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Believers Rate Atheists About As Trustworthy As Rapists, Says New Study

A new study, Do You Believe in Atheists? Distrust is Central to Anti-Atheist Prejudice [PDF], probing the attitudes of people toward atheists has just been published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The abstract reports:

Recent polls indicate that atheists are among the least liked people in areas with religious majorities (i.e., in most of the world). The sociofunctional approach to prejudice, combined with a cultural evolutionary theory of religion‘s effects on cooperation, suggest that anti-atheist prejudice is particularly motivated by distrust. Consistent with this theoretical framework, a broad sample of American adults revealed that distrust characterized anti-atheist prejudice, but not anti-gay prejudice (Study 1). In subsequent studies, distrust of atheists generalized even to participants from more liberal, secular populations. A description of a criminally untrustworthy individual was seen as comparably representative of atheists and rapists, but not representative of Christians, Muslims, Jewish people, feminists, or homosexuals (Studies 2-4). In addition, results were consistent with the hypothesis that the relationship between belief in God and atheist distrust was fully mediated by the belief that people behave better if they feel that God is watching them (Study 4). In implicit measures, participants strongly associated atheists with distrust, and belief in God was more strongly associated with implicit distrust of atheists than with implicit dislike of atheists (Study 5). Finally, atheists were systematically socially excluded only in high-trust domains; belief in God, but not authoritarianism, predicted this discriminatory decision-making against atheists in high trust domains (Study 6). These six studies are the first to systematically explore the social psychological underpinnings of anti-atheist prejudice, and converge to indicate the centrality of distrust in this phenomenon.

Why are atheists so distrusted by believers? ScienceDaily reports one speculation from the lead researcher:

The religious behaviors of others may provide believers with important social cues, the researchers say. "Outward displays of belief in God may be viewed as a proxy for trustworthiness, particularly by religious believers who think that people behave better if they feel that God is watching them," says Norenzayan. "While atheists may see their disbelief as a private matter on a metaphysical issue, believers may consider atheists' absence of belief as a public threat to cooperation and honesty."

A recent Gallup poll noted (on the basis of an heroic assumption that a candidate for president was "well qualified") that 78 percent of Americans would vote for a Mormon, 67 percent for a gay, 89 percent for a Jew. Only 49 percent said that they would vote for an atheist. But there's good news -- in 1958 only 18 percent said that they'd vote for an atheist. 

I wonder if pollsters have ever asked atheists how they feel about voting for various sorts of believers, say, fundamentalist Christians? 

Hat tip to Mark Sletten. 

Disclosure: I am an atheist in the same way that I am an a-unicornist. I am also trustworthy (except perhaps when it comes to meeting writing deadlines). 

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  • ||

    I'm an atheist, and I still have to say that like most other studies of this type, this study is fucking stupid. All these studies are specifically designed to fit certain biases. Every time.

    Ron, I understand that you post these to foster discussion and get page hits, but a little skepticism on your part would be nice to see.

  • ||

    Social sciences are just as rigorous as any other science it just that some people don't like what the science says so they choose to ignore it. It's not their fault though, conservatives brains are just wired that way: they don't like science.

    See here: http://www.amazon.com/Republic.....319&sr=8-1

  • ||

    Actually, this link has more information:

    http://www.desmogblog.com/repu.....ent-truths

  • ||

    If you're inferring that I'm a Republican, and didn't see that I also said I was an atheist yet still think this study is stupid, you are either unbelievably stupid or incredibly stupid.

    Maybe you're just unfathomably stupid.

  • ||

    It's almost as if this survey was intelligently designed...

  • ||

    *Full Disclosure*

    I am a troll and was only trying to illustrate your point and also the larger point of ideologically driven "sciences" that reveal more about the biases of the scientists than the subject of study. Social scientists are overwhelmingly liberal and unfortunately this leads to the pathologizing of those on the outside of the "liberal" moral framework. It's not difficult to understand why people say bullshit like "reality has a liberal bias" when the supposedly objective "scientists" are merely projecting their own ideological predilections (as seen elsewhere on Reason this morning with the case of Diederik A. Stapel).

  • ||

    +1 for Episiarch

  • ||

    +2 Episiarch

  • ||

    +1 NutraSweet

  • ||

    ASPARTAME IS POISON!!!

  • ||

    Epi + SF

  • ||

    You're trying to prove Episiarch's point, right? Is so - great job!

  • Warty||

    Social sciences are just as rigorous as any other science

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • ||

    Social sciences are just as rigorous as any other science

    Sure they are.

  • ||

    Social sciences are just as rigorous as any other science
    -------------------------
    Really? There is another topic on this site that puts the lie to that assertion.

  • ||

    Social sciences are just as rigorous as any other science

    Heh.

  • ||

    conservatives brains are just wired that way: they don't like science.

    Just like liberal and progressive brains aren't wired to like facts, evidently.

  • ||

    Social sciences are just as rigorous as any other science...

    Not necessarily. In psychology there is the fairly rigorous experimental camp, the somewhat rigorous survey and testing camp, and the completely unscientific personality and therapy camp.

  • tarran||

    Actually, the study matches my experience. I had a manager who was an atheist, and the reaction of people when they found out (he didn't wear it on his sleeve and kept it pretty private) was very much one of worried questions as to where he got his ideas of morality. I literally heard someone say precisely that without God telling him it was bad to lie, he would be likely to lie whenever it suited him.

  • ||

    I didn't say that this doesn't happen; I said the study was stupid, because it seems to just confirm atheist beliefs that this happens. That's why studies like this are so fucked.

  • Zeb||

    I may not have read the article closely enough, but does it say that the people who designed or interpreted it were atheists? Seems just a plausible to me that believers designed the study to confirm their bias that normal people think atheists are icky.

  • ||

    Your statement indicates a preconceived bias that atheists are not "normal people," and that "normal people" are religious.

  • spencer||

    Well, using the term normal to mean the majority of people, then there is no bias in that previous statement. The bias is in your own negative connotation of things are are not normal being bad.

  • ||

    You can call a dog's tail a leg, but that doesn't mean a dog has five legs.

  • spencer||

    No, but if you called black dogs "normal" because 75% of dogs were black it would be appropriate.

  • Zeb||

    You are right, but it was just sloppy language on my part. I should have said "the majority of people" instead. If I have any bias, it is that atheism is sensible and religious people are a little crazy and I tend to assume that a lot more people are atheists than really are.

  • ||

    And that is what gets me. Basically what these people are saying is that if only God wasn't watching them, they'd behave like animals. That says a lot more about the quality of them as people then it does about the atheist.

  • Warty||

    Compare that feeling to the common "If I had a gun, I'd shoot people!"

  • ||

    Compare that feeling to the common "If I had a gun, I'd shoot people!"

    Yup, that too.

    I've had people say that, or variations of it, to me, when they learn that I'm a gun nut, er - firearms enthusiast.

    "But if you have a gun, how do I know you won't get mad at me for something I've said and shoot me?" I actually had a guy say that to me.

    It typically is right about then that I explain the concept known as "projection."

  • ||

    "But if you have a gun, how do I know you won't get mad at me for something I've said and shoot me?"

    Did you tell him that he doesn't?

  • ||

    I can't exactly remember, but I think I said something like, "well how do you know I don't have a gun on me right now?" That took him aback for a second (I didn't have a gun on me, but I often did carry concealed back then). And I followed that up with "whether or not I have a gun, how do you know I won't just punch you in the face, rather than shoot you?"

    He just kind of went, "uh..." and we went on to talk about something else.

  • ||

    And that's why you can be certain he'll take more care to be polite to you.

  • ||

    Excellent point.

  • ||

    That says a lot more about the quality of them as people then it does about the atheist.

    Exactly. The fact that I, as an atheist, lead a much more moral life than most devout Christians I know says a lot.

    I don't need an invisible friend to know the difference between right and wrong.

  • ||

    Fine. Then I want my ring back. Bitch.

  • ||

    It's on my cock. Get it yourself.

  • ||

    Doesn't say much for your cock, now, does it...? ;)

  • ||

    I asked for that.

  • ||

    The fact that I, as an atheist, lead a much more moral life than most devout Christians I know says a lot.

    Really, anecdotal evidence overcomes actual studies?

    There's a decent number of social science studies that demonstrate that atheists are somewhat less trustworthy than theists. Not nearly as much as theists believe, though.

  • ||

    Depends on the atheist.
    Many are unprincipled animals and are indeed not worthy of trust.
    But the same could be said of many theists, especially when their theism excuses force and fraud depending on the circumstance.
    I am an atheist who holds to the non-aggression principle, and I tend to be honest more because I'm a terrible liar than anything else.

  • ||

    "Really, anecdotal evidence overcomes actual studies?"

    Well, when he is specifically referring to HIMSELF versus the PEOPLE he knows?

    Yes, you illiterate twat, it does.

    Next time you want to try to shoehorn your studies int o a discussion, pick one where they actually apply.

    "I, as an atheist, lead a much more moral life than most devout Christians I know"

    Re-read that until you realize why your reply is stupid.

  • ||

    Why not compare the percentage of atheists in the U.S. to the percentage of atheists in jail in the U.S.?

  • ||

    What about people who were atheists when they committed the crimes which got them in prison? That would be more reliable than those who found Jesus (or Mohammad) while serving their prison sentences.

  • Fluffy Got Demoted||

    The problem is that all four of the studies at your link employed game theory.

    And three of them didn't appear to test for trustworthiness AT ALL, but rather used "cooperation" games to test whether or not the participant was a sucker.

    Whenever you see any study that employs game theory in any way, you can be 99% certain that the test was designed consciously or unconsciously to achieve the aims of the game designer. That's all game theory ever does, really.

  • Warty||

    The problem is that all four of the studies at your link employed game theory.

    NASH EQUILIBRIUM

  • tarran||

    I guess that means somebody got PWNED.

  • ||

    Ya know, we hear this a lot but - what is the ratio of religious prisoners to the religious population compared to the same for non-believers?

  • ||

    See above - did they become religious before committing their crimes, or while in prison?

  • ||

    I have heard my wife (who was raised Catholic and attended Catholic schools from kindergarten through high school and still is a believer) tell other people that I am a "better Christian" than a lot of supposed Christians - even though I'm pretty much atheist.

    It's because I treat people the way I would like them to treat me; I don't lie; I don't cheat; and I don't steal.

    I do these things simply because they make sense in order to preserve a "well-ordered liberty" and a polite society, not because some invisible space monster is going to devour my soul if behave otherwise.

  • ||

    I think it's actually pretty simple: some people are assholes and some people aren't. Generally speaking, whether or not they believe in God is an independent variable.

  • ||

    Yep, however, an asshole who believes in God may behave SLIGHTLY better than the same asshole as an atheist.

  • ||

    Meh. An asshole is an asshole, regardless of religiosity.

  • Zeb||

    I'd say that religion can aggravate assholery as much as it can mitigate it. Depends on the person and the religion.

  • ||

    See, there's three kinds of people: dicks, pussies, and assholes. Pussies think everyone can get along, and dicks just want to fuck all the time without thinking it through. But then you got your assholes, Chuck. And all the assholes want us to shit all over everything! So, pussies may get mad at dicks once in a while, because pussies get fucked by dicks. But dicks also fuck assholes, Chuck. And if they didn't fuck the assholes, you know what you'd get? You'd get your dick and your pussy all covered in shit!

  • ||

    Fuck Yeah!

  • ||

    Yep, however, an asshole who believes in God may behave SLIGHTLY better than the same asshole as an atheist.

    [citation needed]

  • ||

    Or he could, you know, crash airplanes into buildings.

  • ||

    Yep, however, an asshole who believes in God may behave SLIGHTLY better than the same asshole as an atheist.

    Way to hedge with the "may." In any case, you're just making things up. You have no way of knowing this. Just come right out and say that you're prejudiced against atheists. It requires less self-deception.

  • ||

    some people are assholes and some people aren't

    aye

  • ||

    The bible makes this very clear. Look at the people God chose to do his work.

    David - asshole, commits adultery, knocks chick up, then commits murder to cover it up.

    And that is just one (BIG!!!) example, plenty of others.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, that Yaweh guy really was an asshole. He chose the biggest assholes in the world to commit genocide for him and then when they didn't do it exactly they way he wanted, he punished everyone in the whole tribe for it.

  • ||

    "It's because I treat people the way I would like them to treat me"

    You suck a lot of cock then I suppose.

