(the Pope, Jakes, Dobson, Haggard, Bakker, Swaggart, Roberts, pedophile priests, Warren, Chopra), called clergy, or through indecipherable inherently contradictory language, called the Bible, Torah, Qu'ran, etc. Loving human 100 percent supernatural-free fathers, speak directly to their children in clear, soothing, reassuring language from the time they are born until death separates them.

5. B.I.God spells it right out that selling ones daughter into slavery is acceptable. Human fathers, who understand how precious there daughters are, find B.I.God completely reprehensible.

6. B.I.God says that if you have a stubborn or rebellious child, stone him to death. That might be OK for imaginary fathers, but non-fictional loving caring fathers want their children to know that everyone makes mistakes and a loving caring human father, unlike intolerant, cruel B.I.God, will be there to help work through them.

7. B.I.God, ironically, says that women cannot teach men, and that if a women has a question, she should defer to her husband(clearly B.I.God mistakes the husband for a reliable reference). Loving human fathers know that the only true differences between any of his children are related to reproductive roles not mental faculties. Creator B.I.God obviously missed this in school.

8. B.I.God lays down rules due to the ignorance of his creators when an omnipotent being would know. Take "Don't eat pork," for example. A loving caring human father would want his children to be able to use a great food source, but would explain to them, "Hey, cook it well-done to kill the germs. Yummy." Biblical Imaginary God obviously did not know it.

9. B.I.God includes a slave owner's manual as a large section of the book he writes to teach his children. A committed caring human father wanting his children to live together in peace, would leave out "How to be a Slave Owner" and would include instead, "Slavery is Wrong, Always, Forever, and Under All Circumstances. Period. No Ifs, Ands or Buts."

10. B.I.God models torture as a form of entertainment in Job. A loving human father, unlike B.I.God, teaches his children that all persons are to be respected and that your entertainment does not come at the expense of others. Christian clergy constantly model the demeaning of anyone whose thinking is even slightly different from theirs - just like B. I. God.

11. B.I.God suggests that it is acceptable to use constant threats of eternal torture and other psychological abuse to break the spirit, force compliance and otherwise bend a child to one's own will. Real fathers, real loving caring fathers, know that the impressionability of childhood is not a B.I.God-given weapon to be wielded against an innocent and effectively defenseless child. Childhood is the time when a loving caring father shares lucid, clear visions of the real, amazing, and 100 percent supernatural-free world with his offspring. Childhood is not a time to inculcate ghosts, demons, devils, gods, angels, spirits and all those other make-believe fabrications as if they were real, the real world is scary enough.

12. B. I. God lies to his children constantly. Simple things like the pork example come to mind. A lie. The definition of pi is not 3, but is a number closer to, but not exactly, 3.14, again a lie. B.I. God did not know this. B. I. God did not know that two of each animal on the planet couldn't fit on a boat, of any size that we could make even today, again B. I. God lies. B. I. God didn't understand female reproductive cycle, so he lied about menstruation, uncleanliness of menstruation, sacrificing of birds during menstruation, need to be isolated. Lies, lies, lies. Jesus didn't return within the lifetime of those present - lie. The earth could not possibly have been created in six days - lie. The earth has never had a worldwide flood - lie. A truly loving non-imaginary father tells his children the truth about the world he lives in. It's part of that word love.

So, William, while you claim to follow B.I.God's parenting examples, you either don't follow B.I.God in which case you are a completely hypocritical liar, or you do follow B.I.God and so are an inhuman child abuser. My guess is that you realize the absurdity of B.I.God, you, like most clergy live comfortabley as a complete hypocrite and you follow the 100 percent supernatural-free route of the loving, caring human father who dismisses B.I.God's abusive parenting examples.

Kseniya said...

William, you know nothing about atheists. You're a self-righteous prig. You're a poster boy for the many things that are wrong with Christianity. You're an embarrassment to the rest of us. Be ashamed. Very ashamed.

Kseniya said...

Such brazenly willful ignorance. "I don't know, I don't need to know, and I don't WANT to know." Truely sickening from someone who styles himself as a role model.

Sickening, Mike, yes - but typical, so typical, of his ilk.

Anonymous said...

