Posted by: NotAScientist | December 14, 2008

Still think having faith doesn’t hurt anyone?

Think again.

Here are some Christians to help me drive my point home.

Texas Pair Jailed For Beating Toddler With Hammer

HENDERSON (AP) ―
A young East Texas couple was arraigned Wednesday on capital murder charges accusing them of beating the woman’s 1-year-old daughter to get rid of “the demons.”

Blaine Milam, 18, and Jessica Carson, 18, remained jailed Wednesday in lieu of a $2 million bond for each.

They were arrested Tuesday after Rusk County Sheriff’s deputies responding to a 911 call found 13-month-old Amora Bain Carson beaten. Investigators think the couple used a hammer to “beat the demons out” of Amora, Carson’s daughter.

Justice of the Peace Bob Richardson told the Tyler Morning Telegraph that it’s believed the couple went to a pawn shop to sell tools so they could hire a priest to perform an exorcism.

A message could not be left at a telephone number listed for the couple’s home. They did not have an attorney, according to Richardson’s office.

Milam was convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child in August and was placed on probation. Investigator William Brown with the Rusk County District Attorney’s Office said that case did not involve Amora.

The child’s body has been sent to Dallas for an autopsy.

I’d comment, but I’m absolutely disgusted. I think you all know how I feel about this.

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Responses

  1. This is a pretty lame way to argue faith. One could post a blog on some athiest killing some other innocent person, child, or dog, and title it “Still think having no faith doesn’t hurt anyone?” The similar argument against faith using Hitler as a Christian hold no water as well. Faith takes more than “I have faith”, or “I am a Christian”. It takes repentence, redemption and a real attempt at a relationship with Christ. One good clue that this couple had no real relationship with Christ is represented by their actions.

  2. Ah, the No True Scotsman Fallacy, the “Atheism is a religion” fallacy, and a general disregard for the fact that atheists don’t try to cure problematic situations/ people with violence. Sociopaths do. These people are sociopaths. Religion is their excuse. End of story

  3. I’m not sure this is a good case for demonstrating that faith leads to violence, because my understanding of the case was that they killed the kid before seeking any information about or help with an exorcism. Then they went on a roadtrip trying to get money, a priest, etc. Then they got arrested and went through three or four different stories. The first story the police accepted was this one. I’m not sure I buy that they really were trying to exorcise the kid, as opposed to hitting on that notion afterwards.

  4. You don’t judge an ideology by those who violate its tenets. Unless you like to use logical fallacies, that is. It is amazing that people actually argue this way.

    The greater irony is that if the author’s worldview is correct, then all religions plus this couple’s behavior are a result of the universe coming into being from nothing, life coming from non-life, and unscripted Darwinian evolutionary processes. The fact that he even thinks there is such a thing as “morality” is a fiction of his own defective evolution. Why is it that those with a worldview that can’t provide a foundation for universal morality are the most finger-wagging moralists going?

  5. If the couple would have paid an abortionist to destroy the child 13.5 months ago (while still in the womb), for religious or non-religious reasons, would you be moralizing about that as well?

  6. Yes Neil. Besides the fact that it would also be illegal.

    If it was 20.5 months ago, no, I wouldn’t be moralizing.

    “You don’t judge an ideology by those who violate its tenets.”

    I’m not. I’m judging ‘faith’…the act of believing something for no good reason.

    “Why is it that those with a worldview that can’t provide a foundation for universal morality are the most finger-wagging moralists going?”

    Because we recognize that our morals aren’t universal, and that those who do often end up being horribly immoral…like the parents above.

  7. This is a good point. Where does the author’s feelings of disgust come from? If we all came from nothing, and there is no universal morality, how can he claim disgust? If one believes that we are here at random chance and the only reason we have laws, rules, etc… is to keep society from disintegrating, I could see a statement along the lines of, “Yea, killing a child is wrong, we can’t have people just killing children because it would hurt societ, so I believe it is wrong.” But to use the term disgust indicates that something else makes this action alot more wrong than he is indicating. I wonder where the author gets his feelings of disgust from. The Holy Spirit is like a circuit judge in the brain.

  8. So morsec0de,
    You think that the parents killed the child because they have a faith in something unseen? You can’t push your anti-faith ideology aside and recognize that they probably killed their child for some other issue? You can’t recognize that just because somebody kills a child and that person also has faith, that faith is not necessarily the reason for the killing? Even if they say it is? Do you believe everything a killer says? Hitler stated he had faith in Christ. Do you really believe that this is what led to his slaughter of Jews? Or maybe it was something else? Having faith isn’t the catalyst for murder. If it were… all people with faith in Christ would be murderers. I have a profound faith in the Lord, however, I have no inclininations to murder a child, dog, or lover.
    Therefore, faith, is not the cause, but rather something else in the psyche.

  9. “If we all came from nothing, and there is no universal morality, how can he claim disgust?”

    Because I can. I’m a human with emotions and a rationally considered morality. I know that’s hard for you to understand.

    “You think that the parents killed the child because they have a faith in something unseen?”

    I think that these parents killed their child because they believed in demons.

    “Hitler stated he had faith in Christ. Do you really believe that this is what led to his slaughter of Jews?”

    I believe it was a large part of it. Yes.

    “Having faith isn’t the catalyst for murder. ”

    Yes, it can be. Not always. But too often.

    “I have a profound faith in the Lord, however, I have no inclininations to murder a child, dog, or lover.”

    Really? So if your god told you to kill people, you wouldn’t do so? I have more respect for you if that’s the case.

  10. Because we recognize that our morals aren’t universal, and that those who do often end up being horribly immoral…like the parents above.

    Were you being intentionally ironic here, or did you mis-type? I don’t want to mischaracterize what you are saying, but at face value that sentence self destructs. If some morals aren’t universal then how can something be “horribly immoral?” We agree that what the parents did was immoral, even horribly so. But your worldview doesn’t appear to provide a foundation for such a claim.

    Yes Neil. Besides the fact that it would also be illegal.

    Sorry if I wasn’t clear. I think the article said that she was 13 months old, so 13.5 months ago she would have been in the womb. So whether it would have been legal or not, would you find an abortion at that stage to be immoral?

    I’m a human with emotions and a rationally considered morality.

    That begs the question. You are claiming your morality is rational but that of others is not. Do you see how anyone on the planet could make the same “rational” claim?

    Re. Hitler – I find it beyond hyperbole when atheists claim that Hitler’s alleged “Christianity” was somehow authentic. Because a guy who kills 14 million people would never tell a lie about his “faith” to advance his cause, would he? That would be immoral.

  11. “Were you being intentionally ironic here, or did you mis-type?”

    No mistype. Morals aren’t universal or absolute. They’re malleable and changeable. Ideally, they change for the better the more we learn. Some cultures, however, go in the opposite direction.

    “But your worldview doesn’t appear to provide a foundation for such a claim.”

    Certainly does. My worldview says harm is bad. Doing bad things on purpose with no benefit is immoral.

    Ta-da.

    “So whether it would have been legal or not, would you find an abortion at that stage to be immoral? ”

    Depends on the situation.

    If a person doesn’t think about abortion as an option until .5 months before giving birth, then they seem to have sub-normal intelligence, and the child should probably be put up for adoption.

    If something happens that is threatening both the lives of the mother and the baby, and the only option that will save either is one that will save the mother but not the child, I say do it.

    “You are claiming your morality is rational but that of others is not.”

    Correct. For example, Christian fundementalist morality. It isn’t even a morality. It’s a pre or proto-morality. Doing what you think someone else wants you to do because of a desire for reward or fear of punishment is not morality.

    “Re. Hitler”

    I see no reason why Hitler would lie about his own beliefs. His cause was advanced by his own belief that the Jews killed his savior. I understand that it’s disturbing to share your faith with someone like that, but that doesn’t change the facts.

  12. They’re malleable and changeable.

    Gotcha. So once you evolve a little more, maybe you’ll see that the parents were acting morally.

    Certainly does. My worldview says harm is bad. Doing bad things on purpose with no benefit is immoral.

    Ta-da.

    OK, but since you just convinced me that there is no reason to consider your morality to be applicable to me, then I’ll ignore you.

    P.S. People who do bad things are pretty good at rationalizing a purpose for them.

    If a person doesn’t think about abortion as an option until .5 months before giving birth, then they seem to have sub-normal intelligence, and the child should probably be put up for adoption.

    You sure are judgmental. Maybe the woman lost her job, or changed her mind, or wanted to win her boyfriend back (that happens a lot when women don’t “choose” abortion).

    And why would choosing an abortion at 8.5 months require less intelligence than choosing one at 2 months? Seems “rational” to me. If she has one at 2 months then she obviously can’t change her mind later. But if she waits she can be sure she doesn’t want this human being to live.

    If you abandon the scientific fact that abortions kill innocent human beings, why get all arbitrary about the timeline?

    I see no reason why Hitler would lie about his own beliefs.

    More self parody.

  13. “So once you evolve a little more, maybe you’ll see that the parents were acting morally.”

    Certainly possible. If the parents are able to show that demons really do exist, the child really was possessed by demons, and the only way to free the child from them was to beat it to death with a hammer…then I might think they were acting morally.

    Until then, sorry, but they’re immoral.

    “P.S. People who do bad things are pretty good at rationalizing a purpose for them.”

    They certainly are. Many just say “god told me so”.

    “If you abandon the scientific fact that abortions kill innocent human beings, why get all arbitrary about the timeline? ”

    Because an acorn isn’t an oak tree, and a clump of cells isn’t a human being. It’s called “the situation”. I understand that you don’t get that, but that’s the way the real world works.

    It’s why we send people to life in prison for murder, but not for killing someone in self defense. The result is the same, but the situation is different.

    “More self parody.”

    Not at all. Show me why he would lie? Give me evidence that he did lie. He seems to have followed the trail of his particularly disgusting brand of Christianity.

    That’s why you don’t get. I understand that there are other types of Christianity. Some are benign. Some are not. Hitler’s, obviously, was not.

  14. Because an acorn isn’t an oak tree, and a clump of cells isn’t a human being. It’s called “the situation”. I understand that you don’t get that, but that’s the way the real world works.

    Does that acorn fallacy actually work on people? Does the “clump of cells” lie work? The “clump of cells” typically destroyed has a beating heart, brain waves, and more. Sort of like you. Unless you have some scientific evidence demonstrating just how many cells a human being must have before being granted the right to life, that is.

    This is my last comment here, as you are repeating the same foolishness you spouted at the other site.
    When I realize that people are going to use errors and fallacies no matter how many times they are corrected then I quit wasting my time with them (unless it is a blog where other readers might benefit).

    A new human being is created at conception. That is a scientific fact – http://abort73.com/index.php?/abortion/medical_testimony . It is amazingly sad how the allegedly pro-science types get all philosophical when rationalizing murder.

    It’s why we send people to life in prison for murder, but not for killing someone in self defense. The result is the same, but the situation is different.

    The result is not the same at all. In the first case, an innocent human being died. In the second case, a guilty human being died.

    In the case of abortion, an innocent human being dies.

  15. “When I realize that people are going to use errors and fallacies no matter how many times they are corrected then I quit wasting my time with them”

    Somebody is projecting…

    And wow…a link to an anti-choice site? How convincing…

    “In the case of abortion, an innocent human being dies.”

