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Austin Cline

Christians Outraged at Ad that Reveals Atheists Can Be Good

By December 6, 2010

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Another day, another atheist advertisement, and another manufactured controversy -- this time, thanks to Christians in Forth Worth and Dallas, Texas. The busses in Fort Worth will be carrying ads that say "Millions of Americans are Good Without God" and this simple statement that atheists aren't automatically evil has generated howls of protests and even threats of a boycott.

Once again Christians are making it clear that it doesn't matter how innocuous, mild, or reasonable an atheist message is: any attempt by atheists to announce that we exist and are equal human beings will be met by hate, hostility, anger, and... fear. Most of all, fear. The only thing which can adequately explain the extreme reactions to incredibly mild messages is that Christians are afraid of organized, unapologetic atheists.

To some Fort Worth clergy, the timing is an insult.

"I'm not a Christian, but I cannot help but feel it is done to hurt and to insult," said Rabbi Gary Perras of Congregation Ahavath Sholom in Fort Worth. "There is a better way of making your point. It's an in-your-face, mean kind of thing."

To Rev. Ralph Emerson Jr., pastor of Rising Star Baptist Church, the message is not offensive, just wrong.

"I'm not offended because they offend themselves," Emerson said. "We just accept there are persons who just don't fit into where we fit in. We'll pray for them and hope one day they'll come to see the light."

Source: Star-Telegram

The same ads were intended to run on busses in Dallas as well, but the DART management decided to change their policies and refuse to ever accept any religiously-related ad at all rather than accept an ad from atheists. This is legal, but it's a sign of deep bigotry in the DART management. Imagine if they had said that they would cease running any religious ads rather than accept an ad from Jews -- would there be any doubt that such a decision was inspired by deep anti-Semitism? Well, it's the same here.

It's curious that Christian leaders consider it an "insult" for atheists to say that they can be good people merely because of the time of the year. Do theists own December? No. Do Christians own December? No. So why should atheists retreat to a closet and refrain from announcing their existence, much less announcing that they aren't evil, merely because it's December?

Just how delicate and fragile are the sensibilities of Christians that they would consider it an "insult" to learn in December that atheists not only exist, but can in fact be moral human beings? Just how insecure must Christians be in their beliefs that they consider it an "attack" whenever it is announced that non-Christians exist and that being a Christian isn't necessary?

"We're not trying to convert anybody," [Terry McDonald of the Coalition of Reason] said. "There's so much religion in this area, and it's so visible. We're just trying to let people who are not believers know that there's a lot of people like them."

It's obviously a laudable and reasonable goal to make sure atheists know that they aren't alone -- at least, it's laudable and reasonable if you regard atheists as equal human beings. For some Christians, though, this is an evil goal because they want atheists to feel isolated and alone. They want atheists to feel ashamed for not being Christians.

Even more importantly, they don't want it to become a matter of public discussion that there are options other than Christianity. They don't adults or children to seriously consider the possibility that there isn't anything wrong with atheism, that abandoning Christianity doesn't mean abandoning morality, and that atheist neighbors are just as good as Christian neighbors.

The prospect of being faced with the message that atheists can be good -- and therefore that Christians don't have a monopoly on being good -- is way too much for some Christians to bear. It's so horrific that some are threatening to boycott the busses in Forth Worth. They'd rather walk than ride on a bus with an ad on the outside that says atheists can be good people:

A second group of pastors, those who are calling for a boycott, talked independently with the news media outside the Harvey Avenue church earlier Thursday morning, saying the signs have no place on city buses.

"The T, which is supported with public funds, plans to display a sign that is offensive to our community," said Kyev Tatum, pastor of Friendship Rock Baptist Church. "If that was anti-Semitic, we wouldn't be having this conversation."

"If the signs go up, we'll walk off the buses," Tatum said.

Other pastors in the community say they will back a boycott if it happens, but they have their own views of the situation.

"If the Fort Worth pastors come together and say there will be a bus boycott, I will support that," said Ralph W. Emerson Jr., senior pastor of Rising Star Baptist Church. "The signs on the buses for me are not offensive, because they paid to advertise God. And, me riding the bus does not say that I am in agreement with the signs posted on it."

Source: Star-Telegram

You'll notice that no atheists are threatening to boycott buses that carry religious messages. Why? Because atheists don't object to Christians using legal means to communicate their ideas to the public. We may disagree with those messages, but we aren't trying to suppress them like Christians keep trying to do with atheist messages. Yet, it's atheists who are accused of being intolerant and bigoted.

This is fear speaking. All the Christians who are complaining and threatening are afraid -- especially the preachers. The preachers are afraid that their flock might thin about a bit if people learn that atheism doesn't make you evil. Preachers are afraid that their authority and power might weaken if they can't maintain the facade that they alone can be moral leaders. Some individual Christians are afraid that everything they've believed in is just a sham -- and they might have to think for themselves if they give in to doubt or questions.

It's no surprise that Christians are reacting so badly when even so-called "journalists" are incapable of presenting the facts fairly and objectively. Case in point is Dionne Anglin:

The anti-God bus campaign is similar to ones the group has done in Detroit and Fayetteville, Ark. ...And in addition to the anti-God ads, two ads from other religious organizations are schedule to begin running within the next two weeks, including one that has the message "Jesus is the reason for the season." ...And just like ads hyping local teams, different products and services, the hope is that the anti-God message will also turn heads.

Source: KDFW Fox

Dionne Anglin repeats "anti-God" several times in her "story," which means that she wanted to drive home that message to readers. It was a deliberate choice serving a particular agenda. So, it's considered "journalism" in Fort Worth to say it's "anti-God" to merely observe that atheists can be good? It's considered "journalism" by Dionne Anglin to misrepresent stories, facts, and people in the service of a personal agenda? Dionne Anglin should be reassigned to the editorial department where job title would at least be accurate and no one will mistake her writings for real reporting.

Comments
December 6, 2010 at 4:23 pm
(1) Dean says:

I believe an ad that merely said ‘Atheists exist’, run in October, would generate equal controversy. They aren’t being honest about why they’re objecting.

December 6, 2010 at 7:20 pm
(2) Brian Westley says:

“The same ads were intended to run on busses in Dallas as well, but the DART management decided to change their policies and refuse to ever accept any religiously-related ad at all rather than accept an ad from atheists. This is legal…”

From the stories I’ve seen, they made the policy change a year ago, not as a direct response to atheist inquiries.

If they had accepted religious ads and stopped as a direct response to an atheist ad, I don’t think that would have been legal, given that DART is publically owned.

December 6, 2010 at 7:27 pm
(3) Wendy says:

This country was founded on Christianity therefore, if you don’t believe in God, find another country to live in! I wouldn’t live in a country founded on Peganism!

