Are You There, God? It's Me, Some Asshole.

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Phew! The statute of limitations is up and the wingnutty "Virginia Tech happened because America forsook God" videos are rolling out. This American Family Radio production ropes Jeff Chamblee into reading some essay that's been making the e-mail rounds, framed as a letter to God about why all these campus massacres happen. The answer:

Reply: "Dear concerned student. I am not allowed in schools. Sincerely, God."

Then follow some examples of things America's done to mock God, like:

"Then, someone said 'Let's let our daughters have abortions if they want, and they won't even have to tell their parents. And we said, 'that's a grand idea.'"

If only Cho Seung-Hi had told his parents that he needed an abortion! Or something.

And no, I'm not sure why it ends with the first scene from The Enigma of Kasper Hauser. Maybe because Werner Herzog forgot about God's wrath?

NEXT: Post-Kelo America

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  1. Yeesh, another attempt to use the VAT shootings to score political points. And they’re getting increasingly disgusting.

    I tell you though, I’m becoming increasingly prejudiced against America’s Christian community.

  2. I’m pretty sure abortion has nothing to do with the Tech shootings, unless somebody wants to argue that we need more abortions to make sure that unloved children like Cho are aborted before they kill.

  3. The statue of limitations is up

    Is it an actual marble statue or a metaphorical one?

  4. I’m pretty sure that video didn’t mention VT.

  5. We need more abortions to make sure that unloved children like Cho are aborted before they kill.

  6. Cho was brought up in a Christian household, he attended churches and Bible studies. I doubt his rampage was spurred on by Darwin or Dawkins.

  7. Marc, I’m not sure Cho was unloved. Aside from that, I know actual people who had horrible childhoods who have yet to kill.

  8. Actually, everything I’ve read so far implies that Cho’s rampage was brought on by his godliness.

  9. “The Wine Commonsewer | April 20, 2007, 12:46pm | #

    I’m pretty sure that video didn’t mention VT.”

    There was a mention of “Blacksburg, Virginia” in the opening scene….Unless there was another shooting there that I don’t know about….

  10. I recall his “manifesto” mentioning that he wanted to emulate Jesus Christ.

    Christers are just fucking nutty, you have to admit.

  11. TWC, Mark: Unloved or not, I wonder, if we could go back in time (mental exercise), would pro-life folks agree that aborting Cho would have been moral?

  12. Dakota, Thanks. I guess I missed that. Haven’t been glued to the tube and didn’t realize Blacksburg Va was where VT was. Apologies.

    I think this video, or something very similar, has been emailed to me a dozen times over the last five years……The delete key looms large.

  13. Only to point out the retardedness (for lack of a better word) of their argument:

    God was unable to prevent this massacre (or brought on this massacre) because God wasn’t allowed in school? That’s saying that God betrayed those who did believe in God simply because some others chose not to believe in him. Right? Where’s the logic in this?

    I’m not an atheist and do have a strong belief that there is a God, but their argument is just ill-conceived.

  14. With one exception, the Reason comments are way better than the Wonkette comments. Here’s an example:

    “Dave, you have might be panties to fill. And we’re here to watch you.” by Sluggo.

    [ok, bit of a cheap shot!]

  15. Lamar, I can give you a list of people that should have been aborted. Problem is, we don’t know until it’s too late.

  16. Doesn’t Cho also rant about “debauchery” and “hedonism” in his videos as well? I’ve also read that he claimed to see “promiscuity” in the eyes of a female student. If anything, it sounds like Cho was on the same page as the Falwells and Robertsons when it came to the alleged immorality and godlessness of campus life.

  17. Actually, everything I’ve read so far implies that Cho’s rampage was brought on by his godliness.

    Fluff: Actually, every thing Mrs TWC has read so far implies that Cho’s rampage was brought on because he is FARGIN’ INSANE.

    I am totally dependent upon my better half for the blow by blow coverage because I refuse to watch it or read about it. You see, in this way, I only have a few moments of distaste here and there instead of a non stop 24/7 blinding stream of bile vomited at me.

  18. Reply: “Dear concerned student. I am not allowed in schools. Sincerely, God.”

    Kinda undercuts that whole omniscient, omnipresent, omibenevolent triple threat thingy.

  19. What about the rich kids? Cho hated the rich and wanted them all dead. Must be a Che-worshipping Marxist. Got Dam Daily Kos did this.

  20. As long as there are tests (or great sex) on campus, I will be present in school.

  21. The inbred yokels of The Westboro Baptist Church are planning on getting themselves a slice of the action, too.

  22. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to worship any God who would let/cause 32 people be massacred
    because my acolytes couldn’t impose worship services in public schools.
    If one wants to worship the God of the Old Testament, then convert to Judaism and stop calling yourself a Christian.

  23. Disclaimer:

    Yes, I know, the WPC doesn’t represent any form of Christianity other than their own idiotic, hateful flavor thereof, and that many churches and other religious organizations do great good in the name of God.

  24. So does this fall under the “correlation isn’t causation” category? Or does there have to be correlation for it to be eligible?

  25. Last night, on yet another nightly news re-cap of this story, they quoted a survivor from his hospital bed who said that he “saw Satan and he saw God” at V-tech that day.

    I sighed to myself and as I flipped the channel, I imagined myself pointing out to this young man the obvious: The fact that the Virgina Tech shooting happened at all, along with every other tragedy and horror that inflicts death and suffering upon us, throws a fatal monkey wrench into the notion of an omnipotent, omniscient, and all loving “God.” To throw Satan into the mix only makes it sound more silly. How can an equally mythological Satan be responsible for any evil in the world if God is supposed to be infinitely stronger?

    While the video’s notion that God allowed 32 people to die to make some point about morality is disgusting, at least it has the virtue of being consistent. After disasters like Katrina or the Asian Tsunami, theologians claim that the human response to these horrors are someone an example of God’s benevolence. Of course, where was that God when thousands of people–many of them devout believers–died? Did they have to be dispatched so that God could show his benevolence? A wrathful, hate-filled, God who dispenses death and judgment upon wicked makes more sense.

