Sunday, February 04, 2007

No dice.

These questions came in the form of an e-mail from OfWilliam. I was going to reply to the questions privately, but I thought...since she asks, I'll let y'all give em' a try. My reponses are, as always, in black. OfWilliam's questions (and note) are in blue.

Possummomma,
I know I invited you to come talk at our womens group. William does not think it's a good idea. I am going to have to agree with him. I shouldn't have asked you to come with out consulting every one. Having an atheist in our circle is just not a risk we can take. I hope you understand and are not mad. I would like to ask you questions that I can read in our circle. Would you answer them so that I can read them in the group. Maybe your friends would like to answer them. I pray for your family every day and hope that Jesus will come into your heart and change you. - OfWilliam* (name changed because of her request not to be named in prior conversations).

I'm sorry to hear that you are taking back your offer: I believe we, both, could've learned alot from the discussion. I was looking forward to it.
1. Why do you hate God?
I don't "hate God." Hating God would imply that I believed in his existence. You can't hate something that's non-existent. Do you hate the ballerinas dancing on Venus? Do you have strong feelings regarding, to use an idea posed by some atheists much more clever than I, the Flying Spaghetti Monster? I think it would be a huge waste of time and energy to hate something that poses no threat to me or exists. Simple as that.
2. Why do you hate Christians?
I don't hate Christians. The majority of my friends are Christians. Some of our closest family members are Christians. I don't hate someone because of their belief in leprachauns or unicorns...why should I hate them for their belief in a Christian deity? I think there may be some projection going on here: Why do you hate atheists? Why do you hate reason and logic?
3. Why do you want to take our faith away?
I have no desire to take your faith away. Seriously! That's not even one of the lowest things on my "to do" list. Furthermore, I doubt I *could* take away your faith, even if I wanted to (which I don't!). What I would like, however, if for you to realize that your faith is YOURS and not mine, nor should your faith dictate the way I raise my children or live my life. Your faith should also not be considered the 'default' faith.
4. If I could give you proof that God exists and Jesus was your savior would you believe?
If you could prove to me, with emperical evidence and irrefutable data that God did, indeed, exist, then I would have to re-evaluate my position. Where's your proof? And, just to head off what I fear is coming down the pike: NO. The Bible is not proof. You can't use that circular logic.

94 comments:

Carolus Hereticus said...

OfWilliam's questions are much the same mythology that Christians have built about atheism, and have propogated for centuries.

Supposedly we hate God, Christ, Christians, Christianity and all that's good.

Well, folks, they're all lies. Lies developed to prevent the flock away from straying into anything resembling critical examination of their faith.

SOME atheists may hate God, SOME may hate Christians. Most of us just want to be allowed to live our lives in the way we see most fitting, without being subjected to such propoganda.

I know for a fact, however that many Christians do, indeed, hate the idea of atheism (and not a few have some very hate-like feelings about atheists themselves), and cannot abide the fact that human beings can find happiness, fulfillment, hope, love and kindness without having the carrot-and-stick promise of heaven and threat of hellfire dangling over their heads.

They cannot abide the fact that there are those amongst us (as Paul Harvey says, 'us, the U.S.') for whom threats of damnation are meaningless. Frankly if those threats are all that keeps THEM behaving like civilized beings, I'm all for them remaining steadfastly Christian.

Not all Christians are atheism-haters, certainly ... but far too many are, or are broderline. Maybe fear is a better term than hate ...

But, as long as they are around, the lies get re-told, the myth regurgitated and the hate perpetuated.

Sad, that some who profess a faith of love and hope can be so vitriolic and spiteful.

Anonymous said...

Apologies for off topic comment, but a heart-warming story from the old world - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16959621/site/newsweek/. C'mon USA - catch up! :)

David.

Radix2 said...

What a shame. But I'm not surprised that Pastor William decided it was not a good idea (and probably spoon-fed the question to his ever so obedient wife).

Simply put, people who think for themselves rather than act on the fear of hell are a threat to the Pastor. He cannot have his flock not taking his word for things can he...

That said. I agree.
1. Don't hate god - how can you hate something you don't believe exists? FSM, Thor, Zeus and Chuthullu are all equal in my non-hate.

2. Don't hate Christians. I am appalled by willful ignorance and get annoyed when people try to impose their superstitions on me. Try a bit of empathy guys.. how would you feel if you were in a predominantly Muslim society and could not state your position without fear of being ostracised?

3. I don't want to. I am happy for you to practice your faith as your savior suggested. Which was in private and with modesty. But when you go on the march and get in my face, I will stand up for my rights not to be downtrodden by people who make a habit of ignoring reality.

4. Given empirical evidence of the existence of a god, I too would have to reassess my position. But personal witnessing and the bible are not empirical evidence. An awesome miracle outside of anything nature as we know it could do (and in fact despite of or against nature) would be a good one. Many hundreds of people would have to be my co-witnesses and the effects of said miracle would have to hang around long enough for some studies to be made. In short - the same level of evidence that I apply to the world I know.

Pedro Timóteo said...

SOME atheists may hate God

Sorry, but that's a contradiction. If you "hate" God, you believe in him. If you believe in God, you're not an atheist.

Radix2 said...

Pedro - although this may be putting words into Carolus's mouth, perhaps that poster was saying that there are some who call themselves atheists because they blame a god for something terrible that happened to them. (BTW - I am yet to meet any atheist who came to their position this way).

You are right - that is not an atheist, but it does not preclude the possibility that there some who identify themselves as atheist thinking it is "anti-god", especially those poor benighted ones who were raised to think that is what atheism means.

Sarah said...

I'm usually a lurker but thought I'd add my two cents about the whole 'hating god' thing. My nan was an atheist who, best I could tell, hated god for not existing!

Azkyroth said...

Just a quick note:

Strictly speaking, of course, an atheist cannot "hate God," but there's nothing illogical about hating the idea of a god--whether a specific god or the entire concept of gods, while believing that the idea one hates does not correspond to a real entity (this is certainly how I feel about the genocidal psychopath presented in Abrahamic mythology, for instance).

Toni said...

I think what happens is many fundamental xians mistake atheists desire not to be suckered by religion as well as their desire not to be rulled by xian beliefs, which sometimes requires us to be vocal about not letting them impose themselves on us as hatred toward them.

I don't hate xians, my husband is one. I do hate some followers attempts (and successes) to impose their archaic beliefs on everyone else.

We don't hate them, we hate that they can't get it through their uneducated heads that if they don't want an abortion, then they don't have to have one. If they want to pray in school, feel free, just don't assume everyone else wants to. Taking god out of the pledge and off of money isn't going to mean you CAN'T HAVE YOUR CHURCHES OR WORSHIP AS YOU PLEASE.

If you don't believe in gay marriage, feel free not to marry a gay person, but to not allow my brother to marry his long time partner and get all the benefits that go along with that is wrong. And I HATE the fact that the fundies can't see that, because they are so blinded by their selfishness!

Mattias said...

-Having an atheist in our circle is just not a risk we can take.
Oh, right. So, what you are implying here really is that you feel that you might see what's really going on in the world? Perhaps you're even an agnostic, but hate to admit it? In my opinion, your husband has too much power over you. Just as the bible has. Do you want that? Not TALKING about something is very, VERY weak if you ask me.

Paul said...

"Having an atheist in our circle is just not a risk we can take."

What, do you think some of you might catch the Atheist flu? Maybe you're afraid possummomma might go postal with her lack of a moral compass, and bludgeon you all to death with a psalter? Or maybe you're just afraid of exposing any members of your congregation to the opportunity to think for themselves?

Anonymous said...

[zendruid]

Fundies are discouraged from thinking. They are indoctrinated to 'hate' anything or anyone that disagrees with their 'belief'; they consider it a major moral defect for others to lack the brainwashing they themselves received, never even realizing that their own situation is psychologically anomalous.

The threat you present to them, Possummomma, is that one of them might wake up and ask, WTF?!

I'd love to ply one of those folks with beer, sit back, and watch what happens. My first alcohol experience was epiphanic, in that I suddenly acquired the capacity to forgive other people their foolishness. I was an anal-retentive, hyper-judgmental teen up to that point.

'Why do you hate God?...Why do you hate us?...' Gimme a break. That's what Bro William has been mashing into their poor skulls, obviously. He lives in mortal terror of being exposed as a scurvy lying fraud.

There oughta be a law...

Worship, or not-worship, as you please. Understand life, the universe, and everything to the full extent of your capabilities.

Please don't present yourself as an authority on anything if your stance is 'owned' by the poisonous Bible.

Btw, my inner child has a great rapport with Jesus.

Katie said...

"Having an atheist in our circle is just not a risk we can take"

You might be contagious, and then we'd ALL have to think for ourselves!

"Your faith should also not be considered the 'default' faith."

Awesome, awesome, awesome statement. It gets to the heart of all that frustrates me about Christianity in America.

Keep up the great work! And please post any response you get from them regarding your answers - I am eager to hear what they have to say!

Saurian200 said...

Possummomma,

Thought you might be interested in this. Austin Cline on his About Atheism/Agnosticism blog today had an article dealing specifically with the myths OfWilliam brought up in her email to you. Here's a link.

Calladus said...

"Having an atheist in our circle is just not a risk we can take."

How odd. Our Atheist group in Fresno has a dedicated, respected Christian member. He isn't afraid to discuss his beliefs, and we talk very rationally together.

Apparently my Atheist group is stronger than OfWilliam's Christian group. Tsk.

aiabx said...

I took someone's faith away once. I explained my stance on atheism to a college roommate, and he stopped going to church, started drinking and kinda turned into a big jerk. I conclude that a) his faith wasn't that strong or b) I'm a compelling arguer or c) he had the soul of a drunken jerk under the mask of a good Christian. Maybe all three.

Stephanie said...

Great blog...I've been reading for some time, but haven't ever commented. Your experience with William is so much like experiences we've had with my in-laws that it's scary :)

It's too bad that OfWilliam doesn't trust her initial instinct to try to understand someone else's views. She obviously has some of her own questions or she wouldn't have invited you to speak to her group. I agree with the others who have said that William must be afraid of what could happen if you spoke to the group.

