More Americans Faithless

Washington Post religion (uh, syndicated) columnist and former Bush White House speechwriter, Michael Gerson notes that millions of Americans have fallen away from that ole time religion. As evdence, he cites data from Harvard political scientists Robert Putnam (Bowling Alone) and David Campbell which will appear in their forthcoming book American Grace. Gerson notes that religious fervor is now in retreat:

Baby boomers were far less religious than their parents were at the same age -- the probable result, says Putnam, of a "very rapid change in morals and customs."

This retreating tide of committment affected nearly every denomination equally, except that it was less severe among evangelicals. While not dramatically increasing their percentage of the American population, evangelicals did increase their percentage among the religious in America. According to Putnam, religious "entrepreneurs" such as Jerry Falwell organized and channeled the conservative religious reaction against the 1960s into the religious right -- the first aftershock.

But this reaction provoked a reaction -- the second aftershock. The politicization of religion by the religious right, argues Putnam, caused many young people in the 1990s to turn against religion itself, adopting the attitude: "If this is religion, I'm not interested." The social views of this younger cohort are not entirely predictable: Both the pro-life and the homosexual-rights movement have made gains. But Americans in their 20s are much more secular than the baby boomers were at the same stage of life. About 30 to 35 percent are religiously unaffiliated (designated "nones," as opposed to "nuns" -- I was initially confused). Putnam calls this "a stunning development." As many liberals suspected, the religious right was not good for religion.

What Gerson is calling the "first aftershock," I called the beginning of the Fourth Great Awakening in my article last year about the dawning of "The New Age of Reason." According to some historians, America is prone to cycles of religious fervor which result in political reform/action and that eventually recede as they overreach. I argue that the last cycle of fervor is now ending. Among other trends, I offered in support of my thesis: 

Perhaps the best evidence that the evangelical phase of the Fourth Great Awakening is winding down is that large numbers of young Americans are falling away from organized religion, just as the country did in the period between the first two awakenings. In the 1970s, the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago found that between 5 percent and 7 percent of the public declared they were not religiously affiliated. By 2006 that figure had risen to 17 percent. The trend is especially apparent among younger Americans: In 2006 nearly a quarter (23 percent) of Americans in their 20s and almost as many (19 percent) of those in their 30s said they were nonaffiliated.

The Barna Group finds that only 60 percent of 16-to-29-year-olds identify themselves as Christians. By contrast, 77 percent of Americans over age 60 call themselves Christian. That is “a momentous shift,” the firm’s president told the Ventura County Star. “Each generation is becoming increasingly secular.”

Gerson reports that Putnam and Campbell don't believe that this falling away from religion indicates a permanent trend toward secularization:

The young, in general, are not committed secularists. "They are not in church, but they might be if a church weren't like the religious right. . . . There are almost certain to be religious entrepreneurs to fill that niche with a moderate evangelical religion, without political overtones." 

Nevertheless, I concluded that the country is moving into a new era of greater tolerance that should last a couple of decades. 

Whole Gerson column is here. My April 2008 article "The New Age of Reason: Is the Fourth Great Awakening finally coming to a close?" can be found here

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  • Seward||

    Bailey,

    People will fill the need for organized religion with something else, and I don't think that it will generally be science, etc.

  • Smunge||

    Let's hope we are entering an age of reason ... and not an age of overt secularism. We should want the spirit of the American Revolution, not the French or Russian revolutions ... overkill is a bitch!

  • ||

    "They are not in church, but they might be if a church weren't like the religious right. . . . There are almost certain to be religious entrepreneurs to fill that niche with a moderate evangelical religion, without political overtones."

    That only tells half the story. The other half is the santimonous religous left of mainline Protestant churches. Church is less attractive because it doesn't off anything to beleivers anymore. It is either holy roller evangelicals, which doesn't appeal to most people, or watered down I am ok youre ok do what you like as long as you recycle and support Castro mainline Protestant. Given those two abysmal choices, many believers have opted out. Then of course on the Catholic side, you have the pedofile scandal which has done more to damage the church than anything since the Reformation.

  • robc||

    I argue that the last cycle of fervor is now ending.

    Like on your last article, I claim you missed it by 10-15 years.

    The politics phase follows (with some overlap) the "fervor" phase. The politics phase is ending, the fervor ended a while back.

  • Rimfax||

    Can this era of drug prohibition be correlated with secularism? No trips, no Jesus? (Maybe no more so than the prevalence of pirates can be correlated with global warming.)

  • ||

    "More Americans Faithless"

    Hallelujah!

    ;-)

  • ||

    The only value of a religion is the understanding that you are not the center of everything. Everything else is frivolous dogma. If people lose religion while retaining this understanding, I think it would be a positive development.
    In fact, losing religion helped clarify and strengthen this understanding for me.

  • ||

    Are we including lack of faith for such goofy, nutbag religions like the big bang and global warming and high fructose corn syrup being okay for you?

  • ||

    And evolution and carbon dating?

  • ||

    "If people lose religion while retaining this understanding, I think it would be a positive development."


    If rainbows shot out of everyone's asses we would all have a merry Chirstmas wouldn't we? If you think that is what is going to happen you are insane. Without God, man becomes the center of the universe and everything is permitted. Further, man immediately starts thinking he can make heaven on earth. Once that is the end, all means, including killing anyone in the way, are justified. Athiestic utopianism in the form of fascism and communism killed hundreds of millions in the 20th Century and enslaved millions more. Before that it gave the world the French Revolution and Napoleon. Whatever is it will give us this century is not a pleasent thought.

  • Smunge||

    libertymike ... exactly. That is separates an age of reason from an overt effort to kill religion ... the latter contains its own quasi-religious dogma and only seeks to replace religion with its own centralizing principles. Reason does not seek to destroy or replace ... but to enlighten in a spirit of equanimity.

  • ||

    Without God, man becomes the center of the universe and everything is permitted.

    John, that's just full of shit, and you know it. Lame troll fail.

  • ||

    "Reason does not seek to destroy or replace ... but to enlighten in a spirit of equanimity."


    Good luck with that. I hope it works out for you. In the mean time I would as you to see France, Revolution.

  • ||

    "Without God, man becomes the center of the universe and everything is permitted.

    John, that's just full of shit, and you know it. Lame troll fail."

    Really? Would you like to explain why? Without God, how is man not the center of the universe? Further, isn't it true that athiestic attempts to create utopia have inevitably resulted in the deaths of millions? Why is that the case if the absence of God doesn't create a situation where anything is possible and anything is justified?

  • B||

    Without God, how is man not the center of the universe? Further, isn't it true that athiestic attempts to create utopia have inevitably resulted in the deaths of millions?

    The 6000 God-filled years preceding the 20th century weren't exactly marked by peace, you know...

    The huge death tolls of the 20th century reflect the great technological leaps forward in killing large numbers of people more than anything else, I think.

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    John,

    Religions have killed hundreds of millions of people, if not billions.

    Do you really believe that religous folks don't think the world revolves around them? How is it not self centered vanity to believe that the most powerful being in the universe is my best friend. I'm so impotant to him that he committed suicide to save my eternal soul.

  • ||

    Personally, I pray to Obama. Prayer changes things.

  • T||

    People will fill the need for organized religion with something else

    Porn, if the intertubes are any guideline.

  • ||

    John-

    Does God think it okay to go to work for Caesar? Seems to me, to the extent that one derives his livelihood from Caesar, one is rejecting God in favor of man being the centre of the universe.

    Heaven on earth? Yeah, the non-sense that serving a nation state is divine or noble.

  • ||

    Would you like to explain why?

    You don't think this hasn't been beat to death a million times already? On this very blog? Jeez. You want to believe, fine with me. You want to assert that morality comes from god, you'll have to put up with my laughter. You want to assert that Stalin (for example) was trying to create a utopia in the name of atheism, you'll have to put up with the laughter of far better historians than I.

    Suffice it to say that many societies have existed without a conventional Judeo-Christian definition of god, and they have always managed to come up with a set of morals. Sometimes those morals are ones you and I would agree are useful. :-)

  • deluded1 ||

    "Really? Would you like to explain why? Without God, how is man not the center of the universe? Further, isn't it true that athiestic attempts to create utopia have inevitably resulted in the deaths of millions? Why is that the case if the absence of God doesn't create a situation where anything is possible and anything is justified?"

    John, I don't even understand the concept you're trying to display here. What does it matter if man is the center of the universe? It doesn't make him omnicient or omnipotent. He'll still die in car accidents, meteors can still hit the earth. His belief that he can do things won't make it true. Just as the belief in a white robed dude in the sky won't make that true.

    Let's look at this another way...

    ...Further isn't it true that religious attempts to create utopia have inevitably resulted in the deaths of millions?...

    Have you not been paying attention the last 5000 years of recorded history? The only common thread is the desire for power. Belief or lack thereof is just a tool. Your comments show the same narrow minded perspective of the idiots who blindly follow either the Republicans or Democrats and rabidly denounce whoever isn't on their side, regardless of veracity..

    I don't know you, so I don't want to assume that's true, but it's seriously disconcerting.

  • ||

    John,

    Get off it. The millions and millions killed in religious war dwarf the deaths of socialism. And most religious wars were regular wars justified by a gloss of God. The deaths of communism have nothing to do with atheism. Those millions weren't killed because they wouldn't be atheists, and nothing about atheism demanded or condoned their deaths.

    This is silly, sub-Mad Maxian argument to make. Communists were authoritarians first and atheism was just the effort to replace the religious impulse found in the majority of people away from worshiping God and toward worshiping the state.

    Atheism doesn't devalue human life and it certainly isn't a utopian murder project.

  • ||

    People both religious and non-religious have killed billions without question. For almost all of human history up until the 19th Century, societies always had some kind religion. The first real experiment with an atheistic "reason" based society was revolutionary France? How did that work out? Well better than the next two experiments, fascism and communism.

    Yes, man is an innately evil being that can't help but to kill other men. The question is has atheism helped to relieve that tendency? The answer given the last two hundred years is a resounding no. Moreover, religion has for all its faults done much good in the world. It has provided comfort for millions and been the driving force behind things like ending slavery. That certainly at least in some measure counter balances the malevolent effects of religion. What positive effects has atheism ever had?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Yet there seems to be few empty pews in the Temple of Schadenfreude.

  • ||

    "Get off it. The millions and millions killed in religious war dwarf the deaths of socialism."

