Friday, September 28, 2007

Possum play.

I received an e-mail from John R. (blog troll). It reads as follows:
If atheist children were taught that Christianity is the chosen religion of moral people and that their country was based on Christian morals and values I wouldn't have such a problem with your family. You are not telling them this I bet. You're harming them. You don't realize how vulnerable to sin your children are. They don't have the 10 Commandments to guide them. I have seen atheist children filthy with no conscience. Religious children are better children. Atheist children are empty shells. I will pray for your family.

John, you're a friggin' idiot! How about this? You deal with your family and I'll deal with mine? In twenty years, we'll check back with each other and see who turned out the most productive, happiest members of society. Deal?

Hey John! Look!! We play together, too.
I'm on ur computer, bustin' yer' stereotypes.

It was a beautiful evening. We ended up having a pick-up game of basketball in the driveway.

Jack and I are GOING TO podcast on Sunday evening. Promise!


shaun said...

John R = Huge cock-knocker. Oh, and is completely uninformed.

Speaking of raising freethinking children, do you recommend "Parenting Beyond Belief"? I was reading about it on Amazon and was thinking of purchasing, but I wanted to know if the book was worth it. My daughter just turned 1 the other day and it got me thinking about how to raise her again. So far, I've been going on instinct alone (since at this moment, she's really unable to ask any questions. You know, the whole "language" thing.) But it won't be far off before they do start coming, especially since most of the people who love her and take care of her (besides us), are ALWAYS talking about god this and god that...

Anonymous said...

PBB had a few good articles/stories in it. But, it really wasn't any more informative or thoughtful than what you'll find on atheist parent blogs. I'm a voracious reader (about a book a day)...this one took me a while to get through because of the format (short essays).

SurvivorMama said...

I guess John R is unaware that our Founding Fathers were actually Deists, rather than Christians...

Jennifer said...

I could see the conversation now:

"Well, you see kids, actually 'Christianity is the chosen religion of moral peoples,' but I just hate those morals. That's why I didn't 'choose' Christianity."

I also love this: "They don't have the 10 Commandments to guide them." As far as "moral" behavior goes (and I don't know about you, but I tend to shun the so-called "morals," which are mostly arbitrary and used to further current cultural and political power schemes, and endorse the more universal "ethics", which arise from our evolved traits of altruism and fair play), the Possums have their own instinctive and learned sets of ethics to guide them, and if those fail, there are laws (based on the same sets of ethics) to further guide them. If all of those are not enough, the threat of punishment (albiet entirely human, material punishment, as opposed to the hellfire afterlife variety) awaits.

On a different note, it looked like a beautiful, fun evening. I have to say, if it were my family (not so much now that we're older, but when we were kids), it would have been full of bickering, and someone probably would have ended up running off crying. I'm not trying to go all john r "you're family is too suspiciously perfect" on you, rather, trying to give you a compliment: you all are AMAZING. It looks as though every day is a joy for you that you can spend with your family.

And how is it you can raise four kids, have a good relationship with your husband, blog constantly, AND read a book a day?? Good jebus, woman, you must never sleep!

Love, Jen

Perpetual Beginner said...

"...Christianity is the chosen religion of moral people."

I guess John R. isn't teaching his children about Gandhi then.

redd said...

Doesn't John know about the verse that says 'judge not, lest ye be judged" (Matt. 7:1)...and "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone" (John 8:7) and..well, if he would actually read his bible, he'd see that it is NOT HIS PLACE to condemn anyone else. (Of course, if he actually read the book, he would be an atheist, but that's another tale for another time...)
Since over 2/3 of the world's population reject christianity, and the vast majority of christians don't buy into John's version of choice, but instead choose a different sect or denomination, how on earth are we to know which one is the moral belief system? How does John know?

Ignorance obviously leads to condemnation and judmentalism... but you stay ignorant, John, and keep your kids the same.
Your words only drive me further from your belief system. Good job; your god must be so proud.....

Anonymous said...

I'm not trying to go all john r "you're family is too suspiciously perfect" on you, rather, trying to give you a compliment: you all are AMAZING. It looks as though every day is a joy for you that you can spend with your family.

