Sketches on Atheism

Christianity’s Nightmare Question

496parable2sons(A re-edited version of an older post)

It’s one of the most overlooked questions in the Christian world, the stuff of nightmares for Sunday school teachers, Christian philosophers, and hungry amateur apologists across the planet: If Jesus was God, why didn’t he say anything new or even marginally useful?

In the roughly 12,000 days this self-named Middle Eastern God walked the earth he didn’t once mention bacteria, pasteurization, or the importance of dental hygiene. In the roughly 1,000 sunlit days Jesus was on his ministry, speaking to sets of desperately eager ears, he didn’t once explain the sun, the composition of the atmosphere, clouds, or sooth people’s fears of the terrifying blights of lightning and thunder. In the roughly 1,000 long, long television-free nights Jesus had to say something new or useful, he didn’t once look up and explain to his friends the moon (and the tides), the stars, the planets, our position in the solar system, the galaxy, the nature of gravity, light, radiation, or on a more practical note, dispense the formula for sun block. In the three years of his ministry he didn’t point anyone in the direction of morphine, teach a soul about the nature of asthma, epilepsy, genetics, the periodic table, volcanology, the causes of headaches, muscle cramps, prenatal care, plate tectonics, architecture, evolution, or tell a single living being about the science of corrective-optics. He didn’t mention anything about better, faster, safer forms of transportation, communication technology, math, the metric system, a new swimming technique, scuba diving, blast furnaces, magnetic compasses, quartz watches, wind turbines, the wonders of reinforced concrete, ball bearings, immunization, New Zealand, the physics of flight, thermal dynamics, podiatry, water purification, desalination, stainless steel, umbrellas, telescopes, microscopes, macroeconomics, paper, washing machines, tupperware, bicycles, bras, buttons, refrigeration, or even introduce a single new spice to spruce up otherwise bland Judean recipes. In the 290,000 hours he had go say something new or useful, he made no mention of the link between mosquito’s and malaria, representative democracy, or even electricity. Flushable toilets, a technology based on gravity alone, would have saved thousands of lives lost to dysentery and cholera in the time of his alleged ministry, and tens of millions in the two millennia since. In all of the 1,740,000 minutes he had to say something new or marginally useful, Jesus didn’t utter a solitary constructive word about weather stations, a global language like Esperanto, a world map, or even the wonders of vulcanized rubber; a certain showstopper in the age of sandals.

To have spoken of any of these things, things unknown to 1st Century Palestine, would have been remarkable evidence for his existence and claims. Not saying any of it is more than just a little pathetic. Three year ministry and not a single helpful titbit was offered up by this Palestinian rabbi as he moved about on his purported sojourn on the earthy plateau; a journey we’re told that was rather oddly limited to about 90km2 on a 508,000,000km2 planet, and which somehow miraculously missed all political, philosophical, and scientific hotbeds of the day.

Indeed, speaking some 500 years after the Greek atomists (Leucippus and Democritus) first scratched at a greater understanding of the natural world, Jesus failed entirely to say a word or two about the nature of reality, subatomic particles, or fusion which would not only have been useful, eventually, but utterly astonishing to later audiences. 600 years before Jesus spun his sometimes poetic but otherwise quite bland parables, Aesop’s was telling much, much better stories infused with real practical advice. 500 years before Jesus, Confucius’s worldly wisdom (“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves”) puts the Palestinian rabbi’s efforts to shame. In all truth, Jesus’ only moment of presenting something genuinely useful, something which could be practically applied by people across all cultures and all time, the so-named Golden Rule, was plagiarized. The concept dates back to the Egyptian Middle Kingdom (c. 2040–1650 BCE) “Now this is the command: Do to the doer to cause that he do thus to you.” It also emerged in the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (1780 BCE), as well as in the Mahabharata (8th Century BCE) “The knowing person is minded to treat all beings as himself,” in Homer’s Odyssey (6th century BCE), “I will be as careful for you as I will be for myself in the same need,” 6th century BCE Taoism, “Regard your neighbour’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbour’s loss as your own loss,”  in 5th century BCE Confucianism, “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself,”  in 4th century BCE Mohism, “For one would do for others as one would do for oneself,” and was even articulated by the Greek, Pittacus (640–568 BCE), who said: “Do not do to your neighbour what you would take ill from him.”

sermononmt Even the much touted Beatitudes delivered at the Sermon on the Mount (the first will be last and the last first) is nothing but a poetic re-hash of the concepts of cosmic justice first articulated by Laozi, Rishabha and Mahavira (Jainism), and Siddhartha Gautama, amongst other mystics and thinkers long, long before.

The thought to be “revolutionary idea” of turning the other cheek is, in fact, an ancient utterance. Lao Tzu, said it this way: I treat those who are good with goodness. And I also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained. Zhuangzi said it this way: Do good to him who has done you an injury. Rishabha said it this way: My Lord! Others have fallen back in showing compassion to their benefactors as you have shown compassion even to your malefactors. All this is unparalleled. Mahavira said it this way: Man should subvert anger by forgiveness, subdue pride by modesty, overcome hypocrisy with simplicity, and greed by contentment. In Hinduism its said this way: A superior being does not render evil for evil; this is a maxim one should observe; the ornament of virtuous persons is their conduct. One should never harm the wicked or the good or even criminals meriting death. A noble soul will ever exercise compassion even towards those who enjoy injuring others or those of cruel deeds when they are actually committing them–for who is without fault? And Siddhartha Gautama said it this way: Conquer anger by love. Conquer evil by good. Conquer the stingy by giving. Conquer the liar by truth.

Even the role Jesus said he was playing, that of messiah, was anything but new. As early as a thousand years before, Zoroaster (who also taught equality irrespective of gender, race, or religion) had spoken of the Saoshyant; the saviour figure who was referred to as the World Renovator and Victorious Benefactor who will defeat “the evil of the progeny of the biped” and establish the Kingdom of Good Thought (righteousness).

Now there is of course a reason why Jesus (nor indeed any of the characters in the books of the New or Old Testaments) mentioned anything even approaching the genuinely new and/or uniquely useful . It’s the same reason why the authors of the works failed to note that an average sized adult is a composite of some 7, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 flavoured atoms arranged on a 4.54 billion year old planet circling a middle-aged 4th or 5th generation star on its 23rd trip around the centre of a galaxy composed of about 200 billion stars in a 13.7 billion year old universe peppered with hundreds of billions of galaxies glued together in super clusters along expanding tendrils held in-place by the indirectly observed but otherwise still utterly mysterious dark matter. That reason, to put it politely, is that the authors of the Bible and the rather dubious characters contained within were not speaking from a position of observed strength.  To put it not so politely, the Bible is utter nonsense; a regularly and predictably absurd work of fiction which D. L. Foster noted as missing only the words “Once upon a time” and, “Happily ever after.”

 

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381 thoughts on “Christianity’s Nightmare Question

  1. Does seem kind of cruel to perpetuate the “Ignorance is bliss” philosophy. But then he’s a chip off the old block from a father who wiped out entire civilizations because they wouldn’t bow down and acknowledge his invisible presence.

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  2. Or maybe unhappily ever after if one remotely believes the bible, born with sin, condemned to everlasting hell, blah boring blah.

    The turn the other cheek one is interesting. Pretty obvious he didn’t get the registered trademark on that as it is a key tenet in martial arts in terms of self-discipline. (One that my partner could never quite manage). Or maybe the wandering Palestinian trotted over to Japan on holiday and didn’t tell anyone, and managed to implant his unoriginal views on people who had worked them out a few years before. Yeah, that will be it, right?

    Neat work John. I’m just left wondering (or maybe wandering) what part of this people don’t understand? You gotta admit, someone has done one hell of a marketing job.

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    • It’s like Ken says: “God helps those who help themselves” is the most widely known part of scripture that’s not in scripture!

      Simple answer: No one (by that I mean, Christians) researches these things. Ask any Christian and they will happily tell you the Golden Rule (for example) was original to Jesus. It actually comes up in Leviticus, as well. But even forgetting these things, as I said to Larry above, wouldn’t you expect a god-man to at the very least let his mother and friends know that lightning and thunder weren’t evil, but natural things? What about letting fishermen know about the moon and tides? That’d be helpful considering fish bite when the tide turns… Or is that fisherman’s tale?

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      • The reason (well one of many) I struggle to even engage remotely with pesky Christians is their insulting attitude that treats me as intellectually stupid because I don’t believe in their religion. Nothing is approached logically. It’s Alice in LaLa Land with bells on.

        ‘You should/shouldn’t do this because god says.’

        ‘Well, I don’t believe in your god so I’ll make up my own mind.’

        ‘Doesn’t matter, I know my god is the one true god so I am right and you are wrong and if you don’t repent, wicked sinner…’

        I don’t see it in real life. Most people are Catholics or pretend to be, but they don’t get in people’s faces. But the internet?!!!

        And the evangelical hatred of Catholics? FFS, they’re all Christians give or take a few differences in belief about wine/blood and wafers/bodies.

        I liked this post because it doesn’t get into who meant what in Corinthians or Leviticus or Numbers or …

        It’s logical because it says, step back, look, there’s a bit of plagiarism going on here.

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      • Thank you, my friend! I could actually easily fill 10,000 words with the origins and sources of everything Jesus said, but brevity is our new master, the Great Editor, and even this post was pushing the bounds of attention-spans in this post interwebs universe.

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      • The Editor speaketh.

        The brevity is not in the words, but the style and content. Therefore you tick the box for ‘of interest’

        PS I got grade A in my maths O level. Think I should talk sums with wots is name?

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  3. Bravo!
    On a side note, I have a pet theory, entirely unprovable, that a huge number of believers (maybe even a majority) are actually atheists at heart. Many people are afraid to admit it, even to themselves. But actions speak louder than words…and most people don’t act IN ANY WAY as though an all-powerful dictator is watching their every move with the threat of hellfire dangling over their heads. I mean, if I thought for one minute that the sky-god were real, I would give away everything I owned and try to live like Diogenes.

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    • Oh, I agree with you, Matt. The reasons for holding onto belief (in the face of such logical inconsistencies) has more to do with it being comfort food, than anything tangibly true.

      Scott Adams nailed it in his great little (free) book, God’s Debris:

      “Four billion people say they believe in God, but few genuinely believe. If people believed in God, they would live every minute of their lives in support of that belief. Rich people would give their wealth to the needy. Everyone would be frantic to determine which religion was the true one. No one could be comfortable in the thought that they might have picked the wrong religion and blundered into eternal damnation, or bad reincarnation, or some other unthinkable consequence. People would dedicate their lives to converting others to their religions”

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    • Entirely unprovable? Are you claiming it impossible to devise and recruit an adequately powered representative sample then subject the subjects to a verifiable way of finding what they really believe (combination of lie detector tests with pharmacologic enhancement)?
      Perhaps you are suggesting that religious ‘beliefs’ are like Schrodinger’s Cat and altered simply by trying to measure them…..

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    • Actually Matthew,

      You have it backwards. There is no such thing as an atheist. Am I sure? Yeeep.

      The mind suppresses what the heart instinctively knows. When you look at the stars above, and consider the multitude of galaxies, you are lying to yourself when you say ‘there is no God.’

      Your conscience condemns you, (and me) for nature is a voice that speaks with more eloquence and truth than a train full of evangelists. Yet, cleverly, your mind overrules this arrow of truth, and you will not submit to He who gives you breath.

      Until the day comes, when you can go to a place on earth that is distinctively yours, you are simply a tresspasser on another mans property.

      Is this scripture, or is this my idea? Not my idea, I’m not clever enough.

      ‘The fool SAYS in his heart….there is no God.’ Your argument in other words, is with yourself.

      The ruling on the field stands: there is no such thing as an atheist.

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      • Thank you, Colorstorm–that was a great satirization of Clubschadenfreude’s attitude that he can declare someone to be a Christian even when that person says she’s not.

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      • You’re an atheist when it comes to Odin, right? I presume you don’t believe in him. And you’re an atheist when it comes to Zeus. Why should Yahweh be any different? We’re both atheists…you, with respect to N gods (where N is a huge number) and I am an atheist with respect to N+1 gods. By the way, citing scripture to bolster your claim is like citing the Odyssey to bolster your belief that Cyclops are real.

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      • Now that was Rave review-

        Do you know the difference between Peter Pan and a common bluebird which can actually fly?

        Your comparison between Odin (Peter Pan) and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, (A bluebird which can fly) is laughable.

        Who created the bird? Who created Odin?

        The ruling on the field stands. The human conscience indicts all men.

        But tkx for replying.

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      • Tkx Matthew-

        You are a smart guy, follow the bread crumbs. Use your head. Parents of the bluebird? Their parents? Their parents?

        Keep going, keep going….no, further, Things made need a Maker Matthew. The carpenter takes the wood and Makes a table.

        Who made the wood? You will never exhaust the endless well of the living God. There is a bottomless depth of knowledge and learning available in God’s word.

        Try it sometime, u may like it. Btw, the bird was made before the egg. just sayin

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      • Ah but Matthew, you ask an age old question, but one having a clear answer.

        But since you think its a game, I’ll leave you with en passant, and just allow your conscience to help you with the answer.

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      • You don’t answer because there IS no answer. This is philosophy 101; Hume demolished this absurd argument in the 1700’s. If you insist on there being things without causes, then the universe itself could be that thing, and there’s no need to hypothesize a god or gods.
        But really, I don’t want to rehash every argument for a god’s existence; I know what they all are, and none of them are convincing. The REAL question that everyone ignores is: suppose there WAS a god. What makes you think he’s Yahweh as opposed to Gilgamesh or Odin or Quetzalcoatl? And if a god lies outside the bounds of reality as we know it then it’s impossible to know anything about him/her/it.

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      • No Matt-
        You received an answer- it was not an answer u were happy with.

        Yea, your friends in the 15, 16, 17, 18, 19th centuries are all dead, and God is still God.

        That’s the reality of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of the living ya know.

        You ask a fair question tho:
        suppose there is a God? If there was wouldn’t ya think He would be just a tad beyond you in character and power?

        Yea, I would say. And He has revealed himself through nature, if you are honest with yourself. Denial is a strong thing.

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    • The American style Evangelicals love to tell other people how to live, but they all got a pass because it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you got the magic phrase right and accepted Jesus into your heart as Lord and Savior, you get to go to heaven no matter what. An amazing religion with absolutely no resemblance except for a few names to the original it claims to be. Bah humbug.

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      • The whole idea of vicarious redemption is especially distasteful, isn’t it? An apologist on another blog was proud (and quite happy) to say that Gandhi was in hell, while some rapist and murderer (I’ve forgotten the name) was surely in heaven because he found Jeebus before his execution. That type of thinking is just wrong on so many levels that its hard to even approach without gagging in disbelief.

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      • That’s the one! Cheers, my friend!

        Greg truly is deeply disturbed, is he not? I have a theory: he murdered someone, or very nearly murdered someone, was imprisoned, found the bible and related intimately to the god of the OT, using those stories to internally rationalise his violent behaviour.

        What say you, Professor?

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      • “What say you, Professor? “

        LOL

        You may be on to something. I have wasted a few brain cells thinking about this, myself. My theory was that he had a seizure in the sweet spot of his limbic region, after a night of binging on alcohol (not uncommon) and possibly drugs, and became hyper-religious afterwords. As you know, hyper-religiosity is a major feature of several common mental disorders. The hyper-religious tend to be drawn to authoritarian religions. Greg has a history of heavy drinking which can cause limbic lability so he was already primed.

        He reminds me of GW Bush — it happened to him. He had a history of heavy drinking and drug use. About 5 years ago when I was doing some research, I ran across an interview that CBS has done with Laura Bush. She said that after a night of binge drinking on his 40th birthday “he saw the light” and found da lard. That very week he started attending Bible studies with Billy Graham.

        George Bush has claimed he was on a mission from God when he launched the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a senior Palestinian politician in an interview to be broadcast by the BBC later this month.”

        “God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq”

        http://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/07/iraq.usa

        But I think your theory is quite probable. Greg is definitely on a mission from that tyrant, Yahweh.

        Cheers to you, as well, my friend.

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      • LOL! Finding da lard seems to be a fairly common event in the US…. and remember, W also thought Gog and Magog were loose in the Middle East.

        “Gog and Magog are loose in the Middle East, and the biblical prophecies are being fulfilled. This confrontation is willed by God who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.”(G. W. Bush, phone conversation with Jacques Chirac)

        https://thesuperstitiousnakedape.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/the-centuries-most-overlooked-story-and-how-it-explains-new-atheism/

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      • Are you serious? I swear to Jeebus, reality is a satire of itself. I’m literally stunned by this revelation. Some sociopath christian guy thinks Gandhi’s in hell because he wasn’t christian but Dahmer, who really did kill and EAT people, is in heaven kissing god’s ass because he embraced Jeebus. People like this vote. No wonder America is so f*cked up.

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      • Yep, dead serious. Here’s his quote:

        “Mahatma Gandhi is probably in the same hell that Adolf Hitler is probably in and Jeffery Dahmer is probably in heaven. The difference is the blood of Jesus Christ. NO sin is more powerful than that blood and good wo[r]ks without it only the make the flames of hell hotter.” ~ Tiribulus (Greg)

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      • Oh, it’s that “Tribulus” dude. I’ve read some of his sh*t. I’ve a strong suspicion he’s f*ckin’ around. Not well, mind, you, but I seriously question him. Either that, or he is, like you say, completely bat-shit crazy. I’ve a bullsh*t detector though, that is pretty honed, and my gut says this dude is writing for the sole purpose of pushing buttons. I strongly doubt the sincerity of what he writes.

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      • “my gut says this dude is writing for the sole purpose of pushing buttons.”

        Jeff, you’re not the first person who’s told me that. I always like to get a little background of people like him who come on so strong and want to engage me in discourse. I read several posts on his blog and went back weeks on his FB.

        He’s pretty damn extreme like he’s about to have an orgasm when he gets to talking about his god. When wired for a galvanized skin response test (correlated with perspiration), people who are hyper-religious have the same physical reaction when shown religious words as normal people have when they are shown erotic words. In other words, they are getting a physical reaction on the religious words but not the erotic words.

        If I hadn’t witnessed actual hyper-religious people before, or read extensively about the behavior of HR’s, I might be inclined to lean towards a poe or troll, but I think he’s a classic case of hyper-religiosity. BBC did an excellent documentary on this subject titled “God on the Brain”. You can find the doc on Top Documentary Films when you Google.

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      • I’ll check it out. I certainly agree that in this guy’s case there is a mental illness at play. He feeds off the grandiose nonsense he writes. He sets himself neurologically aflame with it, perhaps. I just do not trust his sincerity.

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  4. What about, just supposing he did touch on some of these topics with his followers. Either they wouldn’t really understand what he was talking about, or they might think he was having a delirious moment. Either way, you can understand why it wouldn’t make the final cut in the ‘eye witness’ accounts.

    Further, all the borrowed philosophy bits are clear proof that the god God has been beaming his message across the world from the beginning of time! 1 + 1 = 2 is making more sense every day. 😀

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  5. I agree John – this is a troubling aspect of all of our religions.

    Another troubling thing for me was that Jesus never wrote anything down himself. If it was an all mighty perfect god himself down here it seems like it would be the perfect opportunity.

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  6. Superb post. The quote I most attribute to Jeebus and the Bible, but I actual stole from Monty Python, then altered myself, is this one: “Blessed are the cheese makers for they shall help catch mice.” I agree with several comments here that many so-called christians are, at heart, non-believers. How many Catholics say they’re Catholics but use birth control and enjoy unwed sex? People say they’re a certain religion the way they say they’re Italian or Polish. It’s part of their cultural heritage. But, if asked how many people, in their heart of hearts truly, deeply and absolutely believe ALL the dogmas and decrees of their “religion”, few would say, “I do.” There are no theists in fox holes, only frightened men who know it is all going to be completely over very soon.

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  7. How many Catholics say they’re Catholics but use birth control and enjoy unwed sex?

    Loads, that’s why I like Catholics, pragmatic hypocrites really. Our local Catholic Church was next to a pub. Mass finished and they poured out of the church and into the pub.

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    • They love to gamble, too. Was raised Catholic and worked for a Catholic church/school for years. Drinkin’ and gamblin’! That’s the Catholics for ya! Me and the Padres there cracked open many a brew together. Catholicism made my transference into atheism truly a matter of mere semantics.

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      • Fascinating. Honestly, if all of Christendom were like the Catholic priests I grew up and later worked for, I’d have little, if any issue, with christians. They were just guys who happened to have jobs as priests the way some guys had jobs as plumbers and bakers. when I hung out, talked and drank with ’em, work almost never came up.

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      • Ter be sure ter be sure. I worked with Irish Catholics. I also worked with a rather evangelical Methodist, give me the drinking gambling fornicating hell-raising Catholics any day. Well, not the auto da fé

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  8. Let’s imagine that you are God and that you are about to address a throng of simple people. Or perhaps you are addressing a few smart guys. What exactly are you going to say? Richard Bach wrote an interesting little book called “The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah”. This messiah is quite cool and says things like “people only hear what they want to hear, even if I say amazing things” (paraphrasing). Basically, God can say what he wants, no one listens anyway.

    Surprisingly Christians seem to care an awful lot about what he said with centuries and millennia hindsight. Go figure.

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  9. Jesus’ purpose for coming was to die for the sins of humanity. He was the Lamb of God prophesied in Isaiah 53. His purpose for coming was to offer a covering for the sins of anyone who would receive it, so they wouldn’t have to stand exposed and ashamed before a holy God who couldn’t let sin into his eternal realm.

    Beyond that, most of the advances in science that have blessed humanity came from His followers who were motivated and inspired by the words in the Bible.

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      • Hi John,

        I’m well, thank you!

        Lucifer was cast out of heaven.

        Sin is kind of like Ebola. Because it hurts people, it has to be defended against. A universe that lets sin grow is like a Mad Max universe where the strong rule over the weak, terrorizing and victimizing them.

        Lawlessness only leads to a survival of the fittest mentality. This isn’t the heart of God. The Golden Rule is a good solution to this problem, wouldn’t you say? But getting people to honor the rule is the problem. We’re all thoughtless at times.

        This is where Jesus comes in. If we have tender and grateful hearts that are open to what he did for us, he promises that his Holy Spirit will come to us and help us to live good lives. If any man be in Christ he is a new creation!

        As for Christians that act like the devil, perhaps they don’t believe the truth of the Bible. Perhaps they believe in a perverted or corrupted version of Christianity that doesn’t have its foundation in the scriptures.

        Catholic priests who molest–they have desires, but they believe, contrary to the scriptures, that they must remain single. This is not a biblical doctrine. Even the priesthood is an unbiblical doctrine. Christians who believe God is happy with their sacrifice or their religious efforts don’t find that in the scriptures. God is happy when people love Him and love their neighbor.

        Where do Catholics get the idea that saying repetitive prayers while they hold beads is pleasing to God, even though Jesus warned us against repetitive prayers? Why do they call priests “father” when Jesus said, “Call no man Father but your Father in heaven?” What they’ve done is create a religion out of their own traditions and thoughts. It’s not surprising that this religion doesn’t produce a new spirit.

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      • “If we have tender and grateful hearts that are open to what he did for us, he promises that his Holy Spirit will come to us and help us to live good lives.”

        Yeh, right. Don’t tell that to the ancestors of most Native Americans who were taught how to live a good life or else by the Spanish conquistadors and every European immigrant that followed them. Nice fantasy that tends to forget how “the great commission” was actually carried out in the name of Jesus.

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    • No, Diana, most of the advances in science have come from questioning the nonsense religion tries to promote. The same science that “blesses” humanity, is the same science that shows theistic claims to be completely wrong.

      As for comparing ebola with sin, that is interesting. Let’s see, if one believes your claims, your god is responsible for creating both to harm people intentionally. We have a magical being that either allowed a magical snake to corrupt people or was too inept to know it was there in the “garden”. Then we have that being coming up with various ways to “cover” this sin, until it finally decided on making a copy of itself to sacrifice to itself to fulfill rules that it made up. and we also have the promise that this being will intentionally allow more people to be corrupted by its archenemy that it has to release after its copy reigns on earth for an aeon over all of the good people that this god didnt’ kill earlier in the book.

      Now, let’s look at ebola. It’s something that no one needs a magical being to cure. Survival rates are directly tied to medical science, not how much someone believes.

      It’s always great to see a Christian insist that other christians are wrong. Can you show me how you can prove this, Diana? Per your bible, we do have a couple of great ways to determine who is the tru Christians here. Are you up for them?

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      • I’m sorry Clubshadenfreude, but most of the advances in science have come from people that believed in God. Galileo believed. Keppler believed. Boyle (the father of chemistry), Ray (the father of biology), Bacon (the creator of the scientific method), Newton (the father of physics), Pasteur (pasteurization), Snow (germ theory), Lister (antiseptic surgery), and on and on . . . were all believers. And most of them were battling the stronghold of Aristotelian “science.” Read Galileo’s arguments about the “two world systems,” or Louis Pasteur’s motivation to disprove Aristotelian “spontaneous generation, or Bacon’s desire to overthrow Aristotelian “science” which, by the way, was supported by the medieval Catholic Church.

        The main scientific sin of the Catholic Church was putting their trust in Aristotle rather than in the scriptures.

        Science and the Bible are good friends . . . because truth is truth.

        True Christians love Jesus. He is grace and truth to us. If we love Jesus, we’ll love the Word because Jesus was the “Word become flesh who dwelt among us.” If we don’t honor the Word and keep it holy and pure, and we add to it, we are corrupting the truth rather than loving the truth.

        Many Catholics don’t love the truth enough to keep it pure. When they add to it, they make it filthy. They might as well add shit to a shake and offer it to God. That’s what He sees with all their human efforts and man-made doctrines. The same goes for the Protestants who add to the Gospel. I’m opposed to man-made religions; instead I love Christ and his Word. Like John Zande, I question why the church doesn’t obey the Word.

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      • I’ll get to the rest of your comments in a little while Diana. I did want to ask you, how many of those scientists were Christians like you define Christianity? And I would like it if you would defined what a Christian is and is not in your view. You certainly make the unsupportable claim that Roman Catholics are not really Christians.

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      • Ain’t nuthin’ I luvs more than Christian on Christian bashin’! Hee Haw!!! Dang tootin”! My $’s on dem der Catlicks! They been burnin’ folk at the stake the longest! Hee Haw!!!! We’re in fer some darn tootin’ blood curdlin’ good mud slingin’ by them that insists they luvs everyone. Spread luv while tossin’ da mud!!!! Hee Haw!!!!

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      • Christianity has been divided since its inception. The cause of the division is over the authority of scripture. Some Christians believe authority only exists in the Word while some believe the Word can be tampered with like a little plaything.

        The Gnostics thought their secret dreams and visions could take precedence over the teachings of the apostles. The early church began to mix Greek philosophy with the scriptures, so much so that the early church father, Tertullian, cried out, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?!”

        This synthesis of Greek philosophy and Christianity was a compromised mess that caused the church to lose its ability to be salt and light for a thousand years.

        The Reformation and Martin Luther brought the church out of its darkness. Luther restored the authority of scripture, and along with the invention of the printing press, the Word of God was released into society. Freedom grew. Prosperity and the work ethic grew. Science grew. Education grew. Human dignity began to be important. These important human advances can be attributed directly to the influence of Christianity on society.

        When the church corrupts the Gospel they end up becoming like the medieval Catholic Church, who was so hardhearted they tortured people and burnt them at the stake.

        The Civil War in America was over the authority of the scriptures in the end. The abolitionists, such as Frederick Douglass, fought against the scientific racism (polygenism) that the southern slaveholder used as the authority to enslave men. The Baptists and Methodists blended Old Testament law (something forbidden by Galatians 3), science, and the Gospel into a hodge-podge and corrupted mess. It led to massive human suffering–slavery, war, division, and death.

        Yes, the church hurls mud at one another, but the truth must be preserved–or humanity suffers! Those who defend the truth of the Gospel may not realize how important their job is, but through them, the world is blessed.

        We must speak the truth in love, as the scriptures say, but the false church doesn’t seem to realize this. They tend to resort to violence for some reason.

        Jesus predicted this. He called them the “wheat and the tares.”

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      • I luvs a good fight! I luvs just sittin’ back ‘n watchin’ all ‘a yous jus’ whack away at each other like gardeners killin’ weeds. What happens when you mix 78 groups together and every one of ’em thinks they gots the only right answer der iz ‘n da others are all wrong? FUN!!! Dats what happens! A spectator sport where the absolute last impression any of you all leave is one of luv. Hate. Disgust. And vile rejection of basic human goodness. Dats what you all show off. And dats why, ta unbelievin’ yahoos like me, you’ll ne’er be more than idjits clawin’ fer yer time in the sun. A sun which’ll be burnin’ long after all you yokels ‘ave slung yer last bit of hate-filled nonsense at each other. But please, do keep ‘a fightin’. The show you all put on is priceless nastiness at its most hateful best. An’ please, no need fer a bloody history lesson on christian on christian hate-crimes. I been readin’ da gore filled history ‘o dat fer decades ‘n I luvs it. The greatest horror story on da planet is written in da history ov how yous luv bugs hate each so efficiently. So please, do keep up the good work. Entertainment like that is expensive ta see in da theater. P.S. Da catlicks are gonna beat yer protestin’ asses inta pulp! Least I hopes so. I gots a lot ‘a dough ridin’ on ’em!

