Philip Pullman: "No One Has the Right to Spend Their Life Without Being Offended."

You know who is awesome? Philip Pullman. He's the author of the marvelous His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass), a kind of anti-Christian un-Narnia series for kids who would rather have their fantasy reading unadulterated by Christianity. Excellent starter books for the tot too young for Nietzsche or Rand.

Sample Pullman line: "I suppose technically, you'd have to put me down as an agnostic. But if there is a God, and He is as the Christians describe Him, then He deserves to be put down and rebelled against."

He has a new book due out called The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. Naturally, the title makes some folks feel tetchy. Asked about it at an Oxford lecture, he gave a pleasingly blunt and complete defense of free speech:

Via BoingBoing.

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  • Anomalous||

    God bless you, Mr. Pullman.

    Oops. Sorry.

  • Tim||

    Mr. Pullman reminds me of a toddler who, having just deposited an enormous BM in the potty, insists with great pride that you come and see it.

  • WTF||

    Point well missed.

    His point was precisely the opposite - that nobody in fact has to look at what he's done. I suppose you didn't WTFV, though.

  • Tim||

    I opened a screen and there he was, not my fault. But you're right, I probably dislike him because he looks like Bernie Sanders. Which is a ridiculous thing to hold against him.

  • WTF||

    You voluntarily clicked on Reason's blog site? Assumption of risk.

  • ||

    Atheist-Fags!

  • Richard||

    Nobody's denying Pulman's right to free speech (the right not to be prosecuted by the government), some people just don't like what he wrote. He doesn't have a right to go through his life free from their criticisms, either.

    Christianity in Britain today, what there is of it, is a very soft target. Let's have Pulman write a book titled "The Good Man Mohammed and the Scoundral Prophet" and deal with the folks who are a bit more, er, robust in their faith.

    And I liked Narnia.

  • val||

    He doesn't have a right to go through his life free from their criticisms, either.

    No kidding? You must have missed the part where he invited any and all criticism you can throw at him.

  • ||

    The UK has specific laws against inciting hatred of a religion or religious belief.

  • Jorgen||

    If he's afraid to write a book about islam because he thinks muslims will fuck him up, then that's a real shame, and the people who ought to be ashamed of themselves are the folks who would threaten him or kill him for writing it, not him for putting his own life ahead of a book eh could write. My guess is that he's going after Christianity more because that's the particular religion that he doesn't believe in. I know in my life, as someone who grew up with a Jewish father and a Catholic mother and who doesn't believe in any of it, I don't believe in Christianity and Judaism in a much different way than I don't believe in Islam or Hinduism or any other religions. With Christianity and Judaism, I feel like I have to defend not believing, and as a result I actually dislike the religions a bit. With all the others, they're just curiosities, and I don't feel the need to argue their merits one way or the other. I wouldn't be surprised if Pullman feels the same way.

  • ||

    as someone who grew up with a Jewish father and a Catholic mother

    Brutal, dude. Just brutal. A friend of mine has the same upbringing. Of course, he's a coke addict, so how about you?

  • kinnath||

    So you didn't watch the clip before posting.

  • robc||

    Im pretty sure watching/reading before posting violates all the rules of the internet.

  • WTF||

    I think belongs on a t-shirt. Or at least a mouse pad.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Word. This robc comment is full of win.

  • ||

    Ironic that it came from boingboing. About half of their commentors would put not being offended before freedom of expression.

    I remember one of their fucktarded moderators claiming that freedom of speech was "just white male privilege", or some such asinine bullshit.

  • Piss Maguire||

    Can we guess that the same fucktard moderator is also one of those people who insists "There's no such thing as race"?

  • ||

    Racism is collectivism, and therefore a fiction.

  • Antinous||

    There isn't.

  • ||

    Can we guess also that none of this ever happened? Straw Man much?

  • ||

    Evangelical non-believers are just as annoying as evangelical Christians [Moslems, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Warmists, etc]. A pox on both of their houses.

  • Kyle||

    Equally annoying, perhaps. But if the end result of their evangelism is a world without religion, I'll take it.

  • ap||

    its not really a world without religion. religion is just a series of beliefs people hold unquestioningly. it would be a world with a different type of unquestioned beliefs that are called something other than religion. like maybe, oh, i don't know, totally random word here, read nothing into it, progressivism.

  • kinnath||

    According to my college professor, to be a religion, a belief system must include some form of transformation in the human condition upon death.

    Radom unquestioned beliefs do not constitute a religion.

  • ap||

    great, its not a textbook definition of religion. what you said still does not refute the larger point.

  • kinnath||

    Lots and lots of people hold lots and lots of unquestioned beliefs that have nothing to do with religion.

    So revise your post and come back with something useful.

  • ap||

    you are stupid. done.

  • kinnath||

    Is that a promise?

  • ||

    In pretty much all belief systems, there is some from of transformation of the human condition upon death. In the case of most of them, the human is transformed from "alive" to "dead", which is a pretty radical change you must admit.

  • Athiest||

    "must include some form of transformation in the human condition upon death."

    Why oesn't transforming into dirt count?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Takes too long.

  • ||

    Depends on climate and humidity. One could say that tropical countries are closer to atheist heaven because a dead body doesn't last very long there.

  • ||

    As I understand it, many of the primitive (can we still use that word?) tribes in the Amazon aren't particularly interested in religion.

  • ||

    I'm not taking a side in either part of your argument here, but just a side note...I've known of professors that say that only white people can be RAAAACIST, because they have power. It's B.S. and everyone knows it...so in short, trust but verify.

  • CTHORM@IBIS||

    Oh my Science.

  • cynical||

    It might be a world without Christianity, but religion arose from aspects of human nature that haven't changed much -- it didn't pop out of the void and impose itself on us (although I guess a true believer might argue with this).

    If we ditch mystical religion (in itself an unlikely proposition -- tell me that Scientologists aren't the same irrational bullshit in more modern lingo), political religion will take its place. Given that western theism these days amounts to elevating your personal conscience to universal truth, it's a damn sight prettier than the alternative, which resulted in more human misery, oppression, death, and destruction in a few decades than Christianity did in its entire existence.

  • ||

    Word. I'd say this abiding faith in Communism would fit the bill of what you describe nicely.

  • Jorgen||

    I've seen nonbelievers write books. I haven't seen nonbelievers stop people on street corners, show up at peoples' houses or shout at them on the train. So I would put them down as vastly less annoying.

  • ap||

    non-believers can be just as invasive as the believers. bill maher shouts on tv all the time. that really truly is not different than being on a street corner.

  • kinnath||

    I have never had an atheist stop in the middel of a conversation and ask me "Are you an atheist?".

  • ap||

    WOW! ANECDOTES FROM KINNATH! it must be so!
    i have had dickhead atheists stop me in the middle of a conversation and seen said atheists insult those who responded they are not atheists. my anecdote is more recent, so that means it holds more weight.

  • ap||

    WOW! ANECDOTES FROM KINNATH! it must be so!
    i have had dickhead atheists stop me in the middle of a conversation and seen said atheists insult those who responded they are not atheists. my anecdote is more recent, so that means it holds more weight.

  • Nemo||

    I have. And considering that my spelling is better than yours, my anecdote trumps your anecdote.

  • WTF||

    Bill Maher shouts on TV? And you think that's truly no different than shouting on a street corner?

    Let's see if I can help you out with what appears to be a significant problem you're having.

    1. You don't have to turn the TV on.

    2. If you do turn it on, you don't have to leave it on that channel.

    3. You can always turn it off.

    None of those things are true with respect to a guy yelling on the street corner. If it's someplace I need to be (like recently, when I was meeting a friend for lunch at the corner of 10th and Cary St.), I have to stand there listening to the nut yell about eternal hellfire and damnation, and pointing at me and saying, "You, sir! Are you saved? Have you accepted Jeebus Christ into your life?"

    I know it's very difficult to see the extremely subtle difference there between Bill Maher on TV and a guy on a public street corner, but maybe if you ponder it for a while, you'll be able to graps some nuance of distinction.

  • ap||

    the amount of time you have to listen to the dude on the street corner is barely greater than if you were flipping through the channels...and wait for it, you can keep walking if dude is obnoxious.

    i am not defending psychos on the corner. i am just saying atheists are fucking pricks, just like everyone else.

  • WTF||

    Does "everyone else" include all Christians and other believers?

    Seems you've placed all non-believers in the same box, based on your experience with one or two of them.

    Not a very Christian attitude.

  • ed||

    Not a very Christian attitude.

    Christians make the worst Christians.

  • Friedrich Nietzsche||

    The last christian died on the cross.

  • Zeb||

    Change that to "some atheists are fucking pricks" and you may have a point. But your universal generalization makes you absurd.

  • ||

    Well, given that the generalization "people are fucking pricks" also applies to atheists, I'm not sure I would call it "absurd" so much as "redundant."

  • ||

    WTF, 10th and Cary? Sounds a fellow Richmonder.

  • WTF||

    Indeed.

  • ||

    I have to stand there listening to the nut yell about eternal hellfire and damnation, and pointing at me and saying, "You, sir! Are you saved? Have you accepted Jeebus Christ into your life?"

    This is merely a language/etymology question, apropos of nothing substantive in your post:

    Where did this whole "Jeebus" thing come from? It's very common these days, particularly among folks who are disparaging or mocking Christians. But I've never been able to figure out what, exactly, it's supposed to be mocking. For instance, I'm unaware of any particular accent or dialect that makes "Jesus" sound like "Jeebus," so I don't think that's it.

    So, what's the deal?

  • WTF||

    I make no claim to any special knowledge as to the etymology of "Jeebus."

  • ||

    I make no claim to any special knowledge as to the etymology of "Jeebus."

    So what do you mean when you say it? (Don't read any antagonistic tone into the question. Really, I'm just curious.)

  • Ragin Cajun||

    This is as much as I know. Search for the spelling "Jebus".

  • val||

    It comes from Homer Simpson.

  • Homer Simpson||

    I actually wanted to use "Cheeses" but that offended one of our sponsors.

  • zoltan||

    It originally comes from Christians not wanting to swear, so no, it doesn't come from a mocking origin.

  • ||

    You have the option of turning the television off. A door-to-door evangelist, on the other hand, is arguably a trespasser. The street corner types are amusing in small doeses, but are no more than public annoyances. If I owned a street, I'd have their asses thrown out.

  • Cult of Personality||

    I'm guessing political activists don't count as "believers" here, right?