December 6, 2010 at 7:49 pm
(4) Austin Cline says:

This country was founded on Christianity

Prove it.

therefore, if you don’t believe in God, find another country to live in!

So, you don’t believe in religious liberty, one of the foundations of this country.

I wouldn’t live in a country founded on Peganism!

Why not?

December 6, 2010 at 9:08 pm
(5) Liz says:

Poor Wendy! What is “Peganism”? Does that have anything to do with Pegasus? Or penguins?

Anyway – our country wasn’t founded on “Peganism” but on freedom of religion… hurray for you – you can believe whatever ignorant thing you want. And I can use my brain and believe what I think is rational.

December 7, 2010 at 6:21 am
(6) DaveTheWave says:

As Wendy proves, many of the religionistas are uneducated and cannot spell well. Wendy, what is your level of education?

December 7, 2010 at 8:44 am
(7) Eric says:

Two questions:
1) Wouldn’t you agree that there is a difference between anti-Semitism (racial issue in which a person has no choice) and religion (a person can choose)?
2) You say that atheists are merely trying to communicate their presence and their good morality. What standard of morality are atheists using to assess their lifestyle decisions?

I am curious to hear what you have to say.

December 7, 2010 at 9:32 am
(8) fauxrs says:

So, you don’t believe in religious liberty, one of the foundations of this country.

Of course Wendy believes in religious liberty like all true Christians (tm.), liberty for her religion and her religion only.

The rest of us of course are going to hell so our liberty doesnt matter to her in the least.

Wendy has all the education she needs it comes from the babble and the high priests of her religion, spelling doesnt get you into heaven, only lying for christ.

December 7, 2010 at 9:52 am
(9) deegee says:

The bus ad says nothing bad about Xians or theists in general. If anything, it acknowledges that millions of people are also good *with* god, so how does that denegrate Xians or theists?

All the ad does is to remind people that believing in god is not a *requirement* to being good. And this is somehow offensive to those who are already being good and who happen to believe in god already? hmmmm

Poor, misguided Wendy needs to check the U.S. Constitution (not the Declaration of Independence which is not a lawmaking document) to see that there is no mention of god or Xianity in our underlying document. If Wendy wants a theocracy, she should move to another country which has one.

December 7, 2010 at 10:18 am
(10) Rachel says:

Wendy,
Do some research before making outrages comments like that. First of all, no, this country was not founded on christian principles. In fact, a few of our founding fathers (Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin to name a couple) were either deists (not christians) or even possibly atheists. In fact Thomas Jefferson wrote a lot about his distaste for Christian beliefs saying that in the future the story of the Virgin marry and Jesus would be considered as much of a myth as Medusa and Zeus.

The people who came to this country, came to escape the religious persecution of the church of england (christian Church). They were not free to practice their own religion without fear. Our constitution clearly states that we have not only freedom of religion (the government may not interfere with any religious practice) but also freedom from religion (the government may can’t favor any single religion or separation between church and state). To say that our government was founded on one religions principles and that you should leave if you don’t belief in Christ, directly violates the constitution our founding fathers created.

December 7, 2010 at 1:59 pm
(11) John Hanney says:

Christians have no fear of atheists, just concern for them. There is a God and abundant evidence in nature and the universe to prove to any logical and open minded thinker that God exists. Intelligent design is seen everywhere in the universe, from plant and animal life to the stars and galaxies. Ignore it if you choose, but it is there and demands an answer. The answer is not in evolution or the string theory but in the Bible.

Think of it this way.. if believers are wrong about God they have lost nothing but if they are right they have gained everything. If I were a betting man those would look like pretty good odds.

On the other hand, if atheists are right and there is no God and nothing but a vacuum after death, then they have neither lost or gained anything, but if they are wrong they have lost everything and face a terrible eternity. Not good odds.

But if atheists or agnostics will only start to read the Bible and approach God in prayer amazing things would happen. It will be like gradually receiving your sight after being blind.

If anyone really wants to know if God exists I can only say put down Origin of the Species and pick up the Bible and start reading the Book of John to start with. You might also be greatly helped as I was by reading Mere Christianity by C.S.Lewis on the side.

Think for yourself, forget the status quo of atheistic thinking, and approach God directly. Be an independent thinker with an open mind and a real desire to know the truth and you will find it in the Bible. There is no hope or meaning for life anywhere else.

Unfortunately, my observation over the years has been
” You can lead an atheist to evidence… but you can’t make him think”.

December 7, 2010 at 9:19 pm
(12) Austin Cline says:

Christians have no fear of atheists, just concern for them.

Then you should be able to demonstrate how the reactions in question exhibit “concern” rather than fear.

There is a God and abundant evidence in nature and the universe to prove to any logical and open minded thinker that God exists.

Then you should be able to point to it.

Intelligent design is seen everywhere in the universe

Hmmm… nope, don’t see it.

Think of it this way.. if believers are wrong about God they have lost nothing but if they are right they have gained everything. If I were a betting man those would look like pretty good odds.

Pascal’s Wager — not only is it the worst apologetics argument in existence, but when presented in its most superficial, simplistic form it’s a sure sign that the person in question has invested absolutely no time or effort into trying to understand the issues. If they had, then they would at least present one of the more sophisticate forms.

But if atheists or agnostics will only start to read the Bible and approach God in prayer amazing things would happen. It will be like gradually receiving your sight after being blind.

I’ve read the Bible — several times, in fact, and in a couple of different languages. I’ve also prayed because I used to be a Christian.

If only Christians would start to ask questions of atheists instead of arrogantly and presumptuously lecturing to them about what they must believe, think, know, or do. If only Christians would demonstrate the “concern” they claim to have by treating atheists like real human beings instead of two-dimensional characters in a cosmic drama where the Christians are the heroes and atheists are irrelevant extras.

Think for yourself,

I did. That’s why I stopped being a Christian.

Unfortunately, my observation over the years has been ” You can lead an atheist to evidence… but you can’t make him think”.

Maybe that’s because when you think you’re presenting “evidence,” all you’re really doing is repeating cliches that we’ve all heard, superficial arguments that wouldn’t pass muster in a first year logic course, and arrogant assumptions that make us want to lower our estimation of Christians’ average intelligence.

December 7, 2010 at 4:42 pm
(13) Brandy says:

Here in Nashville, I belong to a secular meetup group. We pooled our money last year for a 5 week billboard that was similar in tone and representation, very simple. Here we are, know that we exist too. Our group received some press and our meetup organizer received hate email and voicemails…it was very frightening what was said in the face of the same kind of fear that the author describes here.

December 7, 2010 at 5:20 pm
(14) Joshua says:

Wendy~

Fortunately the founders of this country disagreed with you. Many of them retreated from religious oppression from Europe, oppression that some of which has only ebbed in the last decade.