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    • “Jesus’ purpose for coming was to die for the sins of humanity.”

      I’m afraid that was an afterthought Diana once their Messiah was put to the cross. Remember, the Jews actually thought the Messiah was going to be a Davidian figure, a real human. When they realized that perhaps they tagged the wrong man as the Messiah then the creative people like Paul got busy and made a square peg fit a round hole, albeit with aid of very naive people.

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      • Paul explained how Jesus fulfilled the Law. The author of Hebrews (perhaps Paul) explained this in detail. Yes, the Jews were looking for a political liberator, but the greatest bondage is the bondage to sin. Jesus came to set men free from this first. No political system will work if evil reigns in the hearts of men. The new heart must come first.

        This is one of the reasons I believe the American Revolution was successful–in contrast to the French Revolution. Both Revolutions were based on the writings of deists and Enlightenment rationalists. (Jefferson, Locke, Montesquieu, and Rousseau, Paine, etc . . ) but the French rebellion ended with the Terror and the guillotine, while the American Revolution led to one of the greatest success stories of all time. The American Revolution was birthed out of the Great Awakening, which set Jesus up as Lord in the hearts of men. The French Revolution swept away all the authority of the “ancien regime” — kings and priests were all cast aside. Nothing was put in its place but the authority of a dictator–no hearts were changed to make way for the responsibility of freedom. I think I’ll write a column about this.

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      • Well Diana I appreciate your efforts at apologetics and filling all the holes with ex post facto views like changing the Jewish Messiah to a savior of men’s souls rather than as a liberator from their human oppressors. But you still seem to be oblivious of certain realities that significantly weaken your argument. Take this one for example’

        ”… but the French rebellion ended with the Terror and the guillotine, while the American Revolution led to one of the greatest success stories of all time. The American Revolution was birthed out of the Great Awakening, which set Jesus up as Lord in the hearts of men.”

        The French revolution was one where many of the revolutionaries had suffered death, torture and prison sentences for things like debt and political dissidence. Their sense of retribution was greater than anything the Americans had to demand justice from the guillotine for. They were simply exacting what your Bible authorizes – an eye for an eye. Do you think there were no Christians among the revolutionaries?

        And let’s not forget that those men of the “Great Awakening”, especially the Baptist who expanded their ministry in the South, were pro-slavery or at best still felt the black race was far inferior to the white man. Is this what Jesus filled their heart with?

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      • it seems like Diana is a Paulianist rather than a Christian. Again, Diana, do you see the earth still around? Seems from the horse’s mouth that this has to be gone before the laws can be ignored. It’s great to see you acknowledge that we have no idea who wrote Hebrews. So, why believe it other than that you *want* to?

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    • Diana,
      I’m going to guess that we will never see you tell us what a TrueChristian is, so we can’t tell which of these scientists are to be considered TrueChristians and thus your claim of “Beyond that, most of the advances in science that have blessed humanity came from His followers who were motivated and inspired by the words in the Bible.” Is to be considered utter nonsense. It is the usual attempt by Christian to try to claim that all that is good and nifty in the world is somehow because of their religion when that is not the case at all. It’s always fun to watch these attempts contrasted with the whines that Christians are such persecuted minorities. We have the contradictory claims that there are so very many Christians in the world that this means that Christianity simply has to be the one true religion, and then we get the claims that anyone that doesn’t agree with you aren’t TrueChristians at all. Which is it, Diana? Are Roman Catholics like you say “As for Christians that act like the devil, perhaps they don’t believe the truth of the Bible. Perhaps they believe in a perverted or corrupted version of Christianity that doesn’t have its foundation in the scriptures.”? Again, how can you show me this is the case? I can read all of the bible verses that support what the Catholics do, just like I can read the verses that support your nonsense. Which is the “right” version since you *both* cite this same book? Now, as I have offered, there are a couple of ways we can test which of you are telling the truth, if any of you are. Are you willing to take the challenge?

      It’s amusing to watch someone like you declare that certain people are somehow “fathers” of certain bits of scientific research. Galileo believed, but gasp he was a Roman Catholic! Keppler was a Lutheran, it seems. He is also looked favorably on by the Episcopal Church. Keppler supported Catholics and Lutherans as it suited him. He said this when it came to the bible: “”It is not the purpose of the Holy Scriptures to instruct men in natural things.” You can read more about Keppler here on his religious views: http://www.adherents.com/people/pk/Johannes_Kepler.html

      Ray, aka John Wray, is the father of biology? Hmmm, for someone who was a biology major, it’s funny that I never heard of him. He seems to be either Church of England or Catholic. He also was a primary proponent that it was from observation that one could known this god, rather than from some personal revelation. Is this the same kind of Christian that you are? He’s also quite good at showing that the creationists’ “kinds” is nonsense.

      Bacon, the creator of the scientific method? No, not really. You should actually do some research. A good point to start is the Wikipedia entry about the scientific method. Sadly, the idea was around long before your Christianity. So, again, I only see a Christian who is depending on her attempt to spread false information to shore up her faith. You can also read the wiki entry on Sir Francis Bacon and see just what his religious views were. I can make an educated guess that he doesn’t agree with your version of Christianity. Newton was also really into alchemy, so did Christianity feed that too?

      Pasteur was evidently a Catholic, though it seems Christians do indeed love to argue just what he did believe. Here’s a quote from him “”In each one of us there are two men, the scientist and the man of faith or of doubt. These two spheres are separate, and woe to those who want to make them encroach upon one another in the present state of our knowledge!”” Do you agree with this, Diana? Or this “”I know that the word free thinker is written somewhere within our walls as a challenge and an affront. Do you know what most of the free thinkers want? Some want the freedom not to think at all and to be fettered by ignorance; others want the freedom to think badly; and others still, the freedom to be dominated by what is suggested to them by instinct and to despise all authority and all tradition. Freedom of thought in the Cartesian sense, freedom to work hard, freedom to pursue research, the right to arrive at such truth as is accessible to evidence and to conform one’s conduct to these exigencies–oh! let us vow a cult to this freedom; for this is what has created modern society in its highest and most fruitful aspects.”

      Snow was an Anglican. Still a true Christian, Diana? He also went against the idiocy of Calvinist ministers at the time in offering obstetric anesthesia, which the ministers cited the bible that women must be in pain for birth because the bible said so. You can read this in “The History and Development of Obstetric Anesthesia” by Paul J. Poppers, which is available on the internet. Lister was a Quaker. Is that true Christianity?

      So we have believers of many different stripes. And they were indeed battling Aristoltelian concepts, which does not mean that they were using what you think is Christianity.

      Science and the bible are not “good friends”. Your bible claims that weather comes from magic. Your bible can’t even get the difference between bats and birds. Your bible has no idea of the germ theory which would have helped millions. Your bible is concerned with your god stepping in poop and with using pigeon blood in curing leprosy.

      Yep, Chrisitans claim to love Jesus. So, check with the Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Unitarian Universalists, Westboro Baptist Church, Calvinists, etc. so, still have no idea which of you are the “true” Christians. Yep, word is grace and truth. Still the same thing. Yep, all honoring and keeping the “word” holy. Yep, all deciding that you and only you know what your god “really” meant. It’s great to watch you make the exact same arguments against Catholicism as they make against whatever version of Christianity you are. You make it filthy, you add shit to your shake. And aw, you even are sure that Protestants are wrong too. Again, still waiting to see if you are willing to face the bible approved challenges to show you are the only true Christian.

      I’m verbose as usual. Sorry, John.

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      • Wow. I’m impressed clubschadenfreude. You really gave me a well-thought out reply. I appreciate intelligent responses. It would take a lot to respond to all your points, but it can be done.

        I define the true Christian as one who is faithful to the scriptures. We can disagree about the meaning of the scriptures but we all have to start there. There are both Catholics and Protestants who add to the scriptures in different ways. Catholics add the declarations of the popes as though they are on the same level as the scripture. Some pentecostals add their dreams and visions (such as Rick Joyner’s “Final Quest”) as though they are on the same level as the scriptures.

        Whenever atheists point to the failures of Christians they point to the corrupted church. They don’t mention the heroic, intelligent, caring, and wonderful church. They mention the inquisitors, the slaveholders, and the Nazis. All of these groups of Christians were opposed and defeated by other Christians. The Catholic inquisitors were challenged over time by the Protestants. The southern Christian slaveholders were challenged by the northern Christian abolitionists. The Nazis, whose swastika ended up in their churches, were opposed by the Confessing Church.

        Which of these do you think were the true church? Those who burnt others at the stake in the name of God, those who gassed Jews in the name of God, those who beat their slaves til the blood ran down their backs (as Frederick Douglass said his cousin suffered), or those who opposed them?

        In each case, those who were abusive had corrupted the truth with other ideologies such as Greek philosophy, Hegelian philosophy, science, Darwinism, etc . . . while the abolitionists, Reformers, and the Confessing Church took their stand on the Word of God.

        I have to rinse out some paint brushes before they dry out, but I appreciate your response concerning science and history.

        Those are fair questions. I venture to say that the advances these men of God made were never contrary to the Bible. Even though the men might not have agreed with all of the words in the Bible, the blessings they contributed probably didn’t counter the scriptures.

        P.S. Just a little thought on bats and birds. When was the classification system developed?

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      • Well, Diana, you seem surprised that I gave you a well-thought out reply. Of course I did. I can do no less if I am to show theists how their claims fail, but my arguments are nothing new. I am glad you liked my post, but that makes it seem that you agree with what I said and that is that you are wrong. That seems a little strange.

        I am not surprised that you want to define a Christian to be one “who is faithful to the scriptures”. Every Christian thinks that they are being faithful to the scriptures. And every Christian picks and chooses what they want to pretend that their god “really” meant. You are entirely correct, you all start with the scriptures and you all come up with different claims of what is “true”. You all add and subtract things from these scriptures. You want to make believe that you somehow are better than the Catholics and Protestants and you have yet to show that your version is any better than theirs, Diana. I’m still waiting for you to show how your version is somehow more “correct”.

        You are right, Catholics are not sola scriptura and believe that the Abrahamic god speaks through their pope in certain instances (not all pronouncements by the pope are considered sacrosanct. They play that game too). Pentacostals do claim that their dreams and visions are from this god too. And you claim that you know what this god really wants because you say everyone else is wrong and somehow you know this without question. So, again, Diana, you are no better or worse than the Catholics, Pentacostals, Presbyterians, Orthodox, etc.

        You want to claim that everyone but you is “corrupted”. But again, you can’t show this to be the case. Now, we can go to your bible and have one great way to know who are the true believers in this god and his self/son Jesus Christ. All true believers in Christ should be able to “16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” Can you do these things, Diana? Can any self-professed Christian? If so, where are they? There are thousands of people in VA hospitals, childrens hospitals, on the streets, etc that could really use these abilities. Why do we see not one single person who can do this and who does do this?
        What excuses will you offer?

        I know that there are plenty of decent caring self-professed Christians. My folks are some of them. I also know that there are decent, caring, Catholics, Presbyterians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, atheists, Wiccan, Asatru, Shintoists, Satanists and every other type of religion and lack of religion. Belief in a certain thing makes absolutely no difference. There are good decent, caring people and there are selfish assholes and they are of all different beliefs and lack of belief. Believe in a magical boogeyman doesn’t make you a decent person. Empathy and compassion do.

        So, yep, I have no problem in pointing out that the Nazis had the phrase “God is with us.” On their belt buckles. I have no problem in pointing out that Christians merrily burnt each other and people of other faiths and none at the stake, put them on the rack, tore them apart, etc, all in the name of their god and their god did NOTHING to stop them.
        Now, here I usually get the whine “but but, God wants free will and won’t interfere.” That’s nonsense if one knows the bible where this god is supposedly constantly interfering. It only becomes a matter of free will when Christians, like you, need to excuse their imaginary friend’s lack of action. This is the “god of the gaps” phenomenon, where gods get less active, and more vague as humans figure out that they don’t exist and that myths are just stories told by humans who didn’t understand their world.

        It’s always amusing to see you now saying that “The Catholic inquisitors were challenged over time by the Protestants.” when the Protestants did just as bad things or worse. Just do a little reading on what happened in England, Diana. Read what dear ol’ Martin Luther advocated.

        You also need to read more about how Christians handled slavery in the US. Yep, northern abolitionists were often Christian. And southern Christians cited the same book as why they should be able to keep slaves. You seem to depend on your own ignorance and that of others to spread your nonsense, Diana, and you will always fail as long as someone takes the time to show you utterly wrong. The Wikipedia entry on Christianity and slavery shows just how differing the ideas were and again underlines that this god of yours did nothing to show what it “really” thought: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_views_on_slavery and here at religioustolerance.org: http://www.religioustolerance.org/sla_bibl.htm

        Again, we see that there is no reason to believe that some magical being exists and does anything. If it disapproved of slavery, why is there not one thing in the bible that says owning another person is wrong? Why does your god never indicate that any of the self-profess TrueChristians are the only “right” ones? that you, Diana, have any more claim to being “right” than any other of your fellow believers. As it stands, you are just like every other theist, sure in your arroganace that your version is right, everyone else is wrong, and having nothing to support such nonsense.

        You ask me “which of these do you think were the true church? Well, none of them, Diana. Your claim is nothing more than circular reasoning, “good is god is good is good” and we certainly see that your god has not cornered the market on good.

        Now, answer my question, how do you prove that your version is the “true church” as you have claimed repeatedly when you claim that anyone who disagrees with you is wrong? What is this “truth”, Diana, and how can you prove it? Yep, you can try to claim that only good people are Christians but that isn’t accurate since anyone can be a good person and sure don’t need to be any kind of Christian or theist at all.
        And, Diana, the “Confessing Church” is just as Protestant as Lutherans because that’s right where it came from. Again, we have nothing to show that they based their actions on the “word of God” any more than we have that the RCC has, or the Anabaptists have, or that the Orthodox have, or that whatever version you have are any more right or wrong. You *all* make the same claim that your god approves of you and that you and only you really know what the Word of God says.

        But as I have said above, your bible says that all true believers can do as JC said. Can you?

        I have asked many questions, many very fair questions and as always a TrueChristian like you avoids answering them. Always highly entertaining to see you do it like every other Christian. Tell me how we can know that you and only you aren’t “corrupt”, Diana? If the bible is the word of God, then why aren’t you killing people who work on the Sabbath because JC said that all of his father’s laws were to be followed until the heaven and earth pass away? I certainly haven’t noticed either ending lately. And indeed, when is this “sabbath”? Saturday? Sunday? Another day? How do you know?

        P.S. Hmmm, when was the classification system developed? Which one? The one that says mammals are not birds? It seems that it’s rather amazing that your god insisted that bats are birds. Now, why does it matter when humans came up with a classification system when your god couldn’t get it right that bats give milk and birth young and birds lay eggs? Leviticus 11 starts “The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 2 “Say to the Israelites:” Per your bible, aka word of God, this god speaks directly to M and A and does say that bats are birds.
        And goes on “13 “‘These are the birds you are to regard as unclean and not eat because they are unclean: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, 14 the red kite, any kind of black kite, 15 any kind of raven, 16 the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, 17 the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, 18 the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, 19 the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.”

        And again, as I mentioned, your god also thinks that bird blood will cure someone of leprosy in Leviticus 14. Funny how that never works. Just like every other promise in the bible.

        You of course try to back off your claim that Christians made so many discoveries, but I have shown that these Christians aren’t Christians how *you* define Christianity. Your own words show you to contradict yourself. Are they Christians or not, Diana? Are they “corrupt” or not? If they are corrupt, how can they give “blessings” through your god? Isn’t it allergic to “evil”? Nice to see that even you will do your best to try to rewrite what you claimed. You did not claim that these people were not Christians, you said that they were and Christians just like you, all uncorrupt and all. “I’m sorry Clubshadenfreude, but most of the advances in science have come from people that believed in God. Galileo believed. Keppler believed. Boyle (the father of chemistry), Ray (the father of biology), Bacon (the creator of the scientific method), Newton (the father of physics), Pasteur (pasteurization), Snow (germ theory), Lister (antiseptic surgery), and on and on . . . were all believers.”

        You never said that you believed that “the blessings that they contributed probably didn’t counter the scriptures”, you said that these blessings came directly from them because they were Christians.
        You said that people who didn’t believe as you were adding “shit to a shake.”

        I do get so tired of Christians like you because I know that all of you aren’t so deceitful. You have chosen to be deceitful, Diana, by trying to avoid acknowledging that you have declared everyone but you to be an awful person: “Many Catholics don’t love the truth enough to keep it pure. When they add to it, they make it filthy. They might as well add shit to a shake and offer it to God. That’s what He sees with all their human efforts and man-made doctrines. The same goes for the Protestants who add to the Gospel. I’m opposed to man-made religions; instead I love Christ and his Word.”

        So much for your supposed love of Christ and his word. You have done your best to make up your own religion, again, just one more man-made religion that you have decided is right from God and have nothing to support it just like every other theist.

        Unless you can do as JC said. Can you heal? How about the altar challenge that Elijah did that supposedly any believer can do to show that his god is true and everyone else’s is wrong. God says it’s okay to test him in Malachi and when Jesus said okay to Thomas. I’ve offered to meet many Christians who make the same claims as you do, so I can be a witness and perhaps be converted. Anywhere you’d like, Diana. I see that it is likely that you are in Wisconsin, so I don’t need a passport. I have the money. I’d be more than happy to drive out or perhaps meet you midway, say Fort Wayne, IN? It would be great if any believer could actually do what is promised.

        I’d love to have a god that cared for people because it would help so many people who suffer and who so often did so that others didn’t have to. I’d like to believe that Christians who are decent good people aren’t just pointlessly wasting time and resources. I’d like to believe what I used to before all evidence pointed to the conclusion that no gods exist at all. It was no fun losing that, but I am honest enough not to just keep believing if there isn’t any evidence for me to do so. That’s why I’m not a Christian, a Muslim, a Wiccan, or any other type of believer. You have a great chance to show your version of your beliefs are true. Will you?
        I’ll quote myself so you know the questions to ask: “It’s always great to see a Christian insist that other christians are wrong. Can you show me how you can prove this, Diana? Per your bible, we do have a couple of great ways to determine who is the tru Christians here. Are you up for them?”

        Show us that you aren’t just more “tares” who wants to pretend she’s “wheat”.

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      • hmmm, like how you do by declaring that everyone but you isn’t a Christian? You know, how you claim everyone is “corrupt” that they are adding “shit to a shake”?

        Again, Diana, show me how I should know that you and only you are a true, uncorrupt Christian.

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      • clubshadenfreude: “hmmm, like how you do by declaring that everyone but you isn’t a Christian? You know, how you claim everyone is “corrupt” that they are adding “shit to a shake”?

        Again, Diana, show me how I should know that you and only you are a true, uncorrupt Christian.”

        Thank you for the example. That sort of thing, John, is why you’d need to tell this one what it means when you ask me if I’m a Christian.

        (You can also ask me if I’m a communist, a faggot, or a Mexican, if you need to attach any other terms to help you avoid addressing the substance of my arguments. But please define them, too. For example, you should clarify if, by “communist,” you mean, “member of a licensed communist party,” or simply, “someone who thinks a few socialist ideas sound okay.” And if by “Mexican,” you mean, “citizen of Mexico,” or merely, “has some indigenous South American blood.”)

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      • Yep, it is clearly a question that is simply too difficult for you to answer. Fair enough.

        You can also ask me if I’m a communist, a faggot, or a Mexican, if you need to attach any other terms to help you avoid addressing the substance of my arguments

        Huh? What substance? You’ve been rambling in incoherent spasms. You haven’t said a single valid thing that can be addressed…

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      • Hello higharka,

        It always amuses me to know end to watch someone so desperately avoid admitting what religion he is. Are you embarrassed to do so because of what it means? Or are you just afraid of being caught like Diana is in a lot of contradictions and baseless claims?

        You do a lovely job at quote-mining my posts but you of course don’t put the important parts that demonstrate your supposedly indignation is nonsense. I know that Christians make the same claims, that they take JC as their savior, that they honor the word of god, that they

        The problem is that they all claim the same things and then claim that anyone else who does this isn’t doing it “right” and that they and only they are the TrueChristians. They can’t show that any one of them are any more approved of their god or that those other people are any less accurate than they are in their worship.

        Diana is hilarious in her attempts to claim that only her version is right one and everyone else is wrong. She is also just great when she tried to claim that all of these scientists were believers and thus giving blessings to humanity through their god. But when it was pointed out that all of those scientists were of sects that weren’t hers, that she said that anyone that wasn’t her was “corrupt” and putting “shit in a shake”, suddenly she has to change her story and insist that what these scientists accomplished maybe wasn’t against her god’s rules. Quite a different tune than insisting that the scientists were all good honest and uncorrupted Christians. It’s the usual sad attempts by a Christian to try to claim that anything good is from her religion but when shown that they aren’t from her religion, she tries to claim she didn’t say what she did.

        Now, looking at the actual facts, and not your attempts at expurgation, we can know that Christians do have some commonalities; it is only how they act specifically that makes* them* decide that each other aren’t Christians. I, as an atheist, find it wonderful that it is theist actions that show that their religion is utterly ridiculous by their continuous backbiting and attempts to define themselves as the only TrueChristians. I ask all of you to show that your claims are true, that one of you are right and the rest are wrong.

        Higharka, I will ask you specific questions to you to determine what exactly you believe, so I don’t have to chase you around the mulberry bush:

        Do you believe that Jesus Christ is your personal savior, the only way to avoid a hell defined as a place of torment? Or do you deny this?

        Do you believe that hell is a: a place of physical torment or a place of mental torment/separation?

        Do you believe that hell is a place of eternal torment or that souls will be eventually released?

        Do you believe in the doctrine of Original Sin?

        Do you believe that the events in Genesis are literal events happening exactly like described?

        Do you believe that people are already determined on where they will spend the afterlife before they are born?

        Do you believe that people should be baptized? If so, how and when should they be baptized?

        Do you believe that dead people can intercede for you to improve your chances of getting in to heaven?

        What do you believe guarantees your entry into heaven: God’s whim e.g. grace; belief in God; belief in Jesus Christ as savior; works?

        Do you believe that prayer can affect this world?
        What day of the week do you believe is the special day for your god?

        Do you believe that all of God’s laws should be followed? What do you cite as your evidence that you can accept/ignore the laws of this god that you do not follow?

        And higharka, the term Mexican means only that one is a citizen of Mexico, just like saying one is an American means that one is a citizen of the US. If one is has some indigenous South American blood, one is considered a variety of terms, one is mestizo, having both European decent and Native American decent. Most of the people in South American and Central America are not indigenous which means the original dwellers, like the native peoples of Australia, etc. What you seem to be meaning is “Hispanic” having some ancestry that is from the Iberian peninsula via colonization of the Americas. You seem to be usual a common Christian tactic of attempting to redefine words so your claims don’t sound so silly.

        A person who says that they are a small “c” communist probably does accept communist ideals to varying degrees. These ideals are not the same as socialist ideals. They are also not always what a big “C” Communist may believe, because that means one is a member of a political party. A faggot is a chuck of wood and a derogatory term for a homosexual. It’s rather easy to determine that someone isn’t a chunk of wood. If someone is sexually attracted to the same sex exclusively, we can be sure that they are indeed homosexual.

        You see, it’s not too difficult to define someone by what they call themselves. It is only amusing when someone tries to claim that they are one thing and then turn around and say that anyone who doesn’t do exactly as they do isn’t “really” one of that class.

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      • Oh, Diana is a loyal soul. I like her. She means well. I don’t think she’ll take you up on your challenge though, as I’m sure she doesn’t consider herself a prophet. I could be wrong, though…

        A bazzilion points for your “Technobabble”… That made me snort 🙂

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      • hey, I’m a trekkie from waay back so I really know my technobabble 🙂

        As for Diana not being a prophet, there’s nothing that says one must be a prophet to get this god’s attention to do the altar challenge and certainly nothing to prevent her from showing she can do all of those nifty things promised by her supposed lord and savior. A visit to VA hospital and some healing would do quite well.

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      • Club,

        Thank you much; that was exactly the kind of thing John should have been doing to define his question. Once these dunces get out of my building I will turn the browser back on and answer you. 🙂

        <3,

        ~HA

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      • and that’s what John *was* doing. You did your best to ignore his request to tell us what you are, by trying to avoid a simple question that I have shown has a simple answer by the first question I posed. The others are only to determine which sect you are.

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      • “I know that Christians make the same claims, that they take JC as their savior, that they honor the word of god, that they [blank]”

        This from the great biblical scholars? The arch mockers of those who simplify? “Christians make the same claims”?

        Wow. So, Arianism, Protestantism, Mormonism, Universal Unitarianism…all the same thing? By that logic, all atheists are cannibalistic savages who live in nude polygamous societies in the Serengeti, right?

        What you and John really meant to ask to pigeonhole me was, “Do you self-identify as Christian?” That would’ve been a very simple way to rephrase your question, because it wouldn’t have required me to claim the ability to authoritatively define myself as belonging to “the one true faith” as part of answering the question.

        For example, if I were genderqueer, and we were having a discussion about marriage policy, and John asked me, “Are you a man?” I might say, “What do you mean by ‘man’?” I could be a FTM in different stages of transition, or an MTF, a hermaphrodite, an XXY-born error, and given the cultural context of the question, it would be entirely fair for me to ask, “What do you mean by ‘man’?” E.g., “biological XY,” or “self-identifies as man,” or “cisman,” or whatever else.

        I know that labeling someone makes it easier to judge and dismiss them, but if you’re going to attempt to discuss these issues in a non-derisive way, you’d benefit from being willing to explain yourselves. Christians have spent thousands of years killing each other over who is and isn’t a Christian, so it is certainly appropriate to ask for some clarification.

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      • You have an unusual gift at unnecessarily complicating that which shouldn’t be complicated. It was a simple question: Are you, yes or no, a Christian. It wasn’t a trick. I wasn’t setting a dastardly wicked trap. I wasn’t playing chess. Somehow, though, you have taken this strikingly simple question and carried into the bizarre world of genetics and gender-transition. Impressive. Insane, but impressive nonetheless.

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      • Yep, this is from the Christians who make the claims that they are Christians, higharka. I see them all claimgin that they take JC as their savior, that they honor the word of god, that they and they alone claim to be the only ones who got it “right”. They might be “great bible scholars” but since each sect has different people that they claim to be “great bible scholars” I have no idea which ones you might mean. Augustine? Luther? Pope Pius XI? Billy Graham? Pat Robertson? Brigham Young?
        Again, you seem intent on ignoring what I actually wrote in order to go on about nonsense. No, dear, I did not say that all Christians were exactly the same in what they claimed. They do agree on certain things, and *then* they differ on many things. This is the problem, each of you claims that you and you alone are the only True Christians. And none of you can show this to be the case. Not the Arians, not the Protestants, not the Catholics, not the Orthodox varieties, not the Mormons, not the UU, none of you. All insist that they are the true disciples of Jesus Christ and you cannot show that this is true and that everyone else is wrong, or as Diana says, “corrupt”.

        Well, I rather doubt there are any atheists cannibals who are polygamous, nude and live in the Serengeti. Heck, if you can show me that any one, atheist or not, is polygamous, nude and living in the Serengeti, I’d appreciate it. Do you know what the word atheist means, higharka? It seems not. It means someone who has no belief in gods. That’s it. That’s all that makes one atheist like another. It is not a moral stance, it is not a philosophy, it is a conclusion of what does and doesn’t exist. I have never said that someone wasn’t a “real” atheist because it depends on one thing. Now, I have listed what makes Christians alike. And I watch you, and Diana, and a plethora of other theists insisting that each other is wrong and that only you are right. Still waiting to see how you can demonstrate this.

        No, higharka, asking “do you self-identify as Christian?’ wouldn’t stopped requiring you to claim the ability to authoritatively define yourself as belonging to “the one true faith”. This is because each faith does believe this innately, because if you identify as one type, then you are by default saying everyone else is wrong because you don’t do what they do.

        It seems that you certainly are desperate to ignore context in any question as long as you believe it gives you an excuse not to answer it. If I asked if you were a man, it would be in a certain context, and by that you would know if I meant if you were a biological male, transsexual, an “error” (yeesh, what a unpleasant term), etc. So, we already would have the cultural context and no, it would not be entirely fair of you to ask pointless questions that were already addressed.

