Posted by: NotAScientist | November 9, 2008

Responding to the ‘Suddenly Christian’

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Some of you know that the title for this blog was BLATANTLY stolen from Suddenly Christian, a blog by liberal Christian author John Shore. I was and still am a regular commenter on his blog posts, and I recommend him to anyone, whether you’re an atheist or a believer. You may not agree with everything he says, but he’s a great writer and he always listens to the opposition.

That being said, a month or so ago John decided to stop by and comment on my Godless Bible Study post. Here’s what he said:

Morse: Why spend so much time teasing around with something about which you have no genuine interest? What’s the use? Why not involve yourself exploring and debating and being creative around something you actually DO find personally valuable? It just can’t be that you so much get off on the endless, ENDLESS back-and-forths that you so easily instigate between yourself and believers. Either you really DO think there’s something compelling and attractive about Xtianity, and you’re trying to get to it, or you’re just baiting people for the masturbatory distraction of it. Neither’s particularly … well, honest.

If you believe in the true worth of Christianity, then say and deal with that. If you don’t, move on to something else—something you DO believe in. Why waste your talents, you mind, your heart on something you find beneath you going in? I’m saying this as a real friend. Move on.

So I wanted the opportunity to respond to John, because I think his points are points a great many Christians and other religious people make. Check out my response under the fold.

Let’s break this down one question at a time. John’s first question/comment:

Why spend so much time teasing around with something about which you have no genuine interest? What’s the use? Why not involve yourself exploring and debating and being creative around something you actually DO find personally valuable?

In response to the first question, I do have a genuine interest in religion. Even more so, I have a genuine interest in religious people, the things they believe and why they believe those things. Just because my position is different from theirs and I do argue and debate them does not, in any way, indicate that I have a lack of interest in this issue.

As far as exploring and debating and being creative about issues I find valuable, I do. Why must I limit myself to only one thing? This presents a false dichotomy. (If I’m using that term correctly.) I don’t have to choose between promoting scientific advancements and debating the beliefs of the religious. I can do both, and many other things beside. If we all only stuck to one topic what kind of boring world would this be?

Either you really DO think there’s something compelling and attractive about Xtianity, and you’re trying to get to it, or you’re just baiting people for the masturbatory distraction of it. Neither’s particularly … well, honest.

I find the subject of Christianity INCREDIBLY compelling. The story, for what it’s worth, is a great one. It’s not original to Christianity, but the Bible has made the story its own and has inspired billions of people with it. And I greatly respect the fact that many of those people have been inspired to do positive things because of those stories. But I don’t ignore all the horrible things that are also inspired by the same stories. And so I’ll talk about those things, and debate them, and sometimes argue about them.

My interest in Christianity, in any religion, is mostly with the believers. The scriptures are fine, but I study those and look at them in order to understand the people. I love my fellow humans, and to try and understand them is the least I can do when I am sharing the planet with 6.5 billon of them.

Again, this isn’t an either or position. I don’t have to choose between converting to Christianity or just arguing about it to get my jollies. I like to study Christianity like I would study any belief system, like I would study any history or any mythology. I get enjoyment from that and I learn from it. I’m sure it upsets many that I don’t convert after giving it some study, but that doesn’t mean I can’t go on studying it.

If you believe in the true worth of Christianity, then say and deal with that. If you don’t, move on to something else—something you DO believe in.

Why do I have to choose between the arbitrary options that you are giving me?

I’m sure I’m going to risk repeating myself, but here goes.

Just because my idea of the worth of Christianity has to do with it as an academic subject and a way of understanding homo sapiens sapiens as opposed to a world view that must be followed does not mean that I can’t study it and go on talking about it.

And John, you seem to think that I only have the ability to deal with one subject at a time. I doubt that is true for you, and I know it’s not true for me.

I choose not to ignore something that a billion or more of my brothers and sisters hold so dear. I would be stupid to ignore it, even if I don’t agree with it.