    Socialism has only had a 100 years versus thousands of years for religous wars. Certainly socialism is off to a roaring start and more people have died thanks to it, than religion over the last 100 years. Further, you miss the point. People don't kill one another because of religion or socialism, they kill one another because that is what people do. The question is, doesn't atheism do anything to stop that and if not, does it create anything positive to counterbalance it. I think the answer to both questions is clearly no.

  • ||

    B-

    Not quite. The religion of Caesar worship is what drove the mass murders of the 20th century. The United States, nominally a "religious nation" was one of the worst offenders. Take Dresden or Nagasaki or negro lynchings or Hiroshima or Mai Lai or Kent State or the hundreds of thousands who have been slain by uniformed cowards in the drug wars or Eisenhower's holocaust where more than a million german POWs were slaughtered. Easily one of the worst, most wretched human beings ever to walk the earth. Lincoln was the precursor.

    Again, love of country is no virtue. One is a big fat loser to "love" a political subdivision. One who does is obviously spiritually challenged.

  • deluded1||

    "What positive effects has atheism ever had?"

    Freed man from the yoke of organized religion?

  • ||

    John, you're going to have to brush up on your theodicy for this thread. Well, that and your revisionist history. Best luck. ;-)

  • ||

    "Communists were authoritarians first and atheism was just the effort to replace the religious impulse found in the majority of people away from worshiping God and toward worshiping the state."

    So what? If religion is responsible for the deaths in religous wars, then communism is responsible for the people killed in its name as well. It is kind of a bizare argument to make that it is somehow religion's fault that atheistic Communism killed people only because it channeled people's religous instincts. No, the communists killed people because they believed doing so would usher in heaven on earth. Go back and read sometime the after accounts of people who participated in the purges. They honestly beleived that they were building the perfect society and the only way to do it was to kill those people who stood in the way. They joyously murdered people thinking they were doing good.

  • ||

    "John, you're going to have to brush up on your theodicy for this thread. Well, that and your revisionist history. Best luck. ;-)"


    You don't have the intelligence and the eloquence to engage in the topic, you need to shut the fuck up. Sitting here handing out insults without substantive points to back them up is just trolling.

  • ||

    As I see it, one can not serve Caesar and serve God. Support for multi-trillion dollar defense spending is a religion in this country. Support for "the troops" is a religion in this country. These are horrendous values that have contributed to the slaughter, by Amerika, of millions.

    "God bless Amerika?" No, Rev. Wright was right.

  • Joshua Holmes||

    Atheism has no answer to the problem of evil. One can be an atheist and also believe in committing massive, horrifying evil. All atheism says is that there is no god or gods.

    But let's be clear, religion has no answer to the problem of evil, either. Despite the calls for love, morality, peace, tolerance, etc., religious people have also committed massive, horrifying evil.

    Point? Evil is as evil does; religion or lack thereof is mostly irrelevant. Do good.

  • curious||

    What I really don't understand is why atheism is thought to go along with progressive thought.

    Why would someone who doesn't believe in any type of existence after this one sacrifice any type of pleasure or ease to assist those who are needier than he? I can see the point if there is a form of coercion involved, basically to keep the needy from killing him and taking his stuff. But, from a games theory perspective, you would think atheists would try to suck the last iota of enjoyment out of life, by having the nicest toys, the most sex partners, what have you.

    My interactions with atheists mostly involve people who were converted to the belief later in life, not raised atheistic. They still have their developmental moral code; they don't appear to have really internalized the concept of this is my one run through life, better make it a good one.

    I think when the percentage of atheists increase in society, and children are brought up in that belief, there will be an expansion of libertarian political thought. I think society will evolve into one similar to the roman empire of the 2nd century AD, without slavery.

  • ||

    "I think society will evolve into one similar to the roman empire of the 2nd century AD, without slavery."

    That is an interesting thought. I am not sure though that 2nd Century Rome was that athiestic. They had lots of cults and such. Also, what we know of the time is from historians with axes to grind. I love the Roman historians as much as the next person, but I doubt the society was as debauch as they portray it to be.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    More Americans faithless?

    I don't know that I should really believe this.

  • Craig||

    There are almost certain to be religious entrepreneurs to fill that niche with a moderate evangelical religion...

    Or slick politicians peddling "Hope" with a pocketful of empty promises and an eye on the gleaming ring of power....

  • robc||

    Religions have killed hundreds of millions of people, if not billions.

    Nope, religions dont kill people, people kill people. Are you a Brady Campaign member?

  • ||

    The question is, doesn't atheism do anything to stop that and if not, does it create anything positive to counterbalance it.

    If the grand wizard of the High Atheist Church was egging Stalin on you might have a point. Just as you will never hold God or the concept of God responsible for the death done in his name, why is atheism on the hook? If atheism was supposed to restrain murderers, why don't you expect the same of religion?

    You might need an authority figure to tell you how to behave, I don't. You might need comfort in the face of a universe that doesn't give a shit about you, I don't.

    I don't exist to serve you, God, the State or anything else.

  • robc||

    Freed man from the yoke of organized religion?

    You can believe in God and not participate in organized religion.

  • Craig||

    My interactions with atheists mostly involve people who were converted to the belief later in life, not raised atheistic. They still have their developmental moral code; they don't appear to have really internalized the concept of this is my one run through life, better make it a good one.

    Or maybe they're just deeper than you think, and don't see hedonism as being the best route to happiness.

    I've found that atheists can be more deeply moral than church-goers, because their morality has been formed through reason rather than adopted from someone else's set of rules.

  • Adderall Apocalypse||

    There are almost certain to be religious entrepreneurs to fill that niche with a moderate evangelical religion, without political overtones.



    Great... but I doubt the ability of every political faction to resist the temptation to align itself with religion in an attempt to seek short-term gains at the expense of further dividing us.

    But aren't there any "entrepreneurs of reason" out there? I think there should be more.

    Anyway, most people promoting "atheism" nowadays are actually promoting a "worldview" based on science and reason. This is the opposite of religion (dogma) because it wants to be questioned and doesn't claim to have all the answers up front. You kind of miss the point by attributing the crimes of big gubmint in the 20th century to atheism, because utopianism is a religion in itself to the extent that it is dogmatic. Communism or any other form of utopianism doesn't necessarily follow from atheism. BTW, it's fairly obvious that we're not the center of the universe if you've ever taken a look through a telescope. In fact, I seem to recall that of the early scientists who got into trouble with the big Roman Catholic church, the most common cause was that their research suggested that the universe was not geocentric. Galileo, anyone?

  • ||

    No, the communists killed people because they believed doing so would usher in heaven on earth

    More stupid bullshit. Try to provide a cite for that.

  • ||

    Religion, Communism, etc. are all fig leaves covering the asses of those in power. Do you really think the Popes of old believed in God? Do you really think Stalin believed in Communism? It's all rhetoric to explain why person X should be in control, and why that's good for you.

  • ||

    ...you need to shut the fuck up

    John, fuck you. You started this idiocy. Fuck you, and fuck the horse you rode in on.

  • ||

    John, I'm glad to see you respond to my post with ridiculous hyperbole. I don't know why you think what I said is so impossible. You're implying that religion's the only thing preventing people from being self-obsessed assholes. I just don't think there are many people who fit the description of good just because they're tricking themselves into it with religious beliefs.

    For some people, religion is a tool to judge others and to feel smugly self-righteous. That would describe me before I grew out of my religious mold. Granted, I'm just one person, but I suspect I'm not alone in maturing through the process of losing my religion.

  • ||

    Joshua Holmes and Episiarch are spot on, by the way.

  • ||

    "If the grand wizard of the High Atheist Church was egging Stalin on you might have a point. Just as you will never hold God or the concept of God responsible for the death done in his name, why is atheism on the hook? If atheism was supposed to restrain murderers, why don't you expect the same of religion?"

    I do expect the same of religion. Religion has failed in its job of restraining people in many ways. The human church is, because it is human, is fallable. But the opposite point is also true, if religion is responsible for the murders committed in its name, atheism is responsible for the muders committed in its name. What you miss is that the reason why communism killed so many people is that it beleived that this life was all their was and that its plan was going to create the perfect society. Atheism was the key to why it felt it justified to kill.

    "You might need an authority figure to tell you how to behave, I don't. You might need comfort in the face of a universe that doesn't give a shit about you, I don't.

    I don't exist to serve you, God, the State or anything else."


    Now you are starting to get it. You can do whatever you want. You can do whatever your will and desire tells you to do. Whatever you think is right, is right. You serve no one but yourself. That is where atheism takes you. You may think it is a great life. Good for you. But one thing is for sure, it is not morality. It is just will.

  • ||

    I've found that atheists can be more deeply moral than church-goers, because their morality has been formed through reason rather than adopted from someone else's set of rules.

    Indeed, if you are just "obeying", if you haven't rationalized and internalized it, are you really moral?

  • Smunge||

    curious ... you make some interesting points, especially your analogizing modern progress in religious thought to the age of the Five Good Emperors. Let us examine that past age ... Empire with good stewardship from above, combined with a relatively well off populace and a broad mix of religions with basic tolerance. That describes the modern West, with some major exceptions ... the executive leadership is more representative of Commodus and Severus than it is of Trajan or Pius. I would conclude that we have passed into the era of decline rather than an era of free thinking and decentralization.
    For those that know Roman history, you know what comes next ... chaos, anarchy and tyranny.

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    "Nope, religions dont kill people, people kill people. Are you a Brady Campaign member?"

    That's a good point,I should have phrased that better.

    Although, I can think of more than one religion off the top of my head that advocate murder for certain sins(adultery). IMHO that makes the religion somewhat liable for encouraging violence.

  • ||

    "Religion, Communism, etc. are all fig leaves covering the asses of those in power. Do you really think the Popes of old believed in God? Do you really think Stalin believed in Communism? It's all rhetoric to explain why person X should be in control, and why that's good for you."

    I can't speak for the popes. But Stalin certainly before he went completely insane in the 40s did. The people under him certainly did. Read Darkness at Noon sometime. There were people who were killed by the purges who went to their deaths thinking that even though they were innocent it was the right thing to do to admit to a crime they didn't commit and die for it because doing so advanced the cause of socialism. It is easy to say everyone who does something bad is cynical. But it is more conplex than that.

  • deluded1||

    robc : 1:21 pm

    I know, I was trying to see if he'd get all frothy and explode, like a seagull with alka seltzer.