  • WTF||

    Dunno if he's "evangelical." There's a difference between writing a book about your views on the subject and advocating for your position, versus actively going out and pressuring others to try to convert them and condmening those who do not.

    I've never had an agnostic or atheist knock on my door and try to convince me to read their little pamphlet or come to their meeting, nor have I ever had one tell me that if I'm not a believer, I will suffer a horrific eternal fate. But I have had all of that from Jehovah's Witnesses, Southern Baptists, and Evangelical Fundamentalist Christians.

  • ap||

    non-believers won't tell you about your future suffering bc they don't believe in future eternal ooga booga suffering. the non-believers tell believers that they are fools, idiots, naifs, etc - in other words they are suffering a horrific fate in the only world they believe in.

    look, i am not a religious dude. but the non-believers can be just as obnoxious as the zealots.

  • WTF||

    Emphasis on the "can be." In my experience (which really is all that any of us have to go on - our own experiences), the vast majority are not, because they mostly want to just be left alone and leave other alone.

    I never have told any believer they are a fool or an idiot for holding their beliefs - and I cannot imagine doing so, because it would be rude, obnoxious, boorish behavior, which would be not only silly but also fruitless. If the person wants to spend their Sundays participating in a superstitious ceremony, it's no skin off my back.

  • ap||

    ** Emphasis on the "can be." **

    that is all i am saying. every group has its assholes, beasts, and saints (hey-oh!). it just seems that among my generation, sub-30, there is a nasty emphasis on the craziness of some christians. there are a ton of mild-mannered christians who don't give a shit how you or i spend our sundays. they may not approve, but you and i don't really approve of how they spend their sundays. its awash.

    now, if some fundie is trying to pass laws to make you pray, that is another story.

  • zoltan||

    You're a moron. As much as I hate these self-righteous atheists, they do not come knocking at my door telling me to change my beliefs. If you can't see the difference and that there isn't a atheist corollary to this obnoxious practice, then you are a moron.

  • ||

    You have proven yourself to be rude, obnoxious and boorish by the final statement to your reply.

  • dennis||

    I'll agree that Dawkins is a bit much, and his ignorance of Herbert Spencer is a mark against much of what he has to say. But I haven't really had contact with an evangelical non-believer, which isn't to say that there aren't any, but the percentage of atheists who make it a personal mission to convert theists to atheism is infinitesimal.

  • ||

    I'd say it's pretty proportionate to the ratio of atheists to religious believers.

    While most of the Western world may teeter somewhere between agnosticism and nominal Christianity/Judaism/Islam, to be a capital-a "Atheist" is to be part of a very small sect in the larger culture. Certainly minutely smaller than any single example of hundreds of American churches one could list if one were to take the time to look them up.

  • dennis||

    Not from my experience. I know plenty of atheists and have never seen one try to convince a believer they were wrong, unless it was in a prearranged debate. In every instance I have seen involving everyday discourse, atheists only discuss their beliefs if religious believers bring it up first.

  • MJ||

    You've never seen a militant atheist wrap all religions up in one ball and declare that virtually all evil in the world can be placed at the feet of religion because of the Crusades or some other atrocity in the distant past? While at the same time touting the essential goodness of atheism, but denying and geting deeply offended that the horrors of atheistic Communism has anything to do with atheism as a whole.

  • dennis||

    Nope.

  • ||

    Lucky you. They can be pretty superiority complexed sneery little bastards.

  • ||

    I'll agree that Dawkins is a bit much, and his ignorance of Herbert Spencer is a mark against much of what he has to say
    Nice way to trash Dawkins without saying anything of substance against him. How is he a bit much? Can you demonstrate his ignorance of Spencer and how that hurts his position? I must say I'm not a knee jerk defender of him, his questioning the use of fantasy elements in children's lit is absurd on the face of it, and his claim that raising raising children in a religion is abuse is hyperbole at best. You, however, don't provide any support for your position, you just manage to sound smug.

  • dennis||

    I thought I was being glib. He advances the thesis that Herbert Spencer advocated an inhumane system which inspired negative eugenics. This can not be based on an actual reading of Spencer, but is probably a third hand reading based on Richard Hofstader's work. George H. Smith and Roderick Long have written plenty on the bizarre smears against Spencer. Dawkins purports to be an expert, not merely of evolutionary biology (which I grant him) but on the person of Charles Darwin. As Darwin and Spencer were well acquainted with one another one would think that expertise about Darwin would include an accurate understanding of the beliefs of people who were not only in his circle, but exercised some influence on his own thinking (like Spencer.) I go along with Dawkins on about 95% of his anti-religious sentiment, but his "hey look at my scarlet A lapel pin" shtick is somewhat grating. Atheism is a philosophical position regarding one question, the existence of God, it shouldn't morph into a movement of its own.

  • zoltan||

    I agree with this. Spencer got twisted by eugenists. And the New Atheists are far too self-aggrandizing and self-congratulating.

  • ||

    There's really no such thing as an evangelical non-believer. You remain free to listen or not. I don't see how you could possibly equate the two.

  • cynical||

    Depends on what "non-believer" means. If it means "person who doesn't share your faith", it's pretty easy for them to evangelize a different faith. And certainly you can be moralizing, self-righteous prick without having a deity to back you up, but that still means you believe in something, just not theism.

    If the statement just means that true nihilists are not evangelical, it isn't very useful.

  • zoltan||

    certainly you can be moralizing, self-righteous prick without having a deity to back you up

    Ugh, so true. Ugly, single atheist males in particular.

  • ||

    Like Voltaire, I will defend to the death Pulman's right to be a complete ass, but that won't stop me from stating that I consider him to be a complete ass.

    When a Christian tries to shove his beliefs down my throat, he does so out of concern for my mortal soul. It may be an unwelcome intrusion, but at least I can respect the motivation.

    When an atheist tries to shove his beliefs down my throat, he's just selfishly trying to expand his team for the purpose of mutual affirmation. He can go piss up a rope.

  • Fluffy||

    Maybe there are just people who can't abide stupidity, and therefore have trouble keeping their mouths shut when they see it.

  • ||

    Not stupidity so much as intentional ignorance. I have a problem with intentional ignorance.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yeah, no team affiliation in your comment. There's no point in replying, since the premises inside show you're closed off to any other viewpoint, so I'll just ad this:

    Piss up your own rope.

  • ||

    If there's no point in replying, why did you reply?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Sorry - that should have been "no point in replying with any sort of argument". I'll be happy to trade insults with you, if you like.

  • ||

    If that's what you meant to say, then you already have. Allow me to return in kind: You're also being an ass.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Almost as big of an ass as someone who takes their own position, and then claims a position of moral superiority for it by contrasting it with a strawman position?

    You don't know what motivates athiests. Your assumption of bad faith makes you a far bigger ass than myself, because I did no such thing for the Christians who knock at my door without invitation.

  • ||

    My assumption of bad faith is based on the idea that, given the proposition that there is no God, there really is no compassion-motivated reason to point it out to strangers who are perfectly happy and content with their personal beliefs and/or superstitions.

    The Christian who tries to convince me to be a Christian thinks he's saving my soul from damnation.

    The atheist who tries to convince me to be an atheist, at best, thinks he's giving me the opportunity to sleep in guilt-free on Sundays.

  • ||

    And guilt-free Sundays are bad, how?

  • BakedPenguin||

    I think about how much time I wasted in Bible school, and then in church, on Sundays for many years, involuntarily. I know that time - for 14 years - was real. I'll take that back and give whoever wants it my imaginary soul for however long they desire.

    And not everyone who counts themselves as Christian (or whatever) is perfectly happy with their faith. This does not justify athiest / agnostic prosyltesation, but it remains a fact.

  • Anonymous||

    Said atheist, if asked, might argue that he (or she) is endeavoring to save you from ignorance as well as the misery that such ignorance brings, either to you, others around you, or both.

  • ||

    God is such a limiting concept. Remove God from the equation, and suddenly the universe is filled with infinite wonder and majesty.

    It chaps me that believers assume that my atheism means I have no morals (how can you be moral if God didn't tell you what to do?) or no sense of reverence for the universe.

    Shit, without God, my universe is infinitely larger. Literally!

    Anybody here read Carl Sagan's The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God? Fits my atheism like a glove.

  • ||

    How so? One of the great things about Christianity is just how "loose" it can be in interpretation once a person has accepted that the Bible isn't the literal word of God...an intellectual luxury that can't be shared by Islam, being a supposedly divine text received unadulterated.

    I'm not being facetious, just would like your viewpoint on this.

  • Marc||

    there really is no compassion-motivated reason to point it out to strangers who are perfectly happy and content with their personal beliefs and/or superstitions

    WADR, this isn't true. For example, Sam Harris argues (and I think Dawkins and Hitchens would and do agree) that the violent minority of religionists are a mortal threat to the the human race, and that the moderate religionists you describe, however nice they are, are sanctioning them. That's why it's important to point out there is no God.

    They'd view this as a compassion-motivated reason. Personally, I think the selfish reason is good enough--the more people who think they have a backup plan in the form of an afterlife, the more likely I'm going to get blowed up real good.

    You can disagree with that reasoning, but the assumption of bad faith is unfair. They're not just being mean for kicks.

  • Ben P.||

    Or, at best, that he's saving you from tithing.

    Or, at best, that he's saving you from belonging to an organization that inflicts, imposes, or otherwise tolerates what he believes is various kinds of sufferings on its members.

    Or... well, maybe you're getting the idea.

    Personally, I'm not fond of anyone ranting at me either to believe or not-believe, but you seem to have come down pretty firmly as saying one kind of rant is preferable to the other because of intentions you can't prove but ascribe to one side, and intentions you can't prove but ascribe to the other side.

    Yay for you.

  • cynical||

    "strangers who are perfectly happy and content with their personal beliefs and/or superstitions."

    That's sorta begging the question. What if a person is miserable because of their religion, but truly believes that an invisible dude is going to smote them for pursing happiness? Right or wrong, the person who intercedes is as concerned for their well-being as the person who helps someone get out of an abusive or miserable relationship.

  • VikingMoose||

    "saving" others = dumping up a rope. (and is masturbatory self-aggrandizing)

    and Baked has a magnificent Ass.

    so i've heard

  • Jorgen||

    how is he shoving anything down your throat? He wrote a book. At worst, you will have to see the front cover of his book at the library or the bookstore, or maybe (god forbid!) see it mentioned or hear it discussed by other people. I don't know of any less intrusive way of saying what you think than writing a book.