Thanks for the compliment! Interestingly, we don't have many issues when the kids are playing. The older two are really compassionate and empathetic, so they really try to help the smaller two as much as possible. It helps to have TWO basketballs, though. Just in case. LOL
The bickering in this house comes in spurts. Usually it's between the girls. P3 has boundary issues. LOL She thinks P1's room, and things, are hers. We're working on that. Honestly, I think it's that P3 wants to be P1. If I were 12, I might find that annoying, too.

And how is it you can raise four kids, have a good relationship with your husband, blog constantly, AND read a book a day?? Good jebus, woman, you must never sleep!

1) I speed read.
2) I only sleep about 6 hours a night.
3) I keep a book in my purse so I can read at appointments and stuff.

Maggie Rosethorn said...

Oh Pmomma, what a fun evening! That basketball is almost as big as Possum#3.

You know, I feel sorry for John. He will never know the joy and fun you and Pdaddy have with with your children, because he is too afraid of the invisible sky daddy frowning on him.

My children actually became freethinkers before I admitted that I was. (Childling #2 actually was interested in Wiccan for a long time). But I just let them go in any direction they wanted to go in. I raised them to respect themselves and to respect others. What more can a parent do? My reward is in having 2 children who are loving, productive members of society, without fear of a god-being.

Poodles said...

Look at how miserable those kids look. You can see the agony in their eyes. It's amazing they can even function.

John R needs to go away. Warren Jeffs is a "good christian prophet" and he makes young girls marry old perverts.

john said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RenoAtheist said...

Ok John, you win! I have been trying not to respond your irrational rantings but I have had enough. Why the contempt for pmomma? Why do you feel it necessary to continue commenting on a site where you repeatedly get shot down by rationality? Do you believe that your god has called you to do this? Did god put this hate for pmomma in your heart? When I first began visiting pmomma’s blog I thought that you were an atheist doing a parody of the worst possible stereotype of a Christian. It is unfortunate that this is not that case. If it were you would be a comic genius! But back to my point. Why are you here? You can’t possibly be attempting to ‘save’ pmomma and her wayward family (LOL!), as all you do is spew damnation and hellfire garbage at her. You must just enjoy getting us atheist all riled up. So good job, you accomplished your goal. Since you are here, and you’re probably not going away anytime soon, please allow me to give you a few pointers:

1) Not everyone thinks like you or should think like you, or anyone else for that matter! Religion aside, part of what makes a society work is that people have different points of view. This allows those who are open to the opinions and thoughts of others to see a problem/idea from many angles, and use this information to create the best possible outcome. When you respond to someone’s blog/comment please keep this in mind along with the fact that your opinion is not any more important than anyone else’s.

2) Atheists are not people who know that your god exists and choose to pretend that he does not. Atheists do not believe…period! So why then would Pmomma tell her children that Christianity is the choice of moral people? She does not view that to be true. Are you now suggesting that she lie to her children about what she believes, would that not break one of your commandments? (if you try to argue that Christianity being the choice of moral people would not be a lie…please see #3, and look I even used my tip #5 by pointing that out to you…isn’t this fun!!!)

3) You do not KNOW that you are right!!! Wouldn’t it be a shame if you brought hundreds of souls to the Lord only to find out in the end that you should have been worshiping Allah this whole time! There are, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and many many other religions that not only believe, just as much as you do, that their religion is the one TRUE religion, but also have just as much proof to back it up. (i.e. religious texts, people claiming miracles, that “warm, fuzzy” feeling when they pray)

4) If you really want to bring people to Christianity, you would show them the beauty of christ’s love, not your earthly contempt for anyone who dares to think differently. Why don’t you show us your loving Christian side, instead of the contemptuous fanatic that has been coming through in your comments?

5) And finally, if your respond to this, or to anyone else’s comments, please think before you do so. Think about how we will respond to you. Read your comments before posting them and try to figure out how we will interpret them. You have complained before about not being ‘heard’, well this is a great way to remedy that.

While I seriously doubt that you will even take a moment to consider any of what I’ve written, I hope that you will lay off Pmomma. Giving her grief on her first blog back from being seriously ill was disgusting and cruel; not to mention petty. You were picking on her about children’s clothing! If that’s the type of person you really are, I feel sorry for you.