My husband has been having a similar conversation with his father. His father proceeded to invite him to Bible study (he doesn't think we've ever given Christianity a "chance", even though I was raised as a fundy). When my husband agreed to come, my father in law back pedaled and said that a person needs special approval before he can attend the study. That was a month ago and we haven't heard anything more about it.

Maybe OfWilliam will get a better understanding of atheists through the questions she posted. But, it seems to me that if her group discusses your answers to her questions, their time will be spent rebutting them and you won't be there to help explain. Of course, that is more convenient for them because they will just reinforce their own beliefs.

Shaun said...

I think you nailed it when you called out Ofwilliam's projection - especially since that's how we get the characteristics of God to begin with. I don't think a fundy can think any other way.

I also don't hate Christians - though I do get intensely frustrated with them.

ofwilliam said...

I like my nickname. I'm honored to be called by my husbands name. William is a good man and husband. I know he got carried away before but I know you would like him. God plans for us to be wives and mothers and we have to take that mission.

I don't hate atheists. I feel sorry for them. There is no true happiness without Our Heavenly Father and Jesus. I am sad that atheists can never go to heaven for their blasphemy.

I think atheists really love Christians because we keep the moral standard that helps them live in a nice society. They also hate us because we get in the way of their do as you will lifestyle. Atheists hate Christians because we try to make the world a moral place. We have a higher calling.

We prayed about having possummomma come to talk to us. God told us that her heart was not open to Him. She could tell us nothing but lies and science that we can read on our own. She was very nice when I talked to her but she can never be a role model for Christian women and mothers. She doesn't know God.

My husband is not afraid of her. He's in charge of protecting our followers from the blasphemy that she talks about.

Mattias, my husband has the perfect amount of power over me. He has protected me for thirty years. I gladly submit to him.

Andrew said...

From my experience -- and you can see the remnants of this in "OfWilliam"'s reply -- Christians are frequently told over and over again that the only reason atheists are atheists is because they enjoy the wicked, sinful lifestyle of atheism. We love premarital sex, alcohol, drugs, irresponsibility, etc. -- and so we "hate" God because acknowledging him would mean giving up our rockin' fun good times.

The first sad irony is that Christians themselves are more likely to live the evil lifestyle they project onto atheists; just google "George Barna" and read up on some of his research. And he's a fundamentalist Christian! And what does he find? Why, only that Christians divorce more frequently, abuse their wives more often, get drunk more often, go to jail more often, and basically do *everything* evil in greater percentage numbers than do atheists.

So much for that argument.

The second sad irony is that identifying oneself as an atheist is almost uniformly a negative impact on one's lifestyle. Atheists are a despised, hated minority throughout the U.S., and anyone who has given a shred of honest thought to the subject would otherwise feel compelled to acknowledge that self-identifying as an atheist almost always makes life more painful, not less. Why do we do it? Generally, because we're (1) intellectually curious and (2) intellectually honest.

That's pretty hard to reconcile with the hard-drinkin', hard-screwin', carefree lifestyle that the Christian propagandists (led by the odious Lee Strobel) would lead you to believe, isn't it?

Atheist in a mini van. said...

I think atheists really love Christians because we keep the moral standard that helps them live in a nice society.

As is often quoted by various atheists: If your Christianity is the only thing that keeps you from being a murderer, theif, and/or cheat, then by all means, keep your Christianity. If, however, you're a logical person who possesses the ability to weigh the consequences of your actions (and the impact those consequences might have on others), then you don't need Christianity to make you a good person.

She could tell us nothing but lies and science that we can read on our own.
I'm sure our standards of "science" differ somewhat. As for telling you nothing but lies, why would I do that? I have been intellectually honest with you. I suspect that your REAL gripe, and the impetus for this change of heart, lies in the fact that I asked to bring our mutual friend along with me to the discussion. I suspect that you are upset because I said that I would be happy to answer questions and clear up some stereotypes, but that I would not "study the bible" with you. I also asked that we follow a casual debate structure and limit our answers to five minutes, on both sides, for time and brevity's sake. You responded by saying that your group could talk for as long as they wanted since it was their church.


She was very nice when I talked to her but she can never be a role model for Christian women and mothers.
You're right. If Christianity means blindly accepting ideas based on faith and letting my husband think for me, then I will never be a good Christian role model.

I'm not even going to touch the whole issue of submission. There's this old saying: If you can't say something nice,...

Atheist in a mini van. said...

That's pretty hard to reconcile with the hard-drinkin', hard-screwin', carefree lifestyle that the Christian propagandists (led by the odious Lee Strobel) would lead you to believe, isn't it?

LOL!
Let's see... I'll take the informal challenge of Christian living.
I don't drink alcohol.
I don't even drink caffeine (for my own reasons).
I don't smoke.
I *do* use drugs, but I think I get a pass since they're prescription.
I've had exactly two sexual partners in my entire life: both, my husbands.
I divorced my first husband because *HE* had affairs and abandoned my children and I while I was trying to pay my way through school AND care for "Irish twins". I spent every Sunday in mass during that period. I find it ironic that THAT marriage, blessed by the Church, failed fucking miserably... yet, my current marriage (a civil ceremony) is wonderful.
I have no criminal record.
I have received one, non-moving violation, traffic ticket in 15 years of driving.
I pay my taxes (which is better than some prominant Christians).
... yeah, I guess I just don't measure up to the examples set by "good Christians".

Sean the Blogonaut said...

Ofwilliam said:


We prayed about having possummomma come to talk to us. God told us that her heart was not open to Him.

I was wondering how God talked to you. Did he talk through another person, perhaps William? Or did you get a "feeling". Perhaps he emailed you an audio file. Could you give me a detailed record of the conversation?

I really think that you and your friends were/are afraid and I feel truely sorry that you will miss out on the opportunity to have a friendship with what I have observed to be, a kind and considerate personality.

Nance said...

I'm not even going to touch the whole issue of submission. There's this old saying: If you can't say something nice,...

*************

I'll touch it. I've been worried for OfWilliam since I started reading this thread.

William impressed me as a man with a temper.

I hope OfWilliam didn't get into any sort of trouble when she admitted she had dared to issue an invitation without getting permission first.

I'll keep you in my thoughts, OfWilliam. There are people who will help you break away from an abusive relationship, if you ever work up the nerve.

Nance

shaun said...

OK - this is bordering on clinical psychosis the way those fundy nuts can't leave well enough alone. Let them pity you. Let them waste as much time as they possibly can worrying about you, P-momma, because nobody but them loses anything in this situation.

I would HIGHLY suggest Ofwilliam read The Handmaid's Tale and see where her slippery slope of submission may take her.

Stephanie said...

"I think atheists really love Christians because we keep the moral standard that helps them live in a nice society."

No, atheists do not need Christian's morals to be good people. Actually, I disagree with many Christian "morals". Most of these are actually rules that have nothing to do with anything other than controlling people (ex: Christian rules against homosexuality).

If OfWilliam really believes this, I wonder how she reconciles the fact that there were good people before Christianity. Does OfWilliam know that Jesus did not come up with the golden rule? I believe Socrates who lived about 400 years before Jesus is said to have lived came up with the concept of "don't do unto others what you would not want done to you" or something like that.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

P-momma, because nobody but them loses anything in this situation.

I would HIGHLY suggest Ofwilliam read The Handmaid's Tale and see where her slippery slope of submission may take her.


P-momma? I like that! It gives me a certain air of street credit. ;)

I, too, would strongly suggest that OfWilliam read The Handmaid's Tale.

I don't get the whole "submissive wife" bit. I would really like to hear OfWilliam explain this relationship.

I hope OfWilliam didn't get into any sort of trouble when she admitted she had dared to issue an invitation without getting permission first.

Same here. I don't know that we have enough evidence to suggest that the relationship is physically abusive, but there's definitely cause for concern regarding the emotional health of this woman. Of course, as I've acknowledged, I'm completely unable to justify a partnership, in marriage, in which one person should be "submissive" to the other. Maybe it's semantics: submissive versus concession?

Thoughts? Should this be a blog topic?

alisonM said...

The misconceptions shown in OfWilliam's questions and subsequent comment here are so common, you'd think they'd been written into the bible along with everything else. If you think about it, you could replace the word "atheist" with, say "Buddhist" or "Baha'i" or "Hindu", or any philosophy or belief system in the world, which would mean that the majority of the world's population fits these blanket presumptions. While we may have a sizeable percentage of people in America who identify themselves as one kind of Christian or another, worldwide, they're a minority. If you were to make the statement that Buddhists hate Christians and the Christian god, you'd sound like a loon. If you were to tell American Jews that they're grateful to Christians for making this such a moral society, you'd sound like a loon. If you were to tell any happy person, anyone who's fulfilled, living with joy and purpose, surrounded by loving friends and family, that his or her happiness is illusive, and that he or she is deluding him/herself into thinking that his/her life is a fine one indeed, you'd sound like a loon. As to the last - I think anyone, given absolute, incontrovertible proof that the christian god existed would convert to that faith, or, at the least, give pretty serious consideration to renouncing prior beliefs. The fact that only a small percentage of the world's population ascribes to the christian faith indicates that such proof doesn't exist. If it did, I don't think we'd still be waiting for it. Saying that such proof already exists and you just need to "see" it makes you sound like a loon.

Fortunately, most people of faith in this country aren't quite so threatened that they fear other-believers or need to try to convert others to their way of thinking. The ones who make the most noise are the ones who need to shore up their faith and defend it from nonbelievers by imposing it on others in the form of bible-based laws and displays, and by insisting that their way is the only right one. They're the ones we see, the ones who are driving people nuts, and the ones that people who quietly practice their own personal religions are completely embarassed by.

Matt D. said...

Quick (yeah, right...) add-ons to Possummomma's responses - and some notes on "ofWilliam"'s latest comments.

1. Why do you hate God?

I don't hate things that I don't believe exist, as pointed out. I can, however, evaluate the tenets of your religion (my former religion) and evaluate the claims about the god you believe in. That's an examination of ideas - which is useful, whether an actual being exists or not.

When I do so, I find that the god described in your Holy Bible is rather schizophrenic - loving here, cruel there. He sanctions sacrifice (including human) - and forgiveness. He directs and encourages violence and wars of extermination - and turning the other cheek.