That preacher is a tool. He is so blind to his belief and I bet he doesn't even know what atheism is about. I myself don't fully know what it's all about, but I'm more open minded then our neanderthalic friend to know that there is more to atheism than just not believing in a god and *Jeebus. I personally am agnostic. Why? The fact that we can't prove or disprove the existence of an 'almighty' creator. Even if there was a god, why should we obey what he says? That is the flaw with the bible and other religious doctrines, there is no explanation or reason for these "rules". Imagine if we followed everything our parents told us to to. Some of you may think that's a good idea. But what if the parent was a bad parent, ie; beat the kid for no reason, told them to drink and smoke or even told them to kill their sibling? Yes, I realize these are extreme cases, but it does happen. What happens to these idiot parents, they are taken to jail and their kids removed to a safe environment. Now, in the bible there are cases what could be called child abuse. Example: When God asked a man to sacrifice his only son to prove his love for God. Then turns around and basically says "just kidding". What the fuck is that about!!! What kind of barbaric lesson is that? If a parent did that today, you know where'd they be. Just because your parents created you, doesn't mean you have to respect, or honor them. They must earn it. If you you are a good parent, well then, you earn respect. So why is it different with God? If he/she/it does exist, well God's doing a pretty shitty job with the world don't you think? According to the bible, they blame it on Satan. I thought God was supposed to be almighty? The bible also blames human suffering on the 'original sin'. To fill you in, that's the Adam and Eve story. that's a pretty poor excuse to blame human suffering on. What if your parents disowned you for, oh let's say getting pregnant (this shit does happen), if you know human nature, people make mistakes. The important thing is that you learn from them and don't repeat them. Then there are the understanding parents, who would help their daughter (or son) through that difficult time, if they choose to go through the pregnancy. As I said before also, God never says why eating the 'forbidden fruit', is forbidden. Oh wait because it contains knowledge we puny mortals don't understand. Then why did you put it there in the first place fucktard!! My point is this, if you are going to have a belief or philosophy of any kind, know why you believe it, "just because" isn't good enough. Brownie points to the parent who taught her daughter "possum" how to think, and not what to think. I must say though, if one day possum decides to believe in a deity, don't shun her because she does. But as I said, I hope she knows why she believes in what she believes. Oh yeah, If preacher Bill reads this, I want a good rebuttal. "Going to hell" doesn't count as a rebuttal (I already know I'm going to the second level ;)). If you are smart enough to know about it though, I'll except the Chewbacca Defence (must include picture of Chewbacca and a 'silly monkey').

A Few Notes:
*meant to be blasphemous :P

You may notice a few choice words in this response. It is not meant to be offensive. I use curse words to "convey extreme emotion", like an exclamation point, If you are offended, sit back and think why you are offended. Is using 'curse' words going to end the world?

Russ said...

Dear Sad Pathetic Severely Religiously Disturbed Reverend William,

Please notice that the atheist posters on this site do not hold sociopaths like yourself in high esteem. You, quite sadly, must be like so many of the clergymen I know who entered the Christianity Industry because it gave you an immediate high to have completely unearned respect.

Please note also that if the imaginary god you profess to believe in was indeed worthy of respect, it would not be an absentee parent and it certainly would never have allowed religious tyrants to oppress much of humanity throughout the Dark Ages with all of the associated clerically-induced human suffering. Bloodletting alone killed millions over the course of several hundred years, but the clergy were simply too damned ignorant or superstitious to observe that the murderous practice did not work, and, of course, there is no god to intervene on behalf of the powerless when the professionally stupid are in control.

You claim to rely on faith, but those who do not think like you can see that it does not work. In the gospels, the authors have Jesus say that if you pray, God will do what you ask. Please file this for future reference: PRAYER DOES NOT AND HAS NEVER WORKED, NOT EVEN ONCE IN ALL OF THE UNTOLD TRILLIONS OF PRAYERS THAT HAVE BEEN PRAYED THROUGHOUT ALL OF HUMAN HISTORY. Thought you ought to know, since clearly no one has ever spelled it out for you.

Note that the crown heads of Europe have always had millions of citizens continuously burping out prayers for their health and longevity. It must be an interesting irony to you that the prayers have never overcome the observable reality of royal health problems due to genetic inbreeding - hemophilia, developmental disabilities, cystic fibrosis. Despite all the prayers the royals have shorter life expectancy than those receiving far fewer prayers. The recent 10-year long Harvard study on intercessory prayer showed that prayer had no effect. Too bad for your professional money-grubbing life that superstitions like prayer have no effect.

Try out godisimaginary.com
It's not only true, but it's fun, too.

One other note for you to file away amongst the Bible-verse repeating cobwebs, WE ARE NOT AFRAID OF YOUR SILLY NOTION OF GOD. WE ARE NOT GOING TO HELL, OR HEAVEN, AND NEITHER ARE YOU. You might want to spread that one around a bit since those who falsely respect your loud screaming incredibly redundant preaching will never have heard it. What is that, by the way? Is it the congregation or your pretend deity that you scream for? Might I suggest that you simply turn up the sound system. Saves on the voice.

