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The Blasphemy Challenge

By Eloquence in Culture
Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 12:00:00 PM EST
Tags: religion, god, atheism, holy ghost, brian flemming, fnord (all tags)

More news from evangelical atheism: Filmmaker Brian Flemming and the Rational Response Squad are challenging YouTubers to upload videos of themselves, blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Whoever does so and follows the instructions will receive a free DVD of Flemming's film, The God Who Wasn't There, a documentary which puts forward the hypothesis that Jesus never existed. The catch: according to the Bible, blaspheming the Holy Spirit is an eternal, unforgivable sin. Whoops.

So far over 350 people have been willing to exchange their soul for a free DVD. Some of these videos are quite clever, though most simply contain the plain catchphrase, "I deny the holy spirit."


In Luke 12:10, Jesus says: "And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven." In Mark 3:29, he is quoted again: "But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin." And again in Matthew 12:31: "And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven."

As usual, the interpretations of these verses vary, but Flemming takes them quite literally: Denying the existence or power of the Holy Ghost will send you straight to hell. Flemming is a former Christian fundamentalist whose high school, Village Christian, actually used the threat of eternal damnation against students who started to doubt Christian doctrine. So, while one may disagree with Flemming's interpretation, it is very much true that some Christians do follow his view -- that's where he got it from.

Some may see the Blasphemy Challenge as a childish provocation of Christians. I view it as important in two respects:

  • It gives atheists and agnostics visibility, to the world and to each other, and makes people realize that they are not alone in rejecting the Christian faith, or indeed any faith.
  • It sends a clear message against the use of threats of damnation in the discourse about faith. Liberal Christians should welcome this: a loving God does not consign human beings to eternal damnation for uploading a clip to YouTube. Well, at least not selectively.

In addition, some of the submissions have been quite creative, from Yoda and Vader over Hawaii and a skydiver to Hagrid and other inherently funny individuals. What's your take -- pathetic prank for pretentious posers, or important impiety for the irreligiously inclined? I for one know I'm going straight to hell for that awful alliteration attempt.

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Poll
Do you deny the existence of the Holy Ghost?
o Yes 100%

Votes: 50
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Brian Flemming
o Rational Response Squad
o challengin g YouTubers
o The God Who Wasn't There
o Village Christian
o Yoda
o Vader
o Hawaii
o a skydiver
o Hagrid
o inherently funny individuals
o Also by Eloquence


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The Blasphemy Challenge | 170 comments (166 topical, 4 editorial, 10 hidden)
atheist is to nihilist as (1.55 / 9) (#1)
by circletimessquare on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 04:00:30 AM EST

faithlessness in god is to faithlessness in anything

christian is to fundamentalist as

faithfulness in god is to blind obedience to dogma

don't mistake normal everyday christians for fundamentalists and they won't mistake you for nihilists

agreed?

fear of the unknown, fear of the other, leads people to assume there be radicals where there are none

so is it with christians looking at atheists, so is it with atheists looking at christians

tolerance is the thought that lets you assume moderation in thoughts about the "other" rather than the worst radical fears of yours

in the end, there's no big deal here. you make a lot of noise about nothing


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

atheism and nihilism are one in the same (1.63 / 11) (#5)
by Zombie Schrodingers Cat on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:29:00 AM EST

If atheists actually thought about their beliefs a little more they'd realise this.

[ Parent ]
because if you thought about it more (1.54 / 11) (#8)
by Zombie Schrodingers Cat on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 09:51:28 AM EST

you'd realise that the universe is itself a supreme being. So if you don't believe in a supreme being you do not believe there is a universe. And that means that you believe in nothing, does it not? Which makes you a nihilist.


[ Parent ]
Yes, he's stupid. -nt (1.50 / 2) (#10)
by OzJuggler on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 09:56:33 AM EST



[ Parent ]
You know, I reached that conclusion (2.00 / 3) (#13)
by nidarus on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 10:21:22 AM EST

And it made me an atheist.

Basically, while you can rationally believe in the universe, laws of physics, a Philosopher's God, or whatever, but:

  1. It's certainly not the Biblical God, or anything like it
  2. Why should you worship, or even care, about it?


[ Parent ]
so... (2.00 / 7) (#14)
by Zombie Schrodingers Cat on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 10:32:47 AM EST

You were disappointed that god wasn't some old man with a white beard and a deep voice living in the clouds, and because of that you became an atheist?

Grow up dude. Thats what they teach to children (and immature adults) because they can't grasp something as big as the Universe. How did you react when you found out Santa Claus?

Why should you worship, or even care, about it?

If you don't care about the Universe then you are a nihilist, are you not?

[ Parent ]

pwned (1.80 / 5) (#18)
by LilDebbie on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 11:33:19 AM EST

zombie kitty ftw

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
You're an idiot. (2.00 / 9) (#45)
by Water on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:07:12 PM EST



[ Parent ]
There's only so much ... (1.50 / 2) (#19)
by eraserewind on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 11:41:40 AM EST

There's only so much respect that you can give to a god of word games. And you should really check the definition of nihilist in a dictionary sometime.

[ Parent ]
Dude... (3.00 / 6) (#22)
by Zombie Schrodingers Cat on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 12:07:22 PM EST

I've watched the big lebowski a hundred times. I know what a fuckin nihilist is.


[ Parent ]
Say no more, say no more. (2.00 / 0) (#30)
by Metamorphorical Rock on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 04:34:17 PM EST

Seriously.

[ processed instant god ]
[ Parent ]
Nihilists! (1.00 / 0) (#66)
by mrt on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 06:53:26 AM EST

Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

-

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous
[ Parent ]
No. (2.00 / 1) (#24)
by Metamorphorical Rock on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 12:42:04 PM EST

If I do not care about the universe or anything in it and I believe that there is no authoritative source of values or moral guidance and so no action is better or worse than any other, I am a nihilist.

If I claim to believe the above but still maintain some semblance of life, I am some kind of mamby pamby semi-not-really-nihilist something or other. Or an angsty teenager.

If I believe that the universe is impersonal matter and energy that configures itself without any sort of intentionality towards anything at all, but I believe that some infinitesimally tiny fraction of it (a few people, one planet, whatever) is worth caring about to some extent, then I am any number of things, but I am not a nihilist. Even if I don't give a shit about, what is for all practical purposes, the entire universe.

[ processed instant god ]
[ Parent ]

then you aren't an atheist (2.50 / 2) (#25)
by Zombie Schrodingers Cat on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 01:21:52 PM EST

If you're not a nihilist then you aren't an atheist either.

Why would you care about anything in a universe of impersonal matter and energy? There is no one that's going to say you are a bad person or that your life was wasted or whatever after you're dead. You can do whatever the hell you want. So why would you care about politics? Why would you care about your family? why bother having pride in your work, do a half-assed job and get your paycheck and go home. Hell you might as well quit your job and go on welfare. Who cares if civilization collapses and the human race goes extinct. Hell why bother going on living at all? The Universe is just an inanimate object. You don't matter, I don't matter, nothing matters.

The only reason to care about anything is if you think there is some purpose to your life. If there is no reason for God creating life or the Universe evolving life (or whatever) then you shouldn't care about anything but your own pleasure. The only logical motivation for an atheist is pure hedonism.

[ Parent ]

The short answer (2.75 / 4) (#26)
by Metamorphorical Rock on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 03:50:43 PM EST

is that motivation and caring has almost nothing to do with rationality or logic. Some people can't handle the idea of life without God, others take a while to adjust, others are simply puzzled at why some people believe in God at all, never mind why they believe that hedonism is the only other possible value. It's not. In a nihilistic universe, hedonism is no more or less logical than pure altruism. Neither are what most people are wired to value most. Rationality does not trump that wiring in practice, and there is no reason why it should in theory, either.

In survival situations, where mental commitment to staying alive is vital, people tend to do better if they have something larger than themselves to live for. For some it may be God, but for most it is their family. Whether the universe cares about them or their family is not relevant. It's just the way we are wired. If there is a logical explanation for that, it involves biology, not some magical innate or God-given purpose for our lives.

[ processed instant god ]
[ Parent ]

See that's my problem with atheism... (2.40 / 5) (#33)
by Zombie Schrodingers Cat on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 05:06:15 PM EST

its too damn illogical and inconsistent. On one hand you demand proof of God and consistency from every other belief system. But on the other hand you have no rational reason for being a moral person. Yet for some unknown reason atheists do try to be moral. That gap in your belief is much greater than the gaps I see in most other religions. If atheists scrutinized their own beliefs as closely as they scrutinized the beliefs of others they would realise how silly they are.

[ Parent ]
Can only speak for myself, but (3.00 / 6) (#44)
by vadim on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 07:57:50 PM EST

My moral system would probably horrify pretty much any religious person.

Basically, it's ethical egoism: The idea that one ought to act in their own interest. My personal theory made from observing other people is that going against your own self-interest for too long ultimately doesn't end up well. This would also imply that I consider pretty much all religious people to be messed up in some way.

Lack of a belief in a deity doesn't mean I can do however I please. For some reason, religious people seem to have this really bizarre idea that since I don't have a threat of hell hanging over my head, there's nothing stopping me from, I don't know, killing raping people.

But of course there is: I'm an egoist. Supposing I derived some pleasure or other benefit from killing somebody, the consequences of that act would be FAR too negative to outweight its benefits if any. Furthermore, logic says that society in general is a lot better when there's order in it, and it's not in my self-interest to contribute to its breakdown.

Egoism doesn't mean acting blindly on base desires, it means acting in your self-interest, and very often self-interest is well served by being nice to other people.
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]

Well said n/t (1.00 / 0) (#87)
by IntarwebFiend on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 05:17:10 PM EST



[ Parent ]
The evidence for people's ability (2.00 / 1) (#47)
by Metamorphorical Rock on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:11:50 PM EST

to be moral without God is thick on the ground compared to the evidence for God herself (in any form). I won't even point out the moral paradoxes in Christianity that drive thinking Christians like Kierkegaard to conclusions that most people who call themselves Christians would find bizarre. You clearly haven't thought about this any more deeply than the strawman athiests you assume everyone who doesn't agree with you must be.

[ processed instant god ]
[ Parent ]
See? (1.50 / 1) (#48)
by Zombie Schrodingers Cat on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 09:38:50 PM EST

I make a valid criticism of atheism and instead of replying to that you just make some vague comment that amounts to "Christianity sucks". Don't change the subject. Given that there is no purpose to the Universe what motive is there for being a moral person?

[ Parent ]
Because I like myself (2.50 / 1) (#51)
by vadim on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 10:08:00 PM EST

Society has a number of rules, and breaking some of them has unpleasant consequences. In most cases, those consequences are far more negative than the benefits derived.

It's simple logic: If you started randomly killing people you'd soon end up dead or in jail for life, and most people don't consider that a favorable situation.

Taken further - why be nice to anybody? Because tit-for-tat is a good strategy, and friends are a good thing to have. Being a jerk may have temporary benefits, but most people will reply in kind, so it's not a long term benefit. It's also not hard to realize that a society where people don't fear for their life when they go out is generally more pleasant and productive.
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]

Yeah (2.00 / 1) (#71)
by Zombie Schrodingers Cat on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 11:29:58 AM EST

that is how a sociopath thinks. If the only reason for not hurting people is for legal reasons (or simply that someone might hurt you back) then you are a sociopath.

And really what you are saying supports my argument that atheism is the same thing a nihilism.

[ Parent ]

"Sociopath" (1.00 / 1) (#73)
by vadim on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 11:48:38 AM EST

Or more technically, "Antisocial personality disorder" is defined in the DSM-IV-TR as somebody who matches 3 or more of the following criteria:
  1. failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest
  2. deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
  3. impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
  4. irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults
  5. reckless disregard for safety of self or others
  6. consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations
  7. lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another
Now, myself compared to the definition:
  1. Doesn't apply, as I conform to social norms.
  2. Doesn't apply, as I don't do that, and I'm a terrible liar anyway
  3. I play far ahead, to the point of attempting to plan whole conversations in my mind, with the aim of gaining advantage by having research on my side.
  4. I'm a generally passive person who avoids conflicts, and who hasn't been involved in a fight since high school
  5. This is completely incompatible with egoism. I love myself more than anything else, no way I'd disregard my own safety.
  6. This would also run counter to egoism, since going into debt doesn't translate into a pleasant life. I have more to gain by being responsible.
  7. Certainly not, I have regretted quite a few things I've done

Thus, not only I'm not a sociopath, but a sociopath wouldn't be an actual egoist either.