  • ||

    It is often argued that religion is valuable because it makes men good, but even if this were true it would not be a proof that religion is true. That would be an extension of pragmatism beyond endurance. Santa Claus makes children good in precisely the same way, and yet no one would argue seriously that the fact proves his existence. The defense of religion is full of such logical imbecilities.
    H L Mencken

  • ||

    Sarcasmic would thank God that he is not as other men, if only he could believe in God.

  • ||

    Basically what these people are saying is that if only God wasn't watching them, they'd behave like animals. That says a lot more about the quality of them as people then it does about the atheist.

    ^THIS^

    I was going to say basically this same thing. People who have been brainwashed from infancy that there is a magical sky being who watches everything you do and will hold you accountable after you die tend to end up believing that the reason you have to obey the "Golden Rule" and be a good person is so that you get to go to heaven instead of sent to hell, where the bad people go. Not because that's just the way you should treat people and behave yourself, but because god will get pissed at you and you risk eternal damnation of your soul if you don't.

    I recall somehow ending up in a brief conversation with a guy in my dentist's waiting room - he couldn't believe that "the government" allowed atheists to testify in court, because you have to take an oath on the Bible and say "so help me God." Because aetheists don't believe in God, how do we know they won't lie?

    I explaind to him that you are not required to take an oath on a Bible and you're not required to swear to god - you're simply required to make an "oath or affirmation" that you are going to tell the truth, and there are criminal sanctions for lying.

    He still couldn't get it. He truly seemed to believe that if you were a "good Christian," and swore on a Bible, you obviously would be physiologically incapable of uttering a falsehood; while if you were an atheist, and you didn't believe in a god holding you accountable, so what if you swore to tell the truth? What's stopping you from lying if you feel like it?

    I was just about to ask him what stops someone from placing a hand on the Bible and swearing to god and then lying, when it was my turn to go in to the dentist. I would have liked to pursue that conversation further and see how long it took before he got to the point where he tried to take a swing at me...

  • ||

    Not because that's just the way you should treat people and behave yourself, but because god will get pissed at you and you risk eternal damnation of your soul if you don't.

    The nice thing about Christianity is that it comes with a "get out of jail free card" in that if you repent on your death bed you're absolved of all your sins.
    So you can live a terrible life, but still go to heaven if you make nice at the end.
    Atheists however, regardless of how they live their lives, are doomed to hell no matter what.
    Sure. Whatever.

  • ||

    Well, you do know that when you repent, you actually have to mean it, right? You can't just go, "Hey God, check this out! LOOPHOLE!" and waltz right in.

  • ||

    You missed the point.

    The idea that someone who lives a terrible life can go to heaven while someone who lives a wonderful life is denied, simply because of whether or not they make nice-nice with an invisible man, makes my bullshit detector go DING DING DING.

    That's not to say I don't believe in heaven and hell. I do. It is in how a person is remembered.
    I know I will be remembered well because I don't treat people like shit, while many so-called Christians I know will not because they are total dicks.

  • ||

    I recall that my mom's religion (born-again pentecostal) lost all credibility with me when I realized that if Hitler had recited the magic formula just before eating a bullet he would go to heaven but all the millions of Jews who died because of him would go to hell because they didn't.

  • ||

    In the words of the immortal George Carlin, "You have to WANNA!"

  • Zeb||

    "the immortal George Carlin"

    I seem to remember him dying a year or two ago.

  • ||

    I did not mean literally immortal, which I assumed to be obvious. Immortal as in millions will remember him for many years to come, and he lives on in his recorded works.

  • ||

    [402] It is one of the Christian delusions that Christianity brought charity into the world. It did not such thing. There were plenty of agencies for taking care of the poor and helpless long before Christianity was heard of, and even before Judaism. Both Christianity and Judaism have converted charity into a sort of pious racket. The alms-giver, in return for a trifling expenditure on this earth, will be rewarded with an infinity of bliss post-mortem. This purely selfish note is struck with great clarity by Judaism, and only less clearly by Christianity. It appears also in the other religions of the East. Thus religion has not really promoted charity, but debased it.

    H L Mencken

  • Zeb||

    Yes, I know. Just can't help myself sometimes. "The immortal words of George Carlin" would read better.

  • spencer||

    They are behaving like animals in everything they do. They (we) are all animals.

  • Robert||

    Max Stirner would agree. there are 2 sides to this coin.

  • ||

    I literally heard someone say precisely that without God telling him it was bad to lie, he would be likely to lie whenever it suited him.

    Had a neighbor basically tell me the same about the state - that without it watching over him, he'd be out raping and pillaging. Well, that was for everybody else, but after some pointed questions, he reductio'd himself into the equation.

  • ||

    Isn't it a case that most people consider everyone else to be untrustworthy as atheist? And with pretty good reason most of the time?

    Let's run the same poll and find out what atheists think of believers. I bet the results are close to the same

    People don't like each other. That is real breaking news.

  • ||

    Well.....some people are not trustworthy whether they believe in invisible sky beings or not. However, as an atheist, I have to say that I do distrust people who are overtly Christian and need everyone to know it. Those types seem one bible revision away from raping and pillaging (in the name of God, or course).

  • ||

    I always hear about those people and I never seem to meet them. And I know some people who hold some pretty crazy views. Like thinking Muslims immigrating to America are God's punishment of America's sins crazy.

    But interestingly enough, while those people are most certainly Christian, they never seem to me at least to be particularly overt about it. You have to bring the subject up and get them talking to realize what they believe.

    I honestly never have any of the experiences that atheists on here talk about. I don't know and never have known a single person who fits the stereotypes that get put out on here. I never have. And it is not for lack of being around some pretty crazy Christians.

  • ||

    When I say "overtly Christian" I mean someone who regularly dumps God or Jesus on every conversation. We're not talking about someone who says "Thank God!" after skating through the intersection before the light changed red. We're talking about the types who will ask you, "Didn't the Lord provide us with a beautiful day?" as you're walking your dog past their house.

    I don't trust those fuckers.

  • ||

    An I am saying, I never seem to meet anyone who fits your description.

  • ||

    You've never had someone knock on your door to talk about God? The Jehovas Witnesses do it, the Mormons do it, people trying to drum up new members for their local Baptist/Presbyterian/Catholic/Lutheran/whatever church do it. If none of these has ever knocked on your door, I want to move to your neighborhood.

  • ||

    Other than the Jehovas, I have never once had anyone knock on my door and try to get me to join their church. And I have lived in the South.

  • ||

    If I have some time to kill I invite them in and we talk about god. One Jehova's Witness kid seemed genuinely curious, as if this was the first time he had ever even heard that there was any alternative to the bible. Unfortunately, right when he started asking some really key questions, and was actually holding my copy of A Brief History of Time, which he said he would be interested in reading, his brother abruptly ended the visit, and wouldn't let him take the book. I think that's why they always go out in twos; in case anyone tries to teach them something.

  • ||

    John - I presume you don't live in the south?

    Can't tell you how many time I've had someone tell me "have a blessed day". I also see lots of vanity plates and bumper stickers that say things like "2SRVHIM" or "MYLYF4JC", etc.

    When we first moved here to central VA, first day at the bus stop in our new neighborhood, another dad was there with his young daughter; we introduced ourselves; I told him we had just moved to the area - first thing he does is say, "Well, I'd like to invite you to come to my church." He was only the first of a few people who did that - it seems to be a southern baptist thing - when they learn you're new to the area, they assume you're looking for a new church to attend - or they're looking to add a new member to the flock - and they invite you to their church.

    One of my other neighbors in that neighborhood, with whom I ended up becoming sort of friends, was unable to have a conversation for more than about 15 or 20 minutes before Jesus Christ came up, and how we all were worthless sinner who needed HIM to be saved. Typically, a rant about how ridiculous evolution was would also be in there somewhere, and how absurd was the notion that the Earth was "millions and billions" of years old.

    There are lots of people around here along those lines.

  • ||

    Telling someone to have "a blessed day" is not being obnoxious. As far as the guy who couldn't talk for more than 20 minutes without talking about Jesus needing to save us, that is not my experience.

    And I lived a lot of time in the bible belt. I guess I don't give off the right vibe to get people to talk like that.

  • ||

    Obnoxious is a subjective adjective. If something is highly offensive, it's obnoxious. Having some cashier tell me to have a "blessed day" is obnoxious. Same thing with "bless you" after a sneeze. Keep your religious crap to yourself.

  • ||

    Ever hear of Tebow:

    The Denver Broncos QB made an appearance on ESPN’s First Take program on Tuesday morning and invariably, the topic of former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer’s critique regarding Tebow’s incessant praising of Jesus whenever he gets a chance came up as a topic of discussion. Of course, Tebow responded in typical Tebow-esque manner: self-assured and composed, all the while incorporating heavy doses of “I love Jesus” into his response. As transcribed by Pro Football Talk:
    “If you’re married, and you have a wife, and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only say to your wife, I love her, the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and have the opportunity? And that’s how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ,” Tebow said. “It is the most important thing in my life, so every opportunity I have to tell him I love him, or I’m given an opportunity to shout him out on national TV, I’m going to take that opportunity.”

  • ||

    I always hear about those people and I never seem to meet them.

    And I never met anyone who voted for Nixon. Let me introduce you to my ex-sister-in-law. She once gave me a long lecture because I said "oh my God." She constantly finds ways to tell people that all their problems stem from not believing or not being religious enough. She surrounds herself with like-minded people: people who can't have a conversation without turning it toward Jesus.

    I'm fine with people believing things that I think are false, as long as they don't continually try to convince me to believe those falsehoods. Don't be a dick about it, and you'll never hear about my atheism.

  • ||

    I think you'd be more likely to find that most atheists find believers unintelligent rather than untrustworthy.

  • ||

    but a little skepticism on your part would be nice to see.

    I ask the same for his reporting on climate change (which I admit has gotten better) and those studies that try to explain the liberal vs conservative mind.

  • ||

    I was pretty religious in college. Most of the people I hung out and partied with in college were atheists. I had much more interesting conversations with them. They were a lot of fun.

  • Fluffy Got Demoted||

    I'm not that outraged by this.

    It's perfectly fair for believers to think I'm more likely to be dishonest, since I for my part think they're more likely to be stupid.

    (I didn't say automatically more stupid, just "more likely".)

  • ||

    And both of those beliefs have support from social science studies.

  • ||

    "from social science studies."

    so, nothing of any real value then...

  • ||

    ^^This^^

  • ||

    I remember calling myself a Christian as a child, but I think that I've always been an atheist. I never really believed in god or an afterlife, but convincing myself that I did made my mom happy. I suspect that there are a lot more like me out there.

  • ||

    I can relate.

  • ||

    For me it was I just didn't bother to question it. When I did it was fucking difficult. The most devout period of my life was the last gasp effort to see if I just wasn't trying hard enough. Did roasaries every day and shit. Finally I figured out that I just didn't belive in God.

    Despite the fact that I didn't just give up because I didn't want to go church any more (I actually still like going to mass occasionally) many people obviously think less of me. My mother has a terrible time with it. I think part of it is that people think we all hate religion Dawkins style when I really just don't give a shit what other people believe. Just let me be.

  • BakedPenguin||

    In 1958, most Americans thought atheists were, ipso facto, Communists.

  • ||

    Not all atheists are communists, but all communists are atheists

  • Robert||

    Not true. Ever heard of Christian communism?

  • ||

    Hugo Chavez is Christian.

  • ||

    ever heard of true scotsmen? Something about the opiate of the people.

  • ||

    dammit, the true scotsmen thing came up already. There needs to be a godwin's law for scotsmen. I propose the McYonemoto law: The probability of the scotsman fallacy not discussed on a reason board goes to one as the length goes to infinity. Perhaps a vacuous corollary of the infinite monkeys gedanken experiment, but I'm no true mathematician.

  • ||

    Communism is a religion that worships The State. It is a subset of statism, just like liberalism, socialism, and a host of other isms that define government.

  • Zeb||

    "all communists are atheists"

    That is simply not true. Very far from it.

  • ||

    Liberation Theology = christian communism. Been around for decades in Latin America.

  • ||

    Warmers view deniers about the same way.

  • ||

    I can not count the times I have been asked "Do you believe in Global Warming?"

    Believe in? It is a religion isn't it.

  • ||

    ^THIS^

    Man, this whole thread is chock full of excellent points.

    If you've never read Carl Sagan's book "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Darkness," I recommend it. It's an anjoyable read.

    He explains how people would always ask him whether he "believed in" UFOs. His answer was first, there is plenty of evidence that people have observed objects flying in the sky that they were unable to identify - hence yes, there certainly are such things as "unidentified flying objects." Of course, what the questioner really meant was "do you believe they are visitors from outer space?" To which he would reply that it was not a matter of whether he "believed" it or not - it was a matter of whether there was sufficient evidence to lead to that conclusion. Which there is not.