    I’m damn glad that neither such being exists.

  26. Media, I know someone who acts as a guard at the funerals to keep the Westboro yokels at bay. She carries a shotgun and a Bible. Says those yokels will run if you so much as stomp your foot and give them a dirty look.

  27. “mediageek | April 20, 2007, 1:08pm | #

    The inbred yokels of The Westboro Baptist Church are planning on getting themselves a slice of the action, too.”

    I say, bring on the bikers. They’ve been doing a fine job so far, hopefully they’ll continue that fine job. That way, the nuts can protest without interrupting the funerals.

  28. Maybe OT, but check out this great article in the L.A. Times:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-brooks20apr20,0,1503941.column?coll=la-opinion-center

    Talks about our national tendency to be “traumatized” by events that happen to strangers and how that cheapens real grief.

  29. -a woman

    Thanks. Good read.

  30. Steveintheknow and a woman (if that really is your name)

    kinda like the public displays of sadness after Princess Di(e) did.

  31. “I sighed to myself and as I flipped the channel, I imagined myself pointing out to this young man the obvious: The fact that the Virgina Tech shooting happened at all, along with every other tragedy and horror that inflicts death and suffering upon us, throws a fatal monkey wrench into the notion of an omnipotent, omniscient, and all loving “God.” To throw Satan into the mix only makes it sound more silly. How can an equally mythological Satan be responsible for any evil in the world if God is supposed to be infinitely stronger?

    They’ll usually respond with an argument about free will, and God allowing us to make our own mistakes, but that doesn’t really help their position.

    For instance, God could allow Cho to embark on his rampage, but have him slip on a wet leaf and snap his neck before the first killing. God, being omniscient and existing outside of time, would know how it would play out otherwise. Or He could make the guns jam. Or turn the bullets into duds. Or have the guns fire blanks, or even jujubees.

    The ‘free will’ argument doesn’t explain why allowing Cho the freedom to act requires that God not prevent those actions from harming others.

  32. VM–Totally agree. Although I am always sympathetic to victims of violent crime, I don’t have the emotional energy, frankly, to mourn the deaths of strangers. I’d be mourning every day.

    Yes, that’s my real name. Genuine XX chromosomes, too.

  33. I don’t have much to add to the conversation, but I just wanted to say that every time I scroll past this post’s headline, I laugh. It’s a good’un.

  34. “What about the rich kids? Cho hated the rich and wanted them all dead. Must be a Che-worshipping Marxist. Got Dam Daily Kos did this.”

    The rich kids thing is a side effect of a kid at an Engineering school learning how much English majors make post-graduation.

  35. Re, a woman’s link: It’s sad that tragedies really have become opportunities for Americans to wallow in the delicious luxury of vicarious horror. So titillating. I think the entire news community must experience mass guilt at the prospect of ‘enjoying’ a great story.

  36. -moose

    Ooh, thats a tough one, I still struggle with the fallen princess. If it weren’t for Becks and Posh I don’t know what I would do with all that grief up in my trunk.

    Corn syzzurp perhaps?

  37. Single-issue whackjobs, whether they’re Christians, gun nuts, anti-gun nuts, abortion rights proponents, abortion rights opponents, or whatever, see everything through the warped lens of their single issue, and every conceivable event validates their perspective. These people are only somewhat less insane than Cho. I suspect many of them would like nothing more than to whip out a gun and lay waste to their infuriatingly evil opposition, but they’ll need to take a few steps closer to the edge first. Expect some kook to blame this shooting on global warming very soon.

  38. Didn’t Al Gore invent guns or something? It’s all his fault.

  39. Mad Scientist sees everything as the fault of SingleIssueWhackjobs. It has warped HisPerspective.

  40. < nitpick>They put Moses Lake, WA in the west side of the state at the bottom of Puget Sound when it is 200 miles east in the middle of the eastern side of the state.< /nitpick>

  41. Steveintheknow – I recommend BATIN when all gets all crazy.

    When world is too much
    settle down with a good book
    and bate your stress out!

  42. David,

    That is the greatest post title ever. I was almost afraid to continue scrolling down because I was sure there was no way to article could even come close to the headline’s brilliance, but I was wrong. Great work.

  43. Mackie, Good point about vicarious horror…….which is best experienced in a Stephen King novel.

    Guys, please don’t beat on Stephen King, it’s just a metaphor. 🙂

    Jon H, smirking about English majors and what they earn. Think you’re right.

  44. Hope metaphor was the right word. I hardly know the diff between and adjective and an adverb.

  45. Well if God has a plan for everyones life then He is the one responsible for the killings right? Why didn’t He save those people? Because He wanted them dead.

  46. Mad Sci, you left out Cock Fights, Single Issue Voter would not be pleased.

  47. Good book?

    Someone took my leather bound copy of Heather Has Two Mommies. What’s a good sub?

    Is George Will’s Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball a suitable substitute?
    If not, what about Everyone Poops?

  48. The Lion and the Witch in the Wardrobe, of course.

    With the “Heavy Petting Zoo” scene on page… wait for it… 69. (also the leather bound version)

  49. A few points:

    1. The red spot on the map alleged to be Littleton is more like Glenwood Springs, nearly 200 miles from Littleton. For some reason I can’t help pointing out whenever Christers make a mistake (e.g., the jackasses who cut me off in traffic always seem to have fish on their cars).

    2. God is omnipotent, right? He can get into schools whether people want him there or not. The only possible conclusion to draw is that god hates kids.

  50. I thouht god was omnipotent. It must of been some badass who threw god out of school.

  51. What’s even better is that the German (original) title of “The Enigma of Kasper Hauser” is…:

    “Every man for himself. God against all.”

    At least that’s what ol’Werner says on the commentary.

  52. It must of been…

    I now understand what drives a man to kill.

  53. “Dear concerned student. I am not allowed in schools. Sincerely, God.”