--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]
hahaha (2.00 / 1) (#75)
by Zombie Schrodingers Cat on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 01:17:26 PM EST

What do you think this is, psychology 101?

There's a difference between real world language and academic language. Most people would call what you just described as a psychopath, not a sociopath.

Anyways... You don't conform to social norms because the social norm is to consider things like murder to be morally wrong. You don't consider it to be wrong only disadvantageous to your own well being. And do you honestly think that you have to be violent to be a sociopath?

Please don't waste my time with your typical college-kid "my textbook says your wrong" bullshit. If you can't make an argument then concede defeat or shut the fuck up. Don't cover up your immaturity with academic bullshit.


[ Parent ]

How boring (2.50 / 1) (#79)
by vadim on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 01:58:15 PM EST

"Sociopath" has a widely accepted definition. I quoted to you the definition straight from the manual an actual psychologist would use to make a diagnosis. If you're trying to communicate, it really helps not to attempt to use your own definition of well known words, that just gets nowhere.
You don't conform to social norms because the social norm is to consider things like murder to be morally wrong. You don't consider it to be wrong only disadvantageous to your own well being. And do you honestly think that you have to be violent to be a sociopath?

Again, you only think only one step ahead. My wellbeing is certainly a prime reason for me abstaining from doing some things. But I also can see far enough to understand that a society where murder is forbidden is a good thing because then I don't have to worry about my own wellbeing. So murder is not only not in my self-interest, a society that forbids murder is in my self-interest.

By the way, you still haven't explained how a religion fixes anything. Is there really any difference between fear of jail and fear of hell? It's the same thing as far as I can see

Please don't waste my time with your typical college-kid "my textbook says your wrong" bullshit. If you can't make an argument then concede defeat or shut the fuck up. Don't cover up your immaturity with academic bullshit.
Ah yes, the "if what I actually said doesn't agree with what I thought it meant, I'll just twist the definition of every word to fix the discrepancy" school of thought. You'll go far in politics.
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]
Damn (1.00 / 2) (#82)
by Zombie Schrodingers Cat on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 02:30:00 PM EST

I can't help it if you haven't really talked to normal people and don't know the commonly accepted meaning of words. Here from the first non-wikipedia google result for "sociopath":


Antisocial Personality Disorder is also known as psychopathy or
sociopathy. Individuals with this disorder have little regard for the
feeling and welfare of others. As a clinical diagnosis it is usually
limited to those over age 18. It can be diagnosed in younger people
if the they commit isolated antisocial acts and do not show signs of
another mental disorder.

Antisocial Personality Disorder is chronic, beginning in adolescence
and continuing throughout adulthood. There are ten general
symptoms:

not learning from experience
no sense of responsibility
inability to form meaningful relationships
inability to control impulses
lack of moral sense
chronically antisocial behavior
no change in behavior after punishment
emotional immaturity
lack of guilt
self-centeredness

And really you're splitting hairs here. You admit to the same motive that drives sociopaths to succeed: their own well being. Note the "lack of moral sense" and "self-centeredness".

You are being deliberately dense to avoid the my points. Belief in having a purpose and being religious are not the same thing.

And I doubt you're a sociopath. But you're not an atheist either. You want to be a moral person but you have no rational reason for doing so. So you simply rationalise it and convince yourself that you the reason that you don't hurt others is because it will come around and get you. But there are always situations where you can do something that's morally wrong but benefits you and there is no risk of any harm coming to you. How many times have you seen stuff just lying around that would be so easy to steal? And why don't you just do it?

You say its because a law-abiding society is in your best interest. But if you looked at it logically you'd see that the best case scenario would be a society where everyone is law-abiding except you. You would be able to do whatever you want while all your neighbours would be restricted by the law. The only thing preventing this ideal scenario is your own unwillingness to be immoral.

If you were being completely honest with yourself you'd realise that you are following a karmic code. You'd make a fine Buddhist. But you're not being honest with yourself so you cover it up with atheistic bullshit.

[ Parent ]

Way to ignore your own definition (3.00 / 2) (#84)
by vadim on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 03:05:06 PM EST

I can't help it if you haven't really talked to normal people and don't know the commonly accepted meaning of words. Here from the first non-wikipedia google result for "sociopath"
It wasn't from wikipedia, it was copy/pasted straight from the DSM-IV-TR. I think that should be authoritative enough on what would be considered to be a sociopath by a psychologist.
And really you're splitting hairs here. You admit to the same motive that drives sociopaths to succeed: their own well being. Note the "lack of moral sense" and "self-centeredness".
You're picking the few bits that say what you want, and completely ignore the ones that are inconvenient. "not learning from experience", "inability to control impulses", "chronically antisocial behavior", "no change in behavior after punishment" all suggest a general lack of control, which isn't really compatible with egoism. Where do you get the idea of that "no change in behavior after punishment" can be even remotely compatible with regard for your own well being? It's a complete lack of it!
And I doubt you're a sociopath.
You're completely correct, a psychologist will probably say I'm schizoid. True to the definition, I don't give a damn, so I'm not in a hurry to get diagnosed.
But there are always situations where you can do something that's morally wrong but benefits you and there is no risk of any harm coming to you. How many times have you seen stuff just lying around that would be so easy to steal? And why don't you just do it?

Not a very good example in my case, stuff that I want is generally high tech that isn't exactly found lying around. However, once I did get a sound card at a shop for about $70 cheaper than I should have (they gave me the wrong model by mistake). And I still have it, at the "discounted" price. Of course if they had noticed and called me, I'd have paid the difference.

As you can see, I very egoistically considered the potential benefit of not doing anything (getting more than I paid for), the potential downside(about nothing) and decided things were in my favor.

You say its because a law-abiding society is in your best interest. But if you looked at it logically you'd see that the best case scenario would be a society where everyone is law-abiding except you. You would be able to do whatever you want while all your neighbours would be restricted by the law. The only thing preventing this ideal scenario is your own unwillingness to be immoral.

That sort of thing doesn't happen in reality. What prevents me from doing that is the police. You think that my neighbours would sit quietly and ignore it? Hell no, they'd very law-abiddingly call the police, and the police would very law-abiddingly lock me up.

Heck, even being the king of a country wouldn't free me from consequences. After all, the peasants can always get fed up and organize and assassination or revolt.

If you were being completely honest with yourself you'd realise that you are following a karmic code. You'd make a fine Buddhist. But you're not being honest with yourself so you cover it up with atheistic bullshit.
I'd also make a fine satanist (Anton La Vey style), too. But why bother with any organized religion if I'm doing just fine by myself?
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]
Hey whatever works for you... (2.00 / 0) (#102)
by Zombie Schrodingers Cat on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 12:02:34 PM EST

But you are following a karmic code and rebranding it as atheism.

[ Parent ]
Conversely (2.00 / 0) (#106)
by vadim on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 12:33:21 PM EST

I could argue that the concept of "karma" takes logic and makes a religion from it. You still haven't explained, what do I need religion for? According to you, there are religions that match my way of thinking, so does it really matter? End result is about the same either way, and without religion I have no need for superfluous dogma, superstition and rituals.

Since you seem to have ignored most of the comment you replied to, I assume you've conceded that part of the discussion.
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]

Not conceding anything... (1.50 / 0) (#116)
by Zombie Schrodingers Cat on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 08:56:08 AM EST

I never said you need religion just that you need to have a purpose. Read my comments above and you'll see I Implied that several times and actually directly stated that once. You are being willfully ignorant so that you can remain close minded. Any further conversation is pointless until you are able to progess from this state of mind.

[ Parent ]
I have a purpose, which I already stated (2.00 / 0) (#118)
by vadim on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 10:15:13 PM EST

It is myself. I don't have a deity to please, so my goal in life is to live in a way that's as good and as pleasant to me as possible. Not sure what else you want.

But you're right, this conversation is turning out to be uninteresting, as you're an uninteresting opponent. Of the material you yourself quote you only give importance to the few bits that agree with your opinion, and ignore the existence of the parts that invalidate your argument. And you ignore completely things you don't have an answer for, which I understand as an indication of defeat.

For instance, you've already been asked multiple times, what's the difference between a god fearing believer and a real life consequences fearing atheist, and why do you think the believer is any better?

You also haven't answered why you think any formal sort of belief if needed, especially when you say that my way of seeing things matches a religious perspective. Does it matter that I behave according to the "karmic code" but without the various dogma attached? What would the point of becoming a buddhist be?

Would I suddenly become a moral person instead of a "sociopath" if I called myself a buddhist while acting exactly the same?
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]

No... (1.00 / 1) (#120)
by Zombie Schrodingers Cat on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 08:29:26 AM EST

what I'm saying is that you already are a buddhist, but you are just rephrasing buddhist concepts so you can continue to think of yourself as an atheist. If you choose to build upon the concepts you've built up on your own, you may wish to study buddhism. There is a lot of wisdom there. Or you can choose to ignore buddhism and continue to develop your personal philosophy on your own. It really is up to you. Buddha said himself that you should believe his teachings not because he said them, but only if you understand them and they make sense to you.

But you're right, this conversation is turning out to be uninteresting, as you're an uninteresting opponent. Of the material you yourself quote you only give importance to the few bits that agree with your opinion, and ignore the existence of the parts that invalidate your argument. And you ignore completely things you don't have an answer for, which I understand as an indication of defeat.

It is uninteresting because you're completely closed minded, and quite dense. I've changed from thinking that you're a sociopath to thinking that you do have a moral code which you're in denial of. But you're so busy being the infallible, holier than thou atheist that you didn't even notice that.

You're like a brick wall. I can hammer from one side and hammer from the other side but you're so rigid I can't make a dent. You see that as a strength but sooner or later there will be an earthquake and the wall will come tumbling down. While the more flexible tree that is able to sway (which you think of as weakness) will remain standing.

Oh and what am I ignoring that I don't have an answer for? I'm not being defensive here, I really want to know. I find the questions I don't have answers for to be the most interesting ones, and I'd hate to think that I missed one.

[ Parent ]

Buddhism (2.00 / 0) (#123)
by vadim on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 01:33:08 PM EST

what I'm saying is that you already are a buddhist, but you are just rephrasing buddhist concepts so you can continue to think of yourself as an atheist.

Weird idea. Perhaps I agree with one of the concepts found in Buddhism, but I also agree with some found in Christianity, and I really despise that religion as a whole. Thinking in a karmic-ish way doesn't make me any more Buddhist than saying "An it harm none, do as thou wilt" would make me a Wiccan.

You again display your knack for picking out a needle-sized portion that supports your opinion among a haystack of conflicting evidence.

Previously I proved why I'm not a sociopath in any reasonable definition of the word. Now I'll prove why I'm not a Buddhist: Because I repeatedly stated that I'm an egoist seeking my own pleasure, and the Four Noble Truths state that "craving is the source of suffering". Thus, I'm at complete odds with a very basic concept in Buddhism!

Buddha said himself that you should believe his teachings not because he said them, but only if you understand them and they make sense to you.

Well, the problem here is as I said, I'm at complete odds with fundamental Buddhist concepts. So that doesn't work for me.

You're like a brick wall. I can hammer from one side and hammer from the other side but you're so rigid I can't make a dent. You see that as a strength but sooner or later there will be an earthquake and the wall will come tumbling down. While the more flexible tree that is able to sway (which you think of as weakness) will remain standing.

You're right, I take it with a sort of pride, but I can change. You just provide no convincing arguments whatsoever! All you do so far is to try to convince me that my description of myself matches some predefined pattern, and guess what: none of them so far fit.