        So, are you embarrassed or afraid to answer the questions put to you? It’s always also great to see you accuse me of being “derisive” when I am not. It does make such a lovely excuse, doesn’t it, higharka? But it also is a lie.

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      • All right, so this one answered the “Are you Christian” question, after providing numerous more specific details to Club. We’ve all had a lot of fun. Now, let’s return to the original subject of this post, otherwise known as “the thing we were supposed to be talking about, rather than about High Arka’s personality or intelligence level.” Here’s that original subject again:

        (1) The biblical deity is laughable and/or non-believable because it did not say anything new.

        (2) The biblical deity is laughable and/or non-believable because it did not say anything marginally useful.

        This one’s responses to those issues are as follows:

        (HA1) The saying of something which can be memetically connected to something said earlier does not define the worth of the speaker. Everything that exists is arguably a derivation of earlier concepts, and prior to what we know of written history, it’s entirely likely that other concepts we speak of to each other were, either on this planet’s billions of years of geologically vibrant history, or across the sizable universe, previously mentioned by someone or something else.

        The Bible includes many stories which “cross the line” into seemingly legitimate plagiarism, which is a different issue. Forming any kind of moral code, however, will probably always bring into play something someone else has already said. Just because men have thought of something before does not mean it wasn’t still a good idea. E.g., if Jesus came to Earth today, and pronounced that drone murder was wrong, would it prove he was merely a copycat of antiwar movements?

        Ergo a challenge to the Bible based on nothing “new” having been commanded is neither conclusive nor relevant. It’s relevant to critique whether Noah plagiarized Gilgamesh, but not whether Jesus plagiarized the Golden Rule.

        (HA2) Admonitions against violence, even when it appears molecularly justified, are not only marginally useful, they’re very useful. They prevent a cascade of justified violence from overruling empathic connections and perpetuating an endless cycle of world-destroying revenge. Delivering this message is far more important than some goodie that protects us from diseases caused by our own industrial toxins.

        Spoiled children demand their own room, their own car, designer clothes, and the freedom to quit school. Wise parents know that building strength of character is more important–and far more lasting and valuable–than whether or not the kid has a cool car for a few years.

        Here you are, John, in a world where billionaire plutocrats are developing spaceships while millions of children starve to death, and you’re complaining about a God who supposedly told people, two thousand years ago, to give to the hungry and be our brothers’ keepers, instead of giving us spaceships? That’s exactly the kind of deadly narcissism that a theoretical God would be trying to avoid–an inveterate obsession with individual material pursuits, which leads to people smart enough to build an atomic bomb, but so stupid that they actually use it. You’re a living example of the blindness that has brought us to this empty technological hell, where London and rural India can exist on the same planet at the same time.

        Now, I’ve made my responses, directly on point to the original question you raised. Would you like to stay on subject, or would you prefer to giggle about what an idiot I am? I even answered the Christianity question. Let me suggest that, if you want to engage in ad hominem, that would be just fine with me–but create a separate thread for it, so that it doesn’t derail our “new” and “useful” lines of inquiry here.

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      • I have seen your responses, days ago, and have already dismissed them as nonsense. First, are you conceding Jesus was, as evidenced, an ordinary man? He “evidently” had no new information to give… he couldn’t produce the first world map, or more importantly, let frightened superstitious people know that that person over there wasn’t possessed by demons, but was rather inflicted with a mental disease, epilepsy, and they require compassion and care, not a public stoning.

        You see, Higharka, you’re desperate to focus on the myriad of technological examples I cited, but this is simply a deflection designed to divert attention from the fact that Jesus (who claimed to be the Creator of the Universe) revealed nothing that reduced suffering.

        You said it yourself: while millions of children starve to death. Could Jesus, in light of his claim, have relieved hunger? If one can relieve suffering, isn’t one morally obliged to do so, Higharka? That is the deeper theme of this post, a theme you have purposely avoided addressing. You believe in Jesus, you think he was something special, something supernal, gifted, unique, special, enlightened, magical, correct? So tell me, why in your mind did he do nothing to reduce suffering in a true and meaningful way, while instead wasting all his time mouthing sweet nothings that were not in any way, shape or form new or original?

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      • Okay, let’s try to keep this within the boundaries of the subjects at hand, here.

        Subject I: High Arka is an Idiot This is settled. You have already dismissed me as nonsense. Great. Can we consider this particular subject closed? You feel that I am a fool, and everything I say is nonsense. Good for you! Now that that’s settled in your favor, we can move on to the substance of the argument.

        Subject II: On the Newness of Deity-Provided Information. You argue that Jesus “couldn’t produce the first world map.” Counterpoints:

        Argument A: How do you know he couldn’t?

        Argument B: Does someone have to produce something merely to prove they have it? Why merely a world map–why not the secret to lightspeed travel? The secret to handheld nuclear bombs? The secret to handheld black-hole devices? The secret to a red button that, if pressed, would destroy everything?

        Argument C: Have you ever kept a secret from someone because you felt it wasn’t something they should know right then? Did that action, by itself, prove you to be mentally retarded and incapable of knowing anything other than what you did speak about?

        Subject III: On the Failure to Provide Information We Now Deem Useful. “[H]e couldn’t… let frightened superstitious people know that that person over there wasn’t possessed by demons, but was rather inflicted with a mental disease [such as] epilepsy…

        Argument A: Which diseases should Jesus have cured–diseases that existed in his time, diseases that existed in 2014, or diseases that existed in 3014? A modern medical education takes, besides thirteen years of pre-collegiate education, an additional four years at college, four years at medical school, and three years at residency. Developing specialties takes continual research and specialization classes and tests. For a general practitioner, that’s a minimum of 24 years’ education. And general practitioners are then considered scarcely above the level “ignorant” when it comes to, say, sophisticated neurological conditions, including many varieties of idiopathic epilepsy.

        Medical education also takes access to microscopes, preserved cadavers, and imaging techniques not available then. In order to make those things, large-scale industrialism is required to process the minerals necessary to form lenses, alloys, magnets, computers, irradiating machines, and freezers. In order to accomplish those things, society needs to pass through several stages of development, including improved inks, printing presses, generalized educational offerings, and the right admixture of private and public oversight.

        How much time is Jesus supposed to spend teaching just one disciple to identify and “treat” diseases using equipment that doesn’t exist? How many 600mph flying cars should Jesus have donated to the Pharisees? Humans today can’t even manage to deal with 140mph wheeled cars without killing dozens of thousands of other humans year after year.

        Argument B: Even if Jesus had accomplished all that, and gotten us instantly to 2014’s pitifully primitive “medical” techniques, what happens when a whole new crop of diseases pops up in 100 years, because we’re pouring a different kind of poison into our groundwater?

        All that industrialized medicine has accomplished for mankind so far is to teach them how to vaccinate against simple viruses, weaponize viral diseases, evolve antibiotic-resistance bacterial infections, and worse, develop incurable lifestyle diseases, while weakening immune and neurological systems so drastically that a significant minority of people in industrialized nations are only kept alive by cocktails of luck, immuno-modulators, and various mood stabilizers.

        How many people in the “first world” are kept going only by coffee, scotch, SSRIs, hookers, anti-psychotics, and policemen? Answer: far more than 50%.

        A few people always get sick, but we don’t see the great plagues of history developing until after Jesus’ time–until finance capital and feudalism developed agricultural patterns that caused poor, unclean peasants to cluster together on farms with sick, inbred herd animals, or into industrial labor centers, producing the western poxes and plagues. Those things were caused by people’s own bad habits–by their callous greed, exaltation of technological process, and rejection of the Golden Rule–so by propagating the Golden Rule, Jesus was actually telling people exactly how to stay clean and healthy.

        Argument C: If Jesus had taught people about every disease that had ever or would ever exist–were that even possible–would people understand the benefits of this knowledge?

        Have you ever learned that, to acquire something, you had to work hard for it? Once you received it, did you learn the difference between appreciating something you were gifted, versus something that you had worked hard to obtain?

        Have you ever used a variation of the phrase, “A spoiled child,” and/or do you understand its cultural meaning?

        People who experience adversity, understand it, then overcome it, appreciate the results better. They are also better equipped at facing later challenges. If there were a God, would you rather he plop you down on the couch to be constantly primped, humored, and entertained, never knowing any depth to the world beyond sugar and sitcoms? Or would you like to be guided through the process of becoming a self-aware entity with dynamic problem solving skills and a detailed appreciation of the benefits of both hardship and bliss?

        * * *

        In time, you may come to see that the “sweet nothings” of moral advice are far more valuable than any given set of technological goodies. If humankind had followed the good pieces of moral advice supposedly given by the guy who supposedly inspired the Gospel, we wouldn’t have spent the past two thousand years in veritable slavery to a series of inbred creditor-priests. There would have been no Russian serfdom, no Athenian Empire, no Roman Empire, and no French and British genocidal march across the entire globe. Gaul, Prussia, Ireland, and the Americas wouldn’t have been butchered; there would’ve been no Dutch East India companies or Napoleons, and those putrescent citadels in Rome and London and Manhattan wouldn’t be building financial temples on the backs of suffering billions.

        The most powerful men in the world now have all of the advancements a hypothetical Jesus could have given men in 30 C.E., and what do they do with it? They murder children, they order naval fleets to prevent food and medicine from reaching countries where millions of people live, and they posture against one another with nuclear weapons. The Golden Rule is golden because it is more valuable than all the shiny toys and triple-bypass-surgery manuals in the world.

        The Golden Rule is also new, inasmuch as any idea is “new.” The world has been governed by a different kind of golden rule–whoever has the gold, makes the rules–for thousands of years, both before, during, and after the Christian Era. It remains an act of novelty and rebellion to suggest that societies should be organized around the good of all, rather than around an inherited genetic struggle over the temporary consumption of resources.

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      • OK, this is getting tremendously boring. Considering the claim made by the character you’re trying to defend, your excuses are at best unconvincing, at worse laughable, and I’m tired of hearing the same weak evasions repeated in your rambling Gish Gallop style. So, how about you, tell me, what Jesus did or said that was truly worthwhile, and representative/supportive of the extravagant supernal claims made….

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      • “OK, this is getting tremendously boring.”

        John, you started a blog that focuses on religious issues. Here we are on the internet discussing those issues. Isn’t this exactly what you wanted to accomplish? You’re like some ass going through a midlife crisis who buys a fast car and a blonde escort, then feels sad because it didn’t fill the void, and you’re there in the shower thinking, “OK, this is getting tremendously boring.” I pity you.

        “Considering the claim made by the character you’re trying to defend…”

        You’re misinterpreting. I’m not “trying to defend” Jesus. Rather, what I am doing is pointing out how the specific arguments you made in this post are inapplicable or incorrect.

        You continue trying to focus this discussion on “Jesus” or “Christianity” or “High Arka,” rather than on the points you raised in the post. You constantly lament how stupid and tiresome I am, instead of discussing the arguments I laid out in length above. In very simple form, they are, “An idea does not need to be utterly detached from all other ideas in order to have value,” and, “The Golden Rule is marginally useful.” Why are you so hesitant to discuss those points? Why are you so interested in telling me how boring/stupid I am instead of addressing the subject matter?

        “So, how about you, tell me, what Jesus did or said that was truly worthwhile, and representative/supportive of the extravagant supernal claims made….”

        You’re trying to make me into a strawman again. We’ve not discussed “extravagant supernatural claims,” except inasmuch as you keep trying to associate them with me. What we are discussing here is newness and marginal utility.

        I’d be delighted to discuss extravagant supernatural claims also, but in this particular thread, you were discussing newness and marginal utility. So, because you’ve apparently missed it numerous times, I’ll tell you again that the Golden Rule is worthwhile.

        That continues to be my rebuttal, as it has been for days now: “The Golden Rule is worthwhile/marginally useful.” Can you respond to it? (You could, for example, explain how penicillin is better than the Golden Rule, or you could concede the point that the Golden Rule is marginally useful, but then further develop your argument to say, “Yes, Jesus said something marginally useful, but I still refute the Bible because Jesus should have done more.”

        What would be inappropriate would be to say, for the umpteenth time, that I have evaded the subject. Even better would be for you to respond to the list of arguments this one provided in her post of November 5, 2014 at 12:05 am, which were specifically on-subject, and which you avoided in favor of telling me how evasive I was.

        If you were willing to develop your argument further, you would suffer the pain of admitting that the Golden Rule is “marginally useful,” so I can understand why you want to keep avoiding that. However, you might find that improving your own thought process is worth the slight embarrassment of having stated something incorrect, and that the process of adapting your thought patterns to logic helps you avoid future embarrassments, and become a better person. I wouldn’t think less of you for developing your argument into a higher form, and we would probably both find it much more interesting to discuss the finer points of, “What Jesus should have shared,” instead of repeatedly satisfying your voter base with the incorrect, yet catchy, meme that, “He didn’t share anything at all.”

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      • Let me paraphrase the crux of your entire argument, and why it is now beyond tiresome:

        “something can be good even if it’s not original.”

        True. The upshot of this argument is that, in your apparent opinion, absolutely anyone who has ever given some timeworn but useful nugget of helpful guidance is worthy of worship. As I said to Consol earlier, by your reckoning: You might as well base a global religion then on Bob McAllen who in 1978 gave some practical, but timeworn, advice to his neighbour’s boy, Terry Ballsworth.

        Simply re-hashing some old ethical ideas (ideas often articulated much, much better by others) is not grounds for being impressed, and certainly not grounds to base a religion on. What you have been at pains to avoid addressing is this strikingly awkward fact in light of the claims made by said character, Jesus. This evasive footwork has carried you to the utter baffling realms people’s sexual preferences, killer drones, the US Federal Reserve, and something about Mexican janitors. Now that is impressive.

        And so, once again, you have failed to address what was actually put to you. Shall we try again?

        How about you, tell me, what Jesus did or said that was truly worth the time (and effort) this self-named “god” spent on earth, one thing that reduced suffering, and which was supportive of the extravagant supernal claims made….

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      • JOHN ZANDE: “The upshot of this argument is that, in your apparent opinion, absolutely anyone who has ever given some timeworn but useful nugget of helpful guidance is worthy of worship.”

        No, silly man; I did not tell you to worship anyone, nor did I say that anyone/thing is worthy of worship. I was not trying to have the grand argument about religion. Rather, I was addressing the specific issue you raised in this post.

        Maybe someday we will have the grand argument about religion. I’d love to do that. But that’s not what we were doing here. Yet.

        JOHN ZANDE: “How about you, tell me, what Jesus did or said that was truly worth the time (and effort) this self-named “god” spent on earth, one thing that reduced suffering, and which was supportive of the extravagant supernal claims made….”

        Even as a literary figure, if God was all powerful, the “time and effort” spent being on Earth would be nil–it would be irrelevant to Him. Ergo spending one million years to give us a single person a single day-old turkey sandwich would be a completely rational net gain for humanity.

        Similarly, repeating one piece of good advice in a way that makes someone listen to it (even if others have heard it before) is always a net gain. If Jesus accomplished nothing else other than to make Diane donate an extra can of “Cream of Chicken” soup to her church this year (and the church doesn’t skim the soup into the minister’s salary), then that’s a net gain; a reduction in the suffering of a single bum who chokes down the soup.

        Your better argument in this realm would be, “Why didn’t God do more?” rather than, “Why did God do nothing?”

        What acts are supportive of the extravagant supernatural claims made? (Are you asking that question while remembering that this one isn’t a Christian and/or biblical literalist?) There are a lot of hypothetical reasons that the biblical God could’ve acted the way He did while maintaining internal plausibility. See, e.g., my list of possibilities at the end of this one’s November 5, 2014 at 10:44 pm response to CLUBSCHADENFREUDE. Do any of those strike you as interesting?

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      • No. Nothing you have written strikes me as the slightest bit interesting, lucid, coherent, or worth any more of my time. There’s only so much nonsense and obfuscation a rational person can tolerate, and you pushed over that line a long time ago. Again, the total depth of your argument is, “something can be good even if it’s not original.” That’s it. That’s the embodiment of your contribution to this subject, and yet you have spent five days and countless comments waffling on through deranged ramblings about Mexican janitors, gays, transgender, neoludditeism, and killer robot drones. I’m sure there are more examples I could cite, but it’s just too painful to re-read anything that you’ve written, even if it would further my point that you have the debating skills and intellectual appeal of a water-holding frog.

        So, to summarise: “something can be good even if it’s not original.” Thank you, Higharka. Your thought (singular) concerning the total contribution of a self-proclaimed god on earth has been noted.

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      • JOHNZANDE: “Nothing you have written strikes me as the slightest bit interesting, lucid, coherent, or worth any more of my time. There’s only so much nonsense and obfuscation a rational person can tolerate, and you pushed over that line a long time ago.”

        You do realize, right, that by saying that in a response to me, you’ve conceded that you aren’t a rational person…?

        JOHNZANDE: “Again, the total depth of your argument is, “something can be good even if it’s not original.” That’s it.”

        If you’ve been “too rational” to read this one’s responses before responding to them, this could explain why you are missing the many more detailed points that have been made. Here are some examples of how we could move beyond your simplification:

        (1) The concepts in the Bible might not be “original” because the biblical deity previously inspired other versions of His message. Therefore, the Bible might be part of an ongoing trend, and your impression that it claims to be “unique” could have been caused by the Satanic manipulations of the Council of Nicaea. Therefore (were any of these suggestions true), the Bible might be an integral component of an interconnected, original message.

        (2) We weren’t discussing merely “novelty,” but also “utility.” Remember? You have said many times that the Bible provided nothing useful. That’s a blanket statement, much like saying, “No dogs are brown.” I have discussed, many times, how the Golden Rule is actually a bit useful. In essence, I have brought you a brown dog on a leash and pointed at it. Now, your statement is proven false. It might be the case that all other dogs in the entire universe are not brown, but your sweeping, absolute statement–“No dogs are brown”–has been proven wrong. The proper thing for you to do now is to amend your statement: “I was wrong when I said that no dogs were brown. Rather, most dogs are not brown.” Pursuant to the call of logic, you need to admit that the Bible contains something useful, and then, to further your message, start saying things like, “The Bible is useful, but only in a tiny way, and it’s not useful enough considering who was supposed to have inspired it.”

        I have spent more time than you have as an atheist arguing with Christians. Your methods are broken–bandwagon, strawman, ad hominem–and you do a very poor job of making the argument. You are obsessed with superficial details, unwilling to refine your arguments to the level where you can help some of the Christians acknowledge the un-ignorable similarities between their preferred message and others. You’re like the Glenn Beck of atheism–very appealing to yourself and the people who already agree with you, but objectively ineffective at being rational, fair, or convincing any non-followers of what you have to say.

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      • Thank you for continuing to confirm my point that neither you, nor anyone, can name or demonstrate a single thing which actually justifies a single second of the time this self-proclaimed “god” spent alive.

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      • So, who provided “numerous more specific details” about what kind, if any, type of Christian higharka is? I certainly haven’t seen any details offered by you, higharka. Please do point them out if I have missed them.

        It’s always great to see someone like you suddenly become so very concerned about the original subject of the post, as simply an excuse to avoid answering questions. You had no problem in going off subject until you found you couldn’t answer the questions posed or defend the claims you’ve made. It’s even better when you want to make more false claims that we have questioned your personality or intelligence level. You can point out where we have done that too, higharka since I do not see anything of the type. But by all means, let’s get back to the original post.

        The problem with your excuses for your god in the realm of the original post that the bible, and its believers, present the supposed words of Jesus Christ and God/Jehovah/YHWH/etc as originals. Both claim that no one else ever came up with such ideas and both claim that JC/God is the omnipotent, omniscient creator of the universe. It takes little time to disprove all these claims by simply being familiar with other cultures and entities. This makes the bible and believers suspect in their claims of truthfulness because they have been caught in lies.

        The point that there is nothing useful presented in the bible goes along with the fact that there are directly harmful things in the bible claimed as truth. For instance, using bird blood to cure leprosy. That doesn’t work and people will suffer because the claim is a lie. We have claims from the bible and believers that it is the absolute “truth” and we can show that this is not the case at all.

        The stories in the bible do cross the line into plagiarism. It is only by trying to ignore other cultures that you try to claim otherwise. I do agree, forming a moral code will very likely bring into play something someone else that someone already said. So we cannot have a magical being claimed to be the originator of these things, and poof, there goes your god as the creator of everything. As you have said, everything that exists is arguably a derivation of something before. Poof, there goes this god again. Nothing new, nothing original, nothing useful. Now, here’s about where the lovely special pleading for your god comes in.

        And yep, if JC poofed into existence today, he’d certainly be a copycat. It would be hilarious to watch him pronounce this and watch some TrueChristians blow a gasket because he wasn’t what they declare Jesus really was.

        The challenge to the bible based on it being nothing new or helpful is indeed conclusive and relevant because the bible claims that what it says is new and truthful. It is neither, and thus has shown itself to be untrustworthy. It is equally relevant to critique that Noah plagiarized Gilgamesh and that Jesus plagiarized the golden rule because they are exactly the same problem, taking a story and claiming that it is new and it is unique to the bible.

        The bible does not admonish against violence, higharka. It is one of the most violent books in history. It encourages genocide and says repeatedly that anyone who does not agree with its claims should be killed. The OT is filthy with this stuff. JC says this himself in Luke 19. We have it relished in Revelation.

        What the heck does “molecularly justified” mean? Molecular: of or relating to individual or small components, so justified relating to individual or small components? Please explain this.

        We have two bits that may be considered empathic and compassionate: turn the other cheek and help those who have less than you. That’s it, compared with pages and pages of death and destruction thanks to this god. We have your god reveling in violence justified for the sole reason that it wants it. And we have that great bit of world destroying revenge in the Noachian flood and the events in Revelation. So, to be blunt, bullshit on your god is love nonsense. As has been said, these ideas were around long before a supposed messiah. It is important but it is not solely the province of Christianity as all most all Christians claim.

        Oh and the idea that somehow this god is a “wise parent”. That’d be great if we didn’t’ have this “parent” insisting that his children kill everyone who doesn’t agree with them. So much for “building strength of character”.

        Yep, we are in a world where religions beg for money while children starve to death and say it’s their god’s will. And this god does nothing to show otherwise, or even that it exists at all. And yep, I am complaining that this god and its believers are liars because they cannot show that their claims are true or that what they have professed is anything new. Just because we have plutocrats who are greedy vermin who lie doesn’t mean that your kind aren’t greedy vermin who lie too. Your tactic is the old attempt to claim that I should be more concerned by one evil and ignore another because it isn’t quite as bad. Nope, I can be against both equally.

        You are right, a god who supposedly said to give to the hungry and be our brothers’ keeper would do more. It doesn’t. It didn’t originate those sayings and it said to harm others who don’t believe in it, contradicting anything good it repeated at all. It also doesn’t do anything at all to help out these people and it doesn’t give us spaceships. This god does nothing at all. It doesn’t exist. Belief in this god is indeed a deadly narcissism that makes people think that they and they alone are somehow “right” and somehow know what this god “really” meant.

        And aw, nice to see you using lots of things in this supposed “empty technological hell.” Nice computer you got there in front of you, isn’t it? Nice food you eat, nice medicine you avail yourself of, nice cell phone, etc. Now, why is it that people who whine about technology aren’t honest enough to go live in a mud hut and allow themselves to die of something like dysentery? You said it was a “hell”, so why are you taking advantage of every bit of it, higharka? Yep, London and some village in India exist at the same time. And we constantly get that village in India more and more connected to the modern world and its conveniences. What does your religion do? Well, we’re waiting for something that religion can do that empathy and compassion can’t. All I see are people who reject modern medicine because they falsely believe that their god will heal them and then they suffer and die. I see parents murdering their children over this. I see theists killing each other over who has the best imaginary friend and a piece of land where people can’t even show that the events claimed happened on. No magical nativity, no “exodus”, no magical trip to Jerusalem on the back of a magic pony, nothing.

        I have no problem in giggling about how you refuse to answer questions directly put to you. You are ridiculous and deserve any laughter at your expense. I also have no problems in showing how wrong you are. And please, higharka, please do show where anyone used an ad hominem logical fallacy upon you. You might want to look up exactly what that means since you have shown before that you may not be completely accurate on definitions of words.

        Liked by 1 person

      • CLUBSCHADENFREUDE: “So, who provided “numerous more specific details” about what kind, if any, type of Christian higharka is? I certainly haven’t seen any details offered by you, higharka. Please do point them out if I have missed them.”

        You will find them if you refer to this one’s post of November 4, 2014 at 1:43 am.

        CLUBSCHADENFREUDE: “It’s always great to see someone like you suddenly become so very concerned about the original subject of the post, as simply an excuse to avoid answering questions.”

        Again, see that post at November 4, 2014 at 1:43 am. It displays quite clearly for this one if I scroll up.

        CLUBSCHADENFREUDE: “The problem with your excuses for your god in the realm of the original post…”

        If you’ll look at this one’s post of November 4, 2014 at 1:43 am, you’ll see that that’s not “my god.” You both seem very driven to believe that no one could possibly disagree with you unless they were some kind of rabid Christian. Believe it or not, the logical flaws in your arguments are glaring enough that non-Christians can point them out. You could have spared yourselves the dissonance if you’d avoided demanding personal information, but too late, you insisted, so you’ll have to come up with some other way to rationalize focusing on me instead of the topic at hand.

        That kind of attitude–“excuses for your god”–is exactly why I didn’t want to answer personal questions. Even though I had the answer you didn’t expect–that I wasn’t “Christian”–your interest in my personal details was meant to give you a way to distract yourselves from the argument by focusing on the messenger. You’ve demonstrated that quite clearly by informing me that I was “making excuses for my god,” when I actually wasn’t.

        CLUBSCHADENFREUDE: “…that the bible, and its believers, present the supposed words of Jesus Christ and God/Jehovah/YHWH/etc as originals. Both claim that no one else ever came up with such ideas…”

        You seem to have only been exposed to certain kinds of people who self-identify as Christians. In my own very limited anecdotal experience, I’ve encountered “Christians” who say that earlier historical manifestations of ideas later expressed in the Bible were somehow caused by God; Christians who think that “Christs” have made multiple appearances throughout history; Christians who think the Bible is deliberate metaphor; Christians who think that demons have propagated false, Christ-like ideas throughout history in order to confuse humans–and Christians who are ignorant of other cultures, and who think that the Bible is completely original.

        In order to avoid sounding so incorrect in the future, what you should do is insert restrictive articles before your sweeping statements. For example:

        “Some Christians believe that the Bible tells the only story of a great flood ever told by humans.”

        That statement is correct, whereas your earlier one appears ignorant. I know that it’s more fun and easy to criticize a class of people if you stereotype them based on the characteristics that you find easiest to belittle, but that kind of behavior could make some people think you were ignorant, judgmental, and clannish, so I suggest you reconsider.

        CLUBSCHADENFREUDE: “The point that there is nothing useful presented in the bible goes along with the fact that there are directly harmful things in the bible claimed as truth.”

        This one has address the “nothing useful” point several times, and hopefully, you’ll respond to it eventually. I’m glad, though, that you’ve pointed out that there are directly harmful things in the Bible. Yes, that’s true. Do you think that something which gives both good advice and bad advice should be wholly disregarded? For example, western medicine has taught that bleeding, leeches, C-sections, and chemotherapy are beneficial. Does that mean that, as a whole, western medicine is an evil failure? I would counter that argument by saying, “Western medicine also teaches us how to set and cast broken bones.”

        CLUBSCHADENFREUDE: “So we cannot have a magical being claimed to be the originator of these things, and poof, there goes your god as the creator of everything.”

        Again, see this one’s post at November 4, 2014 at 1:43 am. Even not believing in this god that you’re presenting, though, it’s an easy argument to make that such a god could have inspired more than one religion, or that earlier generations of less-literate prophets could have improperly transcribed messages from such a god, making such god’s later, correctly-transcribed messages appear to be “plagiarized” from earlier versions.

        There are many wonderful, interesting discussions that we could have about the Bible, and about the superstitions of superstitious naked apes. This would be a good forum in which to have them. You might even say it appears to have been designed this way. However, when having such discussions, if I address a point like “marginally useful” by saying, “Golden Rule,” we should be able to move beyond my personality or intrinsic value, concede that the point has been addressed, either concede (or challenge) that something useful occurs in the Bible, and advance our inquiry.

        CLUBSCHADENFREUDE: “What the heck does “molecularly justified” mean? Molecular: of or relating to individual or small components, so justified relating to individual or small components? Please explain this.”

        Think “materially justified.” E.g., the Golden Rule may be useful in a spiritual sense, but it may also be useful in a material sense, because it reduces aggregate harm to positive molecular arrangements. A society which adopts the Golden Rule might be more likely to send its members to, say, Heaven instead of Hell, which would be an appealing argument to those who believe in the supernatural. Even absent a belief in the supernatural, though, such a society might be appealing because it provides greater molecular integrity to its members through an overall reduction in violence, providing the non-supernaturally-inclined with reduced physical pain and increased physical pleasure during their physical lives.