I apologize for the length of this comment. I feel like I've been lecturing a child, but really John, that's how you’re acting. If you would like to take you toys and go home, you won't be missed!

Tatarize said...

"Christianity is the chosen religion of moral people and that their country was based on Christian morals and values I wouldn't have such a problem with your family. You are not telling them this I bet. You're harming them."

-- Since when has not lying to your children been harmful? Can't Possummamma just follow the ten commandments herself and stone her children to death when the fail to follow the fifth?

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...


You sanctimonious buffoon. I can only hope that you daughter has the benefit of someone to teach her how to think for herself - for that is what will generate the best life choices.

(Sanctimonious = holier-than-thou: excessively or hypocritically pious) - just for you John.

Russ said...

John R.

Below I will share a comment I made a while back on this site in response to a Mr. John Raybenhaus who commented along the lines of what you've said here. Perhaps you are that same John R. If so, realize that many of the persons you interact with here were reared to think of Christianity as true, but when reality led them to a path of clearer understanding of themselves, their fellow man and the world around them, they did that thing which was the most rational, the most honest, and the most morally correct: they abandoned the observably flawed notions of Christianity in favor of concepts, ideas, methods, techniques, and thinking processes that more closely mirror reality.

John, I pity persons like you who consciously choose not to understand this marvelous reality we amazing humans inhabit while you, swaddled in your sacred security blanket of ignorance, erroneously make the claim that you know reality to be different than knowledgeable people with a scientific perspective understand it to be. There is a pitiful irony in the fact that your concept of a supernatural world has been constructed from your ignorance of the natural world, an ignorance that unites and binds you with your religious brethren. As I see it, the ties that bind your religious community are ignorance, dishonesty and intellectual laziness, not some deity, not some savior. When you want to explain the world your communally-sustained ignorance leaves you no option but to rely on some similarly ignorant person's revelations or bizarre religious notions, your intellectual laziness keeps you from pursuing the truth about the world, and, all the while you in blatant dishonesty suggest to others that they are in error when they choose not to prance along with you on what has shown itself historically to be a completely useless path to follow. Yes, I truly pity you.

For almost all of human history ignorance has reigned supreme with silly supernaturalism, including the goofiness of religions like Christianity, having coercive precedence over reason and rationality. The benefit to mankind of all those millenia of gods, demons, spirits, ghosts and the like was little more than piling rocks, a la Stonehenge, the Pyramids, and other monuments to the non-existent supernatural. Then, once reason and scientific thinking had but a toehold in the walls of the pit religion had dumped us into, we began to understand the structure of the cosmos, the nature of the biological world and the relationship of humanity to it all. We began to climb out of the pit. The benefit to mankind of those few short centuries of enlightened inquiry has been a truly phenomenal -- not miraculous and not supernatural -- testament to power of the human mind when unoppressed unencumbered and unburdened by religious thought.

John, if you can find it in your heart to honestly compare and contrast what man was able to accomplish with religious thought versus what he has done without it, you will at least understand why so many people today are saying goodbye to religion and other supernaturalism as well. Religion does not work and many of us choose not to follow along in pretending it does.

Here's that previous comment.

Dear Mr. Raybenhaus,

You said, "I don't think any talk like this[meaning atheism] should be public. This whole blog should be taken donw for its blasphemy." Frankly, John, statements like this make it almost impossible for me - probably for many others gathering here as well - to give serious consideration to anything you have to say. Personally, I really do not like to simply dismiss people, since I know that differences as simple as language often keep me from understanding. I'm willing to work at comprehending, but when you start with words like these you come off, not as worthy of serious engagement, but instead as rather silly.

This talk - that is, the analysis and criticism of religion - these ideas and concepts need desperately to be public in every age and time. Without regular open public discussion of issues related to religion and religious practices, looking at Catholicism as an example, centuries can pass wherein the rape of children becomes part of the religious institutional norm. Each time a known Roman Catholic rapist priest was disclosed, the church swept it under the rug as best it could, then actually promoted those immoral pedophilic and rapist acts by providing the pervert with a new completely unsuspecting batch of victims in a different parish. Realize this John: not having the church activities, attitudes, and ideas fully available for public scrutiny, allowed it to become an institutional pimp for pervert priests, a role it continues to play even today. Notice, John, that the god you claim we here are blaspheming, has never done anything to protect the innocent children victimized under the full authority of the Catholic church.

