Religion

The Jesus Potato

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And do you remember that time there was only one set of footprints in the kitchen?…

Pastor Renee Brewster and her husband Bishop Winston Brewster are a very spiritual couple. But the site of their savior in a potato has reinvigorated their faith and their desire to help others.

"That's Jesus on the Cross.  Just looking at it I don't have to convince," said Renee.

Renee says she had been looking for an excuse to get out of making potato salad. "I was hesitant about making the potato salad because Sister Frankie makes the potato salad at church and I said lord if it's not for me to make potato salad then send me a sign."…

Let's cut to the chase: How was the potato salad?

Pastor Brewster froze the heart of that potato bearing Jesus. The rest was used to make the potato salad served during their weekly rescue mission.

How was that potato salad?  "It was good.  It was the best you ever made…it was almost as good as Sister Frankie's," said Bishop Brewster.

Whole thing here. Is it just me or do names like Sister Frankie and Bishop Brewster sound like something out of a Velvet Underground song?

Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese saga here.

NEXT: Coke Is It for Hugo Chavez

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  1. How come when people who believe in Jesus see a vision in a potato, that’s news; but when athenists who believe in nothing see nothing in a potato, it isn’t news?

    Media double standards, that’s why.

  2. Is it just me or do names like Sister Frankie and Bishop Brewster sound like something out of a Velvet Underground song?

    No, no. You’re thinking of Frankie Brewster, the short-lived 80s sitcom starring Al Pacino as a spunky ex-convict teenage short order cook.

  3. Just like Sister Frankie said – whip it on!

  4. What good timing. Just the other day, our business director was incredulous as she asked me how I could possibly deny the existence of God when the evidence is so plentiful?

    Alas, I will have to tell her that even a potato jesus is not enough to convince me.

    It’s not easy being polite and professional when working with someone who is quite certain I’m going to hell.

  5. It’s interesting they were so sure it was Jesus on the Cross, when what I saw, if anything other than a bad potato, was more like the Christ Redeemer statue from Rio where he’s not on the cross at all. I see no cross in that potato.

    I guess we see what we want to see when the Lord puts His image in starches.

  6. Nick, I thought the same thing.

  7. Bronwyn,

    It’s not easy being polite and professional when working with someone who is quite certain I’m going to hell.

    It’s easy ’cause you and me are the smug ones in the debate, remember?

    There’s nothing smug about mentally condemning people to hell. We’ve got the be the smug ones, right?

    (I, luckily, have trained everyone at work not to talk to me about god, politics, economic systems, sports, the dream they had last night, having kids, raising kids, the United Way, blood drives, or why their computer does that.)

  8. I saw the cheese sandwich “live” at the James Randi Educational Foundation’s Amazing Meeting (a skeptics’ conference) in Las Vegas a couple years ago.

    Funny how good ideas often come too late. Too long after Dale Earnhardt was killed in the Daytona 500 (“Oh why did the Lord have to take him?!!!”), it occurred to me that by spreading the butter in a certain way and cooking it just right you could produce a grilled cheese sandwich with the number 3 on it. It would have sold for at least six figures.

  9. Too long after Dale Earnhardt was killed in the Daytona 500 (“Oh why did the Lord have to take him?!!!”)

    He wasn’t killed–he was murdered. By atheists.

  10. I too saw the “Who needs a hug” Jesus as opposed to the “This is all your fault I’m up here” Jesus.

    But it does put a new twist on “This is my body”

  11. I, luckily, have trained everyone at work not to talk to me about god, politics, economic systems, sports, the dream they had last night, having kids, raising kids, the United Way, blood drives, or why their computer does that.

    I was an atheist, but now I worship SugarFree. Please instruct me in thine ways oh Lord.

  12. Jesus is a woman?

  13. I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no starches before Me.

  14. Warren,

    Thou shall have no other commenter before me.

  15. At first glance, they looked like vaginas.

  16. At first glance, they looked like vaginas.

    No, they don’t look like hatchet wounds.

    (ducks)

  17. Face it, Jesus was a bit of a proto-hippie. Love thy neighbor, turn the other cheek, suffer the little children to come unto me (wtf does that even mean?), yadda, yadda, yadda.