    Incorrect. Something that could potentially become a human being is destroyed. There is a difference, despite your own blindness on the subject.

    And again, you never did answer my question. If these cellular humans are so important to you, why does your god let so many of them die naturally? Apparently he doesn’t care about them as much as you do.

  16. Sorry,
    I was away at Church and then had to watch the Denver Broncos getting beat.

    morsec0de…
    You claim that your morality states that harm is bad. Where does that morality come from?

    Is it your own? And if so, why can’t somebody else’s be different and be OK? You claim you don’t like others pushing their morality down your throat, so you can’t expect others to adhere to yours as well.

    Here is what I can’t understand. If we are animals just living a more highly evolved existence, what makes the animal kingdom’s morality any worse than ours? Animals eat their young all the time… if it is not wrong there, why would it be wrong here? Animals kill other animals, even of the same species all the time… why would murder be wrong with our species?

    Is it simply because we evolved and morality comes from that evolution? Or do we, as humans make up our morality as we go along? The more civilized we become, the more we find immoral? I don’t get it. Your logic makes no sense. Universal morality is the only thing that makes sense.

    I see this often. When somebody wants something so bad to fit their lifestyle, they will find a way to believe it. On the contrary, I found Jesus, who didn’t fit my lifestyle and I had to adapt to Him. It was difficult, but worth it. I no longer have to make up junk to fit the way I want to believe. There is an absolute Truth that actually fits everything.

  17. “Incorrect. Something that could potentially become a human being is destroyed. There is a difference, despite your own blindness on the subject.”

    Potentially a human being? By potential do you mean that it could potentially be something else as well? If it can only be one thing, there is no “potentially”, it is absolutely human life. Or do you think it is some other species? We know it is life because it fits the scientific requirement for life, therefore, we have to determine whether it is human life or some other type of life. Well… I can’t fathom anything other than human.

    “And again, you never did answer my question. If these cellular humans are so important to you, why does your god let so many of them die naturally? Apparently he doesn’t care about them as much as you do.”

    This question is illogical. First of all you call the cellular humans so you indicate they are human… thanks for conceding to that. Second of all, what does human life being important to me have to do with why does God let them die? Do you really have no concept of the Christian faith and what we determine to be important? Human life is important because it is a gift. However, death is a part of the human equation and life on earth is not the most important. Why does God let us live in the first place? We are so depraved in sin, we don’t even deserve to live. God created us to glorify Himself and life on earth has always been limited… it is not the final place. Death is not as bad as you would think. Not if you know where you are going.

  18. “You claim that your morality states that harm is bad. Where does that morality come from? ”

    Scientific understanding. Medical textbooks. Evidence.

    “so you can’t expect others to adhere to yours as well. ”

    You’re right. I can’t. What I can do is demonstrate how good my morality is by following it. If I find someone with a better morality than mine, I will adopt it.

    “If we are animals just living a more highly evolved existence, what makes the animal kingdom’s morality any worse than ours?”

    What do you mean by “worse”?

    What are your goals? What do you want to do with your life? What is the meaning that you give to the things you do? These things change what our moralities are.

    If you only care about personal survival, the morality of a lone-hunting predatory animal would work for you.

    That isn’t all that I care about.

    “Is it simply because we evolved and morality comes from that evolution? Or do we, as humans make up our morality as we go along?”

    Both. Our evolution, both socially and biologically, as social animals has certainly affected our morality. Had we evolved from predators, our morality would certainly be different.

    “Universal morality is the only thing that makes sense. ”

    No, it doesn’t. Mostly because you don’t follow a universal morality.

    Is killing someone ever okay? Do you believe in the death penalty? Killing someone in self defense? If not, what about the times that your god, supposedly, killed people in the bible?

    If you think any of those things could be moral, or not immoral, then you aren’t following a universal morality. You’re following a situational one. Like we all do.

  19. “By potential do you mean that it could potentially be something else as well?”

    Yes. It could potentially be miscarried and flow out with a woman’s period, unnoticed. It could potentially be reabsorbed into the woman. If there is more than one, one could be absorbed by the other.

    “thanks for conceding to that.”

    Awwww. You’re pretending that semantics are arguments. How cute.

    “We are so depraved in sin, we don’t even deserve to live.”

    Wow. You’re a disgusting little troll, and I pity anyone you may live with.

  20. “Is killing someone ever okay? Do you believe in the death penalty? Killing someone in self defense? If not, what about the times that your god, supposedly, killed people in the bible?”

    Come on! Once again you are using an illogical statement to make a point. I wish the common athiest would really study and find out what Christianity was all about before deciding to debate or argue it.

    Once again, what does my opinion of killing have to do with God killing people in the Bible? You try to make a point regarding my beliefs by comparing my actions to that of God. That would be like me asking, “if you don’t believe in stealing, then why does your sister steal?” One has nothing to do with the other. I do not believe in the death penalty, nor killing somebody in self defense. Would I harm somebody in self defense? Probably, because I have human fears and naturally have a fear of pain. That does not indicate that I think it is right. God, on the other hand, does not kill. Life is His. He gave life to everything. Life on earth is not all there is, nor is it all He is concerned with. Our version of life is not His version of life as there is life after this life. So to put your human ideal of killing and life and murder and harm on God is consistently erroneous.

    “If you think any of those things could be moral, or not immoral, then you aren’t following a universal morality. You’re following a situational one. Like we all do.”

    No, wrong again. Situational morality would be when each situation dictated to moral judgement… i.e. killing Sally is wrong, but killing Wendy is OK. The ideal that killing is wrong is universal despite the situation. I believe all killing by human beings to another human being is wrong. Only God has the right to take this life.

  21. “Wow. You’re a disgusting little troll, and I pity anyone you may live with.”

    How true that is.

  22. And until the world realizes that we are all disgusting little trolls, the world will continue to think that God is not needed. When you recognize how pathetic we really are, that is when the cross becomes a reality. Until that veil is lifted, morsec0de, I realize that debate will never save you. I know… you don’t need saving, right?

  23. I have one question for you that I wish you to answer. If you chose not to, I understand… but I would appreciate an honest answer here.

    To use a generic word like “good”, do you think you are basically a good person? And if so, what is “good” to you? What about you indicates that you are good?

  24. :And until the world realizes that we are all disgusting little trolls”

    Not the world.

    Just you.

  25. Morse, Why the strech. It never says they Are christian, One may use the excuse to try to cop somekind of plea deal, but Christian, True Christians have standards of behavior. It should tell you something that he, previos to killing the one year old, raped another child. He sounds like he doesn’t believe in God. Jesus said not every one who calls me Lord will enter the Kingdom of God. Repentance is a prerecuisit. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Love your neighbor as your self.

  26. I see you didn’t answer the previous question regarding “good”. Will you answer it?

  27. I think I’m a good person, yes. I help others, I live my life, I care for people, and I harm no one. That, to me, is good.

    Now, by all means, bring up the Ray Comfort ‘good person test’ nonsense.

  28. Hello morsec0de,

    Given that no objective moral code exists, on what basis are do you conclude that this act is “disgusting”? By what do you measure the moral value of this crime? Certainly your own subjective and culturally defined standard is incapable of meeting this requirement. This young Texas couple apparently thought that beating their child was a moral act. It may be disgusting to you, but that’s just your own subjective set of morals. Their’s obviously differs. Who is to say that you are right and they are wrong?

    The answer is that you can’t, not without some sort of objective moral standard.

    Also, on what basis can you make the claim that you are good? I might ask, according to what standard are you good? Your standard? Society’s standard? If my standard says you are not good, who’s standard is correct?

  29. “Given that no objective moral code exists, on what basis are do you conclude that this act is “disgusting”?”

    Certainly there is an objective moral code. It is determined by harm and benefit, which was can determine objectively using the scientific method.

    “Who is to say that you are right and they are wrong?”

    I am, and the objective evidence of the situation does.

    “If my standard says you are not good, who’s standard is correct?”

    Whoever has the evidence to back it up.

  30. “Certainly there is an objective moral code. It is determined by harm and benefit, which was can determine objectively using the scientific method.”

    So if this is the case, how does the scientific method determine what is harmful and what is beneficial, and to whom? Is something morally good when benefit exceeds harm?

    Here’s an example of why such a philosophy doesn’t work. I’d like to see how this scenario fits in with your theory. Three men are shipwrecked on a deserted island. There is no food, but water is plentiful. Any food reserves they once had were lost at sea. As the time slowly passes, the men grow desperate. Two of them conspire to murder the remaining person and live off of his body until they are rescued. And indeed, the murdered comrade sustains the other two until a passing boat notices their ship’s wreckage and rescues them.

    Objectively, two out of three people living is certainly preferable to all three dying of starvation. They may have had to murder an innocent man, but to quote a famous television character: “The needs of many outweigh the needs of the few.” In this scenario, benefit exceeds harm, thus making the murder of the poor fellow good. Using this metric, where am I wrong?

    As a Christian, I have no problem with this scenario. Murder is wrong, plain and simple. There would be no justification for what the two men did to the other.

  31. “As a Christian, I have no problem with this scenario. Murder is wrong, plain and simple. There would be no justification for what the two men did to the other.”- Therefore, God deserves the Death penalty, plain and simple. Or, he should be stripped of his divine status and forced into a life of human frailty in prison for his crimes against mankind.

    Yehweh is one of the most blatantly viscious gods in all of religious history. The scripture waxes eloquent in this regard. Read Numbers 23. He is petty, evil, and angry. Pure and simple. He commands over and over for people to be killed. Epic Bible FAIL.

    Back to the “island” scenario:
    Well Rich, they couldn’t have asked if he was suicidal first? What if they determine by chance who will be eaten? And what if that guy was just a murdering assgit himself? Say one of the other guys dies in the scirmish, they would eat him instead. The situation isn’t as simple as all that you make it.

    Besides, this is an instance of “lesser of two evils.” Clearly, right and wrong are abandoned for the purposes of greater overall survival.

    What i want to know is: is there any way to morally reduce the populaton of the earth so as to save the global economy as a whole? And isn’t abortion in third world countries often a saving grace from a life of abject misery, and a reduction of the wealth of the rest of the individuals? I often think that abortion is very tricky to talk about, but in the miserable conditions of living in poverty, i see procreation as prolonged child abuse. Nothing more.

    As conditions get worse in third world countries, the population doesn’t decline. It’s just excessive death. That is what Christians, and many others, do not realize. Abortion actually saves lives, improves quality of living, ect. That children’s children will never exist, if they ever did, and the person never experiances the misery of living well below what are tolerable standards of living.

    And isn’t all of this Gods fault to begin with, if he does exist? Or is it the result of evil people and governments who wish to rule as if they were all that mattered- as God claims to. Good may exist indeed, But evil is indesputable. What does that say about the “powers” and “benevolance” of God? Is he a Dictator, or impotent? Is he a liar and a fraud, or is he imaginary? The answers are incredibly obvious to one who reads and knows the scripture.

    Sorry to get off track Morse. But don’t i bring up important points?