        CLUBSCHADENFREUDE: “We have two bits that may be considered empathic and compassionate: turn the other cheek and help those who have less than you. That’s it, compared with pages and pages of death and destruction thanks to this god. We have your god reveling in violence justified for the sole reason that it wants it.”

        True (except for the bit about “my god”; see above), which raises a lot of interesting questions:

        1) Is the biblical God evil? Do we exist in a creation where we have been manifested by a being of pure evil? Is there any way that we can reason with and/or overthrow this being in order to improve our situation?

        2) Is God good, but the Torah’s prophets improperly turned their dim awareness of His existence into a rationalization for their own ethnic cleansing? Did Jesus really reconcile the Old and New Testaments, or did Jesus come to void the Old Testament, but rabbinical meddling carefully translated His words so as to make it appear that the Torah’s inhumane laws should continue?

        3) Is God good, and the Torahtic wars justified? What could morally justify the complete ethnic cleansing described in the Torah? Had Lucifer genetically engineered a hybrid race of diseased mutants that would have poisoned and exterminated humans if they had not been purged?

        4) Are our brains so primitive compared to the divine that we are incapable of understanding the true nature of morality, and is it our place merely to learn to obey, otherwise we will prove ourselves unfit and be removed from existence? And if so, is this something we should or could resist?

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      • The standard for truth, for me, is the Gospel. I can read the entire Bible as truth, but it must be read in light of the truth of Jesus Christ. For example, I understand that the purpose of the sacrificial lamb in the Old Testament was to be a foreshadowing of Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. When I read about the prohibition against wearing a blended cloth like woolen and linen, I understand that to be because we aren’t to blend law and grace. The Law points us to Jesus. The prophets point us to Jesus. It’s all about Jesus. He is the Truth.

        “O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie, above the deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light.The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”

        Jesus is the everlasting light of history. All people must decide what they will do with this truth.

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      • Thanks Diana.
        Jesus when asked what the meaning of truth is, didn’t answer the question. John puts in his mouth the words, I am the truth, the way and the light or something close but does not tell us what these are. In choosing the gospel as your standard, you have applied an arbitrary standard with no basis in fact especially given that the authenticity of the gospels are questionable.
        To use the OT to say those guys spoke of Jesus is to stretch your imagination.
        That Jesus is the light of the world is not a statement of fact. It is a belief, a wish just like the Muslim believes his prophet is the last prophet.
        Those who like me spend time reading about Jesus find he is a narrative construct that should remain in the clouds. He has no real existence as a person

        Liked by 1 person

      • “O come to us, abide with us
        Our Lord Emmanuel”

        so, where is Jesus Christ, Joshua ben Joseph, Yeshua, etc, called Emmanuel by Mary in the bible as Isaiah promises?

        It’s amazing on how Christians like Diana have no idea what their bible actually says. They certainly what their pastors told them it says. She may claim that she understands that the bible means one thing, but the problem is that others understand it to mean something entirely different, and as always none of them can show that their version is the right one. She makes up things like law and grace somehow magically “really” mean that one shouldn’t blend law and grace. Such a lovely magic decoder ring she has.

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  10. Silly Silly Boy

    Why do you question try being mild and meek
    For I am your God I know of what I speak
    Just S T F U and in my word rejoice
    So saith the Lord in his mighty voice

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  11. “Dispense the formula for sun block” LOL. As a senior in high school i asked Sister Francis Raphael, “If God has a plan, what difference does it make what we do with our lives?” She responded with the old free will and mind copout. I guess many of the questions you ask could be answered by that response. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Just clicked on the youtube video. Hilarious. Watched it twice and shared on my Facebook page titled basic Republican philosophy. Should get some cheerful banter from this one, thanks John.

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  13. There is no proof that there is some kind of a god. The real problem is that, if there is one, there is a lot of evidence that such being is a monster who created more dangerous viruses than galaxies; who designed an infinite quantity of diseases that afflict all living creatures; who, according to believers, created the devil. We should not argue its dubious existence but fight the best way possible the obvious malignity of the “creation.”

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  14. A five star post, John. Bravo! If Jesus actually existed, you have clearly demonstrated why he wasn’t the creator of the universe.

    From The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences — The Role of Psychiatric Disorders in Religious History Considered

    “Jesus is the foundation figure of Christianity, who is thought to have lived between 7–2 BCE and 26–36 CE. The New Testament (NT) recalls Jesus as having experienced and shown behavior closely resembling the DSM-IV-TR–defined phenomena of AHs (audio halluscinations), VHs (visuals hallucinations), delusions, referential thinking (see Figure 3), paranoid-type (PS subtype) thought content, and hyperreligiosity (see Table 1).

    The hallucinatory-like experiences that Jesus had in the desert while he fasted for 40 days (Luke 4:1–13) may have been induced by starvation and metabolic derangements. Arguing against these as explanations for all of his experiences would be that he had mystical or revelation experiences preceding his fasting in the desert and then during the period afterward.

    As seen with the previous cases, Jesus’ experiences can be potentially conceptualized within the framework of PS or psychosis NOS. Other reasonable possibilities might include bipolar and schizoaffective disorders.

    Jesus either had a mental disorder, was a narcissistic fraud, a myth, or a combination of all three.

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  15. No time just now to read through all the comments … I like the theme and love the idea but the actual sums just blew up my little calculator. It kept coming back with “does not compute” every time I tried to verify that twelve thousand days fits only once into 2000 years.

    And of course ol’ Jeez wasn’t interested in mundane things like all them dum atoms and stuff, he (they~?) was/were too busy trying to establish a lovely peaceful communal property-free wealth-distributing religion here—mentioning calculators or Google to the ignorami of the time might in fact have been counter-productive, and the last thing ol’ God(s) in mortal form wanted was to be burnt at the the stake as a witch, or stoned to impermanence for being unChristian (or worse, unJewish) (most folks forget that He weren’t a Christian, they was* a Jew).

    * Three in one, the concept gets a bit confusing for a simple dog …

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      • It goes back a long way—even if not 3-in-1 we still have trinities as in the Viking Norns and those Greek sisters with their ball of string; nothing unique to Big Jeez and his/His/Their/its followers. Other ‘saviours’ born of virgins, too (if they haven’t all been recruited to satisfy the lusts of deceased Islamics first, of course) …

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      • those Greek sisters with their ball of string

        A few weeks ago I finished reading David Brin’s short story, The Loom of Thessaly, which is about those three sisters and their string/s. Good read.

        Liked by 1 person

      • IMO, Christianity is really only a belief in 2 and one half gods that equal one. Sorry, but The Holy Spirit just doesn’t cut it. He’s like a button man for Vito Corleone, not a real Don nor a real god.

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      • Who’s to say that the HS is male anyway? Surely for balance a modern liberated God would have at least one out of three as feminine …

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      • Female, male, or tadpole, the Holy Spirit is a poor excuse for a god. He/She/It has a lot of nerve I tell ya. And considering He/She/It isn’t real, it makes His/Her/Its arrogance all the harder to swallow. For god’s sake, if you’re gonna be part of trinity of bad ass gods that think they’re only one god, the first thing you MUST do is literally exist. None existence simply defeats your case entirely. 😀

        Liked by 2 people

  16. It bothers me some Christians can so easily dismiss facts such as other historical figures of Jesus’ time that had more prudent and relevant information to divulge (i.e. Tzu). In playing around with their knowledge, say Jesus was a real person (not divine), we still see a sense of denial for the portrayal of his values. Most Christians in America today are either capitalist or leaning heavily toward an oligarchy; however, depictions and “accounts” of Jesus infer that he was most likely a Communist or Socialist.

    Ah religion, the stick you can beat someone with if they prove you wrong :p

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  17. Have you ever contemplated that there is a benefit to learning details by yourself?

    Has a science teacher never made you conduct an experiment to which s/he already knew the correct result? Did you complain that it was “stupid” to have to do the experiment when the result was already known? Did you later figure out that, by conducting the experiment yourself, you learned more about the principles involved than by reading a paragraph about said principles in your textbook?

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    • If the science teacher were testing my response to pain with a red hot iron, then I’d say that the teacher was an out-and-out sadistic bastard. No?

      And if the test involved life and limb, and was under duress with no hope ever of opting out for a politically incorrect pre-ordained answer, I’d say Sadistic Bastard to the nth degree. No?

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      • That’s a good point, but try to expand your perspective. When you’re a small child, being denied a piece of candy and sent to bed can seem like the end of the world. From other perspectives, being a “mortal being living for 80 years on a planet” can also seem like the end of the world.

        Suppose that it’s not really the end of the world. Suppose that, just as you passed from child to an adult–and learned, along the way, that missing one piece of candy on one day was not the end of the world–you could learn to perceive your “human on Earth” woes as similarly insignificant.

        Hypothetically speaking, if that were the case, could you see the value in spending a few lifetimes experiencing plausible mortality?

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    • Hi Higharka, good to see you back. Hope you’re well.

      That’s a rather pathetic excuse you have offered, don’t you think?

      You never did answer my question from a few weeks ago: Are you a Christian?

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      • Hey buddy.

        JOHN ZANDE: “That’s a rather pathetic excuse you have offered, don’t you think?”

        In this one’s metaphor, for you to say that is equivalent to you being another little kid who agrees with me that my mommy is a poopy-head for not letting me have more candy and stay up until 10:30. The metaphor is meant to illustrate our potential lack of perspective; our inability to understand why learning through living is more effective than simply being told.

        This one will answer your question about being a Christian if you answer these questions: (1) Should an idea be evaluated on its own merits, or should the evaluation of an idea be colored by the personal merits of the person espousing it? (2) Does all argumentum ad hominem occur only in the context of a direct personal attack, or can it be accomplished more subtly, by sly insinuations inserted into a social clime where the bandwagon already shares a certain mindset?

        If you’re just flirting, that’s one thing, but if you’re hoping to write me off as a predetermined ninny because I might say, “Yes,” that’s in bad faith.

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      • Is it really so hard just to answer, “Yes, I am (or, No, I’m not) a Christian”?

        Simple question, deserves a simple answer. No fancy footwork, no defections, no word games required.

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  18. Oh, and in response to your original prompt…you said, “If Jesus was God, why didn’t he say anything new or even marginally useful?”

    New: a good idea doesn’t have to be “new” to be good. For example, imagine that a deity manifested in physical form on the Earth today, and said, “The Federal Reserve Bank exploits people to the point of starvation, and this is wrong.” Now, people have made this same argument before. Does that mean that such a deity would either (1) not exist, or (2) be a copycat, for saying such a thing? No–it merely means that the said deity would be affirming a truth which some of its creations had earlier affirmed.

    People have made all sorts of arguments over the years, so almost anything a deity could tell us in our language would be repetition.

    Marginally useful: The idea of “turning the other cheek” has indeed manifested many times throughout human history. And it’s far more important than any of the other scientistic crap-trivia you spouted. It betrays the current hollowness of your soul that you would consider “number of atoms in average body” as more important knowledge than “don’t perpetuate cruelty.”

    The admonition of great thinkers that we should not propagate cruelty is glorious and invaluable. It will continue to be invaluable when conscious life on this planet has evolved beyond the stage of using crystallized matter to manifest itself–it has ultimate utility even in an energy-manifestation stage of life. You have proven your atheism to be a stupid, 2014-centered fantasy, exalting the current scientific knowledge possessed by your species (which is incredibly limited, by the way) despite that same species’ nigh-utter lack of decency and emotional control.

    Continue teasing Christianity if you must, but consider rethinking your approach to whether or not kindness is more valuable than technological goodies.

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    • Turning the other cheek is indeed sometimes a good idea.

      At other times it is double-plus most definitely not a good idea. Turning the other cheek to a mad dog biting your butt means a matching set of bites, and if you persist in offering more targets, more bites. Not good (mind you, some folks enjoy pain).

      If there is only one (unique~!) True Path to salvation it has to be Christianity rather than Judaism, because it’s newer.
      Or even better, it has to be Islam ‘cos it’s newer still; more up-to-date and such.
      But wait—Mormonism is even more recent, newer, and up to date still … so which of all these unique paths to the Godhead is best? The plagiarists, perhaps, or the earlier ones we haven’t mentioned?

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      • Assume (again, hypothetically) that a single atomized lifetime of pointless molecular billiard balls equipped with five physical senses is not the sum total of existence. If that were the case, then learning how to absorb negativity without passing it on is a lesson that would have far more profound implications than whether or not you got to kick some guy’s ass on some planet somewhere.

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      • Well, Argus, if it is all pointless, then it doesn’t matter whether you’re a kicker or a kickee. It’s a meaningless flash in the pan. The kicker and the kickee both vanish in less than a couple centuries, and nothing they ever did matters. Being a guy who collects human skins doesn’t matter; being a Christian doesn’t matter; being a savvy atheist doesn’t matter. They all hold the same value: nothing. The temporary satisfaction you obtain from being a “kicker” makes you worse than Yahweh, because not only are you kicking, you’re doing it without thinking of any higher purpose than your own pleasure, which is itself a chemical illusion.

        If you are right, we’ve both already lost. Everyone has. Forever. If you’re right, then there’s no value in being correct, so we might as well spend our time strumming guitars and singing about Jesus. In two million years, it won’t matter whether atheists or Christians are “right.”

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      • I posted a short story asking pertinent questions (and supplying answers) along these lines. Didn’t get many responses at all—eventually I deleted the whole blog.

        I may just see if I kept a copy anywhere and post it again. In the meantime I keep asking of anyone who babbles ‘singularity’ at me … “If everything gets sucked back in and disappears, that means all history too—so none of it ever happened?”

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    • Goodness, are you aware that you have gone out of your way to support the central premise of this post?

      Your “New” is utterly ridiculous. An opinion concerning the rightness or wrongness of some current socioeconomic system is nothing but, well, an opinion.

      Care to try again?

      Your “Marginally useful” is, as I have demonstrated, a plagiarised concept expressed by many, many thinkers long before…. and expressed, I might add, much, much better.

      So, you have failed to name a single new or marginally useful thing mentioned by Jesus; a self-proclaimed god. And your feeble allusion to “other scientistic crap-trivia” is laughable, and that’s putting it lightly. Wouldn’t you consider a helpful word or two toward something like, say, water purification enormously useful in a time when people needlessly died by the thousands for no other reason than tainted water?

      By all means, try again…

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      • If you’ll review up above, you’ll notice that this one didn’t say there was anything “new” that God had said. What was said, rather, was that it is not necessary to say something new.

        Example: at least the past twenty American presidents have been war criminals. Presume that a new president is elected, and that president shuts down the Federal Reserve Bank, closes all foreign military bases, and brings about a state of peace and prosperity.

        A hundred years later, historians John Zande and High Arka are discussing whether or not this president was a “good” president. High Arka argues, “Yes. [President] was a good president.” John Zande argues, “Yeah, well, [President] didn’t do anything new. All of [President’s] ideas were borrowed from earlier thinkers.”

        But that doesn’t matter. It’s not particularly striking (or original, ironically) to say that something has been expressed before. That president was still a good president; that president’s contributions to humanity were still great and good. Is Gandhi the first human to have ever used nonviolent resistance? No. But is he a worthless bastard because he “copied” someone else? No. There are elements of literary plagiarism in the Bible that you can criticize, but having as your core critique, “The ideas expressed here have been expressed elsewhere,” is not only cheap, but inapplicable as to the question of whether something is good or not.

        As to marginally useful, you’ve confirmed what this one said above: it is not only marginally useful, but incredibly useful, to pass on a message of halting violence. So many of the world’s ills now could be solved, were politicians to make speeches about not harming those who have harmed us, and to take action accordingly. Millions of lives would be spared every year. Large components of exploitative economies would vanish, freeing up untold wealth for the use in increasing the quality of billions of lives.

        If you were an all-powerful deity watching over this planet, and you were given the opportunity to speak, one of the best things you could say would be, “Stop killing each other, you idiots. Even if you think someone deserves it.” That’s a message that’s way more than “marginally” useful. It’s more useful than stealth fighters and vaccines and gas-efficient cars.

        JOHN ZANDE: “Wouldn’t you consider a helpful word or two toward something like, say, water purification enormously useful in a time when people needlessly died by the thousands for no other reason than tainted water?”

        People died for a lot of reasons, most of which were caused by people. Do deer get sick by drinking from “tainted” springs? Not naturally-tainted, bacterial-ridden ones, no. They evolved to drink the water that they were near. So too with ancient humans. Like many Mexican nationals today, they could drink the un- or less-treated water that occurred in their habitat (many Mexicans can even drink water contaminated with trace heavy metals and not get sick, whereas unwary travelers can die in days if they try to follow along).

        Now, if people poop in rivers, throw in dead bodies from one of their cherished wars, or use the river to collect tailings from iron mines, yes, they kill each other. But if they had mined and lived properly to begin with, there would be no need for purification. The Earth purifies its own water, and people drank it just fine, their stomachs in tune with their environments, until they started fouling things in pursuit of technological goodies. The modern need for water purification is the chains by which we’ve bound ourselves, much like our erratic use of hand sanitizer and antibiotics has resulted in “super” germs.

        It is people like you, who want technological goodies and “easy outs,” who caused these problems. You’re so obsessed with wanting an easy answer to be handed to you that you cause the very problems you later blame on someone else.

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      • That president was still a good president; that president’s contributions to humanity were still great and good

        You are talking about a human being, not a person claiming to be the creator of the universe. Nice attempt at deflection, but fabulous fail.

        “The ideas expressed here have been expressed elsewhere,” is not only cheap, but inapplicable as to the question of whether something is good or not.

        Plagiarism is one thing. Willful ignorance exercised by Christians believing erroneously that their godman said things that were original is another. It is a falsehood, a boldfaced lie, and it appears me pointing out this deluded belief held by Christians is upsetting you. Why? Has your image of Jesus been shattered? Do the facts bother you? Apologies if that is the case, but as Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine said:

        “Facts are facts. They are enormously discourteous.”

        Now, did I say anything derogatory toward the message/s? Re-read the post if it helps you answer this question. I merely pointed out the original and older sources. The fact that you have jumped to an unfounded (imaginary) conclusion is a sure indication that you’ve been emotionally dented by the facts presented here, and that is evidently clouding your judgment to the unfortunate point of simply making things up.

        It is people like you, who want technological goodies and “easy outs,” who caused these problems. You’re so obsessed with wanting an easy answer to be handed to you that you cause the very problems you later blame on someone else.

        Wow, a bazzilion points for leaping into the deranged world of LaLa Land. Is jumping to hilariously confused conclusions based upon absolutely nothing but your own overactive, yet quite clearly flawed, imagination a specialty of yours? To tell you the truth, these two sentences are so patently bizarre I can’t even grasp just what you’re trying to even accuse me of. Nice work! Impressive stuff.

        So, as it stands, you have still failed to name a single new or marginally useful thing said by Jesus in his entire life. Doesn’t this strike you as astonishingly odd, considering his claims?

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      • Did a big breeze of methane just blow past, or was that just a normal bag of wind? Wow. Wow. And wow. I refer to the breeze of words you just responded to, my friend. Wow. Guess you shouldn’t have asked, “Are you a Christian?” Though, being that Diana has been posting hate lingo here toward Catholics and other Christians she says aren’t Christians though they claim they are, I might be afraid to admit it if I were a Christian on here, too. Wouldn’t want a face full of mud tossed with Jesus’ love by Diana, now would I?

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      • Just cause you toss mud at your fellow brothers and sisters in Christianity doesn’t mean you’re not a good person. Didn’t mean to imply that. It’s just that some folks don’t like being told they’re not what they say they are is all. As far as I’m concerned all Christians are good: tasting I mean. 😀

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      • Not in any “published” sense, but its a common mistake you hear repeated. I often ask Christians to name something new or useful Jesus actually said. They think they can, but of course, in the end, they can’t. It’s an enlightening exercise for them. In all honesty, though, I’m not berating Christians for not knowing the ideas deeper lineage. In this instance their ignorance is excusable; few people take even a passing interest in classical history, so they’ve simply never been exposed to the information… Which is one of the reasons for a post like this. Education with a smile 🙂

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      • I. New

        Did Jesus play basketball? Did he invent water polo? Did he address whether or not lust applies to internet porn? Is fornication still impermissible if it occurs with an animatronic latex model, rather than with a human being?

        If an astronaut travels at lightspeed for an extended duration of time, then returns to earth and is physically younger than his children, do the children still have to honor him as a father, or were the age discrepancies a necessary component of honoring thy father and thy mother?

        These are all very cute questions, but it would take infinite words and infinite time to address the proper response to every situation that could ever occur in the universe. Therefore, it is not reasonable for you to say, “Oh, a real deity would have addressed those subjects.”

        It doesn’t matter whether or not the Bible said anything new. Your question isn’t an earth-shattering revelation (nor is it new), but rather, has the equivalent value of asking why Jesus did not address the issue of whether referees using video replays to make calls during World Cup matches is appropriate. Yes, that’s an important issue, but how much information do you think your brain can process right now? Answer: not as much as there are specific answers to questions that occur over billions of years of universal existence.

        II. Marginally useful.

        The Golden Rule is marginally useful. This one mentioned that several times above. Did you not notice? I’m sure others reviewing our exchange will notice that the utility of “not passing on violence” was referenced several times above.

        Millions of children are starving to death. Robotic drones swarm the skies, blowing up families with impunity. The great and educated leaders of our mightiest nations risk global nuclear conflict over access to resources to build and power two- and four-passenger vehicles. And in the midst of it all, your response is, “Nonviolence is stupid. What we need is more technology.”

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      • Hi Higharka

        Millions of children are starving to death. Robotic drones swarm the skies, blowing up families with impunity. The great and educated leaders of our mightiest nations risk global nuclear conflict over access to resources to build and power two- and four-passenger vehicles. And in the midst of it all, your response is, “Nonviolence is stupid. What we need is more technology.”

        What on Earth are you babbling on about? Do you shoot up heroin and then practice automatic writing with the lights turned off? It’s either that or you’re training a troupe of confused long-eared jerboa’s to dance on your keyboard, whacking out well-intentioned nonsense while you sing Gregorian chants and self-flagellate in the corner of your darkened office.

        Please, don’t get me wrong. I can appreciate your larger concerns. I share them, but you have to calm your wild imagination as to who you think I am, because right now, you’re just coming across as a complete, and possibly dangerous, nutter.

        So, would you like to actually talk about a 1st Century Palestinian rabbi who thought he was the son of a once lowly god in the Ugarit Pantheon (until some ingenious 7th century BCE Canaanite hill villagers married this child of El to his mother, Asherah, and usurped his father’s dominion)… a 1st Century Palestinian rabbi who didn’t know Moses wasn’t a real historical character…. a 1st Century Palestinian rabbi who, despite his claims, failed to say anything new or even remotely revolutionary…. a 1st Century Palestinian rabbi whose life was apparently so unremarkable that it wasn’t noticed by a single contemporary historian, social commentator, court record keeper, curious onlooker, or graffiti artist along the entire eastern Mediterranean seaboard?

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      • Non-biblical historical evidence is purported to show that there was no such 1st Century Palestinian rabbi, so why do you want to talk about him? Do you have the impression that I believe in him? Do you have the impression that this belief would be somehow relevant to my critique of your coldness and fearmongering?

        Years ago, when the balance of social power was different, I spent plenty of time talking to Christians. Like you, many of them thought it was more important to insult me personally, and to demand to know whether I was an “atheist” or not, than to address the issues at hand.

        (A lot of people have also demanded to know whether I’m a faggot or not, and I’ve been just as disinclined to answer them, for the same reason.)

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      • Do you have the impression that I believe in him?

        How am I to know? You refuse to answer my patently simple question: Are you, yes or no, a Christian?

        Would you like to answer it, without fanfare, without deflection, pointless roundabouts and meaningless word games? Would you, or are the long-eared jerboa’s (mindful of the circling dragon) refusing to tap out those few letters?

        Do you have the impression that this belief would be somehow relevant to my critique of your coldness and fearmongering?

        Pray tell, where have I delivered fearmongering? Your deluded, clouded, frantic, and evidently frightfully noisy mind is showing, I’m afraid to say. Calm yourself. Breathe. Take a step back and observe that which is before you. The things you think you are seeing aren’t there.

        A lot of people have also demanded to know whether I’m a faggot or not

        I couldn’t care less. As long as you don’t harm children or animals, and strive to better the human condition I will champion you.

        So, are you at all interested in discussing the awkward facts concerning the 1st century Palestinian rabbi who Christians think was pretty original, but wasn’t, or would you prefer to wander off into another mindless ramble?

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      • Fair enough. Like Higharka has already pointed out, though, new/original is not the same thing as good/useful and she has made a pretty good case that some of Jesus’ unoriginal ethical teachings are still good ideas, perhaps more important than mere technological improvements in our life, and therefore meet the useful criteria.

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      • Hi Consol

        Seems you’re quite deliberately missing the point of this post. The bevy of examples of things Jesus didn’t mention aren’t really important in and by themselves, not at an individual level, although it could be argued that some things like basic water purification, magnetic compasses, and flushable toilets (to name but three of potentially thousands of examples) would have reduced unnecessary suffering in massive and meaningful ways. What about a world map? Wouldn’t that have been utterly astonishing? What about germ theory, or letting people know it wasn’t demons, but epilepsy that caused people to behave like they were “possessed”?

        What is important is that we have a character making a claim he is the son of the creator of the universe, yet he didn’t seem terribly concerned to correct, for example, the prevailing flat-earth idea, or the ludicrous creation myth Jews believed at the time. In fact, he went out of his way to say the Law of Moses (and by default, the creation myth and flat earth) was to stand until the end of times. This striking blunder also raises a frightfully ugly reality for the credibility of this character as we now know Moses wasn’t a real historical character. So, we have this self-named god blazingly ignorant of basic regional history… a history one would naturally expect a god to know, wouldn’t you agree?

        Simply re-hashing some old ethical ideas is not grounds for being impressed, and certainly not grounds to base a religion on.

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      • John, please don’t be upset–I have witnessed you expostulating, at great length, and in many different fora, that there are so many versions of “Christianity” that Christianity is an internally-inconsistent, ahistorical idea. You say that Christians are communists; you say that they are barbarians; you say that they believe or disbelieve in transubstantiation, baptism, trinities and non-trinities, holy spirits and non holy spirits…

        You’ve pointed out that Christ may or may not have existed, or that the literary figure “Christ” was probably an amalgamation of the ideas of dozens of different earlier cultures. You have clearly spent a great deal of time researching this topic, and you are very harsh in assessing those who say they are “Christians.”

        So, I ask you: what is it to be a “Christian,” in the sense that you’re asking me to identify myself? An Arian, a Catholic, a Pentecostal, a Lutheran? A secular Christian, a Christian-influenced literary moralitist, a cultural Christian who celebrates Christmas and vaguely believes in “something,” but who never goes to church anymore…?

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      • Hi Higharka

        Perhaps it might be easier if you just tell me what type of Christian you are. Or you can just forget I ever asked, as its seems this is a question that is beyond your capabilities of answering….

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      • It’s rather unkind to accuse someone of deliberately misinterpreting your point. Ironically, I responded because I felt you were deliberately misunderstanding Higharka’s point.

        I don’t really care about Jesus’s “credibility” one way or the other.

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      • Hi Consol

        It would be unkind, or at least disingenuous, if you hadn’t so clearly misinterpreted the point, when the point was quite obvious. You parroted Higharka’s rather feeble excuses, and I addressed them. Now, Higharka’s ramblings, however, drifted into outright falsehoods (lies, in another man’s language) by accusing me of (amongst other utterly bizarre things) lambasting the message/s. Read the post. Did I anywhere criticise Jesus’ (plagiarised) messages? I simply identified the older source material, without critique of that older source material. Higharka’s unbalanced mental and emotional state clearly got the better of her, and off she went on a magic mystery tour of the fanciful and, at times, disturbingly unreal.

        Now, Jesus’ “credibility” is the central point of this post. He has none. None at all. His messages were all plagiarised. He didn’t know basic regional history and didn’t, for example, let people know Moses wasn’t real. In fact, he bungled terribly by actually saying Moses was real and his antiquated laws were to be adhered to without deviation. He knew nothing about the nature of reality, and do remember, the Greek atomists had scratched at a deeper understanding of matter 500 years before Jesus, so divulging this information would most certainly have been valid. He didn’t tell people the creation myth they believed in was dead, dead, dead wrong. He didn’t alleviate suffering in any way…. ways, if his claims were true, he would have been able to do, and morally required to do. He didn’t say a single new or revolutionary thing… and his “useful” was material that had been in the public domain for, in some cases, over a thousand of years!