The Declaration of Independence does not say “that all men are created equal and endowed by “God” with inalienable rights, it says “creator”, a much more vague term. Creator may mean “God” it could mean “Primordial Soup”, it could mean the Space Alien who made you in a test tube.

Many of them were Christians, yes, but their faiths were likely different like they are today. Religion has a long history of getting things wrong, and hurting many people because of it. You can live in your bubble all you want, fact is history has already recorded it, but you just deny it.

December 7, 2010 at 5:40 pm
(15) Debra says:

@Liz,

Wendy may have been mistaken in the country. I think my country, Canada, may have been founded on Penguinism. Every winter we bundle up until we waddle like penguins. LOL.

Seriously though, this ad is a lot less obnoxious than some of the xian advertising I have seen. Much ado about nothing.

December 8, 2010 at 5:53 am
(16) Tom says:

“Think of it this way.. if believers are wrong about God they have lost nothing but if they are right they have gained everything. If I were a betting man those would look like pretty good odds.

On the other hand, if atheists are right and there is no God and nothing but a vacuum after death, then they have neither lost or gained anything, but if they are wrong they have lost everything and face a terrible eternity. Not good odds”

Pascal’s Wager. But what if Yahweh isn’t the right God? What if it’s Allah? Or Lord Krishna? Or Zeus? Then you’re just as screwed as the Atheists!

“But if atheists or agnostics will only start to read the Bible and approach God in prayer amazing things would happen. It will be like gradually receiving your sight after being blind.

If anyone really wants to know if God exists I can only say put down Origin of the Species and pick up the Bible and start reading the Book of John to start with. ”

Hmm, maybe. Or you could start with Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, and my personal favourite, good old Leviticus! If people read all of THAT literally, we’d be in a pretty terrible place. A reading of those four books literally should convince people of 2 things:

1. The Bible CANNOT be true due to all the internal contradictions alone!

2. Seeing as that Yahweh is such a monster, this is a very, very good thing indeed!

December 8, 2010 at 1:18 pm
(17) Damien says:

To Tom & Austin,

Thank you for refuting Pascal’s Wager far better than I could.
I am always surprised that christians don’t realise that they are practising pagans.
The birth of Jesus story is taken from amongst others the mythology of Horus.
The time of year from the Celtic solstice celebrations.
And even the christmas tree is just a Norse tradition.

December 8, 2010 at 5:36 pm
(18) cag says:

John Hanney, here is your chance to become the most famous contemporary christian. All you have to do is be the first person in all of history to provide evidence that your god exists. Prove to us that the deity of a minor Mid-East tribe actually exists. There has never been evidence of any god, yours included. You arrogantly assume that of the more than 2000 gods created by the imagination of humans, yours is real. That is what I call unbelievable.
I interpret your prattle as “If you believe in god, then you will believe in god”.
Is it any wonder that the church suppressed Galileo? After all Galileo proved that the first 10 words of the bible were lies. Since the time of Galileo we have learned that the bible is just fiction. To those that claim that archeological facts in the bible means it is true, remember there is such a thing as historical fiction. A biblical lie is still a lie.

December 9, 2010 at 6:10 pm
(19) Dave says:

This country was founded on Christianity …..

From what I have read, it was founded on escape from persecution. If I remember correctly one rather small Christian sect was harrassed & persecuted by a larger Christian sect back in England, so they founded a colony in a land already inhabited by “pagans”.

December 9, 2010 at 7:08 pm
(20) John Hanney says:

Wow, great response on that. I guess you all have it figured out so I can’t really help you any more. I could easily address each of your comments in length butI won’t..
from my experience very few atheists, evolutionists or cultists really want to see evidence, and any answers would be ignored rather than considered because “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still”.

I have experienced the reality of Jesus personally for 30+ years and believe me, He is real. You on the other hand have each other in your support group. Good luck with that.

I would be glad to talk to anyone on a personal level if they wanted to know why I believe, but will not answer a group that really doesn’t want answers.

Maybe Ray can help you at athiestcentral.org

Love ya all,
John

December 9, 2010 at 7:39 pm
(21) Austin Cline says:

Wow, great response on that. I guess you all have it figured out so I can’t really help you any more.

Not so long as your comments reveal great ignorance of the issues.

I could easily address each of your comments in length butI won’t..

I sincerely doubt that. If you knew enough to provide a substantive response now, then you should have done so originally.

from my experience very few atheists, evolutionists or cultists really want to see evidence,

You misspelled “Chrsitian” in there.

Remember, Christians rely on “faith” and if you have faith, then evidence is irrelevant. If you had evidence, you wouldn’t have faith and wouldn’t need faith.

I have experienced the reality of Jesus personally for 30+ years

Others claim to have personally experienced Krishna. Or aliens when they were abducted in a UFO.

I would be glad to talk to anyone on a personal level if they wanted to know why I believe, but will not answer a group that really doesn’t want answers.

Because it’s safer to make mistakes in private than to publicly put your name next to claims or ideas that might be wrong. It’s risky to debate publicly, isn’t it?

That’s why I don’t do these conversations privately. If a Christian isn’t willing to put their name to their positions publicly, then what’s the point? I can’t believe that they are confident enough in their beliefs for me to take their claims seriously.

Love ya all,

Real love would be accompanied by enough respect and consideraation to ask questions. You, in contrast, make a lot of assumptions about people you don’t know and have never met. Such assumptions are an expression of contempt, not love.

December 9, 2010 at 9:02 pm
(22) John Hanney says:

I promised not to get into endless debate over one issue after another because I have been there before… ( A man convinced against his will…), but I will make one comment on Austin’s statement:
** Remember, Christians rely on “faith” and if you have faith, then evidence is irrelevant. If you had evidence, you wouldn’t have faith and wouldn’t need faith.**
—————————————————-

“An atheist, according to the dictionary, is someone who firmly believes that there is no God.

They believe that God does not exist because according to their logic science cannot prove it. But on the other side of the coin, science cannot prove the nonexistence of God either. So God’s nonexistence cannot be proven, but they do believe in that without proof. It seems the atheist’s absolute belief that there is no God is actually also based on faith. That makes atheism a religion too, they have just replaced God with misapplied Science.

Someone once said an atheist does not believe in the existence of God for the same reason that a burglar does not believe in the existence of a policeman.

December 10, 2010 at 7:32 am
(23) Austin Cline says:

“An atheist, according to the dictionary, is someone who firmly believes that there is no God.

Like I said, you can’t really “help” anyone here so long as your comments reveal great ignorance of the issues — as this one reveals great ignorance of what atheism is.

They believe that God does not exist because according to their logic science cannot prove it.

Like I said, real love would be accompanied by enough respect and consideraation to ask questions. Instead of doing that you just make assumptions about people you don’t know and have never met — and this is just one more example of that. Such assumptions are an expression of contempt, not love.