  • ||

    I was not specifically referring to him with the "shoving" comment (that was more pointed at a couple other noteworthy public jackasses I probably need not even name), that said...

    Are you saying there want's a media blitz to promote the book? How is that different from some jackass evangelist going on television to promote his favorite book?

    These are how ideas are discussed, and as I opened by saying, I fully support them being discussed. My contribution to the discussion is to point out that, in my opinion, he's being an ass.

  • WTF||

    "Media blitz"? Which, of course, you have absolutely no choice whatsoever about being exposed to at all.

  • WTF||

    And he's an ass why, exactly? Because he disagrees with Christianity and expresses his diverging view?

  • Fluffy||

    Actually, I think Tara is presenting us with an argument that says that talking to someone about their beliefs is OK if you think that you're saving their soul by doing so, but NOT OK if you're just doing it for the sake of discovering the discussing the truth.

    Many, many modern Christians - having realized that the truth value and defensibility of their beliefs is essentially nil - take refuge in saying, "Who cares if my beliefs are true? All of you jerks talking about things being true and making sense are really rude and are hurting my feelings!"

  • ||

    No, I think I made it clear that it's always an annoyance to being pestered by advocates of any religion or world-view. The subtle distinction is that an atheist, unlike the evangelist, lacks any real moral rationale for getting up my nose.

  • Fluffy||

    This is because you subscribe to the quite contemptible notion that we need a "compassion-based" reason for discussing these matters, and that simple respect for the truth is not sufficient motivation.

  • WTF||

    an atheist, unlike the evangelist, lacks any real moral rationale for getting up my nose.

    How do you know this to be so?

    Maybe the atheist's rationale, in his worldview, is exactly the moral thing to do - to prevent you from wasting your life and time on false beliefs, when your time and energies could be spent on something more productive and rewarding. He wants to help you see what (he believes) to be truth and reality and stop deluding yourself and subjecting yourself to false authority - he is merely trying to help you achieve a greater individual liberty.

    And how do we know for indisputable fact that every Christian who evangelizes or proselytizes does so out of some high moral belief. It is equally (and perhaps more) likely that the does so out of a desire to make people believe as he does, thereby assuring him of the correctness of his world view and belief system - pretty selfish motivation, really.

    That last is a powerful motivator among humans. We like feeling that we are right and having other agree with us feeds that.

    BTW, I'm just positing here.

  • ||

    You are correct that I should have tempered both statements with a "most" modifier, if not a "many" or "some". I was speaking in generalities.

    I'm sure there are plenty of evangelists who are mostly motivated by mere tribalism, and there are atheists who genuinely think that my life will be better if I believe everything they have to say.

    But my experience has been just the opposite. Most evangelists that I've been pestered by don't even seem to care whether I join their particular tribe, just that I discover a "relationship" with their redeemer.

    Likewise, most preaching atheists that have pestered me don't really give a shit about how happy my life is, just that they "win" the ongoing argument about the "Invisible Sky Bully."

  • Coeus||

    I can't buy whiskey on Sunday. That's all the reason I need to go door to door.

  • ||

    Tara, you've achieved a whole new level of stupid here. Congratulations; I didn't expect to see that this early in the day.

  • ||

    "...just selfishly trying to expand his team..."

    Isn't that what the evangelist is trying to do as well?

  • ||

    Not usually. That was my whole point.

    Evangelicals believe they are following a divine mandate (based on Christ's instruction to his Apostles) to present the means of salvation to everybody in the world. They further believe that the prize of accepting their dogma is so great, that it's a considerable cruelty to deprive anybody of this information, even if they are not in the mood to hear about it.

    So they pester me out of concern for my soul and out of obedience to their religion.

    Atheists hac no such mandate, nor do they think they have any such great boon to offer.

    Hence, if you go out of your way to convince me of atheism, you're just kinda being a dick for no reason.

  • ||

    Evidence of atheists shoving their beliefs anywhere? Please? Christians do an awful lot of shoving in this country whereas atheists are rarely even acknowledged or included. And we don't evangelize. No real comparison at all.

  • ||

    That sounds like a variation on Pascal's Wager. Belief, if true, has an infinite value. Non-belief, if true, has a finite value. Therefore proselytization by believers is less odious.

    Of course, if belief really has an infinite value, it justifies all kinds of wacky behavior, from the door-to-door shenanigans practiced by certain sects to secret/posthumous baptisms all the way to kidnapping children at risk of being raised to different beliefs (c.f. Haiti).

    I have no problem with religion, just the wacky behavior it inspires (or when followed to logical conclusions, demands).

  • zoltan||

    You're a fool if you think most Christians proselytize for the salvation of others' souls instead of wanting other people to think the way they do. But hey, I'm sure there are lots of naive people like you.

  • Scotticus Finch||

    His Dark Materials trilogy "marvelous"? TGC was good. Full stop.

  • T||

    The Subtle Knife was good as well, but when The Amber Spyglass got going he ran off the rails with the god/religion hatred. I had a couple of moments where I was wondering where the sudden hard turn came from.

  • Fluffy||

    Actually, I found that it got better as it went along.

    In TGC I hated every character. The characters either improve as they go forward, or it's revealed that you're supposed to hate some of them, or what you believe you know about them is inverted. I even liked that bitchy little girl by the end.

  • Joshua||

    I was ambivalent about Compass, and couldn't get more than 1/2 way through Knife. I'm no religionist & these are the kinds of books I like. What's going on here?

  • ||

    It's possible that liking having what you believe repeated to you over and over again is a necessary condition to religion and not in non-believers.

    There are very, very few atheist churches for a reason, I suspect.

  • ||

    This is a good point. Reaffirmation is very important when you believe in voices in the sky that you never actually hear.

    Also, the movie sucked monkey balls.

  • dennis||

    There was no way they were going to make that movie any good. You couldn't market it in the USA and have corporate tie ins with fast food chains and merchandising if the full meaning of the work were put out there. The producers were unable to avoid criticism anyway and they made a second rate movie to boot.

  • ||

    The movie hardly rose to second-rate in my opinion. And it certainly didn't make me want to read any of Pullman's books. (Full disclosure: I'm an atheist.)

  • dennis||

    The books are good, not great. They are worth reading.

  • ||

    Which movie?

    BTW, at the risk of being slightly off topic, did you see The Invention of Lying? I saw it three times the week it came out-it is literally LAUGH OUT LOUD.

  • cynical||

    It could be that, or it could just be that the books got progressively suckier as they went on.

    Seriously, the last book is about the most epic possible battle in the multiverse, Gotter-fucking-dammerung, and it's just... dinky. And the religious folk will go on being religious folk afterward and nothing will really change (unless you think that the nonexistence of god would cause religion to go away, in which case you're either a closet theist or you fail logic forever), so what was the point of all that? Euthanize the elderly, that's all I get out of it. That, and don't open interdimensional portals, but Doom already taught me that.

    Besides, it's a little ironic that a book promoting "rationality" relied so heavily on bullshit pseudoscience mumbo jumbo. Soul particles? Familiars? Really?

  • highnumber||

    I love the trilogy. I can't wait until the kids are old enough that I can read it with them.

  • T||

    Evangelical non-believers are just as annoying as evangelical Christians

    Any true believer out to proselytize for the faith is annoying, and usually slightly creepy. Fanatics make skeptics like me uncomfortable.

  • ||

    I love what he said-- but the applause would have been a lot less had the title been something anti-Mohammed sounding. It wouldn't have been about offending a person but about disrespecting a people or some BS.

  • Jorgen||

    That's because he didn't come from the muslim tradition. He's a Christian agnostic, not a Muslim agnostic. Similarly, if he was a middle eastern guy with Muslim parents and he wrote a book about how stupid Christianity was, it would be a lot less acceptable.

  • robc||

    There is no such thing as a christian agnostic or a muslim agnostic, they are just agnostic.

    Im a Hindu Atheist! See, that just sounds stupid.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I know what you mean, robc, but I think Jorgen's right. Watch the movies of Luis Bunuel - he's an athiest who made very Catholic movies. (The Milky Way in particular).

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I like The Exterminating Angel.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Art, you show your intelligence and good taste in again presenting an opinion I entirely agree with.

    Seriously, his entire oeuvre is worth watching - highest recs. I just got done with Susana, and for what amounts to a 1950's Mexican telenovela (e.g., it's not one of his better movies), it's still worth watching. I've got That Obscure Object of Desire at home now.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Los Olvidados was a deserving winner at Cannes - definitely check it out.

    Objectivists might like Nazarin, as the lead character messes up everyone's life while attempting to be charitable.

    Libertarians in general will probably dislike his politics, but as we've mentioned before, if all we watched / listened to were libertarian artists, life would be very boring.

    That said, I loved Discreet Charm of the Bourgiousie and Phantom of Liberty.

  • ||

    I think the point is that his agnosticism has been formed as a rejection of Christianity, because that is the culture he is emerging from, which makes perfect sense.

    Christianity is a theology which he has considered and rejected, while Islam is a theology which he probably never even considered in the first place, and (I suspect) is entirely alien to his experience.

  • ||

    robc,

    You are a Hindu Atheist. You don't believe that any of the Hindu gods exist, do you? :-)

  • VikingMoose||

    a militant hindu?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Don't laugh, Moose. (Well, okay, if you want to). They do exist, though. One murdered a prime minister of India when he thought the guy was going to give the Muslims the site of a Hindu shrine.

  • VikingMoose||

    was Tara fisted by one of them, causing that great fear, hatred, and ultimate DARK SIDING?

  • VikingMoose||

    was Tara fisted by one of them, causing that great fear, hatred, and ultimate DARK SIDING?

  • Abdul||

    if there is a God, and He is as the Christians describe Him, then He deserves to be put down and rebelled against.

    If you really believed in a Christian god, then why would you be all pissed that God created everything, or that He sent his only son to die for our sins so that we might enjoy everlasting life?

  • Fluffy||

    Two reasons:

    1. Because I can read the 10 Commandments. Half of them create categories of thoughtcrime. That makes their originator an Orwellian cunt.

    2. Because I understand mathematics, and can therefore know that there is no transgression possible on Earth, not even those of Hitler or Genghis Khan, for which punishment for eternity would be just.

  • Abdul||

    You're judging the Creator of your finite logic and morals because you don't find his infinte omnipresence and justice up to your liking?

    Isn't that a bit like telling the Dictionary that you don't like the way it spells?

    Also, even Genghis Khan and Hitler could obtain paradise provided that they repent their sins.

  • Fluffy||

    Nope.