  32. “Back to the ‘island’ scenario:
    Well Rich, they couldn’t have asked if he was suicidal first? What if they determine by chance who will be eaten? And what if that guy was just a murdering assgit himself? Say one of the other guys dies in the scirmish, they would eat him instead. The situation isn’t as simple as all that you make it.”

    Actually the situation is that simple when you don’t argue from silence. We can safely assume that the murdered man is neither suicidal nor a murderer himself.

    “‘As a Christian, I have no problem with this scenario. Murder is wrong, plain and simple. There would be no justification for what the two men did to the other.’- Therefore, God deserves the Death penalty, plain and simple. Or, he should be stripped of his divine status and forced into a life of human frailty in prison for his crimes against mankind.

    Yehweh is one of the most blatantly viscious gods in all of religious history. The scripture waxes eloquent in this regard. Read Numbers 23. He is petty, evil, and angry. Pure and simple. He commands over and over for people to be killed. Epic Bible FAIL.”

    Clearly you don’t understand the concept of God’s judgment, which is partially our fault. We don’t make the concept clear enough. We tell you that God is love, but not that He is just.

    Do you know why God decides to kill people, or for that matter, send them to Hell? It is because of sin. In fact, every lie, hateful thought, prideful thought, lustful fantasy, covetous desire, blasphemous saying, theft, and idolatrous altar makes each person deserving of the death penalty. God is so offended by our lawbreaking (which is what sin is – the breaking of God’s laws) that He has every right to strike a person dead as soon as they commit even one sin. The fact that God allows people to even live at all is a testament to His merciful and loving nature – that He doesn’t squash every person like they deserve. Because we have broken God’s laws, He would be just to punish us, just like an earthly judge who punishes a criminal.

    “The answers are incredibly obvious to one who reads and knows the scripture.”

    They are indeed.

  33. “he fact that God allows people to even live at all is a testament to His merciful and loving nature – that He doesn’t squash every person like they deserve. Because we have broken God’s laws, He would be just to punish us, just like an earthly judge who punishes a criminal.”- *snort* That’s Rich

    [note: it was Numbers 31, not 23. my bad]
    But, i’m sorry, WHAT?

    http://unreasonablefaith.com/2008/11/24/genesis-3-god-screws-up-the-world-blames-man/

    “A good tree bears good fruit, and a band tree bears bad fruit. It is by their fruit that you recognize them. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Do you pick grapes from thorns, or figs from briers?”
    “A good man brings goodness out of the treasure stored up in his heart, and a bad man bears bad things out of the treasure of his heart. For it is by the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”- Jesus, Luke 6:43-45.

    Presents a little bit of a conundrum when you consider the problem of Evil, doesn’t it?

    Humans can’t be faulted for doing what they want, because if they didn’t, evil wouldn’t exist. If that were the case, there would be nothing to make God look better by comparison. All these stories serve to do is point out the incompetence of God by constantly giving examples of how he’s better. God, by definition, needs no comparisons, so all that he has done is pointless masochism.
    As a side note, that God’s creations were imperfect shows that God is imperfect. A perfect thing can Never become imperfect, directly or indirectly; and since humans are image-bearers of God (whatever the hell that means), we would be unable to mar that image without having already been made imperfect. How can a God lower his standards like that in the first place? Where’s his perfectionism then?

    It doesn’t apply to Good, only Evil. Evil has all the weapons, all the powers, all the intelligence, but Good people are expected to win out in this “Spiritual War?” Sounds like God himself is delusional.

    Posted by: Pierce R. Butler

    B.T. Murtagh: “… before Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, did they know it was wrong to disobey God’s command?”

    Obviously not, since that would mean that they already knew the difference between good and evil.

    It also bears noting (repeating) that prelapsarian A ‘n’ E were therefore insane, by modern legal definition.
    I could go on and on, as you can see…

  34. Wow… you seriously can not mean what you wrote. Two people commit to doing a heinous crime and in an attempt to make light of their situation, claim their child was possesed, gives you the right so say “Faith” is the culprit? You know the typical reaction, and one I believe to be truly damaging Christianity, is to attack you with words. This as usual does nothing but stir the pot, which Satan intends and counts on to happen. I am trying to go further into understanding the thought process from a person that makes quick claim statements like this one. Obviously you know faith had nothing to do with this crime, but what concerns me is the anger in your words and the attempt to point and place it on something. I know Revelations states they will have scales on their eyes and see not the truth, but the holy spirit is still here in this world and has not been pulled away. I honestly believe no matter what I use to refer to you, bro , man, dude…it’s only going to be skipped over to get to your next line of words to further delve more anger out. I will pray for you. You do not have to like it, or accept it..or believe it my friend… it is simply a fact… I will pray for you and your soul. What is so terrible about being a christian? Is it so bad that we try to act good? We try to forgive , accept and offer friendship, companionship, love? That we have a code of ethics to live by, which trust me, I am no saint and still sin to this day.. BUT… not near as much and I’m quick to ask for forgiveness and change my ways of that sin… Why so much anger towards us if all we ask to care about the person standing next to you as much as your self? What is so bad about that..that you feel the need to attack us? You really want to understand what’s going on in the world today… do one simple favor for me ..please… ask yourself this.. what is wrong with trying to be a good person and caring about the guy / girl next to you? I’m not saying do what they say, practice what they preach..I’m saying care about that person and show kindness…. Remember what is used to feel like to wake up with a smile on your face and look forward to something… If I’m wrong.. I lose at one thing.. I died a person who was kind, caring and loving to the people around me.. If you are wrong my friend….where does that leave you?

  35. Ugh, paragraghs, mr. waiting game (and don’t hold your breath, by the way). By the way, it would be Awaiting, not waiting. Sheesh.

    Ah, the No True Scotsman Fallacy, the “Atheism is a religion” fallacy, and a general disregard for the fact that atheists don’t try to cure problematic situations/ people with violence. Sociopaths do. These people are sociopaths. Religion is their excuse. End of story.

    Oh, and apparently Pascal’s wager is thrown in at the end- though the utter mess that you call writing makes it diffcult to tell. You have just as much chance of hell as the Muslim, Zoroastrian, Bhuddist, Wiccan, or follower of many of the other polytheistic faiths that exist (hinduism, Greek/Roman/Norse/Egyptian/Aztec mythology).

    Full of FAIL.

  36. Ah, the No True Scotsman Fallacy

    I realize you like to use that phrase, as evidenced by your copy/paste skills, but that is a misapplication. You should do a little research about what that fallacy really means.

    To claim that you don’t judge an ideology by those who violate its tenets is not an example of that fallacy.

    Ugh, paragraghs, mr. waiting game (and don’t hold your breath, by the way). By the way, it would be Awaiting, not waiting. Sheesh.

    When Mr. Language Person comes out it is usually a sign of weak arguments (or perhaps just OCD).

  37. When you critique someone’s critique without Making an Argument, it’s usually a sign that you’ve lost.

    No true Scottsma falacy does indeed hold in this case because A) infanticide has been sanctioned by God in the OT- so the heinous act was at one time at least, permitted.

    B) whether or not they are Good Christians, christians they still remain.

    C) these kind of event occur far more often than you might think- Morsec0de’s Daily Dogma videos, prop H8 or this post- http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/11/a_tragic_tale_made_worse_by_do.php -point out examples of atrocity in the name of faith, just off the top of my head. So merely saying that “they aren’t with us” Is an example of the fallacy. They indeed Are with you.

    The Bible can be used to prove Anything is moral-
    http://unreasonablefaith.com/2008/11/17/an-evil-god-introduction/

    Try harder next time.

  38. “the heinous act was at one time at least, permitted”

    I keep hoping that one day I’ll find a materialist that lives consistently with his/her worldview. Hasn’t happened yet. They can’t go two sentences without making moral claims that they expect others to be bound by, which of course make no sense in a nothingness to molecules to live to man worldview.

    “Prop H8”

    Heh. The battle cry of the loser: “I can’t argue your rational points, so I’ll accuse you of hate.” Very compelling.

    Unless someone is so dimwitted as to not realize that “same sex marriage” is an oxymoron then they should realize that “hate” is not the issue.

    And unless you promote government recognition of marriage for polygamy, incest, bestiality, etc. then you must hate those groups. After all, your argument is that marriage is not just between one male human and one female human, it is that we can make it whatever we want it to be. Perhaps you are the exception, but most of you “haters” pull up the drawbridge once you’ve appeased gay lobby.

    And of course, no one is stopping gays from marrying today. They can even go to apostate churches to have a ceremony. We’re just saying that the gov’t shouldn’t redefine the word. After all, by nature and design they do not produce the next generation and can NEVER provide a mother and a father to a child. NEVER. So why promote them? (I assume you are smart enough not to use the inance “infertility / childless by preference” argument by exception. The mother/father argument is bulletproof.

    And we can argue against SSM without religious arguments, as I’ve demonstrated here. But feel free to keep living in stereotype land.

    When you critique someone’s critique without Making an Argument, it’s usually a sign that you’ve lost.

    No, it is a test to see if the person has the intellectual integrity to admit their logical fallacy. When they FAIL, as you did, and have nothing but a lack of logic to go with their Big Book O’ Atheist Sound Bites, I realize that I shouldn’t waste more time with them. Sort of like right . . . now.

  39. “I keep hoping that one day I’ll find a materialist that lives consistently with his/her worldview. Hasn’t happened yet. They can’t go two sentences without making moral claims that they expect others to be bound by, which of course make no sense in a nothingness to molecules to live to man worldview.”- Neil PoF

    I asked you first, liar. Sounds like you are the one who wants to make excuses as to why they ought not to obey the rules. Oh that’s right, there’s a Doctrine that deals specifically with that- “every man is his own pastor”.
    Step 1.Sin
    Step 2. Ask, and be forgiven
    Step3. Repeat

    And it’s called Secular Humanism- you know, that thing the Founding Fathers (those contemptible deists!) were real fans of: https://suddenlyatheist.wordpress.com/2008/10/27/what-this-atheist-does-believe/

    “Unless someone is so dimwitted as to not realize that “same sex marriage” is an oxymoron then they should realize that “hate” is not the issue.”

    “And unless you promote government recognition of marriage for polygamy, incest, bestiality, etc. then you must hate those groups.”

    A) hypocritical
    B) non-sequiter
    C) Consenting adults= animals and children? Or are Gay people now reduced to the status of “animal”?
    D)”The mother/father argument is bulletproof.”- Yeah that’s why This kinda crap happens (points to top of page), because all mothers and fathers are good ones- as opposed to tho people who might genuinely Care about the well-being of a child, regardless of sexual preference.
    E)This same logic disallowed interracial marriage in the South- oh wait, it Still Does in the Bible Belt!! You Don’t Say!!
    F) definition of “marriage” has been redefined several times from that in Judaism- which wholeheartedly supports polygamy and even wives taken as “war spoils”- to Protestant conceptions of marriage.
    G) If marriage is so sacred, why can two christians get married in 20 minutes in Reno/Las Vegas, and divorce just as quickly?
    H) “They can even go to apostate churches to have a ceremony.”-“And we can argue against SSM without religious arguments, as I’ve demonstrated here.” Blatant Contradiction. Dropping the words “Bible” and “God” isn’t good enough when your implicitly stating it with every sentence
    I) If marriage were only according to the Bible- no other religious married couples should exist.
    J)Prop 8- paid for by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
    K) Completely derailed the conversation and failed to address the bigger point. Intellectual honesty or otherwise might as well be in the negative now.