Also, your whole mention of Buddhism is weird in itself. If you were saying saying that Christianity is the one true religion, that would be sort of understandable, although I would disagree. But saying that I should accept a religion with no deities and started by a completely normal man is weird. Why should I? If Siddhartha Gautama could figure out morality by starting from nothing, then so can I.
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]

good point... (1.00 / 1) (#124)
by Zombie Schrodingers Cat on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 07:16:10 PM EST

Weird idea. Perhaps I agree with one of the concepts found in Buddhism, but I also agree with some found in Christianity, and I really despise that religion as a whole. Thinking in a karmic-ish way doesn't make me any more Buddhist than saying "An it harm none, do as thou wilt" would make me a Wiccan.

So then it follows that simply saying "I do not believe in God" doesn't make you an atheist. What's the difference between an atheist philosopher and a buddhist? Niether believes in God and neither demands that you have faith in anything and both ask that you ask questions to come to a better understanding of the world.

You do not follow all of the ideas espoused Siddhartha Gautama so you are not a buddhist. I see a lot Christians that are very Judgemental. One of the core concepts of christianity is to not jusge. So are you saying these people are not christians? Are they atheists because they don't follow one of the core concepts of christianity?

How do you define religion? A group of people that think the same way and choose to identify themselves as part of that group. In that case is atheism a religion? Is there any definition you can come up for the word "religion" that wouldn't apply to atheism?

[ Parent ]

Atheism (2.00 / 0) (#125)
by vadim on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 08:39:22 PM EST

So then it follows that simply saying "I do not believe in God" doesn't make you an atheist. What's the difference between an atheist philosopher and a buddhist? Niether believes in God and neither demands that you have faith in anything and both ask that you ask questions to come to a better understanding of the world.

That's easy, "atheist philosopher" doesn't imply following any particular philosophy. There's no traditions, dogma, rituals or anything of the sort. Each atheist philosopher can have beliefs incompatible with other people in the same category.

In contrast, you can generalize about Buddhists. Of course everybody follows it in slightly different ways, but you know for certain they have to agree on lots of things. Sort of like you know that a Christian would have to be against abortion, while an "atheist philosopher" may be or not, depending on their personal reasoning.

Additionally, the atheist philosopher can change their mind at any time, while somebody who is religious would have a very large problem with that.

You do not follow all of the ideas espoused Siddhartha Gautama so you are not a buddhist. I see a lot Christians that are very Judgemental. One of the core concepts of christianity is to not jusge. So are you saying these people are not christians?

Yes, I would say that technically people like that are forming their own branch of Christianity. It's nothing new, after all there are also Protestants, Lutherans, Methodists, etc.

Are they atheists because they don't follow one of the core concepts of christianity?

Why atheists? They still believe, just in a slightly different way. They still have the same god, they just say, interpret the Bible differently. The people who believed in Zeus weren't atheists either.

How do you define religion? A group of people that think the same way and choose to identify themselves as part of that group. In that case is atheism a religion? Is there any definition you can come up for the word "religion" that wouldn't apply to atheism?

Easy enough: A basic requirement of religion is faith, an irrational belief that something is true, even if absolutely no proof exists, verification will never be possible, or there's evidence to the contrary. A religion has rituals and traditions that are sacred, and dogma that are absolutely not open to discussion. For example:

Christianity: Belief in an omniscient and omnipotent deity (despite this being self-inconsistent), whose existence can't be proven or disproven, large amounts of dogma about what will happen after death even though nobody will ever come back and tell what's it actually like, rituals like baptism and praying that have never been proved to be good for anything. If you interpret the Bible literally, Pi is exactly 3.

Buddhism: Belief in reincarnation, Nirvana, supernatural entities (devas), etc. Buddhism seems to be one of the religions with the largest practical effects, but of course an actual Buddhist would never speak of meditation in medical terms, talking about circulation and neurotransmitters.

Atheism, on the other hand, has no unifying belief. Things that are unknown are actually unknown, as there's no deity to fallback to. There's no such thing as "heresy", and no official ritual to perform when somebody dies. There's no official position to hold on issues like abortion. There are no priests of atheism who you could ask for spiritual guidance, because there's no spirituality.

To me, saying that atheism can be classified as a religion is about the same as saying that virginity is a way of having sex, or that not being married is a type of marriage.


--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]
Hmmm... (1.50 / 1) (#127)
by Zombie Schrodingers Cat on Fri Dec 29, 2006 at 03:57:37 PM EST

Atheism, on the other hand, has no unifying belief. Things that are unknown are actually unknown, as there's no deity to fallback to. There's no such thing as "heresy", and no official ritual to perform when somebody dies. There's no official position to hold on issues like abortion. There are no priests of atheism who you could ask for spiritual guidance, because there's no spirituality.

I'd disagree with you there. You beleive there is no God. Even if you said, maybe there is, maybe there isn't you would no longer be an atheist, you'd be agnostic.

But can you prove there is no God? Of course not. And don't give me the "can't prove a negative" crap (atheist dogma at its most illogical). So how are you so sure there is no God? Faith.

Heresy would be the same as any other religion. I remember wampswillion said something in her diary about wanting to participate in some christian ceremonies around christmas, even though she's an atheist. The atheists here threw a fit. It seemed very much the same as shouting "HERETIC!!!"

Why should an atheist feel bad about participating in a religious ceremony? If they enjoy it, isn't that good enough reason to do it? Ah, but by doing that you're letting down all the other atheists. The other atheists will lose respect for you. This is exactly what keeps people in line in all religions.

Oh and there are atheist priests. There's that atheist dude (can't remember his name) that writes books that all the other atheists quote from. Looking at it objectively he is a priest.

And atheists stick together. The Dilbert guy suggested that Bill Gate should run for president. Why? Was it because he agreed with his political convictions? Does he admire how Gates ran MS? No. It was because Gates is an atheist. And a great many atheists agreed and thought it was a great idea.

How is that different from the Christian Right supporting Bush simply because Bush was a Christian like them?

I suppose you can make yourself a nice little tautology by defining religion as being all belief systems except atheism. But thats a logically fallacy you would accept from any belief system other than your own.

And put a little summary of atheism up next to your summaries of buddhism and christianity and see how it compares:

Atheism: Belief that it is impossible any form of deity could exist. Despite the fact that it cannot be proven that such a deity does not exists a large amount of dogma relying on logical fallacies such as "you can't prove a negative therefore God doesn't exist" and "atheism is not a religion because I have defined atheism as being not religious" and "the concept of God is illogical because I said so". Despite insisting that atheism is not a religion, atheist missionaries are commonly seen on Internet messaging boards trying to convert followers from other religions.

[ Parent ]

Types of atheism (2.50 / 0) (#128)
by vadim on Fri Dec 29, 2006 at 10:54:24 PM EST

I'd disagree with you there. You beleive there is no God. Even if you said, maybe there is, maybe there isn't you would no longer be an atheist, you'd be agnostic.

Wrong again. I don't believe in any gods, which is different. What you say is strong atheism and could be said to be a kind of irrational belief. I'm more of a weak atheist (no belief in deities rather than an outright denial) somewhat combined with ignosticism.

But can you prove there is no God? Of course not. And don't give me the "can't prove a negative" crap (atheist dogma at its most illogical). So how are you so sure there is no God? Faith.

Of course it's impossible to prove there's no god. Which is why I don't think that way. I simply don't believe in any of the ones I know of.

And of course you can't prove a negative. Want to prove me wrong? Provide conclusive proof of why I'm not God.

Heresy would be the same as any other religion. I remember wampswillion said something in her diary about wanting to participate in some christian ceremonies around christmas, even though she's an atheist. The atheists here threw a fit. It seemed very much the same as shouting "HERETIC!!!"

Huh? Who threw a fit? I think I found the diary, and all I see is some discussion about christmas being mostly not christian - which AFAIK is quite accurate.

There's no problem for an atheist to participate in a religious ritual or festivity, as for an atheist there's no religious meaning in it. Heck, I sort of celebrate it myself, but on new year's eve (the russian way). For me it's just another party with gifts and alcohol and devoid of any religious meaning. In fact, I'm not so keen on the whole gift giving part either. IMO, gifts have become a formality devoid of meaning. My parents even asked what to give me this year, which seems a perfect indicator of two things: That they feel like they should give me something, and that they have no clue what I'd like, and that second part is less than flattering. I'd appreciate a random gift for no particular reason a lot more.

Oh and there are atheist priests. There's that atheist dude (can't remember his name) that writes books that all the other atheists quote from. Looking at it objectively he is a priest.

He'd be a priest if he said things from above and they believed him without requiring proof. If he simply says things that make sense and can be verified, then no faith is needed.

And atheists stick together. The Dilbert guy suggested that Bill Gate should run for president. Why? Was it because he agreed with his political convictions? Does he admire how Gates ran MS? No. It was because Gates is an atheist. And a great many atheists agreed and thought it was a great idea.

Personally, I think the Dilbert guy is full of it. Mind, I do think that perhaps an atheist president could reduce the amount of madness in the world somewhat, but I don't think Gates is a good candidate.

Of course, you're bringing this issue up in a very shallow way. If the question is "Gates or Bush?" then perhaps in the global sense of things, Gates would have made a better president, although I'm quite sure I still wouldn't like him much.

Personally, I think a large problem with politics these days is people's obsession with small but controversial problems. I mean, who cares about boring issues such as the public debt if you can win voters by concentrating on issues like gay marriage?

Atheism: Belief that it is impossible any form of deity could exist.

Well, there's the problem. You only see the active "strong atheism" which implies active denial. I'm of the "weak atheism" sort. My denial is passive - I simply care as much about every known deity as you do about say, Zeus or Ra -- which is to say, not at all.

Despite the fact that it cannot be proven that such a deity does not exists a large amount of dogma relying on logical fallacies such as "you can't prove a negative therefore God doesn't exist"

There's a correct and an incorrect part there. You can't prove a negative as that'd require you to search the whole universe to prove the inexistence of something. Say, prove there's no polka dot patterned penguin hiding somewhere. A sane person would never accept such a challenge in the first place as you can't practically check every penguin in existence.

The "therefore God doesn't exist" is of course incorrect. An actual argument would go along the lines of "you can't prove a negative, so come back when you have a description of a deity that can be verified". Which makes perfect sense, as I have better things to do with my time than trying to think of ways to detect entities like Santa, Baba Yaga, invisible pink unicorns, YHWH and the Lord of Nightmares.

and "atheism is not a religion because I have defined atheism as being not religious"
You have a problem with the concept of a word being used to mean the lack of something? Here are a few for you:
  • A bachelor is somebody who never been married
  • A virgin is somebody who never had sex
  • A teetotaler is somebody who completely abstains from consuming alcohol
and "the concept of God is illogical because I said so".

Pretty much all deities are illogical and self-inconsistent. For example, take YHWH, who is both omnipotent and omniscient. A few problems with that:

  • Can YHWH create a rock he can't lift? If he can, then there's something he can't do: lift the rock. If he can't, then there's something he can't do: create a rock he can't lift.
  • Can YHWH ask a question to which he wouldn't know the answer? If he can, then he's not omniscient, if he can't then he's not omnipotent.
Since YHWH is defined as a being that's self-inconsistent, I reject its existence simply on the basis that as described, it doesn't make sense.
Despite insisting that atheism is not a religion, atheist missionaries are commonly seen on Internet messaging boards trying to convert followers from other religions.

What missionaries? There's no "atheist missionary" per se, as there's nothing commanding such a thing. Sure, somebody bored enough might as well go and do that, but there's nothing saying that they have to do or not do it.

IMO, an "atheist missionary" is most likely to be trying to make fun of religion than to do a serious sort of "conversion"


--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]
ah... weak atheism (1.50 / 1) (#131)
by Zombie Schrodingers Cat on Sun Dec 31, 2006 at 01:03:55 PM EST

So what do you think of Pascal's wager? Doesn't at least some part of you think "maybe I should be a moral person, just in case"?

Anyway I stand by my argument that atheism is indistinguishable from any other religion. If I started a cult and made one of its central beliefs that "this is not a religion" would that mean that people outside of this religion should not consider it a religion, even if it is a religion in all other ways.

You are arguing that atheism can't be a religion because you don't believe in any deities. But there isn't any deities in buddhism either, so are you saying buddhism isn't a religion? From my perspective Buddhists don't have any deities and admit it is a religion, atheists don't have any deities don't admit it's a religion. They only real difference here is something that only atheists themselves believe. So only an atheist believes that atheism is not a religion, any non-atheist (that doesn't subscribe to the atheist first commandment "atheism is not a religion") will consider it as a religion.