You said in one of your typically mean-spirited posts,

"Sin is a slippery slope. First these children will challenge authority and then the laws of society. Atheist children learn to be skeptical of everything but their own views."

Skepticism is a virtue. It helps people avoid being abused by pedophile priests, mind readers and charlatans like you. It also allows us to assess the real world accurately enough to create medicine, computers, and explore the solar system.

Usually, the concern for persons like yourself in these matters, is potential interruption of cash flow, and the power trip you live on due to the unearned respect congregants are socially forced to bestow on you. Step into the pulpit and authority comes for free, right. Power thing, money thing.

Your quoted statement above demonstrates that you live a life completely devoid of any real understanding of the world lived in by real thinking human beings. It's too bad that your minions bolster your delusional existence in your world of ghosts, angels, demons, your God and his betting partner in Job, Satan. It's all fake, but if a few hundred of you hang out exhibiting the same delusion you keep each other entertained, you, personally, make some bucks and everybody loves and respects you for no reason at all.

Take a look, Reverend, at an organization that is almost wholly atheist, the National Academy of Sciences(NAS). Have you ever heard of an NAS member performing antics like the money, power, homosexuality magnet Ted Haggard? Bakker? Swaggart? Nope? Almost everyone of the NAS members is an atheist and they are, without going gaga over goofy God, among the most moral of people on the planet. Your mind-numbingly stupid accusation that atheism leads to immorality is totally without basis. Why do NAS or AAAS members, who are only slightly more theistically predisposed but still largely atheists, not commit crimes rampantly since they are not constrained by the threats of the never-ending blowtorch of your imaginary friend, God? Why? Because, apparently unlike your ilk, they are quite capable of being moral, as well as caring and compassionate, without your fictional hell-fires. Take note, smart people can be moral without god, and, in fact, your psychologically-impaired groupies who have been brainwashed into thinking they need you or your fake overseer, in reality, don't need god, or you, as a sad excuse for an authority figure, to be moral, either. In the final analysis, everyone simply decides for themselves, whether or not to behave morally, that is, according to accepted norms of the society.

If you somehow think that the whack-job sect you're associated with has a corner on morality, you are sadly mistaken. Clearly, you are from some group that fakes being fundamentalist, fakes being Biblical-literalists(simple analyis shows that no such thing exists) and fakes being moral. Somewhere you've acquired the assinine notion that believing in God is part of being moral, but that is far from the truth. Sociological studies analyzing crime and other quality of life factors show consistently that those inhabiting the out-of-touch-with-reality-land of Bible-thumping, head-banging, whack-job fundamentalist Christianity live far less desirable lives than those not so associated. They typically have, in addition to the problem of religious predators like you PREYing on them, lower levels of academic attainment(makes it easier for you doesn't it), lower incomes, poorer health, more alcoholism, higher diabetes, more heart disease, more violent crime, higher domestic abuse rate, higher divorce rate, higher out-of-marriage birthrate, poorer pre-natal care, lower birthweight babies, and a host of other unfavorable statistics. Still they pay your salary and benefits to support you and your family, put up with your psychological abuse - maybe they don't know any other way - as well as buy and maintain your workplace. Lucky you.

For a person as inherently immoral as yourself, I hold out little hope for a de-programming experience that can even right your walls to within a bubble off plumb. Religiously-induced cruelty is too much a part of who you are: a truly sad, sick wretch. But, some statistics offer hope that your pathology will be less easily spread in the future. One is that teenagers are leaving evangelical Christianity in droves. In the next decade, it is estimated, by the National Association of Evangelicals, that their membership will be cut in half. So, reverend, abuse the hell out of 'em, steal 'em blind while you got 'em because they are seeing the light, and you ain't it. Another marvelous hope-inspiring statistic is that the fastest-growing self-identified religious classification is that of non-believer. That's right, reverend, people are showing that they don't fear you or that thing you call God, as they turn their backs on you and walk away from your has-been myths.

So, get a clue, preacher. You, and the cruel, immoral, psychologically abusive mythology that let's a sorry excuse for a human being like you commit fraud and get a free ride by preying on already downtrodden people is disappearing. Your imagined light is fading fast. Your mental pathologies are being exposed for the fantasies they are; the spread of your disease is slowing; and, people are at last being set free from, as Noble Prize Laureate Steven Weinberg put it, the long nightmare of religion.

Anonymous said...