    “Big Book O’ Atheist Sound Bites”- Oh like the BIBLE for atheists. yeah, that’s why the phrase “our Bible” exists- because it is synonymous with manifesto, ideology, evangelical belief system the world over.

    FAIL- copied from me, just like every other meme that Christians have at their disposal- the “it fell off the truck” of religions:
    Mithras, Dionysus, Baal, Ashera, Lucifer- Zoroastrian meme that was applied to a Hittite (Babylonian?) King. That’s right. No Satan. Souls as they are conceived- Platonic construct. Heaven/Hell- who knows, but for Jews it was Sheol, or the ever-pleasant Sheol.

    “I realize that I shouldn’t waste more time with them. Sort of like right . . . now.”- One last vacuous lie, huh? Shoo then.

    Happy Saturnalia, douche.

  40. Sorry for the rudness at the end, i was struck with SIWOTI Syndrome. *Coughs*

    I’m not feeling too well, having to deal with my guilt as well as a monsoon of error.

  41. Dammit, Autofill is annoying, i’ll try to stick with the purple from now on Morse. Sorry, i know it’s very annoying.

  42. If the tenants of one’s religion says it wrong to commit murder. And that person believes that tenant.

  43. Except of course, in those scenarios where there is a complete abandonment to that tenant: Jephtah (sp?) is an example, as well as the brutal destruction of the Ammonites- all, woman and children included. As well as an entire planet.

    Oh that’s right, God HAS no morals. Oh but wait, then who is supposedly the source of our morality if not God? People are- in your case, Bronze Age Jewish Priests.

    “Tenants” have been and are disregarded. You can beleive them and still be insane. The parents also believe in Demons and demonic power, so for them it was choosing the lesser of two evils. And if not, then they are just being handed excuses by the Bible as to what they did.

    Besides, why is killing children so odd? In the Bible, rebellious youths are to be stoned to death. That’s far worse than this instance becasue this is just insanity, not instututionalized insanity backed up by a legal code. So again, why do you deny this group has faith, when the Preists were the ones who put the Levitical Book of Law into practice.

    superdave, you know nothing about the book you profess to be truth.

  44. […] Bible and erect in His place a god of their own making. One reader on the Suddenly Atheist blog commented: Yehweh (sic) is one of the most blatantly viscious (sic) gods in all of religious history. The […]

  45. I’m amazed this post created such a long argument. Hopefully, you all know my stance, so I won’t repeat everything that’s already been said. It’s rather humorous and disgusting (pun intended) to me that the various Atheists in the crowd kept this argument up so long.
    Happy New Year! (Is that okay to say?)

    P.S. I know it is, but after reliving the same Christmas free speech fiasco over and over again the last several years I thought I would try to carry over the fun. 🙂

  46. I had a bushel of beautiful apples and, sadly, I found one was rotten when unloading them. So I threw them all in the trash.

    Let me know if that makes sense.

  47. Sorry Tony. I’m allergic to apples. 😉

    The point of the article is to refute those that say that faith is harmless. Faith obviously is not harmless. It isn’t always and completely harmful. But neither is a bomb, until someone sets it off.

  48. There will always be extremists… no matter what the subject. Sometimes we call them fans when speaking of sporting events. (Still hurting from the Buckeyes loss last night.)

    Sadly, its usually the extremists that color the rest of the lot.

    I have a Muslim friend who I admire greatly. He is a respectable husband, devoted father, and ethical worker. I would hire dozens more people like him if I could. Yet, in our world, many people think of the suicide bomber when the word Muslim is used. Is that fair? Every Muslim I have met has been kind to me. I have yet to meet one who bombed me. Maybe that would be different if I moved to the middle east… but at the moment, I will trust that they are more like the ones I have met and less like the ones who make the news.

    Maybe you have had bad experiences with people who claim Christianity. For that I wish I could apologize but I know that would not mean much as we have never met and you don’t know who I am. I can say with all honesty that people who are Christians are messed up people… just like those who aren’t Christians. We all have our struggles, our up days, and our down days. But here is one thing I have learned from my time being around people who live by the faith they claim. They truly and emphatically care for me. And they do the same for people who they have just met.

    I hope you meet some of those people of faith. Not that I want you to be converted, but because I would like to know that there are some good apples in the bunch.

  49. That last sentence should have read.. I would like you to know that there are some good apples in the bunch..

    so much for proof reading after hitting the submit button.

  50. My response to you Tony is that, bad or not, apples are apples. And yes, of course there are many good Christians, and i have chatted with a few myself on this blog and others. But the point is that faith is not something which is ethically nuetral, and what’s more, it actually polarizes people’s opinions and behaviours. For all intents and purposes, aggresion/extremism and faith simply cannot be separated.

    Indeed, it is the natural state of people to become this way- at least to a degree, Not that it is inherrant that every human become (or is) evil by metaphysical necessity or moral default. That doesn’t say anything positive about the faith, because it seems to do nothing to improve the content of a person, only the context which they view their actions. And once again, this is often a justifying context, not a humbling meekness that would naturally be the byproduct of faith. God, if he were real, would know this, and faith would empower people to truly be moral and intelligent individuals. Things like this wouldn’t occur in a world where God responded to faith Tony.

    Not to say anything of you, Mr. York. You seem just dandy to me. Hopefully i will get to continue this conversation with you.

  51. Rick,

    I appreciate your response and the spirit in which you have delivered it.

    Apples are apples – meaning that people are people. Left to our natural state or desires we would revert to might makes right. Look at any school yard or public park and you will see the bullies that push for their desires. As we grow and mature, we hopefully learn to deal with each other differently. And there are many means by which way may choose to deal with one another. Faith is one. Materialism is another. Basic dignity could be named as well.

    Before we get too smug in our selves as mature adults, it should be pointed out that we adults cause more damage in our wars and skirmishes than any child has ever caused on the local playground. What is the true motive behind the problems that exist in society? Can we put a name to it? Would we be tempted to call it evil? Those questions open up dialogs to things that go beyond the neutrality of the human spirit.

    It is a one dimensional conversation to highlight those that fail to live to a moral code that is found in a particular religion. We can find those types of failings across other dimensions of society.

    We have free will and because of the free will we can choose for ourselves regardless of what moral code we choose to tell others that we subscribe to. I know many people who are on diets that are failing miserably. Is it that they lack the will power to succeed or do they lack true belief in the path they have chosen to accomplish their change in person?

    There is a basic premise that I believe is true. We live according to what we believe. People can believe wrongly and cause tradegy or people can claim wrongly and not live what they propose they believe. Or they can believe rightly and live lives that reflect the beauty that their belief system teaches.

    Christianity’s teaching is that we belong one to another – that we are to favor our fellow man as much as we favor our selves. Sadly, most people who claim that label do not live that life. Some struggle greatly in trying to live that life because it is not natural to release one’s will to a faith that calls for sacrificial living. Especially in a society, such as America, that is about excess.

    Respectfully, a friend.

  52. “Apples are apples – meaning that people are people.”

    -Umm no, it apples: christians; if you wanted to set it up that way, it would have to be apples: christians :: fruit: people. Just saying

    “Left to our natural state or desires we would revert to might makes right.”

    -Not necessarily. It’s In-Group/ Out Group modality that fuels social, political and -in particular- religious fighting. Might makes right only applies to the issues of authority, and, if democracy has any say in it, that framework is to be thrown out the window (though the “tough guy” persona is paradoxically uplifted oftentimes even in a democracy- consider the long list of military hero presidents). Ironically, it is this very principle upon which God’s alleged Sovereignty rests- his omnipotence.And his divinity rests on his soveriengty, and his moral perfection a product of his divinity, and so on in a cascade effect.

    “Faith is one. Materialism is another.” Both are boring. But, just in the spirit of discussion, i would ask that you give definition to these terms.

    “Basic dignity could be named as well.” Ah, humanism, and note that there is such a beast as Secular Humanism ( https://suddenlyatheist.wordpress.com/2008/10/27/what-this-atheist-does-believe/ ).

    now this discussion is entering the realm of faith and ethics, which i discussed in further detail on the about page. my posts on the 19, 22 December i think are the best.

  53. Just so no one uses the argument from consequences on the anti-gay marraige front:

  54. Faith in the wrong hands is definitely not harmless. Same as faithlessness, look up Eugenics. But arguing that you should not have faith because someone did something wrong in the name of that faith is like saying that we should burn down every tree because someone used one to make a baseball bat is kill someone with it.

  55. Your strawman argument (or rather, your attempt to rephrase my argument as such), is ridiculous.

    Religion Is far colser to a firearm than a bat as far as lethal weapons are concerned, and secondly, you seem to indicate that some ought to, by virtue of who God made them to be, are unequipped to have faith.

    And the one who practiced eugenics with the most furver in modern times was also the guy who said, “Got mit uns!” Just to clarify. According to the Doctrine of Original Sin, everyone’s hands are the wrong hands. Human logic distorts scripture, it errs in the writing of it, and it fails in the practice of it’s teachings. Once again, read the about page. December 19th and 22nd are the dates that discuss this most closely.\

    One last thing: Why did God murder forty-two children for No Reason? Ask yourself, then respond as to why you think that faith and worship of such a being would, in any circumstance, merit praise.

  56. Well to address your last question we must first strip away your straw-man approach. God does nothing without reason, he has a reason for everything even if we don’t see it. So the answer to the question, Why did God allow the murder of forty-two children?, is a difficult answer for a non-believer to hear… because he works all things for good. We look at an incident where 42 kids have perished and we only see the temporary horror of it, we do not have the ability to see what waters are effected the ripples produced. I’ll give an example, Adam Walsh was savagely murdered and out of that John Walsh has reformed the law enforcement action plan that resulted in uncounted numbers of other children to live. Horrible event was used for good.

    As for your other straw-man, indirectly saying that the faith of Hitler was Christianity is disputable, the ‘bible’ they found in his home was rewritten by him to justify his hatred of lesser breeds… that he learned from Darwin.

    I would also point to Margaret Sanger as the “one who practiced eugenics with the most furver in modern times” as he foundation, planned parenthood, murders millions every year in the name of eugenics.

  57. Actually, we see the ripples, it’s all in the Bible. But you don’t even understand the referance do you?

    Second Kings 2:23-25

    Elisha Is Jeered
    23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. “Go on up, you baldhead!” they said. “Go on up, you baldhead!” 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of [Yehweh] . Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths. 25 And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.

    Another look at it:
    http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/2kg/2.html

    What evidence is there that god did any of this with a reason. Even murderers have reasons don’t they? Thank you for ignoring the point.

    And you can’t put this on Elijah becasue God should never have answered the call, just like this:

    “The latest bit of misinterpretation was when he referred to Jephthah (Judges 11) as if God told him to sacrifice his daughter. Atheists like this ignore the obvious fact that the Bible doesn’t show approval for all its records — in fact, it is pointing out how all are sinners in need of a Savior.”

    BZZZT! Wrong. No God didn’t tell him to sacrifice his daughter, but did he failed to punish him for making an illegal promise. Unless throwing his daughter under the bus like that Was the punishment.