I define atheism to simply be the non-belief in God. This does not exclude it from being a religion. But since it seems to be a core part of your faith that atheism is defined to be not a religion, then I guess there isn't any point to argue this further. How you label something isn't really all that important.

Also interesting that there is a zealous sect of atheism and a more moderate sect. Shia Atheist and Sunni Atheists. Also interesting is the terms Strong Atheist and Weak Atheist. Since most people would rather be considered strong and not weak, this encourages atheist to be a part of the more zealous sect. This sort of manipulation is a characteristic of religions is it not?

The "therefore God doesn't exist" is of course incorrect. An actual argument would go along the lines of "you can't prove a negative, so come back when you have a description of a deity that can be verified". Which makes perfect sense, as I have better things to do with my time than trying to think of ways to detect entities like Santa, Baba Yaga, invisible pink unicorns, YHWH and the Lord of Nightmares.

First you agree it proves nothing and then you go on to use the argument to prove that belief on a deity is a waste of time. The "you can't prove a negative" argument proves exactly nothing. I can't prove that God doesn't exist therefore I shouldn't waste time trying to find God. I can't prove that pink unicorns don't exist therefore I shouldn't waste time looking for them. I can't prove that life doesn't exist on other planets therefore we shouldn't waste our time trying to find life on other planets. I can't prove that string theory isn't true so physicists shouldn't waste any time developing that theory. God, Pink Unicorns, Life on other planets, string theory, all have one thing in common: they can't be disproven yet. So does that imply that all of these things are a waste of time? No, the fact that none of these things can be disproven means absolutely nothing. Yet atheists, by cherry picking examples like pink unicorns seem to think the "can't prove a negative" is something profound. This is why I say atheism is as illogical as any other religion.

All deities are illogical if you have a very narrow definition of what a deity is. Similar to how I'm flexible in how I labelled atheism as a religion, I'm flexible in how I define God. If God is infinite, then God should have infinite definitions, right?

Can YHWH create a rock he can't lift? If he can, then there's something he can't do: lift the rock. If he can't, then there's something he can't do: create a rock he can't lift.

As silly as that question is, it is a really great question. Like all great questions, the answer is simple but at the same time very very complicated.

God did create that rock. We call it "free will". This is confusing but if you think about it enough, it will make sense. God is not bound by this paradox. God IS the paradox.

# Can YHWH ask a question to which he wouldn't know the answer? If he can, then he's not omniscient, if he can't then he's not omnipotent.

Basically you're asking if God knows the future. The answer is yes and no. Again this is related to free will. For us to have free will there has to be things God can't foresee. But once we do make a decision, say something, do something, etc. God will know. So the God in the future, the God at the end of the Universe, knows everything. God at the present does not. But God transcends time. So the God in the present and the God at the end of the universe are actually the same being.

This is something that is extremely difficult to understand (and even more difficult to explain) since its impossible to grasp the full meaning of the entirety of time. We can only piece together what we can from our limited glimpses of it. God exists in all times at once. He chose to be ignorant at one tiny slice of time so that we could have free will. But of course since God is everywhere and everything, he is us and we are him. So he is not truly ignorant, only experiencing free will through us.

God is infinite and he is nothing. He knows everything and he knows nothing. You cannot understand Him and you understand only Him.

Do you think that it should be effortless to understand and omnipotent and omniscient being?

[ Parent ]

Proving negatives (1.00 / 0) (#133)
by vadim on Mon Jan 01, 2007 at 10:34:05 PM EST

So what do you think of Pascal's wager? Doesn't at least some part of you think "maybe I should be a moral person, just in case"?

It's been long demostrated to be bunk. It's basically a bet on that there's only a deity, you chose to believe into the right one, and that this deity will think that you choosing to "believe" as an insurance is a good thing. Might as well send you to hell for that.

Also, this is bizarre in another way: Buddhism was founded by a completely normal man, who found enlightenment all on his own, starting from nothing. If you really believe that adhering to Buddhism would make me a moral person, you'd be actually implicitly saying that a religion isn't actually needed!

You are arguing that atheism can't be a religion because you don't believe in any deities. But there isn't any deities in buddhism either, so are you saying buddhism isn't a religion?

Buddhism has irrational beliefs - a requirement of a religion, such as: Nirvana, devas, reincarnation, etc, which can't be proven or disproven. Weak Atheism doesn't have any.

Also interesting that there is a zealous sect of atheism and a more moderate sect. Shia Atheist and Sunni Atheists.

What the heck is that? AFAIK, Sha and Sunni are Islamic, and very much religious. They even believe in the same deity the christians do

Also interesting is the terms Strong Atheist and Weak Atheist. Since most people would rather be considered strong and not weak, this encourages atheist to be a part of the more zealous sect. This sort of manipulation is a characteristic of religions is it not?

Personally, I don't particularly care what's it called. Those are terms in use, so I use them for clarity.

I can't prove that God doesn't exist therefore I shouldn't waste time trying to find God.
Correct, because not only you could never prove he's not hiding anywhere, you couldn't him if he existed. So whatever way you look at it, it's pointless.
I can't prove that pink unicorns don't exist
Correct.
I can't prove that life doesn't exist on other planets

Correct

therefore we shouldn't waste our time trying to find life on other planets.

The reason we look for life is to attempt to find it, not to not find it. Proving there's no other life anywhere even if there isn't is completely impossible: We'd have to search the whole universe, and as physics prevent movement faster than the speed of light we'd never be able to check more than a tiny fraction of it. Basically, short of freezing time and examining every atom, you can never prove the inexistence of something.

Proving there are no pink unicorns anywhere is impossible: You'd have to examine the whole universe.

Proving there are pink unicorns is possible: you only need to find one.

I can't prove that string theory isn't true so physicists shouldn't waste any time developing that theory.

String theory is something that I'm not very familiar with, but if it can't be disproved, then it's not science, and indeed a waste of time as far as it's scientific applications are concerned.

God, Pink Unicorns, Life on other planets, string theory, all have one thing in common: they can't be disproven yet. So does that imply that all of these things are a waste of time?

Yes. If there's no possible way to disprove it, then the claim is worthless.

God did create that rock. We call it "free will". This is confusing but if you think about it enough, it will make sense. God is not bound by this paradox. God IS the paradox.
That's not an answer. There are only two possible answers to the question "Can YHWH create a rock he can't lift?": "Yes" or "No". Both imply that he's not omnipotent, and that the concept of omnipotence itself is meaningless.
Basically you're asking if God knows the future. The answer is yes and no. Again this is related to free will. For us to have free will there has to be things God can't foresee.
Then he's not omniscient. Thank you.
God is infinite and he is nothing. He knows everything and he knows nothing. You cannot understand Him and you understand only Him.
Translation: God as you define it is nonsense, and therefore completely irrelevant to my decisions. If he's external to the world, then he's in no place I care about anyway. Come back when you have a coherent definition.
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]
But buddhists are atheists. (1.50 / 1) (#130)
by dark on Sat Dec 30, 2006 at 07:22:15 PM EST

Buddhists are atheists. They don't believe in any god, so they're atheists. I don't know why you'd want to make it any more complicated than that.

You're probably confusing atheism with naturalism, like OzJuggler up there.

[ Parent ]

How does ... (1.50 / 0) (#67)
by mrt on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 07:08:47 AM EST

Given that there is no purpose to the Universe what motive is there for being a moral person?

How does being an atheist == believing the universe has no purpose?

As an atheist I can give the Universe any purpose that pleases me. A religious person is limited to the purposes defined by their religion, which is probably just as well as both freedom and thinking are not suitable for everybody.

But from those of us who can begin our sentences with a conjunction, and give the Universe any purpose we wish, your answer might be:

  1. The motive for being a moral person is to increase one's survival rate, such that the extra time may be spent on investigating the Universe.

  2. The motive for being a moral person is to experience neurotransmitters such as dopamine and endomorphine. Hmmmmmm. Hypothalmus drugs, yum.

?
-

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous
[ Parent ]
Ok... (2.00 / 0) (#70)
by Zombie Schrodingers Cat on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 11:12:53 AM EST

Your second argument is an argument for hedonism, which I fully agree is consistent and logical for and atheist. But most atheists argue that they are not hedonists, so for them that is not enough.

Your first argument is the more interesting one. Basically you're saying that our purpose is to expand our knowledge. This is a great purpose (and happens to align with my beliefs) but it is not logical for an atheist. If the Universe is just a random glob of matter and energy why would you care to know anything about it? That's like me randomly generating a long number and you spend your entire life trying to guess it. Maybe you'd eventually guess the number but what the hell difference would it make?

You might argue that having more knowledge will increase our likelihood of survival, but why the hell would an atheist care about that? Our knowledge improves our chances of survival and our survival increases our knowledge. That's some nice circular logic there. The religious have a nice term for circular logic. They call it Faith.

Can you have Faith and still be an atheist?

[ Parent ]

What "our" are you talking about? (3.00 / 2) (#74)
by vadim on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 11:58:53 AM EST

Your first argument is the more interesting one. Basically you're saying that our purpose is to expand our knowledge.
What's this "our"? It's his purpose. Mine may be different. Atheism has no dogma or ceremonies. Everybody does whatever they want. Some will pursue knowledge, some will want eternal life, some just want a nice quiet life without problems and no preoccupations with anything in particular.
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]
It's like Sartre and Kant fighting it out... (2.85 / 7) (#101)
by nepenthes on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 11:27:34 AM EST

...but with Kant as a retard, and Sartre not making up his own words.

Perhaps you are already well aware of this, but essentially, zombiekitty is arguing for a basic deontological ethics, in which we have to believe in certain a priori guiding principles in order for humanity to 'work' as a group. These principles, he thinks, cannot be based upon rational consideration of consequences or else we are somehow 'sociopathic,' and we need to believe that the universe has a guiding purpose or else we are 'nihilistic.' You're just Kant but without the being-smart part.

Vadim is rightly (I think) arguing that the only true recourse we have in determining what acts are moral is our own good sense. Even if we are 'theists' in some sense, it's ultimately up to us to decide which god, which interpretation of his scriptures, which sect to follow, and so on. When zombiekitty decides that he believes the universe has some mystical and ineffable purpose, he's making the same kind of choice as Vadim in determining his moral code, he's just in bad faith denying the actual groundlessness of his decision. Perhaps you would both benefit from reading old J-P's classic, 'existentialism is a humanism.'

http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/sartre/works/exist/sartre.htm

In any case, my point: this is an interesting debate about morals, even if I think that zombiekitty is terribly, terribly wrong. However, what it's not, is a debate about atheism. Zombiekitty, you said earlier that you don't believe in an old man with a grey beard who runs shit, but that you believed that the universe has some sort of guiding purpose, an ultimate 'telos,' if you will. And yet you haven't provided anything to support this claim but some Kantian ramblings on morality, which have nothing to do with the actual nature of the 'universe.' You ask: Can you have faith and still be an atheist? Of course you can. You have faith that the universe has a purpose, and yet you are an atheist. You don't believe in a 'god,' but rather, you generalize some mystical pap about the nature of the universe from your particular conception of morality. By any common definition of atheist (and recall that earlier you complained about someone using a supposedly contrived definition of 'sociopath'), you don't believe in a god. And yet this whole little monist philosophy you've got going to reassure yourself about your divine purpose is built on nothing but faith.

As Sartre so eloquently shows in the above link... we're all atheists. None of us truly 'believe' in God, the way that we 'believe' in gravity, or rocks, or sandwiches. Instead, we make up stories and decide to believe in them, to comfort ourselves. In bad faith, we construct a story for ourselves that we know to be fiction. Some of us believe in a god, a hypothetical 'first mover,' who got all of this going, and guides our path with his supposedly loving hand. Everyone else is an atheist -- even if they have decided to buy into some bullshit universe-cultism borne of too many Carl Sagan documentaries.

dun-dun!

[ Parent ]

I am generally content with lurking k5... (2.50 / 1) (#132)
by tx on Mon Jan 01, 2007 at 05:36:46 PM EST

but sometimes a '3' is not just enough.