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Responses

  1. I think that you shouldn’t be discourage to stop studying Christians or the Bible for the sake of learning about others and the principles of the religion. But, you’ll always have questions, Christianity will never be totally clear and you’ll never find a constant in others for why they believe or act the way they do. Bottom line: it’s personal. Different experiences bring different people for different reasons. And, the God they come to know and put faith in is who is He is because of those needs.

  2. For kicks, you could check out the “It’s Personal” videos from Andy Stanley: http://www.youtube.com/user/northpointministries

    He makes some interesting points.

  3. you know the funny thing is Morse, that John contradicts himself on this very issue. He made a post about respecting and discusing opinion between the larger soceity – athiests in particular – and the christian community. i’ve posted it twice under a different psuedonymn, but the ironic thing was A. none of the evangelicals listened, and B. Shore had already made the statements that you speak of, and in so doing undermined his credability. i still agreee overwhelmingly with his post on “what the athiests taught me” but someheow, he lost sight of that. in the one and only post he made on suddenly athiest (right?), it was completely out of character. it remains a mystery to me

  4. You have as much right to study religion as the religious do.

    This reminds me a bit of Christopher Hitchens: “I think people would be much better off without false consolation, and I don’t want them trying to inflict their beliefs on me. They’d be doing themselves and me a favour if they gave it up. So, perhaps in that sense, I contradict myself, I mean I wish they would stop it, but then I would be left with no one to argue with.”

  5. One very good reason for studying Christianity is the massive impact it’s had on European and American culture. Music, history, art, language, literature, all of these areas of human endeavour have been enormously impacted by Christianity. Being an atheist does not make it any less relevant.

  6. True and good. i agree with both of you. Christ is the basis of our dating system even. (B.C.E is a stupid attempt to remove god without actually changing anything) Failing to inspect this fundamental aspect of western culture would be somewhat akin to never asking what cells are made of in the human body. It would fall short of the importance of it on all that subject matter. Any look into history requires scrutiny of religion, because theology=policy for much of the wolrd still, and ever more so in the past.

  7. Christianity, like all other mind-poisons, must be faught head on, with reason and the light of empirical truth. morsec0de, I commend you for doing this and sticking to your guns. Faith is a very important issue, and in all likelihood, someone who has taken the time to decide to not have any is interested in it is some sense.

    Irrational beliefs guide the hearts and minds of much of the planet, they kill people and sever the civil rights of others, for purely religious reasons. For this, they must be scrutinized and debated until every man, woman, and child are able to live as free as possible, with the least harm and the most good done.

    Keep up the good fight!

  8. First time here. My initial sense is that you’re hiding antagonism of Christians / Christianity behind the notion of open-minded study. It’s like me following a football team because I hate them and hope they lose. If your intent is to defend atheism, then you are no longer really open to opposing views. Apologists for any position assume the superiority of their premise. To me, your answer sounds disingenuous. I agree with the author you quote: Just move on…

  9. I certainly do have antagonism for some Christians and some portions of Christianity.

    So?

    To be objective on an issue, does one have to view that issue as perfect from the outset? Of course not.

    I sincerely wish to study Christianity, it’s effects on the world and how it influences both the humans who believe in it and those who do not. I don’t have to believe in the truth of Christianity (and I don’t) to study those things honestly.

  10. I used to only find Christianity “interesting” too. Keep your nose in it and the answers may come.

  11. Keep in mind, I was a Catholic for most of my life. I knew a great deal about Christianity before I became an atheist.

    Unless there’s actual evidence, I don’t see me converting.

  12. hey cirdog, you haven’t even read what John Shore has wrote, because if you had, then you would be making the same excact complaints on his page.

  13. Morse: By my note to you (which, I suppose I should note, I wrote in exactly as much time as it took me to type it), I only meant that I think you’d do well—that is, find more personal satisfaction in—spending less time engaging in the negative exercise of essentially (and, in your videos, explicitly) making fun of Christianity, and more time in the positive exploration of something about which you don’t have so very little respect. I just think you’re better than that, is all I was saying.