But on the other side of the coin, science cannot prove the nonexistence of God either.

That depends on how “God” is defined.

So God’s nonexistence cannot be proven, but they do believe in that without proof. It seems the atheist’s absolute belief that there is no God is actually also based on faith.

Only if you use one definition of “faith” for Christianity (the definition used by Paul) and another one here — which of course is a logical fallacy. Even worse, “belief without absolute proof” isn’t even a standard definition of faith, never mind the definition used by Paul.

That makes atheism a religion too, they have just replaced God with misapplied Science.

Only if we define “religion” as “having faith that some proposition is true” or “believing some proposition is true even in the absence of absolute proof of that proposition.” Since a person might in theory hold dozens, hundreds, or thousands of such propositions, this entails that a person might have dozens, hundreds, or thousands of religions.

That of course is complete nonsense, which might be one reason why no serious person or scholarly resource defines “religion” in such a fashion.

Someone once said an atheist does not believe in the existence of God for the same reason that a burglar does not believe in the existence of a policeman.

Someone? Many people have said that — it’s a popular belief among bigots.

So to sum up: you’re ignorant of what atheism is, you don’t much care what atheists believe when it comes to making pronouncements about atheists, and you’re bigoted against atheists to boot. Yet we should take you seriously and consent to discuss matters in private with you — matters you clearly don’t understand where you can’t be held publicly accountable? Sorry, but no.

December 10, 2010 at 7:45 am
(24) echidna says:

“An atheist, according to the dictionary, is someone who firmly believes that there is no God.”

Not strictly true. An atheist may hold that position, but it is not a necessary condition of being an atheist. The more precise definition is that an atheist is one who does not believe in a god:
a – meaning not
theist – meaning one who believes in a god.

Atheist means one who is not a theist, that is one who does not believe in a god.

Someone (PKD) once said that reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.

John, church is a mechanism to get you to hand over your money on a weekly basis to people who are not obliged to give you anything in return until after you die. You can’t complain about being conned once you’re are dead. Religion is a con game, and it’s not for your benefit at all.

December 10, 2010 at 5:31 pm
(25) John Thomson says:

John Hanney-You are an embarrassment to your religion and rational thought.

“Wow, great response on that. I guess you all have it figured out so I can’t really help you any more.”Help us anymore?You’ve helped no one,not even yourself.

Like Austin I have read the Bible.That and fairy tales from Sunday school made me an atheist.

December 10, 2010 at 6:59 pm
(26) Yossarian says:

Echidna, I love that PKD quote. I think anything Philip K. Dick wrote would make a better Bible then one I’ve read. As for John Hanney, with his 30+ years of experiencing Jesus personally. I think that “experience” he’s feeling might be nothing more than a bit of undercooked potato. Try some Pepto-bismol, it might help.

December 12, 2010 at 11:23 am
(27) DaveW045 says:

@(15) Austin, well said, Sir!!

December 13, 2010 at 8:30 am
(28) Here4Years says:

@John Hanney: Still waiting for that evidence.

BTW: What do you have to say to people who are not fundamentalist christians but and follow other religious beliefs and who make the same claim that their respective deity has done the same for them? Have they all been fooled by satan, or something like that?

December 13, 2010 at 10:50 am
(29) Thackerie says:

FYI, Mr. Hanney’s words of we’s dumb have now made their way to the “Fundies Say the Darndest Things” website.

http://fstdt.net/QuoteComment.aspx?QID=78006

And much hilarity did ensue.

December 13, 2010 at 12:35 pm
(30) Draken says:

Hmm, John Hanney Quote Molestation Time!

[Atheists] believe that an invisible teapot in orbit around Jupiter does not exist because according to their logic science cannot prove it. But on the other side of the coin, science cannot prove the nonexistence of the Teapot either. So the Teapot’s nonexistence cannot be proven, but they do believe in that without proof. It seems the atheist’s absolute belief that there is no Teapot is actually also based on faith. That makes atheism a religion too, they have just replaced the Teapot with misapplied Science.

That was easy! Oh, and:

Someone once said an atheist does not believe in the existence of God for the same reason that a burglar does not believe in the existence of a policeman

…shortly before being arrested by the Semantics Police.

December 13, 2010 at 1:37 pm
(31) Beccs says:

So, John Hanney: All you can do to prove your religion is to repeat numerous logical fallacies, make irrational claims and appeals and then quote Ray Comfort, a man who would be laughed out of his native country if he tried to teach his nonsense there.

You also forget that many atheists were once christians, often very devout ones.

Sad, so sad.

December 13, 2010 at 3:32 pm
(32) Eric says:

As I sit and read the posts from this article and see the comments about the definition of atheism, I find that I am asking myself the question, “What DO atheists believe in?” Seriously, the term proclaims what an atheist (a/theos = no god) does NOT believe in, but what DO they really believe in? I would genuinely like to know. I look forward to reading what you have to say.

December 13, 2010 at 6:21 pm
(33) Austin Cline says:

I am asking myself the question, “What DO atheists believe in?”

Depends on the atheist. There are no beliefs common to all atheists.

December 13, 2010 at 8:11 pm
(34) Malkyrian says:

In response to Eric’s first post (which was unanswered, as far as I can see, yet probably should have been):

Wouldn’t you agree that there is a difference between anti-Semitism (racial issue in which a person has no choice) and religion (a person can choose)?

I wouldn’t say that a person can choose religion in the way they can choose, say, what to wear. As an example, let’s say someone told you at gunpoint to convert or die, and you agreed to convert. Do you sincerely believe that once the threat goes away, you would actually believe in this new religion? Personally I doubt it; what you currently believe would likely seem to make more sense.

You say that atheists are merely trying to communicate their presence and their good morality. What standard of morality are atheists using to assess their lifestyle decisions?

First, it is important to note that not all atheists use the same ideas of morality. For that matter, the *only* thing all atheists have in common is that they do not accept the claim that (a) god(s) exist(s). That being said, the most common idea for atheistic morality is probably secular humanism, which stresses a morality determined by human need.

For a (relatively) quick summary of atheism in general, I would strongly recommend reading this page: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/UsefulNotes/Atheism

December 13, 2010 at 8:15 pm
(35) Beccs says:

@Eric.

What do atheists believe in? Many different things. It all depends on the atheist. THe only thing we all have in common, apart from biology, is that we don’t believe in deities.

December 14, 2010 at 2:11 am
(36) John Hanney says:

Your numerous objections are well taken, though the premises you base many of your references on are also on shaky ground. If I were to address each of them it would take more time than I have to spend, and the end result would be the same. ” A man convinced against his will…”

There is one element that is fatal to a belief in atheism though, and I can see why any dedicated atheist would fight to the last
dying breath to reject it, as I am sure you will demonstrate with your comments, and that is the overwhelming evidence of intelligent design in nature and the universe. You simply cannot allow yourselves to recognize that possibility because it would imply the existence of a designer. Unless of course you believe that Nothing created everything, which would be intellectual suicide.