    That said, I think John's attempting to align communism and atheism. And a number of communist states formed through rebellion in theocratical dictatorships, though not all.

    I've got no problem with religion, as long as I don't get any on me.

  • ||

    "Indeed, if you are just "obeying", if you haven't rationalized and internalized it, are you really moral?"


    When you do something you think is good what are you doing? You are deciding for yourself what is good and doing it. You are just asserting your will. Nothing more nothing less.

  • ||

    There were people who were killed by the purges who went to their deaths thinking that even though they were innocent it was the right thing to do to admit to a crime they didn't commit and die for it because doing so advanced the cause of socialism.

    They are the useful idiots. The ones at the top don't sacrifice themselves for socialism, God, or anything--because they know it's a load of shit and they're there for the power.

  • ||

    You may think it is a great life. Good for you. But one thing is for sure, it is not morality. It is just will.

    Did you have a fucking stroke? All this time on the board and you still cannot grasp the value of freedom for freedom's sake? I'll take my will over the seduction of illusion any day.

    And, while were on the subject, morality is useless at restraining behavior. Either you have non-destructive interpersonal ethics or you don't. Morality is just what you think other people should have to do. Moralists are authoritarians trying to model our behavior "for our own good." Where have we heard that load of shit before?

  • ||

    """Really? Would you like to explain why? Without God, how is man not the center of the universe? """

    Going to prove the negative?

    Man is not the center of the universe regardless of want man may think. We don't need God to prove it's a fallacy.

    I don't believe in God nor do I believe man is the center of the universe.

  • ||

    Epi-

    In a word, yes. But it also includes love of country/nation state/king/ the king's men, etc.

  • ||

    "Did you have a fucking stroke? All this time on the board and you still cannot grasp the value of freedom for freedom's sake? I'll take my will over the seduction of illusion any day."


    My will and pleasure is to come over and blow your head off. That is my freedom for freedom's sake. If you can't grasp the danger of true freedom, you are an idiot unworthy of the freedom you have.

  • ||

    I'm not so sure it's an actual trend or more that people are simply more comfortable saying that they aren't religious anymore. Heck, I've seen some churches with more irreligious people than the general population...

  • ||

    Fluffy,

    People like you live in a world with all of the benefits of everyone else restraining their behavior and being something besides the state of nature. Then you sit around and talk shit about freedom for freedom's sake and how there is no need for objective morality never realizing the benifits you get from everyone else, yourself included, pretending that there is such a thing.

  • ||

    Where did Fluffy post anything, John?

  • ||

    When you do something you think is good what are you doing? You are deciding for yourself what is good and doing it. You are just asserting your will. Nothing more nothing less.

    Nope, you missed the point. If you are merely obeying, you are not deciding for yourself.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    ITT John trolls us all.

  • ||

    As someone who was raised a Christian, converted to atheism and then back at an age and temperment neccesitating logical persuasion, I'll pray for your soul jasa. You seem to be beyond non-belief and in the radically anti-religious camp. I can't imagine what kind of experience you've had the led you to where you are now but I hope that you'll find peace one day.

  • ||

    I see that John has not responded to the points that I have made regarding the worship of multi-trillion dollar defense spending and the worship of Caesar's uniformed thugs/aka the king's men. Worship of these idols is anathema to Jesus. Thoroughly, utterly incompatible with the good news of Jesus Christ.

    The worship of the nation state or any political sub-division along with its militaristic symbols is for delusional religous nut jobs.

  • ||

    It is either holy roller evangelicals, which doesn't appeal to most people, or watered down I am ok youre ok do what you like as long as you recycle and support Castro mainline Protestant.



    Oddly enough, both the evangelical and mainline churches I've attended have been nothing like the stereotypes larded around in such abundance. Evangelicals aren't mostly science-hating puritanical nutbags (though such evangelicals certainly exist) and mainline Protestants aren't mostly wishy-washy atheists who like the trappings of religion (though those certainly exist, too). *shrugs* Just an observation. If people actually went to churches, rather than judging them based on their own preconceptions . . .

    The most amusing thing to me is the whole "I don't see how atheists get through the day without God" thing, which I've found in both places. It's only matched by the whole atheist "I don't see how theists get through the day believing in a giant Sky Fairy" thing. People are people, no matter what their beliefs.

    If people lose religion while retaining this understanding, I think it would be a positive development.
    In fact, losing religion helped clarify and strengthen this understanding for me.



    "Jesus turned my life around. He really helped me to see how to be a better person. I was just lost and directionless without Him. You should become a Christian too; it really helped me!"

    Without God, man becomes the center of the universe and everything is permitted.



    John, that's one of the most ignorant statements I've ever heard. The fact that I've heard it millions of times makes it no less ignorant. Religion may be the easiest way to morality; it may be the best way, given the way that human nature works. It is certainly not the only way. Daoism is an atheistic religion; does it lack morality? So is Buddhism, or more strictly Buddhism is non-theistic; does that mean Buddhists have no morality?

    Plato took down the divine command theory of morality twenty-five hundred years ago. There are many other theories of ethics that hold, whether or not God exists. Given the way that humans have evolved, we believe certain things are moral, and other things are not. Murder will always be wrong, whether or not humans are religious. Theft will always be wrong. Check out Matthew 19.17-19. It's a good summation of a universal ethic. Note that, although it is Christ speaking, there is no mention of God.

    Morality does not solely depend on God. Religion may be the easiest way to get the great mass of humanity to follow a decent code of ethics, but if religion up and disappeared tomorrow people would still be ethical in the main. We'd also still have wars and all the other stupidity we have today. Humans would still be human.

  • ||

    When you do something you think is good what are you doing? You are deciding for yourself what is good and doing it. You are just asserting your will. Nothing more nothing less.

    You can make a moral decision because you've been told by someone that you should do it, in which case your asserting your will to blindly follow what someone else said. Or you can make a moral decision based more directly on what you understand to be right. Either way, you're asserting your will. To say otherwise is to abdicate responsibility for your actions.

  • ||

    AT-

    You can't be with Jesus and with multi-trillion dollar defense spending and empire and worshipping "the troops" and beging the state to proscribe homosexual marriage. If you support those things and are those things, you have rejected Jesus Christ.

  • ||

    John,

    My will and pleasure is to come over and blow your head off.

    So you're a deranged maniac? That's about where I had gotten to at this point as well.

    How does religion stop you from killing me? It is only religion that keeps you from going on a killing spree? Only the threat of some sort of Hell? Are you a complete moral idiot in the absence of someone telling you not to kill people because God might not like it?

    That's the most hateful fucking thing I've ever heard anyone say about religious people in my entire life, the suggestion they are rabid dogs that would maul you if not for the leash of religion. I wouldn't even say that about crimethink or Mad Max and we've had some vicious shouting matches over the years.

    Seriously, John. Go get a PET scan. You probably have a tumor the size of a pecan in your frontal lobe.

  • ||

    "you would think atheists would try to suck the last iota of enjoyment out of life"

    Um, everyone on Earth already does this.

  • ||

    John, your will to blow SugarFree's head off is not freedom for freedom's sake at all. Freedom for its own sake requires the freedom of all people, not just an individual's freedom to do as they please without consequence. It would require SugarFree's freedom as well...for its own sake. If you only restrain yourself from killing SugarFree because you hope to get into Heaven, then you are a selfish asshole and don't care about another person's freedom any more than Stalin did.

  • ||

    John-

    Unlike many others here, I AM NOT AN ATHEIST!

    IMO, most people with John's view are not used to having their "faith" challenged as I have challenged it. I am not a democrat. I am not an atheist. I am not an agnostic. I hate communism more than he does-does any regular poster here doubt that? I hate socialism more than he does.

  • John||

    Sugerfree,

    What you are not getting is that morality has to come from somewhere. If it doesn't come from God, ok then where? If it comes from us internally, then what does that mean? It means that morality can mean whatever we want it to mean. It means that morality is an assertion of our will. Given that fact, how do you judge one person's morality against another? You can't. All that matter is that you make the moral assertion and live by it. One person's code is as good as the next as long as they live by the code. The only thing that you can really say that is inferior is living by someone else's code. Then, you are not asserting your will you are subseving your will to someone else. You are, like the religous person, being good because someone tells you to be, not because you have decided to be. When, you say, religious people are somehow inferior because they need to be told to be good, you are saying that they are inferior because they are not asserting their own will.

    All you are doing is saying you are right and you are moral because you assert what is moral rather than being told what is moral. Good for you. But what makes typical atheists so amusing is that they never think of the consequences of that. They never realize that if you can do that so can I or anyone else. In fact, everyone should do that. And once you do do that, the world gets pretty dark pretty fast.

  • Fascitis Necrotizante||

    ***barfs all over thread***

  • ||

    You can't be with Jesus and with multi-trillion dollar defense spending and empire and worshipping "the troops" and beging the state to proscribe homosexual marriage. If you support those things and are those things, you have rejected Jesus Christ.

    Amen, brother. Most conservative christians would despise Jesus if they ever met him.

  • ||

    I'm not an atheist. I'm a militant agnostic, and I'm willing to kill anyone who doubts my right to doubt.

    Actually, I'm probably a bit of a theist. My agnosticism is about the form and nature of the deity. Or deities. Or metadeities. And so on.

  • ||

    libertymike,
    I'm not sure how you've devined that I am with the military industrial complex or against homosexuality. On both counts you are mistaken. I am inclined to agree with Mr. Bailey's theory that the "Christian" right has been a terrible blow to Christianity. Furthermore, I am in no way inclined to force my beliefs on anyone else. Creating a separation of Church and State was brilliant.

  • nobody||

    John,

    Why do you think people are inherently evil?

  • John||

    Sugerfree,

    You could say that there is an objective morality outside of us that we can through our reason tap into. But I would say at that point you have become a theist and believe in what amounts to a God. You just look at that God as being a set of unchanging Platonic principles. At that point, you certainly have ceased to be a crude materialist and an atheist as it is ussually meant these days.

  • nobody||

    AT,

    Why do you think atheists are not at peace with themselves and the world?

  • ||

    Meh.

    Another religion thread. Same arguments. Even the same trolls commenters.

    Who cares. Get off my lawn!

  • ||

    Aresen,

    I declare you anathema.

    * * *

    Is Shatner PM yet?

  • ||

    "What you are not getting is that morality has to come from somewhere. If it doesn't come from God, ok then where?"