    If you have any true respect or interest in Christianity it shows nowhere in your work that I’m aware of. Your four or five readings of John that I watched were devoid of intellectual or emotional depth or discernment; at no point did you display even marginal sensitivity to the fact that, as lame as you find it, that text still means a very great deal to millions and millions of smart, kind people all over the world. You claim that you have at the very least a genuine intellectual interest in Christianity, yet show no evidence of it that I’ve seen. You never refer to anything you’ve read on religion, or Christianity, or the text at hand. You never put anything you say in any sort of historical, philosphical, or theological context whatsoever. You just … tear and stumble your way through the KJV of the text, smirk at the camera, and say something that makes painfully obvious how ill-prepared you are for the task you’ve assigned yourself.

    The shallowness of your take on John belies your assertion that you have any real interest in the Gospel. If you really cared about it, you’d show it more respect; you’d have LEARNED more about it. No fair publicly declaring you care a great deal about something—and then failing to in any substantive way at all actually study that thing. That’s not real interest. That’s doing (in this case) nothing more interesting than using Christianity as fodder to make fun, belittle, dismiss, condescend—the kind of thing kids do. Failing to offer any Actually Informed thought at all can’t help but make your take on John seem … well, woefully childish. There’s no meat to it, nothing substantive.

    Dude: If your Catholic upbringing has left you with any knowledge of the history or theology of Christianity, you … hide it real well.

    Anyway, I don’t mean to just insult you, which I know this must now seem like I’m doing. I don’t mean it to. You’re a smart, articulate guy. I’m just saying that if you haven’t done the intellectual work to give your thoughts on John any objective weight or credence (and it’s clear you haven’t), and you’re totally deaf to the emotional import of the words (as it’s clear you are—and why shouldn’t you be, since you’re not a believer?), then … well, then what, exactly, are you doing?

  14. Your religion, or at least many denominations that hold the same title as the religion you hold to, thrive on the fact that there is no outside research involved.

    You read a few verses, talk to an evangelist, pray, and POOF! You’re a Christian. And yet you expect me to go into extreme depth and research about the gospel of John, when that wasn’t my intent at all.

    My intent in those videos was to look at it as I would imagine a new Christian would. Someone who was told by an evangelist to go and read John.

    Because that’s what happened to me. Another blogger told me to read John, and all my questions would be answered.

    Nowhere was it said I must read theology, go into the depth of the history of the document. Just read the gospel and “poof”, I’d be Christian-ized.

    So I did those videos with the specific intent of JUST reading the gospel, and giving my completely off-the-top-of-my-head response to them. I apologize that my responses weren’t entirely flattering to your scriptures, but I was being honest.

    It doesn’t matter to me whether or not my opinions of John have any objective weight. What matters is what I gained from reading just the gospel, as I was told, and how I personally responded to it. And I cared a little bit about being entertaining for an audience of YouTube viewers.

    So that’s the problem, John. You think that I was ill-prepared for my task, when you didn’t know what my task actually was.

    As far as showing the text respect, I apologize if you felt insulted, but respect should be earned. If I read a text it needs to give me a reason to respect it, I shouldn’t have to go and read supplementary texts in order to verify the things’ greatness. That’s why apologists always confused me…if your beliefs are obviously correct, why do you need apologists?

    If the Gospel of John is as incredible as many Christians have presented it to me, why did it not appear so when I read just the gospel? I admit to not believing it when I began my reading, but I certainly did not go in with an intent to ridicule or badmouth.

    When I do ridicule or badmouth something, it is because I think there is good reason for it. And if I’m wrong, by all means, correct me.

  15. i think the biggest problem you seem to have John, is that you were thinking that there was a great deal of reflection upon the text. he was making the videos immediately after reading, for one. For another, he is only expressing opinion, not doing a proper exigesis. He did bring up several points that desire intellectual effort: the burdon of proof, which, due to the nature of the task, is not there; free will, which comes up very often from the 13th chapter on, and the specific case of Jesus lying (i think it was in ch. 8 but i am not sure). this wasn’t argumentum, it was a conversation starter. No need to be so resentful. he gives you a great deal of respect, John, as do i. you just aren’t taking his views in context, is what i think