There's some good advice, and some horrible advice. On the whole, it's exactly what you'd expect when viewing the collected works of men over a large span of time.

I find nothing worthwhile in your book or religion that cannot be achieved without it, and plenty of reasons to prefer to do without it.

But I don't hate your god any more than I hate Dr. Frankenstein. I can despise the reported positions of both of them, because I'm talking about ideas that transcend whether or not a being exists.

Please read this passage in your Bible - 2 Samuel 24:1-15

I put that in bold, just in case you're skimming. I'd really like you to read that passage and tell me whether or not you think it really happened. Is there anything in that passage that you think is a lie?

2. Why do you hate Christians?

I don't. Again, it's back to ideas, not people. I understand that it's so personal to you that it's hard to make that distinction, but try.

There are simply too many varieties of "Christian" to make such a blanket statement about hating them.

While I reject the religion and feel that this notion of "faith-based belief" is, essentially, poison for the mind - I'm far more concerned about what people do on behalf of their beliefs.

Those Christians who don't attempt to push their views on other people - I don't have much of a problem with them.

3. Why do you want to take our faith away?

If I could make religion illegal - I wouldn't. If I could forcefully take away faith-based beliefs from everyone on the planet - I wouldn't.

I would, however, prefer to live in a world where the vast majority of people no longer hold those beliefs - by their own volition - and instead choose to believe only those things which are rationally supported.

As someone who used to share your beliefs (lock, stock and barrel), I know that some people are capable of thinking reasonably and abandoning those beliefs in favor of rationality. I will, until my dying day, continue to provide reasoned argument and evidence to those people - in the hopes that they too will embrace reality.

4. If I could give you proof that God exists and Jesus was your savior would you believe?

Absolutely. If you could prove it, I'd have no choice but to believe. I don't deny things that have been proven true.

The better question is, would I worship him? The answer to that question is a bit different. If your god exists, and he presented himself to me right now - I'd believe he existed, but I wouldn't worship him until he answered some very important questions.

If the Bible is an accurate description of your god, there's no way I could, in good conscience, worship him. There's a reason why you're instructed to "fear the lord" - the god of the Bible is an evil tyrant.

Worshiping a god who's morality is inferior to my own would make me as bad as he is.

Sonny said...

concession vs. submission? i think there is something here that has to do with semantics...but, i don't think that is all it is...there is definitely a connotative difference with those two words, though...

i don't know how many Christians really support the idea of "husband always right"? i hope they don't...

anyway, i think it could show promise as a blog topic...

darrell said...

ofWilliam:

Possum Momma did a fine job of answering your initial volley of strangely aggressive questions, so I won't address those and how offensive they were. However:

I think atheists really love Christians because we keep the moral standard that helps them live in a nice society. They also hate us because we get in the way of their do as you will lifestyle.

I couldn't ignore that.

Are you sure you're not thinking about Satanists? They're the ones who have the whole "do as thou wilt" thing going on.

Atheism isn't a "church" or a "religion" or anything more than a word for people who do not believe in gods. That being said, every atheist is completely different. I guess there are probably some atheists out there who walk around doing whatever they feel like, but the majority of us are bound by the same cultural system of right and wrong that we all share. While this is largely based on Christianity believe me, Christians aren't impressing me with their moral fiber. Kent Hovind, Ken Ham, Jerry Falwell, Jim Bakker, the scores of Catholic priests who have molested kids and the Christians who support the war in Iraq...I could go on forever. Christians do not have a monopoly on morality. (Plus the OT is all Jewish law remember) I, however, learned not to steal and kill people and whatever else from my parents, two very real people who actually love me.

Of course this is a waste of time because I'm addressing a woman who loves the 30 years she's been in submission to her husband. I think the root of the problem is right there, Christians do not want to think for themselves. That's fine, congratulations! But don't expect atheists to feel the same way...and don't misread our disdain and avoidance of your fantasy world as "hate." Please.

Anonymous said...

[zendruid]

I can only see the dom/sub thing as an adjunct for good sex, sorry. Equal time, of course...;)

What about complementing your life partner's strengths with your own? What about the yin-yang gestalt? Seems to me, that would be much more fulfilling in every sense than submission.

Stephanie's comment on Socrates is more than apt, considering how Soc was also [martyred] by those who feared his righteousness. He had much better PR in Xenophon than the Jee-dude had from Saul/Paul, though...

I think every religion or philosophy in the world shares the Golden Rule in one form or another.

Good enough for a universal moral/ethical constant.

Now, if we can get rid of the insular tribal 'holier-than-thou' mentality which the fundies [Xian, Muslim, Hasidim] love so much, we could move together into the Third Millenium much more smoothly.

Nietzsche made a good point: the center of gravity of Xian religions is the point after we're dead! The whole shebang rests upon flawed views of Heaven and Hell....

Matt D. said...

I decided to split the post...I'm just too wordy.

OfWilliam wrote:
I don't hate atheists. I feel sorry for them.

And you don't think that's a bit condescending or insulting? Fine, then I feel sorry for Christians.

There is no true happiness without Our Heavenly Father and Jesus.

And you know this is true, how? Have you tried both? I certainly have.

I was a Southern Baptist for 25 years and reasonably happy. I've been an atheist for several years - and I'm happy. You won't believe this, but I'm actually happier - and NO, it's not because I'm free to sin.

Life is INFINITELY more precious and valuable if this is your one shot to enjoy it. I'm able to share life with people of ALL religious beliefs, races, sexual orientations, etc - and be respectful of them all, if they're respectful in return.

Religion is divisive. Irreligion isn't.

I am sad that atheists can never go to heaven for their blasphemy.

Are you sad that you won't be going either - if, in fact, you are wrong? What if the Hindu's are correct? What about the Zoroastrians? The Jews? etc.

What about other Christian denominations whose doctrines differ from yours? There are MANY who tell me that I'm still going to heaven because of the 'once saved always saved' doctrine. There are others who rely on the book of James - and focus on works as the primary path to salvation. Still others believe in Christianity as a metaphor and true salvation has many paths.

And, of course, if I'm right, there's no such thing as salvation or eternal life - and the best use of our time is to try to understand reality, enjoy the world we live in - and strive to make it better. Nothing could be nobler or more rewarding.

You believe you have the truth - yet you cannot present a scrap of evidence to support it. The absolute best you can do is quote the Bible - the same book being used by others to support different doctrines.

I think atheists really love Christians because we keep the moral standard that helps them live in a nice society.

Ah, more kindergarten philosophy about how evil atheists are or how the world can't be moral without Christians. Do Christians make the world moral for Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Sikh's too? If Christianity gets the credit for "nice society" does it also get the blame for "not nice societies"?

Have you ever studied the history of law, morality and ethics? You're aware that there are codes of law - based on secular moral principles - and some predate your religion?

Take the 10 Commandments. Any of them that are worthwhile - existed long before the Hebrews adopted them.

Have you studied any other religions? Have you studied any philosophical discussions on morality?

Or did you just never bother to consider any of these questions at all, and just accept the doctrine you've been spoon-fed?

They also hate us because we get in the way of their do as you will lifestyle.

So we love Christians and hate them - both because you make the world moral? Clearly only a mind that could accept the notion of the Trinity could hold those two contradictory notions at the same time.

Where do you get this idea that atheism equates to a "do as you will" world view? It's wrong - and you don't seem to care that its wrong.

Atheists hate Christians because we try to make the world a moral place. We have a higher calling.

Yes, and if that were true, then the MORE Christian a society was, the better you'd expect it to be. Yet we KNOW that the reverse is actually true. Societal health (not physical health) is inversely proportional to the degree of religiousity. That's not a proof of causation, but it's a clear correlation.

Have you bothered to study the data, or are you just saying what you've heard over and over and over?

We prayed about having possummomma come to talk to us. God told us that her heart was not open to Him.

This is the same God who sent you here to witness to her? The same God who William is convinced had him listen to our podcast?

So this God has you listen to the show, sends you here to witness and all hell breaks loose. Your husband is called a poor representative of Christianity by other Christians. Some of his own flock have pointed out how mean he was and how two-faced.

Then, when the going gets tough, this same God tells you not to bother trying to reach Possummomma?

Shouldn't he have known that from the start? If you were hearing him wrong the first time, why are you sure you're not hearing him wrong now?

Maybe he's just screwing with you...or maybe you're not hearing from a god at all.

The smart money is on the latter.

My husband is not afraid of her. He's in charge of protecting our followers from the blasphemy that she talks about.

Is he afraid to defend his faith? Is he afraid to meet his obligation under 1 Peter 3:15? Surely, if you HAVE the truth, you have an obligation to share it - and I've offered him a pulpit to the world in the form of a formal debate.

Perhaps he just doesn't think he's a very good representative of Christ - but if that's true, why did he show up here in the first place?

Please, please, please - answer the question in my last post about the passage in 2 Samuel 24:1-15.

It's a simple question.

ofwilliam said...

I don't have to go read 2 Samuel 24:1-15. That is when David was punished by God for his behavior. God is justice. Those who do not obey Him will be judged.

ofwilliam said...

and there are no lies in the Bible. The Bible is perfect.

Anonymous said...

[zendruid]

Says who?

ofwilliam said...

Possummomma,
Submitting to your husband is what is commanded of females in the Bible. Timothy tells us to "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection" so that we can open our hearts to the Lord. Let the men deal with the politics I don't want that. I just want God. Timothy also instructs us that a woman will be a saint if she enters marriage, has children, and serves her husband and children with an air of perfect domesticity. Its our role. We are designed for it. Ephesians tells us to submit.
Submit means to give your husband authority. Allow him to worry about the bigger concerns for he is designed to do that. We submit ot our husbands as we submit to the Lord. The Lord knows what is best. Corinthians tells us that the head of a woman is man. Do you understand?

Nance said...

Do you understand?
****
I understand, OfWilliam.

When it gets bad enough and you want help, I hope you have the strength to reach out.

Maybe this is a good beginning.

Mamce

darrell said...

Okay...I'm relatively sure these people actually exist from prior information...I believe someone actually attended their church or something...but come on! They have to be putting us on...