    A Yiddish term for Synogogue is schul, which means school. Doesn’t make sense that god wouldn’t be allowed in the temple built to worship god.

  54. The concensus is that God does not exist. Therefore our moral decisions are based upon whatever we choose to believe. Cho believed what he did to be right. Who are we to argue with that? With no God, right and wrong are to be decided by majority rule? That is not a usable method.
    Dig deep and give me a seriously plausible origin for our moral values. One that is justifiable for everyone to follow the rules of order.
    If we are just gonna make up rules as we deem necessary, I have some suggestions myself. As did Cho I would guess.

    With no God there is no moral origin. And anything is justifiable.

  55. What’s the opposite of Amen?

  56. Amen, brotherben!

    Would survival of the human race count as a justifiable origin for our moral values? At least the ones that tell us not to harm others?

  57. bben: To respond to your dubious claim:

    “What is hateful to yourself, do not do to your neighbour. That is the whole Torah; the rest is just commentary. Go and study it.”

    He says that the rest is commentary, including the part about Genesis, and an all powerful God controlling everything. I think you are being cavalier about 2500+ years of human history.

  58. It must of been…

    I now understand what drives a man to kill.

    Their, their.

    (Thanks, TWC)

  59. Yeah it sure is wacky for Christians to not want to murder babies. Man they are soooooo crazy. Pass me some more weed man 4:20 for LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!

  60. clarification: The rabbi didn’t say Genesis was just commentary, I merely took the good rabbi at his word.

  61. what a beautiful day for…

    for… skylarking

    (ten points if you can guess which video that’s for…)

  62. Who said?
    What was his inspiration?
    Can I also choose a line from a book and base my value system on it?
    Isn’t it the commonly held belief that the Torah was inspired of God?

    I think you are being cavalier about several thousand years of belief in God.

  63. Which god, there seems to be quite a few to choose from?

  64. When world is too much
    settle down with a good book
    and bate your stress out!

    Ahhhhh.

    Your merkin-tile wisdom has allowed me to see the light.

    I feel muy-better now.

  65. Pope Benedict XVI has revised traditional Roman Catholic teaching on so-called “limbo,” approving a church report released Friday that said there was reason to hope that babies who die without baptism can go to heaven.” – From Yahoo News

    Again, I hold the belief that there is a God. However, I refuse to associate with any religion (Roman Catholics, Christians, etc) that condemn (limbo) innocent new-borns who die before they can be baptized, which is pretty much what this ruling boils down to. It pretty much says, “Well, there’s no rule saying that they go to heaven, and there’s no rule saying that they go to hell. That said, we can hope that they go to heaven.” Wow, big revelation.

  66. …and I mean that most sincerely…

    I understand the general dislike and disbelief of God in America. Most folks judge christianity according to the “christians” they see.
    God, as I understand God, wont respond favorably where he isnt welcome. He has laid out the rules and the consequences. After that it is our choice. Harsh, but that’s the way it is.
    When I was a kid, my dad gave me rules. If i broke em he beat my ass. Harsh, but not veangeful or unloving. God is the same way. He wants us to make the right decisions, but we are free to do what we want.

    It is very curious to me how we ridicule God and deny His existance and when something awful goes down, like this shooting, or Katrina, we then have balls enough to say, “where the fuck was God?” Why did God let this happen?
    You cant have it both ways.

  67. Dumbest thing I’ve heard all day. I work on the campus of a large, urban state university (about 22,000 kids) and you honestly can’t throw a rock without hitting someone holding a prayer meeting, preaching on the quad, or handing you a copy of the New Testament.

  68. Mark, if you really believe that abortion rights proponents are a bunch of pot-smokers who think Christians are wacky for not wanting to murder babies, well, thank you for illustrating my point.

  69. Seriously… I’ve tried.

  70. …we then have balls enough to say, “where the fuck was God?” Why did God let this happen?

    Rational people don’t say such things.

  71. Who said? Hillel.

    What was his inspiration? A prospective convert asked him to explain the bible.

    Can I also choose a line from a book and base my value system on it? You can base your values on literature written by man, but atheists can’t? Your assumption that atheists lack moral guidance is insulting.

    Isn’t it the commonly held belief that the Torah was inspired of God? Sure, but given that there was no heaven or hell in ancient Judea, it’s hard to see how it supports your point.

    I think you are being cavalier about several thousand years of belief in God. What are you a parrot? Either come up with your own thoughts, or steal them from somebody other than me.

  72. I understand the general dislike and disbelief of God in America.

    Do you mean the America on the North American continent where ~85% of the population profess a belief in the Christian concept of God? Which other America are you referring to?

    It is very curious to me how we ridicule God and deny His existance and when something awful goes down, like this shooting, or Katrina, we then have balls enough to say, “where the fuck was God?” Why did God let this happen?

    I can’t speak for other non-theists, but I never asked myself this question and it never occured to me to ask this question since I don’t believe in supernatural beings.

    Only believers can ask this question. It appears the leading theory amongst that crowd was that She was off playing skeeball in New Jersey and wasn’t paying attention.

  73. “Your assumption that atheists lack moral guidance is insulting.”
    I am not suggesting they have no moral guidance. I am suggesting that it must be moral guidance contrived by man. After hearing me, you are well aware that not everyone should be making such decisions. What I am suggesting is that without God, moral law is simply what each person chooses. If what the athiest down the street has chosen is that murder or rape is just fine thanks, you have no moral argument against his choice.
    You may have a legal one, but as with slavery, if he doesnt agree with the law, he may choose to break it on moral grounds.

    I am still waiting for a plausible origin for moral values.

  74. de stijl,
    I can see how She would do that.
    Skeeball is the bomb!

  75. I’m not sure why it ends with the first scene from The Enigma of Kasper Hauser.

    I have dial-up, so I haven’t been able to see the videos in question, but based on the comments, I’d say it might be because the person who made them lived in a dank cellar for the first 15 years of his life.