    The concept of "just" is not open to redefinition on the basis of the Creator's will, unless he remakes all aspects of creation that inform it.

    Yahweh doesn't get to say what "justice" is unless he fundamentally changes the universe to conform with his new definition.

    Just like he can't make a stone so big that even he can't lift it.

    That Boof of Job shit just doesn't impress me. Sorry.

  • Abdul||

    If you agree with the premise "If a Christian God exists...," then you have to buy His definition of justice. It's the only definition that's for sale.

    According to the Christian doctrine, God did create the idea of justice and a universe that conforms to it (Romans 2:15-16 "They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus."). While you may be a smart dude, your concept of justice is woefully under-informed compared to God's.

  • ||

    How can his concept of justice be woefully under-informed compared to an imaginary being? That's like saying Fluffy's cruelty is nothing compared to that of Cthulu's, and if you've ever seen Fluffy's hairy ass, you'd know that's not true.

  • Abdul||

    The premise of the argument is "IF a Christian God exists. . ."

    If, you presume that God does not exist, then Fluffy's definition of justice is as good, if not better, than most.

  • Fluffy||

    Actually, that's not what I'm arguing.

    I am arguing that even if the Christian God exists, he created the universe in a certain way and the definition of "justice" is one aspect of that universe.

    That means he can't whimsically change the definition of "just" because he feels like it, without changing the entire universe in which that definition is set.

    For example, it is not possible for God to simply will it to be just for someone to kill an innocent child for fun and entertainment. That can't be unjust today, and then just tomorrow, and then unjust the day after that, just because the Creator wills it to be so. To make that will effective, he would have to fundamentally alter the entire nature of the universe and Man.

    For your "He's God so you can't judge him" line of argument to be true, he'd have to be able to do exactly that. Justice would have to be his will, regardless of an in potential contradiction to everything else we know about the universe. For Yahweh's answer to Job to be valid, morality and justice have to be utterly dependent on Yahweh's will, and if Yahweh says it's just for Him to slaughter your children, it is. That definition of justice is actually a lot closer to the abject submission of man before God that is present in Islam than it is to any understanding of morality and justice that exists in the western tradition.

  • The Gobbler||

    "That means he can't whimsically change the definition of "just" because he feels like it, without changing the entire universe in which that definition is set."

    Do you have prove the universe is static?

  • Fluffy||

    Please, describe to me the changes in the nature of the universe that take place during the Book of Job, and then are put back the way the originally were at the end of that book.

  • ||

    I was always under the impression that the whole point of the book of Job was that God's justice is beyond our understanding. Most of the final passages of that book consist of Job asking God, "What The Fuck???" and God pointing out that He doesn't really need to explain himself.

    Whether you swallow that depends entirely upon the point that Abdul was trying to make. If He exists as explained in the Bible, then whatever he does is, by definition, just and fair. If not, then as a fictional character God comes across as a rather nasty and spiteful piece of work.

  • VikingMoose||

    "I was always under the impression that the whole point of the book of Job was that"

    WRONG! it's the holy stimulus package.

    (spoiler: it didn't work, either)

  • imhotep||

    Religion and God I can believe in. Good luck convincing me that justice exists.

  • The Gobbler||

    I can't as I was not there. But then your whole point was to dodge my question. So maybe a career in politics would be a good fit for you.

  • Fluffy||

    No, asshole.

    An example of a change in the universe that might change the nature of justice would be changing the nature of matter so that at the Newtonian level an object could simultaneously exist and not exist. Or changing the nature of Man so that when God kills children to test Job's faith, those children spring back to life with no memory of the event a day or two later. Changes of that kind would alter Man enough or the universe enough that maybe simple and obvious notions we have about justice would no longer be true.

    I wanted you to give me an example of the type of change you thought had taken place, so I could determine if it would be of the magnitude required to change the definition of justice.

    Because "Yahweh stopped the sun" or "Yahweh parted the Red Sea" or what you have wouldn't do it.

  • The Gobbler||

    "Or changing the nature of Man so that when God kills children to test Job's faith, those children spring back to life with no memory of the event a day or two later."

    [citation needed]

    "I wanted you to give me an example of the type of change you thought had taken place, so I could determine if it would be of the magnitude required to change the definition of justice."

    Read the book of Romans (chatpers 1-16)and then get back to me.

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans 1&version=KJV

  • Abdul||

    I am arguing that even if the Christian God exists, he created the universe in a certain way and the definition of "justice" is one aspect of that universe.

    That means he can't whimsically change the definition of "just" because he feels like it, without changing the entire universe in which that definition is set. because that would no longer be just as you understand it.

    But it is just as the Creator understands it. "For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom" 1 Cor 1:25.

    Also, even under your definition, I don't see the injustice. God created us with free will. He knows that we will use our free will to commit sins. He sends us his only son, and we torture him to death. Even though the wages of sin are eternal death, God allows us to be redeemed by that act.

    What's to rebel against? That's a sweet deal.

  • Fluffy||

    Well, the problem is that the "thinkers" who came up with the eschatology were apparently incapable of thinking it through.

    "Eternity" infinitely dwarfs the experiences of this life to the point where this life is absolutely irrelevant. If we are here on Earth for 70 years, but in the afterlife for eternity, basing our status in the afterlife on our conduct on this earth is as unjust as any act it is possible to commit as a human being.

    Picture if there was an elementary school somewhere that tortured a child to death for chewing gum in class. That punishment would so absurdly outweigh the crime that it would be impossible to regard it as anything but the most savage injustice. And the ratio of punishment/crime there is eminently reasonable when compared to the idea of assigning a literally infinite punishment to any finite act, no matter how heinous. It's just a matter of the numbers involved. They don't work out any other way.

  • The Gobbler||

    "If we are here on Earth for 70 years, but in the afterlife for eternity, basing our status in the afterlife on our conduct on this earth is as unjust as any act it is possible to commit as a human being"

    Why?

  • Fluffy||

    Because of the time differential.

    70 years is less than a billionth of an eyeblink relative to eternity. In fact, it's less than any metaphor I can give you relative to eternity.

    That means that even a man who spent his entire span of years on this earth engaged in the most vile crimes imaginable would not even register on the timescale of infinity. Everything in this life is utterly meaningless on the time scale of eternal and immortal beings.

    Continuing to punish a damned soul an eternity from now would be about as sane as you tracking down someone who pushed you down in nursery school and torturing him to death. In fact, because the time scale involved is infinitely greater, it would be infinitely more insane even than that.

  • ||

    We don't get 70 years though. Some of us get nearly 100, some of us don't even get 1.

    If you accept the premise of an all-powerful God, maybe we are permitted to live exactly long enough to determine where we should end up for eternity, and any extra years beyond that would simply be redundant.

    I'm not saying I believe that, but when you start with the premise of something like "God" existing, most of your other objections fall under the umbrella of "He's God, so we don't know what, if any, rules apply to Him."

  • Al||

    "Only the good die young."

    Makes perfect sense now.

  • ||

    Oh, and finite actions do have eternal consequences.

    If I push you down in nursery school, for the rest of eternity, you will have been pushed down in nursery school.

    Or, to write it large, if I blow up the Earth, then the Earth is gone for eternity.

  • astrometaphysicist||

    True enough. If we postulate that there are non-biodegradable "evil particles" created ex nihilo by human imperfection, then it stands to reason that in the afterlife, the fairest result is for the soul that spawned these malons to bear the burden. Perhaps the eternal nature of spiritual evil is a universal truth, and any system of divine justice must simply take it as given.

  • WTF||

    Fluffy, you're trying to evalute The Will of God based on your human logic. You're looking for a... uh... a um.... rational uh.... (ahem) reason for the immutable rule that the quality of your eternal afterlife depends entirely on how you conduct yourself during your brief trial period here on Earth.

    It's The Will of God and it is not for us mere mortal men to know. It is beyond our ken. It is merely for us to accept and follow.

  • WTF||

    Come to think of it, not only is it beyond our ken, I'm pretty sure it's also beyond our barbie.

    Just a thought.

  • The Gobbler||

    "Continuing to punish a damned soul an eternity from now would be about as sane as you tracking down someone who pushed you down in nursery school and torturing him to death."

    This is where you miss the boat. There is no eternal damnation for sinners as Christ died that everyone might have everlasting life. Sure, there are theological exclusionists, but are mistaken.

  • astrometaphysicist||

    Perhaps eternity was the best thing they could come up with to describe what was essentially a return to a state without time -- a Hell singularity, if you will.

  • Jorgen||

    I haven't heard shit from a creator. I've just heard from a bunch of finite logicians about what they heard from the creator.

  • WTF||

    even Genghis Khan and Hitler could obtain paradise provided that they repent their sins.

    So if we say the majick words and splash a little majock water on our faces, we're completely forgiven and allowed to go live in a happy, shiny place with lots of bright lights - regardless of how incredibly, horrifically awful our actions were in life? As long as we really mean it when we say "Geez, I'm sorry; I was so bad."

    If I jump in this fountain, I will be forgiven?

    That's the kind of crap I always had a big problem with, especially with the Catholic church. So many clearly man-made, artifical and arbitrary "rules" about how you're supposed to relate to the one true god - and we know these are god's rules and are true and correct, because this guy here in the funny clothes told us they are - and he is, of course, much holier and more enlightened than the rest of us, who are really nothing more than filthy sinners who need to be forgiven. Meanwhile the guy is back there touching the altar boys.

  • WTF||

    majock = majick

  • Abdul||

    WTF,

    Again, we're arguing from the premise "IF the Christian God exists, ..." If you don't buy that premise, then fine. But, if the Christian God exists, he pretty well spelled out the need for Baptism and repentance in his book.

  • WTF||

    So the Christian God has these rules that allow you to do all kinds of really terrible shit that he already told you not to do in the first place, but if you're really, really sorry and execute the proper physical gestures, have someone splash some water on your head and utter the appropriate incantation, you will live in glory and happiness forever?

    Great, so I'll wait until my deathbed to do that stuff and in the meantime, I'll kill and rape, because apparently the Christian God will allow me into heaven if I say I'm really sorry about it afterwards.

    As far as it being "his" book - it was written by humans. I know, I know - it's the "word of God." How do we know this? Because other humans have said it is. And the book itself (written by humans) says so.

  • Abdul||

    Again, the Christian God requires repentance. He knows your thoughts. Cynical shows of repentance might work on Oprah, but they don't fool the Almighty.

  • WTF||

    And we know this god "requires" repentance how?