  • ||

    Which there is not

    Explain pyramids and crop circles. You can't. Therefore, aliens.

  • ||

    Boo yaa! Butts Wagner wins!

  • ||

    Nah, god made them.

    And the aliens, too.

  • ||

    I’ll tell you why [religion is] not a scam, in my opinion. Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that. You can’t explain why the tide goes in.

  • ||

    It definitely doesn't have anything to do with gravity or the Moon.

  • ||

    If I had a Holy Book "Demon-Haunted World..."
    would be it. But then...I don't believe in Holy Books.

  • ||

    wonder if the american jail pop is mostly believers or not ?

  • ||

    Prison is huge target for missionary work. There's probably a jailhouse conversion every minute.

  • ||

    Right before sentencing.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Just ask Chuck Colson.

  • ||

    Funny just how stupid people are, if any of this is to be believed. On the news/Internet, they can see Islamofascists blow people to bits, blow up schools, and beat or stone their own daughters for the horrible crime of being raped; they can see Catholic priests molest young boys and watch as the Church does nothing about it; they can see hypocritical, God-bothering, oily televangelists and fundie pols embezzle money, get caught taking bribes, or cheat on their wives/husbands.

    But they still think atheists are the bad apples, just for being atheists. O-O-Okay.

  • ||

    "That's that other team, that's not me. Here in the only correct religion, those things don't happen. And if they do, those people weren't really part of my team all along."

  • ||

    did the scots have any native religion ? druids maybe ?

  • ||

    I don't know about way back when, but in my experience, Scots are largely Presbyterian. Or is it that presbyterians are largerly Scots?

  • ||

    I believe he's riffing on the "no true scotsman" fallacy which Sug posted.

  • ||

    +1

  • ||

    Meh. o2 is pretty much indecipherable most of the time. Not that I've ever bothered to expend too much effort in trying to understand whatever nonsense drools out of his keypad.

  • ||

    That's part and parcel of the poison of religion. If you do something good, thank God because you couldn't have done it on your own. If you do something bad, it's not God's fault that you're an evil son of a bitch. To the "God fearing man" another religious guy who does something wrong has fallen away from God. The further you get, the eviler you are. Therefore, atheists must be the epitome of evil.

  • ||

    or cheat on their wives/husbands.

    Should a rational atheist see any wrong with cheating?

    Personally I think it is those puritanical pile of shit humanists who are giving atheism its bad name.

  • ||

    Maybe not an atheist, but a libertarian should see something wrong with cheating; breach of contract.

  • ||

    If a rational atheist has made a pledge to another person to "forsake all others," and signed a document to the effect that he/she will enter into a covenant that precludes intimate relationships with others, then yes.

    A rational atheist might be the type of person who decides that such pledges are ridiculous and pointless, however, and thus never enters one.

    However, one of my points above was that the public Gawd-botherers caught cheating are usually the very ones who'd erstwhile never miss an opportunity to get in front of a microphone and ooze piety and "famblee valyoooz" and "gays and single moms are a threat to the sanctity of marriage" and all that bullshit.

  • ||

    Episiarch: With due respect, I think you dismiss these findings too quickly. For example, other research[PDF] shows that religious priming invokes norms of fairness. In addition, the same team has probed how inducing religious thoughts affects behavior.See also my column on that research, Does Religion Make People Nicer?

  • ||

    Episiarch: With due respect, . . .

    So, just how much respect is due to Epi?

  • ||

    Zero.

  • ||

    Less than zero!

  • ||

    Hey! Bet there's a song in that, somewhere...!

  • ||

    "There's a rumor going around that you are retarded."

  • ||

    "I'm the retardedest monster since retarded went to Retard Town!"

  • ||

    The original would have been funnier and more accurate, yanno.

  • ||

    Beyond the zero?

  • ||

    Depends. Are we talking about pizza?

  • ||

    9-9-9!

  • ||

    "Respect" is based on irrational social norms and a medieval concepts of "honor".

  • Tman||

    This may be anectdotal and non-scientific, but I can tell you right now that if someone is looking for me to trust them and they start babbling about Jesus or the bible and how much they worship all that I take it as a sign that they are.......full of shit.

    The bottom line is that if you are advertising either your belief or non belief than you are also probably........full of shit. People who are trustworthy don't need to advertise either.

  • ||

    I may believe in the general Christian thingamabob, but +1 to you, Tman...I do the exact same thing.

  • ||

    People who are trustworthy don't need to advertise either.

    We have a winner.

    Any time a religion's PR flunkies start talking about how they're a "peaceful religion," and their clergy are "men of peace," it's immediately clear that they wouldn't have to advertise if that were really true.

  • ||

    I think libertarians need to advertise their arguments more effectively. I KNOW a lot of people think libertarians are the devil. How do we get converts other than the state railroading people?

  • ||

    Sure, Ron, but my point is that such studies are inherently biased and there isn't even a way to double blind them because they are "interpreted" by the researcher and are therefore influenced by their own biases. So basically, they're mostly a load of shit.

  • ||

    Right up there with the studies linked earlier today where the guy convinced himself that disorder made people racist.

  • ||

    Robin Hanson, also an atheist, linked to a few such studies here.

    There's quite a few reputable studies that suggest a significant (but not that large) difference in trustworthiness.

    Atheists, like anyone else being challenged (say believers about studies indicating that atheists are more likely to be intelligent), respond to these studies with dismissal or invocations of their personal anecdotal evidence.

  • ||

    "There's quite a few reputable studies"

    reputable to YOU

    which isn't saying much

  • ||

    I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind - that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinkin
      Henry Louis Mencken

  • ||

    Mighty Christian attitude, there.

    It's been my direct experience that many (most?) self-described "Christians" tend to be quite un-Christian in their dealings with fellow humans.

    I mean, libertarians, I expect to be ashsoles and treat other people like shit. But supposed "God-fearing, good Christians"?

    I always thought the funniest thing was how during Sunday service, they're all "peace be with you"; "and also with you" - and then watch what happens when service ends and they're all trying to beat each other out of the parking lot to get to Golden Corral or Costco.

  • ||

    It's been my direct experience that self-described "Atheists" tend to be quite un-atheist when they think they are about to die.

  • ||

    How many data points do you have on that, exactly? 'Cause my two data points serve as anecdata against your claim.

  • ||

    Before the Gulf War, had a half-dozen guys in my platoon who became bible-thumping Christians. I got stuck with one of them one night when Iraqi tanks decided to shoot us up. He was throwing out his various tobacco products and promising God he would never use them again.

    As soon as we got home he was a smoking atheist again.

  • Robert||

    You've been about to die twice? Wow, don't hold back, you must have a couple of exciting stories!

  • ||

    No, no... just that I personally know of two (three, actually, now that I think of it) atheists who, while dying or very close to death, completely failed to have anything like a sudden conversion.

    (I don't expect to have a deathbed conversion myself, either, but I think I'd prefer to indefinitely postpone any evidence-gathering on that point.)

  • ||

    I'm talking about people who see the wrong shaped tanks rolling towards them and start screaming for help from a higher authority (not the Air Force).

  • ||

    So because a couple you knew did that, all atheists would, and therefore are hypocrits? Or what? I'm failing to see the relevance of your statement here.

  • Zeb||

    They're probably just desperate. Hoping against hope that maybe there is a God out there who can save your ass is not the same a being a believer.

  • ||

    Are you sure?

  • ||

    As soon as we got home he was a smoking atheist again.

    Pretty sure, yes.

  • ||

    Pray into the CAS freq, and His Holy Wrath will descend from the heavens in the form of Apaches and A10s and B-52s.

  • ||

    Exactly what happened. Unfortunately the great God DASC answered our prayers with Air Farce A-10's - who didn't bother distinguishing friend from foe and destroyed a Marine LAV - killing everyone in it.

    From that day forth, only Marine and Navy tac air answered our CAS prayers - to our great relief and joy.

  • ||

    http://www.marines.mil/news/pu.....ments/U.S. Marines in Battle Al-Khafji PCN 106000400_3.pdf

  • ||

    http://www.marines.mil/news/pu.....ments/U.S. Marines in Battle Al-Khafji PCN 106000400_3.pdf

    stupid internet

  • ||

    Ah, so your actual claim is "extreme stress can make people behave in ways they otherwise would not."

    I'm not certain that's controversial, exactly.

  • ||

    It is my experience that human belief in the supernatural is fairly common and crosses all cultural lines.

    it is almost as if religion is an innate characteristic of being human.

    Anyway one would also expect an innate characteristic of being human would persevere during times of great duress....and this by no means proves the existence of god...in fact an innate belief in the higher powers would suggest that the higher powers do not exist at all.

    What sort of basis would poeple be built/created to "believe" when the actual thing that is to be believed in actually existed?

    for example we do not need pre-coded nerves to believe in rocks.

  • ||

    In my experience, libertarians tend to be the most fair-minded people and the easiest to get along with, because they don't try to control other people or tell them how to live or sue them at the drop of a hat or call the cops for every little disagreement.

  • ||

    because they don't try to control other people

    Some of the biggest arguments I get into involve me disagreeing with other people's desire to control other people's behavior.

    People really like it when you agree with their more tyrannical nature and despise it when you disagree.

  • ||

    'Oh God, oh Sweet Jesus' but since I'm viewed as a liar, it must be the truth. !!

  • ||

    You can't trust those Santerians though:

    http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_n.....-employees

  • BakedPenguin||

    First they stole his heina, now this.

  • ||

    I wonder if pollsters have ever asked atheists how they feel about voting for various sorts of believers, say, fundamentalist Christians?

    I would love to see that study, because from my vantage point I do see an awful lot of atheists distrusting religious folks. You atheists may claim you're not, but think about how often you have thought that a religious candidate or politician was being manipulated by his pastor or priest or televangelist or voices in his head. The common perception among many militant atheists is that no religious person can think for himself.

  • BakedPenguin||

    It depends on their 'religiousity'. As someone mentioned upthread, when a person goes out of their way to inform everyone how religious (or unreligious) they are, without context, they are probably covering for something.

  • ||

    Brandybuck: Do you mean candidates for president like Pat Robertson? Just asking about the issue of "voices in his head."

  • ||

    I note your use of the qualifier "militant." Most atheists (in my experience) are not "militant;" merely atheist.

    I don't much care if a presidential candidate holds firm religious beliefs - whatever they are. In a way, it's good - then I know, at least to some degree, where he or she stands.

    Where I become wary is when the person is not merely "informed" by those principles or beliefs, but dictates his views on political issues based on them.

    E.g., "the homosexual agenda" or "gay marriage". The fundy right-wingers are against those things mostly because the Bible says they're bad, mmkay? Take a look at Bachmann and Santorum. Blecch. Santorum and his ilk come across so holier-than-thou, because, after all, he's a good, conservative, god-fearing Christian, except that those disgusting homos shouldn't even be allowed to vote, let alone adopt kids or get "married." Because, after all, the Bible says that homosexuality is an abomination and a sin against god.

  • ||

  • Zeb||

    You are right to some extent, but it depends on what kind of religion you are talking about. If someone thinks that they know God's plan, or that God is telling them what to do, then yes, I will distrust them because of their religious beliefs. Because that is insane. If you think that God is telling you what to do, you are hearing voices in your head. The problem isn't that they can't think for themselves, but that they think that some of their thoughts are coming from a higher power.

  • ||

    The problem isn't that they can't think for themselves,

    Can't say I agree with this.

    On issue after issue, believers can't support their positions without going back to the Bible. The Bible is a collection what passed for wisdom and knowledge accumulated to a particular point in time. Of course over the last two millenia, a lot of the knowledge gaps have been filled in. Does that change their minds? Usually not, even though Jesus is supposed to have said that his followers were to seek the truth and the truth will set you free.

    Quite often I've been in conversations with religious folks and they've admited that my position is more logical, fair, reasonable, etc., yet they won't change their mind because the Bible says God said the opposite.

    There are believers that are intransigent on various issues and ideas because they will not contradict the thoughts of some group of men, whether the thoughts come from 2, 3, 4+ thousand years ago.

    We've all heard of the term "echo chamber". The longest running, and by far the biggest, echo chamber in existence is and continues to be religion.

  • Zeb||

    Sure, there are Christians, etc. who won't think for themselves because their book is God's word or whatever and you can't argue with that. I'm thinking more of those who think that they are in direct, personal communication with God.

  • ||

    I am a believing Christian who has studied religious text and writings for decades. When I see someone quietly reading a bible on the train, I think, good for you.