    Except for that whole money-changer thing, Jesus was kind of a pussy.

  18. It’s not easy being polite and professional when working with someone who is quite certain I’m going to hell.

    Sounds like my last boss. And the one before that. And they weren’t even religious.

  19. Episiarch,

    Hush. What if the you-know-whos find us. They’ll flood the board with stories about how much they love their Diva Cup!

  20. Warren,

    It did take me 7 years. I’m now terrified of leaving my job and having to start all over.

  21. SugarFree, that would actually be entertaining beyond measure. I wish it would happen.

  22. Episiarch,

    Ah, the perverse joy of crossposting.

    Anyway… a potato? toast? a crying statue in Guadalajara? Why is Jesus going with a stealth marketing campaign? Is he making a sequel to Cloverfield?

  23. Good point, Episiarch.

    Back to statements about evidence of God/Jesus being all around us, why is Jesus manifesting himself in the form of food to the credulous, fecund, starving Christian masses around the world instead of just feeding them? Isn’t that a slap in their hollow, bony faces?

  24. Richard –

    since the target is the potato, obviously, jesus hates the irish as much as everybody else???

    [ducks]

  25. Jesus was way cool
    He could change water into wine
    He could change wheat into marijuana

  26. Though this may come as a shock, I felt compelled to comment on this miraculous event. 😉

    Is God getting too old for the job? Seriously, back in his youth, he dropped Manna from heaven, sent plagues of frogs, parted the Red Sea, turned people into pillars of salt and raised rotting corpses from the dead. Even I’ll admit, that is some pretty damned impressive stuff! But here in the 21st century, the best he can come up with is a family photo in a spud?

    Since the Universe is only 6,000 or so years old, I figure God, peaked at about age 4,000 with that whole virgin birth and people ascending directly in to heaven stuff.

    It’s been downhill ever since. Maybe God isn’t dead yet, but he appears to be getting horribly old.

  27. Penn and Teller do a good job with this kinda stuff. 🙂

  28. Abdul | January 25, 2008, 8:18am | #

    How come when people who believe in Jesus see a vision in a potato, that’s news; but when athenists who believe in nothing see nothing in a potato, it isn’t news?

    Media double standards, that’s why.

    Funny you should say that. What this atheist saw was the lower halves of two human bodies with what looks like birds covering their genitals.

    I guess it depends on what you worship.

  29. Another issue:

    If an Islamic woman saw the face of Mohammed in her potato salad, would she get stoned to death for it?

  30. “[…] the site of their savior […]

    “Site”? “Site”?!? Learn. How. To. SPELL! [pounding shoe on table like some demented commie dictator]

    I swear to god (but a respectable god, not one who manifests Himself in a tuber – have some pride, for pity’s sake) we’re slowly reverting to the 16th century; first it was judicial torture, now it’s every man for himself orthography. I blame the kids these days, the intertubes, and especially journalists.

  31. If you put the jesus tater in the tater salad, and ate it, would you go directly to Heaven (do not pass Go, do not collect two hunnert dollars)?
    Or would you go to That Other Place?

    Or would you just get some weird disease from eating potato worms?

  32. If an Islamic woman saw the face of Mohammed in her potato salad, would she get stoned to death for it?

    There’s probably an interesing book in the history and anthropology of apparitions. Muslims get similar visions, although they almost always see arabic script instead of human representations. A professor of mine once pointed out that until the Spanish came to America, the Virgin was never seen here. After the conquest, the BVM made more appearances than a casino greeter.

  33. the innominate one and King Missile for the win!

    I quiver before his Noodly Goodness in declaring the FSM at a close second.

    What I love is that she (my local office cheerleader for jesus) tries to present me with evidence. Hard evidence, too – Daniel’s prophecies have all come true! and But what about beautiful mountain vistas and fields of flowers and sunshine! and Jesus had to be the prophesied one because he was like finding a marked silver dollar in a pile of silver dollars large enough to cover Texas!!

    Seriously.

    It’s so funny that those who proselytise me (how does one verb that?) try to use reason to appeal to me when there’s no logic or reason in the world capable of justifying the inherently irrational leap of faith required to accept the existence of God.