    Oh yeah, it's in that book and the guy with robes said that's how it works.

  • WTF||

    To clarify - it's not the fact that I committed horrific, awful acts, it's how I feel about them later, in reflection, that matters. ?

  • cynical||

    Because we're taking it as a given for the sake of argument? It's been repeated multiple times.

  • ||

    Oprah is not going to forgive you if you are an unrepentant black conservative who opposes Obama and the congressional black caucus.

  • G-d||

    You conflate me and religion.

  • ||

    1. Breaking commandments are not crimes, but sins. A sin is a moral failing, something entirely different from a behavior which must be judged externally.

    2. Most theologians who believe there is a Hell do not believe it to exist for the purpose of "punishment." It's simply the only place in which an ungodly soul can continue to exist.

    3. You say you understand mathematics, but you clearly don't understand fractions, as 9 of the 10 Commandments are prohibitions against specific actions. Only the 10th (do not covet) is an instruction against thought. 1/10 does not equal "half".

  • Fluffy||

    Wrong.

    "I am the Lord your God, and you shall have no other gods before me." Can be broken in thought.

    "Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy." Can be broken in thought.

    "Honor your father and mother." Can be broken in thought.

    "You shall not covet your neighbor's goods." Can be broken in thought.

    "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife." Can be broken in thought.

    Five out of ten is half.

    Most theologians who believe there is a Hell do not believe it to exist for the purpose of "punishment." It's simply the only place in which an ungodly soul can continue to exist.

    Nope. Sheol was a place. Hell was a place. They stayed places until people realized what a stupid and unjust concept it was. Then the theologians retreated to defend new ground, as they always retreat to defend new ground when their nonsense is exploded as nonsense.

  • ||

    1. The translation I have handy says not to "worship" other gods. It says nothing forbidding one from believing they exist, or even thinking they are kind of nifty.

    2. Keeping the Sabbath is also an activity, not a thought.

    3. No thought you have dishonors your parents.

    3. Not to covet your neighbors goods nor your neighbors wife is ONE of the ten commandments, not two of them. Not only do you fail at fractions, you fail at counting.

  • ||

    But to be fair, I just failed at numbering my bullet points. A sad day for post-enlightenment math all around.

  • Fluffy||

    No, it's two of them.

    Different religions/sects number the Commandments differently, doll.

    You might want to have a passing familiarity with the subject before making asinine assertions about it.

    And if I commit blasphemy on the Sabbath, I have not kept it holy. I can absolutely commit blasphemy in thought.

    Wishing harm on my parents or failing to respect their word certainly dishonors them, in the Deuteronimic sense.

    And if you're seriously going to argue that believing in Baal and thinking he exists and praying to him silently in thought doesn't break the 1st Commandment, then I have to applaud your willingness to argue dishonestly to try to deny that you have been pwned.

  • ||

    "And if you're seriously going to argue that believing in Baal and thinking he exists and praying to him silently in thought doesn't break the 1st Commandment, then I have to applaud your willingness to argue dishonestly to try to deny that you have been pwned."

    If you're going to expand the definition of "thoughtcrime" to include PRAYER (as opposed to merely holding unwelcome opinions or desires, which is what most people mean when they use the term), then you're absolutely right.

    But I would put it to you that a prayer to Baal (or whoever) is a willful action, not merely a thought, even if it's silent.

    If you accept the premise of an omniscient God, then He knows it when you pray silently, so it's not really "silent" to Him.

    And if you don't believe in the premise of an omniscient God, then the 10 Commandments simply don't apply to you (as they were a "gift" to his believers), and therefore no harm, no foul.

    Either way, the term "thoughtcrime" doesn't really apply to any commandment other than the prohibition against coveting. The rest, as I said, apply to willful acts, not beliefs or desires.

  • Fluffy||

    The term "thoughtcrime" is really very straightforward, Tara, and applies to every crime it's possible to commit merely by thinking thoughts in the privacy of your own mind.

    What makes the category pernicious is not that it punishes inadvertent or unintended acts, like having an unbidden erotic thought.

    What makes the category pernicious is that it punishes acts that take place entirely in one's mind and have no impact on the moral space between one man and another - like silently thinking, "Wow, I hope Baal comes and saves me from these genocidal Hebrew maniacs that want to kill everyone who lives in my town, including the children and the animals, because Yahweh told them to."

    You seem to think that "thoughtcrime" only applies to involuntary thoughts, and not wilful thoughts, and that's such a narrow definition that it's really quite perverse in its own right.

  • ||

    1. I'm not your Doll.

    2. No matter what different sects do, the 10 Commandments are an ancient set of Hebrew Law. If you're going to critique the God depicted in Exodus, then do so with the 10 Commandments as they appear there. "Thou shall not covet thy neighbors wife, or his ass" is ONE commandment. In modern, concise English, they are, as follows:

    1. Don't worship false gods
    2. Don't worship idols
    3. Don't misuse the name of God
    4. Keep the Sabbath
    5. Honor your parents
    6. Don't murder people
    7. Don't cheat on your spouse
    8. Don't steal
    9. Don't bear false witness
    10. Don't covet

  • Fluffy||

    Are you a moron?

    If the Hebrew text does not contain punctuation that ports directly to modern usages, there's no way to arrange the text into sentences without making arbitrary choices.

    And all of those arbitrary choices are equally arbitrary.

    This is not a difficult concept, for someone who isn't FUCKING RETARDED.

  • WTF||

    Nah, the analogy is inapt. The crime is not thinking about naked kids, the crime is knowing POSSESSION of kiddie porn. Yes, there are states of mind elements to crimes, but crimes are not means rea alone - they are mens rea coupled with acts.

    At least not yet. I'm sure Our Dear Leader will work on that whole thought crime and pre-crime thing.

  • WTF||

    Poop. This was supposed to be below, in response to Abdul at 1:13 p.m.

    Stoopid threads.

  • Abdul||

    The problem with thoughtcrime is that other humans are fallible and can't really know what another's thought are and shouldn't judge them. Presuming he exists, God knows your intentions and there's no chance he's wrong.

    Also, we punish your definition of thoughtcrime all the time. All laws require a mens rea. For instance, possession of child porn is only a crime if done "knowingly." If I slip a kiddie porn pic in your pocket without your knowledge, you're not guilty.

  • kinnath||

    Not a Catholic then are you Tara?

    I have sinned in my thoughts and my deeds . . . . .

  • ||

    Correct. Not Catholic.

  • ||

    Correct. Not Catholic, not that it has anything to do with the discussion.

  • kinnath||

    It has everything to do with whether or not your comments were true or false.

    Since you are not a Catholic, we can assume you are a Protestant. And since all Protestant theology is founded in heresy, we can be certain that your arguments are false.

  • ||

    Because all non-Catholics are Protestants?

    Compounding math failures with logic failures now, are we?

  • kinnath||

    I suppose you could be one of the other false religions out there.

  • Nemo||

    Not Catholic =/= Protestant

    Jesus, is it dumbass day at Reason Hit and Run today?

    (a rhetorical question; everyone knows that every day is Dumbass Day here)

  • kinnath||

    Let's see. First we have the Roman Catholic Church. And then that unfortunate disagreemnt with the Eastern Orthodox Church -- But they're still OK. Then we have the heretic Luther; followed by a whole lot of other splinter heresies.

    I guess Tara Davis didn't look Eastern Europeon to me so I took a short cut.

  • ||

    Christian Gnostics and Coptics are non-Catholic, non-Protestant Christian sects. And technically, Mormons claim a second revelation that pre-dates the establishment of the Catholic Church. And Unitarianism can traces it's "heresy" back to Arianism, which existed before the First Council of Nicaea in 325.

  • BakedPenguin||

    There are also the Moravians, who split from the church in the 15th century, got threatened by the pope, and then basically shut their mouths and practiced in silence until after the Protestant revolution was well established.

    I went out with one for a while, but she was very faithful.

  • Norbert Wronkletoad||

    SPLITTERS!

  • kinnath||

    From Wikipedia:

    There have been religious movements holding beliefs that either they, or their opponents, have considered Arian. To quote the Encyclopædia Britannica's article on Arianism: "In modern times some Unitarians are virtually Arians in that they are unwilling either to reduce Christ to a mere human being or to attribute to him a divine nature identical with that of the Father." However, their doctrines cannot be considered representative of traditional Arian doctrines or vice-versa.

    A religious movement reputed to practice a form of Arianism (or "Semi-Arianism") are Jehovah's Witnesses. They consider Jesus Christ to be divine and unlike other creatures, but not equal to the one God. And although they are not Trinitarians or Athanasians, they disagree with Arius’ views in many respects. Arius, for example, denied that the Son could really know the Father while Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the Son ‘fully knows’ the Father, and also that the Son, as 'the Word who became flesh', is “the one that has explained him.” (Mt 11:27; Joh 1:14, 18) They believe it is vital to come to know God. And although Arius did not accept Athanasius’ theory that the holy spirit was co-equal and of the same substance as the Father, he did consider the spirit to be a person or a high angel. Jehovah's Witnesses believe the Holy Spirit is not an actual person but rather is God’s divine breath or active force.

    Thanks for that diversion -- 20 minutes of avoiding work.

  • ||

    SugarFree: Destroyer of Workplace Productivity Since 2006

  • ||

    For all you know, kinnath, I'm a steadfast atheist. Or a Hindu. Or shinto. Unlike evangelists or jackasses like Mr. Pullman, I feel no compulsion to announce it to everybody in earshot.

  • ||

    Where do you place orthodox and coptic xians in this?

  • God||

    The Mormons got it right. Sorry.

  • Kolohe||

    Unless one is Catholic (and a few other ones IIRC) where 9 & 10 are both covet. (wife & ass)

  • Kolohe||

    too slow. A veritable seminary this place is.

  • WTF||

    Is it ok to covet your neighbor's wife's ass?

  • ||

    Wasn't that line part of George Carlin's bit?

  • WTF||

    Hmm.. very well might be; can't remember.

    Although I liked Carlin's schtick on religion well enough, I like Lewis Black's better. His bit about Jews and the Old Testament versus Christians and the New Testament is comic genius. "If there's one thing my people know, it's BULLSHIT."

  • ||

    Pretty sure #9 was the one against bearing false witness (Perjury). That's what it says on every translation of Exodus 20:16 that I can find, anyway.

    And it's Jewish Law that pre-dates Christ by rather a long time. Any edits the Catholics may or may not have made to the list are irrelevant.