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Okay...I'm relatively sure these people actually exist from prior information...I believe someone actually attended their church or something...but come on! They have to be putting us on...
If I didn't know people who attended their church, I'd be inclined to ask the same question. A couple of friends who've been keeping tabs on this said, "You have to go see what she JUST posted." I popped over here and saw what she wrote, your response was my response: "OH COME ON!"

So...OfWilliam.... OH! COME ON!

I can't even draft a response... I need to go cool down first. Maybe I should just address your response to Matt's question.

Your God is perfectly just?!?!? If I'm reading that portion of the bible correctly, I'm seeing that God killed thousands of people for the "sin" of David taking a census. THAT is, in yoru opinion, "perfectly just"? Not even close.

darrell said...

I can't even draft a response... I need to go cool down first.

I hear you. I think it was the "Do you understand?" at the end that really set me off. I understand...I understand that this woman and her husband are raving lunatics and it might be time to drop them into the pit of ignore and throw up some "Do Not Feed The Trolls" signs. I hate to write people off when you could have an intelligent discussion, but damn.

Anonymous said...

[zendruid]

Saul/Paul wrote a bunch of destructive nonsense. I vote we remove the epistles from the NT.
Perhaps the Jee-dude's true message would become clearer.

S/P lied about his conversion, imo.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Saul/Paul wrote a bunch of destructive nonsense. I vote we remove the epistles from the NT.

I second the motion.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

OfWilliam wrote: Do you understand?


Not really. I'm trying to understand why you, and a few women I know, sink so much into these scriptures. However, I just don't get it. You've allowed the writings of mysogynistic jerks from the third century to define who you are as a twenty-first century woman. I have a huge problem with that. It's not that you want to be a wife and mother. I can identify with that. It's that you seem to think your worth is inversely proportionate to your husband's worth. The wiser/greater/bigger/stronger/more dogmatic he becomes, the less you are worth. And, above-and-beyond that, at times, it strikes me as a lazy approach. Do you willingly give your opinions and thoughts to your husband so that you never have to challenge YOURSELF? I can understand how it might be easier to do that, than to actually THINK! But, wow...what a lot of things you must miss out on. There's a self-fulfillment that comes when you solve a problem or an issue on your own. Independence is a wonderful thing.

I was really hopped-up and ready to fire off a dismissive response to your entire comment about being submissive. But, then I thought about it: that's what your used to. I can't do that to a fellow woman. I will not, even as directed to do by your God, dismiss your thoughts.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Should read: that's what YOU'RE used to.

Matt D. said...

OfWilliam wrote:"I don't have to go read 2 Samuel 24:1-15. That is when David was punished by God for his behavior. God is justice. Those who do not obey Him will be judged."

Thank you, though you're slightly mistaken - perhaps you should have gone to read it.

You said that God punished David for his behavior - but that's not what really happened in that passage.

David sinned against God (we'll ignore the part about God ordering him to take the census in the first place) and God offered him a choice of punishments - 7 years of famine, 30 days on the run from his enemies or 3 days of pestilence. David chose 3 days of pestilence (cowardly pointing out that he didn't want to risk falling into the hand of his enemies).

And then what happened? God delivered a pestilence which killed seventy thousand men.

Think about that for a second. You said God punished David - but he actually punished 70,000 other men.

David sinned and your perfectly just, loving, compassionate God - instead of punishing David for his sin - sent a pestilence that killed 70,000 of David's people.

If one of your children is disobedient, would you consider it just to beat the other kids? That isn't a joke - it's EXACTLY what your God did and you think it's just.

It takes a particularly twisted mind to consider that to be justice.

Your religion promotes that mindset - it allows you to also think that the concepts of original sin, sins of the father being carried out until the 4th (or 10th) generation, and that one person can pay for someone else's sin, represent justice.

Your religion instills the rough equivalent of Stockholm syndrome.

Your holy book advocates slavery, slaughter, sacrifice (human and animal). This book has your "just" God ordering the slaughter of whole nations/tribes - including instructions to drive swords into the womb of pregnant women to kill fetuses. Your god sanctioned the killing every person of another nation, except for the virgin girls which are divided up along with the cattle.

Your holy book advocates the death penalty for unruly children and picking up sticks on a holy day. Your god is reported to have sent 2 bears to rip apart 42 kids for calling a prophet bald.

I suppose you're familiar with the story of Joshua and Achan? After sacking Jericho, Achan hid some loot that was supposed to go to God. Because of this God wouldn't help Joshua capture the city of Ai. As punishment Joshua took Achan, his sons, daughters, oxen and sheep - and stoned them to death. After that, God helped Joshua capture the city of Ai - clearly Joshua did what God wanted.

What had Achan's family done? What had the oxen and sheep done? Does this sound like justice? Is it rational?

You jumped on the passage from Samuel as an example of your God's justice - his punishment of David. He didn't punish David, and I submit that his actions were not just.

When you look at what this monstrous tyrant is reported to have done - in your own holy book - you see "justice". Rational people, who have a decent grasp of what real justice is, seriously wonder if a devil could possibly do worse.

It's no wonder you're willingly subservient to your husband, he's just one rung down on the ladder from a "loving and just god" who has reportedly committed some of the most horrendously unjust acts known to man.

I'm not sure why you think that "love thy neighbor" excuses your god of the rest of his reported actions.

And while your god appears to do a flip-flop when we get to part two (NT), in reality - he gets worse.

In the OT, he's a monster - but up front about it. In the NT he runs around playing nice and then advocates eternal torture for finite crimes.

That is the ultimate act of injustice - but you think it's just wonderful.

Your sense of justice has been perverted by your religion. Right along with your self worth and the ability to grasp reality - and you're encouraging your children to develop this same distortion of your reality.

I know you won't see it that way, and that's the really sad part.

Milo Johnson said...

"No true happiness" for atheists? How absurd. I'm an atheist of utter and absolute certainty, and I'm the happiest, most fulfilled person I have ever encountered. I spend every day doing the things that I love and that complete me, I never get angry or upset, I look forward to every moment of my life and hope it continues forever. Oh, wait - I guess all this happiness must be some sort of diabolically clever atheist malaise that disguises itself as peace of mind and contentment...

Anonymous said...

[zendruid]

Atheist Heaven is a state of mind.

Every meal, a communion with Life;

Every sunrise and sunset, a sacrament.

Every soul that looks forth from human eyes, a potential friend.

Judgment? Use your own on yourself. You'd be amazed at what you'd discover.

Nighty-night.

Russ said...

At one point Matt D. responded to OfWilly's question,
"4. If I could give you proof that God exists and Jesus was your savior would you believe?" by answering, "Absolutely. If you could prove it, I'd have no choice but to believe. I don't deny things that have been proven true."

For me, I can't conceive of what would constitute evidence of a God. I truly am convinced that God is impossible. I’m certain that nothing can defy natural law. I’m also certain that I don’t know all natural law, but I know that if I someone witnesses a phenomenon, then the cause of it is completely natural.

Beyond that I’m so certain of the depth of my conviction in this matter that I do not think that I could be convinced otherwise. If I am faced with an unknown phenomenon, which I freely admit happens regularly, I simply count it as another all-natural - that is, 100 percent supernatural free - fact or event of which I am, at least for the moment, ignorant. You might say that uncertainty and I have an understanding. Fact is, I’m so accustomed to saying to myself, “I wonder how science could explain that one,” that I can’t bring myself to conceive of anything supernatural outside observably fictional settings(including Bibles, Qu’rans, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, movies, and the like).

Forty years of Biblical scholarship, degrees in chemistry, biology, mathematics, and philosophy, and decades of personal study of world religions all deepen my conviction that nothing defies natural law, while at the same time telling me that we have a lot to discover. Consciousness, and that combination of mental experiences that religions call “spirituality” or the religious experience, indeed, all of our lifelong mental processes are wholly direct consequences of the chemical and physical natural laws governing neural interactions.

Supernatural ideas survive because they stimulate all-natural feelings of awe, wonder, amazement, surprise, and puzzlement, among others, but these feelings can also be aroused by the natural world as well. When we see things we don’t understand we should feel awe and wonder; we should be amazed; and we should let those feeling inspire us to ask why. We should not feel, nor should we be taught to feel fear. Supernatural ideas intended to inculcate real fear - the evil Biblical God and his Hell come to mind - should remain bound within the pages of fiction.

I don’t see it any differently than that, and I don’t think I can. I’m sure God is impossible. If something calling itself God makes the stars go out, I’ll ascribe it to an, as yet, poorly understood atmospheric science principle, not a miracle. If someone named Jesus waved his hand stopping a hurricane in its tracks with every drop of rain, every molecule of air instantly halted in place, I'd be impressed by the control of natural processes and the power necessary to to do it, but I'd be wondering where the science and technology was developed and how it worked.

I’ve seen too many magicians, too many religious charlatans, and too many psychics, all performing their own well-honed variety of sleight of hand, but delivering nothing of substance, to believe that the supernatural is anything but impossible.

I also think the fear that pervades OfWilly when dealing with atheists has many sources, and in her lifelong exposure to religion, I'll bet that, though her Willy won't let her say it, she has come to see the world similar to the way that atheists do.

One is that atheists are good people for the simplest and smartest of reasons: it makes for a better world. What's more is that we see making the world a better place as sufficient reason to be moral, compassionate, caring, and contributing members of society - we don't need a psychological bludgeoning by make-believe Gods to love others.

Further, in her heart of hearts, I'm sure OfWilly knows that much of the science and technology necessary for her to enjoy life and be able to raise happy, healthy children comes to her from atheist scientists. She feels somewhat guilty demeaning those who have contributed so much to her own and her family's well-being. Medicines, foods, computers - she owes a lot to atheists and she knows it, but her Willy won't let her admit it. The US National Academy of Sciences, the most respected scientific body in the world, is, for instance, around 94% atheists.

What's more is OfWilly like most clergy spouses knows that faith in God has no effect whatsoever. For example, as they hurry toward the hospital, ambulance crews, regardless of religious bent, intentionally ignore church after church, knowing full well that the only hope for their patient is speedy access to the completely naturalistic accrued body of life-saving science that is modern medicine. Nothing supernatural is necessary to attend to patient's needs, and as the recently released Benson study at Harvard demonstrates, supernaturalism through intercessory prayer simply would not work. Naturalistic medicine works on atheists and believers alike whether administered by atheists or believers. Nothing supernatural is needed on either side.