    Then she told me that someday something awful would happen to my son and I’d be in the depths of despair. At that moment, she hoped I’d pray and He would speak to me.

    Then quickly followed up with “not that I want anything bad to happen to Samuel!!”

    Yeah. I think we’re done here.

    And lastly, I too saw Who wants a hug? Jesus. There’s no cross there.

  34. Bronwyn,

    “proselytise” in the verb form is spelled “annoy.”

  35. Ah hah! I’ll remember that.

  36. Yeah, Peachy, I saw that, too. I guess I’m old-school, but it’s hard to continue reading after such an error. I don’t blame the writer – these things happen – but there’s no excuse not to have a copy editor involved. You’d think Fox News Orlando could afford such a beast.
    And copy editors have saved my ass on hundreds of ocasions. (For instance, I always misspell ocassion.)

  37. It’s not easy being polite and professional when working with someone who is quite certain I’m going to hell.

    It’s also not easy dealing with someone who’s convinced your life is based on a 2000-year old lie. But, grown-ups deal with it.

  38. Abdul,

    All that’s easily explained:
    God and his family and employees manifest themselves in the form that people will recognize. What’s the point of sending Mary to the pre-Columbian Americas? She would be just another dark haired lady. At that point God would have sent Quetzalcoatl to prep the natives for the arrival of the Catholics who would prep the natives for Mary.

    Clearly, the Mormon talk of Jesus coming to the Americas is all quite silly.

    The reports of Muslims seeing the name of God in Arabic script is, uh, probably all true.
    Allah hu akbar.

  39. Ah, but crimethink I don’t tell her that.

    I will happily engage in academic discussions of doctrine and scripture all day long, but I don’t prosyletise my (lack of) faith. Ever. That’s why it annoys me so much when she does it to me.

  40. I don’t see Jesus. I see Scott Stapp.

  41. Although I’m not an atheist, I can certainly understand those who believe that logic and rational thought have led them to atheism.
    What I don’t understand is why some folks abandon Christianity for some equally unlikely mysticism.
    As long as I’m going to embrace some unlikely metaphysics, my grand-dad’s is good enough for me.

  42. “At first glance, they looked like vaginas.”

    It’s interesting that you say that. Whenever I eat steamed oysters, the first thing I think of is Jesus.

  43. Pure logic and rationality can lead to nothing but suicide (or, more precisely, apathetic self-starvation). Anyone who’s seeking to continue living is doing it for some nonrational (if not irrational) reason.

  44. So, crimethink, there is Darwinist utility behind my faith? I knew there had to be some reason for it.

  45. Yeah, I wouldn’t say that looks like Jesus on the cross. It looks more like Jesus about to do a high dive, however massively overdressed he is.

  46. Jesus Christ in a potato!!!!
    My new favorite blasphemy.

  47. Steve,

    Well, I’m not referring only to religious faith as being nonrational. Atheistic hedonism is nonrational, too. Just because something seems enjoyable does not make it rational to do it.

    I’ve yet to hear someone who claims to be guided only by logic and rationality explain why they get out of bed in the morning, eat, have sex, etc., using only logic and reason.

  48. crimethink, I think you’ve demonstrated Bronwyn’s point.

  49. I’ve yet to hear someone who claims to be guided only by logic and rationality explain why they get out of bed in the morning, eat, have sex, etc., using only logic and reason.

    Yep. It’s definitely the atheists. They’re the smug ones all right.

  50. crimethink, who has claimed that?

  51. If suicide is the only rational behavior, then our survival as a species depends on irrational behavior, therefore irrational behavior is the only rational behavior. Since irrational=rational, it must also be true that illogic=logic. Since illogical is defined as the state of lacking logic, any logical conclusion must not, by definition, contain logic…

  52. Seems this rotten-potato discussion has opened a can of worms.

    It’s also not easy dealing with someone who’s convinced your life is based on a 2000-year-old (missing second hyphen added) lie. But, grown-ups deal with it. (Crimethink 11:23)

    If “dealing with it” is engaging in belief in belief, we have a problem. Religion is irrational nonsense, and treating it as anything other than that implies a license to teach creationism in schools, hold morning prayer meetings in the Cabinet, tithe federal money to religions groups, start religious wars ? Wait. We already have those things. It’s time to abandon our tolerance of the irrational and intolerant, and push back.