  • Fluffy||

    Actually, the problem is that punctuation in Biblical Hebrew does not line up precisely with modern usages, so the question of where one commandment begins and ends, and another begins and ends, is open to interpretation when the commandments contain multiple clauses.

    We know what the Hebrew text was, and we know that convention has always held that there are "10" commandments [even though they aren't described that way in the Bible, and there are different commandment lists in different passages], but we don't have any real idea of where the bullet points or numbers "should" be - so everyone who comes up with a new Bible translation tries to split the commandments up in the way that seems best to them.

  • ||

    I numbered them earlier in the thread as they conventionally appear.

    Both the King James (the version favored by most orthodox Christians I know) and the New International (the one Evangelicals seem to favor) number it the same way. If there is another translation which does it differently, please cite it.

  • DRM||

    There is no such thing as the numbering "as they conventionally appear". First, the texts of Exodus 20:2-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6–21 are subtly different. Second, there is a difference on interpretation between some Jewish sources and others on the correct translation of "steal". Third, there are no fewer than five different ways used to divide one or the other of the two texts to create "Ten Commandments".

    The thirteen "Ten Commandments" are, thus:

    A) I am the Lord your God
    B) You shall have no other gods before me
    C) You shall not make for yourself an idol
    D) You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God
    E) Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy
    F) Honor your father and mother
    G) You shall not murder
    H) You shall not commit adultery
    I) You shall not steal (possibly kidnap)
    J) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
    K) You shall not covet your neighbor’s house
    L) You shall not covet your neighbor's wife
    M) You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor

    The Jewish grouping of ten is then:

    1) A
    2) B & C
    3) D
    4) E
    5) F
    6) G
    7) H
    8) I (sometimes favoring "kidnap")
    9) J
    10) K, L & M

    The Catholic and usual Lutheran list is:

    1) A, B, & C
    2) D
    3) E
    4) F
    5) G
    6) H
    7) I
    8) J
    9) L
    10) K & M

    A less common Lutheran rendering is:

    1) A, B, & C
    2) D
    3) E
    4) F
    5) G
    6) H
    7) I
    8) J
    9) K
    10) L & M

    The Eastern Orthodox rendition is:

    1) A & B
    2) C
    3) D
    4) E
    5) F
    6) G
    7) H
    8) I
    9) J
    10) K, L & M

    And then the typical Protestant grouping is:

    1) B
    2) C
    3) D
    4) E
    5) F
    6) G
    7) H
    8) I
    9) J
    10) K, L & M

  • Syd Henderson||

    Try a Catholic bible. They number them differently.

  • Syd Henderson||

    Try a Catholic bible. They number them differently.

  • Syd Henderson||

    Why are my comments doubling?

  • Scotticus Finch||

    Shameless self-plug!

    God is a jerk.

  • Warty||

    Those of you who saw the movie: did they tone down the blasphemy in it? The whole point of the books was blasphemy, and I assumed that Hollywood would gloss over it.

  • Jorgen||

    the movie was fucking awful. And yes, they did. They toned down everything except the bullshit. Seriously, worst movie adaptation I've ever seen.

  • highnumber||

    A lot of it looked right. Nicole Kidman looked how I pictured Marisa Coulter. Her monkey was appropriately freaky. But "crap movie" is still a proper assessment.

  • cynical||

    They completely excised the twist at the end, which was more disappointing than their appeasement of the religious right to me.

  • ||

    One has to admit that Christ was a significant improvement on serial rapist Zeus and his mass-murdering family.

  • Fluffy||

    Yahweh wasn't, though.

    Yahweh was a decided step down from his contemporary gods.

  • ||

    I always read that as the whole point of the "New Covenant" though.

    God saying "Okay, sorry, I'll be a nice God from now on, and just to prove it, you can kill my son."

  • Fluffy||

    Yes, that's fair.

    Even an "anti" like me has to concede that's fair.

    Christ is a GIGANTIC improvement on Yahweh. But there was nowhere to go but up from Yahweh.

  • ||

    There are some heretical sects of Christianity (mostly in Northern Africa, IIRC), who believe that Christ and Jehovah are not even on the same team.

    To our post-enlightenment eyes, it's a rather compelling idea. However, any discussion of a "Christian" theology which preaches that the God of the Jews is an evil force evokes shadows of 19th and mid-20th Germanic anti-Semitism which tend to give most of us the heebie-jeebies.

  • ||

    Those shadows are just that. Only one who is looking to be offended would see such shadows.

  • ||

    Tell that to 200 deaf boys.

  • ||

    Even if they could hear me do so, what would that have to do with anything?

  • ||

    Zeus may be a serial rapist, but I but very few people in the modern world fingerblast little boys and get the Pope of Zeus to cover it up.

  • ||

    In the culture that worshipped Zeus, there was no need for a cover-up. It was standard operating procedure to a master to molest his pupils, wasn't it?

  • ||

    And yet here we are 2000 years later...

  • ||

    Tara: See you next Tuesday!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Why dont you check for yourself?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Crap, that was meant to be a reply to Fluffy's "Yahweh" comment.

  • ||

    Lame ass books and movies. Hates the supernatural, but not if it makes him a few bucks.

  • ||

    "No One Has the Right to Spend Their Life Without Being Offended."

    Unless they're atheists, of course, in which case they have a God given right to spew their indignation on the rest of us.

    They're worse than feminists and animal rights activists that way.

    No really.

  • ||

    The poor, beleaguered Christian set-upon by wrathful atheists is the silliest bullshit up people have come up with in centuries.

    It's up there with The Shroud of Turin and the Angel Moroni.

  • ||

    If you don't see the irony in an indignant atheist claiming that no one "has a right to spend their life without being offended", then don't blame a meme.

    That's another thing atheists have in common with feminists and animal-rights activists--no sense of humor.

  • ||

    Yes. I am clearly lacking in a sense of humor. Moron.

  • ||

    Libertarians can make jokes about themselves and their own beliefs...

    DEMAN KURV!

    But there's nothing funny about atheism to most atheists... No Monty Python line about how, "I can let another man poke me if I want to--that's what atheism's all about!"

    At least I didn't think atheists had much of a sense of humor about themselves, until I saw that last comment...

    "Yes. I am clearly lacking in a sense of humor. Moron."

    Yes. I. Am. Funny. Moron.

    You're right! That is funny!

  • ||

    Why did the atheist cross the road?

    He thought there might be a sidewalk on the other side, but he wouldn’t believe it until he tested his hypothesis.

    Happy now? Idiot.

  • ||

    Are you pretending to be anti-shrike or something?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    LOL. The Antishrike mentioned in the book of Revelations?

  • ||

    "And the antishriek shall be known by the mark of the beast, and that mark shall say 'HANNITY ARRGHHHH BECK-ITLER CHRISTFAGS'"

  • Kolohe||

    Only the gospels of Dan T are cannon.

  • ||

    1 An I r in ur sandz looking at ur waterz: an OH NOES! A monstar camez out. He can has severn hedz an ten hornz: an can has ten crouwnz.2 An teh monstar I saws It iz layk big spotteded kitteh, an It can has pawz layk bear, an It can has mout layk big neck-fur kitteh. An Teh dragn gaved it teh powurz an teh chairz an teh autoritiez.3 An I sawz teh munster hurtz in teh hed: An laterz teh monstar hed he getz bettar: An evry pepls goes layk: OMFG! in wunder.4 An evry1 goes wrship teh munster an Evry1 goes wrship teh dragn bcuz he r haveing teh powurz. Any1 stolez hiz cheezburgerz? No wai!
  • ||

    That actually makes a lot more sense in lolcat-speak. And I always suspected neckbeards would be a prominent feature in teh end timez.

  • ||

    That Christians and atheists fight rather than banding together to wipe out the epidemic of neackbeardism plaguing America is baffling.

  • ||

    That Christians and atheists fight rather than banding together to wipe out the epidemic of neckbeardism plaguing America is baffling.

  • ||

    Whoa. Corrected typo double post. Tremble before me, mortals!

  • ||

    And I will strike down upon thee with great vengence and furious anger, those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the FSM when I rub my neckbeard upon thee.

  • WTF||

    Now I remember why I keep coming back here.

  • The Gobbler||

    No, the Book of Revoltations.

  • Jorgen||

    not having a right to not be offended doesn't mean that you don't get to be offended when someone does something you find offensive. You can do things like "write the author. Write the publisher. Publish your own book. Publish a review in a newspaper." but that's where your rights stop. Sound familiar?

  • ||

    Is anybody here arguing that their rights go farther? Or, like Pullman was, are you merely tipping over straw men?

  • Fluffy||

    "Hi, I'm Ken Shultz. I don't understand the meaning of the words I use. Everyone please laugh at me now."

  • ||

    Where do your rights come from Fluffy?

    P.S. That was part of that thing I was talking about called "humor".

  • BakedPenguin||

    My rights come from my nature as a human being.

    As for athiest jokes, do you know where athiests go when they die?

    Six feet under, just like everyone else.

  • Kolohe||

    No, they burn for all..

    ..of about 20 min in a properly set crematorium.

  • BakedPenguin||

    No, they burn for all..

    Not according to Blue Oyster Cult.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Oops, missed that ellipsis.

    Good one, kinnath

  • ||

    "My rights come from my nature as a human being."

    I'm still arguing that they're a social adaptation, like herding or migration? And that they're an adaptation that gave us a distinct advantage against the competition in various wars and economic endeavors...

    It seems to me that there has to be a social component, that I can't have only claimed them for myself, seeing as they were originally conceived of by others before I was born. ....and I can't just ignore the abstract beliefs of the people who originally bought in to them.

    ...or ignore the people who continue to assert them, whether that be while they're serving on a jury or voting or marching for various causes and rights.

    If a social adaptation like that has any substance at all, then it must have conveyed some sort of advantage, and it seems to me that if God is merely a social adaptation, then that too must have conveyed some sort of advantage.

    I'm aware that if God is an adaptation, he could be something of a vestigial organ, but like I said, if people believe God gave me certain rights, no matter what the government says, then I'm not entirely sure that organ's gone vestigial just yet...

    Besides, I'm still not ready to call myself atheist if only for aesthetic reasons, like's been demonstrated here...

    Obviously, there are a few exceptions, but nothing demonstrates being easily offended and a non functioning sense of humor like a thread full of atheists who get all bent out of shape at someone poking a little fun.

    "As for athiest jokes, do you know where athiests go when they die?

    Six feet under, just like everyone else."