  76. I am still waiting for a plausible origin for moral values.

    Reason. (Not the website. The other one.)

  77. John Couey used reason to justify raping a killing a young girl.
    Cho used reason before shooting nearly 3 dozen at VT.
    Hitler used reason before gassing millions of Jews.
    Bush used reason before invading Iraq. (a stretch I know)

    Im thinkin, nahhhh, not plausible

  78. brotherben–

    You’re assuming that what you read in the Bible, etc. is straight from the mouth of God. Don’t forget the Bible was written by men, also, so how is that different than an atheist following a book written by men? It’s pretty arrogant to assume the Bible was somehow written by God but no one else’s book was. People write books. I don’t think deities have time.

  79. Any number of religous groups have used religion for justifying the slaughter of other groups. If you argue that those groups weren’t using their religion correctly, we could say the same thing about the “reason” of Couey, Cho, Hitler…

  80. “Cho used reason before shooting nearly 3 dozen at VT.”

    Then what was all that clap about dying just like Jesus?

    “Hitler used reason before gassing millions of Jews.”

    Hitler was a christian who admired Nietzche. That’s not the same as an atheist.

    Bush used reason before invading Iraq.

    God told Bush to invade Iraq.

  81. I am not suggesting they have no moral guidance. I am suggesting that it must be moral guidance contrived by man.

    As long as we’re talking humans here, all of man’s moral guidance is contrived by man since man invented God(s). Or are you seriously suggesting that you can have a dialogue with a God to put your moral quandaries to him? As in do you hear voices?

    After hearing me, you are well aware that not everyone should be making such decisions. What I am suggesting is that without God, moral law is simply what each person chooses.

    With a God, moral law is simply what each person chooses as well. Or are you saying that the people who murder their family because a God told them to do it is not moral? Or perhaps the people that a God told to murder their enemies and male children and take their female children for themselves were not moral?

    If what the athiest down the street has chosen is that murder or rape is just fine thanks, you have no moral argument against his choice.

    And if the theist down the street has suddenly communed with a God and that God told him to walk into a mall and start shooting, you have no moral argument against his choice either? I dare you to make less sense.


    You may have a legal one, but as with slavery, if he doesnt agree with the law, he may choose to break it on moral grounds.

    And as long as you’re dealing with humans, they can rationalize it any which way they want. They can tell themselves I’m keeping slaves because God said it was ok to enslave my neighbors in the bible. Or they can convince themselves that one faction isn’t like them and that it’s OK to enslave them. A belief (or lack thereof) in a deity is largely immaterial to morality. Morality is simply a human construct to help you feel less bad about yourself and your actions.

  82. I am still waiting for a plausible origin for moral values

    Why? It seems like the implausible ones have suited you just fine.

  83. Mad scientist,
    Yes and therefore reason is unworkable as a source for moral values.

    a woman,
    yes I am believing that to be true. And also that those men were writing with devine guidance.
    As for the difference between a book written by man or one written by God? are you serious?

    It would seem to me that a disbelief in God would be more arrogant.

    The time issue is a good point, with the eternal skeeball tourneys and such

  84. Thank you all for the discussion. Time is up and I must go make the donuts.

    I hope you have a fine weekend. We really should take this up again later. Or not.Makes no difference to me. Peace out

  85. brotherben,
    You have no understanding of morality at all.

    1) Morality deals solely with actions, never thoughts or feelings
    2) Morals and morality apply only to sentient beings wherever they exist in the universe.
    3) There are two types of morality, objective, which deals with actions between two or more individuals and subjective, which deals with actions that affect only the individual.
    4) Since sentient beings survive by the use of their mind the only things that are objectively immoral are the initiatory use of force, fraud or coercion. These are the only actions which deny them the free use of the mind.
    5) As you can see objective morality does not need any divine inspiration. It comes from the innate nature of sentience.

  86. brother ben,

    I was the first to reply to your question

  87. let me try that again.

    brother ben, I was the first to respond to your question here.

    Is that not a logical argument in your view?

  88. “Al-Jazeera reported 20 dead and 29 injured. Praise be to Allah.

    Praise be to Allah for these calamities hitting America. By the will of Allah, more of this [will happen], following their defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
    http://islamthreat.blogspot.com/search/label/Virginia-Tech-shooting

    “Virginia Tech happened because America forsook God”
    That all depends on who you ask, huh?

  89. “1. The red spot on the map alleged to be Littleton is more like Glenwood Springs, nearly 200 miles from Littleton. For some reason I can’t help pointing out whenever Christers make a mistake ”

    Fool, that’s just what the devil wants you to think. It only seems that way in Sin-space. But in Jesus-space, Littleton is exactly where the dot shows it to be.

  90. Mr. F Le Mur,

    Ironically, many “Christian” Americans mirror the same feelings when bad things happen to Muslims. They say, “God doesn’t like it when you mess with ‘merica!”.

  91. Grandpa says when he went to school, there was no “Under God” in the Pledge Of Allegience. There were also no drugs, gangs or mass shootings…

  92. jimmy,

    Are you the flemur?!
    I am so confused.

  93. Jimmy,
    Sorry about that. I saw the “Amen, brotherben”
    my head swoled up and I went to the next comment.
    I would have to argue that the continuation is more a result of morals, not a cause.

  94. Anyone else find it ironic that most of those shooting they point to are from red states?

  95. bill,
    get a dictionary, or use wikipedia, look up the following:
    sentient
    morality
    morals

    while you are at it, look up more 10 dollar words to plug the holes in your argument.
    that is all

  96. brotherben,

    What’s arrogant is claiming that you (or your social group, etc.) speak for God. How the hell does anyone know what God thinks of, say, stem-cell research, nuclear weaponry, etc. when it wasn’t even around when the Bible was written? (sorry, those are the two examples that come to mind, but you get the picture–we’re dealing with many issues today not even addressed in the Bible) I get so annoyed when I hear arguments about what Jesus thinks of [insert current event issue here]. What, does he tell that person directly? Did He send an e-mail? What?