  16. Hey morse! No fair, i posted my comment first. Now it seem like we’re double-teaming him, and what i said was very redundant now. oh well

  17. Hi guys. Sorry to jump in without ever listening to your videos (where are those? I found the lion/question video) or reading the entire string. I just saw a comment about reading the Gospel of John by itself etc. I wanted to throw in that to me, reading just one of the Gospels does a VERY poor job of explaining Christianity or salvation for that matter. Without Genesis (which explains all about the origin of sin), Exodus (which explains all about God’s Law), John can’t be read very well. That’s just my opinion, of course. I dislike (but am not completely opposed to) evangelizing via handing out Gospels of John. I feel these little books just don’t explain enough for anyone to truly understand Christianity completely. Plus, without the background books, a lot of the material doesn’t make complete sense. Have a great night!

  18. Whoops, I just found the Youtube link…

  19. Okay, found the link, but it fails…. Help!

  20. All my videos can be found at http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de

    My “Godless Bible Study” is in there.

  21. I like Morse. He’s a good friend of my blog; I’m always grateful for his comments there. I think he’s a nice guy. That’s why I thought he could do BETTER than doing what he did with those talks, which is to basically simply insult the Bible—and, by extension (and, again, explicitly) Christians. Of course I understand WHY he’s insulted by and takes offense to Christianity; much of my own career is based on taking (careful, ever careful) exception to much of conventional Christian “wisdom.” My complaint, Morse, is that you DIDN’T approach the text with anything vaguely resembling an open mind: ALL you were towards it was smugly mocking. THAT is a waste of your valuable time, is my point. You’re just peeing on people and their beliefs. You’re not being open. You’re not hearing the poetry of the words. You’re not in acknowledging the emotional depth of the text. And you’re not in ANY way engaging it intellectually. You’re just doing the laziest, most shallow thing anyone CAN do with the Bible or any other book, which is to make fun of it. I was just saying I think you’re better than that. I think you spend too much time baiting Christians, which, in the end, can only be what it ALWAYS is, which is a useless, boring e-game of Tag, You’re It. I was suggesting you move on to creating work that’s new, and has integrity, and consists of something deeper than simply scoffing at others.

  22. John,

    If you think that all I did was insult the bible, then you didn’t watch all of my videos, nor did you watch the ones that you did very closely.

    I think that frankly, being a Christian, you can be overly sensitive to any criticism of your holy book, and thus view it as mocking.

  23. I’ve written a fair amount of stuff seriously questioning traditional interpretations of the Bible; I’m not sensitive at ALL to anyone taking exception to any part of the Bible. It’s a book; it’s got words; what moron doesn’t realize that different people take the same words to mean radically different things all the time? That doesn’t bother me at all—and you know my work well enough to know it. Anyone who writes a piece (as I did) entitled, “If My Gay Friends Are Going to Hell, I’m Going With Them” probably isn’t too sensitive about people criticizing the Bible. And as I say, you personally know that’s not even almost true about me.

    And what I took for you being mocking was exactly that: You being mocking. It’s not a subtle way to behave, or anything. You belittle the beliefs of Christians; you’re condescending to them. My only question is why? Why be so unkind? So what if people you think are stupid or gullible believe stuff that you think is stupid? Why pick on them? Why not spend your time building something or someone UP, instead of knocking something or someone down? That’s all I was saying. As I said, I just think you’re better than that. I hate to see anyone spending so much time being negative, especially someone I care about.

  24. “My only question is why? Why be so unkind?”

    Couldn’t be years and centuries of persecution. No, definitely couldn’t be that.

  25. See? Instead of saying anything real, heartfelt or substantive, you immediately fall back upon the easiest, meanest thing of all: condescending sarcasm.

    Oh, well. Thanks for the dialogue (sp??).

  26. And instead of actually responding to my points you again insisted that I was mocking.

    If you’re not going to respond to my points, then you get sarcasm. Sorry John.

  27. yikes! i’m gonna stay out of it this time lol

  28. No, I DID respond to your points. You said I was overly sensitive about the Bible; I daresay I proved I wasn’t. (And either way, I directly addressed your point.) Then you made the point that you WEREN’T, in fact, mocking Christian beliefs–and I argued that, in fact, you were.