Oh and Preacher Bill, did it ever occur to you that the bible may not be literal, ie; stoning a rebellious child. Perhaps God means it in the other meaning. Something tells me Bill, you need to be 'stoned'. Perhaps it might cause you to actually think. Remember, "Sheep, ask so little, give so much".

AmberKatt said...

Pre-teen?? Possum #1 is a pre-teen????

Ho. Lee. Cow.

I was amazed at her writing skills back at the original post... I am awestruck, now. I have rarely encountered adults who write with her clarity and intelligence (not to mention grammar, paragraph construction, "voice," etc.)

Standing ovations and flung bouquets of roses to all of you!

Virginia aka Ginny said...

...people are at last being set free from, as Noble Prize Laureate Steven Weinberg put it, the long nightmare of religion.

Wow to your whole post. I doubt William will ever see it though. He's most likely long gone by now.

Anonymous said...

Words fail me at the sight of a supposed "Man of God" spewing such righteous and utterly self-serving bilge here. His ignorance of what makes a person moral and ethical is astounding. I can't understand how such a prig got to be in charge of other people's moral and spiritual guidance.

I, too, am an atheist. I pay my bills. I love my spouse. I support the troops. I vote. I read the news. I educate myself and inform my mind. I try to respect others, even if they believe what I think to be BS. They're still human beings and entitled to respect, until they do something to show me they don't deserve respect.

This uniformed "william" deserves respect for being alive. But his ideas deserve NO respect -- indeed, they deserve to be questioned. I'm glad to see others here doing that. More of us with "reality based" experience need to stand up and challenge these sorry excuses for shamans.

William claims to "know" what God wants. Isn't that what every power-tripper claims when he (and it's usually a 'He') wants people to kowtow to him? William is simply using religion as a tool to compel other people's behavior.

That's wrong. But, charlatans like him have been doing it for centuries, using outworn, outmoded and downright evil means to control people, commit rape, murder, theft, and other outrages in the name of their god, and in the name of some religious creed that purports to teach "love."

Hah!

Lest we forget, likening atheists to rapists points one finger at atheists and three back at the accuser. Why so worried about rape, William? Why so worried that somebody might think for themselves? Why do you invoke "God" as if this sky fairy you believe in were some sort of avenger that will come and do things to people that you'd really like to do yourself? Aren't you just using your faith as tool of control?

You probably won't answer this because people like you can't stand to be challenged. People like me see right through you and your supposed "God of Love" (who somehow seems to act like a petulant two-year-old when his "laws" (made up by people like you) are challenged).

Dejah Thoris

Tas said...

Seriously, is "william" made up? He can't be real can he?

Do people in the US have to put up with treatment, harassment and abuse like this simply because the harasser claims "God" is on his side?

William, on the very, very remote off chance your "God" exists, you are going to hell.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Seriously, is "william" made up? He can't be real can he?
Oh, but if he only were made up. Unfortunately, he is very real.

Do people in the US have to put up with treatment, harassment and abuse like this simply because the harasser claims "God" is on his side?

I wouldn't say that we, in the U.S., have to put up with HIS sort of treatment very often. I think William probably saves his hellfire and damnation for trolling journals (where he doesn't have to look anyone in the eye and say what he says). Frankly, if he were standing before me, I'd have to fight the urge to laugh at him.

Steve said...

Paul wrote:
"I just don't believe that there is an atheist out there for whom one is true and the other is not."

It doesn't require a belief to not have a belief in something.

Look around and pick up an object near you. That object represents a belief in gods, so you are now holding a belief in gods. Now, toss it aside. What happened to the object? Was it replaced by another object which represents a belief that gods don't exist? Do you still have it and did it change into a belief in no gods? No, it didn't, you simply no longer have the object. The belief is absent.

Anonymous said...

Closed minded people should be shot.
Seriously. People who claim to be "open minded" but are yet ignorant of anything outside the scope of their own personal trth should not be allowed the right of speech.
That is one beautiful essay and one of the dumbest responses to it I have ever seen.

-El Escorpion.

I am NOT SWISS!!! said...

People like William give Christians a bad name. Hell fire and damnation, I wonder if he's read the New Testament. It's soooo scary that people like that are leading churches, instructing people in faith. Possummomma, I believe in God and I try to follow Jesus, and I do believe that your way is a hell of a lot (sorry, shouldn't swear) better that William's!!!

Vicky

Bronze Dog said...

Dropped by for a few things.

1. That was a wonderful, wonderful essay by Possum #1. I wish I had her courage in grade school. If we can get a generation of kids like her going, the world will be a much, much better place.

2. I wonder if William's last name is "Murderface." Either that, or his belief went so high, there was an overflow error that effectively reset it to negatives. If only his stupidity would do the same.