  97. brotherben,

    You’re a moron.

  98. No you dint!

  99. Uh, the Amish school shooting?

  100. I hope you will pardon my sentimental conviction that psilocybin mushrooms are the flesh of God, but I would like to point out that psilocybin is a scientifically documented medicine for any number of made up insanity disorders. It is much better than the retard drugs that nazi mind scientists feed to insane and depressed people.

    Mushrooms are taken only once to cure psychological ailments, and pharmaceutical antidepressants are just speed to make you addicted to their retard society. Emotional lobotomy is what shrink drugs do to you. So I think this massacre happened because that violent retard whose name I can’t even remember didn’t get the medicine he needed because it was illegal because the United States hath forsooken GAWD and all that.

    Indian medicine makes you feel bad now and good later. White Man “medicine” makes you feel good now, bad later. Adderall tastes like candy when you crush it up and snort it. Coincidence? I like libertarian philosophy but you all need to do to make it better, REALLY, is to substitute LSD for speed in the whole Ayn Rand tweaker cult thing.

  101. brotherben:

    I step away from the computer for a few hours to get some blood work done, and when I return I see we picked up a Christroll.

    You’ve spouted so much nonsense in this thread, I’m not sure where to begin. Most of the others have done a good job so far pointing out and answering your bullshit. Right now, I can only think to quote Sam Harris’ “Letter To A Christian Nation:”

    Auschwitz, the Soviet Gulags, and the killing fields of Cambodia are not examples of what happens to people when they become too reasonable. To the contrary, these horrors testify to the dangers of political and racial dogmatism. It is time that Christians like yourself stop pretending that a rational rejection of your faith entails the blind embrace of atheism as a dogma.

    One need not accept anything on insufficient evidence to find the virgin birth of Jesus to be a preposterous idea. The problem with religion–as with Nazism, Stalism, or any other totalitarian mythology–is the problem of dogma itself. I know of no society in human history that ever suffered because its people because too desirous of evidence for their core beliefs.”

    I’d quote Richard Dawkins too, who had some excellent points about the possible true origins of human “morality,” but I left my copy of “The God Delusion” at work.

  102. “I am still waiting for a plausible origin for moral values”

    “Why? It seems like the implausible ones have suited you just fine.”

    Oh, snap!

    Brotherben, you’re obviously still stoned.

  103. Greeeat, first brotherben regals us with religious logic (an oxymoron, I know), now tros has shown up to spew great, stinking, piles of newage.

    Someone remind me to increase my annual contribution the James Randi Educational Foundation to help combat their stupidity.

  104. I am still waiting for a plausible origin for moral values.

    Try this:
    Scientist Finds the Beginnings of Morality in Primate Behavior

  105. brotherben asked a legitimate question:
    Where do you get your morals if you aren’t religious?
    or, rather he put forth the idea that religion is the origin of morality, not a new concept.
    There are good responses to that statement. I have not seen them here.
    So, what I’m saying is, if I have to pick a side* here, I’m standing with brotherben** for asking the question, or at least putting the idea out there. The rest of you*** are being smarmy, haughty, and jerky****. Do none of you atheists know where your morals come from? You can bet that other non-theists have answered the question before.

    For the record, I am a gnostic deist.
    Yes, I have an intimate knowledge of an unknowable god.

    *I don’t
    **Amen
    ***Except jimmydageek
    ****Weekday mornings on KISS FM

  106. bill,

    i admire your accurate and succinct summation of morality and its origins.

    brotherben,

    you’re so silly. it’s beyond obvious that man created god in his image and not the other way around. religion is a metaphor for man’s understanding of his place on this planet and among its inhabitants.

    frankly, knowing that is one of the things that gives me hope for our species.

  107. ” Do none of you atheists know where your morals come from? You can bet that other non-theists have answered the question before.”

    Highnmber, give it a rest. Bro is simply clueless, and people are naturally annoyed with the clueless when they spout off.

    Asking if none of us atheists know where our morals come from is pretty clueless as well. Aristotle lived before Jesus, and his writings show a great concern for morality. I suspect that it has been a concern of man since he began to group together in large numbers for the common good. And since I’m not a Young Earth believer, I suspect that has been a very, very long time. There is simply no need to invoke the great FSM to give us our morals, scribed in a tasty red sauce.

  108. Where do you get your morals if you aren’t religious?

    Moral questions are questions of happiness and suffering. Naturally, you want to do your best to make sure that everyone around you is happy and you don’t make people suffer, because, if you don’t people will not be will to share happiness with you and could potentially make your life miserable in the bargain.

    THAT is where my morals come from. I don’t–nor should anyone else–need a allegedly-omnipotent, yet suspiciously-invisible, tyrant to make me do what is “right.”

    Of course, what evidence do the faithful have that atheists are any less “moral” than the general population? If it’s true that belief in God leads to a “moral” life, then atheists ought to be utterly immoral, and commiting crimes on a day-to-day basis.

    This reminds me of an interview between Dawkins and Alan Colmes on of all places FOX News Radio. During the show, they received a call from an obviously devout man who proclaimed that without the belief in God, there would be stopping no one from raping and murdering their neighbors. Dawkins asked the man if he stopped believing in God would he start his own spree of wanton rapine, looting, and death? After much hemming and hawing, the man angrily admitted that he would.

    Ironic isn’t it? We have a man who so much as admitted on national radio that he’d kill and murder if it weren’t for his religious belief holding him back, versus Dawkins who doesn’t believe in such a being as God who, as far as we know, has never committed a crime in his life and mostly likely will never do so. In the end, both men agreed that they wouldn’t want to be his man’s neighbor, belief of not.

    Nor would I.

  109. BTW, you can hear that Colmes/Dawkins interview here.

  110. TJ,

    First off, maybe I’m a little cranky, but don’t tell me to “give it a rest.” I made one comment about it, goddammit. And, brotherben did not say that morals come from Jesus. He said that they come from God. The concept of god(s) predates Jesus.
    brotherben may be clueless, or he may be playing a fool for all you know. This could be “constructive trolling.” I really don’t think anyone has legitimately answered him.