    Second, that’s a moral cop out. It’s saying, “I do wrong, but instead of fessing up to my crimes, I’ll just speak to my god and he will make it all better- i’m forgiven.”

    You know, that’s were the deplorable license plate frame- “we aren’t perfect, just forgiven” came from.

    And what good does it do God to only put forth consistent negative role models? Why set people up to interpret insane behavior such as infanticide, genicide, polygamy, cannabalism, and human sacrifice as perfectly within reason?

    Why don’t you take a good look at all the contradictions that there are in your infallible scripture on the About page. David was the one who gets the credit for those findings- though naturally, it was only Inter-Scripture contradictions, making no mention of historical vacuity and ethical reprehensibility.

    Print a copy of those scriptural contradictions, and these sources as well ( http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/otarch.html
    http://www.georgeleonard.com/yahweh.html ). Mull over the knowledge, spread the information, ask for guidance and and come back with a fully complete statement. Otherwise, it’s just empty words.

    “that he learned from Darwin.”

    That He Learned From Spencer, Not darwin. The fact that you do not know this simple fact puts your credibility in the line of fire. Spencer was a sociologist, not a biologist. And you haven’t even read the rest of the thread have you? Apparantly not, read my comment on january 7th.

    To say that Hitler was No True Scotsman means jack-didly shit. He used the faith of his larger audiance to inspire the charisma of his following, and to gain power. Surely you must think that G. W. Bush is No True Christian (TM) as well?! Hitler used the faithful to his ends. Faith became an instrument of evil. Just like How Osama Bin Laden used faith to inspire men to take thier lives simply to issue a statement against the United States. Whether or not he truly believes is not the question. Faith is a loaded gun, and the one’s who carry it most often are passionate, ignorant tools of thier religious and political leaders.

    Now, respond with caution. You represent God you know. And if He is truly with you, he will make himself evident by the quality of your next series of statements.

    Unless, that is, history repeats itself, and it is God’s plan to LOSE.

    Don’t leap out with faith- the air is not as saturated with the presence of God as you might have previously thought.

  58. I think there is an even more fundamental argument here. Were you aware that there are doctors poisoning their patients and blasting them with radiation in our very hospitals today? We all know chemotherapy is efficacious. But how many treatments delivered by secular scientists killed their patients? Galen probably had a bigger body count than Ted Bundy. These people were working off a different premise for their bad medicine but what if it did make the kid better? Okay in this case it’s nigh impossible to make that argument. But trepanation was considered good medicine the world over and probably did help some people, otherwise they wouldn’t have done it for so long in so many parts of the world. And the logic there at least in some parts of the world was to release bad spirits.
    Sum of my point: Bad medicine does not equal bad belief system and makes for an extremely bad argument against other people’s belief systems. And let me make it clear I do not think what these people did is right. The fact the guy was a kid toucher shows his inability to exercise good judgment to put it ridiculously mildly.

  59. “Were you aware that there are doctors poisoning their patients and blasting them with radiation in our very hospitals today?”

    yes, and yes. But, when death is inevitable in the first place, i don’t see what the true problem is, especially when it is the patient’s obligation to read up on the risks/ factors, cost, ect. And isn’t it God’s obligation to protect his flock to begin with? You have to assume the risk to try and cure the patient. Of course it’s dangerous, but better treatments are being discovered and/or studied every day.

    “But how many treatments delivered by secular scientists killed their patients?”- how are we supposed to know whether they are secular or not? Furthermore, this seems to be trying to compare atheism as if it were some religion. it isn’t. Is transparent a color? Or empty a descrpition of content?

    “Sum of my point: Bad medicine does not equal bad belief system and makes for an extremely bad argument against other people’s belief systems. And let me make it clear I do not think what these people did is right. The fact the guy was a kid toucher shows his inability to exercise good judgment to put it ridiculously mildly.”

    What exactly are you responding to? Not this article; and who is Galen? I think the word for this is “Slagging.”

  60. Let’s respond to some misnomers and idiocies stated above:
    G-d has no obligations other than those He imposes on himself. We liken our relationship to G-d in three ways: king/servant, father/son, husband/wife. There are obligations but the obligations go both ways. Confucius elaborated on those points by far better than I could at this moment, though I might disagree with some of his nuances.
    There are two verses in the Torah (the Hebrew Bible) which you have to (and did) categorically ignore. The first is that in the verses dealing with damages it says that a person must surely heal the other person. This means they have to pay his doctor’s bills. It also means that the power to heal was given to people. Couple this statement with the verse in Deuteronomy “It is not in the heavens…it is in your heart and mouth that you may do it (I have it in my head forgive a lack of an exact quote)” We believe that people were given free will and constant divine interventions would severely hinder our ability to make bad choices. All these things you have to pretend aren’t in there to make your point.
    By secularism I mean coming from the western scientific method as opposed to other medical traditions (Chinese, Shamanism etc.)
    Atheism is absolutely a religion as transparent is a color (unless you are a complete Aristotelian. I am not. In other systems of logic emptiness is a substance of its own). Deviating from my point Atheism is absolutely a religion and not only the most arrogant of all religions but the least intellectually justifiable. To know there is no G-d you’d have to be G-d, and you’re not. Far from it. Agnostic there might be something to talk about. Every culture that had to pick their own food or farm recognized it was not their own efforts that ultimately decided whether they ate. You see this as backwards thinking but if you see it’s actually quite profound all native cultures had some kind of pantheon however they conceived of it. Only in a culture where people think money comes out of the wall and attribute all of their own efforts to their financial well being could someone really think there’s no one upstairs taking care of them.
    Galen was one of the great Greek physicians and much of medical wisdom going to pretty close to the present was based on his and other Greek doctors’ advice. Maimonides was already demonstrating how dangerous some of their practices were and gave better medical advice. Many of his ideas were drawn from earlier rabbinic literature as well as scientific inquiry.
    How it ties to the article: don’t use someone doing something unhealthy as an indictment of religion since the same logic could be used against western medicine (lobotomies anyone?)
    I will admit I’m not familiar with the term “slagging”. I just looked it up I don’t see what this has to do with sleeping around or smelting metal. Enlighten me.

  61. I would like to strike the word idiocy and change that to fallacy. I couldn’t find the word I was looking for. I apologize.

  62. well, if only my damn comment weren’t erased when i back- arrowed.

    Suffice it to say that, however wrong you are (more on that later), i’m impressed.

  63. “Atheism is absolutely a religion as transparent is a color (unless you are a complete Aristotelian. I am not. In other systems of logic emptiness is a substance of its own). Deviating from my point Atheism is absolutely a religion and not only the most arrogant of all religions but the least intellectually justifiable.”

    Very wrong. Firstly, Nothingness is everything at the same time. It isn’t a sub-catagory of anything you wish it to be. In such a case, a baseball game that never occured ought to have a score as well simply as you say. A game that never happened is still a game, right?

    Bhuddism is a religion, Taoism is a philosophy, wicca is a faith, but Atheism is none of these. It has no rituals, it isn’t a philosophy-though it is a philosophical question, it isn’t a faith- you can’t have faith in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, despite all your efforts.

    You say that god only has three relationships- Father/Son (which is by your logic impossible, we are creations, not equals that haven’t yet reached their full maturity), ironically- well actually, fittingly, Jesus never went by Son of God, while many figures from the OT did

    King/Servant- again, provably unnessecarry as soon as monarchies were abolished (why do you think that our countries founders were Deists hmmm?)

    Husband/wife- again, a treatment of equals, wait, doesn’t that contradict the first statment right there? Although the treatment of God as a human entity or minor diety was certainly strewn all about the J scriptures- Abhraham pleading for Sodom and Gomorah, Moses and the Burning Bush, Jacob and the Wrestling Match, ect.

    Furthermore, a simple set of statments can be produced:
    God is logically necessary and thus exists
    God is contingent and possibly exists
    God is logically impossible, and thus doesn’t exist.

    The first statement and the third rest on the idea that God is defined by logic- and surely He is, for if He weren’t, then we might as well just call Him a liar and a cheat- becasue that is what He would be- making him less than omnipotent becasue he would be unable to do things that violate logic. He is Obligated to be consistant and unchanging, so we can expect that he is also logical. But again, he is defined by His nature, and his “personality” or characteristsics such as Love, Mercy, et al would be secondary to that. We can’t have a separation of the powers of God, that would violate the whole idea of having God.

    You think that it’s profound that primitive people’s created death cults to satisfy thier deified ancestors’ spirits? Or that they thought Nature was greater than them and they ought to observe it and try and better understand it? Becasue the first is Religion, and the second is what Science is. as far as i know, religion ain’t a science no more. And actually, philosophy is the root of science, not Theology. Not even close. Theology is a political/sociological tool.

  64. morsec0de – I’m sensing a real hostility toward Christianity and I’m just trying to understand why. I can understand a retaliation when someone attacks – but it seems like you’ve got an axe to grind from the beginning. I’m not trying to project, attack or anything like that. It’s just when the title says “And you still think having faith doesn’t hurt anyone…” well, I can see the chip on your shoulder from a mile away. I’ve read your About page, but it doesn’t tell much about your experiences with Christianity. I’m interested in hearing your story. If you’ve already posted it somewhere on this blog, I’m happy to read it. I’m sure you’ll get my email from this comment so feel free to send me a message directly.

    As for the topic at hand, I have to agree with others that have stated (to the effect) that to say “this is the inevitable result of Christian faith” is really unfair. This story represents and extremist view and it describes a tragedy – people who have gone astray and done terrible things in the name of Christ. It’s really a straw man argument because I could just as easily show you 100 people who did terrible things with no religious convictions at all.

    As for a question you posed to another poster – re: killing someone at God’s command. No, I wouldn’t do it because there’s nothing in Scripture to indicate God would command me to. There’s nothing prescribing me as a modern day Christian to kill others in the name of Christ.

  65. “I’m sensing a real hostility toward Christianity and I’m just trying to understand why.”

    I do indeed have a hostility to Christians who do horrible things like in the article I linked above. I hope everyone would. And I have a hostility to quite a number of Christian beliefs and teachings, though luckily many of those are beliefs and teachings that most modern Christians ignore.

    This particular post was in direct response to many who have said, either, that one cannot be good without faith OR that faith can never lead to bad things happen. This refutes that.

    As far as my own experience, I was a Catholic for about 20 years. A liberal one. And I had no bad experiences. No molestation, no rape, no bad feelings. I just stopped believing.

    I have bad feelings now about the Catholic church, however, in direct response to their protection of pedophile priests. But I don’t remember knowing about that when I was a Catholic.

    “that to say “this is the inevitable result of Christian faith” is really unfair.”

    I don’t believe I ever said that.

    What I WOULD say is that something like this is the inevitable result of a lack of critical thinking and a belief in things that aren’t so, which sometimes takes the form of religious faith.

    “It’s really a straw man argument because I could just as easily show you 100 people who did terrible things with no religious convictions at all.”

    Show me a person doing a horrible thing, and then show me what they believe that caused them to do that thing, and I will denounce that belief. Religious or not.

    “No, I wouldn’t do it because there’s nothing in Scripture to indicate God would command me to.”

    Abraham? The Midianites? Jesus?