    From our genes. The golden rule is a universally accepted moral value. A spirit of cooperation has survival value and has enabled us to survive as a species.

  • John||

    "John,

    Why do you think people are inherently evil?"

    Good question. Taking theology out of it. I would say first because we don't have the ability to fully know the effects of our acts. Since we don't know the full effects of our acts, we wind up doing evil things without even realizing it. I would also say second because we are stuck in the world together where each person's failings brings out everyone else's failings. We just can't help ourselves.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    What you are not getting is that morality has to come from somewhere. If it doesn't come from God, ok then where? If it comes from us internally, then what does that mean? It means that morality can mean whatever we want it to mean.



    No, it doesn't. Daniel Dennett would argue that we are moral because we evolved to be so. Specifically, the fact that we are social organisms necessitates that we behave in certain ways towards one another to allow the group to function. Without these rules, the group falls apart, and survival of the species is impaired. These rules aren't arbitrary - not just any set of mores will work to help the group stay together - and some sets of rules work better than others. As the social environment changes, these rules also change to accomodate them. But they aren't subject to the caprices of the individual!

    It also appears that we've evolved hardwired biological structures within our brains to underly and support these rules. We toss words like "empathy" an "conscience" around, but they represent biological realities. If you doubt that there's a strong organic component to morality, then just compare the way that people behave when they're sober to the way that they behave when intoxicated.

  • ||

    What you are not getting is that morality has to come from somewhere.

    John, do you really think that the only source of "objective morality" is a god?

    It falls upon humans to interpret the moral lessons of the bible. We ultimately keep what makes sense, and reject the rest. Much biblical morality is rejected now days, even by the religious.

    Do you think that today's philosophers are incapable of the sophisticated moral analysis practiced by the goat herders several millennia ago?

    I will assert that atheists (or any other group) are capable of making up a moral code from whole cloth. This code is going to reflect the mores of the time, and will protect the common group interests. As the will to live is inherent in most living organisms, the moral code will start from this and move forward in steps as logical as the parties to the analysis are capable.

    Many, many societies have existed on this earth, and many, many moral codes. These moral codes were all a reflection of the society they were created in. Human morality is, and will continue to be, an evolutionary process.

  • ||

    AT-

    My use of the pronoun "you" was plural and not in the singular. I did not mean to ascribe those values to you, individually. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

    However, I would not limit the worship of those values to the "religious right" - not by a longshot-even homosexual marriage.

  • John||

    "From our genes. The golden rule is a universally accepted moral value. A spirit of cooperation has survival value and has enabled us to survive as a species."

    It is also in our genes to kill our competitors and mate with as many women as possible. If it were in our genes and evolution to be peaceful, the world would look a lot different than it does. Given the evidence of our behavior, I would say our genes tell us the opposite; don't be kind, kill anyone who gets in your way.

  • ||

    John, what if Moses never got the Ten Commandment tablets from God? What if he looked at the world around him, saw what caused harm to people and what was positive for people and set them in stone himself? What if it also came with a dose of structure because structure and obediance was viewed by him as positive? It led people to do less of the bad to each other? We are after all social animals.

    Is it so hard to understand that one does not need God to know good from bad? Someone else mentioned that some atheists do not see hedonism as a positive while others do. I think that thought has great merit. It is the imposition of one's own morality on others that causes bad things, sometimes, while other times that structure is welcomed. But if one accepts structure rather than having it imposed on them they are always happier than those who are slaves to another man's morality. It is not an absolute from a single source, hence the many religions and worldviews that pervade this planet.

  • John||

    "Do you think that today's philosophers are incapable of the sophisticated moral analysis practiced by the goat herders several millennia ago?"

    Taking religion out of it for a moment. When I compare the work of modern philosophers to the worl of Plato, Sophiclese, Homer, the Old Testiment, or to step out side the West, the Tao or the Rig Vedas, I would say, yeah today's philosophers are incapable of the sophisticated moral analysis practiced by the goat herders several millennia ago? Without question.

  • ||

    "the "Christian" right has been a terrible blow to Christianity"

    It's also been a terrible blow on the Republican Party. It's why I left them back in 1976. That and their lust for war is what's causing them to keep losing members.

  • ||

    This John guy is a Grade-A idiot playing with sophistry. Sorry, but it's true.

    And what's up with all of the French Revolution bashing? No French Revolution, no American Revolution. Period.

  • VikingMoose||

    um.....

    time machine? (which, as we all know, is the same thing as a UFO)

  • ||

    Moreover, religion has for all its faults done much good in the world. - John



    Be that as it may, I'm not going to commit to a religion until and unless I think it is true. I think they are all false, and given its roots in Plato and Hegel, Marxism is as much a "religion" as any other form of positivism. Stalin was, after all, an apostate seminarian, and the devotion to The People/The Party mirrored that to The Lord/The Church in an ugly way.

    John, are you making a believer's argument, or following in the footsteps of some noxious conservatives who essentially agreed with Marx about "the opium of the people," but figured it was good for social order to make sure the spiritual monkey stayed on their backs?

    So, fess up. Religion: The Truth or useful Platonic Noble Lie?

    BTW, I'm not sure that those unchurched folks are rationalists. Besides actual, educated devotees of religions considered non-traditional here in the states (Buddhism, fr'instance), a whole bunch of folks have been picking their theology a la carte for quite some time. I've been hearing "I'm not religious, but I'm spiritual since the 1970s, and belief in a deity of some sort is still high.

    • Only 1.6 percent of Americans call themselves atheist or agnostic. But based on stated beliefs, 12 percent are atheist (no God) or agnostic (unsure), while 12 percent more are deistic (believe in a higher power but not a personal God). The number of outright atheists has nearly doubled since 2001, from 900 thousand to 1.6 million. - 2008 ARIS survey



    Or, as Gallup put it back in 2006:

    The latest responses to this question, obtained in a May Gallup Poll, lead to several conclusions:

    Seventy-three percent of Americans are classic true believers, convinced that God exists beyond a doubt.
    Eighty-seven percent of Americans are basic believers in the existence of God, saying either that they are convinced that God exists or that God probably exists and they have only a little doubt that this is the case.
    A slightly larger group of 92% of Americans can be classified in a group that tilts toward the existence of God, stating that at the least they think God probably exists, even though some have a lot of doubt about it.
    Only 3% of Americans can be considered to be hard-core atheists, convinced that God does not exist.
    Another 4% are agnostics of a sort, leaning toward a belief that God does not exist, but not sure that this is the case beyond a doubt. - (italics mine)



    So, I'm from Missouri as far as the "reason, sweet reason" meme goes. I still think that theism is bunk, but the people who are abandoning the mainline Protestant churches, the "conservative" ones or Catholicism may be substituting bunk from a rival outfit, or self-administered nonsense.

    The Church of Oprah , anyone?

    Kevin

  • ||

    John,

    Morality does come from somewhere, it is external to us, but not supernatural. It is an emergent standard that arises from the millions of ethical interactions between humans everyday. This why morals are not an absolute value. This is why we are becoming more moral in light of increased ethical standards. You can fall short of the standards of your day or you can exceed them.

    I don't have to be told it's wrong to kill people, I can value them for themselves. I don't have to be told not to steal from people, because I can value my own property and recognize that others value their property as well. Much like "The Market" arises from millions of voluntary economic interactions, the moral market punishes what is less than optimal and rewards what is more than optimal.

    What you are trying to say is that there is some set of eternal truths that must be followed to develop an ethical framework. I don't accept this. Ethics are learned behaviors, and morality is the current scoreboard of how those ethics are apply in aggregate. I don't care how an ethical person comes by their ethics. Worry about yourself, not about how to control everyone else.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    As someone who was raised a Christian, converted to atheism and then back at an age and temperment neccesitating logical persuasion, I'll pray for your soul jasa.



    When someone obviously isn't interested in your doing so, saying that you intend to pray for this is more than a little condescending and self-righteous. You're free to do it if you like, but it would be more polite if you kept the fact to yourself.

    Sorry. Pet peeve.

  • ||

    That only tells half the story. The other half is the santimonous religous left of mainline Protestant churches. Church is less attractive because it doesn't off anything to beleivers anymore. It is either holy roller evangelicals, which doesn't appeal to most people, or watered down I am ok youre ok do what you like as long as you recycle and support Castro mainline Protestant.



    Precisely. It's not the religious right or the religious left, it's the politicization of religion itself. One side ones to put Ronald Reagan into the catechism, and the other wants to make Marx the fifth gospel. BOTH are putting Caesar before Christ.

    It's no surprise that younger generations aren't as interested in the church community. They see social intolerance preached from one side, and social activism from the other. One side wants to kick out homosexuals completely out of the building while the other goes out of its way to put homosexuals behind the pulpit. Churches are ceasing to be religious institutions and becoming extensions of political parties.

    The separation of church and state was one of the greatest things that ever happened to the church, true religious liberty exploded into dozens of denominations and a very high level of religious life. One only needs to look at Europe and its state sanctioned/funded religions to see the opposite. So what do we have with modern religious America? Churches dragging the state back to the pulpit! No wonder cynicism of organized religion is at an all time high.

  • ||

    I find that many christians impulsively find refuge in the state, like John and Mad Max. They tend to support the nation state, empire and large expenditures on the state's war-making capabilities. They tend to support the worship of those employed by Caesar in his empire buidling. They tend to support the income tax and the incarceration of those who refuse to pay the income tax.

    What part of that is consistent with Jesus?

  • John||

    "No French Revolution, no American Revolution. Period."


    Really? How exactly did the French Revolution in 1789 cause the American Revolution in 1776? Is that some kind of quantum reverse causation I have never heard of?

  • ||

    "Taking religion out of it for a moment. When I compare the work of modern philosophers to the worl of Plato, Sophiclese, Homer, the Old Testiment, or to step out side the West, the Tao or the Rig Vedas, I would say, yeah today's philosophers are incapable of the sophisticated moral analysis practiced by the goat herders several millennia ago? Without question."

    Are you even familiar with what's in the Old Testament, John? Should we be stoning to death homosexuals? Should we stone to death women who aren't virgins on their wedding night? Should we stone to death people who work on the Sabbath? Some profound philosophy!

  • Huh?||

    "Eisenhower's holocaust where more than a million german POWs were slaughtered"

    Huh?

  • ||

    screwjack2008,

    That's exactly backwards. Not only did we go first by more than a decade, we did it much better.