    However, I am wary of people who openly wear large cross necklaces or have Jesus stickers all over their car. I see it as both overcompensation on their part and an insensitive affront to others.

    Somewhere in the bible it says if a non-believer invites you to their house for dinner, you should accept and eat whatever is placed before you. The idea is that if you are polite and respectful to a non-believer, you are planting the seeds of faith.

    And you may get more free dinners to boot

  • ||

    I view gun control advocates the same way.

    Their wanting to take guns away from people tells me that they do not trust themselves with a gun, which makes them generally untrustworthy in my book.

  • ||

    Exactly. The "people will kill each other over a fender bender" argument for gun control always makes me think that person knows they have little self control.

  • ||

    Or live in the ghetto.

  • ||

    And his mama cries.

  • ||

    Outward displays of belief in God may be viewed as a proxy for trustworthiness...

    Which is why so many "religious" folks use that status to dupe other people. I think the mistrust of atheists is due, in part, because atheists are objective enough to call bullshit on hypocrites who hide behind their religion. The religious can't leverage guilt, shame, charity, Heaven, Hell, faith, duty, or tradition against atheists. It makes atheists very hard to control.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    As a Christian, I really do love all the fucking atheists here at H&R. And I'm really sorry you're all gonna rot in hell.

  • ||

    "All the best bands are affiliated with Satan."

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Yeah. I must say, listening to The Osmonds every night for eternity is gonna get really old.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    At least Neil Diamond is Jewish, right?
    Whew. I dodged a fucking bullet there.

  • ||

    Nah, Satan has the Mormons too. He co-wrote most of Crazy Horses and The Plan.

  • ||

    Can't you see you're not making christianity any better, you're just making rock 'n roll worse.

  • ||

    You won't want to miss this:
    http://www.titanicbranson.com/.....n-dogs.php

  • ||

    Supposed to be in response to Citizen Nothing below.

  • ||

    We'll miss you down there. While you're enduring the thirty-billionth harp-accompanied "hallelujah" with the boring church ladies, we'll be hanging out with the best stand-up comics and most of the strippers.

    Of course, there's still time to join us! ;)

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Speaking of which, I have an assignment to write about Branson, Missouri this year. True story. (Shudder.)

  • ||

    It's just a smaller version of Disneyworld with country music. Actually, I saw more toothless rednecks at Disneyworld.

  • ||

    and dont forget the booze !

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I'm not Catholic, but a couple of my children are. I'm hoping they can get me a day pass to the wine bar.

  • Zeb||

    "I'm not Catholic, but a couple of my children are"

    How did that happen? Are there actually people who are Catholic on purpose?

  • ||

    Amazing, innit?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Their mother is Catholic. Whadda ya gonna do?

  • ||

    Hell is a town in Michigan.
    http://www.mapquest.com/maps?city=Hell&state=MI

    I am unable to locate a Fire Department in Hell MI. Apparently there is no such thing as Hellfire!

  • ||

    Well, if its in Michigan, it must freeze over pretty regularly.

    Explains a lot, actually.

  • ||

    Hell is also a town in Grand Cayman. It's not on the beach though.

  • ||

    Hell, Norway, is near Trondheim, about 400 mi N of Oslo. Been frozen there once.

  • ||

    Say what you will about rapists, thse fuckers are pretty straightfoward.

  • ||

    I am an atheist in the same way that I am an a-unicornist.

    This is why I distrust self-described atheists. Because they're liars. Or at least they lack self-knowledge.

    If you have a conception of God, you believe in Him. You may reject Him, but He's in you. Whatever the fuck that means.

    Personally, I have no idea what believers and non-believers even think they're disputing. Apparently I lack whatever socio-neurological adaptation allows them to think they're talking about...whatever the fuck they're talking about, which obviously is something, something conceptually unique and very important, because it (at least sometimes) defines them, lets them say "I am a ____"—or "I am a-____."

    No one's identity is unicorn-derived, y'know.

  • ||

    If you have a conception of God, you believe in Him. You may reject Him, but He's in you. Whatever the fuck that means.

    Nonsense. The conception of an idea doesn't make it real. Unless you are going done the solipsism route, and literally no one will follow you there.

  • Warty||

    Unless you are going done the solipsism route, and literally no one will follow you there.

    Well, obviously, since nothing exists but his mind. Dumbass.

  • ||

    Hence my clever play on words, turdburglar.

  • Warty||

    No turds exist to burgle, except in my mind. Dickchoker.

  • ||

    For some reason I know have a mental image of Bilbo Baggins with his head up someone's ass.

    Thanks for that.

  • Warty||

    Everyone knows that hobbits are way more into footing than heading. Fisting is a distant third.

  • ||

    Reminds me of the film "Hancock" with Will Smith.

  • ||

    Centsign: I haven't seen a unicorn or a god. If I see either, I will consider (1) changing my mind about their existences, or (2) thinking that I've finally lost it.

  • ||

    Doesn't that make you agnostic?

  • ||

    NO! For the love of...er...Galt, review the terminology.

    Agnosticism is total nonsense. You either believe in a thing, or you do not. Agnosticism is just a ploy to sound "open-minded"

  • ||

    The militant agnostics are going to waterboard you with Dr. Pepper for that, Moonie.

  • ||

    You don't know that. you can't possibly know that.

  • ||

    "It is not cola. It is not root beer."

  • Warty||

    The agnostic asserts that it is impossible to empirically or logically know the answer to the question, "Does God exist?" Which is a perfectly valid position to take, but it's not answering the question, "Do you believe in God?"

    In common usage, "I am an agnostic" is a socially acceptable and cowardly way to say that you're an atheist.

  • ||

    The agnostic asserts that it is impossible to empirically or logically know the answer to the question, "Does God exist?" Which is a perfectly valid position to take

    It is not a valid position to take. Logically, you cannot prove a negative. If the theist wants me to believe, they need to prove the positive assertion. Ergo, I can logically say "I know God does not exist"

  • ||

    I've always understood the distinction to be essentially that an agnostic is an aetheist who lacks the courage of his conviction.

    I.e., the agnostic isn't sure there is a god, and therefore isn't a "true believer," but remains open to the possibility and to be convinced; an atheist takes the position that there is no god.

    Probably a gross oversimplification on my part, but gross oversimplifications are something I can be good at, if needed.

  • Warty||

    In the degraded common usage, your definition is correct. In the more technical sense, not really.

  • ||

    Shorter:

    Believer: "God exists!"

    Atheist: "There is no god."

    Agnostic: "I have no dog in this fight."

  • Warty||

    Somewhat longer:

    Believer: "God exists!"

    Atheist: "There is no evidence of any god."

    Agnostic: "I'm a giant pussy."

  • Warty||

    More seriously:

    Believer: "God exists!"

    Atheist: "No god exists."

    Agnostic: "It's impossible to know if God exists."

  • ||

    Believer: "I believe God exists!"

    Atheist: "I don't believe any god exists."

    Antitheist: "I believe no god exists!"

    Agnostic: "It's impossible to know if any god exists."

  • ||

    "Believer: "I believe God exists!"

    Atheist: "I don't believe any god exists."

    Antitheist: "I believe no god exists!"

    Agnostic: "It's impossible to know if any god exists, and I am not emotionally invested enough in this argument to waste much time on it."

  • ||

    Hasn't anyone heard of the 2x2 grid of theism/atheism and gnostic/agnostic? It suggests there are two separate things, such that you can be an agnostic theist or a gnostic atheist.

  • ||

    Stop it; yer makin' mah haid hert.

  • ||

    Unicorns existed and exist.

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscie.....ns-are-re/

    Also the mythical Roc (giant bird) existed as well.

  • ||

    If you have a conception of God, you believe in Him. You may reject Him, but He's in you. Whatever the fuck that means.

    This is literally the dumbest (and yet most frequently asserted) fallback line of every theist ever. It was dumb when Descartes said it and it is dumb now.

  • ||

    Ahh... what?

    I mean, do you feel the same way about Darth Vader? I have a "conception" of the guy (mean dude, black armor, chokes people, yells "NOOOOOOOO" a lot nowadays), but I don't think I can be said to "believe" in him (at least not without stretching the language beyond all recognition).

    Same thing with the concept of god. I have a conception of him (bearded dude in the sky, created the world, obsessed with foreskins, hates chicks), but that in no way implies that I secretly think it's true that the guy exists.

  • ||

    It's just the old ontological argument, which seems to rear its retarded head every 20 years (in modern history) or so.

  • ||

    I've seen the argument before; it just always weirds me out when someone presents it as anything other than a hilarious example of fallacious argumentation.

  • ||

    How so many smart people over the centuries have taken such a flawed, circular argument seriously is wholly perplexing to me as well.

  • ||

    Religious apologists will go to great lengths, twisting words and logic every which way, to justify their blind faith.

  • ||

    I find your lack of faith disturbing.

  • ||

    Oh, Lord Vader... I... uhh... ack... gux...

    *thump*

  • ||

    Let's review what we learned today, children:

    1. god is obsessed with foreskins.

  • ||

    2. Darth Vader is God?

  • ||

    Darth Vader is obsessed with foreskins.

  • ||

    Same thing with the concept of god. I have a conception of him (bearded dude in the sky...

    Yeah, that's Zeus, the basis of the Christian image of their god.

  • ||

    Ok Descartes, someone needs to go to back to philosophy 101 and see the obvious problems with that view.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    What do you get when you place Decartes before the ass?

  • ||

    I also have "a conception" of Santa Claus. Does that mean I believe in him?

    Ditto the bogey-man, tooth fairy, an honest politician...

  • ||

    My son is 11 years old now and just asked me yesterday if Santa really exists. I told him Santa doesn't really exist because nobody believes in him anymore. His response, "well I still believe in Santa".

  • ||

    You don't beat that kid enough.

  • ||

    I don't have a conception of an honest politician. It just isn't there. It's like a three wheeled bicycle. Honest and politician just can not merge.

  • ||

    If you have a conception of God, you believe in Him.

    Congratulations. It's not even 2:00, but I think this is the dumbest thing I'm going to read today.

  • ||

    Having a conception of God does not equate to belief.

    I have conception of Yoda from Star Wars, but I don't believe in him.

    Many atheists are concerned that people who believe in God will try to impose their belief on others through the arm of government.

    Many believers, such as myself, also are concerned that people who believe in God will try to impose their belief on others through the arm of government.

    Take man-made global warming for instance - who a load of hooey. If some people want to believe that kind of fantasy, then fine, but don't tell me to go out and buy toxic light bulbs or pay some sort of carbon tax over it. I'm not into nature worship and I don't believe in hocus-pocus man-made climate change. I'm not saying other people can't, just don't force me to participate.

    Along a similar vein, I'm not interested in having Sharia law in the West. Heck, I disagree with having it in the East - on the basis of political philosophy and my view of the contract between government and the governed.

    With believers like me, you can stop worrying about my religion, and start worrying about my politics[insert witty YouTube clip I was going to put here if were allowed more links in each post].

  • ||

    I'm an atheist and most of my friends are Christian. (Oh dear, that sounds an awful lot like "Some of my best friends are black.") Anyway, I've found arguing about religion is mostly pointless and it's best to stay far away from topics like these, unless you're purposely having a philosophical debate. Maybe it's just because I'm relatively young, or maybe it's the Midwest, but nobody ever talks about religion except to say "I'm busy, I have a church meeting" or whatever.

  • ||

    My debate on religion is pretty simple. It goes something like this.
    A religious person believes that some supernatural being always existed, and created everything as we know it.
    I believe that everything we know always existed, and humans created the idea of a supernatural being to explain it.
    The end.

  • ||

    But of course we know that everything we know hasn't always existed. Cosmology tells us everything was once a singularity that burst forth to become the universe. So you really can't believe that everything we know has always existed. It hasn't.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    My six year old son was in a snit the other morning.
    "The universe is really bugging me!" he said.
    "It goes on forever, and after that there's not even nothing! That really bugs me. This is a stupid universe."
    Smart kid.

  • Zeb||

    Except for thinking that it makes any sense to talk about something after forever.

    The universe does not owe us comprehensibility.

  • ||

    It is my firm belief that there are things humans will never understand about the universe because the human brain is incapable of comprehension.

  • ||

    So you really can't believe that everything we know has always existed.

    I can believe whatever the fuck I want, so suck it.

    Physics tells me that matter and energy can be converted into one another, but they cannot be destroyed. I can infer from that that the matter and energy that makes up the universe was always there, and you can't stop me. So again, suck it.