    Those are how I very specifically addressed those two very specific points.

    I didn’t take seriously your argument that by reading John as you did you weren’t (as you’d previously claimed) simply responding to the friendly challenge of Christian but were, instead, responding to “years and centuries of persecution” because, as ever, you made THAT point, yet again, in a way marked by nothing so much as your usual brand of dismissive, sarcastic condescention.

    It appears I’ve been wrong all along. Apparently, you aren’t better than that. Not yet, anyway. Later, skater.

  29. “I didn’t take seriously your argument that by reading John as you did you weren’t (as you’d previously claimed) simply responding to the friendly challenge of Christian but were, instead, responding to “years and centuries of persecution” because, as ever”

    That wasn’t my argument.

    You asked me why I would be unkind. I gave you an idea about why a non-Christian might be unkind to a Christian.

    That had nothing to do with my argument. That was my sarcastic response to your naive question.

  30. when did john get to be such a jerk? he’s like a lot of tourists: really damn rude. But they’re nice when they are on their own turf. Alsthough, the same Can be said of you Morse. Not in this case. He never responded to me about the intellectual points you made. And you did make several. The attitude i think, comes distant second to the questions that you asked. Sorry about this crazy business Morse, i guess John won’t be your friend anymore. “Do not be unequally yolked” as they love to say.

  31. It’s amusing to me how much time you WASTE slamming and mocking things. It’s so strange how everything that comes from people like you is either gloating, making fun of things, mocking things or completely negative.

    You are so gonna win us ALL over that way…lol

  32. You’re confused, Jacob.

    It is the Christian who desires to win others over. I have no such compunction.

    My desire is to argue my side. If I convert someone, great. If not, I don’t particularly care.

    I do care, however, if a religion or a religious person harms people. One of the best ways to prevent that from happening is to keep them from gaining power.

    And one of the best ways to keep them from gaining power is to ridicule them.

    It also helps that every religion is, in its own special way, ridiculous.

    So my time isn’t wasted at all.

  33. Your ridicule is actually the fuel that fires our cause. If you spent 20% of your energy on something positive you might make a difference in the world. Instead you waste countless hours attacking something you cannot defeat or debase with words.

    I’ve spent a large portion of my life helping people. You consume your life attacking people who help others and expect people to side with you?

    PLEASE

  34. “If you spent 20% of your energy on something positive you might make a difference in the world.”

    Why do you assume I don’t? Writing this blog and responding to comments takes up less than 5% of my energy.

    “Instead you waste countless hours attacking something you cannot defeat or debase with words.”

    I certainly can defeat it. You just don’t realize you’ve been defeated.

    “I’ve spent a large portion of my life helping people.”

    Videos about ‘evil atheists’ really help people? Riiiight.

  35. Mr. morales, what you are doing is blatent ad hominem. in stead of adrressing the issue, you pretend that the attitude is more important than the facts and the figures. ignorance is a far greater crime than being grumpy.

  36. I’m truly sorry I didn’t have time of late to get in on this discussion! I’ll try to listen to your reading of John sometime and actually try to answer some of the questions you present. That’s what you were looking for, right? I love this stuff.

    Winter sure is coming on fast. I prefer snow though. I can’t wait to create a snow sledding hill down the front yard for my son (and me!). -I added that to lighten the mood- 🙂

  37. i, for one, think it’s great that although you do not believe … you are engaged in a dialogue about and with believers … you are seeking … and that means (in my humble mind) that one day God will show you … i believe because God has shown me his face in a very individual, internal, tailor-made experience that i cannot unfortunately, get you to believe happened. one day you may experience a similar thing. —loveINotherplaces.com