  66. “I do indeed have a hostility to Christians who do horrible things like in the article I linked above. I hope everyone would.”

    Fair enough. As I believe I indicated, I too think what happened in the article you referenced was horrible.

    “This particular post was in direct response to many who have said, either, that one cannot be good without faith OR that faith can never lead to bad things happen. This refutes that.”

    I agree with both of your statements. What I inferred from your title and subsequent comments was something to the effect of “see, see – I told you Christians were a bunch of nut jobs”. Again, I won’t argue that Christians can and have gone off the deep end.

    ““that to say “this is the inevitable result of Christian faith” is really unfair.”

    I don’t believe I ever said that.”

    Again, fair enough. I was reading more into your title and comments that were there.

    “Show me a person doing a horrible thing, and then show me what they believe that caused them to do that thing, and I will denounce that belief. Religious or not.”

    Abortion – at any stage.

    “Abraham? The Midianites? Jesus?”

    Ah yes, the classic “the God of the OT is no God of love in my book” argument. I won’t lie and say I’ve never struggled with these issues myself. God hardening the heart of Pharaoh, God commanding (not just allowing) Joshua to wipe out city after city, God himself wiping out the entire planet save for 8 people in the account of the flood – on the surface, completely out of context – I could probably be convinced that this makes God into a great, big baddie in the sky. However, I understand all of Scripture through the lens of Christ. All leads to Him and stems from Him. Apart from the promises in Christ, there is no hope and God is absolutely to be feared. In Christ, God shows us His love and we have the promise and assurance of forgiveness and eternal life. If you read through the OT and NT, it’s all a narrative of God’s love for His people – the plan of salvation. The only time God ever changed His mind with His people was from wrath to mercy. That is to say, many times he changed his mind and showed mercy rather than punishment, but never did he say “I’m not going to punish you” but then changed His mind and did. Apart from that, I’ll freely admit this not something I can articulate as well as I’d like.

    The real point I was trying to get at is while God did pre-scribe wiping out nations for His redemptive purposes in the OT, never does the Bible indicate that WE as modern day Christians are supposed to do the same in the name of Christ today. These accounts are descriptive of what God has done in history, not prescriptive of how we are supposed to live as Christians today. I’m not sure what you’re referencing with Jesus in that string, but he never advocated killing someone in his name (if I’m missing something, please show me). If it’s his crucifixion you’re talking about – that’s another issue. His willing sacrifice as true man true God is central to the whole Christian faith. He didn’t die because he was coerced or forced to – He did it out of love for us.

  67. “Abortion – at any stage.”

    Ah, but you must demonstrate that abortion at any stage is a horrible thing.

    If you can show me how aborting a clump of cells that has only split a few times is a horrible thing, by all means.

  68. Well, you’ve got me there. If you refuse to acknowledge a human as a human life from the moment of conception (just as I refuse to acknowledge that we’re not human from the very moment of conception) – regardless of the number of divisions that’s taken place – we might as well stop talking now. But just some food for thought. You once started out as that clump of cells, did you not? And after how many divisions does it all suddenly become human? And really, would it be too much of a stretch to say that you and I are really nothing more than a bigger, more complex clump of cells?

    If we start playing the game of “when does life/human-ness begin” we also have to play the “when does it end” card, don’t we? I don’t see how science will ever be able to determine when life begins/ends or more importantly, how science will ever lead us to discover what defines life period.

  69. “And after how many divisions does it all suddenly become human? ”

    I’m not sure. And that’s a very good question.

    But not knowing exactly WHEN human life begins doesn’t mean that we can’t point out specific points when human life HASN”T begun.

    I would put conception as far too early, and birth as far too late. The answer is somewhere between, not necessarily in the exact middle of course.

    “we also have to play the “when does it end” card, don’t we?”

    I don’t see why. Certainly there are some similar issues, but one conversations doesn’t necessarily beget the other.

    We can certainly talk about it, of course.

  70. Okay, so still we have the bigger question of what defines “life” or “human-ness”. Furthermore, how do you know when it hasn’t begun? Or maybe a better question is, what is the criteria for determining when someone is/is not a human?

    The reason I raised the end of life issue is because it seems (to me, anyway) to be tied to the beginning of life. Just by way of example to illustrate a point – if we say “life begins when the heart begins to beat on its own” then what does that say about those with pacemakers? Should they not get one because their heart can no longer beat on its own and they are, in effect, dead? There are probably better examples you could come up with I’m not suggesting this is your view, again – I’m just trying to illustrate the point that if we try to define life/humanness by some scientific process, it can open the door (like it has) to tragedies like abortion, euthanasia, and eugenics.

  71. It is a scientific fact that the unborn are human beings. Biologically speaking, life begins at conception.

    Some people hold the view that abortion is justifiable because the unborn aren’t persons. The personhood argument fails on many levels, but what is amusing and illuminating is when the materialist crowd debates its elusive definition.

    What happened to, “We only trust what science tells us?” and that we can only trust empirical evidence?

    Secular embryology textbooks are remarkably clear about when life begins and thus what is killed during an abortion. The unborn are human beings at a particular stage of development, though people try to dehumanize them with labels such as fetus. But what kind of fetus is it? Human. Science could not be more clear.

    So why do the science-only folks get all philosophical when it comes to rationalizing abortion?

    It is amazing the lengths people will go to in justifying abortion, even when they have to abandon their usual worldview to do so.

    Even Planned Parenthood used to concede the humanity of the unborn. What scientific discoveries did they find to change their minds? Or was it a monetary discovery?

  72. Here’s a link if you want references to embryology textbooks — http://abort73.com/index.php?/abortion/medical_testimony

  73. “Okay, so still we have the bigger question of what defines “life” or “human-ness”. ”

    Not sure. We can go through a long list, about what we would agree makes one human. But that might get tedious.

    I think the beginnings of the formation of the brain is a huge marker. We would have to do some research to find out when the egg/sperm stops being an embryo and starts being a fetus. (I may not be using those terms correctly.)

    And just to be clear, I don’t think I have the answers, nor do I think the answers are easy to find. I do, however, think that both the people who say life doesn’t begin until birth and the people that say life begins at conception are both equally wrong.

    I am also not ‘pro’ abortion. I just think that outlawing it will lead to the death of more women and the neglect of more children. What we need to do is become much better about teaching children comprehensive sex education and birth control. Do that, and abortion will go out of business.

    ““life begins when the heart begins to beat on its own” then what does that say about those with pacemakers?”

    I think science is the answer in both of those situations. If we develop the right techniques that we can get the heart of a fetus beating by itself earlier, then I’d be all for pushing the ‘abortion line’ back farther. And the opposite, the longer we can keep the heart beating, whatever means we may be using, the better.

    “it can open the door (like it has) to tragedies like abortion, euthanasia, and eugenics.”

    I find it interesting that you list three things there, and only one of which would I think is ALWAYS a tragedy. That would be eugenics. I concede that abortions can, potentially, be tragic. Euthanasia, if we’re talking about the literal definition as opposed to a crazy doctor or nurse killing people, is not a tragedy at all.

    And Neil, saying that ‘life begins’ and ‘this is a human’ are different things.

    Your spermatozoa is alive. Your salad was once alive. But would you consider those human?

    I would never say that abortion was nothing. But it isn’t the murder of a human being.

    And then there’s a simple question. If you believe that abortion is murder, then what legal punishment should be given to the women who undergo them?

  74. I just think that outlawing it will lead to the death of more women and the neglect of more children.

    That ignores the death of over 3,000 unborn human beings in the U.S. today.

    But it isn’t the murder of a human being.

    You say that in direct opposition to science.

    Do that, and abortion will go out of business.

    Ah, the nirvana answer. Show me one school where that ever worked. Any excuse to rationalize abortion, eh?

  75. I could show you plenty of schools where the pregnancy rate is minuscule. And none of them are abstinence only.

    Outlaw abortion, and you’ll still have about 1500 unborn dying, along with women who get illegal abortions dying of complications and children being neglected.

    But you obviously don’t care about that. Children are only worth something to you if they’re cellular. Once they’re born, to hell with them, right?

  76. Outlaw abortion, and you’ll still have about 1500 unborn dying, along with women who get illegal abortions dying of complications and children being neglected.

    Per day? That would be odd, since the last total for a YEAR per the CDC prior to Roe v Wade was only 39 (thirty nine).

    Who says the children will be neglected? Are you saying they’d be better off dead?

    Still wondering how you can deny the scientific evidence of the unborn being human beings.

    And Neil, saying that ‘life begins’ and ‘this is a human’ are different things.

    Check the embryology textbooks. You are wrong.

  77. But you obviously don’t care about that. Children are only worth something to you if they’re cellular. Once they’re born, to hell with them, right?

    Gee, that’s a new ad hominem. Oh, wait, no it isn’t — Pro-lifers don’t care about kids after they are born?

  78. “The only time God ever changed His mind with His people was from wrath to mercy.”

    WRONG. Yehweh may have changed his mind, but you seem to forget that He is not the God of the Jews. He is the polytheistic adaption of God. Priests later Replaced him with Elohim (also pagan), Baal (meaning literally “Lord”), and/or Adonai. There is an amazing wealth of facts and disceprancies that muct be addressed before you even begn to try and describe the Character of God. First of All, who or what is God?

    Vigilance!! I was gone for too long and now see what happened!!

  79. @morsec0de – regarding your question for punishment of those who have committed abortions. That’s an excellent question and I honestly haven’t really considered it before. I’ll have to give it some thought. In my book it’s one of those “ignorance is no excuse” but I’m more concerned about protecting the lives of the unborn rather than seeking punishment against those who carry out abortion. I also think the doctors who perform it should be held accountable. Again, I don’t have a good answer as to what I think the specific punishments should be – but as strongly as I feel that abortion is a sin, I do not think it is unforgivable. A better answer would be prevention – education – giving women options and support both before and after.

    @Rickr0ll – at the risk of sounding smug here, how much have you studied the Hebrew language because I have. I’m not an expert by any means, but I can make my way around it. Yahweh is the name God ascribed to himself in the Old Testament. Elohim is simply the Hebrew word for God and Adonai is Hebrew for Lord. The name Jehovah (which you didn’t bring up) is actually a non-Name but comes from using the vowel pointing from Adonai on the consonants for Yahweh (YHWH). At any rate, I’m not sure what your frame of reference is but I’m sure Jewish scholars would absolutely disagree that Yahweh is not their God. Furthermore, Yahweh, Adonai, and Elohim were all used to refer to God.

    As for Baal, you are correct that it can be translated as “lord” or “ruler”, but it also is used to refer to a pagan god sought after by the enemies of the Israelites. Just like the name “Adam” is derived from the Hebrew word “Adamah” for “earth” or “ground”.

    All of this is to say, I’m not trying to prove I’m a scholar of Hebrew because again, I’m not but I have studied it some. I just don’t understand what your frame of reference is for these arguments. I’m happy to entertain your arguments, just provide some references to back up your accusations especially that Yahweh is “not the God of the Jews” but rather the “polytheistic adaptation of God” because even a quick search on wikipedia says otherwise. I’m not trying to be difficult here, just interested in learning more about where you’re coming from.