Not much space left in this post, so let me suggest for a start picking up a copy of Why We Believe In Creation, Not Evolution by John Fred Meldau. It contains 266 pages of individual examples from nature and the universe. I am sure some of you would find that enlightening, and of course many would not for the reason I mentioned.

Consider this comment on just one tiny aspect of intelligent design:

“Life cannot have had a random beginning … The trouble is that there are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in 10 to the power of 40,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup.”
Sir Fred Hoyle, Astronomer, Cosmologist & Mathematician, Cambridge University).

There are countless more resources for thoughtful observation and evidence of intelligent design, and if I thought it would help I would present many more of them. I hope some of you are curious enough to source out the book I referred to.

December 14, 2010 at 6:05 am
(37) Austin Cline says:

Your numerous objections are well taken, though the premises you base many of your references on are also on shaky ground. If I were to address each of them it would take more time than I have to spend, and the end result would be the same.

That’s a pretty lame excuse. If you don’t have the time to support what you claim, then you shouldn’t waste everyone’s time by making the claims.

There is one element that is fatal to a belief in atheism though, and I can see why any dedicated atheist would fight to the last dying breath to reject it, as I am sure you will demonstrate with your comments, and that is the overwhelming evidence of intelligent design in nature and the universe.

If there is “overwhelming evidence,” then it shouldn’t take you much time at all to cite some of it and demonstrate that it is indeed evidence of what you claim.

You simply cannot allow yourselves to recognize that possibility because it would imply the existence of a designer.

This presumes that I don’t want to believe that there is a designer. What were you saying about my premises being based on shaky ground? You’re presuming to know my mind even though you don’t know me and have never met me. You’re deliberate refusing to treat me as a real, individual human being and instead as a representative of a type — a type you can categorize and dismiss without having to invest the time and effort to get to know.

You find it very easy to make grandiose assertions about the universe and fellow human beings, but as soon as it comes time to substantiate those assertions you suddenly find yourself short on time. How convenient.

“Life cannot have had a random beginning …

No one has claimed it did. Ergo, the premise of the argument is a falsehood.

The trouble is that there are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in 10 to the power of 40,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup.”
Sir Fred Hoyle, Astronomer, Cosmologist & Mathematician, Cambridge University).

No one has claimed that the enzymes would link up randomly. Even if they did, though, the process is subject to the law of large numbers. Do you comprehend either that or basic probability?

There are countless more resources for thoughtful observation and evidence of intelligent design,

Do the rest of them also assume that the reader is mathematically illiterate? If so, I’m afraid that they were written for people other than the average atheist on this site.

December 14, 2010 at 12:15 pm
(38) James says:

The first thing Christianity or any other mind virus does is to remove it’s victim’s ability to reason.

This is why is it so difficult to talk with Christians. Nothing makes sense to them except their belief system.

While it is true that most believers have little or no education or come from more “traditional” areas of the country, I have been shocked by the number of college grads and even a Ph.D or two who are hard-core fundamentalists.

The scariest thing to me is the idea of a “Christian” law school, where young people can go and learn to usurp the constitution into reflecting their warped, Anne Coulter-like world view. These people think it is their duty to reconstruct the USA—indeed, the world—into a fundamentalist ecclesia where nearly ANY thought or deed not deemed “Christian” is punishable by death.

The Bush-administration version of American fundamentalist Christianity is unique to our time, and something our forefathers would not recognize, much less condone.

December 14, 2010 at 1:45 pm
(39) Beccs says:

John, you once again cite christian propaganda as evidence.

Can I suggest you go and read a number of actual science books? Not ones written specifically to counter creationist misinformation. Just actual scientific books on evolution.

If the universe is perfect and shows signs of intelligence in its design, why do we see colliding galaxies? Why is the expansion of the universe going to end up in the heat death of said universe?

If Earth was specifically designed for humans, why is 85% of its surface hostile to human life?

And don’t get me started on the faults of human biology.

Doesn’t sound very intelligent to me.

December 14, 2010 at 3:47 pm
(40) Lee says:

“Life cannot have had a random beginning … The trouble is that there are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in 10 to the power of 40,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup.”
Sir Fred Hoyle, Astronomer, Cosmologist & Mathematician, Cambridge University).

The day I trust the word of an astronomer on biology over a biologist is the day I have my contact lenses prescribed by a proctologist.

December 14, 2010 at 9:38 pm
(41) John Hanney says:

Austin Cline said: That’s a pretty lame excuse. If you don’t have the time to support what you claim, then you shouldn’t waste everyone’s time by making the claims.
———
I am starting to feel like a sheep that has entered a cage of hundreds of angry, starving dying wolves when I post on this blog. My intention on entering was in wanting to help, to show them I discovered a way to escape the cage and give them directions to where they can find freedom, endless food and life. But the wolves are so starving and crazed with my presence that most of them just want to eat me on the spot, while others just demand that I instantly take them there personally, one by one. It is too long a walk to do it that way though, and the only way I can help is if they do the walking themselves. I can point them in the right direction but they have to take the initiative.
Austin, my comment on shaky ground was not directed at you personally, just the atheist philosophy in general. The overwhelming evidence for creation is indeed there, but it is not possible when stepping into this cage of angry wolves to individually address each issue. There are hundreds of you and one of me. I would be consumed by nips and bites from more questions and distractions with each attempt. All I can do is point you to the answers I have found, then you can do what you want with them.
The number one tactic of avoidance used on this site is “ Show Me Right Now “. So let’s try something new… drop the drop the escape route of Show me, Show me and get out there and do some research on your own. I can answer at least some of your questions or jabs if you really want to see the other side and are willing to investigate for yourselves. I will take the time to try and point you to answers from my side of the fence, but I cannot carry each one of you over.
continued…

December 14, 2010 at 9:47 pm
(42) Austin Cline says:

I am starting to feel like a sheep that has entered a cage of hundreds of angry, starving dying wolves when I post on this blog.

Then you’re paranoid because you’ve only gotten a couple of requests that you support your claims.

My intention on entering was in wanting to help,

If you can’t support your claims, then you can’t help.

Austin, my comment on shaky ground was not directed at you personally, just the atheist philosophy in general.

There is no such thing as “the atheist philosophy in general.”

The overwhelming evidence for creation is indeed there,

Prove it.

but it is not possible when stepping into this cage of angry wolves to individually address each issue.

You only need to address each issue you raise. If you cannot, then you should have raised fewer issues.