  • John||

    "I don't have to be told it's wrong to kill people, I can value them for themselves. I don't have to be told not to steal from people, because I can value my own property and recognize that others value their property as well. Much like "The Market" arises from millions of voluntary economic interactions, the moral market punishes what is less than optimal and rewards what is more than optimal."


    That is great Sugerfree. I am happy for you. I am sure you are a great guy. But in the end you are just making shit up and are no different than the religous people who claim to despise. They get it from a book. You get it from the world around you. It is the same thing either way.

    To person above who asked if I beleive that Religion is truth or a noble lie. I believe it is truth. But I do so out of faith and no reason to justify that faith to anyone. But, to those who don't believe it is true, you might want to consider that perhaps it is a noble lie. I think Nitzche was one of the few honest atheists. He looked around and concluded that God was dead, he didn't think that was necessarily good news.

  • ||

    I'll pray for your soul jasa.
    Aww, that's so sweet. Uh, thanks?

    You seem to be beyond non-belief and in the radically anti-religious camp.
    Nope. Live and let live, that's my motto. Well, there was that Adventist I sicced the dog on. He should have known better than to wake me up when I was trying to sleep in.

  • ||

    "I find that many christians impulsively find refuge in the state, like John and Mad Max. They tend to support the nation state, empire and large expenditures on the state's war-making capabilities. They tend to support the worship of those employed by Caesar in his empire buidling. They tend to support the income tax and the incarceration of those who refuse to pay the income tax."

    It's been my experience that some of the most religious people are the biggest war mongers and also the biggest racists. I'm not accusing John as being a racist. I can tell from some of his past postings that he isn't. But I've run across so many Christians who are.

    Regarding war, why are so many Christians war mongers when Jesus was supposed to be the Prince of Peace?

  • Tacos mmm...||

    It is also in our genes to kill our competitors and mate with as many women as possible. If it were in our genes and evolution to be peaceful, the world would look a lot different than it does. Given the evidence of our behavior, I would say our genes tell us the opposite; don't be kind, kill anyone who gets in your way.



    And if you were a crocodile, you would be correct. That's exactly how they live. But you're not. You're a mammal, and more than that, you're a furless, clawless, toothless social mammal, and your survival depends on much more than just eating anything small enough to eat. You're smart, for sure, but you're smart because your brain is big and complex, necessitating that you be born prematurely to fit through the birth canal. Yoru physical impairments and extended period of physical and mental development mean that you need to live as part of a large, stable group that dedicates extensive resources to childrearing. You cannot, as a consquence, afford to cause too much injury to those around you, upon who you intimately depend. Thus, you are moral.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    For an Age called Reason...

  • ||

    Yep. That was my mistake. I was thinking they occurred closer together than that. I was wrong. It happens to us all. Just like John is wrong about most of what is in his posts.

  • ||

    They get it from a book. You get it from the world around you. It is the same thing either way.

    You can't understand a word I'm saying, can you?

    Congratulations, you've become joe, having arguments with what you think people have said rather than what they have said.

    Good luck with that.

  • Pony Boy||

    "Fuck you, and fuck the horse you rode in on."

    Horse fuckers scare me.

  • ||

    "That is great Sugerfree. I am happy for you. I am sure you are a great guy. But in the end you are just making shit up and are no different than the religous people who claim to despise. They get it from a book. You get it from the world around you. It is the same thing either way."

    He gets it from within. Like I said, it's in our genes. It has enabled us to survive as a species. Sometimes things can go wrong to interfere with our natural tendency to live by the golden rule whether they be chemical imbalances, brain damage, or extreme environmental factors. That's where sociopathology comes in.

  • ||

    With or without religion people are self obsessed its what makes us humans so gosh darned lovable... To argue the existence or nonexistence of god is a circular argument as neither point can be unequivocably proved. Religion has been both good and bad duh - people run it - I'm pretty sure that at the beginning of any religious movement you'll find an athiest or an agnostic with full pockets, and/or bedchambers, well meaning or not... The average person (in industrialized countries at least) have far greater access to information today and can make up their minds accordingly... Me (Thanks for asking) I'm quite comfortable in the knowledge that we evolved on this planet to the point of dominance over all other species, have and will continue to change stuff to suit our purposes and will eventually go extinct leaving humankind's greatest legacy... a fossil record and maybe a few flags and tonka toys on a couple of planets in our solar system. Basically you understand more about the human condition by watching squirrels fighting over some nuts as you can debating religion. We're social mammals and need to come up with ways to get along... although we tend toward the anarchy of rats as opposed to the orderly existence of ants... but that doesn't stop people from trying... Magic skydaddy or whatever... I always love these kind of debates because they bring out those lovely "fuck you" and "Fuck you too's"

  • ||

    I will assert that atheists (or any other group) are capable of making up a moral code from whole cloth.

    ...like the Bill of Rights. Freedom of speech was a political demand regarding government that turned into an expectation that anyone can say whatever they want at anytime without consequence.

  • nobody||

    John,

    It sounds like you are immediately and universally distrustful of nearly every person around you. To me, that sounds like a very difficult way to live. I hope it's not the case.

  • ||

    I really hope this is someone spoofing John. We've had our disagreements in the past, but this is lunacy. Either way, I'm not playing along any more.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Huh?

    +1. I was stationed in Germany for quite awhile. I'm pretty sure someone would've mentioned this to me.

  • johnl||

    It's good to see more unchurched but sad that a lot of these people are really believers who are having their faith robbed from them by heavyhanded political activists.

  • JB||

    "Nevertheless, I concluded that the country is moving into a new era of greater tolerance that should last a couple of decades."

    Bullshit. Look at the Leftists tards and their faith in government. The Obamabots don't tolerate any dissent from Dear Leader. Leftist faith in government is extremely dangerous.

  • ||

    John, if religion is a Noble Lie, I don't want any of it. [devil quoting scripture] Would you give me a stone when I asked for bread?[/dqs] To those of us who don't believe, besides our natural skepticism towards religion in general, there is the question of which, among the thousands of quarreling, disputatious sects infesting men's minds and hearts, is actually true.

    Now, it could be that none of them have The Truth, and that one of them is as good as another, certain outliers excepted. One could also take the route of the Deists, and believe in a god, but not necessarily in revealed truth. That places the burden for codifying a morality as much on the theist as on the agnostic or atheist, however.

    Quite a few of us in the classical liberal/libertarian tradition are comfortable deriving morality from nature, whether we think nature has a god or not. We crack smart remarks about the utilitarians behind their backs, of course. :)

    Kevin

  • ||


    Pro Libertate | May 8, 2009, 2:04pm | #

    Aresen,

    I declare you anathema.

    * * *

    Is Shatner PM yet?



    I believe he may be post-menopausal, but I haven't seen any medical reports.

    ;-P

  • ||

    But in the end you are just making shit up and are no different than the religous people who claim to despise.

    John, all humans are "just making shit up". That's what we humans do. Even IF the bible was the word of god, your brain has to interpret it. Unless, that is, you are hearing those voices again.

    Can't this crap be in a Reason FAQ somewhere? Lord knows, it's been blogged to death here. ;-)

  • ||

    "If it were in our genes and evolution to be peaceful, the world would look a lot different than it does."

    I believe I'm right in believing that the majority of people who fight in wars don't want to kill. It's more a case of kill or be killed. They are put in that position by power hungry sociopathic leaders. For instance, Harry Truman said he didn't lose one minute of sleep over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Bah! My attempts at levity are wasted in this thread!

  • ||

    I would be interested in hearing (reading) exactly what John is referring to when he uses the term, "God." What are you picturing in your head when you imagine a God?

  • Gill||

    "Check out Matthew 19.17-19. It's a good summation of a universal ethic. Note that, although it is Christ speaking, there is no mention of God."

    Yes there is; it's in the second sentence:

    17And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

    18He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

    19Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    it's been blogged to death here. ;-)

    +one times ten to some large exponent.

  • Gill||

    "You can't be with Jesus and with multi-trillion dollar defense spending and empire and worshipping "the troops" and beging the state to proscribe homosexual marriage. If you support those things and are those things, you have rejected Jesus Christ." [citation needed]

  • Tacos mmm...||

    Bullshit. Look at the Leftists tards and their faith in government. The Obamabots don't tolerate any dissent from Dear Leader. Leftist faith in government is extremely dangerous.



    You need to read more leftist websites if you think this is the case. Obama's too moderate for many, or at least moving too slowly.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    What are you picturing in your head when you imagine a God?



    Santa Claus, wrapped in a toga, with the voice of James Earl Jones.

  • ||

    Asking people if they are "affiliated" with a church or denomination is irrelevant to one's personal faith. That Harvard Survey question should simply be, "Do you believe in God?" Since when does one have to be an attending member of a church in order to be a spiritual person? By the way, more people would probably go to church if the ministers would teach the "good news" of the gospel instead of bloviating on the latest politically-correct societal fad.

  • ||

    But I find watching squirrels fight over nuts and religious debates almost equally entertaining...

  • ||

    Bah! My attempts at levity are wasted in this thread!

    Nah, it's just that your 2:23 post was too early for this west coaster to drink to. I'll re-read it at 5 tonight. :-)

  • ||

    "Bullshit. Look at the Leftists tards and their faith in government. The Obamabots don't tolerate any dissent from Dear Leader. Leftist faith in government is extremely dangerous."

    So true! I believe environmentalism has also become a new religion. We are expected to accept so much on faith. We are not to question it. We must act now to keep our earth from going to hell in a handbasket. No time for further research to determine just how bad it will be or if the "cure" is worth the cost.

  • ||

    Aresen,

    Don't be evasive. Prime Minister Shatner will shake the very pillars of the world. He'll put the "north" into North America.

  • ||

    "By the way, more people would probably go to church if the ministers would teach the "good news" of the gospel instead of bloviating on the latest politically-correct societal fad."

    Yeah, that's what we need. Some of that good old fashioned hell fire religion. That'll bring the young people in.

  • ||

    "What are you picturing in your head when you imagine a God?"

    The god of the Bible who's a petty, vengeful god.

  • Fascitis Necrotizante||

    ***revisits thread... sniffs around... lifts leg... pees***

  • EJM||

    It's been my experience that some of the most religious people are the biggest war mongers and also the biggest racists. I'm not accusing John as being a racist. I can tell from some of his past postings that he isn't. But I've run across so many Christians who are.

    Regarding war, why are so many Christians war mongers when Jesus was supposed to be the Prince of Peace?