Thank you very much.

[ Parent ]

post more please -nt (none / 0) (#162)
by zenofchai on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 09:37:58 PM EST


--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]
You are missing the (my) point ... (2.00 / 1) (#109)
by mrt on Mon Dec 25, 2006 at 03:53:10 AM EST

Your first argument is the more interesting one. Basically you're saying that our purpose is to expand our knowledge.

No I am not. I am saying that is one of the purposes an atheist can give to the universe if they so choose. Choosing a purpose for the universe is what seems to confuse you.

This is a great purpose (and happens to align with my beliefs) but it is not logical for an atheist.

Why? Because an atheist is a nihilist? An atheist is not neccessarily a nihilist, although they can be if they so chose. Having a purpose is completely different than having a god. A purpose can be personal, but a god is for all.

If the Universe is just a random glob of matter and energy why would you care to know anything about it?

Why wouldn't you? The answer to both of those questions however have NOTHING TO DO WITH A BELIEF IN A GOD.

That's like me randomly generating a long number and you spend your entire life trying to guess it.

No it isn't. Because
a) The Universe is not random. At least, not currently, and I defy any Atheist to claim it is and
b) A long random number is a defined domain, and nothing new can be learned from guessing it.

You might argue that having more knowledge will increase our likelihood of survival, but why the hell would an atheist care about that?

Some atheists believe that they are annihilated when they die, and so want to prolong annihilation as long as possible. You are thinking about Nihilists, that don't care whether they live or die.

Our knowledge improves our chances of survival and our survival increases our knowledge. That's some nice circular logic there.

Ahhhh ... no. It's not circular logic, it is perfectly linear logic. If you were an atheist you might be intelligent enough to understand that. Let me replace some words in the sentence above to see if you can understand.

Our prospertity improves our chances of survival and our survival increases our prosperity.

Try telling an economic rationalist that sentence is circular logic and get prepared for someone to laugh in your face.

The religious have a nice term for circular logic. They call it Faith.

You just make up word definitions as you go along right? Faith is a conviction or belief that a person holds despite a lack of evidence or body of proof. It has nothing to do with circular logic.

Certainly there are those who attempt to assault someone's Faith by pointing out contradictory elements of their religion, but that their faith can sustain such an attack does not change the definition of faith.

-

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous
[ Parent ]

YES (none / 0) (#165)
by Mister Noodles on Sun Jan 28, 2007 at 05:55:20 AM EST

An atheist can have faith, as long as it isn't faith in a spiritual power. The term atheist simply means one who does not believe in a god. Though there are many religions without deities, their members are not identified as atheists because they believe in spiritual forces. So the common definition of an atheist would more accurately be one who does not believe in spiritual/supernatural forces. This means an atheist can have faith in family, friends, country, etc. Atheists can also have morals. There is no restriction on that. The only differences between religious morality and atheistic morality are: 1)religious morality is often dictated by the spiritual, not chosen by the person, as in atheism. 2)violating a religious code of morals often has a spiritual consequence, i.e. damnation, negative karma, spiritual unenlightenment.

As to the logic problem, this is mostly a misunderstanging. When atheists (or anyone, for that matter) criticize a religion for being illogical, it has little or nothing to do with morals or the meaning of basic human needs. Except when it comes to sex; that's always a tricky subject. But the illogical aspects of a religion are mainly its traditions and spiritual beliefs. People often criticize the belief in a god because there is no evidence to lead to such a conclusion. People also criticize prayer in schools or having a reference to God in the constitution (this was actually added during the McCarthy era to imply that America had God's support and that the communists were Godless villains). Those criticisms address issues both small and large, but they are not about morality. You will rarely hear an atheist or nonbeliever complain that it is illogical not to murder or rape, or that stealing and lying are not the least bit wrong.

To put it simply, an atheist does not reject all meaning, but only that which seems unrealistic to him/her. Atheism is a response to religion, a shedding of its unnecessary elements. It is not a rejection of all things; that is nihilism, at least in theory. It would be highly irrational, and nearly impossible, to discard all sense of meaning and importance. Wether or not God exists has nothing to do basic human nature.

[ Parent ]

You haven't made a valid criticism (1.50 / 2) (#117)
by JetJaguar on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 08:19:51 PM EST

But on the other hand you have no rational reason for being a moral person. Yet for some unknown reason atheists do try to be moral.

I suggest you consider these statements carefully, because they point directly at the flaw in your argument. Is it really the case that all those "moral" atheists behave the way they do for the hell of it? Or are your assumptions incorrect? The fact is, there have been whole books written about this subject that make cogent, rational arguments for moral behavior independent of religious doctrine. The supposed gap you see in atheist belief is really a gap in your own knowledge of how moral behavior can be logically justified.

I will note that logically justified morality has a number of things in common with religious morality, which isn't terribly surprising. Religious morality is ultimately based on the same logical conclusions with a lot of other superstitions thrown in for good measure.

[ Parent ]

But what about... (none / 0) (#164)
by jwdb on Sat Jan 27, 2007 at 07:06:13 AM EST

You're only considering the scientific atheist position. What about humanistic atheists, such as Marx who saw God as a system for supporting the existing power structure, or Freud who saw God as a projection of one's internal desires and the sign of an immature mind? They were atheists, but not for lack of proof in God.


[ Parent ]
Non sequitur (1.50 / 0) (#113)
by terri416 on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 12:33:10 AM EST

"If I do not care about the universe or anything in it and I believe that there is no authoritative source of values or moral guidance and so no action is better or worse than any other, I am a nihilist."

Given 'without an authoritative source of values of moral guidance' it does not follow that 'no action is better or worse'.

Consider lying. This is an act of aggression broadly comparable to violence. If you attack me (by lying to me or about me), then you make me your enemy. Is that your intention? Do you think that making enemies is of no consequence? Look at George and Tony - their lies have killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and made them an even greater number of enemies; and making unnecessary enemies is only one of many, many ways to screw up.
Ethics is about how you treat people. How you treat people has consequences. Consequences matter.

Without a "moral authority", I have to take responsibility for my decisions. I cannot point a finger elsewhere.
By comparison, Christians and Muslims are moral cowards: they are always hiding behind their holy books, using their god[s] as a scapegoat. They have so many excuses for evil: "God told me to do it", "It's in the [holy book]", "I was only following orders". Spineless moral cowards.

Nihilism is the rejection of faith, not of reason. Consequences matter.

[ Parent ]

Pretty much (3.00 / 2) (#37)
by nidarus on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 06:58:22 PM EST

I realized that the concept of "God" means "an old man with a white beard etc. etc. etc".

You can make up random philosophical concepts and call them "God" if you like, but that certainly wouldn't be the Judeo-Christian God.

And I don't really care about The Universe as a whole. I know it exists. I know I, and everything I know is a part of it. And... that's about it.

Do you think I should have a more intimate relationship with it?

[ Parent ]

heh... (2.00 / 0) (#72)
by Zombie Schrodingers Cat on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 11:40:12 AM EST

Well if God is the Universe then if you are intimate with anyone within the Universe then you are being intimate with God, right?

[ Parent ]
Not really (1.00 / 0) (#93)
by nidarus on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 11:29:50 PM EST

Unless you believe in a holographic universe of some sort

[ Parent ]
So you didn't go any further? (1.50 / 0) (#15)
by ksandstr on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 10:40:22 AM EST

I mean, from there it's pretty obvious that the gods of whichever religion can very well be taken as abstractions pasted on top of the very observable phenomenon of "the universe" and the myriad interactions therein. Holy books, then, become interpretations of the above in the context in which they were written, translated, reinterpret and translated again, you know, the whole "but I don't know where this scripture has been!" thing.

I expect something similar applies to worship. Some like to do it with others who've branded themselves the same way, others do it in private, and still others do it on the sly without any ceremony whatsoever.

Seriously though, why the hell should anyone care what other people think about what the conventionally religious call God? Isn't that, as they say, "between Him and me"? I'd rather not depend on someone else's interpretation, being as these things would seem rather important, and not in the Going to teh Hellz0r sense.

Fin.
[ Parent ]

Because the conventionally religious (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by eraserewind on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 11:56:06 AM EST

Because the conventionally religious are a political force it matters to the rest what they believe. "The Universe" does not demand worship or adherence to a particular set of rules. Conventional religions and their gods do. Therefore the contents of their books are important and in as much as they are wrong need to be debunked.

And frankly the universe just "is". There is no "why?" although we make good progress on the "how?". It's not a god in any traditional sense of the word. We can apply the word to it loosely as a metaphor, but shouldn't lose sight of the fact of what we are doing.

[ Parent ]

I dunno, what do you mean? (1.50 / 0) (#38)
by nidarus on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 07:08:00 PM EST

I think I agree with you that most religions are mostly attempts at explaining the universe. However, I find the scientific method of explaining the universe much more logical and intuitive than the traditional religious one (that relies on mystic "revelations" and ancient texts of divine origin).

So I leave the whole "religion" and "God" things to the "conventionally religious". I mean, they invented these concepts, and there's no reason for me to pervert them into something completely unrelated.

[ Parent ]

False (1.50 / 1) (#28)
by starX on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 04:26:52 PM EST

you'd realise that the universe is itself a supreme being.

"Being" in this context implies sentience. There is no science available that suggests this, nor do you offer any evidence to the effect.

And that means that you believe in nothing, does it not? Which makes you a nihilist.

Since you really have no idea what nihilism is, you shouldn't be trying to make any arguments as to whether or not someone is a nihilist.

"I like you starX, you disagree without sounding like a fanatic from a rock-solid point of view. Highfive." --WonderJoust
[ Parent ]

Don't be dragging nihilism into this. (3.00 / 3) (#9)
by OzJuggler on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 09:52:39 AM EST

> agreed?

No.

After reaquainting myself with the definition of nihilism I don't see that your first analogy holds any water. You're suggesting that a disbelief in the Christian god (to say nothing of the other gods) is easily mistaken for a lack of faith in any kind of general principle. This would imply that Newton's laws of motion are incompatible with Islam, which would probably come as a surprise to a lot of muslims that wouldn't use these general principles every day if they didn't believe in them.

> christian is to fundamentalist as
> faithfulness in god is to blind obedience to dogma

Bah. Christians that aren't fundamentalists are just metaphysical tourists that are only in it for the weekend barbecues and cut-price child day care. Simply put, if you're not a fundamentalist then you're not really religious. You either believe it or you don't. Even fuzzy logic doesn't cut the mustard because the purported rewards and punishments these religions will promise you are not planned to be dealt out on the basis that you 67% believed in the Holy Spirit. Nor will Satan let you off lightly with a roasting in aisle B of the 3rd level of Hell if you refused to commit murder in 9 out of ten opportunities. It's in the very core of this dogma that you're either in boots and all, or you're out, and you don't want to be out.

Similarly, if one cannot critically evaluate common and garden variety christianity and see that it is bunk, what hope is there that fundamentalism will be kept at bay?

Your implicit suggestion that a difference of degree demands a commensurate difference in response is uncharacteristically sensible of you. Duh. Water is wet. Herring is red.

There is a bare minimum that people have to believe to be deserving of the title of "Christian", and they should either cough up the evidence for those beliefs, or stop being christians. Either way they would no longer earn the criticism of naturalists.

The criticism naturalists have for christians treats those christians as fundamentalists because that's what christians will be guided towards if the naturalist voice of rationality does not intervene.

> don't mistake normal everyday christians for fundamentalists and they won't mistake you for nihilists

Meh, care factor zero.

It is no threat to my ego as an atheist if a group of people incapable of critical thinking mistake me for a nihilist.

Your trolling strategy seems to revolve around the idea that, contrary to the claims of both atheists and christians, nobody is really any better than anybody else. Coming from a free market capitalist that sounds more nihilistic than anything the atheists have ever said.