    I read the big band theory and such to obsession with beginnings and endings. The same obsession that leads to religion, creationism, belief in the afterlife and such. I don't have that obsession. I don't feel that the matter and energy that comprises the universe must have had a beginning or end.
    So again John, suck it.

  • ||

    We don't know that it has an end. But we do know it had a beginning. And we also know that, at least at the quantum level things do come from nothing and that the laws of physics as we know them didn't exist during the first nanoseconds of the universe.

    That doesn't mean there is a God. But it does mean everything we know hasn't always existed. It just hasn't.

    If you don't like that, go live in another universe more to your liking.

  • ||

    But we do know it had a beginning.

    Now you're telling me what I may or may not believe?
    Yep, I can see you got religion.

  • ||

    I am just telling you what the science books say. You can not believe in science if you don't want. But I wish you luck.

  • ||

    A hundred years ago they thought atoms held together to make molecules with little hooks. Now we know different.
    People obsessed with beginnings have found the beginning of the universe. I think you will find that what many of these people are searching for is evidence of god. As a god fearing creationist I can see how you would lap it up because it confirms to your biases.
    But now they've found that the universe is accelerating! Must be some dark energy or dark matter. But how does that fit into the beginning of the universe theory?

    Look. We don't know about what happened billions of years ago.

    I don't. You don't. Nobody does.

    So please stop telling me what I can or cannot believe. I don't push my lack of faith onto people because I don't like them pushing their faith onto me.

    I think that makes me a better person than you.

  • ||

    I think the big bang theory is pretty good science. You don't have to believe it. But it is probably not a good idea.

  • ||

    The big bang theory works for now. I'm sure before I die they'll come up with something better. And long after I'm dead they'll revise it or replace it.
    Several hundred years ago you could be killed for suggesting the earth is not the center of the universe.
    Who knows what science will say several hundred years from now.

    One thing I can be certain of.

    Nobody will ever know for sure.

  • ||

    One thing I can be certain of.

    Nobody will ever know for sure.

    You, you... agnostic!

  • Zeb||

    Several hundred years ago there was no such thing as science, as it is understood today.

  • ||

    The science of any age is not based in fact, but rather, its absence.

    - EAP

  • ||

    "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke

  • ||

    Big Bang merely says that there was a singularity at some point, not that there was nothing before that. We have no info on what existed(or not) before the BB.

  • ||

    Big band theory? Is that the proposition that Glenn Miller created the universe and all that is in it?

  • ||

    aye

  • ||

    I had an entry in my iTunes library that was truncated at a thought-provoking spot. I don't remember the name of the song, but the artist was listed as "Glenn Miller and his Orc".

    I think I would buy that album.

  • ||

    Hey, don't laugh - some of those Orcs really knew how to use their axes. (little musician humor there)

  • ||

    I never got into GWAR.

  • ||

    What about Skyrim?

  • ||

    "Physics tells me that matter and energy can be converted into one another, but they cannot be destroyed."

    That is not quite true anymore. Hawking's theories about how black holes work suggests that "information" (matter/energy) can be destroyed within a black hole. It is currently a huge controversy in theoretical physics.

  • ||

    As a proud and godfearing American, I totally agree with this study and don't trust ANY of you godless swine posting here at Reason. Rapists, the lot of you!
    HA!

  • ||

    I see you know us all quite well.

  • ||

    STEVE SMITH BELIEVE IN GOD. HOW ELSE EXPLAIN BOUNTY OF NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM? HIKERS ALL IN ONE SPOT TO RAPE, MUST BE INTELLIGENT DESIGN.

  • ||

    I am glad this came up, because I find it extremely interesting that America holds these beliefs about atheists, and yet is generally decidedly uncomfortable with Tim Tebow's obnoxious Christianity as well. It's like you have to believe...but just not fervently.

  • ||

    Well I think a lot of the issue with atheists is that the only ones people know about are the obnoxious ones (you just don't notice non-obnoxious atheists).

  • ||

    Yeah, I find the "devout" atheist who want to shout about it to be at least as annoying as their conterparts.

  • Zeb||

    Agreed.

    As the quiet type of atheist, I am often surprised at how many people have some sort of belief in god.

  • ||

    So, people take issue with atheists because of the obnoxious ones. And people don't like Tebow because he's an obnoxious Christian. If only SOMEONE could come up with a maxim that explains both of these reactions...

  • ||

    You know who else was obnoxious?

  • ||

    Andy Dick?

  • ||

    The Urkel?

  • ||

    I'm wondering how Tebow's christianity is "obnoxious"? Because he isn't ashamed of it? Has he called you personally and tried to convert you? He plays football for christ's sake- stop with the hating....

  • ||

    He plays football for christ's sake

    No, he plays for the sake of the Broncos.

  • ||

    I watch a lot of football. When they interview him after a game about his game winning drive (possibly the only score he had all day), he starts talking about his faith for several minutes.

  • ||

    We are starting to adopt the European model, where Christianity is a cultural system artifact instead of an active way of life. Fervent Christians trigger the discomfort most people feel about anyone expressing strong feelings or bubbly enthusiasm about a narrow, background component of culture, whether it be Dungeons and Dragons, Glee, Beanie Babies, or an actively witnessing belief in God.

    Or an actively witnesses of atheism. If Tebow yammered constantly about how his disbelief in God was with him every time he was out on the field, the reaction would be the same.

  • ||

    I think there's a contextual component too. Plenty of people still seem perfectly comfortable with politicians actively emphasizing their religiosity.

  • ||

    True. Although how many people who never, ever vote for Santorum based on the creepy miscarriage cuddling incident alone?

  • ||

    I would never, ever vote for Santorum based on his entire creepiness in general.

  • ||

    Really? Having that family in the White House for four years would be friggin' amazing. For entertainment purposes only, of course.

  • ||

    Maybe because they know it's a pretense, unlike ordinary bible-thumpers?

  • ||

    But no one ever makes of pretense of being non-religious.

  • ||

    Not if they want to get elected.

  • ||

    Don't start picking on D&D... DON'T. YOU. DARE!!!!!

  • ||

    Hey Sug, rather says you only post jokes and insults. Don't disappoint her with stuff like this.

  • ||

    Tend to agree.

    What a lot of fundamentalist Christians fail to understand is the filling in of the "God of the gaps" over time has fundamentally changed how people see God and religion. In truth, this has been an ongoing process generation after generation. But due to the scientific breakthroughs in recent centuries and the accelerated pace of knowledge accumulation arising from that, more and more people reject the Bible as authoritative. And by extension, religion is losing its influence.

    So over time, the believers have been guarding an ever shrinking area of influence in society. And the long term implications are obvious and don't bode well for religion as long as it insists on being the final arbiters of morality. If the religious want to have a positive impact on the culture in the long run, it will have to set aside the mysticism and focus on the philosophical aspects of their creed.

    The history of mankind has been one long journey from an order based on superstition to a new order that will be based on reason (DRINK!). The keepers of the old order are having trouble dealing with this.

  • ||

    In response to SF above re. Europe.

  • ||

    Organized religion is being replaced by other superstitions - Alien visitors, Gaia, AGW - in theWest. Islam still reigns in the ME. Humans have a strong need to have answers, and invent all sorts of things to relieve uncertainty, eg afterlife, heaven, he'll, gods.

  • ||

    I don't think many people beyond douchebag sports writers are uncomfortable with Tebow's beliefs. The guy is wildly popular outside of the sports media and pretty popular there.

    If people didn't like his religious beliefs, he would be a decisive figure like Mohammad Ali. And he is just not that.

  • ||

    I don't think many people beyond douchebag sports writers are uncomfortable with Tebow's beliefs. The guy is wildly popular outside of the sports media and pretty popular there.

    Malarkey. Bring him up at any Christmas dinner and see what you get. He is uncomfortably and obnoxiously in-your-face about his faith, and most American (males, at least) are not comfortable with that.

  • ||

    How is he uncomfortably obnoxious? Seriously, what has he ever done besides point out that it was a good thing his mother didn't abort him? He is less in your face that say Reggie White, who was an ordained minister and practically thanked God for allowing him to beat the unbelievers after every win. That is just a crock of shit.

  • ||

    He puts Bible verses in his freakin' eyeblack.

    This exists for a reason.

  • ||

    So what? Tons and tons of players have had John 3:16 or whatever it is on their arms. There are tons of overtly religious sports figures out there. As I said above, Reggie White and Rosie Greer were both ministers.

    That site exists because the people who run it are morons looking for an excuse to hate Tebow.

    Show me where people hated Reggie White and I will agree with you his is "obnoxious about his beliefs".

    And lastly, if writing something on your eyeblack makes you "obnoxiously religious" the problem is the definition of obnoxious not the writing. Seriously, that is the best you got?

  • ||

    I am not going to sit here and justify why people do or do not find the man obnoxious. It is indisputable that they do, and it is largely because football fans see fundies as glomming onto a bad quarterback to try to evangelize the NFL.

    When no one else around you is openly weeping in the joy of Christ, there is no need for you to drop to a knee because the fervor has overcome you. Grow up, be a man, express your feelings in private and off-camera.

  • ||

    Matthew 6:

    1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

    2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

    4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

    5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

    7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

    8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

  • ||

    He puts Bible verses in his freakin' eyeblack.

    What are you doing, O devastated one? Why dress yourself in scarlet and put on jewels of gold? Why shade your eyes with paint? You adorn yourself in vain.

    -Jeremiah 4:30

  • ||

    Didn't think I would be agreeing with John on this one but I guess I am. I think insecure atheists that feel the need to actually prosleytize THEIR beliefs and force it on others are the one's PROJECTING Tebow's alleged "obnoxious" christianity.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I hates me some Tebow, but yeah. This.

  • ||

    I never liked him in college. But I am starting to like him in the pros for no other reason that all of the "experts" say he will never be any good.

  • ||

    I am Christian. Tebow is obnoxious.

  • ||

    I'm atheist, a 'Nole, and don't like the Broncos. But I find him entertaining even when he talks.

  • ||

    I don't give a damn about Tebow babbling about an invisible sky wizard. Far more important is the fact that he's a Gator, so FUCK HIM!

  • ||

    the people who took this survey are a bunch of uneducated, useless fools.religion IS responsible for more loss of human life more than ANY other reason why people die in the HISTORY of the human race.believers are nothing but a bunch of pathetic, delusional pieces of s---.and they can shove their ideologies up where the sun don't shine!PERIOD!!!!!!!!!

  • ||

    I sure hope you're just a religious person trying to make atheists look bad, because... just look at you.

  • ||

    "religion IS responsible for more loss of human life more than ANY other reason why people die in the HISTORY of the human race"

    Always worth pointing out that the 20th century proved that leftist ideologies have actually killed more people than religion.

  • ||

    People kill people. And generally the greater the ideal they think they are working for, the more willing they are to kill. They just can't help themselves.

  • ||

    If the 20th century proved anything it was that absence of religion isn't the human-suffering panacea its detractors proclaimed it was.

  • Zeb||

    True. I think people just kill people sometimes and in the 20th century they go really good at doing so on a large scale.

  • ||

    I suggest everyone reads "A World Lit only by Fire"

    What is implied in the book is that Christianity really is not to blame. In fact what the book explains is that most poeple could not even tell you what Christianity was only that it was the religion of their lord and so it was their religion.

    I mean if i went into a French village in say 1100 AD and told everyone that Jesus was Jewish Carpenter of small means and his followers were fishermen and some whore and that your path to heaven and god is by living a life like Jesus i would probably be burned as a witch.

    The problem was not religion but in fact it was institutionalized forced ignorance. Religious institutions played a part in this sure...but when the people don't even know what the religion is it is hard to blame the religion itself.

  • ||

    But most of those governments had a personality cult, which makes them religious! Ha!

  • ||

    The bastards responsible for the various genocides of the 20th century would have done the same murdering whether they were religious or atheist or blue-necked goslings. They wanted a bunch of other people dead, and if religion (or non-religion) provided a way to motivate others to their cause, great.

  • ||

    The mad men of the 20th Century were trying to create heaven on earth. One good rule for reading history or the future, the more noble the ideal, the more people are likely to die when it is implemented. If you really think about it, the ideals of communism, fairness, justice, equality, are quite noble.

    To put it in secular terms, we as humans don't have enough and can never have enough information to know what the greatest good is when you are talking about large groups of people. What is the good for my group might be pure evil for your group. How do I reconcile that? How do I even know what is good for my group? I can't. All we can do is maybe if we are lucky do the right thing in our daily lives and how we treat each other on an individual basis. And even then we will get it wrong a lot of the time.