Now, JR, I'm going to say something that is a bit abrasive, but this is how I see it: If your useless god would get off its dead ass and do something useful like protect children from pedophile priests or answer prayers as it claims in the Gospels, it would be apparent even to non-believers, but it does nothing at all. Religious faith does not mean shit, John, if the thing you place your faith in does nothing. Religious faith does not mean shit, John, if you must manufacture examples of your god at work by intentionally misunderstanding the natural world, science, and mathematics. Religious faith does not mean shit, John, when the miracles proping it up are observably just poorly understood natural phenomena, medical misdiagnoses, or deep meaning ascribed to 100 percent supernatural-free coincidences. Your religious faith counts for exactly zilch.

John, if you really meant, "I don't know any atheists that can make a moral choice to save their life," it's clear you know no atheists since every person with a functioning mind living in the presence of others makes moral decisions.


Jeffrey Boser said...

John, Jesus himself told how to recognize his true followers.

They will be the ones feeding the hungry, slaking the thirsty, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, visted the prisoner.

You're a liar if you call yourself Christian. You offer not compassion or comfort, you offer condemnation which is not yours to give, but only belong to an authority above your own.

Go have fun with your friend Paul.

DiverL said...

I drives me nuts when people think I'm not raising my children without morals because we're not religious.

Check out good ole fashioned Dr. Sears:

Nope, not one mention of GOD!

amarullis said...

John said:
she is vulnerable to bad choices because there's no one for her heart to ask for guidance. You can't be around all of the time.

As a 31 year old woman, both of my parents are always in my heart, there to comfort me and give me guidance. They are my moral compass. They will be there, even after their physical deaths, until I die. This is because they personally taught me the lessons of life.
I can't imagine that it would be better to turn to the values of someone your are taught about (Jesus, God, etc), than to the values of someone who taught you directly.
Plus my parents truely love me unconditionally. God/ Jesus can't say that.

Anonymous said...

I drives me nuts when people think I'm not raising my children without morals because we're not religious.

I thought you were still in the closet and your girls went to Awana? Looking from the outside in, I'm sure people have no clue that you're an atheist... they're not going to question the morals of a parent who sends their child to Awana. :) That would mean questioning themselves.

tina said...

I'm not so sure that this guy is the real deal. Sounds too off the wall.

Russ said...


On blogs I'm convinced there is no such thing as "too off the wall."

For examples of even more "off the wall" check out PMomma's post "Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Possum #1 makes us proud" and the Tale of Pastor William the Troll which ran for many days afterward until Pastor William the Troll landed in real legal trouble for accosting Possum 1 at her school bus stop. It's a truly twisted tale and even more off the wall than John R. the Troll.

Anonymous said...

I've been doing some net sleuthing on "John R". And, yes, Russ...I think it's the same John who called himself "John Reybenhaus". Why? Because, an IP search (from one of the e-mails) leads back to a IP address which is registered to John Ben (Ben being the last name). Further search results in a middle name of Ray. And, what do you know... that John has a daughter named Mary-Brynn. The venom may come from the fact that the Ip can also be found on several Quiverfull sites!! John is a Duggar wanna-be.

Ok. Gotta' get ready for podcasting.

LCR said...

John said,

"I asked my oldest child Brynn how she would feel if she didn't welcome the holy spirit and she said she would feel abandoned and lost. Brynn turns to the spirit when life is hard."

That is simply horrifying. If my daughter said that, I would be watching her for signs of depression. A child should be able to turn to those around her, her family, her friends, her teachers, her mentors, in hard times. She should be so surrounded by loving people that she should never feel that the absence of some supernatural being would leave her feeling abandoned. This does not speak well of your parenting skills.

"Why would you name your daughter Grace if you don't have any?"

Why do you call yourself a Christian and yet do not act in a way consistant with Christ-like behavior depicted in the bible?