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      • That was my nice way of trying to extricate myself from the conversation. I was already tired of arguing with SOM (a href=”http://silenceofmind.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/why-atheists-cannot-understand-the-bible/”>link) as he tried to dazzle me with all he learned from his imaginary academic career, and I only have the stamina to argue with one idiot on the internet at a time these days! But if you absolutely insist in ranting about a point I don’t give a shit about . . .

        John’s point: Jesus lacks credibility because he didn’t say anything new (reason 1) or marginally useful. (reason 2)

        Higharka’s main point: “a good idea doesn’t have to be “new” to be good (i.e. useful).”

        Discussion: She is challenging reason 1 and reason 2, which are the buttresses that support your main point. She disagrees that it even matters that an idea is new by pointing out that it only matters if it is good.

        Higharka’s point two: “The admonition of great thinkers that we should not propagate cruelty is glorious and invaluable. . . . consider rethinking your approach to whether or not kindness is more valuable than technological goodies.”

        Discussion: She is challenging Reason 2 here. Your examples are mostly scientific discoveries that Jesus could have put forward instead of his supposedly plagiarized ethics, but her point is that she sees the ethical values he is putting forward as being more important than any particular scientific discovery, hence they’re marginally useful, whether plagiarized or not.

        In your next response:

        Zande: Goodness, are you aware that you have gone out of your way to support the central premise of this post?

        You accuse her of supporting the central premise, but it is clear that while she agrees that Jesus didn’t say anything new, she does challenge that these ideas aren’t marginally useful, hence this suggests you’re not really listening to what she is saying and you’re just trying to win the argument rather than participate in a discussion.

        Zande: “Your “New” is utterly ridiculous. An opinion concerning the rightness or wrongness of some current socioeconomic system is nothing but, well, an opinion.”

        She brought up the point to illustrate that an old unoriginal idea can still be a good idea. It is beside the point whether one agrees with the merit of the actual content of the example concerning the current socioeconomic system.

        Your “Marginally useful” is, as I have demonstrated, a plagiarised concept expressed by many, many thinkers long before…. and expressed, I might add, much, much better.

        As I already showed, she accepted the point that it is a “plagiarized” concept. She challenged you on the grounds that unoriginal material can still be more useful than saying something new. So simply pointing out an idea is plagiarized doesn’t say anything about its usefulness and this doesn’t rebut the point she is making. All you did was repeat yourself, which doesn’t challenge her point.

        Might I add: five seconds after criticizing her for expressing an opinion, you then express your own (when you state that the other authors expressed it, “much, much better” than Jesus.)

        So, you have failed to name a single new or marginally useful thing mentioned by Jesus

        Restating central point, which Higharka did in fact challenge as has already been noted above, with a declaration that Higharka “failed.” But as was also shown Higharka’s main point was never actually challenged in any tangible way, which is that it might not be new, but it is marginally useful and it doesn’t matter if it is new or not.

        Wouldn’t you consider a helpful word or two toward something like, say, water purification enormously useful in a time when people needlessly died by the thousands for no other reason than tainted water?

        Not a direct rebuttal, but an indirect one that attempts to challenge Higharka’s accusation that ethics are better than random scientific facts by turning to a scientific idea that has real life consequences and survival for humanity. An interesting question. This is a good challenge and where most of your argument should’ve been placed. Only decent response really in your entire initial response to Higharka.

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      • Hi Consol

        Thanks for paraphrasing the conversation, although I’m not entirely sure I understand what you were hoping to achieve with your 686 words.

        It seems, once again, that you (as with higharka) have failed to understand the actual thrust of the post. We have a character claiming to be the Creator of the Universe, yet couldn’t deliver a single poetic line that was original, let alone a single piece of new information (regarding epilepsy, for example), that could have reduced suffering in massive and meaningful ways. Period. Arguing about why Jesus didn’t design the first blast furnace is essentially meaningless to the larger narrative point that he didn’t say anything new. Again, we are talking about a character here who claimed to be the Creator of the Universe.

        Higharka’s defence (and it seems yours as well) that “good words,” such as re-hashing the Golden Rule, should be considered somehow important is ludicrous beyond the ridiculous. You might as well base a global religion then on Bob McAllen who in 1978 gave some practical, but timeworn, advice to his neighbour’s boy, Terry Ballsworth.

        Again: we are talking about a character here who claimed to be the Creator of the Universe.

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      • John, you seem to be trying to return every nuance of a very detailed discussion to your original argument about atheism. You’re looking for a simple answer; a sharply defined, easily-understandable dichotomy. “Is atheism correct?”

        Now, that’s a very good question, and it’s one we should address. And you’ve addressed it a little bit, in most of your posts, indicating that you disbelieve in the existence of deity or deities. It is, in a sense, the theme of your entire blog.

        Within that question are innumerable side questions, some of which you raised in this specific topic: namely, did the biblical deity say or do anything (1) new or (2) marginally useful.

        Those are good questions, too, and we should talk about them. They could lead to even more interesting debates, such as, “Have any of us ever done anything new, or marginally useful?” Or, “What defines the concepts ‘new’ or ‘marginally useful’ in the sense that, when the first cavewoman treated a broken limb by splinting it, she became the first doctor, and everyone afterwards who developed polio vaccines was merely plagiarizing her concept of ‘treatment’?”

        As you try to tease out concepts pertaining to atheism, your questions are (occasionally) being answered by passers-by. In this case, High Arka has addressed the “new” and “marginally useful” points.

        You’re correct when you complain that this one hasn’t proven atheism “wrong.” But that isn’t what we’re talking about here. Your own vendetta to make all supernatural belief look stupid is an interesting one, but when you get down into the details of how that plays out, you need to be willing to be logical in a point-by-point fashion, in order to build up to your grand showdown with supernaturalism. You can’t continue ignoring details in order to re-focus attention on your own closely-held convictions. Ergo you need to (1) explain what constitutes newness, and why a deity would need to manifest that newness in order to prove itself, (2) get into the details of what makes something “useful” (potentially arguing that admonitions of nonviolence are not useful?) and (3) explain why a deity’s philosophy having been repeated by many wise thinkers throughout creation is not a result of the deity’s obvious power and influence (e.g., maybe the reason you think God plagiarizes Himself is that you’re failing to see that the Golden Rule came from the mouths of many who were inspired by God).

        Sure, some Christians would consider that heretical, but if you stop trying to see me as a Christian straw man, you might be able to have an argument different than the predictable victorious you’ve enjoyed over Christians before.

        The gentleman above was correct in noting that the strongest portion of your argument is, “Why didn’t God tell us about [random technological advancement].” So let’s talk about that, if you prefer. It’s a great concept to debate.

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      • Where on earth did I ask, is atheism correct, here? LOL! I’m glad you think “it’s a good question,” as it is your question, not mine. Give yourself a pat on the back 🙂

        You’re correct when you complain that this one hasn’t proven atheism “wrong.”

        Wow, again, another thing I never said, and something never even touched on in the post! Tell me, precisely how many fictitious arguments do you have going on inside your head?

        But that isn’t what we’re talking about here.

        Bingo!

        The gentleman above was correct in noting that the strongest portion of your argument is, “Why didn’t God tell us about [random technological advancement].”

        No, the strongest part of the post, and the central theme of all those words above, which you keep ignoring, is that a rabbi who claimed to be the Creator of the Universe didn’t say a single new or original thing… In other words, he didn’t advance the human condition one inch, which is somewhat odd, considering said claim.

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      • Well, actually all I said was that higharka had a valid point that the usefulness and the quality of an idea is not contingent on the newness of an idea. It might be possible that God thought it was so important to teach the Golden Rule that he spent his efforts on that rather than teaching about water purification.

        That doesn’t necessarily mean I disagreed with everything you said either. You would think that someone claiming to be THE deity would offer some new examples that would better ancient people’s lives and be something only a deity could know. I get the argument; I just think Higharka has a point too. I am perfectly fine with thinking aspects of both your arguments have some validity to it.

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      • (Oh, Club–your arsenic article refers to studies from the late 20th century. That affirms my argument, rather than contradicts it. Industrial toxins and accumulated urban waste are the human poisoners of water; as it existed in old Nazarene, it was much more drinkable without treatment.

        You’re also talking about groundwater, rather than flowing water. Flowing water appears more attractive to us because our ancestors learned that it was much healthier than stagnant water, which bred disease.)

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      • “Oh, Club–your arsenic article refers to studies from the late 20th century. That affirms my argument, rather than contradicts it. Industrial toxins and accumulated urban waste are the human poisoners of water; as it existed in old Nazarene, it was much more drinkable without treatment.

        You’re also talking about groundwater, rather than flowing water. Flowing water appears more attractive to us because our ancestors learned that it was much healthier than stagnant water, which bred disease.)”

        Again, you show your self to be quite a liar, higharka. I am so happy you didn’t actually read the article and demonstrated that by your post. You didn’t even read the very first sentence which show your claims to be the usual bs they are. The article showed how natural arsenic can be a contaminant with no human help at all because some rocks naturally have lots and lots of arsenic in them. Just like some rocks have lots and lots of radioactive materials in them and can cause radon contamination. And “old Nazarene?” ah, in an old person from Nazareth? Do you not know even the town names of the area your religion comes from.

        The old saw about flowing water being somehow magically clean is hilarious and of course wrong. Like many ignorant folks in India, it’s the magicla thinking that the Ganges is somehow perfect and clean, and it’s not. it’s full of typhoid, etc.

        It’s also great that you are willfully ignorant, and have no idea that groundwater flows just like streams and rivers. Groundwater is anything but “stagnant”. It seems that you have no idea how the world works and play pretend that it works like higharka fantasizes it does. I wonder, do you think that hailstones are kept in magical warehouses in heaven?

        To make sure you know to answer my other post, I do wonder why you think that this god of yours can just tell us about morality, and not make us figure it out on our own, your excuse for this god doing nothing useful. What special pleading will you use?

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      • “Do you not know even the town names of the area your religion comes from.”

        Wait–I’m a Christian? I thought my answers indicated that I wasn’t. Please explain why you identify me using that term. All those questions I answered, including that Jesus wasn’t my personal savior, and you’re still driven to associate me with your preferred strawman. Is it so hard to argue with another atheist who just thinks you make terrible arguments?

        Industrial polluters have always claimed that their pollution was actually “natural.” More than a century after extensive coal mining, the power industry will fund nonprofit foundations that study rocks near their old operations, and report that the rocks are “naturally” soaked in tailing runoff. After shifting entire mountain ranges around, releasing deeply-vented natural toxins, they act like the presence of those toxins is unrelated to human activity. It’s as ridiculous as drilling through the Earth’s crust, then blaming a lava surge on “natural geological activity.” Yes, arsenic and other toxins occur naturally, just like lava, but people have been drinking water safely for tens of thousands of years without government filtration systems, and it is idiotic to claim that they were guzzling arsenic all that time, yet still surviving. Industrialism has clearly changed this environment, but since you’re fond of the corporate media, I can certainly understand why you’d prefer to blame Earth for Exxon’s crimes.

        One of the many side effects of industrialism has been people like you being raised to revere your technological overlords. You feel that, before the arrival of Ford and Carnegie, the world was mostly full of superstitious idiots, but now, suddenly, a few whiz-bang machines have proved conclusively to you that the mores of your age are correct, and consumerist scientism is the bestest philosophy ever (way better than Judaism or Islam or Protestantism! We got it right this time!).

        For millennia, humans on this planet have believed in stories about lightning-hurling deities. They’ve watched generations of doctors prescribe bloodletting as the cure to infected wounds. The richest, most powerful thinkers of the age, for century after century, have told educated thinkers (like you) that prior belief systems were incorrect, but that current ones had been proven mostly accurate.

        From where do you draw your grand confidence in the idea that you, unlike all those other people who came before, can speak so definitively about the knowledge of your particular age?

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      • Yes, higharka, it is my estimation that you are a Christian from what you have said and done. You have expressed believe in such nonsense and you have used the classic arguments in defending the bible, arguments that are unique to it and no other religion. You consistently refer to it rather than another religion as something that should be accepted. As I have said elsewhere in these comments, one only needs to give someone like you enough rope so that you can hang yourself. It is hard to maintain a lie when you write a lot. You inevitably reveal more than you intend. Yes, you claimed that JC wasn’t your personal savior. Plenty of theists lie. And again, no, higharka, you aren’t another atheist. You lied about atheists too and there isn’t much reason for you to do so except that you forgot what lie you wanted to tell and screwed up. You seem to have created your own version of Christianity, mangled with who knows what and are nothing special than any other theist.

        And again, Nazarene isn’t the name of a place. You screwed up.

        You show your willful ignorance again. Yep, some polluters have lied and claimed that their pollution came from natural sources. One classic example is when President Ronald Reagan claimed that trees were polluting the atmosphere: “”Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do.” (1981). It was a lie in order to try to deny the impact of using fossil fuels. However, the arsenic pollution in various places around the globe comes from entirely natural rock formations that nothing but physics and chemistry have influenced. It’s so great when you demonstrate that you are so desperate to keep your lies that you intentionally ignore anything that would show them wrong, like reading even the first sentence from a Wikipedia article.

        And shifting entire mountain ranges around? Ummmm, where, higharka? Yep, there are instances of coal companies having removed the tops of mountains, and yep, there are instances of where the tailings have contaminated water, but again, that is not the only way for water to be contaminated. It happens very naturally, and belies your nonsense that somehow nature is benign and perfect. You see, higharka, I have my degree in geology and know that you are lying; the rocks themselves show that you are lying. But let me guess, you’ll whine about how dare anyone go to college. And where is there any evidence for eruptions being caused by drilling? Hmmm?

        You are also lying when you claim “people have been drinking water safely for tens of thousands of years without government filtration” No, this not true, higharka. People have died from dysentery, cholera for tens of thousands of years. They have had worms and flukes for tens of thousands of years. They have had Guinea worm for tens of thousands of years.

        Nice addition of lies to try to claim that I would try to “blame the earth for exxons crimes” when that is untrue. I see that again you have nothing more than personal attacks since you have no facts to support your claims.

        I do love to see you rant about our “techonological overlords” and watch your posts appear with such lovely regularity. So do your posts appear by magic, higharka, since you simply couldn’t be using a computer could you? Why, that would be quite hypocritical of you, wouldn’t it?

        Oh my, new words “consumerist scientism”. So what does that mean, higharka, more blind thrashing to try to feel so superior? And yes, before the beginning of the 20th c and still, there are superstious idiots who make claims that they can’t support, just like you. This world is better, higharka. We have reduced many of the old miseries of mankind because we look at facts and have empathy, not belief in magic, believe that some god makes some people better than others, etc. We certainly have gotten it better but certainly not perfect. Nice attempt there to create another strawman to attack, higharka, but that is all you can do.

        Yep, people certainly did believe in “lightning hurling deities”. They were wrong. We know that bloodletting does help some diseases, and yep, we know that it was used by people who were searching for a way to help their fellow man and used without effect or with harm. They were wrong and right, depending on the situation. It’s how human advancement works. The scientific method works, and you benefit from it all of the time, higharka. Your attitude is very common, someone who wants to enjoy the benefits of modern life but is horrified that the scientific method that gives them their luxuries also shows that their dearly held beliefs in nonsense are wrong.

        I do love how you are so horrified that someone is educated. It’s such a lovely example of someone who wants to pretend that they know some secrets but hates anyone who shows that they don’t and who also takes advantage of all of the nifty things that the educated and intelligent have created but whines about how “evil” it is. Ah, the sweet scent of hypocrisy.

        You, of course, still can’t show that your claims are true. Evidence shows me that I can speak well about the knowledge of humanity. I can point to facts that support my claims. I can point to the utter dearth of evidence supporting nonsense that people like you claim to show that there is no reason to believe your nonsense. There are no reptilian aliens living under the earth or masquerading as Queen Elizabeth. There are no gods that answer prayers, making spells work or controlingl humanity. There was no idyllic perfect earth or perfect noble savages that existed. There are no aliens who created pyramids and there is no supersecret soundstage that the moon landings were filmed on.

        Now, since you have made claims on how important the OP is and how you don’t want to go off-topic, I will ask you about this again. You have said this god just told us about moral concepts. You also have said that this god can’t possibly teach anything useful through its magic book because we somehow need to learn this stuff for ourselves. That’s a lovely convenient excuse, isn’t it? What’s the difference? Why couldn’t we have just learned about moral concepts on our own too? Again, this book is demonstrated as nothing more than plagiarized concepts claimed to be original and unique from a god that is supposedly the absolute creator. It offers no useful information other than perhaps those moral concepts, and offers many more instances of horrific acts condoned by this god and information that is completely and, often dangerously, wrong.

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      • Club, please help me understand before we go on–am I a Christian because (1) I do believe JC is my personal savior, and I’m just lying about it, or (2) I don’t believe JC is my personal savior, but I’m still a Christian anyway?

        (Wouldn’t Christians be prevented from denying JC, the way the apostles denied him before the crucifixion? That allegory was presented in a negative light, so how could Christians rationalize that?)

        I can understand your difficulty in believing that an atheist could possibly disagree with you (since you believe you can comprehensively define and identify atheism regardless of what another human being says about themselves) but couldn’t it be possible that an Orthodox Jew might make the same arguments? Or a Muslim who accepted Christ as a prophetic predecessor to Mohammed?

        (Btw, you might want to go back and check up on your dissertation–cholera is not caused by arsenic.)

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      • You appear to be a Christian because you use the sad old excuses in defending the bible. You have yet to show that your god does anything useful and original. And as I have said, I’ve seen more than a few Christians trying to masquerade as an atheist in order to try to claim that *even atheists* don’t agree with arguments made against theists. I’ve watched you try to defend the bible, and fail. I’ve watched you try to claim you are an atheist, and fail because you’ve attacked atheists before you decided that this was a great idea.

        There’s nothing preventing someone from being a Christian and claiming otherwise. No magical punishment will happen. I’ve seen it again and again. Now, I could entertain myself with watching you insist that only a TrueChristian wouldn’t lie. But I know that isn’t the case at all. I’ve chuckled more than a few times when I’ve mentioned the cock crowing when a Christian tried to pretend he wasn’t. Poor things, they run away quite quickly after that’s pointed out.

        I know that you aren’t an atheist, higharka. You have made claims about atheists that are lies and are the usual nonsense a theist tries. But let’s give you the benefit of the doubt, let’s take a look at what you’ve said about atheists and atheism.

        “Wow. So, Arianism, Protestantism, Mormonism, Universal Unitarianism…all the same thing? By that logic, all atheists are cannibalistic savages who live in nude polygamous societies in the Serengeti, right?” Nice attempt to make fun of atheists and shows you do not identify as an atheist.

        “I have spent more time than you have as an atheist arguing with Christians. Your methods are broken–bandwagon, strawman, ad hominem–and you do a very poor job of making the argument. You are obsessed with superficial details, unwilling to refine your arguments to the level where you can help some of the Christians acknowledge the un-ignorable similarities between their preferred message and others. You’re like the Glenn Beck of atheism–very appealing to yourself and the people who already agree with you, but objectively ineffective at being rational, fair, or convincing any non-followers of what you have to say.”

        For all of this experience you claim to have, you are incompetent at basic logic. We have yet to see why a book that claims to be original and isn’t, that has no useful information, should be considered what it claims to be. And we also have you insisting that this god doesn’t have to show humans how to do something that would benefit them, that they have to learn it for themselves, while excusing it because it doesn’t do the same for this supposed moral instruction.

        “Being a guy who collects human skins doesn’t matter; being a Christian doesn’t matter; being a savvy atheist doesn’t matter. They all hold the same value: nothing.”

        “If you are right, we’ve both already lost. Everyone has. Forever. If you’re right, then there’s no value in being correct, so we might as well spend our time strumming guitars and singing about Jesus. In two million years, it won’t matter whether atheists or Christians are “right.””

        “Years ago, when the balance of social power was different, I spent plenty of time talking to Christians. Like you, many of them thought it was more important to insult me personally, and to demand to know whether I was an “atheist” or not, than to address the issues at hand.”

        No evidence of this experience talking to Christians, nor of your being an atheist because if you had, you’d know how your own arguments fail. Again, it’s very helpful to know what someone believes or doesn’t believe. it’s good to know that you didn’t learn much about not insulting others.

        “lightspring, bullies never change. Decades ago, in a room after school with various church-goers, being called a stupid atheist dyke who was going to hell, all for the crime of saying that it didn’t seem fair or right that “God’s plan” included sending infants to hell because they didn’t have a chance to learn to read or learn about “Him.” The bandwagon methods, the condescension, the appeal to state authority to medically imprison the deviant…”

        Now here’s where the weird bits come in. Oooh, now I can see you claiming “psialtin” fields. Of course with no evidence for your nonsense. Wow, and you are doing this: “began the project of copyrighting all future written and visual intellectual property.”as your own. Shucks, how nice to know. And you even charge a low low fee of $99.95 to be as crazy as a shithouse rat. “Authors, publishers, screenwriters, entertainment executives, or other agents who believe that they have “created” or “finished” something after 2012, or who are attempting to produce a book, movie, or other creative work, may contact High Arka Funworks directly, and for a minimal processing fee of $99.95 plus s/h, have their potential infringement verified, and may request, for a reasonable fee or partnership arrangement, the license to use the copyright for Ms. Cue’s work from High Arka Funworks and Ms. Cue.” Now, cue, , the claims of oh you weren’t serious, right?

        “It’s truly been interesting, being here for this latest cultural shift of power toward non-godhead religions. I remember thinking how great it would be when intelligent, reasonable atheists finally gained cultural power. Now I see that cruelty is able to adopt any guise that serves its purpose.”

        More dissing strawman atheists, and the good ol’ claim that atheism is a religion, when again all atheism means is that one doesn’t believe in gods. And of course, there is nothing to indicate that beleiving you, higharka, makes one more intelligent and reasonable.

        “That’s an example of being associated with things which this one did not defend. Repeat: pointing out flaws in John’s arguments does not automatically make High Arka a defender of some version of Christian orthodoxy. I could actually be an atheist, a more committed atheist than John, and simply be offended by how shamefully he is going about the process of attacking Christianity.”
        Yes, it does show you to be a defender since, surprise, you are defending it, albeit poorly and as a Christian would. Again, we have you insisting you are a “more committed atheist”. Just how does that work, higharka? How do you disbelieve harder than us? Again, we see that you haven’t a clue what atheism entails, that you think it’s some kind of philosophy.

        And this wonderful pair of classics: “To appreciate Eden, one has to leave it, much as a spoiled child has to be left penniless at 18 to understand just how nice mommy and daddy’s attentions were. You can lecture until your head explodes about the value of money, hard work, and nice things, but many people can never really understand that until they’ve faced the actual prospect of being without hunger, shelter, or toys.

        Spoiled brats just keep demanding more stuff, always more stuff, never appreciating what they already have, or being interested in their own inner development. Waaah! Waaah! Why didn’t God buy me Mortal Kombat VI? Why didn’t God build me a flying car? Why do I have to die in a human body in order to understand the difference between Word and Void? Waaah!”

        And you wish to claim an atheist would say this, a classic Christian argumenet on why her god doesn’t answer prayers as claimed in the bible? Why if an atheist knows that gods are bullshit?
        Let me ask you this, why are you an atheist, higharka, if you are one?

        Wow, higharka, cholera isn’t caused by arsenic? No kidding since I never said that it was. You have claimed have claimed that people could drink water with no harm back in some undefined magical past and they have not. There have been pathogens and chemical contaminants throughout history and prehistory. There has been no time where the earth was somehow perfect and humans could frolic around worrying about nothing as you have claimed.

        And no, it isn’t possible for an Orthodox Jew or a Muslim to use the same arguments as you have, since 1. The qu’ran doesn’t present JC as the Christian bible does, and thus is not believed by Muslims, and 2. An Orthodox Jew doesn’t accept the NT, which would make your arguments rather void since you claim that this god offers morality in the entire bible, which you have argued. Not just the OT, and you would have specified that long ago if you were Jewish. You do need to familiarize yourself with people who don’t agree with you if you wish to try to masquerade as them. Merely trying to personify a strawman version doesn’t work very well when you try to tell an atheist, or a Muslim or a Jew what they “really” believe.

        Ah, here’s another bit that shows that you are just one more TrueChristian who is sure that all of those other Christians aren’t really following what *you* think JC “really” meant: “Filthy opportunists saw an opportunity to co-opt Jesus’ movement, and produced the Catholic church–a church where Jesus/God was not everywhere, and available to everyone, but accessible only through a closed, formal church structure, which handed out salvation and sold redemption from sins for cash. Centuries passed; Martin Luther put up his proclamation, Protestants fought Catholics. Eventually, the British Crown came up with its own version of “Christianity” to justify its own bloated horrors, America slapped crosses and “under God” on everything, and began using the graven idol of Jesus and His suffering to justify carpet bombing, like, a lot of little kids.” Such a classic, insistence that JC is okay as long as you agree with higharka’s version, this one: “And the church purge, yada yada, destroying all the earlier images of black Jesus, black apostles, black Christians. Sure, always fun to blame the Catholics. But what about the imaginarily-secular artists upon whom we rest the foundations of our culture? Michelangelo was the one who did the job for money, turning Jesus from a Semitic black into a blue-eyed white guy with a hipster douche.” I do love the comparison of any white man with a goatee and mustache simply has to be where the idea of a Caucasian JC came from. And sorry, being Semitic doesn’t not mean having African ancestry.

        The problem is that you can’t show your version is any better than any other.

        Now, back to the OP that you were so concerned about before, higharka. Tell me why it’s okay for your god to just tell us about morality and not make us figure it out for ourselves since you said “Learning things by doing them is far more effective than learning things by being told. Jesus could have told his disciples, “Do not develop triclosan.” And maybe that would’ve saved us from some staph deaths in the 21st century. However, the short-term benefit of having been handed a parcel of specific information–fewer deaths from antibiotic-resistant staph infections–would not outweigh the long-term benefit of a humanity that had learned, on its own, the underlying principle, and the consequences of violating it.“

        and how is it coming with using the technology that you decry everyday constantly?

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      • oh and higharka, define atheism for us since you are so sure that I am wrong when I say it simply means “having no belief in god/gods.” If I am wrong, you surely have evidence you are right, correct?

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      • Club, I’m delighted that you read so many of my other articles, but don’t you think it would be better to respond to them on that blog, rather than dragging a partial summary of your reactions to several different posts over here into John’s superstition forum?

        In The Problem With Adults, you might not have noticed in your skimming, but this one said:

        “Hypothetically, a pseudoscientist far away once told this one…”

        and

        “[F]or fictional and illustrative purposes only, take a look…”

        However, I’ve noticed that you claim the right to define people regardless of what they say, so perhaps you feel comfortable disregarding those sentences. I can say I’m not a Christian, but that’s irrelevant; you can declare me, definitively, a Christian. You’re kind of like an American Mormon, baptizing dead gay people as Mormons.

        What other powers of induction do you possess over the internet? Can you tell the difference between a Hispanic American and a Mexican national? Can you identify a homosexual person or a transsexual person by the way they type, or by a picture of her or his face?

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      • No, higharka, I have no interest in posting on your blog. I get to see you avoid answering questions enough here. I do enjoy showing you to be quite a lunatic, though. Indeed, it’s great to watch you decide you own everything thought about ever and thinking that you can charge $99.95 so someone can ask you for the rights to what is theirs. What a sad greedy little thing you are. You strike me as suffering from what many college second semester freshmen and sophomores suffer from, the idea that since they can supposedly think now, that every eructation from their mind is somehow cosmically right. Happily most people grow out of that. A few don’t, and entertain the rest of us with their schadenfreude.
        One can read all they want on your blog by just clicking on your avatar.

        I am glad that you brought up again on how important it is for you to address the OP. So, I will try again, please do discuss the reason that this god of yours can just tell us about morality and not expect us to learn about it for ourselves, as your excuse for your god not teaching anything useful goes. Hmmm?

        I know that you used the term “pseudoscientist” and don’t realize just how wonderfully ironic that is.. And I do love when a person likes you tries to use the lovely excuses that you only are using “x” for “fictional and illustrative purposes”. It’s so cute to watch you do you best to give yourself all sorts of supposed “plausible deniability” so you don’t actually have to take responsibility for your bullshit. Yep, I have no problem in claiming the right to look at a person’s actions and words and determine them to be the liars and the Christians that they are. You can say you aren’t a Christian repeatedly but when you make claims about JC as you have, well, higharka, you get to deal with what you have already said. Now, you seem to be trying the next usual claim of a Christian who has little else left. You wish to claim that somehow I am “kind of like an American Mormon, baptizing gay people as Mormons”. So, how am I like this, higharka? Or are you again making vague claims without any evidence whatsoever? What exactly makes me like this “American Mormon” who baptizes gay people as Mormons? Do I baptize people? Hmmm, no. Am I a Mormon? No. Do I have something against homosexuals? No. Am I American? Why, yes, I am. Can I point out where your actions and words indicate you are a Christian? Why yes I can. I’ll be waiting for your evidence that I am somehow like this American Mormon that you speak of.