The number one tactic of avoidance used on this site is ” Show Me Right Now “.

No, the number one tactic of avoidance is “it would take too much time and effort for me to uphold basic intellectual and ethical standards by supporting what I’ve said.”

You see, it’s not “avoidance” to challenge someone to support their claims; it’s avoidance when a person avoids providing support for their claims.

get out there and do some research on your own.

It’s arrogant and presumptuous of you to assume I haven’t.

I can answer at least some of your questions or jabs if you really want to see the other side and are willing to investigate for yourselves.

I have investigated. It’s arrogant and presumptuous of you to assume I haven’t. It would also be arrogant and presumptuous for you to insist that others go out and research your claims. No one is obligated to disprove your claims; on the contrary, you carry the entire burden to prove or support your claims.

If you cannot demonstrate that your claims are serious and should be taken seriously, you have no right to expect others to do any research on their own. There are theoretically an infinite number of possible claims out there and we can’t investigate all of them.

I will take the time to try and point you to answers from my side of the fence, but I cannot carry each one of you over.

No, but you do need to carry your burden of proof or support – a burden you voluntarily took up a soon as you started making empirical assertions. If that burden is too much for you, then the only way to set it aside is to set aside the assertions you can’t or won’t justify.

December 14, 2010 at 9:43 pm
(43) John Hanney says:

continued:
It is your eternity that is at stake here (even though you don’t believe that yet), so you can choose to follow up on some of the information and leads I could point you to, or choose not to. You can call that a cop-out on my part if you want, but it is the only way of dealing with too large a volume of information required, each item of which would be sidetracked with numerous reactions and further questions. If that is of no help, then no help is wanted and I have to get out of this cage.
Be warned though…as C S Lewis once said “ A young atheist cannot be too careful of what he reads”.

Beccs said:(39)
Can I suggest you go and read a number of actual science books? Not ones written specifically to counter creationist misinformation. Just actual scientific books on evolution.
James said:
While it is true that most believers have little or no education or come from more “traditional” areas of the country, I have been shocked by the number of college grads and even a Ph.D or two who are hard-core fundamentalists.
—————
I have studied more science than you think,, I have an Honours B.Sc. from the University of Guelph and have been subjected to the fairy tale teaching of Evolution for 5 years of university. I am not tooting my horn here, merely answering your comments. Greater minds than yours or mine have recognized the hand of a creator, including Albert Einstein.
The comment about most believers being uneducated hillbillies is an example of bigotry on your side and false information. Depending on what outcome you desire, statistics can be produced to support just about anything. That observation is wrong but holding that belief must be comforting to some.

continued:

December 14, 2010 at 9:45 pm
(44) John Hanney says:

continued:

James said:
The first thing Christianity or any other mind virus does is to remove it’s victim’s ability to reason.
2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
————
This is why is it so difficult to talk with Christians. Nothing makes sense to them except their belief system.
“Men of the world are apt to say, ‘You are such a set of bigots; you think everybody wrong but yourselves.’ Is it so strange that if we think we are right, we do not believe that those who are opposed to us can be right also?” Charles Spurgeon

Austin Cline said:
Do the rest of them also assume that the reader is mathematically illiterate? If so, I’m afraid that they were written for people other than the average atheist on this site.
———-
The average atheist you refer to is like the average grocery shopper. Grocery shoppers vary in their understanding of food, some having a good grasp of the principles of nutrition and good health, and others content to buy junk food that they have developed a taste for. Some of you out there are quite bright, though deluded, while others, like the one that commented jestfully “Oh look, there’s a tree! that proves God exists!” when the evidence of creation in nature was mentioned, have no basic understanding of biology, microbiology, organic chemistry, physics or any of the sciences. They are just as inept as the inferred reference to the hillbilly Christians that James referred to. These are the lesser wolves in your pack that just jump in and add a few harmless nips and bites.
I am hoping that there might be a few wise old wolves in the corner silently listening and considering the possibilities of truth, freedom and life.

December 14, 2010 at 9:54 pm
(45) Austin Cline says:

I have studied more science than you think,, I have an Honours B.Sc. from the University of Guelph and have been subjected to the fairy tale teaching of Evolution for 5 years of university.

I assume that you can demonstrate how evolution is more a “fairy tale” than stellar astronomy, plate tectonics, or the germ theory of disease.

The average atheist you refer to is like the average grocery shopper.

I notice that you don’t address the substantive questions I raised. Talk about a cop out.

Don’t bother posting comments here again unless and until you intend to provide substantive responses to substantive issues. Substance-free comments like these will simply not appear. Stop wasting everyone’s time.

December 15, 2010 at 12:31 am
(46) Beccs says:

I’m seeing a lot of self righteous claims here and more than a little sniping from you, John.

I’m not in a cage. In fact, I haven’t felt trapped since I gave up religion (I was a VERY devout christian for a number of years).

Go out and do my research? I’ve done that. I read the bible thoroughly a number of times and that was what started my breaking away from dogma. And I think you’ll find that’s the case with many atheists and agnostics.

And, not blowing my own trumpet, but you get to do a lot of research into biology when you’ve spent four years in med school so I’ve seen many of the imperfections in human anatomy, which all support evolution and not creation.

SImply put, however, if you make specific assertions then the ball’s in your court to provide the citation. And, honestly, I’ve seen nothing here but claims, evasions and quotes from a contradictory book. Nothing concrete at all.

December 15, 2010 at 1:01 am
(47) John Hanney says:

I fully intended to address many issues one by one, but at a pace I can handle efficiently. I can see that that would not work with the wolf pack and it’s leader who have no interest in learning something new. If you did all of your personal research that you speak of with that level open mindedness it is no surprise that you reached your conclusions about God.

I would think that the natural instincts of curiosity and self preservation would be enough motivation for each of your members to investigate what I might have to say, since if they are wrong and there is a God and life after death, they are in mortal danger.

From your reaction I can only conclude that you might be a bit nervous about what I might have presented. And you should be if you want to protect your members from a gradual exposure to reality. Oh well, I tried… sorry I scared you. You get the last word because it is your blog site.

December 15, 2010 at 6:24 am
(48) Austin Cline says:

I fully intended to address many issues one by one, but at a pace I can handle efficiently.

Let’s see… eight comments and you have yet to directly address anything of substance or answer any questions and challenges. Just how long does it take you to work yourself up to real intellectual work? How much time do you require others waste on substance-free posts and question-dodging before you’re prepared to say something worth taking seriously?

From your reaction I can only conclude that you might be a bit nervous about what I might have presented.

So… I’m “nervous” about what you might say, therefore I instruct you to only post substantive comments. Because… what, I’m “nervous” that you might keep posting substance-free comments? I want to “protect” readers from comments that are lacking in substance? I’m “scared” of comments from a person who keeps refusing to directly address substantive issues and questions?