Shame on you for attacking a child. Pmomma's children are beautiful, both in body and in spirit ... you are just too blinded by your beliefs to see it, or perhaps just to admit it.

AlisonM said...

May I first point out that Christianity is rarely a "chosen religion" at all. While there are people who convert, the overwhelming majority of christians were born to christian parents and taught to be christians. No choice about it.

And john, I feel sorry for Brynn. To be told that when she has trouble, she should talk to god about it is incredibly damaging to a child or young person. You're telling her that she should go away, leave you alone, and figure it out for herself. No wonder there are more teen pregnancies, abortions, and juvenile crime in predominantly christian states - the kids get a bunch of lessons on what the bible says is good or bad, then they're left to figure out everything else on their own. If they have a problem or a question and they ask "god", they're making their own decisions based on their own flawed or limited knowledge.

Atheist kids have to actually talk to someone who'll talk back. When they are told something is good or bad, it leads to a discussion of why, and some possible scenarios in which the child might run into the issue, and how to handle it. The atheist child is given the details so he or she can make the right decision in real life. Atheist kids don't have to "ask their hearts" for guidance, or pray for correct answers, or take vows for anything, because they are already strong with knowledge, supported by real people who will give them real answers, and have a moral strength based on an understanding of reality and themselves.

DiverL said...

*I'm* out of the closet, PM, I just don't scream it to the world, except on my blog. And when I said "we're" not religious, I primarily meant me and hubby, also meaning we aren't churchgoers. Only Juju is in Awana now, and I'm having my doubts about letting her continue. Because she's starting to come out of it with some good hard questions. I let her go because her best friend goes. I'm still all about letting her finding her own way. She's always had a weird attachment to the bible.

After Halo (her nickname, hahaha) went to Awana she declared herself an agnostic. I'm hoping Juju makes the same choice, but I will let it be HER choice. I believe she should see both sides of the coin.

evodevo goddess said...

*I'm* out of the closet, PM, I just don't scream it to the world, except on my blog.
Are you implying that screaming it to the world is a bad thing?

Only Juju is in Awana now, and I'm having my doubts about letting her continue.
I was in Awana from 2000-2005. Do you know what they're teaching your child? Here's a piece of their mission statement -
We believe that the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is supernaturally inspired, so that it is inerrant in the original manuscripts and preserved by God in its verbal and plenary inspiration, so that it is a divinely authoritative standard for every age and every life. (Matthew 5:18; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21)

Also, from Awana's mission statement;
"We believe in God as absolute and sole Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and that creation was by divine command, from nothing and not through an evolutionary process. (John 1:3, 10; Acts 17:24-25; Genesis 1:1)"

Did you know that's what they teach? I came out of Awana very confused. I got to university and buckled because evolution had been castigated so often in Awana that I felt like my professors must be wrong. I'm a recent atheist, but Awana did not help me see both sides of the issue. Awana taught me that science was to be scorned and humans were sinful and morally corrupt.
We believe that all men are morally corrupt, and of themselves utterly unable to remedy their lost condition. (Genesis 1:26-27; Romans 1:18, 3:23, 5:12; Ephesians 2:1-3, 12)

How- as an atheist- can you consciously send your daughter to a place that has this to say about the world;
"We believe in the personal, premillennial and imminent coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead, of the believer to everlasting glory and the unbeliever to judgment and everlasting conscious punishment. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; Titus 2:11-13; John 14:1-6; Matthew 25:46; Revelation 20:11-15; 2 Peter 3:10)
Kids should be shown both sides of the coin, but parents should be parents and take the matters of sin, supernatural beings, and morality out of the hands of the church if they claim to be atheists. This isn't letting your child see the other side. I was in Awana for five years and I can tell you that they regard atheists to be the worst of the worst sinners. Blasphemy is the ultimate sin to them. As an atheist- why would you send your child to Awana? It's not a game to the Awana people. My dad has been an atheist for thirty years. My mother was the one who put me in Awana after their divorce. Awana made life horrible for my dad and I. You can expose your children to belief without allowing them to be indoctrinated into a harmful organization. Awana doesn't stop to consider if their message is balanced or even factually correct.