        Still great as always to see you run from actually answering questions about your baseless claims, higharka. Where oh where is the concern for the OP, higharka?

        And why yes, I can tell the difference between a person who is a citizen of Mexico and an American of Hispanic decent. Are you curious how? I can ask for evidence, I do not have to take unsubstantiated claims as evidence. And no, I do not identify a homosexual by how they type. I may be able to do so by an image of them and I most certainly can if I can see their actions in a situation where they have no need to dissemble. It is so nice to see you again take refuge in strawmen and lies since I have never made the claims you seem to be attacking.

        Let me repeat, I can the evidence of what you have written external to your direct claims of being this and such and compared them to your claims. If they do not match, and you were not trying to hide anything before, one can take those statements as being more truthful than your current claims. You have defended Christianity and JC repeatedly, before you decided to attack atheism. You have attacked atheists before you decided to try to masquerade as one. At this moment, you are left as representing yourself as a liar one side or the other and destroying any credibility you may have had. You may be one of those curious things called a “poe” here on the ‘net, someone who gets his jollies in thinking he can control people. I find the idea rather pointless and take people at their word. You portray yourself as a liar, well, then, that’s what you are.

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      • Club, you’re afraid of going somewhere else to talk because it’s easier to stay on the bandwagon when you’re insulting an Other. You’re not alone in that; many Christians will not discuss religion anywhere except in fora where the administrators are pre-sympathetic to their preferred point of view.

        “Schadenfreude” refers to the shameful joy you feel when you mock me for being in error. It’s not a positive behavior to exhibit. You do exemplify it, though, so it’s certainly an appropriate pseudonym for you.

        clubschadenfreude: “I am glad that you brought up again on how important it is for you to address the OP. So, I will try again, please do discuss the reason that this god of yours can just tell us about morality and not expect us to learn about it for ourselves, as your excuse for your god not teaching anything useful goes. Hmmm?”

        Please try to explain to the rest of us how a wife-beating child molester like you can ask anyone anything about morality.

        The above sentence is an example of “begging the question,” where you’ve built so many assumptions into your question that it’s not really a question, but more of a statement. For example, I’ve said repeatedly that I’m not Christian, but you keep trying to get me to defend “this god of [mine].” And yet, I’m not defending that god. That’s something that only occurs in your imagination. What I have done is give you hypothetical answers to your rhetorical questions about the Bible, which answers demonstrate how your questions are themselves internally flawed. If you want to develop your questions, you should do so, rather than repeating the same questions over and over, while trying to label me as something I’m not.

        Here’s another example, in case you don’t understand:

        So, I will try again, clubschadenfreude, please do discuss the reason that your hero and love interest, Adolf Hitler, has not taught us anything useful?

        You might object that Adolf Hitler is not your hero or your love interest. Similarly, I am objecting that “this god of yours” is not my god. So please restate your question in a way that doesn’t come laden with incorrect personal attacks.

        Clubschadenfreude: “[W]hen you make claims about JC as you have, well, higharka, you get to deal with what you have already said.”

        What you’re missing is that I haven’t made “claims about JC.” I’ve only pointed out potential answers to the existential questions that you guys have posed. When you see the flaws in your questions, you achieve a state of cognitive dissonance, because you realize that your critique of the supernatural is only a little more rational than Christianity itself. Instead of addressing the contradictions and altering your viewpoint, which would be cognitively difficult, you become upset, and allow the anger, and the battle with me as a strawman “Christian,” to help distract you from acknowledging the problems with your own perspective.

        Clubschadenfreude: “You wish to claim that somehow I am “kind of like an American Mormon, baptizing gay people as Mormons”. So, how am I like this, higharka?”

        Because you are doing just what they are, and just what Colorstorm is doing: you are identifying me as a Christian even though (1) I said I am not one, and (2) I said JC wasn’t my personal savior. You so desperately need to believe in the false dichotomy between “religious people” and “non-religious people” that refuse to process interactions which don’t fit that model.

        Clubschadenfreude: “And why yes, I can tell the difference between a person who is a citizen of Mexico and an American of Hispanic decent. Are you curious how? I can ask for evidence, I do not have to take unsubstantiated claims as evidence.”

        Well, aren’t you just the perfect little policeman! Every time you see someone non-white, you can ask them for their papers! If they call you a prejudiced jerk, it proves they’re not citizens. Life is so simple, isn’t it?

        Clubschadenfreude: “You have defended Christianity and JC repeatedly, before you decided to attack atheism.”

        If that’s what makes me Christian, then I’m also a Muslim, a Buddhist, and an Orthodox Jew, because I’ve defended all three of those faiths from people like you. I accomplished the defense in the same way I’ve done here–by pointing out that the sneering attacks of bigots were flawed.

        So, I pose to you: how can I be simultaneously a Hasidic Jew, a follower of Mohammed, a Zen Buddhist, and a Theravadan Buddhist? (Oh–and a Christian, too?)

        Also, when I discuss these issues with Christians, they often call me an atheist, or a liberal, or a homosexual, or all of the above. All because I point out when their arguments are internally flawed, and because they covet the distinction between “Christians” and “non-Christians” so much that they don’t want to hear anything more complicated.

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      • i’ve only pointed out potential answers to the existential questions that you guys have posed. When you see the flaws in your questions, you achieve a state of cognitive dissonance, because you realize that your critique of the supernatural is only a little more rational than Christianity itself

        Oh, that’s rich, even for you, Higharka. It seems you really do have a number of imaginary conversations going on inside that head of yours, and at times you can’t quite remember (or perhaps distinguish) what is from reality, and what is your own fanciful dreamscape.

        Do you want me to repeat the total extent of your argument here? Perhaps I should:

        something can be good, even if it isn’t original

        That’s it. That’s the total depth and scope of your counterargument. Or, in other words, you have spent thousands of words doing nothing but confirming my exact point that neither you, nor anyone, can name or demonstrate a single thing which actually justifies a single second of the time this self-proclaimed “god” spent alive.

        But please, if you want to continue confirming my point, knock yourself out and pen another 1,000 word reply….

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      • The Golden Rule is worth it. Don’t you recall this one writing just that earlier? Here’s a lengthier list of things that could be considered “worth it”:

        1) Reassurance that death inside a human body is not the final termination of existence;

        2) A promise that one is part of creation, with an inherent purpose, and a potentially interminable bond to existence;

        3) Verification that the building of a set of memories and facets of character will be permanently attached to an immortal soul, therefore, actions have eternal consequences, and one should think not just about oneself, but about the effects one’s behavior will have on the entire rest of the universe.

        This isn’t a comprehensive list of everything the Bible says, but if those things are true, they’re certainly valuable things to know.

        People who lack a sense of connection to the rest of the verse become isolated, neurotic, commodifying technophiles; atomized madmen who cling to illusions of fading community as they deny any meaning and purpose in their lives, other than what temporary pleasures they can grab until eternal death takes hold of them. You may never agree with this one in our discussions here, but years from now, when you are facing your own end, perhaps you’ll draw some reassurance in someone who once promised you that it was going to be all right. You’ll have a chance to do it over again if the drama of the age distracted you from caring.

        If you’ll never be moved by considerations of spirituality, throw them out entirely. Instead, apply your values, within an atheistic framework, to the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule stops endless cycles of violence, by charging the individual with absorbing harms, but not passing them on. Prohibitions against avarice and judgment create a better society, and even more pleasant short-term sensations, for everyone. The casting of aspersions upon solely-pleasurable sexual acts can be misinterpreted by jerks, but they can also instill a reminder of the responsibility we owe the vulnerable next generation, after others have sacrificed so much so that we could enjoy the lives we’ve had so far.

        Mocking other people’s beliefs, however foolish, could lead to them pointing out similar inconsistencies in your own beliefs. Why don’t you try engaging Christians with warmth and openness, instead of cold derision, even if 90% of them end up being rude in return? Even 99%? If you can help even one person understand that genocide is wrong, isn’t that a more satisfying act than successfully group-mocking 999 other theists?

        In my own case, I’ve offended people, lost friends, and been called some pretty vile names for arguing with Christians that it was wrong to kill homosexuals. Even citing Jesus’ supposed words about stoning the adulteress, I was accused of being an atheist and a queer. And yet, even though it took over a decade, I did manage to help 3-4 people adjust their religiosity a little bit, so that they either (1) discarded their old version of Christianity in favor of a metaphorical model that allowed them more positive behavior toward other human beings, or (2) concluded that the prophets of old Israel may have inserted “death to faggots” language out of personal preference, rather than because some all-powerful entity really cared about what specific acts consenting adults did with their private parts.

        When I was eight years old, I used to giggle with my friends about how stupid the Bible was, too. I understand in depth the insanity of some brain-dead Christians trying to tautologically reaffirm the cosmological reality of modern translations of the religious texts that they adopted. After some time, I remembered that there are much higher forms of satisfaction.

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      • The Golden Rule is ancient, probably dating back to the moment the human brain first projected thoughts out into the near future and spent a moment then considering the consequences of a proposed action. We know it was first written down during the Egyptian Middle Kingdom, 2,000 years before Jesus, and was so common it was in pop culture 600 years before Jesus (see Homer’s Odyssey: “I will be as careful for you as I will be for myself in the same need”)

        Keep it up, Higharka. You’re doing nothing but continuing to confirm my point that neither you, nor anyone, can name or demonstrate a single thing which actually justifies a single second of the time this self-proclaimed “god” spent alive.

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      • (1) You addressed the Golden Rule, but you didn’t address the three other things this one listed in her comment of November 13, 2014 at 9:17 am.

        (2) All of the atheistic arguments you are making have been made before by other atheists.

        (2a) What is the value in you making them if they have already been made before?

        (2b) Why does your answer to (2a) not apply to Jesus employing arguments that have been made before?

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      • Did I ever claim to be a god?

        You see, you’re just not getting it, are you? You are refusing to accept the reality of the matter. I don’t need to litigate any thought you present as it is meaningless to the context of this post/discussion concerning the time an alleged “god” spent alive… a character one would, naturally, expect to have said something genuinely new and uniquely useful.

        The more words you throw down, the more deflections you try to deploy, serve only to emphasise the very point of my post: that neither you, nor anyone, can name or demonstrate a single thing which actually justifies a single second of the time this self-proclaimed “god” spent alive.

        Keep going, Higharka, you’re just making my point stronger….

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      • Afraid,? No. just bored. But if you wish me to post on your blog, sure. I’ll post to your new post all about your fear of homosexuality or I’m sorry, your “thought experiments”. Here’s what I said there: “I do love to see you try to cloak your fantasies in “thought problems”. I wonder, do you have the courage to post your answers to your own questions? You do seem rather distressed about homosexuality and speficically anal sex. I am gratified to see you fantasizing about the suicide of Richard Dawkins. You do such a great job in belying your claims on the superstitous ape blog. For your last question, “but when you contemplate the reality of a million years of being skinned alive, followed by another million, followed by another, do you really have it in you?”

        Happily, I do have it in me because I find the idiocy of a magical hell ridiculous. we see the usual sadistic fantasy of someone who hates to be shown wrong. They hope the universe will somehow punish anyone for daring to show the claimant wrong.”

        So, we have again a claim by higharka that is easy to prove wrong. And higharka, I don’t care if you are a Christian or call yourself a shaman or a super-annuated magical being from the beginning of the universe or Zathras. I’ve made my case about that.

        There is nothing “shameful” when seeing someone cause themselves grief by their own actions, like you have, higharka. We have a rather silly woman who came onto John’s blog, made lots of baseless claims, told lots of easily dismissible lies, and then got caught in her very own claims of how this god doesn’t have to provide useful help in its magic book because it wants us to learn how to do everything ourselves. Everything but magically not the moral teachings that it plagiarized from other sources.

        I am more than happy to mock you when you lie and can be shown to be such a poor liar. I am quite pleased to show how funny you are when you claim to have magical powers and know about supersecret “fields” and can “copyright” every work in the universe. I love to see you writhe when someone points out how silly all of your claims are.

        I am just as happy to watch similar people when they claim that humans never landed on the moon, that the WWII genocide didn’t happen, that there reptilian aliens masquerading as Queen Elizabeth II, that the Illumninati are controlling the world, etc. You all make baseless claims and then when confronted with someone who wants evidence, you all react the same.

        Nice personal attack, higharka! Shucks, is “wife-beating child molester like you” all you could come up with? “Begging the question” is, as Wikipedia so helpfully says “This is an informal fallacy where the conclusion that one is attempting to prove is included in the initial premises of an argument, often in an indirect way that conceals this fact.” You have made a baseless claim, based your desire to call me something nasty. The conclusion you are attempting to make is that no one but you can talk about morality and that anyone else is morally less perfect than you.

        Now, please do show where my request is doing this, higharka: “So, I will try again, please do discuss the reason that this god of yours can just tell us about morality and not expect us to learn about it for ourselves, as your excuse for your god not teaching anything useful goes. Hmmm?” What conclusion is included in the initial premise of the argument? You claim it is there, so show it. Again, you make the claim, you are responsible for supporting your claim with evidence. I have shown the evidence that supports my position that you are a Christian of some type. Now, how does this statement of a god being the one you worship a conclusion that influences the question I am asking? I can restate the whole ting and it makes no difference. “So, I will try again, please do discuss the reason that this god can just tell us about morality and not expect us to learn about it for ourselves, as your excuse for this god not teaching anything useful goes. Hmmm?””

        My initial premise is that: first you have claimed that the bible has taught moral lesson and it is not a problem when these moral lessons are plagiarized and that it is not a problem that this god has taught nothing of use to humanity. When asked why it has taught no useful things, your argument was that this god needs humans to learn everything by trial and error. I have asked you repeatedly: what reason is there for you to say it’s okay for it to only supposedly teach morals by a book and not okay to teach other useful things to humanity by a book? Where am I begging the question here?

        You have defended the god of the bible and the bible, higharka. You have done this by trying to claim that this god needs for humans to learn everything *but* morality by trial and error. You have created an excuse for this god and this is a defense.

        You have claimed that you might be an atheist. Your actions have shown that this is not the case. You have made claims about having special powers to know more about the universe than anyone else. You cannot show these claims to be true. Your offering excuses do not show that anyone’s arguments are somehow “internally flawed”. My questions do not need “developed”, that is just one more excuse to try to delay the inevitable. It’s no more than trying to claim I am not asking a question “right” so you can answer it without damning yourself.

        Oh and more personal attacks! How nice. Hmmm, well, higharka, how do you propose to prove your claim that Adolph Hitler is my hero and love interest? I can discuss why Adolph Hitler hasn’t taught anyone anything of use, other than by his bad example. I have also shown evidence, in your own words, why your claim that you are not a Christian is to be doubted. Can you show evidence that I’m a dead dictator’s paramour?

        Here’s my question again, just like you asked: “I have asked you repeatedly: what reason is there for you to say its okay for it to only supposedly teach morals by a book and not okay to teach other useful things to humanity by a book? Where am I begging the question here?”
        Again, please do answer now that it doesn’t mention any god at all.

        You have made baseless claims of “cognitive dissonance”. You make false claims about people getting angry, though I am sure you really hope I am. And again, higharka, I have offered evidence by your own words that there is little reason to believe your claim that you are not a Christian. You have tried to claim you are an atheist aka “nonreligious” and by your actions have shown you are not that.

        Nice to see you can’t refute my statement that I can ask for evidence to determine fact. And nice attempt to move the goalposts, higharka, by your new claim that somehow I would have to ask someone for their papers. Let me ask you, how would *you* tell the difference between a person who is a citizen of Mexico and an American of hispanic descent? How would it differ from what I said?

        So, higharka, where have you defended Islam, Buddhism, Orthodox Judaism? I can do a little googling “higharka Judaism”; “higharka Islam” for example and watch you attack those religions. It’s great to see you supposedly “defending” Judaism while attacking “religious Judaism” and going after Islam in your “boom”. Quite a “defense” from people like me, isn’t it? It seems like you can’t quite decide what you like and don’t like. So, no I don’t think you are a Hasidic Jew, a Muslim or anything else you’ve mentioned.

        Again, we haven’t seen anyone call you an atheist and we have seen you attack atheism yourself. I don’t much care what other people call you, only what you have done yourself. You have yet to show the internal flaws of anyone’s logic here, higharka, and have offered your own failure at excusing the god of the bible and its inability to do anything useful. I’m still waiting to hear how you resolve your claims.

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      • You could argue that Blitzkrieg was something “genuinely new” which Hitler introduced to the world, which would certainly put him one up on Jesus 🙂 Before that moment no one had coordinated aerial, infantry, and armored assault forces into one cohesive unit directed onto one point in a battle line. All modern military’s are still using those tactics in one shape or another today. New, practical, and useful… although we can argue the morality of it all till the cows come home.

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      • you do have a point. 🙂 I could also argue that industrializing murder is useful (perhaps “effective” is a better word) too, if one is genocidal maniac, and that propaganda as Goebbels did it was rather new and effective.

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      • John, Blitzkrieg is just a pre-emptive charge. If that’s new, then everything Jesus did was new, too, just because he was re-expressing old ideas through a new medium.

        Here follows the Socratic dialogue you’re trying to avoid by repeating only the first premise.

        * * *

        John: Jesus said nothing new.

        Arka: All your arguments against theism are also repeats. Atheists have been making those same arguments for centuries. Does that mean you yourself have zero value?

        John: No.

        Arka: Then, repeating something, in and of itself, doesn’t necessarily prove someone to be valueless, does it?

        John: Well, no. I think I have value.

        Arka: I do, too. I also think that Martin Luther King, Jr. had value, even though he was repeating centuries-old arguments against slavery and imperialism.

        John: I guess he had value, too.

        Arka: Do you think that it’s okay for drunk drivers to run down people with reckless abandon?

        John: No, not at all. That’s not good behavior.

        Arka: What if Jesus came to Earth today, and noted that drunk driving was a problem–and spoke up about it? Would it prove, all by itself, that He wasn’t God, just because He’d spoken against a problem that other people had previously spoken against? Say that He saw a drunk driver run down a child, and was approached by a group of people asking Him about the morality of the act. Should He be silent, or should He say that the driver had done wrong, and that people shouldn’t drive drunk?

        John: I guess he shouldn’t be silent.

        Arka: That’s what I think, too. I think that anyone wise, when speaking about evil, will necessarily condemn something which has already been condemned before.

        John: Okay…

        Arka: Then would you consider using a different angle of attack against the Bible, and stop repeating only that it didn’t say “a single new thing”? We’ve just agreed that “a single new thing” doesn’t make something valueless.

        John: Okay. Well, for one, the Bible advocates genocide “down to the last child.” And shouldn’t God have been able to warn us about something new that we hadn’t thought of, yet? I’ll concede that it’s not valueless, but there should have been a single new thing.

        Arka: Great point. That’s a more enjoyable discussion then you repeating “a single new thing” over and over. Which particular passage– (snip)

        * * *

        See? That’s how you do it. No winners, no losers, no hard feelings, no bruised egos, no proselytizing: we’re just two human beings trying to discuss an issue, and you’re willing to develop your initial statement out of respect for the spirit of logos.

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      • Does that mean you’re willing to concede the point that novelty isn’t necessary for utility, and to make the follow-up argument that novelty is nonetheless necessary to prove divinity?

        Will you stop saying, “single new thing” as though it’s relevant? Or, if I address your question about whether or not you are a god, will you suddenly begin ignoring future questions and instead responding that you are delighted how I have not proved that Jesus said a single new thing?

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      • And around and around and around we go. As you are not advancing any thought which requires addressing in the context of this post/discussion let me be lazy and paste my earlier response to you:

        You’re just not getting it, are you? You are refusing to accept the reality of the matter. I don’t need to litigate any thought you present as it is meaningless to the context of this post/discussion concerning the time an alleged “god” spent alive… a character one would, naturally, expect to have said something genuinely new and uniquely useful.

        The more words you throw down, the more deflections you try to deploy, serve only to emphasise the very point of my post: that neither you, nor anyone, can name or demonstrate a single thing which actually justifies a single second of the time this self-proclaimed “god” spent alive.

        Keep going, Higharka, you’re just making my point stronger, and stronger…

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      • Hey buddy, you know how you said you couldn’t tell who was a homosexual or a heterosexual based on appearance or internet? Well, let me tell you, your powers of deduction in that area are about as stunningly accurate as they are when you tell people who aren’t Christians that they are, in fact, Christian.

        “[W]ife-beating child molester like you…” was not a personal attack. That is what is called an example. You asked a question with a statement built into it, saying essentially, “High Arka, being a Christian, do you think…” even though I’m not a Christian. That’s an unfair tactic, akin to asking someone, “Have you told your parents yet that you’re gay?” or “Have you stopped beating your wife, yet?” Ergo this one’s example.

        As a devout Christian yourself, surely you can understand such an example, right? 😉

        Club: “[P]lease do discuss the reason that this god of yours can just tell us about morality and not expect us to learn about it for ourselves, as your excuse for your god not teaching anything useful goes…”

        See, there you go again–telling me the biblical god is “my god.” I’ve told you it’s not my god. What makes so driven to accuse me of that? Would you like it if I, in seriousness, kept prefacing all my comments to you by asking you why “your god” was making you use the internet?

        I don’t have to be a pogo-stick manufacturer to correct someone who says, “Pogo-sticks can jump to the moon.” Whenever I say that you’ve done something wrong, you squeal at me, “You only think that because you’re on the payroll of trampoline manufacturers!” But no–I’m really not the boogeyman you’re so worried about. I’m just a person who sees that your arguments are internally inconsistent.

        Club: “You have defended the god of the bible and the bible, higharka. You have done this by trying to claim that this god needs for humans to learn everything *but* morality by trial and error.”

        Actually, the Bible instructs humans on other things that they’re supposed to do, as well. Not just morality. Jesus says that he comes to fulfill the law, so the issues of hygiene and diet arguably apply. Jesus and/or Yahweh also give a lot of other instructions for human behavior that go beyond morality.

        Club: “Oh and more personal attacks! How nice. Hmmm, well, higharka, how do you propose to prove your claim that Adolph Hitler is my hero and love interest?”

        In the exact same way that you propose to prove your claim that Jesus Christ is my hero and love interest. You and John have defended the Fuhrer of the Third Reich and his blitzkrieg, clubschadenfreude. You have done this by trying to claim that this man has used war machines in coordination *for the first time*. You have also mentioned autobahns. You have created an excuse for this Fuhrer and this is a defense.

        Now, the above paragraph is utter nonsense. You and John probably aren’t actually supporters of Adolf Hitler. But I hope that example will help you understand how ridiculous it is for you to keep calling me a Christian.

        (For anyone else observing, this is why ad hominem is an indicator of bad rhetoric. There’s a logical prohibition against it not because it hurts people’s feelings, but because it derails the argument into a discussion about the person rather than the idea. John asked the question hoping that he’d have the easy out of disregarding my viewpoints by reassuring himself I was “just another Christian,” but when I proved not to be a Christian, he was already so committed to that perspective that he had to keep believing it, even in the face of my disavowal of “JC” as my personal savior.)

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      • “Hey buddy”? What an odd way to start a post, higharka. Quite out of character for you. 😉

        Why yes, I do remember what I said about you comment “What other powers of induction do you possess over the internet? Can you tell the difference between a Hispanic American and a Mexican national? Can you identify a homosexual person or a transsexual person by the way they type, or by a picture of her or his face?”

        I said “And why yes, I can tell the difference between a person who is a citizen of Mexico and an American of Hispanic decent. Are you curious how? I can ask for evidence, I do not have to take unsubstantiated claims as evidence. And no, I do not identify a homosexual by how they type. I may be able to do so by an image of them and I most certainly can if I can see their actions in a situation where they have no need to dissemble. It is so nice to see you again take refuge in strawmen and lies since I have never made the claims you seem to be attacking.”

        So, I said I *may* be able to tell if someone was homosexual by an image and I most certainly could if I could see their actions in a situatin where they have no need to dissemble. Again, your claims are untrue “Hey buddy, you know how you said you couldn’t tell who was a homosexual or a heterosexual based on appearance or internet?”.

        And all the time I’ve put into writing things so you could actually read them and see what I actually said. Tsk. 🙂

        I do love how now you want to claim that calling me a wife-beater, etc wasn’t a personal attack. Well, higharka, you could have used any of number of instances to explain the concept of begging the question and you chose to call me names directly rather than stating a neutral instance. Sorry, you fail again. Again, I have already explained and showed the evidence that supports my conclusion that you are a Christian. Why would someone tell their parents they were gay if they weren’t? And if someone tried that as a way to trap someone, again, evidence goes along way against what someone baselessly claims. The old saw of “have you stopped beating your wife yet” is only to be greeted with pity if someone thinks this is clever.
        If you can show me some evidence that I’m a Christian please do. Otherwise, I get to see more baseless claims from you, higharka.

        As I have stated, I don’t care what you claim, higharka about what you believe. I look at what you have said. Now, since I have taken out the “your god” parts from the question, as *you* asked, you can now answer my request for you to explain how your excuse for the Christian god and the bible, that this god needs us to learn everything by trial and error, is somehow suspended when it comes to moral lessons.

        I wouldn’t much care if you asked why my god was making me use the internet. It’s not true and I don’t need reason to ignore the actual question. And please, do show me “squealing”. This should be fun 🙂

        You have yet to show that anyone’s argument are “internally inconsistent”, higharka. You have done your best to create strawmen, to ignore questions, etc. But on the off chance that you might do so, I’m still happy to wait for you.

        Sigh, you have defended the god of the bible and the bible. I’ve quoted you doing so and on your own blog.

        But this is wonderful! We have you again making claims like this “Actually, the Bible instructs humans on other things that they’re supposed to do, as well. Not just morality. Jesus says that he comes to fulfill the law, so the issues of hygiene and diet arguably apply. Jesus and/or Yahweh also give a lot of other instructions for human behavior that go beyond morality.” Oh my. So, higharka, please do argue that hygiene and diet apply to JC’s claim that he has come to fulfill the law. I soooo want to see this. To go back to the OP, John has argued that the bible offers nothing new and nothing useful. You now are saying that JC and this god “give a lot of other instructions for human behavior that go beyond morality”. Okay, show where they are, and do show how they are original and useful. I have pointed out that this bible says that bird blood will cure leprosy. Well, does it? It says not to mix fibers in clothing? What point is that? It says that women who are menstruating and oh my god men shouldn’t sit where one did, so how is this something useful? Where is anything like “hey, wash your hand before helping a woman give birth” “don’t put your latrines near your water source” etc?

        And again, higharka, you have argued that this god needs us to learn everything *but* morality from trial and error. Now, you claim otherwise, saying that the bible does show us how to do useful things other than morality. You have claimed that this god needs us to learn these other things by trial and error. You contradict yourself, so which is it?

        Bwahaaha. Oh my, I knew you would try to claim that somehow John and I admire and “defend” Hitler, and then would try to make the assertion and then try to claim you don’t really mean that. No, higharka, that’s called sarcasm and I have yet to see you be sarcastic your defense of the Christian god and the bible. Admittedly, it is can be hard to pick up in internet commentary but emoticons do help, as John and I used. And if you can show another instance of using war machines in coordination earlier than 1939, please do. I’d be happy to see that the blitzkrieg was nothing new.

        I know that using ad hominems are silly to use. That’s why I’m laughing at you when you do your best to use them. Oh and your last paragraph is a little silly because it appears to be me that you want to be complaining about, rather than John.

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      • John asked the question hoping that he’d have the easy out of disregarding my viewpoints by reassuring himself I was “just another Christian,”

        Errrm, no. I asked if you were a Christian simply because i wanted to know where you were coming from. Your thoughts are so over the shop it was an attempt to understand you, not dismiss you. You have a disturbing habit of inventing sinister scenarios in your head, Higharka, and has anyone ever told you that you have a rather large persecution complex? And anyway, you dodged the question so many times, and in so many ways that you made it an issue, not me, or Club… and to tell you the truth, I still don’t know if you are a Christian or not!

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      • Note the cyclical nature of dissonance-avoidance behaviors. The mind wants to believe it operates based on logic and rules, so an outward display is necessary; yet, the mind cannot allow itself to confront details which would modify the narrative even slightly. The introduction of the potential for modification threatens to collapse the presented self, ergo even the most abject errors will be enthusiastically supported, as in supply-side economics. The outward display is objectively, proudly ignorant, championing its own unwillingness to engage troubling issues and focus on “talking points” or other preferred tropes, which produce feelings of reassurance.