Yeah, that makes so much sense. It’s cowardly to want to restrict people to substance. If I were braver, I wouldn’t care if Christians never answer questions, never support claims, and never write anything serious here. Of course, it all makes so much sense now!

In Christianity, I guess, a person must learn the courage required to face a life without substance, seriousness, or logical reasoning. Thanks for helping making that clear.

December 15, 2010 at 8:16 am
(49) Eric says:

Austin and Becca, if the beliefs of atheists are as diverse as you say, then by what common standard of morality are they using to assess that they can “be good without God”? What “goodness” are you referring to? Who, then, is determining what is “good” if the atheist belief system is so broad?

December 15, 2010 at 10:16 am
(50) Austin Cline says:

Austin and Becca, if the beliefs of atheists are as diverse as you say, then by what common standard of morality are they using to assess that they can “be good without God”?

Who said that they are all using a common standard? I think it’s safe to say that secular atheists in New York and Buddhist atheists in India aren’t operating from exactly the same set of ideas.

What “goodness” are you referring to? Who, then, is determining what is “good” if the atheist belief system is so broad?

Your error is in assuming that someone outside it all is necessary to “determine” that is “good.”

December 15, 2010 at 8:37 am
(51) Eric says:

@Malkyrian,

Holy crap that’s a long article! Very informative and I am working my way through it… fyi. It is definitely clarifying some atheist positions for me.
Thanks.

December 15, 2010 at 11:39 am
(52) Lee says:

Austin and Becca, if the beliefs of atheists are as diverse as you say, then by what common standard of morality are they using to assess that they can “be good without God”? What “goodness” are you referring to? Who, then, is determining what is “good” if the atheist belief system is so broad?
I presuppose that you and I, hoping we are both well adjusted, reasonably intelligent adults get our morality from the same source with minor discrepancies: society. I also presuppose that regardless of what you personally think or feel you do not get your morality from the bible. This is true unless you condone slavery, stone people wearing poly/cotton blended clothing, have considered selling female relatives into marriages, have personally killed a member of a pagan religion, still believe in eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, have demanded a rape victim marry her rapist (in fact believe all women are to be treated as property), killed a disobedient child, and one of my favorites (as we all have known at least one adult who has committed adultery) stoned an adulterer.
These morals, and many like them, are the kind you get from all the Abrahamic religions. If you ignore these and accept the ones that already agree with society, (e.g. the golden rule, which was around long, LONG before Judaism) then you have accepted your own morality, and don’t so much as use the bible as a roadmap.
(Also, if you think of using “well, that’s all Old Testament, Jesus is about peace!” line, I recommend you reread the gospels, starting with Matthew 5:17).

December 15, 2010 at 1:02 pm
(53) Eric says:

Austin, I appreciate your statement about cultural views on morality and the obvious differences, but I don’t think you really answer the question about “goodness’. When you (Austin Cline) look at another person’s life or your own for that matter, how do you know if they are good or not? How do you know if you are good or not? Is this something that is merely self-proclaimed? I assess that I am good therefore I am…
I am a football fan and I could shout all day long that my team is the best team in the NFL, but at the end of the season, if they lose more games than they win, my declaration lacks support.
If there is no standard by which we determine “goodness” (and the definition is so vague), then maybe a more appropriate advertisement is “Atheists simply are (exist) – without God.” Since “goodness” is basically subjective in the broad context of atheism and if the standard of morality is not from the outside, but from within yourself (or the collective group), then I am confused as to the purpose (and value) of the advertisements. There would seem to be more profitable ways of spending so much money for an ad during the holidays.

December 15, 2010 at 5:26 pm
(54) Austin Cline says:

When you (Austin Cline) look at another person’s life or your own for that matter, how do you know if they are good or not? How do you know if you are good or not?

Depends on the context.

I am a football fan and I could shout all day long that my team is the best team in the NFL, but at the end of the season, if they lose more games than they win, my declaration lacks support.

Only if “winning more than losing” is the only say to understand “best.” If your team has the fewest fouls, that’s an area where they are best.

If there is no standard by which we determine “goodness”

Big “if”.

Since “goodness” is basically subjective in the broad context of atheism and if the standard of morality is not from the outside, but from within yourself (or the collective group), then I am confused as to the purpose (and value) of the advertisements.

To inform people that religion and theism aren’t required in order to be good.

There would seem to be more profitable ways of spending so much money for an ad during the holidays.

Given how many religious theists assume that religion and theism are required for morality, dispelling that bigoted myth is very much worth doing.

December 15, 2010 at 3:54 pm
(55) Lee says:

Lee, your sarcasm is duly noted. I want to make sure I am understanding you clearly. Society is the source of our morality. What is deemed as “wrong” or “right” comes from our culture. Then, if American society is our source for morality (for those of us who live in the U.S.), are you not including Christians within our society upon which you are basing your morality? Christians do make up a sizable percentage of the American population. So then I should conclude that you are comfortable with the Judeo-Christian influences upon said source of morality, right?

December 15, 2010 at 9:56 pm
(56) Lee says:

So then I should conclude that you are comfortable with the Judeo-Christian influences upon said source of morality, right?

Now this confuses me to some extent, because any morality that is unique to the Monotheist religions is nonexistent in our culture. Almost all of our laws and morals, as Americans, come from secular or even pagan sources. There is a reason that we are not a monarchy, sustained by “Divine Right.” We’ve slowly phased out religious influence as a culture since the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, which first challenged the Christian church sanctioned monarchy in England. Our democracy and the concept of Franchise comes from the pagan Greeks.

If you wish to claim that our Morality originated from Christianity, I ask what did Christianity state first, what did it begin? If you wish to state the golden rule comes from Christ, you must explain how, since Confucius said it five hundred years earlier. Simple things like don’t murder, steal, or lie have been around since the Sumerians. The closest we can come to agreement on this would probably be the Death Penalty, but as we don’t allow it to be used against children and in the case of blasphemy, and it is slowly being phased out in the West, I don’t really think it’s a strong argument.

(cont…)

December 15, 2010 at 9:56 pm
(57) Lee says:

Please reread my last post, as there was no sarcasm, only fact. Everything I mentioned is in the Bible, along with huge lists on the proper ways to sacrifice animals and when to sacrifice. And yet, we as a people don’t even so much as look down on those that break myriad codes from the book. The ones we don’t allow, that are punishable in our courts are neither unique to nor created by the Abrahamic religions. Also, please keep in mind that some of the most disgusting and horrific things justified by Islam (the recent flogging of a defenseless woman in the Sudan comes to mind) are perfectly acceptable to Christianity, at least according to the Bible (if you wish to get into a further discussion of how bloodthirsty all the Abrahamic religions are, I suggest we move it off-site). Christians and Jews must have a cognitive dissonance between what we as a society believe is right, and what the Bible says is right.