I certainly hope he doesn't pass on his copious psychoses and neuroses to his kids: I don't think they'd survive, especially with all the projection I'm perceiving from him.

Anonymous said...

"People who claim to be "open minded" but are yet ignorant of anything outside the scope of their own personal trth should not be allowed the right of speech."

Brandon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"People who claim to be "open minded" but are yet ignorant of anything outside the scope of their own personal trth should not be allowed the right of speech."

If you were responding to my response (it mentions the open mindedness in it), I'd agree with you. I responded in a fit of rage instead of thinking of what I wanted to say. I can only apologize. I realize by attacking preacher Bill's character, I am no better than he. I wanted to try to remove my entry and repost a better response, but I guess it's up to the webmaster. If she reads this, please remove my squabble. Part of that squabble was also telling the preacher to 'get stoned'. That should be removed as well. Thanks.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

I don't think I can remove any of it. I have noticed there are deleted comments, but I did not delete them.

Tas said...

I wouldn't say that we, in the U.S., have to put up with HIS sort of treatment very often. I think William probably saves his hellfire and damnation for trolling journals (where he doesn't have to look anyone in the eye and say what he says). Frankly, if he were standing before me, I'd have to fight the urge to laugh at him.
That is a bit reassuring to know. You get a bit of a biased view from the internet, so many of the more vocal religious types shout louder than everyone else!

MTran said...

Paul wrote, re the difference between not believing in god and believing there is no god:
"I just don't believe that there is an atheist out there for whom one is true and the other is not."

It really depends on the definition of "god" that is being posited. In the discussions here, the god of the Old Testament seems to be the only one of concern.

But there are other definitions of god, including the pantheist "god is the universe / the universe is god" and some sorts of deism that define god as whatever initiated existence. These types of definitions are more difficult to counter. Of course, pantheists and deists aren't likely to care if you don't believe in their version of god.

I wish there was a broader alternative to the word "atheist." Something that would describe and absence of belief in any form of supernaturalism. But "asupernaturalist" doesn't show up in my dictionaries.

But as for any of the named gods of the Bible or other myths, I believe that there are no such gods. And if the malignant god of the old testament did exist, I would find myself morally compelled to do as much as I could to counter his evil and save humanity.

Rachel said...

Hello. Blog-comment-posting virgin here. :)

On the bright side, at least both sides seem to have in common a desire to do what they think is right. I just wanted to address one point made by William, for what it's worth.

The atheist knowlingly denies God. The atheist commits the unforgivable sin. The rapist only sins towards his fellow man.

I want to think this is just your fervor talking. I was raised a Christian and was taught that sinning against your fellow man is sinning against God and that hurting the things that He loves is hurting Him. And what father is hurt more by an offense directed solely at him than by one directed at a child of his?

And stepping back for a moment, do you really think that a person choosing what to have faith in -- a very personal choice that you believe is indeed a gift from God, yes? -- if they make "the wrong choice", is somehow worse than physically attacking someone else, robbing them of control over their own body, touching them in the most private and invasive ways, and putting them through untold humiliation, helplessness, risk, and pain? Honestly?

You might be correct that the atheist's sin, if you view it as that, is unforgivable. But if so, isn't that simply because the atheist (presumably) would not ask for forgiveness? I thought that in order to receive God's forgiveness, you need only ask Him for it.

I also have to point out that atheism is not necessarily an act of defiance, as you paint it, and I think that this misconception is especially sad because it sows so much resentment and suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of what you are denouncing (so bad that it suggests you don't actually care about understanding).

I'm a little surprised at how eager you are to guess at what God might think and to condemn others. Maybe you're not aware of the impression that you've given here. It doesn't look to me like what you want from God is His love and mercy. It looks to me like what you want from God is His power and authority, and your example makes it seem that this is the reward for believing in God: the power and authority to judge others -- to judge yourself deserving of eternal happiness and to damn others to hell.

I hope that you didn't gain a congregation by teaching those things.


Oh, and if a person is really dying to label me, I would call myself agnostic. For most common, reasonable definitions of "god", I don't (and maybe can't) know whether "god exists" is true or false. I do care about the question. I just don't know the answer yet. Peace. :^D

Anonymous said...

As a minister, albeit a Unitarian Universalist one, I am deeply saddened by William's comments. A heart truly given to his Lord surely cannot be so hardened and judgmental. Again, I defer to Bertrand Russell's essay, "Why I Am Not A Christian." It rings as true today as it did 80 years ago. Attitudes like William's illustrate Gandhi's point all too well. "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."