    Akira,

    brotherben never said that atheists are less moral. In fact what he did was ask if atheists believe in moral relativism. Quite legitimate to ask. I know that not all atheists do, but no one here has stepped up to say that they don’t and to explain why they don’t.

  111. Anyway, if it’s not clear to the atheist mafia, I’m not saying he’s right. I’m saying he’s right for asking.

    Toodles!
    I’ll try to check back with y’all later.

  112. brotherben never said that atheists are less moral.

    I’ve been debating Christians for some time now and the implication is always clear: Atheism equals immoral.

  113. God, as I understand God, wont respond favorably where he isnt welcome.

    So much for his infinite love and forgiveness.

    He has laid out the rules and the consequences. After that it is our choice. Harsh, but that’s the way it is.

    Yes, harsh punishments for breaking rules that that no rational person would regard crimes: e.g. Eating shell fish, adultery, homosexuality, abortion, working on the Sabbath, etc.

    When I was a kid even be moral questionsd, my dad gave me rules. If i broke em he beat my ass. Harsh, but not veangeful or unloving. God is the same way.

    So God is like your Dad: An abusive fuck who belongs in a jail cell.

    I sure hope you don’t have children so you can beat your barbaric notions of morality into them.

    He wants us to make the right decisions, but we are free to do what we want.

    That’s contradictory.

    When I was a kid even be moral questionsd, my dad gave me rules. If i broke em he beat my ass. Harsh, but not veangeful or unloving. God is the same way.

    It is very curious to me how we ridicule God and deny His existance and when something awful goes down, like this shooting, or Katrina, we then have balls enough to say, “where the fuck was God?” Why did God let this happen?

    Because the fact that evil happens at all under the alleged watch of an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving being casts serious doubts upon that being. Either your God does not know that evil is happening on Earth, he doesn’t have the power to stop it, or he doesn’t care to.

    There is, of course, one other alternative: There is no God. Since there is no evidence for an oblivious, impotent, and/or evil deity any more than there is the other kind, atheism is by far the most rational choice.

  114. akira,
    Your rational mind has convinced you that God can’t possibly exist because Godless men do Godless things?

  115. 1: Yes, there is evil in the world
    2: If there is evil, there must also be good.
    3:If there is good and evil, there must be a moral law to judge between good and evil.
    4:If there is a moral law, there must be a moral law giver.
    5:For me, this points to God.

  116. There isn’tanything inconsistent about evil and the freedom of the will within the framework of a loving Creator. In fact, concepts of love and goodness are unexplainable unless there is a God. Since we as humans do experience love and goodness, it argues for the reality of God.
    I dont think it unreasonable to believe that God exists.

  117. Your rational mind has convinced you that God can’t possibly exist because Godless men do Godless things?

    I’m sorry. Are you trying to make a point here or babble incoherently? While I might not be the best person to suggest it, I recommend some re-education in English grammar.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and assume you’re saying that “Godless men” are responsible for evil. Ignoring that, once again, you’re implying that non-belief in a deity leads to “evil” acts, you are forgetting that through out history there have been men doing despicable acts (e.g. War, torture, rape, tyranny) in the name of a God or Gods they most certainly believed in.

    The best recent example of this is 9-11. The men who flew those planes into the their intended targets believed in their interpretation of God as much as you seem to believe in yours. Were they “Godless?” To you, perhaps, but these men truly believed that their murderous acts were holy and would result in their martyrdom.

    Want a more evidence? Eric Rudolph detonated bombs at two abortion clinics, a gay/lesbian night club, and Atlanta’s Olympic Park during the 1996 Summer games in the name of this religion. Paul Jennings Hill murdered two and wounded a third in 1994. He showed no remorse for what he did and expected a “great reward in Heaven” after he was executed.

    If God were all powerful and all good, why create beings capable of doing evil? Why is “free will” so damn important other than a means for theologians to make excuses for His obvious absence? In point of fact, why would a all-loving God create evil anyway?

    Of course, you are free to pull a No-True-Scotsman fallacy out of your rectum and proclaim that these people “weren’t really Godly.” The point is that all these people defended in their actions in terms of their “faith” and all proclaimed themselves to be religious men. You can’t escape that fact no matter how hard you try.

    And what about non-man-made disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and such? Surely the believers who huddled in fear of death during these tragedies prayed to their God to spare them. Some beat the odds and were “saved,” but what about those who died horribly despite the fact that they believed just as much and just as hard as the survivors? What happened? Did they use the wrong prayer? Did they have impure thoughts when they were teenagers? Did they eat shrimp despite the Old Testament prohibition against it?

    Permitting human suffering is as bad causing it. Saving some people while killing others is horrendous. An all-loving God would be incapable of doing such a thing from happening, yet it’s obvious it happens.

    Whether our suffering is inflicted by man or nature, your God’s silence on the subject is deafening.

  118. Mother Theresa was a woman that lived her entire life in abject poverty while helping others all in the name and service of her God.
    The southern baptist convention spent many millions of dollars to help feed and treat medically and house the victims of hurricane katrina all in the name of their God. Those dollars given by millions of people all in the name of their God.
    As for natural acts, God didnt promise eternal life here, and nature has a way of continueing on. God’s will is something I cant wrap my head around.
    The utopia of which you speak, is what is promised in Heaven. God never said that life here will be easy. In fact quite the opposite.
    But I lay my head down every night in peace with hope. I know where i come from and where I am going. If Hell is my eternity, then praise God for His word is true.
    Please dont mistake deafness in yourself for silence from God.

  119. 1: Yes, there is evil in the world.

    “Evil” does not exist as an absolute.

    2: If there is evil, there must also be good.

    That does not follow. If there is “evil,” why should there be anything? Also, like “evil,” “good” does not exist as an absolute.