So I’ll ask this, what Judeo-Christian influence is there on our Morality?

December 16, 2010 at 7:54 am
(58) Dyz says:

John writes; “since if they are wrong and there is a God and life after death, they are in mortal danger.”

You know you don’t have to listen what people say if they use Pascals wager as an argument.

December 17, 2010 at 10:55 pm
(59) Lithp says:

1. You come across as a collossal a** by comparing your critics to an army of attacking WOLVES.
2. In the time you spent whining that you can’t respond to people, I could have debunked at least 20 Creationist arguments.
3. The only one copping out is the person who says, “Do the research” after routinely failing to cite valid proof. Do you think Einstein said, “F**k you, man, do your own equations” when proposing the Theory of Relativity?
4. You show no interest in the atheist position, so why should I give a rat’s a** about the Christian position?

December 21, 2010 at 2:48 am
(60) Hakim Walker says:

“Since if they are wrong and there is a God and life after death, they are in mortal danger.” -John Hanney

Correct me if i’m wrong, but I thought that “mortal danger” means “danger of losing your life”. So people are in danger of losing their life now if they don’t believe in God? Well isn’t any living mortal creature in danger of losing it’s life? Being able to die is actually one of the requirements of calling something a living thing. Unless you mean they are in IMMEDIATE mortal danger for not believing in God, in which case God is an unjust, insecure murderer, and I wouldn’t like to worship an unjust, insecure murderer.

Even if I allow for the semantic mistake and assume you meant “eternal danger” or something of the sort, this would mean that God eternally punishes us for not believing in him during our life, even though this God never saw fit to communicate to us that this was a requirement for eternal salvation after death. Well that’s not very nice of him/her/it now is it? We wouldn’t take too kindly to the government sending us to jail for life for breaking a law that they never made us or anyone else aware of. And even if you desperately and ignorantly throw in the argument that ignorance of a law does not excuse a lawbreaker or free him from punishment, we’re talking about eternal damnation! Talk about the punishment not fitting the crime…

Long story short, i’m not an atheist, but I do hate logical contradictions as well as drastic and unsupported assumptions. Momma always said “If you ain’t got nuthin’ reasonable to say, don’t say nuthin’ at all.”

December 22, 2010 at 1:12 am
(61) Zack says:

@ John Hanney:

There is one element that is fatal to a belief in theism though, and I can see why any dedicated theist would fight to the last dying breath to reject it, as I am sure you will demonstrate in a predictably run-on sentence, and that is the overwhelming lack of evidence for intelligent design in nature and, just to be redundant, the universe. You simply cannot allow yourselves to recognize that possibility because it would imply the nonexistence of a designer. Unless of course you believe that Nothing created God, who then created Everything, which would be intellectual suicide.

December 22, 2010 at 7:41 am
(62) Grandpa_In_The_East says:

@John Hanney

When I read your comment, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” a light bulb appeared above my head, so to speak. You used the past and present tense. This reminded me of:

“The great trouble is that the preachers get the children from six to seven years of age and then it is almost impossible to do anything with them.
– Thomas Edison

Were you indoctrinated into Christianity as a child?

Grandpa

December 26, 2010 at 8:44 pm
(63) Scooder says:

Can’t we all just get along? I guess I’m just a humanist at heart. And one of the biggest reasons is that so many wars have been caused by religion. Does your religion give you the right to murder innocent people? I think not! Who cares if you believe in god. And who really cares if you don’t. Maybe the religions, (who have been warring with themselves) can get together and have a war with the atheists. Then Mr. Wizard can be a martyr. We are all just humans from the pope to the whores to the lowliest beggar on the street. Some beggars are smelly. I was homeless for a time and sometimes the only way I could get a meal was to pray at the christian shelter. So the meal wasn’t free, I was paid to pray. Why even argue about those silly things. How about just respecting each other.

December 29, 2010 at 10:14 am
(64) Aquaria says:

No, Hanney, YOU are the angry one, because you cannot accept that atheists don’t need your fairy tale to get through the world. YOU refuse to let them live and let live, much less bother to understand them. YOU are the one who doesn’t know anything about science, and I notice that you are very careful not to say WHAT your major was in college. Business administration, most likely. That’s about your speed.

Hint: Having a degree in science doesn’t mean you know what you’re talking about, first of all, but having a B.Sc does NOT mean you have a degree in the kind of science that deals with studying evolution or your silly deity claims, and you damned well know it, no matter how much you want to fool us into thinking otherwise.

That you try to elide what your degree is to make yourself appear as an authority on anything except making a fool of yourself qualifies you as a LIAR on top of your other failings. It’s that obvious you don’t have a degree in anything but a social science that might as well be a liberal arts course. Only you are too deluded to see that.

And that you thought you could “help”? That’s just the icing on the cake.

That you think someone as ignorant as you could be capable of helping anyone is on a par with thinking a two-year-old could help a surgeon do a heart transplant: An incompetence so dangerously stupid it borders on the malevolent.

Maybe the reason atheists seem so angry to you isn’t because they are angry, but because they’re not doing what you want them to do. My guess is that it would consist of their throwing themselves at your feet and shrieking, “Oh you are so right! How could I have been so foolish? Thank you thank you thank you for showing the light to a worm like me! Jaysus is real–you showed me the truth! I don’t deserve such kindness!”

Admit it–that’s really what you thought would happen, and now you’re mad that it didn’t, so you project your anger about that onto the atheists.

Sounds like a personal problem to me.

February 9, 2011 at 10:10 pm
(65) Roy Mears says:

My comment on the signs and the reaction from the religious is as follows. The louder they scream about them the more validation they give them. If you are comfortable in your position you don’t have to defend it. They must have a real fear of people that don’t need a mythical god to direct them. I am an atheist and I’m very happy I don’t have to attack the religious. I do try to point out how weak their position is. Like I don’t take moral council from a mass murderer, (if you believe). The greatest mass killer makes Hitler look like a boy scout. God was reported to have killed all but one family with a flood. He also advocates slavery and genocide. We as a civilized society have rejected both as in human. You only have to look at the cosmos and then the Bible and realize it wasn’t written by an all powerful being. If god wrote or inspired the writing he would have known how the universe works. It is obvious to a reasonably intelligent person it was written by primitive men mainly for control. The real tip off is Thou shalt not put any gods before me. If he is the alpha and the omega in the universe why would he mention other gods? Isn’t he the only god? Why would that be one of his top ten if he is the only one?

December 14, 2012 at 9:15 pm
(66) Deucalion says:

All I hear when people like (Christians) this whine is the same thing I hear when a child complains that I dont let them eat candy for dinner.
Too bad, so sad, up yours…

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