  38. I stumble here at the direction of”GOD”, so if you don’t mind I was wondering. Do you give all religion the same attention or just Christianity? I have to admit I haven’t saw the videos or read any of your other post. Just reading this post, it seems your beef is with Christianity and not with all religion. That is very interesting, because you say you don’t believe in God, and it would seem to follow that you would despise all belief systems equaly. Have you done any videos on the koran or the tora. It would seem to neglect other religions in your desent, rather lends more crideblity to Christianity. Also I believe it was Paul the apposel that said some preach the Gospel for reasons of making it harder on Christians, but to that he said praise God because by all means the word was being spread. When you consider that the Bible says faith comes by hearing the word of god, it is quite posible that people are being saved by the very videos you put on the internet. Not only that but the people that are going to go to your site are probably the unsaved. Since you don’t find the Bible to be anything special I know you won’t find this theory of mine to be of any substance, but who knows, you may be like paul when he was persecuting Chistians, and met Jesus on the road to Damascus, and was sudenly blinded by the very existence of Jesus, When he said Paul , don’t you find it hard to kick against the Pricks. Anyway keep on making them videos and be sure to read lots of scipture in them. I found that over forty-five years ago that there was something about that old book. For us that are foolish enough to believe it , it contains the words of lift. You wouldn’t be the first one to try to do away with it either. after all it is the alltime number one best sellar in the history of the world. That reminds me of what you said about being one of 6.5 billion people on this blue marble. Did you know that there are more people alive today than the sum total of all the people that have ever lived. That’s an awesome thought. God bless you.

  39. actually, over 30 billion people have died, so no.
    Christianity is the most pertinant religion to discuss, becase it is the national religion.
    You really Haven’t seen his videos have you? Trust me, they would likely deconvert rather than increase the ranks of any christian denomination lol. Except for maybe Calvanists lol.

  40. Better watch out saying it’s the national religion, the ACLU will be knocking at your door. 🙂

  41. Tree,

    I’m pretty sure Rick meant that it is the religion that the most people in the country are a member of.

    Which isn’t saying much. Because if, by that definition, we are to be considered a ‘Christian Nation’, then we are also a White Nation and a Female Nation.

    All of which are ridiculous.

  42. i’m well aware treefan that this country was founded by secularists (be they deist or Christian)
    a female nation huh? nah, only half female lol. What exactly is the percentage of European descendant poaple in america
    (if i wanted to be picky, i would have left out Eastern Europeans and Irish/italians as well, because of the proponderance of Protestantism {is that a word?})?

  43. Rick,

    What I mean is, if our reason for calling something a ‘so-and-so nation’ is because most of the people in the country are that thing, then it’s just as valid to call this a Christian nation as it is to call it a female nation. Because there are more females than males.

  44. morse, come on; i was joking. You know that

  45. Can we start laughing now? We can be soooo serious. :))

  46. where did you get the 30 billion number. Out of thin air.

  47. indeed i did. It was a number that i thought was rather reasonable, and was vaugly remembering to have heard. Wikipedia dissagrees, and the total population since…well, humans, is in between 90-110 billion. Blew the crap out of my number huh? go check it out. tell your number, mud.

  48. All the numbers I have seen tend to point to 13 biillion which would work with superdave’s comment. Bashing Christianity is certainly safer than say, making fun of mohomad. Those cartoonist that drew pictures of his turbine as a bomb , live in fear of their lives. Christians are definitely safer to pick on. The worst you have to fear from them is that they might pray that God would change your heart.

  49. What’s up with the disappearing comments?

  50. comments have been dissapearing? huh. i guess more has been going on here than it would seem. All the numbers you’ve seen? and where did you see this? it depends is you want to start with the genus homo- which, though not proper humans, do still fall roughly into that catagory. Neandethalls most assuredly would count as human, because of their direct influence and intergration with cro-magnon man, which, if i’m not mistaken, are the first step below ourselves. and it would make sense that all the other cultures that were wiped out in prehistory- all over the world, i might add (there is eveidence of people inhabiting South America 35,000 years ago, for example), and North American Indians. et al. 13 billion seems a tad small. after all, that doesn’y include any that died in childbirth or at very young ages i would imagine. There’s all sorts of factors here…

  51. The first three catagoies you mention, They think they found. two and most say they were were apes.

  52. umm, grammer much? the evolution of our monkey ancestors to us is one of the most well recorded paths of evolution, superdave. Do you have any evidence to this that they were in fact apes as you say?