  53. Lamar, Ayn Rand is going to rise from her grave and bitch-slap you but good.

  54. Anyone who’s seeking to continue living is doing it for some nonrational (if not irrational) reason.

    Nonsense. Sex. Sex and whisky. Sex, whisky and Hostess Ding Dongs.

  55. Richard, why do you assume my faith makes me intolerant? I hate to go all Dondaro on your ass, but I’ll put my libertarian bona fides up against any atheist’s.

  56. If suicide is the only rational behavior, then our survival as a species depends on irrational behavior, therefore irrational behavior is the only rational behavior.

    Ah, but you’re implicitly assuming that it would not be rational to allow our species to die off — a premise not justified by reason alone.

  57. crimethink | January 25, 2008, 11:38am | #

    Pure logic and rationality can lead to nothing but suicide (or, more precisely, apathetic self-starvation). Anyone who’s seeking to continue living is doing it for some nonrational (if not irrational) reason.

    ?

    I believe we have an early leader in the non-sequitur-of-the-year competition.

    I enjoy life. I need no more reason than that to continue living.

  58. And, oh, I forgot:
    Jesus H. Christ in a potato!!!

  59. I enjoy life. I need no more reason than that to continue living.

    That is good; but it is no more rational than a man saying he believes in God because he loves him.

    You guys do seriously get what I’m getting at, right? I’m not saying that suicide is a good idea. I’m saying that continued existence requires some motivation, and pure logic and reason cannot produce motivations, only mold pre-existing ones.

  60. Steve, verse 11:59:

    Whenever a theist attempts to enact any of his beliefs into law (examples above), it is intolerance of all other religious or rational beliefs. That’s the license that belief in belief propagates.

    Further, religion is dogma. At most, only one religion can be correct.

  61. Steve,

    That says nothing about religious belief itself, but rather people who would foist their beliefs on others. And that’s not just a problem with religious belief, but secular ideologies as well.

    And, as I’ve been arguing all along, all of our lives have some sort of nonrational basis, religious or not.

  62. What happens if somebody finds Jesus or Mary in a marijuana bud?

  63. So Richard, what does intolerance of my faith (considering I don’t wish to enact any of my religious beliefs into law) count as?
    Jesus H. Christ in a potato!!!

  64. If you put the jesus tater in the tater salad, and ate it, would you go directly to Heaven (do not pass Go, do not collect two hunnert dollars)?
    Or would you go to That Other Place?

    I suppose that it would depend on if you used mayo with an image of Satan in it.

  65. Pure logic and rationality can lead to nothing but suicide

    That’s just silly. Is a preference for pleasure over pain not rational?

  66. Lamar
    I think you start a new and very successful religion.

  67. Steve:

    What makes you think I’m intolerant of your faith?

    Secularists don’t have dogmas to enact into law. So feel free to beleive whatever you want about the supernatural qualities of garden-variety North American produce. Just don’t make me worship a potato, too.

  68. Will Lamar’s church adopt as its symbol an Omnipotent Logical Pretzel?

  69. Is a preference for pleasure over pain not rational?

    It is no more rational than a preference for continued existence after death. Neither of these preferences can be proven right using reason alone.

  70. Secularists don’t have dogmas to enact into law.

    Bwahahahahahaahahahahhaah!

    Thanks. I needed that. ::wipes moisture from eye::

  71. Crimethink is right on this one.

    All value judgments necessarily contain an element that is nonrational – the original or “ends” value from which the others follow. Hume established this with his observation that what is cannot by itself determine what ought to be.

    Now, here’s where things get tricky, because Hume’s is-ought distinction is ultimately the source of the moral relativism that the right expends so much ink decrying. However, I contend that it is in error that this sort of relativism is connected with moral nihilism and “cultural relativism,” themselves consisting ironically of moral statements – the former that social morality ought to be disregarded; the latter that all social moralities ought to be regarded as equally desirable to any given individual.