    As far as the U.S. goes, I've thought that most of the problems that I've had with the Religious Right (for lack of a better term) are the result of their mixing their faith with American Exceptionalism--which, at worst, makes it appear that they believe that the U.S. is some sort of new Israel.

    I've only been able to do some very quick and basic searching, but you may want to take a look at this law-journal article from 2005 (also here).

    Even though I normally don't like having people try to prove negatives, I've thought about trying to argue with folks that the "most Christian" modern industrialized democracy is not...South Korea.

  • ||

    bookworm, that's so Old Testament. Jesus was a drinker who only got pissed when dealing with hypocrites. That's a righteous cat I cna agree with. Too bad he got Lyme's disease.

  • Adderall Apocalypse||

    AT | May 8, 2009, 1:46pm | #

    I can't imagine what kind of experience you've had the led you to where you are now but I hope that you'll find peace one day.



    Oh yeah, I love it when Christians automatically assume that the only way a person could ever become an atheist is if they've had a terrible experience involving theism or theists. It's like the "Fundamentalist Attribution Error." Maybe jasa just looked at the evidence, and using reason, concluded that there was insufficient evidence to believe in the existence of a god. You know, science and reason? The tools that have been so useful to us in every other area of knowledge?

  • I\'m a Christian||

    "I find that many christians impulsively find refuge in the state, like John and Mad Max. They tend to support the nation state, empire and large expenditures on the state's war-making capabilities. They tend to support the worship of those employed by Caesar in his empire buidling. They tend to support the income tax and the incarceration of those who refuse to pay the income tax."

    And you're full of shit.

  • EJM||

    Even though I normally don't like having people try to prove negatives, I've thought about trying to argue with folks that the "most Christian" modern industrialized democracy is not...South Korea.

    I just re-read that last sentence of mine: If you're confused about my original meaning, I was trying to say (albeit not very well) that I wanted folks who believe that the U.S. has to be the "most Christian" modern industrialized democracy to prove that it isn't, instead, South Korea.

  • Xeones||

    I find that many christians impulsively find refuge in the state, like John and Mad Max. They tend to support the nation state, empire and large expenditures on the state's war-making capabilities. They tend to support the worship of those employed by Caesar in his empire buidling. They tend to support the income tax and the incarceration of those who refuse to pay the income tax.

    I suspect you'd also find the same folks'd support those things even if they were not Christians. Atheism is not necessary to libertarianism, and libertarianism is not as popular as we wish it was.

  • ||

    "As someone who was raised a Christian, converted to atheism and then back at an age and temperment neccesitating logical persuasion, I'll pray for your soul jasa."

    Talking to an invisible nonexistent being in the sky is logical? How?

  • Muhammad||

    "Are you even familiar with what's in the Old Testament, John? Should we be stoning to death homosexuals? Should we stone to death women who aren't virgins on their wedding night? Should we stone to death people who work on the Sabbath?"

    Yes
    Yes
    And Yes

  • Paul||

    Each religious resurgence is really a death throe... a long series of them. The middle east and the Muslim world is going through a very big one right now.

  • Elemenope||

    That is great Sugarfree. I am happy for you. I am sure you are a great guy. But in the end you are just making shit up and are no different than the religious people who claim to despise. They get it from a book. You get it from the world around you. It is the same thing either way.

    This thread was going on its merry retarded way, and I almost just left it without commenting, but then I read the comment above as was struck dumb by its sheer stupidity.

    It makes a literal equivalence between special revelation and empiricism.

    That is, it literally says "science and other systems of observationally-based conclusions (like observational ethics) are *no different* than what one can read in any book".

    It is hard to encapsulate how stupid that sentence is, but let me try. It is like saying that a conclusion as to whether it is better to walk out of a building using the ground-floor door rather than a second-story window would be equally valid because it was read in a book as opposed to derived from experience with the world.

    Anything can be written in a book, whereas experience with the world tends to only *one* rational conclusion on the "exiting the building" question. The guy who uses the book to answer that question is very clearly using an inferior methodology of determining the answer than the guy who actually bothers to check. They are not equivalent.

  • phalkor||

    We are building a religion,
    We are building it bigger
    We are widening the corridors and adding more lanes
    We are building a religion.
    A limited edition
    We are now accepting callers for these pendant keychains
    To resist it is useless,
    It is useless to resist it
    His cigerratte is burning but it never seems to ash
    He is grooming his poodle
    He is living comfort eagle
    You can meet at his location but you'd better come with cash

    Now his hat is on backwards. He can show you his tattoos
    He is in the music buisness he is calling you "DUDE!"

    Now today is tomorrow and tomorrow's today
    And yesterday is weaving in and out
    And the fluffy white lines that the airplane leaves behind
    Are drifting right in front of the waning of the moon

    He is handling the money. He's serving the food
    He knows about your party. He is calling you "DUDE!"

    Now, do you believe in the one big sign?
    The double wide shine on the boot hills of your prime
    Doesn't matter if you're skinny. Doesn't matter if you're fat.
    You can dress up like a sultan in your onion-head hat

    We are bulding a religion. We are making a brand
    We're the only ones to turn to when your castles turn to sand
    Take a bit of this apple, Mr. Corporate Events
    Take a walk through the jungle of cardboard shanties and tents
    Some people drink pepsi. Some people drink coke. (coke)
    The wacky morning d.j. says democracy's a joke.

    He says now, "Do you believe in the one big song?"
    He's now accepting callers who would like to sing along
    He says, "Do you believe in the one true edge?"
    By fastening your saftey belts and stepping towards the ledge

    He is handling the money. He's serving the food
    He knows about your party. He is calling you "DUDE!"

  • ||

    """Regarding war, why are so many Christians war mongers when Jesus was supposed to be the Prince of Peace?"""

    Many don't. It's been argued to me that the Prince of Peace concept is longhaired hippie crap. They justify their position by looking at Revelations where it claims Jesus will lead the war in the end of days, therefore, Jesus is pro-war. I've had a few christians tell me that.

    I've never looked up their claim. I just tell them that's not what we were taught in Sunday school back in the day.

  • ||

    "Many don't. It's been argued to me that the Prince of Peace concept is longhaired hippie crap. They justify their position by looking at Revelations where it claims Jesus will lead the war in the end of days, therefore, Jesus is pro-war. I've had a few christians tell me that."

    You can find justification for just about anything you want in the Bible. It was written over a long period of time by several people with different viewpoints.

  • ||

    So true! I believe environmentalism has also become a new religion. We are expected to accept so much on faith. We are not to question it. We must act now to keep our earth from going to hell in a handbasket. No time for further research to determine just how bad it will be or if the "cure" is worth the cost.

    The research has been done. It's been ongoing for decades despite powerful interests in suppressing it. It grows more sophisticated by the year. There is no scientific controversy on the broad principles and sitting back to do nothing while "further research" that isn't necessary to start mitigating programs just makes the problem that much harder to solve.

    Being rational means going wherever the evidence takes you. Until you can demonstrate how the overwhelming consensus of scientists on the planet are engaged in myopic religious-like devotion to the cult of environmentalism, you're saying nothing better than "evolution is a religion."

  • ||

    "Anything can be written in a book, whereas experience with the world tends to only *one* rational conclusion on the "exiting the building" question. The guy who uses the book to answer that question is very clearly using an inferior methodology of determining the answer than the guy who actually bothers to check. They are not equivalent."

    Not to mention that the book was written thousands of years ago by ignorant superstitious people.

  • T||

    Anything can be written in a book,

    "I've said it before and I'll say it again. Any muttonhead can write a book."

  • ||

    Bullshit. Look at the Leftists tards and their faith in government. The Obamabots don't tolerate any dissent from Dear Leader. Leftist faith in government is extremely dangerous.

    Fuck this. I do hope you were ranting about the faith in government demonstrated by conservatives over the last 8 years as well. You know when it was doing nothing useful, and trying its damndest to destroy American civilization out of fealty to idiotic ideologies? We "leftists tards" were being bashed as unpatriotic for almost a decade by the same people who now masturbate to the idea of secession. And now we're the only people who not so blinded by rage at the thought of a black liberal president that we can actually criticize him thoughtfully. The left is the most vocal of all in criticism of Obama for certain things. That doesn't mean however that because we're not freaking out over his birth certificate or whatever the fuck it is you think he's pulled over on you that we are all mindless cult drones.

  • ||

    Which powerful interest group wants to die a horrible, liquid death? I mean, if Gore's version is right, we're all doomed, even members of powerful interest groups.

    That fact alone should make you wonder whether the evidence is as overwhelming as the memites would have it.

    I have a serious religious question. Let's posit that the Christian god exists (leaving aside what that god really is like). Let's also assume that he sends us a prophet or some other representative next week to teach us the truth, etc. What would it take for us to believe that this guy is really what he says he is? And, after he's gone, what's to keep people from distorting his message, or to keep other people from distorting the distorters? See the problem? And the answer in the case of Christ can't be that God preserves the message--the Gospels are contradictory as written, and there's no doubt that the various churches have also distorted or rewritten the parts they didn't like.

    None of this means you can't believe in God, Jesus, etc. What it does mean is that we all have a serious epistemological problem with knowing what is and what isn't true. About the historical events and about God and metaphysics in general.

  • ||

    "Being rational means going wherever the evidence takes you. Until you can demonstrate how the overwhelming consensus of scientists on the planet are engaged in myopic religious-like devotion to the cult of environmentalism, you're saying nothing better than "evolution is a religion."

    And here comes Tony to defend his religion. I figured that would bring him into the conversation.

    There is a human footprint. Where the disagreement lies is in how serious the problem is. There's where more research is needed before we wreck our economy for nothing if the problem isn't that serious. I didn't say it was the scientists who were practicing a religion. The high priest of the extreme environmentalists is Al Gore. It is people like Gore who claim that there should be no debate, that the science is somehow settled that we're going to have a 20 foot rise in sea level. It is the people who worship at the Church of Al Gore who accept this on faith.

    I've always felt that what drives these extreme environmentalists is a dislike for corporations. What better way to put down corporations than to accuse them of destroying the planet? Just as some oil men and coal men have a vested interest in denying AGW, extreme environmentalist have a vested interest in using it as a weapon against the "evil" corporations.

  • American Atheist||

    Proud American atheist.

    http://www.atheists.org/

    relgion has no place in a civil society.