  53. The missing link is nothing more than a skull . It could be anything. The well recorded path has a huge gap. Why did evolution stop any way. Isn’t it still called a theory? The grammer problem is mostly a typo problem. I didn’t have my glasses on. I can’t wait until they evolve to the way they used to be.

  54. Thank you, mudflats, for demonstrating that you know nothing about evolution.

    Nice try though.

  55. the grammer wasn’t leveled at you ‘flats. So evolution stopped huh? so how many millions of years have you been alive? “nothing more than a skull.” You also fail anatomy. “still a theory” What have you got, oh yes, a book of contradictory myths and stupendously inaccurate histroy. That completely outstrips a theory, like say Relativity, or Germ Theory, or in fact, all of the basic stuff behind current scientific understanding. Our schools suck. Proof: superdave and flats

  56. Morse, have you and John broken up? :{ it’s so sad to see two perfectly nice, rational people do this to each other. I knew it was probably inevitable but still…

    This….is….THE MOST AMAZING…..essay…..that i have ever……read!
    Morse, You simply HAVE to dedicate a post/video to this! I’m begging you Morse! It would forever change the topic of apologetics, and write your name in stone as one of the Great Athiests of the Internets! Besides there’s a great parallel drawn between your favorite playwright and the OT in here! I know you want to Morse, even if you haven’t realized it yet!

    http://www.georgeleonard.com/yahweh.html

  57. Hmm. It seems John is now officially banning me. He never once explained his actions, and now he wants to make me out to be the ‘enemy.’

    It was THIS behavior that led to my positing John shore on the SIWOTI syndrome thread, and now is perfectly content to throw me under the bus. It is true Morse, i prefer you. For one, you keep your head and are polite everywhere, except for the sarcasm. But if a person can’t deal with sarcasm, i don’t know what to say to them.

    Here’s the short email i sent to his site:

    To esteemed Mr. Shore:

    I have been to your blog post fairly regularly, but recently it would seem that you are determined to erase my influence, and are more than willing to completely ignore me.
    I find this utterly bizarre. I am very forward in my comments, and if you wished to correct me, that seems fine. But eliminating my influence altogether is coming close to intellectual dishonesty; this is, unfotunately, rather common in the annals of creationism/ID blog posts. I know that you are better than this, and i continue to give you the benifit of the doubt that you have your reasons.
    I’m sorry if this isn’t the correct place to contact you, as i am at a loss as to your actual contact info. I have had a great deal of respect for your work, and you are a very good man- a true christian. However, there still remains the problem: I have no idea why you continue to ostracise me. If you would clear this up, I would appreciate it.

    A fan,
    Rickr0ll

    Now, morse, does that sound like a hatemongering troll to you? I sent this two days ago to johnshore@sbcglobal.net. No response. It was this rude dismissal that called for my phyrangula post, in which he ommitted the part where i discuss him censoring me from his blog (again, no reason). That is the real issue, but he was perfectly willing to derail the conversation and twist my words to make it seem like i was out for him. I just thought he needed to be reprimanded. Doesn’t he?

  58. Rick,

    I appreciate your support.

    I could be wrong, but I think I reprimanded John pretty well in the responses to this post. You did too, of course. But I think it may be that when you took those recriminations to his blog that made John block you. (Assuming you did so. Which I could be wrong about. If I am, ignore the rest I write, because that’s just rude.)

    Which I don’t condone, but I understand. A blog is the blogger’s baby. Some are far more protective of them than others. And John has the right to block or allow the comments of whoever he likes.

    I’m sorry he’s blocking you, bro. You’ll always have a place here, though.

  59. i wasn’t talking about you guys when i got blocked. That was a great deal earlier. It was something else i said. I can’t imagine being rude anywhere else, and if i was i would have apologised, if it were not for the fact that i have no idea what i did. I’ve never been rude to him that i know of on his blog.

    I noticed it when completely unrelated comments were dissapearing- like of of “the Book Docter Will Needle You Now” and “A Would-Be Writer Asks “…” I would appreciate it if you would bring this to his attention, so that he knows that we know.