    Anybody can tell you that’s not true. Nihilism is silly for the same reason Luciferians are silly: they implicitly accept the idea that for morality to have validity or usefulness, it has to follow point-for-point from objective truths (e.g. central texts, established dogma, metaphysics, etc.). Having concluded that such bases do not exist, the nihilist takes the football and runs all the way to Mexico under the assumption that the only cure for intellectual overreach is more.

    Cultural relativism’s a more complex issue, because it deals with a lot more than ethnicity and in many ways cuts across contemporary American society, even among those who share English as a native language. It’s also an issue of philosophical relevance to libertarians because of the way it sidelines questions of harm – for example, what is it apart from culture that makes male infant circumcision acceptable but female infant “circumcision” abhorrent? Still, proceed too far down the path that uncritically accepts cultural biases as absolutes and you’re looking at essentially the current aims of our two major parties.

    Okay, that may have been a digression. My point is, this shit is dangerous to try to simplify; past a point, it gets really easy to defend your own arbitrarily-chosen values as synonymous with reason, and that’s an attitude that will insulate you from the real consequences of them.

  72. Is a preference for pleasure over pain not rational?

    It is no more rational than a preference for continued existence after death. Neither of these preferences can be proven right using reason alone

    Actually, it can be explained by biochemical and molecular biological means. See: Dopamine and Serotonin. So yes, it’s perfectly rational, reasonable and logical to prefer pleasure over pain.

  73. Huh. So I have not learned how to use the quote tag. How’s that go again?

    In case you can’t tell, the first two grafs are quoted, the third is mine.

  74. What happens if somebody finds Jesus or Mary in a marijuana bud?

    A SWAT team kicks down their neighbor’s door because they transposed the numbers on the warrant and shoots the neighbor’s dog/kid.

  75. “Ah, but you’re implicitly assuming that it would not be rational to allow our species to die off — a premise not justified by reason alone.”

    When humans cease to exist, logic ceases to exist, making that result against logic and hence irrational.

  76. Secularists don’t have dogmas to enact into law.

    Yeah, even an atheist like me can’t back that statement.

    But, crimethink, it’s still not an endorsement of religion. It remains easy to eschew unsupportable beliefs without having to resort to arguments about irrationality. Incredible claims require incredible proof, and the onus remains on those who claim something rather than nothing.

    A 2,000 year old lie, is still a lie. Myths don’t get to have vintage years.

    Of course, I’m perfectly comfortable with a live and let live scenario that not too many on your side seem to want to settle on.

  77. Bronwyn,

    That explains why animals and people avoid “painful” stimuli and seek “pleasurable” stimuli. It does not explain why doing so is rational.

    I mean, these biochemical processes are going on in the body of a sociopathic murderer, too. Since he feels pleasure when torturing another person, does that make his behavior rational?

  78. Actually, it can be explained by biochemical and molecular biological means. See: Dopamine and Serotonin. So yes, it’s perfectly rational, reasonable and logical to prefer pleasure over pain.

    Consider this, though. Serotonin and dopamine work in concert to produce the overall sense that success at biological objectives is preferable. If an individual were born for whom dopamine worked not in concert with serotonin, but with norepenephrine, would it be irrational for them to feel (as they probably would) that stress and uncertainty were preferable?

    It’d be easy to call the scenario implausible and move on, but people have plenty of divergent experiences of “rational self-interest” that happen because of fluky wiring. I tend to think that simply pathologizing these cases is philosophically lazy, but I’m not gonna lie: the alternative is that we cannot accept our own bio-psychological wiring as a source of moral absolutes either, and that’s a hard thing to accept for obvious reasons.

  79. SugarFree,

    There aren’t many on either side that truly want to live and let live, frankly. On issues like abortion, atheists’ idea of “live and let live” means their position wins out entirely.

  80. I’d never say it was implausible. Neurochemical imbalances and anatomical anomolies are at the heart of every mental disorder.

    So that divergent experience is irrational only with respect to someone with normal physiology. With those who are wired differently, their behavior is perfectly rational.

    Maybe I should, but I just don’t agonize over this stuff. I guess that makes me philosophically lazy 🙂

  81. atheists’ idea of “live and let live” means their position wins out entirely

    Oh? Do tell me what my idea of “live and let live” means and how that applies to abortion.