        Despite the abundantly apparent, openly stated nature of the avoidance (see no evil, hear no evil) it does not trouble the subject, because the display is not actually performed for the benefit of observers. Rather, the display has an intended audience of one: to reassure the subject’s own sense of self. Consistency and plausibility matters only inasmuch as the recycled phrases are powerful to the subject of the solipsism; it matters not, therefore, whether the subject would consider them objectively convincing when delivered by Another.

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      • You’re a tremendously odd person. Ordinarily I like odd. Generally I seek out the peculiar and happily embrace the uncommon, but your oddness has no charm. It’s bland, colourless, confusing, and rather gloomy in a wet, tiresome, and unappealing way.

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      • oh my, that’s quite a lovely post by higharka. Lots of big words. I guess we should be duly impressed, right?. Funny how higharka says things like “abundantly apparent” and is unable to give any examples, just vague claims. And “the subject of the solipsism”? I wonder, how does that work considering what solipsism is? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  19. I am totally with you on this excellent piece. And what a fabulous comments section.

    I watched Prof Brian Cox’s “Human Universe” on BBC TV (probably coming your way) in which he visited the world’s largest vacuum chamber. After sucking almost every last molecule of air from the room, a 5llb metal ball and a bunch of feathers were released from the 40 foot high ceiling and they all hit the floor at exactly the same moment. I can’t tell you the elation and satisfaction that gave me. To really witnesses the affirmation of such a fundamental principal of the universe is immense.

    A far cry from a religion that is based on the notion that a man was nailed to a chunk of wood for wandering around and saying we should be nice to one another.

    Jesus and the other prophets (although, as you pointed out so well, they prophesied almost nothing) were mouthing what had been said several generations before because, there are self evident truths that are essential to human existence and survival. Just like the laws of gravity that runs through the whole Universe, so too does altruism lace the fabric of our lives. Why only last weekend 3 adults lost their lives on a surfer’s beach in Cornwall attempting to rescue 4 teenagers swept out to sea by a sudden rip tide. I am sure the scriptures were the last thing on their minds as they plunged out into the waters for the sake of others. You can’t learn that stuff – it’s innate.

    It’s the ball and feather we all have in our genes.

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    • Couldn’t agree with you more, Bill. The principle messages vary very little, and that is to be celebrated, and perhaps, for a change, listened to and exercised. Innately, we crave the same things with only slight variations in the colour and flavours of those things. Believing one person was the great purveyor of said wisdom, when that wisdom is universal, is a mistake, but we can (and should) rejoice that it is, in fact, universal. That should be taught. We should embrace the fact that the altruistic line runs deep and long, and knows no geographic or cultural line.

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    • Ah yes, altruism has ever been the perfect ideology for the inbred island, founder of workhouses and rapist of Africa, establisher and bitch-in-waiting for the American Empire. Your noble folk are always willing to sacrifice themselves by paying poor boys to murder Scots, Irish, Native Americans, Indians, Chinese, Africans, and anyone else you can think of…all while cowering in fear that you might pass into one of the last few non-filmed streets on your hysterically paranoid shit-island, where no one will ever forget that you filth are invaders living in the graveyard of the Celts.

      Now, get back to the telly, and watch the progressive BBC! LME bankers are busy murdering Congolese children right now to build a copper mine that will litter the cradle of humanity with tailings that will poison groundwater for the next thousand years. Bask in the warm pride of your hideously deformed Nazi incest-princes, and laugh at all the simple folk elsewhere who believe in anything more than money and industrial gadgets!

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  20. I began tot read the comments and was smiling all the wa down and then …
    Oh fuck … there was Diana.
    Reading her comments; in fact reading any comment from one who sounds as if they have recently escaped from an Oregon psychiatric hospital is like listening to an entire CD played backwards; the same damn CD that everyone else has just listened too normally.

    They are off the frigging chart. Hypocritical to the last one and as ignorant as they come. But what’s worse – no scary they often come across as erudite and normal.

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      • Lightspring, bullies never change. Decades ago, in a room after school with various church-goers, being called a stupid atheist dyke who was going to hell, all for the crime of saying that it didn’t seem fair or right that “God’s plan” included sending infants to hell because they didn’t have a chance to learn to read or learn about “Him.” The bandwagon methods, the condescension, the appeal to state authority to medically imprison the deviant…

        It’s truly been interesting, being here for this latest cultural shift of power toward non-godhead religions. I remember thinking how great it would be when intelligent, reasonable atheists finally gained cultural power. Now I see that cruelty is able to adopt any guise that serves its purpose.

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  21. I have always said that I have never yet heard an atheist’s argument against the existence of God that was convincing, and even though much work went into this article, my statement remains true. These thoughts are not even a little worrisome for Christians, Sunday School teachers, or any genuine Christian. Why? Because the entire article is postulated from the standpoint of humanism: the “Me! Me!! Me!!!” infant cry of humanity as it focuses only on its self and what it deems worthy of God-speak! This article has all of the typical “Jesus was nothing new” rantings of someone who hates any idea of God. But once again, as sites like this always prove, atheists can’t seem to stop talking about God. Please don’t say it’s because you are trying to free people from some imagined spiritual tyranny, blah blah blah, because what you model as an alternative is nothing but the negative despair of people who have no hope, and no purpose greater than yourself or some imagined higher view of human existence. But I do thank you for the article. Reading about atheism and listening to the rants of atheists always, I mean ALWAYS, builds my faith and reminds me of how fortunate I am that God does indeed exist!

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    • Hi Scott

      Thanks for the comment.

      So, let me get this straight: you don’t find it at all troubling that the very best a man who claimed to be the Creator of the Universe could do was plagiarise sentiments first articulated long, long before him, and often said much, much better?

      That’s tremendously interesting.

      Do you not think letting people know that it was epilepsy, and not demons, for example, that was causing some very sick people to act like they were possessed… People who were often murdered (stoned to death) because their neighbours were frightened and believed they were, in fact, possessed by demons? Wouldn’t Jesus be, at the very least, morally obliged to relieve such unnecessary suffering? If he could, then wouldn’t you consider it a moral crime that he didn’t?

      What about Jesus not clearing up the ludicrous creation myth believed by people in 1st century Palestine (and many Americans still to this day), or the going belief that the earth was flat? Or how about Jesus not knowing Moses, for example wasn’t a real historical character? Don’t you think a god should have known basic regional history?

      You see, what we have here is a character who claimed to be the Creator of the Universe, yet was not only ignorant of absolutely everything, but also a plagiariser… a man incapable of delivering a single original line or thought.

      Naturally, one would expect a god to say at least one new thing, or clear up at least one past blunder, wouldn’t you say?

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    • Ah, more about the genuine Christians. So, we have a new definition, the only TrueChristians are those who aren’t worried about their claims being shown to be wrong and that their forebearers can be shown to be plagiarists by claiming that only their god said things like the golden rule. This would seem to mean that Scott thinks that Diana and High aren’t genuine Christians because they are worried and do their best to rebut the points made in the original post.

      the bible presents JC and God as being originals. Is it wrong in that claim?

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  22. Pingback: Christianity’s Nightmare Question | ccithink

    • I don’t know enough about Islam to comment, but I suspect it’d be no different. What I do know is that Muhammad was just as ignorant of basic regional history as Jesus was, naming Moses (Musa) 136 times, and Abraham 69 times, even describing him as Yhwh’s best friend. Of course, we now know with a great deal of certainty that neither Moses nor Abraham were real historical characters…. so it’s quite the awkward blunder.

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  23. Moving on to Club’s questions:

    “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is your personal savior, the only way to avoid a hell defined as a place of torment? Or do you deny this?”

    No, no believe. (Does that count as “deny”? Am I “denying” my belief?)

    “Do you believe that hell is a: a place of physical torment or a place of mental torment/separation?”

    No. (To both, I think, unless you meant them to be mutually exclusive? Wouldn’t they be both? Also, you should capitalize “Hell” when you’re using it as such an important proper noun.)

    “Do you believe that hell is a place of eternal torment or that souls will be eventually released?”

    No.

    “Do you believe in the doctrine of Original Sin?”

    No. (Although I guess that would depend on what you think that doctrine is.)

    “Do you believe that the events in Genesis are literal events happening exactly like described?”

    No.

    “Do you believe that people are already determined on where they will spend the afterlife before they are born?”

    No.

    “Do you believe that people should be baptized? If so, how and when should they be baptized?”

    Err, if they want to? Or if their parents do and it doesn’t hurt them somehow?

    “Do you believe that dead people can intercede for you to improve your chances of getting in to heaven?”

    Are they spirits at that point?

    “What do you believe guarantees your entry into heaven: God’s whim e.g. grace; belief in God; belief in Jesus Christ as savior; works?”

    Nothing? Well, why not “works”? We should be able to build heavenly stuff eventually, right?

    “Do you believe that prayer can affect this world?”

    Duh, yes. If someone’s praying, they’re not doing whatever else they would’ve been doing. That’s a literal effect. Also, it can help some people relieve stress.

    “What day of the week do you believe is the special day for your god?”

    Did I say I had a god? Oh, how about Friday, because then you can look forward to the weekend and stuff.

    “Do you believe that all of God’s laws should be followed? What do you cite as your evidence that you can accept/ignore the laws of this god that you do not follow?”

    By “all of…laws” do you mean every law written which is theoretically justified by something divine? No, no believe.

    “[T]he term Mexican means only that one is a citizen of Mexico, just like saying one is an American means…”

    I’ve spent time around plenty of people–many of them well-meaning Caucasians, many of them well-meaning Hispanics, and many of them non-well-meaning Caucasians–who use “Mexican” as slang for anyone who isn’t African, Asian, or Caucasian in deep heritage.

    Similarly, I’ve spent time around plenty of people who use “Christian” as a generalized slur to reinforce their group cohesion. The feeling of being targeted that way is the same, and in neither case was anyone’s racial or social identity relevant to an abstract rhetorical discussion on the nature of reality. I’ve also known gay men who use forms of “faggot” as a playfully derisive or sexual term, much the way that the term “queer” was reclaimed by various social movements.

    I know just what it feels like to be outnumbered by a bunch of people who get off on demanding to know what label I assign to myself. I addressed John’s two original issues–“new” and “marginally useful”–and instead of having that discussion, a bunch of people are telling me I’m mentally-damaged, and demanding to know what group they can associate me with.

    Aren’t you guys supposed to be the rational ones? So no, I’m not “Christian,” but you’re still afraid of continuing the relevant parts of the discussion. You’d rather just make fun of people like Diane by bashing your marginally-more-historically-accurate beliefs against her unproven convictions. Imagine that. Reminds me of when I saw how surprised this white frat boy was when he found out that a white male cop was going to arrest him for threatening the Mexican janitor. Go pick on someone your own size.

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    • If I may jump in quickly here. No one is picking on Diana (she’s a good, big hearted person who enjoys honing her skills here), and you attracted a certain ire from the get go with your first comment. You can’t throw a punch then cry when someone coaxes it back… That’s far too Republican for you, I suspect.

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    • Well, now I know that you do understand the need for evidence to support a claim.

      It’s rather bizarre that now you refer to yourself in the third person. Why would you do that? I would hazard that it is an attempt to distance yourself psychologically from what you have said but I know that psych diagnosis through the web is a fool’s errand.

      Ah, so you answered my question not in the thread that they were asked in. Fair enough, it’s hard to do so in wordpress comments.

      Here’s the short sweet version of the below wordfest. I understand that you say that you are not a Christian. I also know that you are not an atheist, so I have no idea what you might be. To know what you are helps in knowing where your comments come from and why you believe them. No one is saying that the golden rule is useless. What has been said is that the bible, a book claimed to have supernatural origins, is not the unique origin of said “golden rule” as it and its believers claim, it does not stick by the golden rule at all because it advocates genocide and killing anyone who does not agree with this religion, nor does it present anything helpful to mankind except for what it has cribbed from other sources.

      So we have that you deny that Jesus Christ is your personal savior. Tah-dah, this is all you would have said so long ago. You chose not to and you caused the problem. It is entirely dependent on your own honesty if this is a true statement. I must take it as such, though I do know that many Christians have flown false flags when asked this question. The question to now be asked is why you are so desperate to defend such ideas that Christianity is correct in its claims that its god/messiah are originals when they are not and that they have ever produced anything useful that can cause anyone to think that it is worthwhile when all it has done is repeat what has been said before and gave no new information at all to an ignorant time from what is supposedly a magical omnipotent, omniscient god.
      It does seem that you may believe in spirits. Do you? And it’s great fun to watch you attempt to twist my meaning in my questions. No, higharka, there is no reason we should be able to build “heavenly stuff eventually. Heavenly stuff, in this context is supernatural. Haven’t seen that to be possible yet, to ignore physical laws, etc. Same with prayer. You know what I mean and choose to ignore that question in favor of your own.

      No, you did to say you had a god that you worshipped. Do you? Great fun to see that you attempt to truncate my paragraph that shows your questions about Mexicans to be ridiculous so you can try to again assert that your claims are true. Funny that you didn’t feel you needed to do that with anything else. Bwahaahah, I do love the claim that “well-meaning Hispanics” somehow use “Mexican” as slang to refer to anyone one, evidently even themselves, as Hispanic. Hmm, now I haven’t heard one Puerto Rican saying that they were “Mexican”, nor a native of Guatemala say that they were “Mexican” and I can hazard that John hasn’t heard a Brazilian say that they were “Mexican.” I have certainly heard some ignorant people call anyone of Hispanic heritage call all hispanics Mexicans but that doesn’t change the definition of Mexican. I can call an apple an orange but it doesn’t change what the word orange means.

      And again, I do not believe for a moment your claim that somehow people use Christian to mean a “generalized slur”. Generalized to mean what, higharka? What does Christian supposedly mean in your claim? Does that change the meaning of Christian, e.g. someone who takes JC as their personal savior? And in your example, queer and faggot still mean homosexual in those instances, just like it did before. Your social identity is indeed relevant because it would explain why you are defending Christian claims and it does work in showing that John’s premise works because all of the claims of “truth” by Christians can be shown not to be true at all because I know that Christians vary in what they believe in detail. If it can be shown that this religion is not original but that it claims it is and thus its claims of “truth” are untrue.

      And now we get the claims of martyrdom. Higharka, *you* came here. You made claims that you cannot support and you don’t like when people can show that you are wrong. Why yes, there are more than one person who can show that you are wrong. Your claims that it shouldn’t matter that Christianity says nothing new are shown to be in error because the religion is based on the claim that no one else has ever said the things that it says, and that one can only avoid some “hell” if one believes that. The bible claims that this god is the only creator, that one of its believers was the wisest man on earth and again, those claims fail when it is pointed out that they did nothing new or beneficial for humanity.

      Nice to see you make more baseless claims that anyone but you isn’t rational. And your claim that anyone is afraid to continue the “relevant parts of the discussion”? False again since I am quite happy to do so. And where has anyone said you were “mentally damaged”? Hmmmm? And now you are calling anyone who can show you wrong a “bully”. Again, false for it is not bullying when you are asked to support your claims. There is nothing to show that your “size” is any less than mine, higharka. You came here sure that John was wrong, and when you couldn’t provide evidence for this, you now complain that no one accepted your claims without question, that this is somehow bullying.

      Again, it is always amusing as heck that you get concerned about the OP, when you had no problem in participating in off-topic posts until your nonsense was called out.

      I am more than happy to say I was wrong to call you a Christian up until you finally got around to answering the question if you were or not. Again, we have someone who is defending a Christian position, and cannot show that there is a problem with the position. You claim “logical flaws” and cannot show them, and I can show the logic flaws in the position that there is no problem in having an omnipotent, omniscient god that claims to be entirely original when that being can be shown not to be omnipotent, omniscient or original at all.
      1. The Bible/God claims to be unique
      2. The Bible/God claims that everything in the bible is true
      3. The bible/God can be shown not to be unique or true
      4. The first two claims are therefore wrong.
      Now, if you want, you can show how this sequence is wrong.

      You are making excuses for your position, which no one knew was not based on a god, until you finally said it wasn’t. Your claims are exactly the same as a Christians about their god. Now, please do explain how someone can know something that you refused to divulge?

      Now, we do get to see that you, higharka, think you can define who is a real Christian and who isn’t. That is a very curious position for someone who claims to not be a Christian. And your limited anecdotal experience underlines why I asked what kind of a Christian you are, if you were any kind at all. There is no way to determine a real Christian other than in a very broad way, that they accept JC as personal savior. This again points out that the claim that the religion, the bible and the god is original or is new and useful is false. It does not mean that the ideas are not good ideas; it means that the claims of Christians are wrong and cause actions based on lies.

      Christians do believe that the bible is the original story of a flood; they may differ on whether this flood is literal or metaphor. They must to keep their religion intact, that this god is the creator and is the one that is offended by “sin”. If they do not, then they doubt their JC is what they claim he is because JC supposedly believes that the noah story is original to the bible too. Matthew, Luke, Hebrews, all make the claim that the noah story is unique to the bible.

      The original post was that the bible either repeats ideas from earlier and that it contributes nothing new and useful. So, again, we have nothing useful from the bible that cannot be gotten solely from it. This is the problem: nothing new or useful comes from only the bible, and this makes its claims of being unique and original to be false. This is a book claimed to be from a magical source that makes no errors. It claims to be from a omnipotent god, so it could certainly give *both* some regurgitated moral ideas *and* improvements to technology. Being all-powerful, it surely could have said “hey, wash your hands.”, right?

      Yes, I do think that something that is not original in its good parts *and* vicious and genocidal in its other parts should be wholly disregarded. Again, why keep a book that is flawed and not original?

      Western medicine has indeed taught that bleeding, leeches, c-sections and chemo are beneficial. They have been shown to be beneficial. Polycythemia patients benefit from bleeding. Leeches take care of bruising. C-sections save lives, as does chemo. It seems you are saying such things are “evil”? Are you? (from reading the curious posts on your blog, heck, maybe you do) That would be very curious. Western medicine also does tell us how to set bones, something that I have benefited from personally. So, we have a bunch of original ideas, that are useful. I am not seeing your point, so you may wish to explain further.

      It is also interesting that you want to claim that somehow the Christian god couldn’t correct “less literate prophets”. Not much of a god, is it? And again, the Judeo/Christian religion says explicitly that there are no other prophets and it does say that there are other gods, because this god is jealous of them. So, the hypothesis that this god gave its message other places either masquerading as another god or had other prophets isn’t Christian per the bible. It is a nice idea to try to claim that Christians have the total lock on “good” but that again hasn’t been shown true. It’s the usual attempt to claim any decent person for the “team”.

      I, and others, have challenged your claims, higharka. It’s curious that you refuse to acknowledge that. The bible has indeed repeated the golden rule, it is useful, and again, it shows that the bible says nothing new or useful in it beyond repeating what humans already knew.

      If you meant materially justified, it seems that using “molecularly” was wrong. No one has said the golden rule isn’t useful. What has been said that it is not original to the bible which claims to be original. And what is a “positive molecular arrangement”? what determines the positiveness, which I am going to guess you mean “beneficial”?

      It seems that you want to argue that the golden rule is useful and I am not disputing that. What I am disputing is that the bible is nothing special at all. It fails at communicating a humane and beneficial message, it has nothing original, and nothing new and useful. This would be nothing important if it wasn’t claimed to be a magic book from a unique omnipotent, omniscient god. But it is.
      I agree, there are a lot of interesting questions but none of them are supported by any evidence that there is any magical being. #1 is basically the Gnostic view, an evil god that is in control. There is no evidence that that any gods exist, much less this one. #2 is a common attempt to blame humans for the ineptness of a supposedly omnipotent god to get its magical message across. #3 is an attempt to claim that genocide is justifiable. Hilarious to your imagination at work making up all sorts of possibilities with no evidence at all. #4 Again, an attempt to claim that there is some magical “truth”, with no evidence.

      We do have evidence that there is nothing indicating magical beings that control anything in this world. We have no evidence that there is some magical overriding “morality”. We have no evidence that the essential events in each religion have happened. Could there be a god? Well, that depends. If you want to call a bug under a rock on Zeta Reticuli IV “god” then sure, but it is not the god that the bible references or the gods that theists reference in all human religions. To refer back to the OP, there is no reason to think that the bible is anything special as its proponents claim and we can demonstrate that it presents nothing new or useful to humans and that it presents plenty of hatred and harm.

      I am pleased to see that you have made some serious accusations against myself and have yet to be able to support them. I also see that you avoid the problem you’ve created for yourself in claiming that this is some technological hell with your contant use of said technology. It seems to be a case of “do as I say and not as I do since I’m extraspecial.”

      I also love this post of yours “It’s truly been interesting, being here for this latest cultural shift of power toward non-godhead religions. I remember thinking how great it would be when intelligent, reasonable atheists finally gained cultural power. Now I see that cruelty is able to adopt any guise that serves its purpose.”
      Again, we see that there is little to your claims but the usual insults and nonsense about atheists that theists use. Oh well, from reading your blog I see you are quite hilariously superior to everyone in your opinion. I’ve never seen anyone fulfill the xkcd #774 any better and for less reason.

      Liked by 1 person

      • CLUBSCHADENFREUDE: “It’s rather bizarre that now you refer to yourself in the third person. Why would you do that?”

        Not only “now,” but “sometimes.” It’s a way of expressing more accurately, in English, the meaning of “I” and “me” that I’ve been accustomed to elsewhere.

        CLUBSCHADENFREUDE: “Ah, so you answered my question not in the thread that they were asked in. Fair enough, it’s hard to do so in wordpress comments.”

        This platform is terrible. It’s kind of like how Mac is supposed to be better than Windows, but they deliberately develop low-quality mouse drivers, so that “Mac gaming” becomes an oxymoron.

        CLUBSCHADENFREUDE: “[The Bible] does not stick by the golden rule at all because it advocates genocide and killing anyone who does not agree with this religion, nor does it present anything helpful to mankind except for what it has cribbed from other sources.”

        By pointing out that one (or more) of John’s criticisms of the Bible was invalid/incorrect, this one did not, by so doing, become a full defender of the Bible. Example: it’s Earth 1710, rural France, and I’m in a tavern. I notice one man being attacked unjustly by another, and I come to the victim’s defense. After the scuffle, it is discovered that the victim had once been a soldier.

        By defending him, have I also defended Louis XIV? By objecting to the attacker’s aggression, was I making a statement of belief in the divine right of kings? No–I was responding only to the injustice that I saw.

        That’s what it means when I say that John is using “strawman” against me. When this one identifies a flaw in his logic, John responds by associating this one with some kind of “full biblical support.” Not only is it incorrect, but it serves as an effective distraction from the flaws in his sweeping statements.

        CLUBSCHADENFREUDE: “So we have that you deny that Jesus Christ is your personal savior. Tah-dah, this is all you would have said so long ago. You chose not to and you caused the problem.”

        You’re not seeing the potential nuances here. There are billions of people on this planet, remember? Possibilities:

        1) High Arka is a Gnostic Christian, but she is painfully aware that her faith has been discredited by over a thousand years of powerful Christians, and that she is not considered socially eligible to refer to herself as a “Christian.” She also knows that, even if she did so, people would automatically assume a lot of incorrect things about her.

        2) Same example, but “Arian” instead of “Gnostic.”

        3) Same example, but some other admixture of belief in what historical texts properly constitute the “real” Bible.

        4) High Arka is a strict biblical literalist even by today’s terms, but one who takes literally the Book of Matthew’s admonition to pray in private, and so, she believes it is her duty to be humble before Christ and not pronounce her faith in a public forum.

        This could go on and on, right? There are people out there who, if you advocate support for public healthcare, will respond to you as though you have said that you intend to carry out Mao-Zedong-style executions and labor camps. Therefore, even though they are “socialist,” they are reasonably hesitant to use the term to identify themselves.

        CLUBSCHADENFREUDE: “The question to now be asked is why you are so desperate to defend such ideas that Christianity is correct in its claims that its god/messiah are originals when they [suck–Eds.]…”

        That’s an example of being associated with things which this one did not defend. Repeat: pointing out flaws in John’s arguments does not automatically make High Arka a defender of some version of Christian orthodoxy. I could actually be an atheist, a more committed atheist than John, and simply be offended by how shamefully he is going about the process of attacking Christianity.

        CLUBSCHADENFREUDE: “It does seem that you may believe in spirits. Do you?”

        Come on, that’s even broader than “God” questions. Do third-stage conscious beings generate sufficiently advanced electromagnetic fields to attune to portions of the eltarin field? Duh. Does that mean that swamp gases are fourth-stage conscious beings? No.

        Do I “know what you mean” when you ask questions like that? Yes; you’re trying to say, “Do you believe in anything other than atomized five-sense reality?” So why don’t you just say that, instead of using discredited concepts as stand-ins? Just ask me, “Do you believe in anything that you can’t see, touch, smell, taste, feel, or hear?” Your question is just as evasive as my answers, which is why my answers appear evasive when I literally answer a question designed to conceal its true intentions.

        So yes, in the sense that you were really asking, I do indeed know that something exists outside this particular diorama. I am a wishful boogeyman, boo! It may be possible that your current shell cannot perceive the entire spectrum of light and reality. But there’s no reason to be afraid about leaving the box.

        CLUBSCHADENFREUDE: “I do love the claim that “well-meaning Hispanics” somehow use “Mexican” as slang to refer to anyone one, evidently even themselves, as Hispanic.”

        In plenty of places, they don’t, but in plenty of others, they do. It’s probably a side-effect of a century of white dummies making that mistake, but it’s been adopted, even though it’s gradually fading.

        CLUBSCHADENFREUDE:
        “1. The Bible/God claims to be unique
        2. The Bible/God claims that everything in the bible is true
        3. The bible/God can be shown not to be unique or true
        4. The first two claims are therefore wrong.”

        There are Christians who think that the Bible is composed of a message from a perfect God, which was then perverted by self-interested human mediators. They think it’s still possible to draw some meaning out of that imperfect picture, sort of like reading a magazine where Donald Trump has already clipped out the articles that were critical of him, then inserted several others which slyly encouraged people to invest in his shell companies (but which magazine still contains some other worthwhile material).

        CLUBSCHADENFREUDE: “Now, we do get to see that you, higharka, think you can define who is a real Christian and who isn’t.”

        Hey, I didn’t say that. I used “self-identified” Christian on purpose. And it’s usually fine to call someone a Christian if they are a self-identified Christian. (Who did I say wasn’t a real Christian?)

        CLUBSCHADENFREUDE: “There is no way to determine a real Christian other than in a very broad way, that they accept JC as personal savior.”

        Here’s where John’s historical knowledge would come in handy. There are and have been lots of other ways to define it.

        CLUBSCHADENFREUDE: “Being all-powerful, it surely could have said “hey, wash your hands.”, right?”

        Yes, to which I respond:

        (1) Lots of technology is bad for us. We wash our hands too much, losing our natural balance with the germs in our environment, and making ourselves sick. Dogs don’t have to wash their paws–they can eat other dogs’ shit without getting sick. Modern hygiene was weakened our immune systems so much that we’re creating super infections too powerful for our most powerful drugs to control. Maybe we shouldn’t have been washing our hands.

        American Indian tribes didn’t have the same obsession with cleanliness as Europeans, and Europeans were the ones who fostered, then suffered, all those grand poxes and plagues.

        (Also, nuclear bombs.)

        (2) Learning things by doing them is far more effective than learning things by being told. Jesus could have told his disciples, “Do not develop triclosan.” And maybe that would’ve saved us from some staph deaths in the 21st century. However, the short-term benefit of having been handed a parcel of specific information–fewer deaths from antibiotic-resistant staph infections–would not outweigh the long-term benefit of a humanity that had learned, on its own, the underlying principle, and the consequences of violating it.

        To appreciate Eden, one has to leave it, much as a spoiled child has to be left penniless at 18 to understand just how nice mommy and daddy’s attentions were. You can lecture until your head explodes about the value of money, hard work, and nice things, but many people can never really understand that until they’ve faced the actual prospect of being without hunger, shelter, or toys.

        Spoiled brats just keep demanding more stuff, always more stuff, never appreciating what they already have, or being interested in their own inner development. Waaah! Waaah! Why didn’t God buy me Mortal Kombat VI? Why didn’t God build me a flying car? Why do I have to die in a human body in order to understand the difference between Word and Void? Waaah!

        Like

      • oh my. this should be fun. Love to see that you have nothing more than personal insults left, higharka. Always a good sign.

        Great to see that your mask has completely slipped in that last paragraph. I’ll deal with the details of this tomorrow.

        Like

      • Great to know that you find that the terms “I” and “me” don’t work. Funny how it isn’t more accurate at all then saying “this one”. Let’s see “I petted the cat.” Versus “This one petted the cat.” It rather reminds me of someone writing bad science fiction and using this pretention to make an alien sound more “alien”. And accustomed to elsewhere? Where might that be, higharka? Cloud Cuckoo Land?