  • Medic001||

    to John: | May 8, 2009, 2:14pm | #

    It wasn't the French revolution that helped us. (That was afterwards, and the saw how well we did. And we helped them) It was their money and their Military that helped free us from the bonds of King George.

    :)

    But you already knew that.

  • ||

    Which powerful interest group wants to die a horrible, liquid death? I mean, if Gore's version is right, we're all doomed, even members of powerful interest groups.

    That fact alone should make you wonder whether the evidence is as overwhelming as the memites would have it.


    Actually what it should do is make you question whether economic incentives alone can magically solve all problems rather than ignore long-term self-interest in favor of short-term ones, and appreciate the extent to which the prospect of massive profits can cause even thoughtful people to ignore realities that interfere with them.

  • Ignorant Mass||

    Tony "And now we're the only people who not so blinded by rage at the thought of a black liberal president that we can actually criticize him thoughtfully.'


    I could careless if he's a coon.

    Its how he has torn our country to shreds by cutting it up in to CEO sponsored SPA dayss.

    He could be green and have a vagina for all I care. Do the job right, and quit cutting the American ideals of freedom.

    Giving some shit bag company 350 billion to flush down the toilet to hell is not my idea of doing a "good job".
    And he's not black, he's Kenyan.

  • ||

    "Fuck this. I do hope you were ranting about the faith in government demonstrated by conservatives over the last 8 years as well. You know when it was doing nothing useful, and trying its damndest to destroy American civilization out of fealty to idiotic ideologies? We "leftists tards" were being bashed as unpatriotic for almost a decade by the same people who now masturbate to the idea of secession. And now we're the only people who not so blinded by rage at the thought of a black liberal president that we can actually criticize him thoughtfully. The left is the most vocal of all in criticism of Obama for certain things. That doesn't mean however that because we're not freaking out over his birth certificate or whatever the fuck it is you think he's pulled over on you that we are all mindless cult drones."

    I really don't see a lot of difference between Bush and Obama. Obama is keeping Bush's wars going, even expanded the one in Afghanistan. Like Bush, he's into bailouts instead of letting the market adjust.

  • ||

    I've always felt that what drives these extreme environmentalists is a dislike for corporations. What better way to put down corporations than to accuse them of destroying the planet? Just as some oil men and coal men have a vested interest in denying AGW, extreme environmentalist have a vested interest in using it as a weapon against the "evil" corporations.

    By "extreme environmentalists" you mean the world's scientists?

  • phalkor||

    Tony, stop calling me DUDE!

  • ||

    """You can find justification for just about anything you want in the Bible. It was written over a long period of time by several people with different viewpoints."""

    Sure they can. It was used to justify the murder of people in Salem Mass, among other places.

    But the bible wasn't written as one or two books over time. It's was a group of unrelated works cannonized by man into one body of work known as the bible. But I bet you knew that already. ;-)

  • Marat||

    Man is certainly stark mad.
    He cannot make a worm, and yet he will be making gods by the dozens.

  • ||

    Tony,

    You really should read more about what climatologists and other environmental scientists are actually saying about climate change. They don't sound AT ALL like Al Gore. Yes, some do, but the vast majority have less faith and more doubt about what's going on.

    As to your idea that people would ignore compelling and overwhelming evidence of near-term doom to save a few bucks, well, I rather doubt it. Most of the corporate leaders I've been around tend leftwards, if anything, definitely pro-government. So why would they commit mass suicide? They aren't doctrinaire anything.

    * * *

    Montaigne?

  • ||

    What positive effects has atheism ever had?

    Getting people to deal with reality, and use reason instead of blindly accepting authority?

    Granted, you may not consider those positive effects ...

  • ||

    """By "extreme environmentalists" you mean the world's scientists?"""

    Perhaps you should look up the fallacy of generalization. The world's scientists are not in agreement.

  • Michel de Montaigne||

    @ Marat: Plagiarist.

  • ||

    "Sure they can. It was used to justify the murder of people in Salem Mass, among other places."

    "Suffer not a witch to live." More great wisdom from the Bible.

  • ||

    Pro,

    I never mentioned Al Gore. He's part propagandist, sure, but at least it's for a good cause. I wonder how retarded the climate change conversation would be without him. Scientists are no doubt in conflict at the margins of the science, but there really is no mainstream disagreement about the basics, and the basics are bad enough.

    The fact is, even major oil companies are no longer denying the facts about climate change. But it's not out of the realm of plausibility to suggest that people making the largest profits in the history of the world might have an incentive to suppress science that threatens their entire enterprise. Maybe they even believed in their own propaganda. Hell completely disinterested Internet posters believe it.

  • ||

    "What positive effects has atheism ever had?"

    Freeing us from the shackels of religion.

  • ||

    Gill-

    There is not one word in the gospels(Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) condemning homosexuality, in general, never mind homosexual marriage, in particular.

  • ||

    "I never mentioned Al Gore. He's part propagandist, sure, but at least it's for a good cause. I wonder how retarded the climate change conversation would be without him."

    His extremism has made it easier for people to be more skeptical of AGW. He is doing science no favors.

  • ||

    Xeones-

    No doubt. But my description stands. It does apply to folks like John and Mad Max. They just fail to see the epic contradiction in their positions.

  • ||

    "There is not one word in the gospels(Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) condemning homosexuality, in general, never mind homosexual marriage, in particular."

    But there is in at least one of the epistles about men laying with other men.

  • Grandpa Withers||

    "You can find justification for just about anything you want in the Bible. It was written over a long period of time by several people with different viewpoints."

    For decades I have asserted that a successful religion could be built on just one copy of Reader's Digest. Any copy, it really doesn't matter. It has inspirational stoies, dietary information, proverbs, self improvement pieces...

    http://www.rd.com/

  • Stalin||

    "I never mentioned Al Gore. He's part propagandist, sure, but at least it's for a good cause."

    If I had had 10 divisions of men like Tony, I could have ruled the world.

  • ||

    "but there really is no mainstream disagreement about the basics, and the basics are bad enough."

    The basics of AGW are not universally considered to be all that bad by all scientists.

  • T||

    The fact is, even major oil companies are no longer denying the facts about climate change.

    I love this phrase "the facts about climate change". It implies there some monolithic FACT out there that everyone is either in agreement with or ignoring. Instead, we've just got an assload of data subject to interpretation. Woohoo! Some guy's interpretation of it is a FACT instead of a highly educated guess. Please. We don't understand climate well enough to model it to any significant degree of accuracy and anybody who claims they do is lying. But hey, keep blathering on about FACTS. It makes you sound even more retarded than usual.

  • Fascitis Necrotizante||

    Wait wow so now this thread has degenerated into tonybaiting about global warming?

    I think this has to be the point where it shits itself and dies.

  • Gill||

    "There is not one word in the gospels(Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) condemning homosexuality, in general, never mind homosexual marriage, in particular."

    There is also not a single word about roasting and eating your grandmother after she unexpectedly dies from a fall.

  • ||

    "By "extreme environmentalists" you mean the world's scientists?"

    No, I mean anti-corporate leftists like you, Tony.

  • Xeones||

    I wonder how retarded the climate change conversation would be without him.

    Probably a lot less so. Al Gore:environmentalism::Religious Right:Christianity.

    (There ya go, Fascitis.)

  • ||

    Look at the brilliance exhibited by the coward at 3:03. He calls himself "I'm a Christian."

    Its typical fare for those who can't stand guys like me checkmating their "faith." Yes, I do take a certain delight in pointing out the irrational contradictions of folks who claim to be christian yet who simultaneoulsy and unabashedly proclaim their faith in empire, the income tax, the incarceration of those who refuse to pay the income tax, the worship of Caesar's uniformed thugs, the worship of multi-trillion dollar defense expenditures and making war upon folks who have not attacked us and the worship of a filthy nation state like the united states best known for its on-going ethnic cleansing and communism.

  • ||

    but there really is no mainstream disagreement about the basics.

    Tautology 101.

    Mainstream = agreement on the basics, no?

    I love this phrase "the facts about climate change".

    Me, too. Although the people who say it tend to ignore Fact No. 1: The climate is always changing.

  • ||

    Gill-

    So, are the gospels full of propaganda extolling the state, the worship of the state, Caesar, the worship of standing armies, the worship of the income tax and the worship of the incarceration of those who do not want to pay Caesar?

    Next time, come with something. Your last point is lame.

  • ||

    Stalin | May 8, 2009, 4:20pm | #

    "I never mentioned Al Gore. He's part propagandist, sure, but at least it's for a good cause."

    If I had had 10 divisions of men like Tony, I could have ruled the world.

    You, of course, did - much more than that. 70 years ago Tony'd be one of them, assuming he was actually smart enough to recognize the flaws of the presentation, as opposed to flippantly acknowledging them for rhetorical purposes.

    As others have said, leftists replace faith in God with faith in Government, and whatever other "we are the Chosen ones who must save (insert x)" popular causes are the latest fashions of the day.

    Of course, it's also in part false dichotomy - plenty of leftists, and non-leftists, fuse secular and non-secular religions, both knowingly/cynically and unknowingly/honestly.

  • ||

    """The fact is, even major oil companies are no longer denying the facts about climate change."""

    Climate change is real, that's not debatable, it even happens a couple of times a year. The problem is with the term climate change being hijacked to mean the humans did it.

  • ||

    "Of course, it's also in part false dichotomy - plenty of leftists, and non-leftists, fuse secular and non-secular religions, both knowingly/cynically and unknowingly/honestly."

    Obama, of course, spent over a decade in a church that derived its themes from Liberation theology, an excellent of this. He himself shows often an inclination to cast his program in religious and messianic terms. The extent to which he's cynical or a true believer, I don't know yet.

  • I\'m a Christian ||

    Coward? How so?

    I strongly dislike the state.

    I believe in local control of government.

    I have no desire to build empires.

    I abhorrer war.

    "Its typical fare for those who can't stand guys like me checkmating their "faith.""

    You did no such thing. But I was wrong to call you a piece of shit. The fact is, you are an ignorant, self-important piece of shit. Dipshit.

  • Gill||

    "Next time, come with something. Your last point is lame."

    You're a funny fellow, Mike.

  • ||

    """The fact is, you are an ignorant, self-important piece of shit. Dipshit."""

    What would Jesus say about that kind of language?

  • ||

    You call it climate change. We call it weather control.

  • I\'m a Christian||

    "What would Jesus say about that kind of language?"

    I hear he's fine with it.