  • ||

    I think diseases would disagree with your assertion that religion has killed more people than anything else.

  • ||

    Man you blame us? We were just created by the CIA to kill all them peoples thems boys in Langley don't like! You needs to blames you some CIA boys.

  • ||

    "the people who took this survey are a bunch of uneducated, useless fools"!!!!

    Nice, sober, measured argument there. You an aide for Nancy Pelosi?

  • Robert||

    No time to look now, maybe ever, but what would really clinch it is if atheists are distrusted more even by other atheists. If the idea of the eye in the sky is what's important, then it would be rational for atheists to trust believers more too. Also, if human-to-human surveillance (machine aided or otherwise) increases, then this difference should decrease.

  • Lord Humungus||

    I grew up in a very CRC/conservative little suburb, populated by very little people. My dear old dad is still a Christian (by a loose definition), while my mother was always more of the agnostic bent.

    Anyways, I always hated going to church and Sunday school. By the time I hit age 12, I was reading Cosmos by Carl Sagan. That, and my natural 'fuck you' attitude, I decided that atheism was for me.

    I still remember the look of horror I got in junior high when I told someone I was an atheist. They stared at me, half-expecting horns to grow out of my head.

    Nonetheless, I've always considered myself a moral person. I don't steal, don't lie - even when it is probably for the best, and don't try to screw people over. I'm generally helpful to my friends, unless they are asking for large sums of cash!
    It's more of an honor thing, but I also stick

  • ||

    "I still remember the look of horror I got in junior high when I told someone I was an atheist. They stared at me, half-expecting horns to grow out of my head."

    I get the same reaction today when I tell people that I refuse to be spiritual. (Whatever that means.)

  • ||

    The people who say they're "not religious, just spiritual" are probably the most annoying of all. So let's unite the religious and non-religious in common distaste for the squishy spirituals. Problem solved!

  • Warty||

    The people who say they're "not religious, just spiritual"

    Only strippers say that. And you shouldn't be listening to their babble while they grind on you, anyway.

  • ||

    Wrong! If you watch shows like Millionaire Matchmaker (and I really can't imagine why you wouldn't- that show is trashy fun at its best), freaks in LA say that all the damn time. Then they talk about what meditation book they just read or some shit. It's... unsettling.

  • Warty||

    Did you see the episode with the gay Cookie Diet heir who liked to rollerblade? "So you're not only homophobic, you're ageist as well."

  • Zeb||

    I'm so sick of that crap, too. Trying to wring it out of my wife. She likes Carl Sagan a lot, so that's a good start. Just need to get her to watch the episode of Cosmos where he mercilessly tears down astrology and such nonsense a few more times.

  • Lord Humungus||

    oh, let's not go into New Age - popular in the late-80s/early-90s.

    When I was twenty and living with my brother in Boulder, CO - he had a friend who was big into New Age. He brought us to an expo featuring a bunch of pseudo-scientific claptrap. I was broke at the time so I thought, "heck, at least this will be some cheap entertainment."

    There we attended (much to my derision) an 'Astral Projection' class. The 'instructor' used some basic hypnosis techniques to get everyone in sleepy mood... afterward we went around the room to 'share our experience.' Lot's of mumbo-jumbo about the astral plane, meeting Jesus, etc. They finally get to me...

    Her: "So, what did you see on your journey?"

    Me: "Nothing, nothing at all." Which was true since I just sat there and thought about McIntosh tube circuitry.

    Her: "Well, just keep trying." On to the next person.

  • ||

    Her: "So, what did you see on your journey?"

    Me: "you, nekkid. Nice rack, BTW"

    FTFY

  • ||

    As a born again christian, I hate term spiritual (Whatever that means).

    I think its because of the parenthetical. No fucking clue what it means.

  • ||

    stupid joke handles.

  • Zeb||

    I think it is just an excuse to believe completely irrational crap while still hating "organized religion".

  • ||

    Disagreed with you upthread. Completely agree with you here, although I don't think "hate" is the right word. The spiritual folks don't like the conformity of organized religion.

  • ||

    But dey loves the shit out of some conformist non-conformity.

  • ||

    I would say that John the Baptist was spiritual. The Pope, on the other hand, is religious.

  • ||

    Your Lordship, what's "CRC" stand for? Google provides a wide variety of unlikely options given the context. "Creative Response to Conflict"?

  • ||

  • Lord Humungus||

    Christian Reformed Church

    aka, usually militant. Always anti-Catholic. VERY Calvanist.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.....th_America

  • Lord Humungus||

    I'll add - If you read the wikipedia, you'll see that much of it is centered around Grand Rapids, where I happen to live. Heck, my parents met at Calvin college, and my uncle teaches at Dordt college. I have two uncles who are ministers, one deceased great-uncle who is a minister, and a bunch of annoying relatives.

  • ||

    I was just guessing, thanks for clearing it up.

  • Lord Humungus||

    "It's more of an honor thing, but I also stick"

    sheesh, that could be taken the wrong way.

    it should read 'It's more of an honor thing, but I also stick to doing the right thing, whatever that is."

  • ||

    I think people who truly believe in the tooth fairy god are idiots.

  • ||

    Hey!! Professional Wrestling is NOT fake!!

  • Zeb||

    The optimistic atheist holds out for a better explanation. As much as it seems like it should be true, most of the theists I know well don't seem to be idiots.

  • ||

    "I think people who truly believe in the tooth fairy god are idiots."

    Well, that settles it then. Sure a helluvalot easier than living in a world where it's POSSIBLE someone of above-average intelligence could CHOOSE to believe in God on the basis of FAITH. Just dismiss those fuckers out of hand. Very, ahem, REASONABLE of you...(are you a Pelosi aide?)

  • ||

    Drink!

  • ||

    "Well, that settles it then. "

    Yeah pretty much.

    See, apparently you didn't read, but I think you're an idiot, and I don't really give a shit what idiots think about anything.

    And no, I don't have to pretend you have a valid alternative viewpoint, you are an idiot.

    "someone of above-average intelligence could CHOOSE to believe in God on the basis of FAITH."

    They would still be idiots.

  • ||

    We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.
    H L Mencken

  • ||

    It seems fairly obvious to me that this isn't an issue specific to believers and nonbelievers; it's an us-vs.-them issue. The study shows that most believers distrust atheists. Then the mostly atheist commentariat here at H&R responds by talking about how much believers are actually the ones who are worse. Both instances reflect the human instinct to trust people who are like you and distrust those who are different.

  • ||

  • ||

    Terrifying. I need to go rinse my brain out.

  • Fluffy Got Demoted||

    To put down my anti-religious daggers for a moment, there is one way in which the belief that atheists are not trustworthy is justified:

    "Trustworthiness" is not only a synonym for "honest". In fact, sometimes it doesn't mean "honest" at all. Often, it means "loyal to the group". Quite frequently being loyal to a group will contradict being honest. Sometimes, being loyal to a group will require any manner of immorality.

    So believers may not only be evaluating "How honest are atheists?" They may be evaluating "How likely is it that atheists will remain loyal to the group?"

    In a majority-believer context, atheist loyalty to the group is immediately suspect - and rightfully so. Atheists are demonstrating that they value fidelity to their own position more than they value amity with the rest of the group. And the believer rightly concludes that atheist self-regard might assert itself in other ways.

    "If you were trustworthy," Believer X may think about Atheist Y, "...you'd keep your fucking trap shut so that we can all get along."

  • ||

    I don't think that goes through anyone's mind at all. And further, I see no evidence that atheists are any less likely to join groups and keep a herd mentality than anyone else.

    If atheism produced individuality, the history of scientific Marxism would look a lot different.

  • ||

    I see no evidence that atheists are any less likely to join groups and keep a herd mentality than anyone else

    See you at church.... not!

  • ||

    Yeah because churches are the only herds out there. There are not any other things like political parties or crackpot ideologies and belief systems or anything.

  • ||

    The context was believers not trusting atheists.
    That would make the specific group in question being believers.
    You're playing a disingenuous game I would expect from Tony.

  • ||

    No. He is saying people don't trust atheists because they are more individualist and nonjoiners. If it were just about not being in the group, believers wouldn't trust other believers from other sects just as much as they don't trust atheists.

    Atheist or not, people are herd animals and for the most part joiners and conformists.

  • ||

    OK Tony. Whatever you say.

  • Fluffy Got Demoted||

    No, I am not saying that.

    I am saying that atheists (and we have to be talking about open atheists here, not discreet ones) directly flout an element of group identity when the group in question is made up of believers.

    The atheists could be un-individualist hippie commune members. It doesn't matter.

    If you woke up in a windowless cell with three Christian humans and one atheist extraterrestrial, and a disembodied Saw guy voice said, "One of the four of you is a spy!" it would be pretty natural, not to say inevitable, that the three believing humans would devote at least a few moments to thinking, "Gee, you think the atheist space alien might be the spy?"

    Anything that distinguishes a group member from the other members of the group can potentially undercut group solidarity. When that identifying mark is something adopted and maintained voluntarily, despite the fact that it gives some group members offense that's an even bigger problem. An atheist in a majority-believer group is voluntarily and openly alienating himself from group mores and the group identity. That means he is demonstrably less likely to be loyal to the group over time.

    There is also an element in the specific case of atheism where the fact that someone is freethinking might make them more likely to doubt the value of group membership, but that's not the primary thing I'm talking about.

  • ||

    If what you were saying were true, Believers would distrust other believers from a different sect just as much or more than they do atheist. To a Baptist, a Catholic or a Jew is just as much of an outsider as an Atheist is.

    Yet, the studies show that they distrust atheists more. So what you are saying can't be the case.

  • ||

    In truth, man is incurably foolish. Simple things which the other animals easily learn, he is incapable of learning. Among my experiments was this. In an hour I taught a cat and a dog to be friends. I put them in a cage. In another hour I taught them to be friends with a rabbit. In the course of two days I was able to add a fox, a goose, a squirrel and some doves. Finally a monkey. They lived together in peace; even affectionately.

    Next, in another cage I confined an Irish Catholic from Tipperary, and as soon as he seemed tame I added a Scotch Presbyterian from Aberdeen. Next a Turk from Constantinople; a Greek Christian from Crete; an Armenian; a Methodist from the wilds of Arkansas; a Buddhist from China; a Brahman from Benares. Finally, a Salvation Army Colonel from Wapping. Then I stayed away two whole days. When I came back to note results, the cage of Higher Animals was all right, but in the other there was but a chaos of gory odds and ends of turbans and fezzes and plaids and bones and fleshnot a specimen left alive. These Reasoning Animals had disagreed on a theological detail and carried the matter to a Higher Court.


    One is obliged to concede that in true loftiness of character, Man cannot claim to approach even the meanest of the Higher Animals. It is plain that he is constitutionally incapable of ap­proaching that altitude; that he is constitutionally afflicted with a Defect which must make such approach forever impossible, for it is manifest that this defect is permanent in him, indestructible, ineradicable.

    - Mark Twain

  • ||

    To a Baptist, a Catholic or a Jew is just as much of an outsider as an Atheist is.

    That's laughable. While a Baptist would view the RC and the Jew as outsiders to their denomination, they still share a COMMON beleif in God. The atheist does not.

    So do you really want to stand by your post?

    One of these things is not like the other:

    Baptist
    Jew
    Roman Catholic
    Atheist

  • Fluffy Got Demoted||

    If it were just about not being in the group, believers wouldn't trust other believers from other sects just as much as they don't trust atheists.

    Well, the data seems to show that they trust believers from other sects less than they trust believers of their own sect, and that the lack of trust becomes more pronounced the greater the distance between the groups.

    That would seem to indicate that small amounts of digression from group identity gets you small increases in distrust, and big digressions get you big increases in distrust.

    I don't think that contradicts what I'm saying at all.

  • ||

    Where does the data show that? The post seems to relate to believers versus nonbelievers.

    And more importantly, the figure is only meaningful if you test to see how atheists trust believers.

    I agree with Episiarch. This whole study is ridiculous.

  • ||

    I agree with Episiarch.

    Oh, so you're one of THEM!

    You're going to BURN IN HELL!!

  • ||

    One of these things is not like the other:

    Baptist
    Jew
    Roman Catholic
    Atheist

    6,000,000 of one of these got roasted BECAUSE of that difference. Could that Indicate a trust issue?

  • Robert||

    And I'm asking about atheists not trusting atheists.

  • ||

    The adoption of atheism as a hipster fashion accessory probably doesn't help the perception of "atheists".