        You attempted to point out that John’s criticisms of the bible, higharka. You failed amusingly and you did become a defender of this bible. I do love your arcane attempts at examples. The problem again is that the bible claims to be a magic book, written/inspired by some omnipotent, omniscient being. In that it can be shown to be a pack of lies and mistakes, *and* that it has nothing original and nothing useful other than its plagiarizations presented as originals, this makes the bible worthless except as a cultural artifact demonstrating how ridiculous religion is and how religion is no basis for morality.

        There is quite a difference in defending a man and defending a book that makes claims about itself as perfect and inviolate. A book doesn’t need defending.

        Again, I have seen no flaw presented by you in John’s logic. You ignore the fact that the bible is presented as a magical book. Again, if this was just another human product, then sure, one can accept it is nothing special, and that parts can be accepted, parts can be copied and parts can be ignored. The bible is not presented as such a book.

        Yep, there are billions on this planet and many of them believe many different things. And things aren’t as nuanced as you might wish someone to accept. You might be a Gnostic but again still haven’t one scrap of evident that any of your claims are true, just like every other theist. You might be Arian Christian and again haven’t one scrap of evidence your claims are true. You might be a Jewish or Christian bible literalist just like so many others claim to be. Again, we see someone who has made up her own religion to fit her desires and hatreds and has not one piece of evidence to support her claim that she is any more right than anyone else or that they are any more wrong. Yep, just like every other Christian, Muslim, Wicca, Jew, Sikh, Jain, etc. Every theist has her own magic decoder ring that she has decided makes her right and everyone else wrong. We get nonsense that this bible is somehow a magic manual on how to live and claims that it is some “truth” but again, nothing supports this at all and you and Diana, and everyone else picks and chooses what they want to imagine some magical powerful best friend approves of.

        Yep, there are people who think public health care is big “C” communism. And they are wrong. I suppose if you were afraid of them doing something harmful, you might try to lie about what you are, but here where is the threat? Again, socialism is not communism or Communism. Again, higharka, it seems that you need a dictionary and that you intentionally misrepresent words in order to try to lie to people. I don’t like liars because they try to remove a person’s ability to make a well-informed decision. Oh and the bible disagrees on whether to announce your faith or not. So, it entirely depends on what parts you cherry pick to get your answer. This one more problem with this bible nonsense. One would indeed think that a magical omnipotent being could avoid such problems, right?

        There is no evidence you are an atheist at all, much less one that is a “more committed atheist than John”. Are you going to disbelieve in gods harder than me? How? There is plenty of evidence to counter that claim, e.g. when you lie about atheists and what they are. Which could mean you were lying when you told those lies. So which is it? It seems that in any case, you depend on deception for no reason except being a crank. And it’s so nice to see you try to edit my words by putting in that something “sucks”. Congratulations, you’ve dug your hole even deeper.

        Ah, again, we see you avoid answering a question put to you. So, again, do you believe in spirits, higharka? Do you have any evidence of these “third stage conscious beings”? This “eltarin field”? Such lovely techonobabble that you indulge in. I guess you must have been disappointed when nothing happened in your version of the end times in 2012. and all of that…. 🙂 I do love people who claim that they are sure such things exist but when put to the test, they do anything to avoid being pinned down in their claims. I’ve done this dance before, watching people like you do anything so you don’t have to admit that you are wrong. Nice bits of nonsense dressed in the words “Incan” and “Mayan” to make them sound so mysterious…

        Higharka, as soon as you can show me any evidence for your nonsense about magical fields, or spirits or gods, then we can talk about things other than this reality. Since you can’t, it’s just watching a child insist her imaginary friend is real. It’s rather amusing but no one believes the child. My question is not as evasive as your answers, and that’s just such a cute attempt at trying to claim that everyone is just like you in your lack of evidence. Sorry, higharka, I have evidence that there is nothing supernatural. For all of the claims in the world, none have been supported with evidence. We have all sorts of people desperate to feel special by pretending that they know some secret about the universe. They make up claim after claim and they fail time after time in showing their claims to be true. Humans love to believe that they know something that no one else does but it certainly doesn’t make what they believe true.

        So, you claim to “know” that “something” exist outside of this reality. Okay, evidence please. You made the claim, you support it. Or can’t you provide it, just like poor ol’ JC couldn’t get it up when in his hometown. Funny how charlatans always can’t fool people, especially those who dare to ask inconvenient questions. Again, more claims on how everyone but you is wrong and that only you are right. And still nothing to support that claim. Boo!

        Yep, there are Christians think that the bible is a message from a perfect god. There are those who also try to excuse the problems in this bunch of myths by claiming that this god’s message was corrupted by humans. Now, how does this work with an omnipotent god? Are puny humans so powerful that poor ol’ God can’t do anything about it? Or does this god not want its message to get out, and thus wants confusion, horror and bloodshed over it? Or is it that this god simply doesn’t exist and this bible is just human stories made up, just like stories about “eltarin fields” and magical nonsense that only “special” people can see?

        You wish to know where you decided that you know who the true Christians are? Okay. Note the lovely quotes you put in: “In my own very limited anecdotal experience, I’ve encountered “Christians” who say that earlier historical manifestations of ideas later expressed in the Bible were somehow caused by God; Christians who think that “Christs” have made multiple appearances throughout history; Christians who think the Bible is deliberate metaphor; Christians who think that demons have propagated false, Christ-like ideas throughout history in order to confuse humans–and Christians who are ignorant of other cultures, and who think that the Bible is completely original.”

        Now, to put quotes around Christians is to indicate that you do not think that they are truly Christians. For example, if I said “some “vegetarians” think it is okay to eat chicken” this would indicate that I find the claim of vegetarian suspect.

        Please do show me where the term Christian has not been about accepting Jesus Christ as their personal savior, most notably described in John 3.

        Oh my, ROFL. What hilariousness. I do love how you now want to claim that anyone saying wash your hands would be immediately responsible for people washing their hands too much, so golly poor ol’ God can’t have mentioned it. Nice to see a omnipotent omniscient god that can’t comprehend the idea of the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. It’s true, it seems that a dog can eat the shit of another healthy dog and not get sick. If they other dog isn’t healthy, then it will get sick. Humans can do the same thing, I’d warrant, being fine if the shit was without parasites or inimical bacteria, but quite overcome with dysentery, etc otherwise. That’s why we have lovely things like wastewater treatment plants. I love watching you dig your hole deeper.

        But you go on not washing your hands, higharka. Just makes sure to let everyone else know. Wow, the “noble savage” nonsense is strong with you, isn’t it? The delusion that somehow native peoples were disease free, and archtypes of some magical “original morality” when that wasn’t the case at all.
        And, higharka, you benefit all of the time from nuke technology. It powers your computer, you know, that hellish technological device that you so like, as with all of the technological comforts that you accept with no problem but want to whine about? Again, if it’s so much better with no technology, why aren’t you living in a cave somewhere away from all of this tech? But that would be ever so inconvenient, you being unable to tell us how superior you are.

        Ah, and another excuse for this god. It’s nothing more the usual free will nonsense, when you want to claim that humans should learn things and not be told. Hmmm, so by that argument, this god should not have told us about the golden rule either, because “Learning things by doing them is far more effective than learning things by being told.” Right?

        And one more classic Christian argument. That one has to experience evil to understand or “appreciate” good aka Eden. Which would mean that this god had no idea what good was until Satan said “screw you.”, and that heaven would be meaningless. Or do you wish to engage in a lovely bit of special pleading for this god? Again, we see your claim that it’s perfectly okay to just tell us about the golden rule on one hand and then not good to tell us about things that will save lives on the other is the usual contradictory nonsense from someone who hasn’t thought things through very well. It happens often with theists, they want to excuse their gods but they don’t realize where those excuses can lead.

        Finally, we have one of the best, if not the best, excuse a Christian offers because it entirely depends on believing in what the bible says but needing to excuse that god. It’s the claim that this god aka the “Word” shouldn’t be asked for things, even though the bible says it should be. The Christian offers the claim that their god can’t be asked for anything or that when asked, the answers will be “no, wait, or being given what the god wants you to have, not what you asked for”. Of course, the bible contradicts all of these excuses, saying that anything will be given if one asks in this god’s name, that it will be given quickly since mountain moved when asked and didn’t just erode into the nearest depression, and it will be what was asked for because a father doesn’t give his son a snake when asked for a fish.

        Thanks for consistently using the arguments and terms that a worshipper of the Abrahamic god would use, higharka. You’ve created quite a religion for yourself.

        Liked by 1 person

      • CLUBSCHADENFREUDE: Great to know that you find that the terms “I” and “me” don’t work.

        They “work,” but there’s a certain dissociative arrogance in the way they’re used here. The faith that Earth 2014 scientism has in its five sensory perceptions is wedded to these solipsistic feedback loops that cause so many of you to believe that only things you’ve heard about from sources you’ve heard are respectable can exist, and their existence is only important inasmuch as they verifiably affect the parts of your reality that you care about. When many of you say, “I,” you’re not doing it in the healthy way, where it means, “This particular point of existence,” but rather, the “Master Observer” way, where the term becomes a connotation of your ultimate importance as the only verifiable arbiter of your surroundings.

        Those who exalt their five bodily senses commit themselves to the solitary hole of solipsism, where you’re never really sure if other people exist, except as facets of your first-person video game life. It might still be a lot of fun, but when you’re lying in hospice, it becomes far less comfortable.

        At some point, you’ll walk away from this discussion pitying this one her foolishness, but try to preserve a kernel of memory of this exchange, so that you can reflect on it later, when you contemplate the nature of endings. No hard feelings.

        Like

      • Ah, most excellent, higharka. Another post from you and you still refuse to answer my question/request. Please tell us why we should accept your excuse for your god not being able to offer anything useful or original when we have seen you try to claim that your god wants us to learn for ourselves such useful things but for some reason doesn’t need us to learn the plagiarized moral teachings it supposedly gives in its bible, a supposedly original work and a sole creator.

        It’s hilarious to watch you preen in feeling so special that you can refer to yourself in what amounts to the third person. Such a queen you are! And I do love how you accuse everyone but yourself of “dissociative arrogance”, another lovely vague term that you throw around so you can feel superior.

        Oooh and my goodness “solipsistic feedback loops”, another meaningless term which demonstrates that you haven’t a clue what solipsism is. More lies about others and more strawmen created so you can feel superior.

        No, higharka, I do not believe that the only things I heard about are true. What I do have reason to trust is that what you have claimed with no evidence is not worthy of acceptance. I know that what you baselessly claim is not respectable, because again, it has nothing to support it, nothing but a rather silly person who thinks that they can trademark everything and then extort everyone for money for something that they never did. That has to be one of the funniest things I’ve seen anyone do.

        Shucks, I guess every time you use the word “I” it’s only in the “healthy” way, whatever that is or it’s just when you screw up, . Love to see that too, higharka, more of the usual theist claims that they and they alone only do things “right”. It’s so cute to watch you declare everyone else wrong. And more lies by you higharka, more strawmen created by you since you can’t actually address what real people say and do. Nope, dear Terry,

        I am not the only arbiter of my surroundings. I do have reason to trust others since they aren’t liars like you.
        It’s so fun to watch you insist that you are so special and have magical superpowers. Ooooh, what other senses do you have, higharka and how do you propose to show me that you really do have these? Or are you unable to get them to work if someone disbelieves in you like other theists always have problems with? It’s rather like a quote from Lazarus Long: “This sad little lizard told me that he was a brontosaurus on his mother’s side. I did not laugh; people who boast of ancestry often have little
        else to sustain them. Humoring them costs nothing and adds happiness in a world in which happiness is always in short supply.” I’m not of the type that suffers people like that.

        I am quite sure that other people exist, even you. I could wish you were a figment of my imagination but I have better taste than to take responsibility for someone like you. And golly, we even get a threat from higharka where I should be making a deathbed conversion that higharka is the arbiter of reality. No one is going to swim to a liar with delusions of grandeur.

        I already pity you, higharka. Your claims are all lies. You are indeed that sad lizard. You are nothing special so why keep a memory of your lies and nonsense? I will, being burdened by a very good memory, but keeping it willingly? Not so much. One liar is just one more in a long line of theists who want to believe that they have a special secret that no one else has. Heck, there’s already one to replace you in your nuttiness out on Mak’s blog. Just as silly and with just as much baseless nonsense as yours.

        Like

  24. Remarkable post dear John… I think this pne is full of good logical, historical and sociological reasons to prove that Jesus wasn’t God …
    Was he just a poor shepherd… Maybe he was just an ignorant.
    But even if he were … How couldn’t he mentioned some overwhelming circumstances surrounding him?… You have given a good numbers of examples in this sense…
    As to the ” religious ideology” supposedly considered a “revolutionary idea” (which would paradoxically become a “dogma”) I thank you for highlighting the fact that Lao Tzu was the pathfinder who originally formulated the idea of turning the other chee
    Finally I wanted to put on the spotlight your musings regarding the fact that Jesus had never to say a word or two about the nature of reality and its atomic composition, as the Greek atomists (Leucippus and Democritus) did.
    In this last sense… As Jesus was omnipotent and performed miracles at least he might have been able to divide a grain of sand!. (Yes, sure)
    I much enjoyed your thorough post!. Thank you, John ⭐
    All the best to you, Aquileana 😀

    Like

    • But I’ve already told you, dear friend, the size of the matter doesn’t matter 🙂

      Think I mentioned it somewhere above, but this article could easily be over 30,000 words and we still wouldn’t have reached near the end of identifying the various thoughts original owners… Or, at least, the first recorded utterances of them. 10,000 words could be penned effortlessly on the Beatitudes alone and their grounding in eastern mysticism. No doubt something as simple as the Golden Rule was first contemplated the moment the human brain became complex enough to project its thoughts off into the near future, make predictions, and assess (from the safety of the present moment) the consequences of actions. We’ll never know its originator, but it sure wasn’t a 1st Century Palestinian rabbi.

      It is, however, always quite enlightening to hear the theists’ excuses for why Jesus never said anything new or marginally useful. Many, if not most, have never even entertained the thought before, and after getting over the initial shock tend to arrive at something like “he was here, and that is what counts.” Well, if that was all that mattered then he really should have just committed his Suicide by Centurion five minutes after being born, rather than waste 30-odd years rehashing old wisdoms and not advancing the human condition a single bit. Imagine how cool it would have been to produce the first world map… That alone would have made a believer out me.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. There are drones b0o0nmbing people and THIS is what a fear mongerer like you are talking about? What about the name calling in central Asia?? Huh? what about the idiots who do stupid stuff???? Yeah. You are a fear mongering no one who asks questions I dislike!!!! You know only the side of things and argue from the paint!!!! Thanks, however, for letting me tell you what I think. The universe is better for it because you hate Hispanic people who question what is real. You foolish man.

    Like

    • And further more, just because YOU do not understand the nature of anger that others do does NOT make YOU right!!!! There are robots hurting people yet YOU ask for answers. Really? Really? THAT is your issue? ANSWERS!!!!!!! You hate people!!!! You deny rights to those who ramble, AND, you are a monger of technological discourse. I have RIGHTS you pompous ape! I see you! I hate mechanized warfare, and thus, you are an idiot! See?

      Like

    • The principle you’re using is a valid one: e.g., “It is unproductive and unfair to dissemble an argument by citing irrelevant material.”

      You’re misapplying it, though. The subject matter we’re dealing with (1) is directly connected to the subject matter John brought up in his initial post, and (2) addressing issues that John himself raised throughout the course of the discussion.

      As to (1), “drone bombing,” or any other type of heinous action, is part and parcel of the debate over the usefulness of being given technology by a deity.

      As to (2), John was the one to raise the issue of technological advancements, asking why technological advancements were not handed out during the first decades of the Christian Era, instead of moral statements.

      So what you’ve done is inappropriately apply an otherwise valid principle. You tried to make your argument seem more exciting by using ridiculous strawmen to stand in for my arguments (such as by comparing mass murder to “name calling”), but your humor is, like Jerry Seinfeld’s, irrelevant. Everything that you’re contrasting for humorous purposes has a real-world explanation. Why are airline peanuts small? Because it’s a cheap snack meant to make you feel homey and warm about a cost-conscious corporation.

      Humor certainly has a place, but it shouldn’t distract from the issues at hand here. I hope you’re not deliberately employing mockery to conceal a lack of interest in us furthering our mutual understanding of a discussion on the nature of our existence.

      Like

      • Good news, John–that’s a very simple one to understand. “Equality under the law” means the equal, or fair, application of laws. For example, white murderers being sentenced to death at the same rates as black murderers, or female perpetrators of assault being jailed at the same rates as male perpetrators.

        “Equality of outcome” means measurable results, such as prison time, salaries, or the obtainment of advanced degrees. Many modern technocrats use “equality of outcome” to selectively enforce discriminatory policies.

        Here’s an example, female porn actresses make substantially more than male porn actors. Suppose that male porn actors organized a nonprofit foundation, lobbied Congress, and obtained legislation requiring that all porn actors be paid the same rate per onscreen minute–regardless of how attractive they were, or how much their appearance was in demand to end-users. That would be “equality of outcome.”

        Female porn actors might offer a counterargument: they might say that, in a free market, the viewing of their bodies and sexual acts was more valuable to the end-users than the viewing of the male actors’ bodies and sexual acts. Therefore, they would argue, there already was “equality under the law,” while it was abjectly ridiculous to enforce “equality of outcome,” by imposing standards that disregarded the value of different people’s input into the artistic process.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Higharka

        Good news, John–that’s a very simple one to understand. “Equality under the law” means the equal, or fair, application of laws. For example, white murderers being sentenced to death at the same rates as black murderers, or female perpetrators of assault being jailed at the same rates as male perpetrators.

        So in other words, an ideal state, because the mentioned above has yet to happen anywhere in this particular solar system.

        Like

  26. I concluded long ago, and have always maintained, that any “omnipotent” god (or man/god – whatever) who would create such a disastrously dysfunctional life-form as homo sap and then do nothing to correct such a horrendous error but, rather, sit back and watch as his creation runs amok, destroying itself and much of Life on Earth, can be nothing less than a malevolent psychopath of the highest magnitude.

    It seems quite axiomatic to me.

    Just my opinion

    Like

  27. Hi John!… I read again your post and it reminded me to Schopenhauer’s problem of Freedom and Free Will (regarding human beings, of course)…
    I would say that God is related to Schopenhauer’s Will…

    For Schopenhauer the world is driven by an all-pervading and inescapable will. The Will is the thing-in-itself. Schopenhauer’s Will is not the individual psychological will, but a universal metaphysical principle, spaceless and timeless and uncaused,
    The world itself is a representation of this will, therefore the will is the reality behind the world of appearances.
    All actions taken are ultimately derived from this omnipresent drive of survival that he believes can be found everywhere around us. We may perceive and control our individual, conscious actions, but they are always being pushed, unconsciously by this will.

    And as the german philosopher would say:
    →We can do as we will, but we cannot will as we will

    Just an intertwined reading over here!…
    I hope you have a great weekend ahead. All the best to you. Aquileana D

    Like

    • I would say that God is related to Schopenhauer’s Will

      This is far more rationally pleasing than any fragile concept of a personal god, and it seems to hint at Spinoza’s god; a natural, unconscious energy, as opposed to a mindful (hopelessly flawed) craftsman. Anthropomorphism has done more damage, in my mind, to our species than a thousand little wars. It displaces responsibility and excuses man from the necessity of action in solving our very real problems. Personalising nature is destructive to our creativity, whereas, as you hint, embracing it as a driver (as a will felt by All) then we might be able to get a handle on this adventure, and shape things in a more enlightened way… as ambiguous as such a statement might be 😉

      Hope you have a great weekend, too, my friend. Seems you have sent the rain up here. Thank you, I’m loving it! We certainly needed it!!

      Like

    • Aquileana, I don’t know whether we would say Schopenhauer’s will is related to god. I don’t think it comes close unless one stretches the argument beyond what he meant.
      In his seminal work, the world as will and representation [idea], where he argues that the will is irrational and without intellect and that we see ourselves in two ways, one as will and the other as phenomena- that is- as will objectified for example when we move the arm.
      We can say with Schopenhauer that the world is our idea.

      Schopenhauer regards the world as a whole as having two sides: the world is Will and the world is representation. The world as Will is the world as it is in itself, and the world as representation is the world of appearances, of our ideas, or of objects.

      And I think this commentary best represents his idea

      It is also frightening and pandemonic: he maintains that the world as it is in itself (again, sometimes adding “for us”) is an endless striving and blind impulse with no end in view, devoid of knowledge, lawless, absolutely free, entirely self-determining and almighty. Within Schopenhauer’s vision of the world as Will, there is no God to be comprehended, and the world is conceived of as being meaningless. When anthropomorphically considered, the world is represented as being in a condition of eternal frustration, as it endlessly strives for nothing in particular, and as it goes essentially nowhere. It is a world beyond any ascriptions of good and evil.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. hmmm, it’s a pity that Diana hasn’t been back. Of course, she has a very long and very creepy excuse for genocide on her blog. Ugh. I did comment on her nonsense but I’m pretty sure that she would never post it. I may post what I wrote on my blog as more examples on just how awful religion can be.

    John did you get your post on that other fellows blog? Or has he not allowed it through?

    Like

  29. “To put it not so politely, the Bible is utter nonsense”

    Literature, poetry, drama, philosophy and religion are wonderful stories which we tell about ourselves. They make up a cultural fabric which helps protect us against a world devoid of meaning. While the literal truth of the Bible is virtually non-existent it does not follow that “the Bible is utter nonsense”. Mainstream religions have been around for long enough to give the less arrogant inquirer pause for thought. Possibly religions have some form of utility which is not immediately obvious to us, such as strengthening social cohesiveness when it is most needed.

    Like

    • Hi Malcolm

      “Utter nonsense” in reference to any historical claim, and as the whole thing claims to be historical, true and original, it is, by definition, nonsense. I’d be interested, though, to hear which parts of the bible you think are actually uniquely beautiful, or useful? The Beatitudes, for example, are lovely poetry, a nicely packaged human wish for cosmic justice, but the ideas contained there are certainly not new. Taken literally, the beatitudes are in fact, immoral, as they urge apathy and resignation. This is an abhorrent message and should be called nonsense. Take a look at John 2: 15-17:

      Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

      This is a ghastly, appalling message and deserves to be called nonsense! What sort of mindful, caring poet teaches “do not love the world”? Such thoughts are the ramblings of a Death Cult and must be singled out as destructive “nonsense.”

      I get what you’re saying, though. Religion can be a great pacifier for anxious minds terrified of death. This doesn’t make it good, or right, though… especially in light of the terrible messages throughout Christianity. Our problem in the west is that we’re closer to the story and this makes many people more sensitive to criticism. I just don’t find anything in the bible to be worthy of praise, and much of it in desperate need for push-back. The Mahabharata, on the other hand, contains far, far, far greater stories and philosophical teachings than the OT and NT combined. Historically, it’s nonsense, but as a cultural artifact there are some true gems housed within.

      Like

      • We don’t know exactly what benefits religion conveys to society, if any. We do know that it has been around for thousands of years and anything that has lasted that long usually has survival benefits, whether we are aware of them or not. This should make us hesitant to attack religion directly unless we know exactly what we are going to replace it with. Communism was an utter disaster and the modern alternative seems to be secular humanism, the hubristic belief that we can achieve salvation through science and progress. The first modern terrorists were the secular Jacobins in 18th century France and a range of anarchist groups in the 19th century.

        Another reason to be cautious about attacking religion is that every attempt to eradicate religion just makes people believe all the more strongly. The churches in Russia are packed to capacity. Syria, Iraq and Egypt all had secular regimes that tried to eradicate organized religion and just look at the mess that has resulted.

        Possibly some religious prohibitions contain the wisdom of the ages, a prohibition on certain types of behavior that would be difficult or impossible to restrain otherwise. Catholicism, for example, strongly discourages debt. However, the weakening of religious restraints in the EU has led to Italy, Spain, and Ireland accumulating some of the world’s highest levels of debt.

        In brief, I believe some epistemic humility is in order.

        Liked by 1 person

    • that seems to be nothing more than the argument from age, a logical fallacy.

      We do know that religion harms society and have yet to see any actual benefit. Now, it may have been a benefit, in keeping a tribe together and obedient but that is long in the past.

      We had the instance of “Communism” that has failed. It wasn’t communism but a form of oligarchy We haven’t seen anything better than the benefits of science to make our lives better. We have seen from science that the idea of one “race” being better than the other is simply wrong. We have been able to get better food, better healthcare, etc to more and more people. We certainly haven’t seen one actual benefit from religion, no matter how much it claims to have some magical answer to everything or the “wisest” people in the world.

      And the first terrorists were those who said that their religion was better than others and that their gods were going to punish anyone who didn’t obey. That is using fear aka terror to get their way. Now, we can consider why people like the Jacobins did what they did. Do you agree that the abuses of religion and royalty had something to do with this?

      I also call into question your assertions that the churches in Russia are packed to capacity? Really? I’d like some evidence please. Please also show how the gov’ts in the various countries you’ve mentioned tried to eliminate “organized religion”. As far as I know there were certainly a lot of mosques around and are still around. Some sects were attacked but not all.

      “Catholicism, for example, strongly discourages debt. However, the weakening of religious restraints in the EU has led to Italy, Spain, and Ireland accumulating some of the world’s highest levels of debt.”

      Ah, were does Catholicism do this? And please do show the causation and evidence to support such in your claim that “religious restraints in the EU” have lead to debt?

      I fear that this will end up in an attempt to claim that there are True Christians and that the others, who don’t act like you approve of, aren’t True Christians.

      Like

  30. No, it is not a logical fallacy. Scientists are always asking what is the purpose of an organ, a behavior or even a feeling, because they would not have evolved the way they did without survival benefits. This is not to say that everything that is old is good but it’s still reasonable to ask what benefits religion conveyed and may still convey.

    Furthermore, not everything that is not intelligible is unintelligent. We may not understand exactly how or why an institution has evolved the way it has but that does not mean that it is not valuable and prudence dictates we give something that has evolved over a very long time the benefit of the doubt.

    You have theories about the harm religion causes and the nature of communism, and even about how I will answer your comment, but theories come and go while the phenomena under observation stay the same. When I go to the gym there are plenty of theories as to why lifting weights builds muscle mass. I used to be told it had something to do with breaking down muscle fibers so they can regenerate. Nowadays I am told it has something to do with a growth hormone. However, for thousands of years people have simply experienced the phenomenon that lifting heavy weights builds muscles.

    Similarly, your theories about why or whether religion is harmful will change but human nature being what it is, I predict that religious congregations will continue to grow. Compare religion in the U.K. to the U.S. In the U.K. there is a monopoly on religion to the extent there is an official state church with boring, monotonous services, and congregations are consequently dwindling. In the U.S. we have a free market in religion with more dynamic services and congregations are thriving, a sure sign that congregants, at least, think there is a benefit to participating in a religious community.

    For the record I’m an atheist.

    Like

    • Hi Malcolm, if I may jump in very briefly here and address one point. You say religion is thriving in the US, yet this doesn’t exactly represent reality. Religious adherence in the US is on a historical decline, and “None’s” are the fastest growing group. People are jettisoning Christianity in droves, and John S. Dickerson (The Great Evangelical Recession p. 26). notes that “260,000 evangelical young people walk away from Christianity each year.” Add into this things like the Clergy Project and the evidence for the rapid decline of religion in the States is plain to see.

      I do agree with you, though. One can’t rule out the individual appeal of community when addressing religion. In many ways, its the strongest reason for why such archaic belief systems survive. That is to say, never underestimate the human’s need for structure in their lives.

      Like

  31. Thank you John, but just because Christianity is losing its authoritative power across society does not mean that we are seeing an increase in secularization. What is the evidence for an increase in secularization as opposed to an increase in religious diversity and a greater variety of religious experience?

    Like

  32. But he walked on water…, though well written, and a joy to read, your post misses the important part of Jesus. He cured leprosy! But, he let others suffer plague. IDK, I guess, Fuck him. Here, look what I can do. I can cure anything…but I won’t …snap…bitches go away. I got this. Oh OH Oh, I’m so not telling any of you about biology or round Earth or nothing. I am God. I work in mysterious ways.

    Love the post. Thanks for the update, sir.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Pingback: WHY WOULD A MAN HANG HIMSELF? — PART 3C | Citizen Tom

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  35. Pingback: JESUS NEVER GAVE THEM WHAT THE WANTED — PART 1 | Citizen Tom

  36. Pingback: Jesus didn’t talk about lightning or Tupperware lids so, meh He wasn’t that special | The Isaiah 53:5 Project

  37. Do you know that song “King Without A Crown” by Matisyahu? One thing I always found interesting about it is that Matisyahu was/is a Hasidic Jew, but the song seems to echo the message Jesus (the first Christian) preached in the gospel:

    But does it matter who says it? It’s still a good message. Why hate on the messenger when you can still enjoy the message?

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  38. Pingback: Was Jesus Original? | Godless Cranium

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