    Better to argue from your own position than to try to argue someone else’s. We’re none of us mind readers.

  82. And Richard, when I someday seize power, you will bow down before the potato.

  83. Bronwyn,

    I’ve often been told that regardless of one’s beliefs about when a human life begins, we should “live and let live” and allow abortion thru all nine months of pregnancy (or at least during the first trimester). This totally disregards the principal concern of the pro-life argument that a human being is thereby denied his or her right to life.

    You still haven’t explained how seeking pleasure and avoiding pain is rational. You’ve merely explained why “normal” people tend to do that.

  84. I have a rock in Italy that is the spitting image of Richard Nixon.

  85. On issues like abortion, atheists’ idea of “live and let live” means their position wins out entirely.

    Not letting you tell people what they can do with their bodies IS NOT oppression. That is the most pathetic argument religion has come up with in centuries.

    But, really, do we want to rehash this go-nowhere debate again? You think women’s wombs are owned by the state and I don’t. It’s a complete impasse.

  86. When humans cease to exist, logic ceases to exist, making that result against logic and hence irrational.

    Call me crazy, but I thought the universe existed before humans did. The light reaching my eyes from the Andromeda Galaxy was generated deep in the cores of its stars long before humans existed, and this process obeyed laws of nature that are themselves subject to logic. So, the existence of logic must be independent of the existence of humans.

    Also, you’re assuming that logic demands that logic continue to exist, whatever that means.

  87. But, really, do we want to rehash this go-nowhere debate again? You think women’s wombs are owned by the state and I don’t. It’s a complete impasse.

    Some advice: grossly misrepresenting someone else’s POV on an issue is not a good way to avoid rehashing the debate.

    Requiring that an innocent human life not be snuffed out in the interest of another person’s convenience isn’t oppression, either. Your version of “live and let live” is more precisely “live and make die”.

  88. Since he feels pleasure when torturing another person, does that make his behavior rational?

    And if he tortures another person because he believes it will please his imaginary friend? If he torments and enslaves people in order to force them to love his imaginary friend?

    These worst-case scenarios are fun, huh?

  89. That wouldn’t be rational either, P Brooks.

    I’m not saying that religious belief is rational, but that nonrationality is a requirement of human existence.

  90. nonrationality is a requirement of human existence.

    No argument, there; joy and laughter may not be rational, but they are definitely necessary.

  91. A short hop, skip, and jump from potatoes to Jesus to God to abortion. You gotta love H and R.

  92. Col DuBois,

    Technically, we started with a Jesus Potato.

  93. Crimethink, ok, so you’ve often been told that, that’s fine. It’s not something I’d ever say though. It was the generality of your statement – They All Think This – to which I objected more than the content.

    I mean it’s rational in that it can be explained through empirically defined mechanisms. Even a bacterium is “programmed” to seek favorable conditions and to avoid unfavorable ones. As Michio Kaku says (and forgive my paraphrasing), “we are programmed to live… not to die.”

    If you and I have different definitions of the term, you’ll have to tell me what you mean by “rational” before I can better explain my position to you.

  94. … hell, for that matter, even molecules seek equilibrium, which could be construed as a favorable or pleasurable condition… *mind wanders off*

  95. Maybe I should, but I just don’t agonize over this stuff. I guess that makes me philosophically lazy

    Nah, I think not agonizing is a healthy attitude toward a universe that reveals more and increasingly confusing facets the longer you investigate.

    “Philosophically lazy” would be dismissing counterexamples to one’s explanatory model out of hand, as though they were unnecessary inconveniences and distractions from the goal of being right (as people borrowing science to prop up personal moralities often do).

    Skepticism doesn’t require agonizing, just the recognition of the limitations of discourse.

  96. Also, that potato is scarred by disease. So we can find The Good Lord even in a diseased mass of tissue? Hm. this doesn’t bode well for Beezlebub.

    (to bring us back ’round on topic)

  97. hale – I appreciate that. You put that very well.

  98. Of course, I’m perfectly comfortable with a live-and-let-live scenario that not too many on your side [theists] seem to want to settle on.

    Sweet observation, SugarFree. It seems that many of us are confusing separation of church and state with atheism/agnosticism/secular humanism — which explains some of the theistic diatribes about intolerance.