    I, too, am an a-unicornist type atheist, but am not really into hipster fashion of whatever sort.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    If the only Atheists people encounter are the assholeish evangelizing kind, they will form a dim view of Atheists. I was just watching a Christopher Hitchens video of him taking questions from the audience at an Atheist conference and he even had to call out a few of them. Sounded like they were only Atheist when it came to Christians and Western Civilization. Otherwise, they were evangelicals for Islam and Communism.

    All belief systems have their annoying loudmouths and atheism is no different.

  • ||

    Anti-religionists give atheists a bad rap.

  • ||

    Selective anti-religionists are even worse.

  • ||

    If atheism produced individuality, the history of scientific Marxism would look a lot different.

    Absolutely true, and double for all the other "isms". If one looks at the government systems that replace one concept of deity (God/Supreme Being/Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc.) with another (The State) the results of the State based worship systems are hardly different from a religious fundie theocracy.

    Humans, IMO, are "hard-wired", I think to worship something, be it a so-called "sky fairy", a tangible, yet faceless, government entity, or just good fashioned self-worship. "My body is a temple," and all that.

    I have met some wonderful, and what I would consider moral, people of most stripes and belief systems; one of the things I notice about those considered theistic is the sense of in the end, there is a point to the theistic belief system, a belief that some sort of "divine justice" will be meted out and this "conscious, sentient life" will have some sort of grand meaning in the scope of perceived existence. See also: Pascal's Wager.

    From where I sit, I see a lot of unrealized schadenfreude from all sides. From a physician's perspective, when people are terminally ill, generally, or in their advanced years of age or, hell, even before they go under the knife for a life-saving procedure (in the context of patients who are aware that the chance exists they may croak on the table) is when they tend to re-examine their lives in accordance with their individual belief systems.

  • Franklin Harris||

    I don't trust monotheists.

    If I believed in an almighty God who plans to sentence me to eternal torture for defying his will, you better believe I'd do what he said. Yet, believers in the God of Abraham break his rules all the time. That's a sign of, at the very least, subconscious disingenuousness, and how can you trust a person like that?

  • ||

    There is nothing disingenuous about it at all. Men are fallen creatures away from God. Every man sins no matter how hard they try not to.

    I know it is bad to get drunk and eat fatty food. But I will go out and eat a stake and down a bottle of Bordeaux even though I know it is lousy for my health. How can you trust someone like that?

  • ||

    Well when everything fun counts as a sin it's impossible to avoid them. If sins were restricted to actually bad things like hurting others, stealing, and the like, there would be a lot fewer "sinners" out there.

  • ||

    In other words, God was the first Nanny!

  • ||

    Which of the ten commandments, other than not worshiping other Gods, doesn't involve harm to other people? I would say all of them. And I would also say if you ever had a society where no one ever lied, stole, or cheated on their wives, it would be a pretty good society.

  • ||

    They don't even know what the commandments are.

  • ||

    I do. For reasons too ponderous to elaborate here, I went to one year of Catholic high school. Without doubt, the longest and most awful year of my life.

    But I did learn the 10 commandments, among other things. I actually found the (mandatory) religion class to be interesting, because it was quite new and foreign to me - it was sort of like learning a new language, or the history of some foreign country. I had to read large chunks of the Bible. Kinda interesting. Of course I used to read a lot of fiction back then.

  • Zeb||

    There are a lot of rules in the Bible besides the 10 commandments. Quite a few of which are not in line with any morality I would like to subscribe to.

  • ||

    Not everything bad counts as sin.

    Also, hurting others is not all that easy to avoid, either. One of the hardest things is to hold back a richly-deserved beat-down. Although some religions seem to be more tolerant of that than others.

    And within Christianity, believers don't receive eternal damnation for sin. That's the point of Christianity.

  • ||

    "If I believed in an almighty God who plans to sentence me to eternal torture for defying his will, you better believe I'd do what he said."

    It's more like he puts them out of their misery. Those people can't be trusted to live peacefully in a free society.

    Oh, and a lot of monotheists don't believe in eternal hellfire.

    Also, there was thing called The Reformation. A lot of Catholics missed it, but it turns out not everybody thinks getting into heaven is all about whether you obeyed the rules as written in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

    There's this thing called faith, which, contrary to advertising, doesn't have much to do with disbelieving in science. ...and has a lot to do with treating other people well--because Jesus died for them and to do otherwise would deny the significance of his sacrifice.

    If you want to live forever in a free and peaceful society? You gotta learn to get along with other people and treat them well.

    If treating other people well despite the way they treat you is what people mean by faith?

    It's counterintuitive, I guess, but it's not entirely unreasonable.

  • ||

    Faith has nothing to do with treating people well. Faith is believing something that cannot be proven.
    Faith and treating people well are not mutually exclusive, being that I know plenty of faith who treat people like shit and people without faith who are very kind.

  • ||

    "Faith has nothing to do with treating people well. Faith is believing something that cannot be proven."

    Well, if you say so, then it must be true?

    "Faith and treating people well are not mutually exclusive"

    I didn't say they were.

    But when I read stuff like:

    "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

    But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

    That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

    For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

    And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

    Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

    ----Matthew 15

    ...and I don't think to myself that faith is about disbelieving in science or following Leviticus to the letter either.

    Whatever faith is, if it includes "doing good to them that hate you"--just like God does? Then disbelieving in science isn't a good description of the faith thingy.

  • ||

    Can you prove the existence of the god you call God?

    Didn't think so. Yet you believe.

    That is faith.

    If it requires faith for you to be nice to treat people well, then good for you.

    Whatever works.

    But I do not have faith yet I also manage to treat people well.

    Imagine that!

  • ||

    "Can you prove the existence of the god you call God?"

    No. I can't prove or disprove Sting Theory either.

    Even if the evidence isn't conclusive, there is some evidence. If people find the precepts of Christianity still useful in their daily lives? Then that's evidence that Christianity is useful.

    I don't think having faith is possible without uncertainty, and a lack of uncertainty is almost always a sign of being unreasonable.

    So, I have my doubts, but I'm cautiously optimistic.

    My faith is mostly in the idea that Jesus of Nazareth was right about how we should live our lives and treat each other. The more I've tested his ideas, the more persuaded I've become that he was right about a lot of things.

    Surely, testing people's ideas about such things isn't unreasonable?

  • ||

    My faith is mostly in the idea that Jesus of Nazareth was right about how we should live our lives and treat each other.

    No faith is required for that. Faith is required to believe that he was the only son of an invisible man who is in charge of a gated community in the afterlife, and if you don't accept him as your king that you will suffer eternal damnation.
    Do I need faith to believe that the world would be a better place if people were nice to each other?
    No. I only need common sense for that.

  • ||

    Then disbelieving in science isn't a good description of the faith thingy.

    I didn't say it was.

    Oh, and as far as faith being all about nice-nice, I guess that depends on which invisible friend we're talking about. Some of those invisible friends encourage their followers to kill anyone who does not believe in the same invisible friend. Not nice-nice.

  • Zeb||

    The thing I don't get about faith (in the religious sense) is why would you believe one thing rather than another if all you have to go on is faith?

  • ||

    "The thing I don't get about faith (in the religious sense) is why would you believe one thing rather than another if all you have to go on is faith?"

    Again, you're using the same word I am when you talk about "faith", but when you use that word, it doesn't mean the same thing as when I use the word "faith".

    Faith isn't a complete lack of uncertainty for me. Sting Theory is a pretty good example. There are scientists who buy the theory--and scientists who don't. Neither of which are necessarily being irrational. Until someone finds conclusive evidence one way or the other--both sides are taking it on "faith" by my definition of the word.

    Which is to say, they've formed an opinion in the face of uncertainty, and they'll revise their opinion as more data becomes available. If their uncertainty went away--and they still believed what they believed before despite new conclusive evidence against their position? That would be your definition of "faith" from what I can tell.

    My uncertainty is just as present as anyone else's.

    You do this sort of thing yourself all the time. Probably a good non-scientific example would be in romantic relationships. If you have a girlfriend or a wife and she says she loves you, do you demand empirical conclusive evidence that what she's saying is absolutely true?

    Because I'm not sure that's possible.

    Would it make sense to question why other people believe that their girlfriends and wives love them? Or doesn't it make more sense to just understand that the real world is full of uncertainty, and some people find it useful to form tentative opinions in the face of uncertainty?

    Just about everybody who completely loses their uncertainty is being irrational. My uncertainty is fully intact.

    Do I believe in evolution? Absolutely.

    If I think the Sermon on the Mount may describe the very best way to live my life? Why would my cautiously optimistic faith in that suggest a lack of uncertainty or "faith" as you put it?

  • Zeb||

    Thanks. That is helpful. I do actually want to understand better what faith means to religious people.

    Here is a question I like to ask religious people (and I think it is closely related to the question of faith): Does it matter if your religious beliefs are true?

  • ||

    There is a distinction between faith and belief.

    I'm not is a state to ponder it right now, just thinking.

  • ||

    I see Ken is having another fun-filled day of illogicality and fallacious argumentation.

  • ||

    Three Sins a Day

  • Robert||

    Yeah, I think eating a stake would be lousy for your health -- although maybe not as bad as downing a bottle.

  • ||

    At least you don't need a toothpick afterwards...

  • ||

    I am especially suspicious of people who go out of their way to let everyone know, in a sort of "I'm more faithful than you are" sort of way, that they believe. The main thing they make me suspicious about is the authenticity of their claim.

    I'm not a trusting kind of person to begin with.

  • ||

    I follow the Hawk.

  • ||

    The same people who will laugh at Christians will then believe in crystals and Scientology.

  • ||

    Some of them will buy into crystals and stuff--I dunno about Scientology.

    One thing I do think is typical of most atheists, anyway, is the ridiculing people of faith thingy.

    As if ridiculing people for finding meaning in the religious traditions of their ancestors going back thousands of years...will somehow make them more open to tolerating atheism or accepting it for themselves?

    It seems terribly reflexive. Everybody who defines themselves as being whatever they imagine Christians aren't is basically letting Christians tell them who they are.

    And it seems pretty self-defeating too. There's a reason McDonalds and Ford don't denigrate the religious beliefs of the wider culture in their commercials. Making fun of people's religious beliefs makes them more likely to dislike you, and McDonalds and Ford want people to like them.

    Don't atheists want people to like them too?

  • ||

    Good thing no Christian anywhere in the history of time ever ridiculed an atheist.

  • ||

    Really? Name me one famous essay or play ridiculing atheists. There is an entire cannon of atheist literature skewering Christians.

    I don't get the atheist persecution complex. Christians have spent most of history killing each other. And atheists pretty much own Hollywood and popular culture. When is the last time Hollywood made a biblical epic? The Passion I suppose. And that movie was hated by the movie establishment. In contrast, "they hypocritical, evil believer" is pretty much a stock movie character. What exactly do atheists want?

  • ||

    It isn't ridicule to tell them they are going to hell? or to blame them for all the murders of communism? or tell them that they cannot possibly have morality? or tell to them they have the persecution complex that you embody perfectly every time the subject comes up?

    OK, sure. Uh-huh.

  • ||

    Yeah sure. I tell you all of that all of the time. But it is Hit and Run. The whole point of the board is to be an asshole.

    Seriously, who has these conversations? Other than on Hit and Run, I have never heard anyone tell someone any of those things. I must live in a different universe than everyone else and Hit and Run is some kind of portal between the two universes.

  • ||

    Ya gotta go out of the house and actually talk to other people once in a while.

  • ||

    I get out enough. Granted I don't live in the bible belt anymore. But I did for a long time. And I never heard anything like that. Honestly. And even in Washington, I know some pretty religious people. Most black people are pretty religious. And I never hear anything like that. But I don't generally bring up the topic of religion either.

  • ||

    When I was a teenager, my coworkers at the fast food joint I worked at used to shake their heads sadly at me in contemplation of my upcoming eternal doom.

  • ||

    No, John... the problem is that you are jumping to the defense of Ken ridiculous claim that the only aggressors here are the atheists. That the happy little Christians are just on the way to Grandma's house and the Big Bad Atheists attacked them out of the blue.

    It's pure nonsense. Christians gave unbelievers shit (and murdered them) for centuries, and recently atheists began to publicly push back. Both sides have their assholes, but the real super-assholes are the ones who think it's a one-sided affair, no matter what side they are on.

  • ||

    SF,

    I don't see how life is too hard for an atheist in modern America. If we were in Egypt or Saudi Arabia sure. But not here.

  • ||

    I don't see how life is too hard for an atheist in modern America. If we were in Egypt or Saudi Arabia sure. But not here.

    So not the point.

    What I'm saying is that Ken's the exact sort of atheist-baiting cunt you are claiming doesn't exist.