  80. My frame of referance Reverand, is the Documentary hypothesis. If ou have indeed studiesd scripture as much as you say you have, you are no doubt aware of the interpolation and redaction iof many dirrerent sources that came together to create the Orthodox Bible. The 1st “Godless Bible Study” Thread had a long list of sources towards the bottom of the page.

    There is significant archeological evidence that Isrealites were simply nomads who settled in Cannan, adopting and adapting to their evironment. As the Canaanite empite collapsed, the newcomers claimed it as thierown and re-wrote history to suit thier causes. Then some time later Yehwists went out of thier way to demonize all the polythieistic remnants of thier society (this was no doubt in order to create a much stronger central theocracy). When Ezra- the common Redactor suspect, put together the older Jewish mythos and the rest of the parts of the Bible, the Orthodox Tradition was fully formed. That’s it in a nutshell. But read more abo0ut it:

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

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

  81. Morsecode,

    “Morals aren’t universal or absolute. They’re malleable and changeable. Ideally, they change for the better the more we learn. Some cultures, however, go in the opposite direction.”

    If truth and morality is relative, it’s impossible for you to say to make the statement “ideally, they hopefully they change for the better.” For if truth and morality is relative, who are you to say what is better, and what is worse! In other words, your paragraph quoted above is contradictory. You proved the exact opposite of your statement, “Morals aren’t universal or absolute.”

    Truth is absolute and universal, because truth defined in any other manner is meaningless and absurd.

    Justin

  82. Ethics aren’t under the perveiw of Epistemology of Metaphysics Justin. You have made a catagorical fallacy. Relative is just a word to describe the subset of universal morals being surrounded by the nebulous cloud of social “order or disorder”.

    If you thought about it for half a second, you would realize this. BECAUSE you treat relativism with absolutionism, you will get absolutionism. Treating something with relativism doesn’t do the same. Some essential core valus are preserved, while overall there is a large geography of conduct and behavior throughout the world.

    Let me ask a practical question: WHICH one, Relitivism or Absolutionism, is closer to reality of culture and global society–the one with with polygamy, eternal monogamy, abject hedonism, strictest caste structure, genocide, witch-hunting, pluralism, cosmopolitanism; and (most importantly) good AND evil all one the same playing field?

    the answer is obvious and indomitable. Relativism in the rational outcome from a sampling of the data. Simple Empiricism quickly settled that dispute, not heavy-handed incongruous armchair philosophy.

  83. “Ethics aren’t under the perveiw of Epistemology of Metaphysics Justin.”

    I never said they were; trust me — I know that. I was merely saying that truth is not relative; and neither is morality.

    Relativism must be false in order to claim that it is true.

    “Treating something with relativism doesn’t do the same.”

    If truth is relative (an assertion which contradicts what it affirms), then I ask you, relative to what?

    Moreover, regarding morality, if it is relative, then the greatest sinner is the OP who dared judged the actions of the parents. Morality is relative; who does the OP think he is, judging someone else. What is moral for me, is not necessarily what moral is moral for you. 🙂

    “Let me ask a practical question: WHICH one, Relitivism or Absolutionism, is closer to reality of culture and global society–the one with with polygamy, eternal monogamy, abject hedonism, strictest caste structure, genocide, witch-hunting, pluralism, cosmopolitanism; and (most importantly) good AND evil all one the same playing field?”

    The philosophical question of the one and the many is a struggle for all cultures. Some choose the many. Others choose the one.

  84. Truth and ethics aren’t the same, you nimrod.

    And if some cultures choose many and suffer no ill effects, it’s an empirical proof that Relativism is true. Like i said alraedy idiot, lives of the insiders are always valued in all societies- though who is “IN” versus “OUT” is a socio-political question.

    The real caveat is that different states have different norms. Thus relitivity. Which seems perfectly fine for me and all involved. I think the philosophy that is clearly acceptable to the highest majority to be the correct one. No one but pearl-clutching religiots would DARE assume that they hold all the keys to the gates of heaven, figuratively of otherwise. Just becasue YOUR ethincs hinge on the sole opinion of a schizophrenic to the exclusion of all the citizens of His tyrranical subjects, doesn’t mean we are all likely to commit the same fallacyt of associating a conduct with a power source.

    Such primitive thinking is disgusting and all such people ought to be forced out of thier hypocrisy and forced to live under the raving madman the all worship. I hear North Korea is a very lovely spot, once fundies settle in and absorb the culture.

    But since there is an international panel that agrees to his insanity, i think we’re safe in the clear to think of him as he is- clearly batshit crazy. Why? Because he believes his laws are the ONLY laws! Relativism allows plurality and coherance- but you are too stupid to recognize the difference between nihilism and reletivism.

    It is that simple. For God’s sake, look at the ethics of animals!!

  85. I think you guys need to get some kind of concept of what morality is. Take a bit of time, learn a bit, then try to have an intelligent conversation about the topic:
    [audio src="http://audio.simpletoremember.com/gottlieb/FreedomAndResponsibility.mp3" /]

  86. Sorry, Rabbi, but you’re in no place to talk. By any use of the definition, the god of Judaism is a sociopath. So your opinions on morality aren’t of any interest.

  87. the damning thing is this post isn’t even About morality. It’s about faith, and how faith in any ideal doesn’t necessitate the moral, intellectual, or “spiritual” growth (though that designation is bollox). It is proof negative for any sort of Enabler that makes it easy for someone to be a good person. God doesn’t have even the power to ensure that his followers will remain pure of heart and thier earnestness will be rewarded with worthy tasks.

    The irony of the Parable of the Scattered Seed is that the scatterer, not the seed, has all the power over where and subsequentially how the “crop” developes. The scattering, idiotic farmer? See Genesis Chapter 11.
    Further, God sees us as Cattle?! And you find that respectable and worthy of admiration- that he finds you to be beneath him and utterly useless except to suit his fruitless wastes of eternity?

    OK then rabbi. Suit yourself. Go like lambs to the slaughter- God’s slaughter. Of the sheep. OF you.

    Lucky for us athiests, we have no such morbid fantasy of being controlled and constantly undervalued. But if you would like the intellectually and morally superior to control your life for you, why not just accept the fact that atheism in inherantly as moral as the Codex of Yehweh?

    http://www.atheistnexus.org/forum/topics/favorite-bible-verses-to-use?x=1&id=2182797%3ATopic%3A235635&page=1#comments

  88. Some might take that comment as anti-semitic but i will take it as uninformed and unintelligent. Would you like to demonstrate otherwise? Please enlighten me first that you actually understand the term then demonstrate how it applies to the Jewish G-d. Is it because we have a separate code of conduct we say was given by G-d that doesn’t apply to the rest of humanity? It’s not a value judgement on the rest of humanity, and nowhere is there expressed superiority as being chosen. I can defend that statement.

    here’s the definition of sociopathy as listed in the DSM-IV. You should know by now I’d look it up:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder

    Where in the @#@$ do you see ANYTHING that the Tower of Bavel has anything to do with devaluing humans? It doesn’t even mention cows, at all. You made that up.

    The only place that I can remember where people are referred to as being cows is in the Book of Amos where the term loosely translates to people being fat cats.

    Quite the contrary opinion is that of our book values human life as the most sacred thing in the world, which cannot be said of atheists by any stretch.
    Case in point:
    The death penalty is prescribed for someone who kills another person. Barbaric right? Well let’s compare to the standing laws at the time period. It was the Code of Hammurabi that first says it I believe (the Quran definitely follows the tradition) is that since people are the servants of the gods they have a price tag like anything else and you can pay your way out. In the Torah no such deal; since we are created in the image of G-d we are inherently valuable and the only thing as valuable is another life. This also debunks the statement that people are constantly undervalued.

    Now as far as atheism being as moral it’s a very difficult argument to have since atheists don’t feel bound to actually operationalize the term and have a meaningful conversation based on real substance. You just throw it around. But let me say one point I’d like to see you argue:

    We believe G-d not only created the world but constantly provides for us by bringing the rain, providing nutrition in the soil etc…(the water cycle is mechanism not a causation in itself, just so you don’t try and use that as an argument) We give thanks in formal prayers three times a day and in after blessings. You take the world as just there and just yours for the picking. That makes you an ungrateful freeloader. Is freeloading moral in the atheists code? Is ingratitude what you would show for anyone else who does anything for you? I would guess thank you isn’t necessarily the most often used words in your lexicons but I’d be happy to be wrong.

    Stop with the zingers, the one liners, think about what you say before you say it. I will bet 20-1 neither one of you bothered to open the link and listen to the class. Is intellectual dishonesty and laziness also moral in the atheistic codes? Enlighten me.

  89. I have nothing against the Jewish people. The Jewish god, however, is an immoral sociopath that, in your own stories, commits genocide and demands human sacrifices.

    Any character who kills every human in the world except for a drunkard and his family is not a character that values human life.

    I’m sure you’ll defend those genocides and human sacrifices, of course. But that only puts into question your own morality.

  90. My comment is anti-semetic? How the fuck do YOU get that? It was about ALL of humanity, not just the “chosen people.” OR chosen herd, to keep my metaphor running. Thanks for picking up on that by the way *eyeroll*

    “The essential feature for the diagnosis is a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood.”[1] Deceit and manipulation are considered essential features of the disorder. Therefore, it is essential in making the diagnosis to collect material from sources other than the individual being diagnosed.”

    Boy, sounds like Yehweh to me. Every scientist in the world can attest to God’s manipulatory deceitful manner, as can you rabbis yourselves can attest. You have a psychological aversion to that blatant truth, but a simple skiming of the OT shows this to be indefaticably obvious.

    And we all see how Genesis chapters 3 and 11 among well over 80% of the OT show Your god to be a sociopath.
    /applause. Give a gun to your mugger. Waaaaaay to show your intelligence there.

  91. BTW, i Love Jews! Great Comedians, many notable scientists and physicians, and above all- a large percentile are Deists of Atheists!!

    Antisemite? Hardly? There is a vein of racism to my thought pattern, but that only has to do with the culteral backdrop for the interaction. Have you ever seen the boondocks? 😉

    Just ask fellow smart man, Adam Corolla.The sentiments are likely the same there.

  92. edit: “or atheists.”

    GAH, proofread you dumbass!!