    I’ll leave it at my original point: The culprit is belief in belief (a.k.a. mindless multiculturalism), which enables (in the psychobabble sense) the religious to enact their theological beliefs into law while non-believers sit idly by and watch this country turn into a theocracy, assuming that because people have beliefs they “mean well.”

  99. If I’m not a “values voter” does that mean I don’t have any values?

  100. crimethink | January 25, 2008, 1:07pm | #

    Some advice: grossly misrepresenting someone else’s POV on an issue is not a good way to avoid rehashing the debate.

    That’s good advice. You should totally follow it.

  101. innominate,

    I wasn’t the one pretending to be above the fray, and if someone suckerpunches me they’re damn well gonna get a taste of my knuckles too.

  102. Browyn,

    By “rational” I mean justifiable by pure reason, without resorting to any premises which are themselves not justified by pure reason.

    I don’t think you’re even being true to your own definition, though; even “normal” people (whoever that is) do some awfully irrational things through empirically explainable mechanisms. Racism and other forms of group mentality are very deep-seated in even a “normal” person’s psychology; does this make them ipso facto rational?

    It seems to me you’re identifying what people and animals, and even molecules, actually tend to do, and defining such behavior as “rational”.

  103. Richard,

    Your original point was that respecting religious people’s right to their own beliefs inexorably leads to theocracy. To quote:

    Religion is irrational nonsense, and treating it as anything other than that implies a license to teach creationism in schools, hold morning prayer meetings in the Cabinet, tithe federal money to religions groups, start religious wars ? Wait. We already have those things. It’s time to abandon our tolerance of the irrational and intolerant, and push back.

    Do you wish to amend this statement?

  104. C’mon, crimethink. Use all that logic and figure out that I’m tip-toeing down the line between informal logic and symbolic logic. I perceive your statements according to the principles of logical rhetoric then express my conclusions in a way that sounds like symbolic logic has been applied.

  105. Of course, I’m not sure why human behavior should be rationalized through the lens of formal logic.

  106. OK, crimethink, verse 4:09 p.m. I stand corrected. My original point was about being able to sell a grilled-cheese sandwich with a number 3 on it to grieving Dale Earnhardt fans for six figures.

    All the rest of my remarks are mutually supporting ? as is your reaction to them.

  107. Of course, I’m not sure why human behavior should be rationalized through the lens of formal logic.

    It shouldn’t be (and indeed it couldn’t be). Which is exactly why atheists need to quit acting like their lives are based on reason while theists base their lives on unreason. Or, they can be truly rational and lay down and starve to death.

  108. Which is exactly why atheists need to quit acting like their lives are based on reason while theists base their lives on unreason.

    Well if that’s what you’re getting at, we’re in agreement and have been from the start. Emotion plays a part in everything we do and emotion is distinct from reason and logic. *paging Mr. Spock and Mr. Data*

    My whole point when we started this discussion was to say that when someone prosyletises (annoys) me by trying to appeal to my rational self – offering “proofs” if you will – it does nothing to sway me and never will. Why? Because the one thing dividing a rational, thinking atheist from a rational, thinking Christian is the completely irrational faith in God.

    hey can be truly rational and lay down and starve to death
    And this, this just makes no sense to me at all.

    You’re not a fan of Carl Sagan or Michio Kaku, I take it.

  109. No it’s not, it’s Cher. Anyone can see that.

  110. Bronwyn,

    I think the statement “They can be truly rational and lay down and starve to death” is part of a discussion about there-has-to-be-a-purpose-to-life argument for the existence of God. For reasons obvious to anyone trained in philosophy, science or logic, I haven’t been following that argument too closely here.

    Arguments for the existence of God almost all turn on assuming their conclusion. “The Universe looks designed, so it has to have had a designer. A designer that powerful can only be God.” Etc. (One exception would be the ontological argument, which says God exists by definition. Then so does the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Utter nonsense.) They’re all tedious. Very tedious.

    So in this case, it’s “There has to be a purpose in life, blah, blah, blah. ? If you’re an atheist, you have no purpose, so your intellect should tell you to lay down and die.” Yawn.

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