    If I were to find any funny atheists anywhere, it would be around here, and you're obviously an exception, but I'd still say it's an exception that proves the rule. If a funny atheist is an extraordinary thing, then atheists with a sense of humor about themselves must not be very common.

  • Zeb||

    "exception that proves the rule"

    Why do people keep saying this? How can an exception prove a rule? Exceptions refute a rule.

  • ||

    "Why do people keep saying this? How can an exception prove a rule? Exceptions refute a rule."

    It goes back to Cicero.

    You can't claim an exception to a rule and then deny that there's a rule.

    It just means that a generalization isn't necessarily untrue just because of an odd exception.

    Ken: "Lab mice are generally white."

    Atheist: "Here's an unusual black one!"

  • ||

    I should rewrite that...

    Ken Shultz: "Lab mice are generally white."

    Episiarch: "Here's an unusual black one!"

    Ken Shultz: "Well if black ones are unusual, then that means lab mice are generally white--that's the exception that proves the rule."

    Episiarch: "POT...KETTLE...RETARD"

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...nothing demonstrates being easily offended and a non functioning sense of humor like a thread full of atheists who get all bent out of shape at someone poking a little fun.

    That's true. And if I thought people were just poking fun, I wouldn't have gotten bent out of shape. However, when people make strawman arguments that distort real positions, when people state that others are arguing from bad faith (pun intended, I guess), I do get bent out of shape. (see: my conversation with Tara above).

  • phryxian houndmaster||

    "Where do your rights come from ..."

    My rights derive from the Great Potato.

  • ||

    POT...KETTLE...RETARD

  • ||

    DEMAN KURV!

  • ||

    Seriously, WTF? Sometimes I really find you difficult to understand.

  • WTF||

    I have no problem with the concept that I have no right to not be offended. Consequently, I don't let very much offend me.

    At the same time, however, I also do firmly believe in the right to express my opinion, which I fully realize can and often will be at odds with the opinions of others. That doesn't bother me one whit, because it is, after all, MY opinion. I do not expect everyone to agree with it (although it's nice when some do); nor do I expect to agree with everything everyone else says. I don't find any of that offensive.

    It seems, however, that many "Christians" become incensed and outraged when anyone without the faith expresses their lack of belief.

    Again, there is a difference between stating an opinion or viewpoint versus "spewing their indignation on the rest of us." As the man said, you don't have to look at his book; you don't have to open it; you don't have to read it.

    And I'm seriously doubting anyone is going to show up at your doorstep trying to convince you to take a copy of it.

  • ||

    "It seems, however, that many 'Agnostics' become incensed and outraged when anyone with faith expresses their belief."

    Fixed it for ya.

  • WTF||

    Sure, as said above - SOME non-believers are overy willing to jump down the necks of those full of smug religiosity. There's plenty guilty of that on both sides of the aisle.

    It's just been my experience (as I said before, that's what I have to go by) that the atheists and agnostics don't generally bring up the question of your religious belief within the first few conversations they have with you and then eyeball you askance based on your answer.

    When we moved to VA, first day at the bus stop to see my young daughter off to her new school for the first time - the other guy there is seeing his granddaughter off to school. Introduces himself, I introduce myself, he finds out we just moved here, and the first thing he does is ask me where I go to church and invite me to come to his church. Now yeah, I think that was his attempt to be neighborly and I can see that, and I appreciate that. But by the same token, when I indicated I was not a church-goer, his entire demeanor changed. I might as well have said I was a child-raping homosexual crack addict who kills pregnant women for kicks. The guy never exchanged too many words with me again, after that.

    It's kind of a personal thing to start right out with. But I was not offended by his asking or his offer. I was more bemused by his reaction.

  • Fluffy||

    My number one beef with the equivalence asserted here is this:

    Christians appear to believe that my desire to not have my tax money spent advancing their beliefs is just the same as their desire to spend my tax money advancing their beliefs.

    So people like Tara see atheists jumping up and litigating the matter every time someone uses public resources and tax dollars in a way that advances religion, and thinks this means that they're becoming "incensed and outraged when anyone with faith expresses their belief".

    "You darn atheists just won't leave people alone to practice their religion in peace!"

    Sorry, you have no reasonable expectation that I will remain silent as tax dollars taken from me at the point of a gun are used for religious purposes. And you also have no reasonable expectation that I'll refrain from thinking that silly things are silly.

  • ||

    I must have missed the part where I ever advocated spending state treasure on the advancement of religion.

    But it looks like you're having fun tipping over your straw men, so I'll leave you to it. Just stop pinning my face on them. It's creepy.

  • Fluffy||

    But if we remove the aspect of litigation from the mix, Tara, what we're left with is a bunch of people saying,

    "I hate people who try to convince me of what they think, whether they're religious believers or nonbelievers!" and if that's really what you people are saying, then you're all dicks.

    Seriously.

    Dicks.

    I hate people who try to force me to agree with them, or force me to subsidize their beliefs. But people who merely seek to persuade me? If I hated those people, whatever their stripe, I would be a worthless fucking dick with no respect for truth and no intellectual curiosity.

  • ||

    FLuffy, Congratulations. ICI, Intellectual Curiousity International, has just awarded you an all expenses paid 21 day cruise with royal state room ocean view accomodations for four-your roomies to be Chad, Tony and Joe Boyle.

    Hundreds of intellectuals will be on board to consider, discuss and share the concepts, dogmas and ideas presented by the impressive array of speakers on the cruise.

    The theme of the cruise is, "Giving Statism a Second Chance: For the Intellectually Curious."

  • ||

    Ken, you're confusing the right of free speech with the right to not be offended (ie, to interfere with the free-speech rights of others). Fail.

  • Zeb||

    What? That makes no sense. I don't even know what you are trying to say. Which atheist claimed to have a right to go through life without being offended?

  • Solanum||

    if there is a God, and He is as the Christians describe Him, then He deserves to be put down and rebelled against.

    Kudos to the Saint of Killers.

  • Ed||

    Needs more gun.

  • KingTaco||

    Pullman would be 'awesome' if he was some sort of free-spirited, good-natured thinker. In reality he's an assembly line 'brave-with-easy-targets' attention seeker, and of the stripe of atheist who are exactly the same thing as fanatical Christians, just with their own ego replacing a Christ figure.

    Pass.

    "...a kind of anti-Christian un-Narnia series for kids who would rather have their fantasy reading unadulterated by Christianity."

    If the books are explicitly (by theme) anti-Christan, which they are, then by logic they cant be 'unadulterated' by Christianity. The concept of Christianity is introduced so it can be knocked down, ergo 'Christianity' is in the book to the same apparent degree as the Tolkien/Narnai/etc. that get your panties in a bunch. 'The Amber Spyglass' is in fact a more tedious and grinding proselytizing literary exercise than anything I've read popped out by Carroll or Tolkien. Just as with Pullman, prominently focusing on Christianity as the 'black hat' isn't the same as moving past Christianity. It's just doing exactly what the bible-bumpers do, with the good guys and bad guys flipped.

  • ||

    Well, put KingTaco. Of all the atheists I've ever known, none of them sat around grinding their teeth about "That darn God!"

    Shrike is just a mental patient.

  • BakedPenguin||

    That kind of reminds me of the modern Satanic movement. They claim not to worship Satan, that they only worship themselves and are out for material gain and gratification in this world.

    So my question is, why worship Satan? Of all the blogs I've been to, I haven't found a good answer to that. I suspect the real answer is that they just want to piss off Christians, but don't want to come off as stunted teenagers on an emotional level.

  • ||

  • ||

    Because merely looking after your own interests doesn't shock your parents the way a bit of occult mysticism does.

    Also, some people are just flat-out prone to magical thinking and all the rites and pomp that goes with religious practice. Take a churchly person out of the church, and they'll either turn to the occult if they liked all the supernatural stuff, or the Freemasons if they really get off on fancy ceremonies.

  • BakedPenguin||

    That's the thing, though: they have no rituals (that I'm aware of, perhaps they aren't allowed to discuss them on public websites). They call themselves Satanists, but allegedly don't pray to Satan, don't worship him, they simply deny the altruistic teachings of Christ and live selfishly.

    Honestly, I don't know why they include any religious component at all. They could just call themselves Stirnerists or Nietzschists and be done with it.

  • ||

    This is exactly why I have zero interest in his books. Plus, the movie sucked monkey balls.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Shrike's written books!? And they've been adapted to films!!! :::gets on imdb excitedly:::

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Seriously, I'd pay good money to see a shrike documentary. But I'd pay good money to see a documentary on Lonewacko or Dondero as well, so maybe that's not a ringing endorsement.

  • ||

    You know "documentary" and "alligator rape snuff film" aren't necessarily the same thing, right? I wouldn't want you to be disappointed.

  • ||

    Cavanaugh moderated McLaughlin Group style panel show with Shriek, Donderoo, Lonewacko, Underzog, Lefiti, Neil etc FOR THE WIN!

  • highnumber||

    I don't recall any mention of Christ in the books. If he was in there, he did not play an important role.

    The good guys do work together to kill God, but it's an impotent, addled, unnecessary god whose existence is exploited by others in their quest for power over their fellow human beings. I have no idea why this gets the religious folks get so offended.

  • CJ||

    In high school I read the trilogy as an agnostic (back then) who got into frequent disagreements with my Christian friends and felt this way at the time. Loved The Golden Compass, but The Subtle Knife (IIRC) and especially The Amber Spyglass (I do remember correctly) were didactic tracts that I found obnoxious. Most of the time I was just gritting my teeth over what they could have been if he'd stuck to the fantasy aspect.

  • Homersexual||

    The Negro is indolent and spends his money on frivolities and booze, whereas the European is forward-looking, organized and intelligent.

    - Che Guevara

  • Homersexual||

    My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood… Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any surrendered enemy that falls in my hands! With the deaths of my enemies I prepare my being for the sacred fight and join the triumphant proletariat with a bestial howl!

    - Che Guevara

  • Homersexual||

    Hatred as the central element of our struggle… Hatred that is intransigent… Hatred so violent that it propels a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him violent and cold- blooded killing machine… We reject any peaceful approach. Violence is inevitable. To establish Socialism rivers of blood must flow. The victory of Socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims!

    - Che Guevara

  • Homersexual||

    Don’t Shoot! I’m Che! I’m worth to you more alive than dead!

    - Che Guevara (last words)

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Wait, what's Che Guevara have to do with anything? Other than driving a diesel van?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Wait, he did keep his gun in quiet seclusion and laughed at accidental sirens.