Sorry for blog-jacking, Pmomma.

evodevo goddess said...

I forgot to add the prayer said at every meeting.
"I am a sinner.
I am incapable of saving myself.
Only God can save me because only God is sinless.
My salvation was accomplished on the cross.
I can only be saved by trusting that what Jesus Christ did on the cross is sufficient to save me.
Once I am saved, I am saved for eternity."

You want your child to openly say, "I'm a sinner and only God can save me. I am incapable of helping myself."? I may get flamed here but I just don't understand how anyone how is an agnostic or atheist would allow their child to say such self-harming things.

DiverL said...

Evodevo, Did you NOT read that I'm having my doubts about keeping her in there???

Thanks for the heads up on the "prayer", I will talk about it more with her when she gets I didn't know that's what she has to recite.

evodevo goddess said...

Evodevo, Did you NOT read that I'm having my doubts about keeping her in there???

I did. As you said, though; no I didn't know that's what she has to recite.
How did you enroll your child in a religious organization without knowing what their position was? I did not intend to offend.

DiverL said...

Well I just picked up JuJu and she told me she has never said that "prayer". It's not all down your throat with religion at THIS Awana group.

DiverL said...

No offense taken. I had surgery on my foot and the mother of her friend took her I just handed over the check. Like I said, I'm not opposed to my child exploring religion.

At least she doesn't come home and spout off that I'm not going to heaven, or anythign thing even like that. Actually, she goes for the social aspect of it all. They do games and crafts, etc.

evodevo goddess said...

I hate to contradict your daughter, but that prayer is most assuredly said during the middle of each meeting. The meetings are broke into three parts - crafts/games, prayer and devotion, and counsil.
I don't know how old your kids are but this is the program for third to sixth grade.
This is their "what we believe" page with the prayer. I said it in every Awanas meeting from seventh grade to my senior year.
In tenth grade I made the mistake of saying my dad was agnostic. I was taunted and egged by my "sisters" in Awana. Our Awana leader, who is also the missionary leader (that should be a heads-up, the groups are called "missions") of my area, had me stand during a meeting and pray for my father to find salvation. I was humiliated from the experience.

I hope your daughter's group is different. Atheist speaking - I could not donate money by dues or by other means to this organization. Those dues go to further "the mission".

I'm not trying to pick on you. I called pmomma on BSA. PMOMMA, is your son still in that?

Anonymous said...

How did you enroll your child in a religious organization without knowing what their position was?
In DiverL's defense, when her girls started a few years ago, she was not an atheist/agnostic.

Anonymous said...

I'm not trying to pick on you. I called pmomma on BSA. PMOMMA, is your son still in that?

Yes. He has made the decision to not participate in the religious aspects of scouts. One of the leaders is a Unitarian and he's been really supportive of Jake's goals for scouting. And, Jake has been waived from saying "God" in the pledge and promise.

DiverL said...

Thanks PM, true I never labeled myself an atheist/agnostic until just recently.

Awana was only $15 this year. That's every Wednesday from Sept. to May for about two hours. Not bad and it's a date nite for me and my hubby. $15 for 8 months of "babysitting" with a little religion ain't that bad. It's not like she's gonna be scared for life.

My older daughter who was in Awana last year said, No Mom, really, we never had to say that prayer.

I made it through 6 years of Catholic grade school and turned out ok....

DiverL said...

hahaha, I mean scarred....maybe she will come out of it

Anonymous said...

*shudder* Did you have to mention Catholic School? ;)

I think CCD has to trump Awana for sheer "squicki-ness". At least, under my understanding of Awana, they don't make you claim that you're going to eat Jesus -literally.

LCR said...

A note in support of Pmomma on the BSA issue. My son is a Wolf and loves Cub Scouts, but the way we solve the religion issue is that I run his den and all requirements regarding religion are handled as homework by the parents. We, as a family, use those requirements as an opportunity to compare religious views and explore the question of why people believe as they do.

Not sure how BSA would react to an atheist as a den leader, but as long as my den makes it rank each year and has fun, they aren't complaining.

Oh, and we just started a new Wolf den in our pack, and I recently learned that the parents leading this new den are both atheists. :-) We will change the organization from the inside!