    3:If there is good and evil, there must be a moral law to judge between good and evil.

    Again, that does not follow. According to the moral law in Aztex-era Mexico, it was “good” to cut the heart out from living body of prisoner of war. The “moral law” for Mohamed Atta and company stated they fly hijacked airliners into skycrapers.

    4:If there is a moral law, there must be a moral law giver.

    This does not follow since you have not proven points 1-3.

    5:For me, this points to God.

    And yet, despite all the theist’s hemming and hawing over what is “good,” what is “evil,” and how humans should behave, their God is seemingly willing to look the other way while its happening under his ombiscent/omnipotent/omnibenevolent nose.

  120. Wait, werent you just arguing about the existence of evil that my God was ignoring?
    By your own words you expressed a belief in the existence of evil. And now you are denying the existence of good?
    It’s a sad and lonely world you have built for yourself in the name of intellectual superiority.
    I’m gonna take my God and go to bed now.

    I will be happy to continue tomorrow, God willing.

    and yes I am very curious what or who has made you so angry with God.

    None of us is better or worse than the other. All just sinners that fall short of the glory of God. With His mercy, and grace, and love as our guide, we can come to know true peace.
    Good night

  121. Mother Theresa was a woman that lived her entire life in abject poverty while helping others all in the name and service of her God.

    Mother Theresa was a fanatical bitch who made people die horribly in filthy conditions while claiming their suffering to be holy. At the same time, she took money from slime balls like Charles Keating and the Duvalier’s and spent them not on the poor and helpless, but more nunneries for her order.

    The southern baptist convention spent many millions of dollars to help feed and treat medically and house the victims of hurricane katrina all in the name of their God. Those dollars given by millions of people all in the name of their God.

    Given their positions on homosexuality, abortion, evolution, etc. the SBC isn’t much better than Mother T no matter how much money it gives out to desperate people in order to lure new converts.

    As for natural acts, God didnt promise eternal life here, and nature has a way of continueing on. God’s will is something I cant wrap my head around.

    Please! Spare me the “God works in mysterious ways” shit. A God who demands that stone homosexuals and disobedient children or cares about what name he is called in prayer should not be as inscrutable as that.

    The utopia of which you speak, is what is promised in Heaven.

    I never asked for utopia, just reason from my fellow humans.

    But I lay my head down every night in peace with hope. I know where i come from and where I am going. If Hell is my eternity, then praise God for His word is true.

    After all that theological ass-kissing and divine brown-nosing you’re going to be happy if you’re going to Hell? If so, you’re dumber than I originally thought.

    Of course this brings up a whole new question: How can an all-loving, all-forgiving God consign anyone to the anywhere as horrible as Hell?

    Please dont mistake deafness in yourself for silence from God.

    Please don’t mistake religion dogma for logic.

  122. I’ll state a belief of mine that I’ve had for a few years now: Organized religion of any sort is doomed to be flawed as long as humans have any say in its dogma.

    I’ve made the decision to not constrain myself to any particular religion. I believe that there is a God, for reasons of my own which I cannot explain to others. If you wish to ridicule me for my beliefs, well, I can’t stop you.

    I have the belief that my God – and I say ‘my God’ because it goes against traditional God(s) – is a very forgiving God. I don’t hold the belief that God is vengeful. I think that God would want people to be good in general, but if they mess up now and then God would “let it slide” for the most part. Somethings, obviously, more forgivable than others – but again, not for me or anyone else to decide, regardless of my opinions. Yes, this may seem like it’s just a very convenient way for me to justify the way I live my life, but it’s a belief I hold dearly. I may be wrong; I may be right. I just don’t see the reason or logic behind a vengeful God (I know, I know, you atheists will question my reasoning behind God PERIOD, but again, I can’t explain that to you).

    I respect those that hold the opinion that there is no God – it’s your choice whether or not I think you’re wrong. It’s not my place to force my thinking upon you.

    However, I have less respect for those that believe that what is said in books written by men is actually the word of God. I have less respect for those Christians who feel that the only way to salvation is through Jesus – given that so many people in so many other nations aren’t even aware of Jesus’ existence; even more so that so many people born before Jesus are damned because of shitty timing. And it’s not just Christians I have a problem with. There are so many religions in this world at this moment, and there will be many more as long as the human race continues to survive. And in the end, what will we be left with? Just a bunch of rules written by humans, not by God.

  123. Wait, werent you just arguing about the existence of evil that my God was ignoring?
    By your own words you expressed a belief in the existence of evil.

    No, I said that evil did not exist as an absolute. Learn to read.

    And now you are denying the existence of good?

    Again, I said that good did not exist as an absolute.

    It’s a sad and lonely world you have built for yourself in the name of intellectual superiority.

    The idea that you need God to appreciate life is about as laughable as the idea that you need God to be moral. If anyone’s life is “sad and lonely,” it’s someone who needs an imaginary friend to make their lives worthwhile.

    Thanks for admitting to the “intellectual superiority” of atheism, by the way.

    I’m gonna take my God and go to bed now.

    I thought your precious Bible frowned on that sort of thing. In fact according to Leviticus 20:13, it’s a capital offense.

    and yes I am very curious what or who has made you so angry with God.

    You can’t be angry at someone who isn’t there. I AM angry at the his believers though and their attempts to run everyone’s life for them in matters that are NONE of their business. I AM angry at their attempts to destroy science with religious nonsense (i.e. “Intelligent Design”). I AM angry at being thought of as a pariah, virtually ineligible for running for public office, and having constantly to defend my character and honor against those who think I am mass murderer just waiting to happen because I don’t believe the the popular religion.

    I’m not angry at “God,” brotherben. I’m angry that I have share this planet and its limited resources with willfully-ignorant, primitive-minded, buffoons.

  124. “brotherben never said that atheists are less moral. In fact what he did was ask if atheists believe in moral relativism. Quite legitimate to ask. I know that not all atheists do, but no one here has stepped up to say that they don’t and to explain why they don’t.”