  • ||

    Shh... he's making more sense than Ken.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    That was a pretty doggone good soundbite.

  • Solanum||

    Oh shit, you just had to wave the che-bait around, didn't you. The che-bots will be descending like locusts on this thread shortly.

  • Ragin Cajun||

    Just don't say anything about chemtrails...

  • ||

    It's creepy when atheists devote their lives to battling a being they claim doesn't exist. Pullman spends way too much time battling God when it seems to be organized religion that he has a problem with.

  • ||

    It's creepy when atheists devote their lives to battling a being they claim doesn't exist.

    I think you'll find that few atheists devote their entire lives to promoting the cause of atheism. Far fewer than the number of believers who devote their entire lives to promoting their belief system.

    Also, I know of no atheist who does battle with what we consider an imaginary being. Many of us do devote some time to combatting belief in imaginary beings and other forms of superstition that are detrimental to humans and human progress.

  • ||

    Let me paraphrase Pullman for you:

    "Damn you Odin, I'll get you if it's the last thing I do! You don't exist, I tell you! You don't exist! Don't make me come up there!"

  • ||

    Atheists don't battle a being they claim doesn't exist. Most just go about living their lives.

    Those that do "battle" with anything are usually battling with a culture which they find abhorrent for accepting that which they have rejected. It just so happens that vilification of the deity in question is one of the more efficient ways to get everybody's attention.

    And that's what Pullman's entire career amounts to. Attention-seeking behavior. He's the literary equivalent of the 70s rock star putting on black lipstick and hanging an upside-down cross around his neck so young people will think he's really cool.

  • Zeb||

    Writing and publishing books of any kind is generally attention seeking behavior.

  • ||

    IGNORE ME!

  • dennis||

    List of toys colonel gentleman would have wanted but they hadn't been invented yet.

  • dennis||

    I don't think your assessment is accurate. Pullman is attacking Christianity for the same reason that feminists attack patriarchy. He sees it as an oppressive structure which hurts people and prevents them from living as free people. One may disagree with this, but it is unfair to claim that he's just trying to gather attention. Also, I don't think religion is an easy target, look at the response here on a website which is probably one of the more atheist friendly out there. Pullman deserves credit for putting his ideas out there. Ascribing some less than noble motive to him is unfair.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    I don't think your assessment is accurate. Ted Kennedy was attacking capitalism for the same reason that feminists attack patriarchy. He sees it as an oppressive structure which hurts people and prevents them from living as free people. One may disagree with this, but it is unfair to claim that he's just trying to gather attention. Kennedy deserves credit for putting his ideas out there. Ascribing some less than noble motive to him is unfair.

    Just being sincere and "brave" or whatever in advocating your views isn't admirable in and of itself.

    Just pointing that out.

  • T||

    Hear, hear! Sincerity and bravery in advocating horrible things isn't a trait anyone should aspire to.

  • dennis||

    Well, as I agree with Pullman on this, I think it is admirable. Kennedy's opposition to "capitalism", if sincere, would be absurd on its face.

  • dennis||

    A difference between the two is that Kennedy was able to force his views on us at gunpoint, all Pullman is doing is proffering an idea. Hell I'll give Marxists credit for offering their arguments (even though their arguments would contain many ideas I strongly disagree with,) but I'll damn Marxist revolutionaries as murderers and tyrants.

  • Tim||

    "Be not deceived, Wormwood, our cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys."

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/C......281942.29

  • ||

    It's guys like this that make people hate us atheists.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I really liked that clip, and I'm not even an atheist. Disclaimer: I've never read that guy's books.

  • Kolohe||

    Whatever happened to Akira Mackenzie?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Still on Twitter apparently.

  • Boof of Job ||

    I just wanted to post under this name.

    It would make a good name for a punk album or something.

  • ||

    I had no idea what you were talking about until I looked up "Boof" on urbandictionary.com

    You might be right.

  • Fluffy||

    Yeah, some typos are more amusing than others.

  • WTF||

    We all make mistakes. But if you accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior and repent your sins, dunk your head in this bowl of water, allow this man to lay his hands upon you in just the right place and say "mekalekahai meka hiney-ho!", you shall be forgiven and live in peace and light and rejoice forever.

  • ||

    Don't most Christian sects regard the water baptism as a mere affirmation of conversion? The rite itself is something that the "saved" are expected to do, not something which saves you.

  • Rabbit Scribe||

    If by "most Christian sects," you mean "Contemporary American Evangelicals," then sure. All Catholic, Orthodox, and historic Lutherans believe baptism is salvific. So that would comprise the overwhelming majority of Christians.

  • Jamie Kelly||

    Don't forget the Presbyterians. Never forget the Presbyterians.

  • Kroneborge||

    "if there is a God, and He is as the Christians describe Him, then He deserves to be put down and rebelled against."

    Of course if there is the Christian God then he's all knowing and all powerful. Thus any rebellios ideas are plainly stupid and a waste of time.

    In that situtation it's better to play by the rules.

  • God||

    I cannot be all knowing, all powerful, and all good at the same time in this universe. So I must be either limited in my knowledge or power, or I must be evil.

  • ||

    Replace "Christian God" with "Government", the depravity of the statement becomes apparent.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Yeah, but government isn't all powerful. We have ways to influence it, even if we have to resort to violence to do so. Accepting the Christian God as conventionally defined by Christians, we can't really influence God's actions in any way, not even through violence.

    In short, God would be omnipotent. Government never is.

  • Polynikes||

    About once a month, the commenters on this site go all medieveal on Christian beliefs. I guess you just need to get out of your systems, because then you can discuss such such matters rationally for about another month.

    I'm hoping today counts for April.

  • Jamie Kelly||

    Eh, you get used to it after a while. I just don't go around these parts bellowing out my Presbyterianism.

  • ||

    I cannot be all knowing, all powerful, and all good at the same time in this universe.

    Sure you could, if you're lazy or easily bored.

    "Jeez, another war? Well, fuckit, they started it, let them sort it out. I got shit to do."

  • Citizen Nothing||

    No way I'm reading all these fucking comments.
    Just want to add that I'm a Christian who read His Dark Materials with my older children, and actually enjoyed the books. Kick ass, Pullman!
    I'm probably not the standard issue Christian, but still...
    Happy Easter, ya'll!

  • ||

    Christians appear to believe that my desire to not have my tax money spent advancing their beliefs is just the same as their desire to spend my tax money advancing their beliefs.

    Constitutional pedant alert:

    The First Amendment prohibits "establishing a religion", which has a very particular meaning, and does not prohibit "advancing beliefs", which is much broader and more vague.

    Jus' sayin'.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    Uh no, it says "respecting an establishment of religion", which means treating one religion differently than another. It's the same sort of phrasing as "God is no respector of persons".

  • ||

    RC Dean- Jurisprudence much?

  • hmm||

    I think he's one of the resident evil fuckers lawyers. So he probably has a pretty good understanding of the argument.

  • hmm||

    I await the Christian bashing, Ron Paul, abortion, Second Amendment, cops shot my dog thread. That will signal the end of the world as the comments hit 2K.

  • ||

    Anyone read Pullman's "Clockwork"? That was an awesome book.

  • ||

    Why can't we all just get along. MOST Christians really aren't that bad. They really do believe that your soul is in danger and believe that converting you is "helping" you. But then there are the ones that give them a bad name, Robertson etc...

    MOST athiests aren't that bad. They just want to be left alone and sleep in on Sundays. But there are assholes, like this guy
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/ who makes you want cut your eyes out when you read anything he writes.

    For our athiest friends I have a question. How is going to church and believeing in God a detriment to society and an individual. Even if everything they believe is wrong, what is the major harm. Note saying "Christian kill people" doesn't work, becuase non-Chritians kill people just as readily (killing people is about power, religion is the excuse).

    For the record I was raised Lutheran and now practice my own indiviaul form of Shaminism/Ancestor Worship

  • dennis||

    In an anarchic society there would be no harm to anyone outside of the religion. But as American churches are largely tainted by the state (the Christian libertarians over at LRC do a great job of documenting this) the church becomes a partner in statism, not a barrier to it. As for those in the religion, I think that as a rule it is better to deal with reality as it is, and as I judge reality not to include a god of any sort, I think it would be good for more people to come to this same conclusion. I don't care enough to argue about it with anyone, though if someone I know wants to discuss the matter I am happy to oblige.

  • Jonas||

    I love that this thread is over 300 posts of people fighting with each other over religion, many of whom pat themselves on the back for being non-religious people who dislike religion because of its propensity for generating discord.

    The arguments seem kind of self-fulfilling.

  • ||

    Wow, I made it to the end. Man, I wish there was an afterlife 'cause I'm not getting that half hour back.

    Where do you people meet all these rabid fucking religos/athiests? I have been an athiest my whole life and met maybe one or two other athiests in my day to day activities. From the way y'all talk you can't leave yer house without at least an agnostic gnawing on yer ankle.

    How many times in your life has someone actually tried to convert you athiests any way? It has happened to me like maybe once, but I play my cards close to my chest. Never know when you might have to fake faith, ya know for job or something. It's all bullshit anyways, and we're all in on it.

    And no, atheism is not my religion, I just don't have the energy to give a shit about anything more. Fuck, eternity, I start worrying about that and I am gonna be really busy working on that, no time, sorry.

    I know I mispelled athiesiemfj about a hundred times but again laziness, or hidden motives or irony whatever...

    Hey!! Shrike where the fuck are you, fucking milky licker...damn it is your time to shine!!

    BTW Tara is a dude.

  • Almanian||

    OMG, this was totally worth slogging through for SugarFree's:

    1 An I r in ur sandz looking at ur waterz: an OH NOES! A monstar camez out. He can has severn hedz an ten hornz: an can has ten crouwnz.2 An teh monstar I saws It iz layk big spotteded kitteh, an...

    I laughed so fucking hard I thought I was going to piss myself. SugarFree, I took the liberty of posting it as a note to FB - with attribution, of course.

    Gud bles Shoogr Fre, teh ritr of mny thins funne

    Still working on this riteen stilez, az ur cn sea. Too funny - thanks.

  • ||

    Am I the only one here that actually has read the book "The good Man Jesus.."? Well, not really read, but listened to it as an audiobook. It was quite good. Reminds me more of Bulgakov's Master and Margarita (the parts with the last days of Jesus) than Life of Brian, so all the concerned religious folks should cool down.Only 240 pages or 3 and half hours listening. RH, Helsinki, Finland

  • ||

    All morons, post here!

    Oops!

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