After decades of exposure to it, OfWilly has to know that supernaturalism exists in concept only and believers themselves bear witness to this since whenever a life hangs in the balance, they immediately discard their religious supernaturalism and hold tight to the proven effectiveness of naturalism. If a doctor denied a patient naturalistic medicine and used some supernaturally-derived remedy - be it prayer, homeopathy, faith healing - believer families, believer attorneys, and believer juries would all denounce it as malpractice. Realize that believers would reject out of hand the supernatural notion of "God's plan" if naturalistic medicine were available.

So, I'm convinced that gods are impossible, in principle, and I don't think I can be convinced otherwise. I also think that most of the OfWilly's of the world who have seen religion for some length of time, know that religion is a fraud and the conduct of their own lives bears witness to it.

David said...

"Please read this passage in your Bible - 2 Samuel 24:1-15"

I haven't read anything from the good book since I was forced to as a child, thirty-odd years ago.

I still feel a sense of anger that I was subjected to that as a child and made to feel guilty for not swallowing the doctrine. Even though I never bought in to it, as a ten year-old I was still nervous that I might get punished by their vindictive god for ignoring him.

Anyway, reading that nugget recommended by 'matt d.' was an eye-opener. My first thought: "It's the ravings of a fucking lunatic!". It's mind-boggling that this drivel is still legitimised in society, even more so by atheists who "respect other peoples beliefs".

While I don't hate individuals for their beliefs, I'm certainly not respectful of someones viewpoint when they try to argue for this demonstrably dangerous nonsense.

I pray to [god / pixie / magical beanstalk] that some seeds of clear-thinking have been planted in OfWilliam's mind while reading these replies. Maybe she could then work to make good some of the damage her children have suffered as a result of their brain-washing.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Russ,
I am in awe of your eloquence.
I think you've made some exceptional points, in your comment. Very nicely done.

C.W. said...

For me, I can't conceive of what would constitute evidence of a God.

I can. Easily.

If a giant bearded dude came riding from the sky in a golden chariot, throwing lightning bolts with his hands and erasing cities without effort, then I'd accept that as pretty good evidence that Zeus (or possibly Thor, depending on hair colour) exists.

If there really was an omnipotent Jahve, it would be a trivial task for him to make his existence obvious, even to the most convinced atheist. The fact that he doesn't speaks volumes, considering he's supposedly so eager to make himself known (through "miracles" etc).

Many christians will respond that blind faith is a virtue, that they actually prefer a hidden God. They're lying, of course. Or they wouldn't be so fond of pseudo-rational arguments in favor of god's existence. It must be agonizing for an almighty being to have his existence defended by charlatans like Kent Hovind.

I'm an atheist because all available arguments for god's existence are based on sophistry, semantic slight of hand and outright lies. The arguments are bad because theists don't have a case. Not having a case usually implies you're wrong. But it's not rational to deny the possibility they'll eventually come up with something good.

Toni said...

*Been visiting, can't seem to not want to comment about this idiot.*

"DO YOU UNDERSTAND?"

Having been born, raised and still living in Utah around people in the LDS church my whole life, I have seen first hand many intelligent, unique women turn 18, and marry a returned missionary in the temple. They are pregnant within the first year of marriage, and most every year after that. They become baby making drones who are taught that they must "submit" to their husbands, and their church. They are told how to dress, how to act and what "role" they will play in their husbands lives.

It gets even worse when you study the lives of the polygamist women. Many times they are not only abused at a young age by the men, but once they marry, if they are not the first wife they are abused by the older wives.

So... I can hear what this dimwit is saying. I have seen it first hand. But I do not understand it. More importantly, I fear for the female children of her and others like her of any faith. I fear they will never have a chance to understand that their lives are worthwhile and important. I fear many of those girls will be forced to marry and have children who may not want that life. I also fear because of that we will continue to hear of women killing their children.

Girls should be taught that it is perfectly ok to be without a man, and children. That life can be fulfilling not only without religion, but without a traditional "family".

I am a woman who is married (in the catholic church). I am an atheist. I don't smoke, do drugs or beat up old ladies. I drink sometimes. My elderly grandparents live with us and we take care of them. We also help take care of my widdowed mother, and my paralyzed mother in law (whose prayers amazingly have never given her the use of her body again).

We have 3 dogs and will never have children, I am not that fond of them.

And believe it or not I am a very happy and productive member of society.

Anonymous said...

[zendruid]

Russ, I read your missive with respectful attention, and agree with your points.

I seem to have sidestepped the philosophical dilemma here.

If the God entity is cleansed of its ridiculous, and by definition, limiting, male anthropomorphic aspect, it can be safely asserted that 'God' is a term of convenience which refers to the sum total of natural law.

Religionists differ from scientists in that they believe whatever they're told, and what they've been told is essentially to remain credulous, ignorant, guilty, and fearful. They squat in the festering dross of savage superstitions, and call it Good.

Scientists, on the other hand, have made it their discipline, and vocation, to discover and prove 'God's Law'.

'God' has laws for the behavior of chloride ions, does 'he' not? And for that of stars, wolves, sheep, and worms?

The original myth-mongers did the best they could [or the worst, in Saul/Paul's case], given their lack of depth in the face of the dire questions "Where did we come from?" and "Where are we going?"...myth, after all, is a valid placeholder, but only a placeholder, for truth. Or, in S/P's case, for the Big Lie. I vehemently deplore , for all time, his motive for spinning that satanic spew that spawned the church....

*slaps self in face several times*

OK. Better now. :)

The search for the Grand Unified Theory is the search for Totality. And I privately suspect that some of the theoretical physicists have transcended into mysticism. They have no choice at that level, imo.

Anonymous said...

To believe in the Bible as God's inerrant word, you'll have to believe that

Every word that originally was written down was inspired by God, who

Changed His mind every time he inspired a scribe to make a copy or translation with errors, and

He didn't inspire the hundreds of documents written about Christ and Christianity in the 300 years after Christ lived, but

He did inspire the government-appointed religious bureaucrats of the Roman Empire who chose just 66 of those hundreds of documents, which

Carefully absolved the Roman Empire and Emperor, who was paying their salaries and giving their churches tax abatements, of any responsibility for crucifying Christ, but

He could only inspire a majority of those voting to agree on the 66 documents, and

In over 2000 years, the Chatty Cathy of the first 4000 years of Earth's existence hasn't said anything to the human race worth writing down.

Russ said...

Thank you P-Momma for your kind words.

Has this interchange with OfWilliam turned out as you envisioned?

On a human level, I deeply ache for her. She's mired in a make-believe world over which she can exercise no control. Willy's at the helm and she has been browbeaten into staying off the bridge. Willy steers a treacherous course, OfWilly timidly puts an oar in to avert disaster. Willy smacks her down like livestock for her sincere effort. Then, like a coon-dog blindly attacking a kodiak to defend its master, she hurls herself onto this blog, clothed in silly anachronistic myths and harboring the dead-horse delusion that we will fear and respect her fairy tales. We all gather round, just gawking initially, and, then, as the situation unfolds, we eye each other and... laugh. Deep belly laughs, high nasal laughs, guffaws, giggles, chortles and chuckles, it's unrestrained, hearty and full-bodied. Someone gasps out, "What was she thinking." Another squeals, "What thinking?" Cathartic tears spill all around.

I wipe away my tears, and in regained lucidity I realize that without reason, without rationality, OfWilly can't defend herself. Saddened, I hope Willy doesn't smack her down again. I find myself wanting to defend her.

-----------------

To C.W.

In my post, I stated and you quoted, "FOR ME, I can't conceive of what would constitute evidence of a God."[my emphasis]

You claim, "If a giant bearded dude came riding from the sky in a golden chariot, throwing lightning bolts with his hands and erasing cities without effort, then I'd accept that as pretty good evidence that Zeus (or possibly Thor, depending on hair colour) exists," as if this would constitute rational proof. My claim is that FOR ME I would not accept it as proof of the existence of a God. I would think it far more likely that I was hallucinating, or there was a really cool, really powerful, space-based hologram projector playing, or somebody has a much better understanding of natural law than we do. I would interpret my seeing the "giant bearded dude riding from the sky in a golden chariot" as some natural phenomenon, possibly not yet teased out by science, but natural nonetheless.

The vast proliferation of religions in the world - there are more than 20,000 distinct versions of Christianity, alone - supports the idea that others have a significantly different standard for evidence as they embrace supernatural explanations for anything and everything.

The point I make is for me alone: show me anything at all, and I will see it always as proceeding from natural causes. Over the course of my life I have examined the "evidence" for more than a thousand claims attributed to supernatural causes and I have not found even one that is true. I have consulted experts who have examined thousands more with the same outcome. Contrasting those dismal results - which are endorsed by millions of believers, by the way - with claims resulting from naturalism, primarily science, puts the pathetic nature of the supernatural in stark relief. The number of scientific claims that we can rely on as true - that is, use to the betterment of mankind - runs into the tens of millions, so much, in fact, that no single person can acquire even a small fraction of it. With this in mind, I can honestly say that I would require major trauma to my brain before I would consciously assert supernaturalism as a probable explanation for any phenomenon, no matter how mysterious it seemed.

Now, C.W., you also said, "But it's not rational to deny the 'possibility' they'll eventually come up with something good," but I see it as completely rational. I know that no supernatural claim has ever been shown to be true over the thousands of years of making these claims. Supernaturalism is purely fictional and has resulted from superstition, ignorance, and misunderstanding the natural world. I know that all supernatural claims are derived from the creative minds of men, not a real supernatural source. I know that for me I will accept my own insanity before I accept supernatural explanations. I know that all people can be fooled by the limitations of their own perceptions, I know many people fool themselves, I know many people allow themselves to be fooled, and I know there are many who take advantage of this fact to abuse others into supernatural belief. In light of these bits of data, and knowing myself as well as I do, I can safely say it's completely rational for me to deny the 'possibility' of supernaturalism. FOR ME, it seems quite reasonable to deny even the 'possibility' of finding reasoned explanations for things that inherently defy reason. You see, my brain simply won't go there from here.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if she can summon the courage to share your answers (or any of the others posted here) with her church group?

bets said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bets said...

http://www.christiananswers.net/evangelism/beliefs/atheism.html

Matt D. said...