    Awright, I’ll tilt at this once or twice more, but only cause I’ve got nothing better going tonight.

    I’ll address this to you, Highnumber, cause the bro seems beyond help.

    Firstly, Bill answered this quite reasonably, you seem to have missed that.

    Anyway, here goes:
    Bro did not ask if atheists believed in moral relativism, he said (among other silly things) “With no God there is no moral origin. And anything is justifiable.”

    Bullshit. Here’s why.
    I must assume you believe in free will, because without it we are not in charge of our own lives, and morality becomes meaningless.
    Given free will, the godly and the godless both get their morality from exactly the same place, their brain. The godly take their morality learnings to come from the bible, and whatever other teachings they hold dear. The godless do just the same, only skipping the bible part. The brain then exercises it’s free will in ways both learned and instinctive.

    Our brains have had many tens of thousands of years to develop both an instinct and a tradition of morality. This seems enough time to create a very well refined moral code. Indeed, it has been enough time for a great many moral codes to develop. The moral code of the Romans 2000 years ago was quite different from the Romans of today. The moral code of Christians 2000 years ago was quite different from todays Christians. And so on, and so forth. The evidence does not support a “revealed” origin of the moral code. Quite the contrary.

    We obey those morals that are both learned and instinctive. We obey them or suffer the approbation of our society. This is a far cry from “anything is justifiable”. From the opinions of your school counselor to the morality codified in the rule of law, a great many things are not justifiable! Again, we obey those rules, both written and unwritten, which are the codified morality of our society, or we suffer the consequence.

    Finally, Highnumber, you say these questions are “Quite legitimate to ask.” Perhaps, if you don’t insult the audience first.

    Are these questions legitimate to ask of christians:
    Do you give your slaves Sunday off?
    Do you believe disrespectful children should be stoned to death?

  125. Brotherben:

    If you’re concerned about the foundations of morality, do you really think it helps to bring God in? If you think morality is just a matter of God’s arbitrary say-so, then you’re just a relativist, as relativist as they come.

    Why should we do what God says? Is it simply because he’s powerful? But that’s not an satisfactory reason for doing what he says. Is it because he’s our creator and we owe him gratitude? But then there must be an independent moral principle, one about owing gratitude to one’s creator. Is it because he’s good? But then there must be an independent moral principle, one saying why God counts as good instead of bad.

    And why exactly did God decide to make rape wrong instead of right? Did he have a good reason? If so, then there must be an independent moral principle, one that says why rape should be made wrong instead of right. Did he have no reason at all? Then morality is completely arbitrary, relativism is true, and God is no longer a rational being.

    These are seriously time-worn issues (going back at least to Plato’s Euthyphro). But you’re just overlooking them. If you’ve got problems about the foundations of morality, bringing God in won’t help. The problems will just show up all over again.

  126. A few other points.

    1. “I understand the general dislike and disbelief of God in America. Most folks judge christianity according to the ‘christians’ they see.”

    Maybe you’re hanging out with the wrong people, but these statements are from outer space. Like 95% of Americans believe in God and like 75% of Americans are Christian. Just google “religion demographics america”.

    2. “It is very curious to me how we ridicule God and deny His existance and when something awful goes down, like this shooting, or Katrina, we then have balls enough to say, ‘where the fuck was God?’ Why did God let this happen? You cant have it both ways.”

    There’s no contradiction here. There’s not even any tension here. First, the atheist says God doesn’t exist. No problem. Next, when something terrible happens, the atheist asks a theist why God let it happen. Not because now all of a sudden the atheist believes in God. You ask the theist why God let it happen because you think the theist ought to change his mind about God’s existence, or at least ought to lower his confidence level.

    3. “In fact, concepts of love and goodness are unexplainable unless there is a God. Since we as humans do experience love and goodness, it argues for the reality of God.”

    Goodness and love. Now, I addressed goodness (moral value) above. But what exactly is the problem with love? Love is an emotion. It’s right alongside hate and grief and joy and pride and shame and hope and guilt and pity and fear. Humans have emotions. Hell, animals have emotions. Is there some problem for the atheist here? I don’t see it.

    4. “Wait, werent you just arguing about the existence of evil that my God was ignoring?
    By your own words you expressed a belief in the existence of evil. And now you are denying the existence of good?”

    This argument simply doesn’t work. Suppose an atheist denies the reality of good and evil. Next, suppose the atheist challenges theism by pointing to all the evil in the world. Is this a contradiction, or is there some deep problem here? No. There’s no problem because the theist is committed to the reality of evil (and lots of it), and yet the theist believes the world is governed by a perfect being. So the theist faces a challenge. The atheist doesn’t have to believe in the reality of evil in order to point out out all the stuff that the theist recognizes as evil, and then point out the internal tension in the theist’s beliefs about the world.

  127. So many straw-men; so little time! If they only each had a brain!!

  128. I’ll address this to you, Highnumber, cause the bro seems beyond help.

    Thank you for your help!
    All better now!

    I don’t give a crap if you don’t believe in a god.
    I don’t give a crap if brotherben does believe in God.
    I don’t give a crap if there is or isn’t a god.

  129. Good morning all,

    I see by the replies that we have made it basically nowhere. You may claim victory if you wish. I apologize for any anger I may have caused as that was not my intent. I wish you all a great day as I shake the dust from my feet and shuffle away quietly. May your Lives reflect what your mind desires.

    peace out

  130. Brotherben:

    I didn’t write my messages in anger. I wrote them in what can only be described as having some time to kill and messing around on the internet.

  131. Also, how moral are you really if the only thing keeping you from raping, stealing, killing is the fear of being punished after death by some deity? Can you honestly say that you truly have Free Will over your actions?

    Atheists manage to carry out moral behavior (for the most part) without any belief in after-death punishment at all.

    Ergo, atheists are more moral than religious believers. /end snark

  132. morals aren’t real in any concrete sense, but it’s nice when people act as though they do.

    tros is a trump card in my mckenna: the gathering deck.

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