    Here he is, John. He's not imaginary at all.

  • ||

    Atheism, like Christianity, is a double-edged sword.

    It would be wrong to say that the atheism of the Soviet Union didn't have anything to do with all the murder under communism. And it would be wrong to say that the Christianity of the United States didn't have anything to do with the abolition of slavery.

    Likewise, it would be wrong to say that all the murdering done under communism was exclusively because of atheism or that Christianity wasn't used as a justification for slavery--in the U.S. and elsewhere.

    Despite the Christian hypocrites, I would argue that "Doing unto others as you would have done to you" is inherently incompatible with slavery, though.

    The idea that all we got is each other, so we better treat each other well is a morally good one! But I'm not sure atheism has anything like inherently opposed to murdering people that get in the way like Stalin did.

    Not that Christians haven't murdered plenty of people in the name of Christianity too. Still, I can call those Christians hypocrites--what did Stalin do in his murdering that violated the fundamental precepts of atheism?

  • ||

    The idea that all we got is each other, so we better treat each other well is a morally good one! But I'm not sure atheism has anything like inherently opposed to murdering people that get in the way like Stalin did.

    Not that Christians haven't murdered plenty of people in the name of Christianity too. Still, I can call those Christians hypocrites--what did Stalin do in his murdering that violated the fundamental precepts of atheism?

    Nope. No ridicule of atheists there.

  • ||

    "Not that Christians haven't murdered plenty of people in the name of Christianity too. Still, I can call those Christians hypocrites--what did Stalin do in his murdering that violated the fundamental precepts of atheism?"

    That's not ridicule. That's a legitimate question.

    If you're arguing that communist atheism is ethically equivalent to Christianity, then make your case!

    If some ethical systems are superior to others, then pointing out the superior points of one versus the other isn't necessarily ridicule.

  • ||

    What are these fundamental precepts of atheism?

  • ||

    No. It's ridicule if you laugh at them for being headed for hell.

  • ||

    The Chronicles of Narnia.

  • ||

    How's it goin', Jake!

  • ||

    Not bad! Haven't seen you around for a while... I trust everything's okay down your way?

  • ||

    "Good thing no Christian anywhere in the history of time ever ridiculed an atheist."

    Self-described Christians who do that should be ashamed of themselves.

    There are a lot of people out there who call themselves Christians, who completely ignore the basic precepts of Christianity. ...as far as the Sermon on the Mount, etc. is concerned.

    Any self-described Christian who treats atheists, LGBT, et. al. in a way that ignores, "If you've done so unto the least of these, you've done so unto me" and "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"--those Christians should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

    They aren't, but they should be.

  • ||

    So no real Christians, then. That's a relief.

    Ken Shultz|8.25.10 @ 3:24PM

    I have to confess that when I see a militant atheist anymore, I also tend to assume they must be gay.


    -

    Ken Shultz|8.25.10 @ 3:40PM
    "Anyone who is militantly anything is usually being militant as a way of dealing with their own issues."

    Dude. It's their gay issues.

    When I was growing up in the '80s, living in a boarding school dorm, people were still largely in the closet...I thought gay people were about as common as four leaf clovers, but if you're talking to a group of ten or more people, you're probably talking with at least one or maybe two gay people.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/696.....n-gay.aspx

    I think a lot of the militant atheists you talk to around here are probably gay...
  • ||

    There are no Christians or anyone else for that matter, that actually live up to their standards. That is why they need to be saved.

  • ||

    SF, you're my new favorite poster, again.

  • ||

    He didn't say no true Christians. He said no good Christians.

  • Warty||

    That's a PWND, cunts.

  • ||

    I've been on this board for years defending the rights of gay people against all comers.

    If you could supply the link to that discussion, I'd love to see what I wrote in context. Suffice it to say, I don't think I was ridiculing any gay people for being gay. I also doubt I was ridiculing atheists for being gay either.

    Your Gallup link is broken, so I can't see what that said, but if it says that most militant atheists are, in fact, not gay, then that's interesting news to me--and I must have been wrong about that.

    But I don't think I've ever made fun of anybody for being gay (since I was 14 years-old or so.) I have said in the past that militant atheists--people who are so offended by Christianity that they devote their spare time to riding Christians--I tend to suspect they have something extra that makes them so angry.

    So, yeah, I tend to suspect that people who are that offended by Christians, who are mostly harmless, are often offended becasue they're gay. And a whole lot of Christians (from the Westboro Baptist Church on down) do a lot of antagonistic things to target gay people in the name of religion--and that makes gay militant atheists angry.

    Like I said, I haven't seen that thread. But if you link it, I think you'll find me defending gay people and their rights in that thread.

    I think you'll find me saying that a lot of the antagonistic things we were seeing out of San Francisco at the time targeting Happy Meals, family stuff, the right of churches to avoid taxation, etc. were a function of religious Christians being seen as the perpetrators of the proposition on the California ballot that prohibited Gay Marriage.

    In other words, I didn't intend to denigrate atheists by suggesting that militant atheists are gay. Actually, there isn't anything about being gay that I think is denigrating.

    I was making a case to John, as I recall, that if Christians want gay, militant atheists to stop retaliating against religious Christians and "breeder" families, then religious Christians need to stop targeting gay people and trying to deprive them of their rights (to get married, etc.)

  • ||

    You didn't want to link it, so I dug it up myself.

    Here's another one of my comments from the same thread...

    "I think that a lot of the hostility we see directed at Christians and Christianity is a function of the discrimination our society has perpetrated against gay people over the years...with prohibitions against Gay Marriage being an excellent example.

    I mentioned that anybody you see lashing out at Christians, whose beliefs don't really affect anyone else, are maybe likely to be gay. Being gay and a victim of bans on gay marriage is one of the few reasonable explanations for why I think people would become a militant atheist...

    Being discriminated against can and does breed that kind of resentment--otherwise, I feel about most people's Christianity like I feel about gay sex...

    What do I care? So long as it doesn't have anything to do with me!"

    http://reason.com/blog/2010/08.....nt_1871500

    So, yeah, like I said...

    1) Didn't in any way intend to denigrate gay people for being gay.

    2) Didn't in any way intend to denigrate atheists for being atheists--or being gay.

    3) It was all written as a means to argue that if Christians don't want to suffer "blowback", as I put it elsewhere, then they should stop actively supporting discrimination against gay people.

    You whiffed on all three pitches with that quote!

    Sticking up for the rights of gay people (and gay atheists) does not equal denigrating atheists for being gay.

  • ||

    Well there are plenty of them out there.

    Probably 15 years ago now I had an encounter with a pentecostal evangelical minister (or whatever he was - fire and brimstone fundamentalist) who was so sure and confident in his belief that the world was exactly 6,400 years old, or something like that, and that scientists were all trying to disprove the existence of god by claiming there was such a thing as evolution and that they were all sinners who were going to be eternally damned to hell, etc.

    And this guy led a congregation of people who I presume held similar beliefs. This was in the area of Chillicothe, Ohio.

    It started when he asked me if I had gone to college. When I answer in the affirmative, it became obvious that right away, he started to distrust me, because I was "educated" in such an institution. Then he asked me if I had a science degree. I again answered in the affirmative (B.S. Biology), and that's when he went off on the scientists and evolution, etc.

    I just grinned/grimaced and nodded, "uh-huh." I had studied evolutionary biology, animal physiology and vertebrate anatomy while in college. But I just wasn't going to bother engaging in this guy's discussion. Just not worth the effort.

  • ||

    That is like one guy. I am sure the woman who walks around by my grocery stores talking to a teddy bear things some pretty strange things too. But so what?

  • ||

    I tend to keep my atheism to myself because many people react to it as if I slapped them in the face, and then they never treat me the same.

  • ||

    When I was 28, I hooked up with a very hot 18 year old, who dumped me like a sack of potatoes the instant she found out I was an atheist.

  • ||

    You could have lied. But you didn't, which makes you a very lousy athiest.

  • ||

    How did she find out? Did you moan, "Oh Dog!" when you were coming?

  • ||

    'Cause the woman who walks around the grocery store talking to her teddy bear doesn't have significant pull in US politics, unlike some others.

  • ||

    One thing I do think is typical of most atheists, anyway, is the ridiculing people of faith thingy.

    I would disagree with the "most" and replace it with "some".

    I do agree, though, that one reason the devout/believers/religious don't like atheists is because they have experienced the extreme asshole edition of atheists, who, as discussed above, are just as bad as, if not worse than, proselytizing evangelicals telling you you're going to burn in hell. I've experienced some of those ridiculously outspoken atheists, and I agree that they're assholes - all they do is make it more difficult for people like me to say that I'm pretty much atheist. I don't want to be associated with jerks like that. I'm not going to try to prove to the faithful that they're wrong or that they shouldn't believe what they do. I also acknowledge the fact that something like 85% of the U.S. consider themselves to be religious and believe in god.

    There's that idiot Newdow who was trying for a while to get "in god we trust" taken off of U.S. currency and to revise the pledge of allegiance or something. Meh.

  • ||

    Not all atheists are anti-religion.

    In fact I dislike the atheist who are because they make me look bad.

    I don't give a shit if you have faith or not. It's none of my business.

    I don't judge you based upon your faith, yet I am quite certain that you judge me for my lack of faith.

  • Fluffy Got Demoted||

    Do you judge Communists for being Communists, or do you figure it's none of your business?

  • ||

    One thing I do think is typical of most atheists, anyway, is the ridiculing people of faith thingy.

    You don't know "most atheists," you douche.

    And it seems pretty self-defeating too. There's a reason McDonalds and Ford don't denigrate the religious beliefs of the wider culture in their commercials.

    Your lack of awareness of irony is incredible. A bigot complaining about the bigotry of those people.

    Don't atheists want people to like them too?

    I can't speak for the entire club, but I kind of lose interest in someone liking me after they start lecturing me about the sins of my "group." I don't love the condescension either.

  • ||

    "A bigot complaining about the bigotry of those people."

    Show me an example of my bigotry.

  • ||

    If you watch shows like Millionaire Matchmaker (and I really can't imagine why you wouldn't- that show is trashy fun at its best), freaks in LA say that all the damn time.

    I watched that show on the suggestion of a friend; it was frightening how many of those were clones of many of my colleagues' wives. Very plastic, self-important and little to no substance. Much like the "spiritual, but not religious" type. Is there ny wonder why so many people seem to have problems with commitment, regardless of theistic or atheistic bent?

    "Spiritual, but not religious" types are the fake boobs of humanity.

  • ||

    This makes a whole lot of sense dude. WOw.

    www.invisi-browse.tk

  • ||

    Sort of on topic. The Occutards want to cancel Christmas. No kidding.

    OTTAWA — Adbusters, the Vancouver-based magazine that inspired the worldwide Occupy movement, has a new target: Christmas. Calling its campaign OccupyXmas, the anti-capitalist magazine is calling on consumers to buy nothing for Christmas this year…Christmas, Lasn [the magazine’s founder] said, has been hijacked by commercial forces. “It’s been an empty, soulless kind of ritual that very, very few people enjoy. This is a chance for us occupiers to take Christmas back and have a bit of fun and remind people that Christmas can be a helluva lot more than just shopping and Black Fridays and maxing out on your credit card.”

    “Very, very few.” Really?

    And just when you think that Lasn cannot get more patronizing:

    Lasn said antagonizing people is what the Occupy movement is all about. “It’s about antagonizing people and slapping them around a little bit and waking them up to reality.”

    …Buy Nothing Christmas just sounds good, Lasn said. But what it really means is a different kind of Christmas, one that puts “the spiritual side of Christmas back in the game rather than the consumption.”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/.....stuttaford

    Very very few people enjoy Christmas? Really? Since the Puritans actually did cancel Christmas, this fits into my theory that modern leftist are nothing but the intellectual spawn of the Puritans who have traded in worship of God for worship of the State. What is next for the Occutards, closing all of the theaters?

  • ||

    I'm guessing Lasn doesn't have young children.

  • Zeb||

    Yes, and why would you need clothes in any color besides black and white?

  • ||

    BUTTONS! FOR SHAME!

  • ||

    They didn't say few people enjoy Christmas, they say few people enjoy the oppressive commercialism of it. And what does that have to do with the state?

  • ||

    Don't like it? Don't participate.

    Santa puts a gun to the head of no one.

  • ||

    What kind of godless atheistic commie thinks we should place more emphasis on the meaning of the holiday itself rather than presents and shit?

  • spencer||

    Qualitative data is annecdotal data.

  • ||

    How many atheists are fucking the little boys in their congregation?