I'm familiar with Ray Comfort and his ministry. I've actually done extensive rebuttals to his arguments for Christianity, against evolution and against atheism.

He continually argues against straw men because he doesn't care to gain a proper understanding - but I won't fill up space here to talk about him. You can click the links to see refutations of each of his assertions (I'm reluctant to call anything he says "argument").

Atheist in a mini van. said...

bets said...
http://www.christiananswers.net/evangelism

If you can add nothing personal to the discussion, then please do not spam this blog. I welcome links, given with rationale, but I won't tolerate random spamming to Christian evangelism. Either make your point, using your own logic, or don't bother.

LCR said...

OfWilliam said:

"I don't hate atheists. I feel sorry for them. There is no true happiness without Our Heavenly Father and Jesus. I am sad that atheists can never go to heaven for their blasphemy."

I am glad to hear that you do not hate atheists. So you feel sorry for us instead? You insist that there is only one type of happiness, namely the one you experience within your faith. You refuse to recognize that there are lots of different types of happiness, as many as there are different types of people. Your type of "happiness" does not actually make me happy. To me it is blind and unthinking and intolerant and submissive. That may work for you. You can keep it.

By the way, atheists don't believe in heaven either, so its not really a threat for us to have to consider the idea of not going to someplace that doesn't really exist.

"I think atheists really love Christians because we keep the moral standard that helps them live in a nice society."

Whose definition of "nice" are we going with here? Yours or mine?

Actually, I am deeply concerned that the narrow-mindedness and intolerance of many in the religious right are destroying the open-mindedness and acceptance and appreciation of freedom that I would hope to see practiced regularly in this country.

"They also hate us because we get in the way of their do as you will lifestyle. Atheists hate Christians because we try to make the world a moral place. We have a higher calling."

Again, atheists usually don't hate the people (i.e., the Christians) they hate the ideas behind the religion, the intolerance, the rigidity, and the ignorance. But I will agree that I dislike the tendancy of the religious right to judge all others through the narrow, skewed lenses of faith. And religion has no lock on morals. Systems of acceptable behavior (which are all morals really are) were around a long time before religion came on the scene. Go ahead and listen to your higher calling, but keep it to yourself. It is not mine.

"God told us that her heart was not open to Him. She could tell us nothing but lies and science that we can read on our own."

How odd. It sounds like God did not believe that your faith was strong enough to withstand the words of one atheist. So had Possummomma attended your meeting, you anticipated the faithful falling left and right, becoming atheists before your very eyes? You appear to lack faith in your own faith.

"My husband is not afraid of her. He's in charge of protecting our followers from the blasphemy that she talks about."

He acts as if he has very little faith in the religious convictions of your group as well. Were all of you strong in your faith, I can't see how her presense would have been a problem.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Virginia aka Ginny said...

Your husband brought these things on himself and you may think you only need to follow "God's" law, but our society doesn't work that way.

Sean the Blogonaut said...

Huh?!

Ruination. I profess a morbid and totally voyeristic fascination with the events outlined here. Has the good pastor done something?

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Has the good pastor done something?

Yes. He has.
He was punished (or, will be). It's not as dramatic as OfWilliam made it out to be. Hence why I deleted her comment.

I don't know if I'm allowed to talk about it, at this point. I'm not even sure I want to talk about it, yet. It was a bit scary. But... yeah. When I'm told I can share, I will.

darrell said...

Not to push the issue, but now I'm absolutely enthralled by this whole saga. I hope everything is okay...scary is bad. Would love to hear the end of the story if you're comfortable telling it.

Sonny said...

I have been passively following this blog for a little while now and I decided to chime in.

to russ:

So, what you are saying, in essence is that there is no possibility, never could be any possibility of any sort of supernaturalism? So, based on the experience that you have had up to this point in your life, you claim to have completely pushed supernaturalism out of the race? You would deny the reliability of your senses (which have provided you the ability to perceive the natural world you believe in) rather than accept something that does not fit into a category of what you would accept as being correct? I acknowledge what you are saying about the cool space projector...it is possible that things may be explained by natural means that we do not yet understand. That is one thing, but isn't this as closed-minded as you accuse many Christians of being?

Now, I am not supporting all of the other crap that has gone on with this blog, but deciding that the world is THIS WAY and only THIS WAY based on our own limited experience (at most...100 years) is somewhat narrow-sighted, eh? I am not abdicating that we live life in a completely open-minded, naive, give-everyone-benefit-of-the-doubt fashion. We have to have some absolutes, but to close our minds completely and entirely in such a fashion seems to be a bit extremist to me.

One more thing: Evidence. I don't believe there is any conclusive evidence for Christianity. Even if Christians can show some "undeniable" miracle...it can always be interpreted differently. It is always possible that there is some level of naturalistic means that we do not yet understand. I am merely saying that we should give both, on some level, equal consideration. I am not telling anyone to believe this way or that way, I'm just saying that it seems unwise to close our mind completely.

I think we have to do some defining here, also. What, precisely is science? This seems to be the crux of naturalism, yes? Scientific explanations for the phenomenon existing in the world (change phenomenon to something else, if you want...i don't care)...I don't know exactly, but that seems to somehow fit to me. If this is so, can we expect science to EVER point to supernaturalism? What I mean is that science is not capable of that. It can only test things NATURALLY and, as such, can only lead to natural conclusions. There may be some inconclusive findings, etc. But there will never be a scientific experiment that PROVES supernatural-ANYTHING. Take the next step, science cannot, in a very strict philosophical sense, PROVE anything.

That was a bit of a rant, but one final question of clarification. I think you already mentioned this, but are you saying that the above-discussed issues should apply to everyone or just you? In YOUR life, YOU will never be able to accept supernaturalism? Or are you saying that these reasons should be conclusive for others as well? Finally, if you take the former subjectivist (sorry...blanket words) paradigm, where exactly do you stand on solipsism, nihilism and the like?

Anyway, maybe this will spark some more exciting, less bashing discussion...;)

Sonny said...

Also, I just wanted to bring it up. Just because there are a number of Christians that are as they seem to be described in a very negative light...fearful, frightened, brainless, naive, etc., is it fair to assert that the whole lot is such?

It is true that many Christians contradict themselves and HAVE committed intellectual suicide, but this is NOT the whole lot.

I understand that to qualify every single statement is annoying, but try and remember that there are people that think and believe things differently than you do, be it atheist, agnostic, theist, pantheist, whatever...just to mention some westerns...;) thx...

Sean the Blogonaut said...

Has the good pastor done something?

Yes. He has....




I understand.

Hope you are alright. You and your family first, the rest of us onlookers can probably hazard a guess anyway.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Hope you are alright.


You've got mail.

Carolus Hereticus said...

Recent events: Wow. Hang in there, P-momma. You're in our thoughts.

Supernatural: If there is ever any good evidence of incursion into the realm of reality from the realm of the supernatural, evidence that can be tested, verified, repeated, then I'll reconsider my stance that 'supernatural' is on par with fantasy and myth.

Haters: Not ALL Christians are haters, no question. But the ones who are make the rest look real bad.

Sean the Blogonaut said...

You've got mail.

Cheers

Berlzebub said...

I'm very sorry I came into this so late.

I love the stereotypes that xians give atheists. It might interest them to know that I was raised Pentecostal. Which meant that wearing shorts was considered a sign of vanity, even though the temps were in the triple digits. Although, the preacher's combover was never questioned... Until he questioned why I was wearing shorts one day.

Anyway, back on topic:

1) Why do you hate God?
Why do you hate Zeus, Thor, Aphrodite, Cthuthlu (not sure of spelling on that one), etc.? The only difference between you and I OfWilliam is that I believe in one less god than you. I cannot hate what does not exist. However, I can despise the rules that this imaginary deity forces you to abide by. Turning you all into unthinking sheep who never question why you're being herded.
2) Why do you hate Christians?
Simple answer. I don't. Much of my family, friends, and coworkers are Christians of several different denominations. Not to mention, my wife is Roman Catholic. We get along fine. I just don't appreciate someone assuming that because I don't share the shackles of their beliefs, that I'm somehow less happy or moral than they are.
3) Why do you want to take our faith away?
I don't. Leave "in God We Trust" and all the other things on the money. I don't care. Just don't push for laws to be passed that force your religious views on me. Perhaps, just perhaps, if stem cell research would have been allowed, my father would be able to walk without pain, because of his rheumatory arthritis.
4) If I could give you proof that God exists and Jesus was your savior would you believe?
Sure, as long as it's something that can be tested and proven. Bible quotes won't cut it, nor will straw man arguments about what you perceive my lifestyle to be.

If your God didn't want there to be atheists, he wouldn't have given us free will. And the only reason you are required to be submissive (still shivers at that term) to your husband is because Eve supposedly took a bite of the apple, and then had Adam do the same. So, unless God is not really omnipotent (that means all knowing, in case you didn't know), he knew it was going to happen, and punished every woman for it, anyway. According to scripture, that's why you feel the pain of child birth, serve the husband, etc. Not only was she framed, but you are still paying the price. What does that say about the love of your god.

-Berlzebub

PS. By the way, the female of every species gives birth. Did they all eat the apple?

Berlzebub said...

As an add on, P-Momma (I love how that sounds LOL), I hope that William will be suitably punished for whatever he did, and that you and your family are safe (or even better, never in any danger of harm).

I've been watching your blog for quite some time, and enjoy it quite a bit. William has been very entertaining, although in a scary way. I would like to know what he has done, but that is up to you (b_parks at fuse dot net).

Keep up the blog, P-momma. I'm planning on starting my own soon, and you will definitely be noted on it.

-Berlzebub

pmlyon said...

Hi everyone,

I'm finally delurking after about a year or so of following these issues pretty closely. Feels kind of weird, I must admit.

First off, I'd like to echo the sentiment that I hope all is well with p-momma and her family. I sincerely hope that nothing too crazy happened.