    It seems ominous when a perfecttly sane, generally kind human being resorts to this kind of tactic. Coming from John Shore, in particular, it is shockingly deplorable. Like i said, he’s better than that. It appears i may have been wrong though مص2

  60. You aren’t gonna tell him, are you?

    Sigh, sometimes being the polite atheist can be a burden. A real secular humanist would overlook these faults and value the friendship over the flawed man. I shouldn’t ask you to go against your morality; besides, there’s bigger fish to fry 😉

    …. 😦

  61. Sorry Morse, i got booted off John’s blog (presumable forever), but that doesn’t mean i don’t opine on what he says. I hate to take up space on your blog, but this is the only way to express my ideas since i was silenced.

    i noticed this article that John wrote earlier in the year that talked about restricting our thinking of the world and to become children in spirit. http://johnshoreland.com/2008/05/31/certainty-in-christ-a-blessing-and-a-curse/#comments

    You said that was honest. And it is, at least…well, let me just spell it out.

    You see, he was wrong. You aren’t supposed to continue being ignorant of the reality of the world simply because you are a christian. Those words were to be read as: “how can you be a follower of me and of God if you haven’t take the first step to being one?” All it ends up doing is begging a question, that is- we don’t actually Know anything.

    additionally, there were lines that were problematic: ” [kids are] open to the knowledge that, when push comes to shove, they don’t know squat about life.” No, most kids absolutely insist that they are right and ought to get what they want. Immaturity is the hallmark of children, and the most prominant facet of that is the inability to sympathise with other poeple. But there is alot of variation in this too, as kids can also be extremely open and honest and all that jazz.

    “Be above the world; wouldn’t know God from a used car salesman.”- I just don’t even know what that is supposed to mean. Unless it was setting up a false line of logic to exploit the true ignorance of superiority-driven religiosity. And if that’s the case (which upon further study, is what appears to be the statement to be made), then it resolves itself. Any absolute uttered by people is contrapuntal to the Bible: “His ways..are higher. His thoughts…are higher”

    But ultimately, isn’t it some sort of cop-out?

    Nobody really knows, and it is just faith. The problem i have is that even assuming they become childlike, they do have to familiarise themselves with scriptural studies and become engendered by dogma. It has to follow the same false logic he repudiated.

    It doesn’t do to assume only the passive, nice parts of the Bible, because then you might as well be a dirty, filthy secular humanist 😉 You are left with an impossible task, but thankfully, an assured eternity. pointless, i might add, but that’s a different discussion entirely.

    It seems that this logic is self-defeating, because we Can be assured of things through logic, reason, empericism, democracy, ect. The bizarre thing is that being a good person can belong to all and none of the above depending upon the situation. Dealing with that is not the Bible’s strong suit, which is very very clear to athiests.

    It still disobeys Occams Razor, and it still seeks to destroy itself, dashed upon the rocks of religion.

    Being open-minded is quite a different thing than simply assuming somethig to be true.

  62. Rickr0ll: Why hijack someone else’s blog when you can just create your own. You’re a smart guy, just fucking make one.

  63. I suppose so. sigh, it would be a while before i could find the time to do so. Besides, all i really have is comments. It seems a llittle trite to have a blog with little original content…

    And i’m essentially computer illeterate. I know, excuses, excuses….

  64. I find nothing you have written about that points to a study of Christianity. Mostly you find articles written about something a Christian has done that defends your athiest position. Also, your arguments and points lack any indication of study as well. You use the same basic arguments that all ignorant (sorry for the word) athiests use to attempt to show belief in God in a bad light… i.e. God kills so He is bad, someone who claims to believe in God kills, so faith is bad, and the ridiculous, “there is more evidence of alien life than of God”. This all points to a man who has not taken the time to study that which he so fervently opposes.

  65. “This all points to a man who has not taken the time to study that which he so fervently opposes.”- Mirror, meet ketch22.

    http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/otarch.html

    http://www.georgeleonard.com/yahweh.html

    Read up, or shut up.


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