    /yelling at self

  93. I apologize for the delay on getting back. Life got in the way.

    Any rate to comment on the human sacrifice thing: are you and i reading the same book? unless you’ve just given it a glance or are just trying to stir up any-biblical sentiment you know the Torah doesn’t condone human sacrifice it explicitly prohibits it and condemns one of the Jewish kings for all eternity for doing it (two actually but in one case it never spells it out so there’s an argument about what happened. i knew you’d throw it at me if you thought i ignored it) Of course the ultimate proof is we don’t do it. unless you believe in the old blood libels. and if you want to say it’s rabbinic apologetics then look at karaites (those who reject rabbinic teachings) they don’t do it either. if G-d was so into it we’d be doing it, or somehow positively commemorating it. we don’t. don’t make things up.

    point two: G-d is not a character. G-d is G-d. G-d is infinite. The personifications used in the text are for our own clarity. You yourself have stated why certain arguments don’t pertain to G-d because of His infiniteness. You’re not uniform in your application simply because it doesn’t work for you here. caught you being intellectually dishonest a second time in the same ten line post

    point three: a literal reading of the text suggests this was a one time event in the life of Noah and an aberration of behavior. I know career drunks who walk around on a six pack and you’d never know. I guarantee you do no live your life in a way that you could handle a quarter of the scrutiny placed upon the biblical characters. intellectual dishonesty point #3. keep rolling habibi.

    of course i’m going to defend it because i can. the only reason i can’t knock you around worse is because you refuse to define morality, because you know when you do i’ll slap you around like a cat playing with a mouse. any evaluation you make about G-d’s behavior comes at a lack of understand of a divine universal utilitarianism that you’d either have to be the most arrogant or ignorant person on the face of the earth to believe you do. do i have to choose?

    on to the second guy here.

    point one: just checking on the anti-semitism. not accusing you outright but people will use a discussion about these issues to degenerate to that. many anti-semites use academic judaic studies as ammunition against the jews. the entire discipline is based on the fact the jews manufactured the first thousand years of their history (the Hebrew Bible) and in fact continue to do that and therefore our history is only validating in light of outside sources, which no other culture is held to such scrutiny. of course anti-semites throw the holocaust into the discussion of said faked events. you can see where i might be wary.

    point two: STOP WITH THE EYE ROLLS!!! Writing that has been a clear sign to me that whatever comment has been made seems incredibly intelligent to the writer but clearly hasn’t been reviewed for content. in other words it’s something that sounds smart until you actually think about it for a second.

    third point: gonna have to say your next comment about G-d’s sociopathy is quite off too. i’m actually glad you took the time to read the diagnosis at least you looked at one thing i put up. don’t think you opened any of the other stuff but it’s a good first step to intellectual honesty. you get a lolly pop. going to have to go back to the whole problem of applying personification to the Infinite as labeling G-d with a diagnosis. But I opened up that can of worms so I will explain my way out of it too. Throughout Tanakh there are only three roles G-d takes which are only ways that we can speak of him in person terms (I’m not an english person take the time to work out what i’m saying it does make sense even if it’s convoluted): king, parent, lover. That’s it. So what’s the common thread: all three can do seemingly ridiculous things but in the context of the relationship it makes perfect sense. Do we understand why rulers make decisions? not always. but we have to assume they are making the best decisions and we must abide by them or suffer the consequences because we have to respect authority. oh wait i’m sorry i forgot we live in a country where we can put the president on a t-shirt if we like them or put up a site comparing the president to a chimp. i can understand why you wouldn’t understand the king analogy.
    or we compare him to our Father. Did we always understand we our parents told us what to do? No but you did it because he’s your father, and of course punishment is swift in coming. oh right i’m sorry i forgot we live in a country where you can call your dad by his first name.
    or compare him to our lover: does our spouse ask weird things of yes? routinely but you do it because you’re married and you want to make the other person happy. doesn’t make sense. I understand we live in a country of baby-mothers and an over 50% divorce rate so no I see where accommodating people’s eccentricities wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense.
    point four: another demonstration how atheism is not as moral as religiosity. you know Jews will not use the Y-name haphazardly and we find it offensive when others do. so basically if you don’t believe in something you believe it’s okay to disrespect.

    point five: G-d does not act deceitfully. However, free will is a fundamental core of Jewish belief and the idea of G-d’s concealment is necessary to preserve free will.

    point six: scientists have not and cannot prove anything they can’t actively observe, and when they find something unsettling they casually fudge things. look on my blog i’m posting something on that soon

    point seven: this is somewhere else. do not use jewish secularism as proof against the religion. jews became secular to assimilate and used academia to justify the choice retroactively not the other way around. most jews (outside of israel) don’t know hebrew and even in israel are lacking basic knowledge of jewish texts and ritual.

    I think i may have wasted my time typing all this I can only hope there is a drop somewhere between the two of you that actually cares about the truth and will reevaluate your understandings based on the internal logic system of the Torah and not a superimposed subjective morality I could never hope to argue with because you won’t even tell me, or anyone else, what it is.

  94. David’s 1st child wasn’t a sacrifice? nor whas Jeptha’s daughter? Or Isaac- mysteriously spared by the lines of the text included by the Redacter.

    Attack my style all you want– I’ll admit i’ve spent too much time over at Pharyngula lol 😉

    There is a post on secular humanism, you don’t have to be “mystified”

    i’ll get to you on your very detailed post later. as for now i hand it over to Morse.

  95. On objective morality…
    Is it immoral to torture and kill a child that is 2 days old?

    Or, for that matter, is this act in the news report at the top of this post immoral?

    How? Why?

    thanks…

  96. In case I haven’t said it before, I agree that people who do evil stuff like the original article to which this post refers – especially those who do these evil things in the name of Christianity or other religions – there is no excuse. However, to say that this means religion is the cause of all evil is just dishonest. What about the millions of Christians today who aren’t plotting to kill someone, are’t beating their kids in the name of God, and are – gasp – simply good people (note: not perfect by any means)?

    And, just as some food for thought: here’s 1 case of what secular humanism and natural selection can lead to: http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22722981-663,00.html

    A shooting that took place at a school in Finland where the shooter said “the truth is that I am just an animl, a human, an individual, a dissident” and his intent was to rid those he felt were less “fit” to live. I’m not saying this is how all atheists act or operate – I’m just illustrating that there are crazy people in both camps.

  97. David’s oldest was Amnon, who Avshalom killed for raping their sister. The prophet was not pleased with either one of them for what they did.
    Get off the Documentary Hypothesis garbage it’s been shot to pieces. I can give you the name of a guy who can explain it to you but it wouldn’t be fair to post his name in a blog without permission. Besides, I’m a living descendent of the guy who Isaac had after the human sacrifice you claim the text originally had until later edited.
    If you haven’t guessed I don’t respect academic biblical criticism. They completely throw out the weight of tradition (Moshe Idel said that explicitly when I asked him during a conference. One of the most arrogant men I’ve ever met.) If they can’t respect my sources of truth I have no problem disrespecting theirs. But I would like to keep my posts political not theological so any theological questions I outsourcing from here on in.
    But to finish the discussion you still haven’t defined morality for me. I think torturing and killing children is abhorrent. I know what I mean by morality; you don’t seem to have a clue except that you find it unconscionable. You’ll have to give me some seriously good reason to accept your morality as opposed I dunno Idi Amin, Pol Pot, John Wayne Gacy…I hope you get the point.

  98. RevRuss,

    Do me a favor and show me where that shooter is a ‘secular humanist’.

    “and his intent was to rid those he felt were less “fit” to live.”

    Which means that, one, he doesn’t really understand evolution and, two, he thought that an explanation of how biology works should somehow be turned into an ideology.

    And I would also ask you to point out where I say, at any point, that all religion always leads to evil.

  99. morsec0de,

    You’re right – calling him a “secular humanist” was a misnomer.

    And you’re also right, though I haven’t re-read all of your comments on this post, I don’t remember you explicitly stating that “all religion always leads to evil.” However, the very title of the post itself and your initial comments certainly seem to imply otherwise.

    What I’m really reacting against here is the implication that if we didn’t have people that believed in God we wouldn’t have any problems, because there are plenty of people who don’t believe in God that do stupid things like this guy – just like there are plenty of people who do believe in God (like those from your story) who do stupid things. My point being that yes, there are those who have done atrocious things in the name of God that I won’t try to defend, but there are those who have no belief in God who do atrocious things as well.

  100. My only point, RevRuss, is that the particular type of immoral idiocy that occurred in the above post would be eliminated without the valuing of ‘faith’ that goes on in our society.

  101. morsec0de – I’m really not trying to be difficult here, but I’m not really sure what you mean by that. That evil would go away without belief in God? Maybe I’m missing something and again – to be clear – I truly just don’t understand the point you’re trying to make.

  102. Read carefully, Russ:

    “is that the PARTICULAR TYPE of immoral idiocy that occurred in the ABOVE POST would be eliminated without the valuing of ‘faith’ that goes on in our society.”

    If there’s no faith, killing children for having ‘demons’ or while trying to exorcise them would never happen again.

  103. Thanks for not being a jerk about it when I was simply asking for clarification.

    Well then what say you about the concept of survival of the fittest and natural selection – you’re right, he didn’t have to turn it into an ideology but guess what, he did: “”HUMANITY IS OVERRATED! It’s time to put NATURAL SELECTION & SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST back on tracks!”. No survival of the fittest; no natural selection – no kid shooting up his classmates under the premise that we’re just animals.

    My point is that the story I posted is proof eliminating faith isn’t the answer. So perhaps in the incident of the crazy exorcism there’s be no dead child, but with the shooter there’d still be a bunch of dead kids at the school.

  104. “Thanks for not being a jerk about it when I was simply asking for clarification.”

    If this is sarcasm, I wasn’t being a jerk. I was trying to be clear after having to repeat myself.

    “No survival of the fittest; no natural selection – no kid shooting up his classmates under the premise that we’re just animals.”

    Natural selection is a description of how nature acts. You can’t just wish it away as if it didn’t exist.

    Both of these cases, yours and mind, indicate that people need to be better educated.

  105. education is the answer.

    Query: why are the most educated countries the most productive, happy, and most atheistic? becasue faith provides NO economic, psychiatric, or political safety net.

    Hmmmm….Exactly what one would find as if FAITH HAS NO POSITIVE CONSEQUENCES. If faith acts at all, it is to divide and destroy- the memetic “survival of the fittest”. Destroy others that are dissidents and you soon will come to dominate the sphere of influence- something ALL Catholics have to admit, and Jews proclaim to be self-evident in the Bible.

    So you see, “survival of the fittest” while biologically accurate, has dissasterous consequences when one takes it beyond its scientific usage, particularly that of “love thy neibor”- which is, last time i checked, universally productive and applicable to primates such as us.

    Thank you for having NO idea what you say as always.

    Oh and Rabbi, how about you give me the name, and i’ll assess his work and judge for myself if it makes any sense. Intellectual cowardice and pearl clutching are worthless here.

    Pol Pot was a mystic, hardly an atheist if he thought the world was going to be destroyed in 2000 so he could make way for whatever fucked up image he had of humanity. Stalin, i’ll admit, was worse than Hitler, killing more people for political solidarity- not “atheism” He wasn’t a scientist- note that none of these crooks are scientiests. Unless you count Nazi Scientists- which combined Faith with “survival of the fittist”, just like the Catholics before them.

    Also, slavery is instituted by religious prejudice more than any other way. Hmmmm, isn’t it bizarre that the most evil also usually are the most religious. Stalinism, cultism are religions FYI. Buddhism and Taoism are Athiestic, no one kills for them.

    So now that settles that.

  106. “I have to conclude, as I was pretty clear before, that you guys aren’t particularly interested in the truth”

    Not at all.

    We’re very interested in the truth. And your own posts pretty accurately display that you do not have it.

    So we’ve been giving you exactly the amount of attention you deserve…very little.

    “Take down your blog”

    Make me.

  107. he had a question about the document hypothesis? Excuse me for not doing his footwork!

    I have a life rabbi. I’m sorry. It’s new, so it might come as a surprise to everyone, including me, but i can’t sit here and hold your hand through every logical step leading yout the obvious conclusion that there IS NOT GOD.


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