The point I specifically wanted to comment about is the one Russ made about supernaturalism. I completely agree with what he is saying about attributing all observed phenomenon to natural origins. I don't mean to say that the world is a certain way and that I'm close-minded to new possibilities. What I mean to say is that I think the world is whatever way the world is. Science, as far as I can see, is simply the best tool we have for discovering how it actually is.

Using the example of the bearded man descending from the clouds, why can't we examine this phenomenon scientifically to learn more about it? Does the G-man interact with the air molecules as he descends, potentially causing a shock wave? Does he fail to interact with the air molecules at all, only giving off the visible radiation allowing us to see him? Etc. etc.

Essentially, I can conceive of no observable phenomenon that we wouldn't be able to ask questions about, and, thus, learn about.

Looking forward to any feedback; again I really do find that delurking after all this time feels quite odd. LOL

Paul

sonny said...

Why is it that people take whatever piece of a person's worldview seems inconsistent and just stab stab stab with that?

There are inconsistencies regardless of what you believe, as far as atheistic naturalism is concerned, we could talk about the LACK of an origin theory all day long. We could talk about a finite naturalistic universe multiplying infinitely.

My point is, unless you want to actually enter into a conversation about certain objections, why bring them up? Is it wise to bash people because they think that the husband is the head? I agree that there is some crap going on, maybe more than I know about, but why does that devalidate the entire theory?

As far as what paul said, (the blogger that commented, not the apostle) (pmlyon, i believe?) I do not mean to say that there are any phenomena that we cannot consider and ask questions about. Quite the contrary, I think we SHOULD ask questions and use science to find whatever answers we can. My argument is that when science cannot come to a conclusive reason, why can't there be possibilities outside of strict naturalism? Sure, we live in a natural world, but we cannot actually prove (going back to the prove/science thing) anything. Does this mean that we should deny everything that science works for, altogether? I don't think so at all. But I do believe that science is one aspect of a person's worldview and should not be THE aspect of it.

Blunt point: We cannot expect to understand anything beyond what we already grasp (aka LEARN) if we come to the table with presuppositions that will never allow for the possibility of anything new.

Christianity isn't one thing anymore. There are far too many 'variations' of Christianity to talk about it as one thing. Some Christians say this, some say this. Blah blah blah...anyway.

Anyway, there is more to say but i must away. I look forward to the discussion.

sonny said...

Quickly, has anyone ever read George Smith's "Atheism: A Case Against God."?

LCR said...

Sonny said:

"My argument is that when science cannot come to a conclusive reason, why can't there be possibilities outside of strict naturalism?"

First problem with your question:

Science a tool. It is a tool that has been successfully used to explain how our world works. But like any tool, be it a hammer, a microscope, or a scapel, it is only as good or as powerful as the individual who is using it.

So when "science cannot come to a conclusive reason", as you put it, does that mean that we should assume that the tool of science has failed and search for another tool? That is an assumption filled with hubris for it assumes that the ones using that tool must have been infallible and therefore no natural explanation exists.

Science is a powerful tool but it is limited by our current understanding of the world around us. If, using science, we fail to understand a phenomena, it is better to assume that the failure is because of us. WE fail to see the connections. WE fail to develope the technology to conduct the proper experiments. WE fail to wrap our limited brains around a concept and see it clearly. The process of science is not at fault. We are.

Does it make sense that to conclude that science failing to give us an answer must be science's fault is blaming the tool when the blame is more properly put upon the user? Faulting science with our failure to understand something is giving our intelligence way too much credit. It denies our fallibility as humans, and then in turn, denies the potential explanatory power of the scientific method.

Second problem with your question:

Lets go ahead and try to understand the world around us WITHOUT science, or "naturalism" as you call it. How do you test your ideas? How do you compare which answer is best? How do you disprove (not prove) an idea and fail to disprove another? You can't, not without the scientific method. There is no way around the fact that without science and the scientific method (i.e., "naturalism") that you can actually know how our world works and came to be. Without science, you have only guesses and "maybes" and "what if" with no conclusions. That's fine in a philosophical discussion. But it will give you no definitive explanations.

Matt D. said...

Sonny wrote: "we could talk about the LACK of an origin theory all day long"

And how is that relevant? Your implication is that the lack of explanation for origins represents a flaw in the world view. This simply isn't true. It's not a flaw, it's an honest gap - a gap that we'd prefer to fill with knowledge rather than dogma.

What does represent a flawed world view is the acceptance of origin explanations on faith.

Additionally, atheism isn't a worldview, it's a lack of belief in a god. Everything else is beyond that scope (though it can be related).

You keep implying that "these" Christians might be a little over the top, but other Christians have good reasons for what they believe.

I don't lump all Christians into one bucket (at least not frequently) and if a comment doesn't apply to you - then it doesn't apply. It's hardly our fault if you choose to share a label with millions of other people who use that label to mean thousands of different things.

When I say "Sonny believes" and "Sonny is wrong about" - then I'm talking about you. When I say "Chrisian" I'm talking about various orthodoxies and common perceptions. I might talk about specific doctrines and issues under different Christian labels, but I try not to over-generalize. However - if you guys can't figure out who is a true Christian, I'm certainly not going to waste time on it.

If you think you've been represented unfairly - please explain what you believe and why you think it's justified and I'll be happy to tell you whether or not I agree, and why.

Stephanie said...

P-momma,

I hope everything is OK with you and your family. I'm curious as to what may have happened, but understand that it may not be allowed to be discussed. I hope whatever happens that you will not need to worry about anything else happening in the future.

Maggie Rosethorn said...

Possummamma...I hope you and your family are all well and safe. What ever William did, it was WRONG to do to another human being. Having dealt with a stalker for years, (one reason I'm quitting blogging) my heart goes out to you and yours.

sonny said...

Some clarification:

I am not arguing that, as soon as science fails to give an adequate answer that we throw it out. I agree with your argument, but it goes both ways. A tool's worth is not defined by the person using the tool. Given, if someone trys to turn a screw with a hammer, the hammer is not at fault. But the tool itself has its own definition and worth outside of the user. The user has skill in the tool and its use, but the results of the process (not the tool itself) are contingent upon the combination of the tool and the user. What does that have to do with anything? Science itself is a tool, I agree with you there. Science itself, has its limitations, just as any tool. Science, too, must be considered to be limited. Science will ALWAYS find natural results because that is all it is looking for. Science is incapable of finding anything else. I am not saying (right now) one thing or another about the existence of supernaturalism, merely that science can never EVER point to it. By definition science is incapable of this.

I'm back to the whole presuppositions thing. Can we expect to arrive anywhere without having an open mind? By "open mind" I do not mean that we should investigate every possible explanation. But, to disregard any explanation than the one we presently believe in without giving any others a chance, THAT is my problem.

I agree with you, Icr, in regards to the whole issue of fallibility and the inherent ignorance of denying science, etc. I do not mean to deny the validity of science itself or to argue that we should totally disregard it anytime we see an indiscrepancy. I am not saying that, under any circumstances, we should throw science out altogether. I am, however, acknowledging the limitation of science.

I do not mean to argue that science is at fault. Indeed not, it is a tool and cannot be so. Instead, it is our responsibility to use our tools efficiently.

If we cannot "see" an answer, it is utter audacity to blame science. I merely propose that other explanations be CONSIDERED. If there is no answer that is readily seen through the scope of science, then why do we allow for a monopoly on possibilities?

I realize there are some holes there (which will undoubtedly be pointed out), but I don't have too much time presently. I'm sure all this will be brought up again anyway.

Two things: I did not suggest science be thrown out altogether at any point. Moreover, I do not equate science, necessarily, with naturalism. Natuarlism, however, is where science points. Most atheists are natuarlistic ones, that may be a generalization, but I think it is fair. ;)

to matt d.:

I do not consider the lack or an origin theory to be a flaw, but I do consider it an inconsistency. From there you talk about accepting things on faith as a flaw. I think most people would accept the statement that science requires faith too. I don't see this as a flaw. To accept a strictly naturalistic world view (you are right about atheism not being a worldview, but i do relate it to naturalism) that does have a number of gaps requires faith. It is impossible to live without faith (in a sense).

The relevance is related to the fact that, yes, i am equating certain inconsistencies in a biblical worldview with inconsistencies of other worldviews.

Fair enough. I'll give in on the issue that Christians share their title. Maybe Christians shouldn't share their title, maybe they should. Either way, my point was, and is:

My point is, unless you want to actually enter into a conversation about certain objections, why bring them up? Is it wise to bash people because they think that the husband is the head? I agree that there is some crap going on, maybe more than I know about, but why does that devalidate the entire theory?

alright then...;)

LCR said...

Sonny:

"Science itself, has its limitations, just as any tool. Science, too, must be considered to be limited."

That's right. Science is the process of trying to develop natural explanations for the environment around us. Therefore it is limited to explaining that environment, though our "environment" is potentially huge, including our entire universe and perhaps beyond.

"Science will ALWAYS find natural results because that is all it is looking for. Science is incapable of finding anything else."

Yes, as science is looking for natural explanations, that is the type of result it will always attain. Science necessarily must work with conditions that are observable and repeatable, and hypothetical explanations must be falsifiable. As such supernatural explanations, by definition, are not useful within the realm of science.

"I am not saying (right now) one thing or another about the existence of supernaturalism, merely that science can never EVER point to it. By definition science is incapable of this."

And I ask you why we need to posit the existance of a supernatural entity at all? If we are able to understand (now or in the future) our environment through natural explanations, why do we need to even bother considering other non-natural explanations which not only require us to invent some supernatural entity that is not observable, but involves developing invalid, unfalsifiable hypotheses from which we can draw no conclusions? How exactly will that help us with problems such as disease, pollution, and feeding an ever growing human population? It can't. If you wish to philosophize about some supernatural explanation about the world, go for it. But that does nothing to advance human knowledge.

"But, to disregard any explanation than the one we presently believe in without giving any others a chance, THAT is my problem."