 - OzJuggler
"And I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together
at Osama's homo abortion pot and commie jizzporium." - Jon Stewart's gift to Bill O'Reilly, 7 Dec 2005.
[ Parent ]

ror (1.50 / 1) (#23)
by Metamorphorical Rock on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 12:22:46 PM EST

As a naturalist and a former Christian who used to believe that you had to be fundamentalist to be Christian, I have to say that you're lack of tolerance neatly dovetails with your ignorance. I don't claim to know if cts is trolling or not, but your post pretty much proves his point. <troll paranoia>Oh shit. Unless you're trolling me.</troll paranoia>

As an aside, neither you nor Muslims nor anyone else use Newton's laws (some of which are highly unintuitive, or are difficult to apply correctly without practice, or rarely apply in everyday experience) in the vast majority of everyday life, any more than did those who lived prior to 1687. This is a pet peeve and a nitpick, not to be confused with a refutation of your "implication," which is based on a laughable strawman and, like your entire post, just wrong on several levels.

[ processed instant god ]
[ Parent ]

Me? You talkin' to me? (2.00 / 1) (#57)
by OzJuggler on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 11:08:49 PM EST

My lack of tolerance? It's not my tolerance to provide or withhold. It's christianity itself that makes up these all-or-nothing ultimatums. If that's the tolerance you're talking about then you're after the wrong guy.

If you're referring to my lack of tolerance for religious people, then it is your own ignorance that it now on display. Two of my friends married each other a few years ago, she being a seventh day adventist and he knowing fully what this would mean for him, and they invited me to their wedding. Was OzJuggler calling the minister a soul loan shark from the back? Nooo. Do I lecture her on thorny issues of creationism and deontology, no I do not. I was happy for both of them.

That is really one of the tragedies of religion. So many kind and well-intentioned people walking around with a dangerous idea in their heads. So many people that can't allow themselves to take credit for their own achievements or admit that there is such a thing as random luck. I do find their ideas intellectually lazy and quite annoying, but saying that I have no tolerance for the people just shows how much you're prepared to presume about me to build your own strawman argument.

OzJuggler
"And I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together
at Osama's homo abortion pot and commie jizzporium." - Jon Stewart's gift to Bill O'Reilly, 7 Dec 2005.
[ Parent ]

Why do you assume that I am wet? (2.00 / 2) (#46)
by Water on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:11:08 PM EST

I am not a woman.

[ Parent ]
All or Nothing (none / 0) (#166)
by Mister Noodles on Sun Jan 28, 2007 at 06:51:51 AM EST

You make a good point about the casual nature of modern Christianity. It's something that's been puzzling me for a long time. It's true that the core of the Christian religion is the acceptance of all its beliefs. The Holy Bible itself is called infallible, every word of it the absolute truth. And yet there are a wide range of interpretations of specific passages. Some take the words literally, some see them as pseudo-metaphors. But by ignoring or rejecting a single verse in the Bible, one denies its infallibility. It's like poking a hole in a balloon with a needle; the whole thing bursts, and the thin veil of God's word disappears, revealing nothing but air. Thus fanaticism is the only true form of Christianiy, and any variation is wrong. Actually, any variation of the fundamental religion implies that humans can change or improve God's laws. That's a major mistake.

Fortunately, not every Christian is a fundamentalist. But those people should recognize that their beliefs are man-made and are not necessarily true. If they think their religion is a valid expression of faith, they have to admit the same about all sincere religions and belief systems. Their religion is not superior; it is not the true religion. All religions are therefore based on faith, not fact, and should be separated from the physical universe. Atheism and nihilism are just ways of thinking that are not faith-based. They are as valid as the perspective of a religious person who does not let religion dictate their actions. People shouldn't take their beliefs so seriously. That always leads to conflict, and that conflict continues as long as the opposing beliefs are in contact. Look at what it did to Islamic fundamentalism. Hundreds of years of conflict, and it all began with a disagreement over who should be in charge. Doesn't sound like fun to me.

[ Parent ]

The bible is an anthology (none / 0) (#170)
by the womble on Sat Feb 10, 2007 at 04:20:51 PM EST

My belief that the bible is not infallible, but much of it is true? It is not even one book, it is a whole library by different authors, why do you say it must all be accepted or rejected together.

The gospels are not even consistent with each other (look at the differences in accounts of the resurrection, the most crucial event, for example).

I personally think the Gospel of St John is the most authentic for a number of reasons (one is that if it is not largely an eye witness account, it is by a literary genius who understood realist fiction writing better than anyone else did for about a 1800 years).

Revelation also comes to everyone who is open to it, and the Bible should be interpreted in the light of one's own and other's experience of God.

As the latter is the reason for belief in the first place, it is more important than what the Bible says. If you do not have it, it is more honest to be an agnostic.

[ Parent ]

I wish cts would stop ever commenting (2.00 / 1) (#83)
by jubal3 on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 02:39:42 PM EST

about religion.

Since he has demonstrated repeatedly that he has not even a passing acquaintance with the facts on the subject.

see: http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2006/2/20/3858/45254

"fear of the unknown, fear of the other, leads people to assume there be radicals where there are none"

Um so the fact that basic Christian doctrine holds that all non-believers are damned for all eternity ISN'T a radical/fundy position?

-Get a clue


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

I think that (2.00 / 1) (#103)
by nidarus on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 12:03:15 PM EST

Taking any religious dogma at face value makes you a crazy fundy.

The main problem with fundies is not that they make things up, but that they actually take that crazy religious shit seriously.

[ Parent ]

Speaking as a nihilist... (1.50 / 1) (#112)
by terri416 on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 11:39:56 PM EST

"don't mistake normal everyday christians for fundamentalists and they won't mistake you for nihilists agreed?"

I am a nihilist, and apparently one who has more respect for you than you have for either atheists or nihilists.

I am also a Brit. Here in the Olde Country, the single most numerous "religious group" are the Secular Christians. They describe themselves as both Christian and non-religious.
I live with and work with such people and they are reasonable and sane. I cannot say the same for the extremists like the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the Pope, who both think that they can maintain moral credibility by inciting hatred (e.g. of gays). Such fundies are their own worst enemies.

Crib sheet:
Atheism is the denial of god[s].
Nihilism is the denial of faith.

[ Parent ]

Dude I never knew that balspheming the holy spirit (2.66 / 6) (#2)
by Water on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 04:02:04 AM EST

would land one in hell. That is cool. I bet you can really fuck with some ignorant christians with that one.

Yea, then they REALLY won't sleep with you. /in te (2.50 / 1) (#17)
by WonderJoust on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 11:20:54 AM EST

a

_________________________________
i like your style: bitter, without being a complete cunt about it.
-birds ate my face
[ Parent ]

"rational response squad"? (2.60 / 20) (#3)
by Jobst of Moravia on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 04:03:33 AM EST

rofl @ faggotry

---
              __
   .,-;-;-,. /'_\ ---Did this Negro say "Street Moor"?
 _/_/_/_|_\_\) /
'-<_><_><_><_>=\
 `/_/====/_/-'\_\
  ""     ""    ""

huh (2.75 / 4) (#4)
by khallow on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 06:47:50 AM EST

This sort of thing always strikes me as the "own goal" of evangelism. I doubt anyone will be persuaded by such actions. Given that I can't see the point to either side, I can't be bothered to care. But I am bemused by the reasoning as such behind doing such things.

Stating the obvious since 1969.

wow, once again south park sums it up nicely (2.71 / 7) (#6)
by the spins on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 09:25:24 AM EST

i can just imagine these guys motorboating between a transvestite's bulbous, misshapen fake titties.

 _
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/ \ SUPPORT THE DEL GRIFFITH MODBOMBING CAMPAIGN

This challenge has had fantastic results. (2.75 / 4) (#11)
by OzJuggler on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 10:06:35 AM EST

I always hoped there were cute atheists out there.
Now I have seen the proof.

(I will not embarass the poor girl by providing a link, and hell she's not even 16 yet you dirty scoundrels.)



I know who you're talking about. (1.50 / 0) (#27)
by j1mmy on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 03:51:25 PM EST

And I agree with your sentiments.

[ Parent ]
lol I will (3.00 / 3) (#42)
by Kasreyn on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 07:41:15 PM EST

clicky.

So damned adorable watching the precocious child trying to think all the way back to the misty prehistorical origin of her atheism in 2004 - or was it 2005?. Like, totally hardkore!

I'm waiting for the special edition with fashion commentary from Paris Hilton.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Heheh yah, and she's like totally serious. (1.00 / 0) (#54)
by OzJuggler on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 10:37:32 PM EST

Like, life is suffering and all that jazz. [ROFL]

And If I do die and go to hell... no wait I already said I didn't believe in god, or hell or the devil, soo...... I guess it all works out in the end, huh! (blink blink)

Soooooo cute. Possibly for all the wrong reasons, but I'm not complaining. heh.

OzJ
"And I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together
at Osama's homo abortion pot and commie jizzporium." - Jon Stewart's gift to Bill O'Reilly, 7 Dec 2005.
[ Parent ]

Apostasy in name only (2.90 / 11) (#12)
by starX on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 10:10:28 AM EST

And here we get to a sticky situation. If I say "I deny the Holy Spirit," as an example of discussion, am I guilty of apostasy? Probably not even in the strictest Christian term, and yet really that's all these people are being asked to do. A refutation of the Holy Spirit, or anything else for that matter, only "counts" if it is genuine. The catch: if you feel the Holy Spirit does not exist in your heart, you're damned whether or not you say you do.

The Knights Templar got into trouble with this, as they taught their knights to deny Christ and accept the Islamic faith in name only, but keep true to their Christian faith in their hearts, should they become captured. Their political enemies seizes on the training of their knights to say the words as an example of the heresy of the Templars. In the Christian context, what you say really doesn't matter, it's what you feel. Technically speaking, you don't even need to literally ask for forgiveness, you just need to feel genuinely sorry for your sins. Likewise, asking for forgiveness without feeling sorry (an act of attrition) is only good in that it is a way of acknowledging in some way that you have done wrong in another's (God's) eyes.

Christianity, liberated from the churches, is much more liberal than most church going Christians would be able to stand. So if you really want this free DVD that badly, go ahead and record yourself denying the Holy Spirit. As long as you continue to believe in the Holy Spirit, God won't care, and if you don't believe in the Holy Spirit, you've got nothing to lose.

"I like you starX, you disagree without sounding like a fanatic from a rock-solid point of view. Highfive." --WonderJoust

pedant alert (none / 0) (#161)
by nihraguk on Tue Jan 16, 2007 at 05:41:03 PM EST

you mean contrition, not attrition, right? attrition is the US in Iraq right now.

[ Parent ]
That's too bad (2.94 / 19) (#16)
by rusty on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 11:03:03 AM EST

As an atheist, I unfortunately can't participate. You see, the entire concept of "blaspheming" doesn't actually work unless you believe. This contest is for angry crypto-theists, apparently.

Still, amusing. +1 when it goes to vote. And nice to see you around again, E. :-)

____
Not the real rusty

I thought so having read the article, but (1.50 / 0) (#21)
by eraserewind on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 12:04:54 PM EST

having watched the linked videos they were not of the "kid acting bad to get daddy's attention" type that I had expected. Well, with the exception of the skydiving guy that is.

[ Parent ]
Free stuff! (1.50 / 2) (#34)
by Eloquence on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 06:32:41 PM EST

As an atheist, I unfortunately can't participate. You see, the entire concept of "blaspheming" doesn't actually work unless you believe.

Well, it does work, sorta -- you get a free DVD (though you can't choose the film). The only minor risk is that you might be firebombed by Christians.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

why christians? (3.00 / 2) (#39)
by the spins on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 07:11:33 PM EST


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[ Parent ]

Repeat after me. Naturalist. NATURALIST. (3.00 / 2) (#58)
by OzJuggler on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 11:23:52 PM EST

Because we should not be defined in terms of the thing we say doesn't exist. Only a religious person would call a naturalist an atheist. Naturalists call themselves naturalists. It makes more sense that way.

This has been a free vocabulary realignment service.

OzJuggler.
"And I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together
at Osama's homo abortion pot and commie jizzporium." - Jon Stewart's gift to Bill O'Reilly, 7 Dec 2005.
[ Parent ]

heh (3.00 / 2) (#85)
by khallow on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 03:13:54 PM EST

First, one can be atheist without being a naturalist. Atheism doesn't preclude belief in supernatural things aside from deities.