  • ||

    I'm a Christian-

    Prove it. You have not responded with substance. You do know that in a debate, you would have already been booed off the stage, don't you? Responding as you have is not going to carry the day.

    If you are a Christian, are you treating me as Christ would?

  • ||

    And, oh yes I did. Checkmate. As if I'm a Christian could ever hang with me in a debate.

  • ||

    """I hear he's fine with it."""

    Liar!

  • I\'m a Christian||

    "Prove it. You have not responded with substance. You do know that in a debate, you would have already been booed off the stage, don't you? Responding as you have is not going to carry the day."

    Prove it? You petty little self-important whore.

  • ||


    Pro Lbiertate | May 8, 2009, 2:45pm | #

    Aresen,

    Don't be evasive. Prime Minister Shatner will shake the very pillars of the world. He'll put the "north" into North America.



    We'll elect Bloated Walrus Shatner when you elect when you elect Ahnold Cohnan Schwartnegger.

  • I\'m a Christian||

    "Liar!"

    He said you can't say shit? That's rich.

    You need to stop forming your opinion of Christians based on the stereotypes you see in the movies. You know his disciples carried swords. One of them used his to chop off a Roman soldier's ear.

  • EJM||

    Liar!

    Tony Campolo would say otherwise.

  • I\'m a Christian||

    "And, oh yes I did. Checkmate. As if I'm a Christian could ever hang with me in a debate."

    Where'd ya go, honey?

  • ||

    Is I'm a Christian -

    Perhaps I let my ego get ahead of myself.

    I am ignorant of your true H&R identity and whether you are trolling for some fun. There are so many H&R posters who are better than me at detecting trolls.

  • ||

    I'm a Christian,

    Whether most of you fit fundie stereotypes is rather beside the point. You still believe in things no more factual than unicorns.

  • ||

    "Where'd ya go, honey?"

    That's not debating, honey.

  • ||

    Aresen,

    You can deny the Shat, but he is the quintessential Canadian. Besides, I heard him say on Conan that he's enjoy killing Americans in the event of a war. How many PMs have said that in public?

  • ||

    """You know his disciples carried swords. One of them used his to chop off a Roman soldier's ear."""

    Not very turn the cheek.

    I form my opinion of Christians based from what I learned when I did attend church, and my family. My grandparents were very devoted christians. I assure you, talk like yours would recieve a serious rebuke by my Grandmother.

    Claiming to know how I form my opinion of christians demostrates your willingness to make up shit and sell it as truth.

  • I\'m a Christian||

    "Whether most of you fit fundie stereotypes is rather beside the point. You still believe in things no more factual than unicorns."

    No THAT'S a legitimate point. Are you taking notes libertymike?

    Say Tony, did you know the bible mentions unicorns 9 times? What do you make of that?

  • ||

    Tony

    The Unicorn Defense League has noted your comments.

    You better be a virgin or you are going to get gored where it hurts most.

  • ||

    """Besides, I heard him say on Conan that he's enjoy killing Americans in the event of a war. """

    I blame that on the Trekies. ;-)

  • I\'m a Christian||

    "Not very turn the cheek."

    And yet he didn't hold it against Peter. Heck of a guy, that Jesus.

  • ||

    Jesus forgives. He didn't troll. But he will forgive you for doing so.

  • ||

    That does it!

    We're going to elect Daniel Negreanu Minister of Finance and take all your money away.

  • ||

    Say Tony, did you know the bible mentions unicorns 9 times? What do you make of that?

    I'd say it's par for the course.

  • I\'m a Christian ||

    "Jesus forgives. He didn't troll. But he will forgive you for doing so."

    Cute.

  • ||

    The more we know the less faith we need...

  • Mister DNA||

    Reading this thread makes me happy that Cthulhu will soon devour us all.

  • ||

    Stripped to their essentials, Joe was cynical, Tony's an idiot, and MNG's in between.

  • ||

    The more we know the less faith we need...

    The more we know, the less we don't know. Faith is just a pretty word for believing things you want to believe with no regard to evidence.

  • ||

    TrickyVic-

    I'm a Christian is actually brilliant! Why?

    Well, you obviously caught his reference to Peter's act of aggression. Note that Peter took off the ear of one of Caesar's armed thugs. WHAT PART OF THAT WOULDN'T I LIKE?

    This troll must be a regular visitor to H&R. Has to be. Probably a regular poster, yes?

  • the innominate one||

    Without God, man becomes the center of the universe and everything is permitted.

    John, you're a liar or an idiot, or possibly both. Which religion formerly purported that the Earth was the center of the universe?

    Hitler purported Catholicism as the reason for killing the Jews.

    See also: the Crusades and the Inquisitions.

  • ||

    "See also: the Crusades and the Inquisitions."

    See also "Left Wing Arguments For Dummies"

    Only an idiot would ascribe religious motivations to Hitler... He manipulated the lofty scientific atheists far more for his mass murdering... (See: Eugenics)

    I'm an atheist and am comfortable in that, so I don't need to belittle people who aren't...

    But I see way too many self-righteous atheists... like the guy I quoted and Bill Maher, who are really just worshiping at a different altar...

    ..If they are the ones who are guiding secularization then it will go the same way that forced secularization has gone in *recent* history (see: Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot ad infinitum)


    As an atheist myself, given the choice of a religious world or an atheist zealot's world..I'll take the religious world any day of the year....

  • ||

    Only an idiot would ascribe religious motivations to Hitler...

    Well, idiots and people who have read Mein Kampf, where Hitler says:
    "I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord."
    and:
    "The personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew."

    Seems a bit religious to me. Hitler was raised Catholic, and Catholics of the day strongly disliked Jews. Perhaps he was just faking it, but excuse me if I need more than just your word on that.

  • ||

    "well, idiots and people who have read Mein Kampf, where Hitler says: "

    -----------


    "Tell a lie, make it big, say it enough times and it will become the truth"

    A. Hitler...


    You might as well pull a line from Bambi and tell me that it has as much to do with reality as those...

  • Tacos mmm...||

    You need to stop forming your opinion of Christians based on the stereotypes you see in the movies. You know his disciples carried swords. One of them used his to chop off a Roman soldier's ear.



    Please refresh me as to how Christ responded to this action.

  • the innominate one||

    ManBearPig - I didn't ascribe religious motivations to Hitler - he did it himself. Thus, my use of the word "purported". Try a dictionary.

    "See also: the Crusades and the Inquisitions."

    See also "Left Wing Arguments For Dummies"


    Calling something "left wing" doesn't refute an argument, you realize. It doesn't change the fact that Christianity is responsible for plenty of violence throughout the history of humanity, and doesn't hold the moral high ground that John attributes to it.

  • ||

    So, another discussion showing that free minds is only applicable if I believe the same things as the majority in the echo chamber. Got it.

  • ||

    brotherben-

    Kind of like being a Yankee fan in a Mets household in 1973 and having to hear "you gotta believe."

    It may have been okay for the deceased father-in-law of Faith Hill but not Mike Francessa.

  • ||

    I'm convinced the Hit & Run writers post comments on religion or put in a religious comment just to stir up the libertarian theists and atheists and run up their comment numbers. I'm bitch slapping the next one to do it. All it does is cause division with nothing on the plus side. We already have the Republocrats, Demopublicans, MSM, Academia, and Corporatists to deal with already, do we really need to spur (more) internal strife?

  • jk||

    Would the universe exist without observers with the capacity to identify it's existence?

    Weather after the this message from our sponsors.

  • ed||

    Q: How is a Hit & Run religion thread like a broken pencil?

    A: Both are pointless.

  • John||

    Okay, I'll admit it, I'm a moron. That's why I believe that "atheist=communist" as if I'm ignorant of Ayn Rand and H.L. Mencken (the latter of whom I prove right).

    I'm also too dense to realize that I'll never be accepted by the Bible-thumpers I try to be like just for the fact that I consider myself a libertarian.

    Did I mention my penis is very, very small? Please pity me, Reasonoids.

  • ||

    The tide may be going in the direction of less religiousness (and I admit it would appear that way, given the anti-God developments in society like expanded use of abortion, glorification of "casual" sex and drugs, the idolization of fashion, and pop culture 'commentators' like Oprah Winfrey and Richard Dawkins), but if you could see what's going on where I live you would begin to doubt.

    My teenage son is active with our church's youth group that boasts about 65 members (out of a school of 300) and it's growing every week. There is a revival going on!

    At least 30% of our town's population is in church on any given Sunday.

    These are hopeful signs.

    Methinks the God-doubters are grasping at straws.

  • MaterialMonkee||

    "Methinks the God-doubters are grasping at straws"

    Not being affiliated with a religion doesn't mean you don't believe in god

    It just means that you think that people who follow the philosophy of goat herding Iron age Arabs are fucking retarded

    why do I give a shit what some dumb fucking Palestinian said a few millenia ago?

    These people where clearly fucking stupid, your talking about some of the least developed people in the ancient world here, real fucking dumbasses

    If you had a conversation with Jesus or Mohamed today
    you be like "man these people are really fucking stupid"

    probably couldn't perform even the most basic mathematical calculations or give a clear explanation for any of the physical phenomena that occur around them

    These people where barely evolved from cavemen so you'd think that if they where actually chatting with a higher power it would have given them some better advice

    and the heavens did part and god did unto the Palestinians say'

    You truly are the dumbest group of people I've created
    look at the Greeks They got Trigonometry sussed
    The Indians have already invented steel
    The Chinese have invented an abaqus
    What have you fucking monkey's ever achieved?
    jack shit! You just run about in the desert tripping out, sacrificing goats to me
    Enough with the goats
    invent something

    here's a start the circumference of a circle is Pi multiplied the diameter, Pi is a constant which you can approximate to 3.14159

    The world is round

    and the heavens closed and the Palestians kept on killing goats because they couldn't figure out what the fuck god was speaking about and any real god would probably be more concerned about important stuff like people killing goats to impress him/her/it

  • Guy_Smiley||

    This retreating tide of committment affected nearly every denomination equally, except that it was less severe among evangelicals. While not dramatically increasing their percentage of the American population, evangelicals did increase their percentage among the religious in America.

    This sentence is trying very hard not to admit that the overall number of Evangelical Christians has gotten larger. Evangelical "fervor" is not "now in retreat".

  • William||

    I would love to see religion end completely. It is just ignorance. You have to have evidence to back up any claims you make. Religion has no solid ground at all to stand on.

  • Nike Dunk High||

    thanks

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