Ah, that IS the problem. Scientists don't "believe" in nature. They don't "believe" in the scientific method or hypotheses or theories or conclusions. They observe nature. They use the scientific method. They test hypotheses and dump them like hot potatoes if they are not supported. They accept well-supported theories because they have been well-supported so far. And they draw conclusions and use those conclusions to ask more questions, develop more hypotheses, etc., etc., etc.. There is no "belief" involved. Scientists are open to all ideas as long as they are falsifiable. To consider non-falsifiable explanations will do nothing toward the goal of science which is to better our understanding of our surroundings.

"I am, however, acknowledging the limitation of science."

As have I. The problem is that you are ignoring that attempting to understand our world via the supernatural approach would have even greater limitations. It would be purely speculative with no ability to produce useful, productive conclusions.

"If there is no answer that is readily seen through the scope of science, then why do we allow for a monopoly on possibilities?"

Because it is unreasonable to suppose that the natural world does not have a natural explanation. It is more reasonable to suppose that we have not yet found the natural explanation than to assume the explanation must be supernatural. But I will humor you. How? Please explain to me how these other "possibilities" would allow us to better understand our world in the way that science does, so that we can use that understanding to make us healthier, stronger, to keep the environment cleaner, to prevent cancer, lower mortality rates, cure diabetes... That's why science does what it does. Ultimately for practical purposes such as these. How can supernatural explanations help us in the real, "natural" world?

darrell said...

Sonny:

Sorry you thought some people here were just trying to beat you to death and not have a conversation. While I don't really agree with any of your arguments it's nice to have them presented in a way other than "Because the Bible says so." And that's what we usually get from the theist side of the coin.

Why don't I agree with any of your arguments? For me it completely and utterly boils down to one thing: evidence. In my personal experience I have never observed any evidence for anything that could remotely be called "supernatural." Therefore I don't believe in anything beyond our natural world.

You're fine when you say that science can't explain everything, but you're wrong when you all of a sudden assume that since science (which is essentially "observation" for all intents and purposes) can't explain some things, that means there's some far-fetched explanation with absolutely no observable evidence. Science isn't about what you can feel (unless by feel, you mean touch...), it's about what you can observe and record. Sure, there's a lot of conjectural science too, but it's based on things we are more familiar with, and it's happy to be proved wrong and usurped by a better theory. Faith is conjectural, but it's based on nothing but some other human being's fallable word, and often it isn't so happy about change.

As for living without "faith"...what's the problem? I do live without faith in the Christian sense. Sure we don't know exactly how the universe began, but we know that we can keep trying to find out. To quote Billy Bragg, "Mine is a faith in my fellow man." From a naturalistic worldview, not knowing things is not a crisis, we're not that worried about it. We love to discover, we love to learn. The problem most of us have with religion (and why we're such an atheistic lot) is that theism causes a laziness of intellect that is astounding. People are content to derive all their knowledge from one source, sorta like only checking Wikipedia while writing a paper. And our problem with apologists is that they're free-thinkers who could be amazing scientific minds but for their slavery to "faith." Our "faith" does not presuppose anything, unlike theists often claim. We're not out to prove our version of the story, we're just out for the truth.

We're ready to accept what can be demonstrated and proven, and to this day not a single apologist, Christian, IDiot, New Ager, theist, nutjob, professor, child, tv presentor, pastor, pope, or whoever has provided ONE SHRED of evidence for us that the supernatural exists.

Got anything for me?

Nance said...

Given, if someone trys to turn a screw with a hammer, the hammer is not at fault.
***
If you reach for a hammer to turn a screw, you do not know what a hammer is for or how a screw works.

When the hammer does not work to turn a screw, if you reach for a magic wand, you still do not know how a screw works and you have added a layer of magic to the problem.

This is not progress toward understanding the hammer, the screw or anything else.

Nance

pmlyon said...

Sonny,

Thanks for the feedback. It's nice to be able to have these discussions without people looking at you like you just killed their favorite pet--hi Mom! ;-).

Not to sound like a broken record, but I guess I'm not really sure what supernatural is supposed to mean. If a god were to exist, why wouldn't it be natural? If its behavior exhibited any sort of pattern, would we not be able to examine those patterns and begin to come up with some theories?

Essentially, I guess I see science as the way in which we suss out the patterns of the universe around us.

Perhaps I'm oversimplifying or misunderstanding something, but if there is no pattern to something, it would just be randomness. If there is a pattern to something, what would qualify that pattern as supernatural as opposed to natural?

Russ said...

Sonny,

Thank you for your consideration, but I think you may have misunderstood my posts.

Please search the thread for the string "To C.W." to read my response to C. W. in this regard. Closely following the search string, you will find the string "FOR ME" which I think lays out my subjectivist orientation.

At one point you say, "... but isn't this as closed-minded as you accuse many Christians of being?" Where you prefer a term with derogatory connotations, "closed-minded," I couch it instead in language which satisfies me: after rigorous examination, I consider it settled that supernaturalism is impossible.

Every instance of supernaturalism claimed by man has a human source. We observe supernaturalism nowhere independent of the illusion-susceptible human mind. Supernaturalism is a product only of the human imagination. This imagination provides us with an entire toolworks for manipulating the natural resources of the mind whether real or wholly imaginary: ideas, conceptions, thoughts, visions, patterns, models, representations, emotions, for example. The mind machines these raw materials using, in part, analogy, metaphor, allegory, simile, juxtaposition, and anthropomorphization. For instance, combining wolf and man, we can get werewolf. Combining dead man and memory of same man alive, we get ghost. Combining thunderstorm and man, we get god of lightning or god of rain.

These are of course already well established supernatural conceptions completely sown, tended and harvested in the mind of man, but we can make one up right here, right now, like a role-playing game. Name: Lobav. Power: omnipotent. Hat: blue jello stovepipe. Robe: purple with clear sleeves and having a few dozen scarabs crawling over it. Wand: the enchanted and still-living finger of a Vak Toad of Gumeer. Residence: in the unknown, specifically, in everything forgotten. Proof of existence: you can't disprove it even though I just made it up, so that proves it exists. Go ahead, make up one of your own. It will be no less legitimate and no less disprovable than Zeus or God, both imaginary creations of the human mind, just like werewolves, gnomes, elves, fairies, and my new favorite, Lobav, lord of all forgotten.

Sonny, when I'm asked to justify why it is that I think supernaturalism is impossible, I always find the questioner to be at a loss in deciding which supernaturalisms I should be open-minded about. Should I remain open to werewolves? Should I remain open to demons? How about gods? Should everyone be open-minded about gods since their supernatural -- functionally a synonym for imaginary -- conceptions are loaded with terrible threats? Which supernatural ideas is it most important to be open to? Well, none, actually. It's completely senseless to conjecture that proof for anything supernatural will ever be produced.

For thousands of years, people have labored under the assumption of the truth of supernaturalism despite no indication at all that any of it is real, and when consideration is given to the great harm to mankind caused by embracing these profane fantasies - tortures, executions, wars, crusades, bloodletting, social and personal oppression, for emphasis - it's quite sensible to deem it completely impossible.

Sonny, at one point, you say, "If this is so, can we expect science to EVER point to supernaturalism? What I mean is that science is not capable of that. It can only test things NATURALLY and, as such, can only lead to natural conclusions. There may be some inconclusive findings, etc." Now, I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, but it seems to me that you're saying: If we are not looking specifically for the supernatural in science, we're going to miss it when it shows up. Does this mean that it only exists, if we "believe" in it? Frankly, Sonny, comparing the complete impotence of what has passed for supernaturalism over thousands of years, to the great power of naturalism through science, albeit admittedly not perfect, demonstrated in just the last few centuries, I'd have to say that humanity misses out only if we don't invest more in naturalism while investing less in supernaturalism.

Russ said...

P-Momma,

I'm a late-comer to today's scandalous-sounding events. I hope all is well. Please give us some feedback as time, prudence, mental health and willingness permit.

I for one would like to know if the exchanges here have pushed William over the edge. I do hope we have not incited him to violence against your family.

Hoping you the best,

Russ

intepid said...

OfWilliam,

You said: "I think atheists really love Christians because we keep the moral standard that helps them live in a nice society. They also hate us because we get in the way of their do as you will lifestyle. Atheists hate Christians because we try to make the world a moral place. We have a higher calling."

When you throw out insults like that it sounds like you actually *want* us to hate you. Perhaps this is so you can smile wanly and be even more patronizing about how we godless are so damn angry all the time and can't partake of your oh-so-civilized discourse (on why we suck and by definition can never be happy).

C.W. said...

I would interpret my seeing the "giant bearded dude riding from the sky in a golden chariot" as some natural phenomenon, possibly not yet teased out by science, but natural nonetheless.

Agreed, sort of. My point with the Zeus example was that the distinction between "natural" and "supernatural" is moot. It's fundamentally meaningless. If the distinction is to mean anything at all, "supernatural" has to be a property of the explanation, not of the thing being explained: Something is supernatural when the speaker doesn't want to understand it.

Suppose my giant chariot rider turned out to be a 3000 year old, technologically advanced space alien who once gave rise to the greek stories about Zeus. Then for all intents and purposes he would be Zeus. What, exactly, would it mean to say that he's not really Zeus because he's "natural"? As far as I can tell, it wouldn't mean anything at all.

What I'm trying to say is that there's no reason to engage in special pelading for the "supernatural", as "sophisticated" theists tend to do. It's all very simple: If you make a claim, then support it. So far, theists have been unable to do that. But IMHO they're certainly welcome to try. Not that I'm holding my breath or anything...

Carlie said...

How about this, OfWilliam:

Real Christians don't frighten people, or stalk children. You and your family have just lost any moral ground you ever thought you had to stand on, and you'll never be able to get it back.

R Nicolas said...

Carlie said:

"Real Christians don't frighten people, or stalk children."

Not meaning to strike at Carlie in anyway, but I would argue that Christian philosophy by it's very nature does just that, and lends itself quite well to terrible acts of terrorism.

Many evil people use Christian teachings to excuse their own faults, and as is seen in this case it is generally good people who suffer in some way or another.

P-Momma

I sincerely hope that all is well with you and your family and understand any decision made to get away from this or similar subjects.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, honey. I can't take out the trash anymore. Turns out I'm designed for higher concerns. I know, it comes as a surprise to me, too, but it totally makes sense. Hey, there's a book I want you to read.

Eclectic Infidel said...

The Christians = cowards. Bottom line.