Second, while the semantics battle was lost long ago, I don't see the reason behind categorizing deities as prenatural. While some deities (eg, the God of Judaism/Christian/Islamic belief systems) would probably never be natural, it still seems to me that a more limited deity could be completely natural. Ie, just be an entity with extraordinary ability to manipulate reality or have access to significant power.

For example, if a being could destroy stars by dropping black holes into them, then that being would have more real power than most gods as represented in human religious systems. But such a being would not be considered a "deity" because it can be described in natural terms.

My beef here is that it's disingenuous to classify a being described in a religious belief system as a prenatural being and then attempt to determine whether it is a natural being or not. The result is assumed.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

"You use that word a lot. I do not think it.. (3.00 / 2) (#97)
by OzJuggler on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 06:49:35 AM EST

...means what you think it means." ;-)

As to your second point, you've adopted the most trivial method of being argumentative - to pretend that words mean something other than what they are typically accepted as meaning.

Look up DEITY. Any dictionary you like. Cambridge, WordNet, M-W, the result will be the same. It's a very short definition. We're not talking colloquially about Bill Gates being the God of microserfs. Supernaturality is basically required of a deity. Your inability to discern any rationale behind this assigned meaning is not relevant - the word means what it means. If English ever comes up for an international review and upgrade procedure, I will ensure you are invited to sit on Le Comité pour l'Attribution de la Signification au Mot "deity".

As to your first point, uhhhh..... um.... wellllll.... yes. But only for about 8.5 seconds until you realised the utterly ridiculous mental situation that you leave yourself in. This one goes out to all the irrational atheists in the crowd who only disbelieve in God out of misdirected spite: HOW MUCH INSANITY IS TOO MUCH?

I suggest the reason most people are incredulous about deities (careful!) is that they think rationality is a jolly good idea. This makes them naturalists regardless of what they might label themselves. I challenge you to locate anyone who declares themselves to be atheist (or naturalist) who nonetheless believes in ghosts, or goblins, faeries, pixies, underpants gnomes, elves, or any other supernatural1 entity. Good luck.

1 - The Invisible Hand Of The Free Market Economy doesn't count as a supernatual entity because it describes a phenomenon that must in principle arise from purely natural activity, even if no one has ever proven it occurs. Without this clarification you could easily claim half of k5 as examples.

OzJuggler.
"And I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together
at Osama's homo abortion pot and commie jizzporium." - Jon Stewart's gift to Bill O'Reilly, 7 Dec 2005.
[ Parent ]

eh, sematics is a lost cause here (1.50 / 0) (#104)
by khallow on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 12:29:59 PM EST

Well, as far as point 2 goes, I lost before I began. It still bugs me that the supernatural part of the definition is more important than the kick ass part. Further, it bugs me that we assume a priori that various beings of myth and legend are supernatural beforehand. From a naturalism point of view, you are assuming the beings don't exist at the start. Probably a safe bet, but it's still not logically sound IMHO.

I suggest the reason most people are incredulous about deities (careful!) is that they think rationality is a jolly good idea. This makes them naturalists regardless of what they might label themselves. I challenge you to locate anyone who declares themselves to be atheist (or naturalist) who nonetheless believes in ghosts, or goblins, faeries, pixies, underpants gnomes, elves, or any other supernatural1 entity. Good luck.

How about new age atheists? Ie, they can believe in all sorts of supernatural things (eg, an unobservable soul, mystic lifeforce pervading the universe, etc) while at the same time disbelieving in the existence of dieties. And speaking of fairies and such, I believe Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (author of the Sherlock Homes stories) may be an example of a spiritualist atheist who believed in such things. I can't find a good description of his religious beliefs, so it's possible that he had some belief in deities.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

I dunno if it's a deity then (2.00 / 1) (#99)
by nidarus on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 10:07:13 AM EST

At least not THE deity.

The whole point of gods is to represent the whole of the natural world.

Ancient deities were not omnipotent, because each represented just a part of the universe.

The moment you have a God that represents the whole universe, I think he has to be omnipotent.

Otherwise he's just a powerful alien.

[ Parent ]

hmmm (1.50 / 0) (#105)
by khallow on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 12:31:53 PM EST

It seems possible for natural beings to represent part of the universe. For example, heads of state represent their country in such a way.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

gosh, thanks for straightening that out, RMS. (2.50 / 1) (#95)
by the spins on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 11:32:53 PM EST


 _
( )
 X
/ \ SUPPORT THE DEL GRIFFITH MODBOMBING CAMPAIGN

[ Parent ]

Atheist don't have to be naturalists (3.00 / 2) (#100)
by nidarus on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 10:14:50 AM EST

They can believe in insane shit that has nothing to do with gods (as such).

Second, "atheist" is an important distinction (more than the specific philosophy they subscribe to), because most of the world is religious.

And third, atheists call themselves atheists. Where I live we call ourselves "secular". Just because you and your geek friends call yourselves "naturalists" doesn't mean that anyone else does (or should).

[ Parent ]

-1, insults Lord Vader (2.25 / 4) (#29)
by Metamorphorical Rock on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 04:32:16 PM EST

Anyone who implies that Lord Darth Vader is a member of the set of "other inherently funny individuals," or that Lord Darth Vader does not believe in the force, will have his or her ignorance choked right the fuck out of them.

Srsly, you don't go to hell for denying the holy force, you go to hell for practicing witchcraft or sorcery.

[ processed instant god ]

youtube (2.50 / 1) (#31)
by binford2k on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 04:34:35 PM EST

So how do you see a list of these freaks without signing up for a youtube account?

I don't deny the holy spirit (2.16 / 6) (#40)
by MrHanky on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 07:12:07 PM EST

as long as He promises not to cum in my mouth.


"This was great, because it was a bunch of mature players who were able to express themselves and talk politics." Lettuce B-Free, on being a total fucking moron for Ron Paul.
These people need to get laid (2.66 / 6) (#52)
by Tux on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 10:20:30 PM EST

BIG TIME

I think trolls and goatse are a fresh outlet for news and lively debate, too.
-An AC in response to the idea that slashdot is a fresh outlet for pertinent news and lively debate

Superfluous. Sex solves way more than atheism. (2.00 / 0) (#59)
by OzJuggler on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 11:41:11 PM EST

Besides, putting people in a situation in which they're liking to moan the title of god does not in any way mean that they've suddenly converted to Christianity. If it did, you'd see the Pope do a U-turn on the condom issue so fast he'd leave skidmarks on that shiny Vatican floor.

-OzJuggler.
"And I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together
at Osama's homo abortion pot and commie jizzporium." - Jon Stewart's gift to Bill O'Reilly, 7 Dec 2005.
[ Parent ]

big problem here (2.33 / 3) (#55)
by GhostOfTiber on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 10:46:03 PM EST

There is a Jesus of Nazareth in the Roman census of the time.

Which is to say that you can point to the records and see the evidence of the person including the writings of Constantine and company.  Now, this does not say that he is divine, it only says that the man existed.

I wish the other camp would offer up DVDs or some other reward for people willing to say that they believe and they must videotape themselves receiving their blessings in some type of crazy miracle.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne

oh, reading suggestion (3.00 / 2) (#56)
by GhostOfTiber on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 10:48:38 PM EST

OK, if you're willing to get over the idea that the other camp has some bias, there is a book (by a Catholic official of some sort) called A Marginal Jew which attempts to portray the historical Jesus as a man.

It's worth a read.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

B-b-but if you take the divine out of Jesus... (2.00 / 0) (#62)
by OzJuggler on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 12:34:42 AM EST

...then he becomes just another cult hero no better than David Koresh or Jet Li. Actually Jet Li is better than Jesus. Not only could Jet Li kick Jesus' butt and hand it back to him in a wonton takeout box, but he'd do it all while lecturing that woodturning preppy boy about love because that's what it's all about.

And that would mean Christianity changes into Paulianity, or Godianity. Not that this is any better because it still doesn't cut to the heart of the supernatural issue.

OzJuggler.
"And I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together
at Osama's homo abortion pot and commie jizzporium." - Jon Stewart's gift to Bill O'Reilly, 7 Dec 2005.
[ Parent ]

Arianism heresy (none / 0) (#155)
by svampa on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 08:23:41 AM EST

In the early years of Christianism there were two mainstreams, one said that Jesus was son of God, and another that said that Jesus was more than an angel, but not God. Finally (Century IV) the theory of God's Son prevailed, and Arianism was declared Heresy.

More about arianism

There were other theories, like Adoptionism that stated that he was not even divine. And all they were Christianism.



[ Parent ]
Riiight (3.00 / 4) (#63)
by godix on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 02:50:22 AM EST

You do realize the writings of Constantine and company were several hundred years after Jesus was around right? Relying on Constantine as your proof would be like relying on my word that Adam Weishaupt really replaced George Washington and it's his portrait on our money. Hardly a ringing endorsement of fact there.

Although I have no doubt there really was a man who preached against the jewish church, was so unpopular that only a dozen guys believed his shit, and ended up killed for being a prick. Is the bible the absolutely accurate story of his life? I believe the bible got as close to truth there as it did when it stated pi=3.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]

not quite (1.50 / 1) (#68)
by GhostOfTiber on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 09:27:23 AM EST

if you lead an empire the took a detailed census and was quite successful, I might take your words seriously.  But, point in case, you do not.

I take my grandfathers and my fathers war stories seriously because they really were part of the armed forces and their place in it was verifiable and undisputed.  

Constantine was the ruler of such an empire and while he may not have shaken hands with the guy like Pilot did, he would have had access to the records of the empire.

A stronger argument for you to make would be, "Why isn't there a gospel of Constantine/Pilot?"

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

shit I don't take what my grandfather told me (2.50 / 1) (#81)
by Water on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 02:27:55 PM EST

without a few grains of salt. You're naive. Anyway I think Constantine is a slight bit biased. I know you just believe whatever old people say, but most intelligent people don't.

[ Parent ]
Actually there's only one counterarguement (1.00 / 0) (#88)
by godix on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 05:50:35 PM EST

... i need to make. "Prove it." Believing what Constantine says isn't the same as believing your grandfather about the war. Your grandfather was actually in the war, Constantine wasn't around until several hundred years after Jesus died. It doesn't matter how serious you can take Constatines words, he can not personally verify that Jesus existed anymore than I could personally verify that Napoleon existed. While he, or I, may be correct the fact we say so isn't in and of itself proof we're right. If you can cite what evidence made Constatine believe Jesus was real then you may have a case, if you can't cite what proof Constatine relied on (or if he just relied on his beliefs rather than evidence) then there still isn't a case that Jesus existed.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]
Jesus wasn't an uncommon name (2.00 / 0) (#80)
by Water on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 02:24:44 PM EST

actually he was never even called jesus, but I forget what his real name was.

[ Parent ]
You mean Yeshua (Joshua)? (2.50 / 1) (#94)
by nidarus on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 11:31:22 PM EST



[ Parent ]
well at least they aren't blaspheming Mohammed (2.66 / 3) (#64)
by Delirium on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 03:34:52 AM EST

for their own safety and whatnot

Mohammed was a child rapist (2.66 / 6) (#96)
by I am teh Unsmart on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 01:27:59 AM EST

and not a true prophet of Allah. Let the torrent of beheadings befall me with interweb vigor. I'd like to think people's lives don't revolve around bringing up Islam every time someone spits in the eye of Jebus. Or maybe they originate in a country or countries overflowing with a population of pseudo-Christians of some zeal and a minority muslim population that is less relevant to their everyday lives than Indian casinos.

[ Parent ]
Related to this (2.66 / 6) (#77)
by nightfire on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 01:28:58 PM EST

3 years ago I would have laughed at this and probably made a clip, because I did, and still largely do believe, that religion was simply a tool invented for purposes of evil.

Now, while I still think it's stupid, I realize what it can feel like to have your own belief system under attack by others.  Not that I think posting on youtube is a bad idea.. I mean we (atheists) ARE a minority, so we have to keep our presence up.

But, anyway in personal situations I've learned to tone myself a bit on the antichrist rhetoric.

I posted this comment in another story as to how I came to feel this way:

Totally unrelated to this story, but your mention of faith in a non-religious context has some significance to me.

I used to be rabidly anti-religious, because I felt religion was responsible for all that's wrong with the world.

My own particular faith was in humanity, and that eventually people will do the right thing.

In July this year I became obsessed with the Israel-Lebanon war, because I have a friend whose family lives there.  When I saw pictures of what was happening, especially the one of the girls signing artillery shells, it pretty much destroyed my faith in humanity.

Since then I've realized that attacking someone's faith (I don't just mean ranting about religion.. I mean attacking someone and their faith) just isn't cool, no matter what it is.

I almost jumped off a balcony at one point and if it wasn't for my friends breaking me for a few days, and talking to me about it, and restoring at least some semblance of my original faith, I know I would have.

Seems actually ontopic here.

This is why (2.00 / 0) (#136)
by IceTitan on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 08:02:08 PM EST

when people ask me, "Well what do you believe in if you don't believe in god?" I reply, "Myself." Because I definitely don't have faith in anyone else to do what's right even by their own values.

Nuke 'em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
[ Parent ]
Your sig seems strangely appropriate $ (none / 0) (#167)
by wobblywizard on Sat Feb 03, 2007 at 03:37:21 PM EST


--
You never win an argument with anyone who fucks you or signs your paychecks. I just smile, bite my lip and sip my drink. --Philalawyer
[ Parent ]

I'm not quite following you... (none / 0) (#168)
by IriseLenoir on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 02:10:25 AM EST

That said, I often feel the same way, so it might sound contradictory. But we are usually better at seeing the flaws in other people's thinking, so here it goes... Is it not religion that was, again, the source of this war? And is it not religion that lead these girls into believing into believing that, unlike the enemy, they are part of the 'chosen people'? Should this not lead you to hate religion and people who turn their children into [fill in the blank] incapable of empathy for their own kind even more? This episode affected me too. I think that empathy is not always a given and children must be taught when to apply it, but they already know how and it is a fundamental part of humanity. This is a necessary for survival because there always has been division and life must go on after the killing an invading / competing tribe (in an environment that cannot sustain both), or killing of animals to eat, etc. But it's a very simple thing to do and I've had no problem explaining to a 2 year old that the woman on T.V. is acting and she should not worry about her, but that the cat has a will of it's own (unlike her very similar stuffed animal) and must be treated with respect and care if she wants it to play with her. In this day and age, the primary obstacles to the application of empathy to the whole of humanity are religion and nationalism. Religion really is evil you made it to be and I don't think you derived the right conclusion from that episode. I you wish the best of luck; being an atheist without resorting to other coping strategies (such as extreme individualism as a child post suggests) and still keeping your sanity is not easy. As such, it is easy to forgive others for choosing religion as an escape route. But I don't believe it is doing them, or you, any good.
"liberty is the mother of order, not its daughter" - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
[ Parent ]
Jesus Christ deniers (2.33 / 3) (#108)
by Hung Three on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 02:06:48 PM EST

It is certainly possible that Jesus never existed. Unfortunately, if you go down that route, you will by general consistency (assuming you've not abandoned it) be forced to concede history until modern times, since much of it rests on even shakier grounds than Jesus.

--
Behead those who insult Marx.
History is not fixed (none / 1) (#154)
by svampa on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 08:04:56 AM EST

A lot of historical facts and people, particulary those who are popular, are not as clear as people think. Historians may be sure of a fact in a 60%, logically it is accepted instead of that fact with a probablility 40%.

I don't have any problem in accepting that history has a percentage of error, the older, the greater.

Another question is that we, common people, only know the 60% theory, and have never heard the others theories. But history can be rewriten, and often it is. If new data or documents that come out change the history, I don't have any problem in accepting changing my knowledges of history. On the other hand, religous people have a lot of problems in accepting new facts.

Moreover, we don't make any decisions based on historical facts.

How would change our lives if we found out that Columbus never existed and it was just the name of a hungarian captain's pet ? Nothing at all.

On the other hand, if religious people would accept that Jesus never existed, things would change a lot for them.



[ Parent ]
HOW BRAVE! I DARE YOU TO DO THIS! (2.00 / 8) (#111)
by dxh on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 01:30:02 PM EST

>videos of themselves, blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

Wow...how BRAVE of you all to try to insult a relgion based on forgiveness, love, and peace..what totally a challenge that must be! NOT!

You think you cool, then **I DARE YOU ALL*** to do the exact same thing to islam.....crickets chirping....yep thats what I thought.  Whimps.

huh?! (1.50 / 0) (#114)
by tannhaus on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 03:20:31 AM EST

A religion based on forgiveness, love and peace??? Christianity?!?!

We are talking about the same religion that carried out the Crusades and Inquisition right??  The same religion that inspires people to blow up abortion clinics? That the same christianity??

[ Parent ]

for some forms of christianity (none / 0) (#159)
by kromagg on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 06:24:22 PM EST

Catholicism has been pretty mellow the past 50 years or so. The rest, maybe less so.

[ Parent ]
OK (none / 1) (#158)
by nusuth on Fri Jan 12, 2007 at 05:40:25 AM EST

I did that many times, in writing and in public. And I'm living in a muslim society. But what is the point? When you insult people's religion, people get pissed. When you insult their momma, people get even more pissed. Why would insulting islam instead of your momma be more rewarding for me? Just because you are too frightened to do it yourself doesn't mean noone else dares to do that. I don't even see the challenge.

[ Parent ]
Selling your soul for a DVD? (1.00 / 1) (#121)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 10:06:51 AM EST

The DVD makers got ripped off. Most of those 350 people were atheists, and everyone knows they don't have souls. :-P
Information wants to be beer.
so the people who (2.50 / 6) (#122)
by wampswillion on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 12:36:23 PM EST

made this challenge-  what was their purpose for doing so?  to stretch the issue out to it's limits and study the results of their challenge?  for amusement?  to convince others that belief in a diety is a ridiculous thing?

i guess what i don't understand is WHY people care so much what other people do or do not believe in.  

is it not enough to just live and let live?  

i've struggled with the whole issue of religious faith.  a lot.  because i did used to believe in god very very fervently.  i didn't even have a doubt, really.  
but then i had some experiences where i felt the absence, the total lack of- the "presence" of such a thing.  

and everyone around me (mostly christian) is sad for me.  concerned for me.  worried about my wellbeing in the sense that now apparently in their eyes i am going to hell.
but you know?  it might help me more if instead of them being worried about my eternal damnation, they might worry more about my present state.  things like "am i lonely?"  "do i sleep at night?"  "am i overwhelmed with things?"  you know?  i'd ask them to think of ways they could help with those immediate things before they start worrying about my eternal resting place.  
and you know?  i think that's what we all ought to be doing towards others, rather than worrying about which god we should be praying to or even if we should be worshiping anything at all, why can't we be looking at how we can make life better and easier for those around us right now?  
see, i'd really like to believe in a god again, even if it's totally without intellectual merit and has no credibility.  the reason i want to is because i remember how safe and invincible it felt to me.  how protected i felt, thinking that no matter what harm would befall me, i'd always have that one security.  that one assurance.  
it was like the pebble in my pocket or something.  

but the arguments i've read going back and forth about this article seem to hover over whether atheists are nilhilists.  i don't see that at all, as i understand nilhism.  which to me, means not a total lack of belief in a diety like atheism does to me, but rather a total acceptance that there is no control anywhere over anything.  kind of a  "shit will happen, get used to it" and roll on with life.  

and then they are discussing that for life to have a purpose you have to believe in something higher or bigger than yourself.  well why?
and you have to have a purpose in order to act with morality?  why?  
why can't ya just decide that you want to live with a sense of morality because you want to?  
i don't get it.  

its because people don't really know 'how' (2.33 / 3) (#126)
by SaintPort on Fri Dec 29, 2006 at 02:22:36 PM EST

to love.

Girl, you hit teh nail on teh head today.

Really, it appears to work for a lot of people to live for the sake of living and be moral for the sake of living and living fairly. Can I fault that?

I guess I can say, "I respect the way you live."  Then I can try to just be available when asked about my faith. Or...?

In reality, people will place evangelism of 'whatever' over empathy because they feel guilt and/or duty harder than sympathy.

Sorta like why would a mercenary soldier kill an enemy soldier, even when he has a personal chance to refrain? Duty trumps sympathy.

And I ain't tossing stones... I'm the chief of sinners in this game. But something in the way you say this really hit home.

I have now decided to not really care what decision you make about your faith, but just be helpful, if possible,  as a witness in and of itself.

I had felt that seemed right before, but I easily get caught up in duty. I often feel I need to close the sale, for the sake of the damned(?), yes, and also, strongly for the sake of duty.

But the catch to that is that if someone repents/converts as the result of my pitch.... it may not be truly the work of the Spirit. When I do help bring in the harvest, my part should not be boast-able.

Anyway, something else, I've got a great deal on my mind these days... big career decisions and such... and began to have trouble going to sleep. So, last night I remembered to pray. I fell asleep in prayer, and while that might seem terribly disrespectful, it was very comforting, like being rocked to sleep by my father.

By the way, He did answer my prayers in His way. He totally ignored my direct questions about possible choices, and instead...
reminded me to check up on His sheep.

Much love,

<><

--
Search the Scriptures
Start with some cheap grace...Got Life?

[ Parent ]

Well Saint.... (3.00 / 2) (#157)
by JetJaguar on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 09:33:33 AM EST

I probably could not possibly disagree with you more on what you have choosen to put your faith in. However, I whole heartedly agree with the method you have choosen to employ to spread it.

You may be the first Christian I have found in a long time that has truly understood that you should be a vessel for the word, instead of spreading the word for your own selfish purposes. Too many Christians have been caught up in "spreading the good news" to stop to think about the means they are using to do it. The ends do not justify the means in all cases.

Neither you, nor any words you speak, nor any church or actions thereof will ever save anyone. By your own scripture, it is only God that can decide this, and it is the highest of arrogance that so many Christians believe that they actually have the power to save anyone. Only the individual, with the help of God can accomplish this, you only have the ability to help it along in some small part. In the end, it is not about you, but too few Christians ever come to such a humble conclusion. They speak about it all the time, but I don't think they understand what that means.

[ Parent ]

I find it disconcerting (1.00 / 1) (#137)
by IceTitan on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 08:09:34 PM EST

that the same 'Christians' that tell me not to blasphemy his name if I don't believe aren't really any better Christians than I am.
Nuke 'em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
Fuck jesus! (2.50 / 2) (#138)
by spit on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 09:13:58 PM EST

god is a cunt, the holy spirit is shit!

The Goalposts Have Moved (3.00 / 2) (#156)
by czolgosz on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 08:02:35 PM EST

You can learn a lot about a society from its taboos. For example, where I live, people talk openly about screwing but are uncomfortable telling someone how much they earn in a year.


Similarly, you won't go to jail, get killed, or even fined here if you commit blasphemy against [choose one or more deities or godhead components]. But if you take the name of Pepsi in vain, or Disney, you can be damned sure to be at the receiving end of a nastygram from some highly-paid attack lawyers and if you don't repent and pay up, you will experience a close approximation of hell on earth.


So, to me, these bozos are like the Creative Anachronism people. It's all good fun, but the party moved on a couple of centuries ago. However, I do confess that provoking fundamentalists is a cheap thrill, even if it's only slightly more sophisticated that fart-lighting, bear-baiting or the ancient pastime of visiting Bedlam to gawk at the insane.




Why should I let the toad work squat on my life? --Larkin
contradiction? (none / 0) (#160)
by nihraguk on Tue Jan 16, 2007 at 05:37:10 PM EST

hang on... you say a loving God won't damn people for blaspheming against the Holy Spirit... and yet quote from God's bible that Him/His Son explicitly stated that he would damn people for that behaviour?

so.... how do you resolve this contradiction?

Easy. (none / 0) (#169)
by IriseLenoir on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 02:20:15 AM EST

By claiming that either God is not loving as the Bible claims, that God doesn't actually exist or that a God exists but the one from the Bible is a fraud. If you had actually read the article, you would have understood that it's author choose the second option.
"liberty is the mother of order, not its daughter" - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
[ Parent ]
damn it (none / 0) (#163)
by zenofchai on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 09:44:20 PM EST

sometimes i miss all the good discussion.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
The Blasphemy Challenge | 170 comments (166 topical, 4 editorial, 10 hidden)
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