Zande, Arkenaten: Here’s How I Defeated You So Soundly


One simple thing: I didn’t let my ego get in the way of our interactions. Nor did I let my ego get in the way of any of my conclusions, or any part of my argumentation.

When you both learn the importance of that simple thing, you’ll do at least two things: (1) win a lot more arguments, and (2) have a vastly greater chance of actually getting to the truth.

Of course, at that point … you’ll be on my side, where there’s just a whole lot more evidence, argumentation, understanding, knowledge to be had in the first place. 🙂(1)

— xPraetorius

Notes:


 

(1) – Okay, okay, maybe there’s a teentsy part of my ego in there. 🙂

 

 

547 thoughts on “Zande, Arkenaten: Here’s How I Defeated You So Soundly

    1. Lol! Not yet. I don’t really expect them to.

      Goodness, I don’t even want them to. I’m not worried, though, if they don’t. I’d rather that they find happiness and salvation. (not in that order. 🙂 )

      Best,

      — x

          1. I can’t explain it. All I know is that he revealed himself to me. John, maybe you are trying to tell me something. Maybe I’m suppose to set him free!

          2. I always felt there was a calling why I originally majored in psychology. I figured working in medicine would be far more profitable. Now I know, I must convince others who fell away from their studies. OT VIII is where I can find the answers.

  1. Bahaha! Too funny. You are absolutely right, I have never won an argument with a man who knew how to speak calmly and keep his ego out of the way. Actually I’ve never even wanted too, they are simply too rare and too charming 😉

    1. Thanks, IB! Once the ego goes away, the whole argument goes away, and the thing becomes just a discussion between people interested in learning, and in obtaining other perspectives in order to learn.

      I’ve never found that state of mind, on the atheist side of things.

      Best,

      — x

      1. Without your ego you would soon let go of your belief in Yahweh. Ego is what fuels your belief; a belief that while claiming humility is anything but, based simply on the behavioral evidence and the belief that you are destined to reside in the mansion with many rooms once you pop your clogs.

        1. Let’s help you out with this, Ark. So that you can post better entries. Some of what you post is so silly as to be positively moronic. I suspect that you wouldn’t let it “out the door” if you were to give it a critical once-over before hitting the ol’ submit button. Here’s what your post would look like with all the fluff removed:

          You wrote:

          Without your ego you would soon let go of your belief in Yahweh. Ego is what fuels your belief; a belief that while claiming humility is anything but, based simply on the behavioral evidence and the belief that you are destined to reside in the mansion with many rooms once you pop your clogs.

          Now here it is, shorn of anything ridiculous, stupid, unknowable or otherwise useless:

          Without your ego you would soon let go of your belief in Yahweh. Ego is what fuels your belief; a belief that while claiming humility is anything but, based simply on the behavioral evidence and the belief that you are destined to reside in the mansion with many rooms once you pop your clogs.

          Now, here’s what’s left of substance in your post, that someone could use to put together a reply:

          .

          Well, cheer up… it’s not actually nothing — I gave you the punctuation at the end of the whole thing.

          If you were to re-read what you wrote, you’d see that if someone said the same thing of you, that person would be saying that he can read your mind, and can know your motives and why you do what you do. If you were half-bright, you’d bristle at that, because you know perfectly well that he can’t read your mind, so the notion that he can is too stupid to be a valid post. In theory, you’d perform the valuable service of informing the commenter of where he had mucked up. We’re doing that for you. You’re welcome.

          Warning: This is a service for which I normally charge quite a handsome fee. I might have to start sending you a bill if you keep sending useless or worthless posts.

          Best,

          — x

          1. You have a point? Your ego is rampant throughout your blog, whether you are writing about politics religion or music.
            ”I have been told I am good” ( in ref. to your guitar playing ability I think you said).

            You revel in condescension, you hand wave scientific evidence and fall back on faith and or your reliance n the bible at every turn.
            By the way, are you a Creationist?

            You show a complete lack of intellect in these matters, a disregard for genuine historical research and spend you blog time trying to make yourself look clever rather than answer direct questions intelligently and without obfuscation.
            These are classic ”debating” techniques of the internet fundamentalist.
            You demonstrate all the hallmarks of a humongous ego, my friend.
            Perhaps if you took a step back, had a deep breath or two and and made the effort to answer one or two questions with integrity you might learn something in return.

            Start with offering the evidence you claim you have for Moses and the Exodus.
            Let’s see what you are really made of shall we?

          2. Let’s analyze this just a bit, shall we, Ark?

            You said:

            You have a point? Your ego is rampant throughout your blog, whether you are writing about politics religion or music.
            ”I have been told I am good” ( in ref. to your guitar playing ability I think you said).

            Reaction:
            I believe that I confessed to allowing a bit of ego through, no? So, yes, there is my ego involved in what I post. Furthermore, the statement: “I have been told I am good.” is historical fact. Should I lie about it and pretend that it didn’t happen? That certainly would be silly, wouldn’t it? I actually gave you one of the tame statements that I’ve heard about my guitar playing. And my assessment of my guitar playing ability relates to this topic how?
            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –
            You said:

            You revel in condescension, you hand wave scientific evidence and fall back on faith and or your reliance n the bible at every turn.
            By the way, are you a Creationist?

            Reaction:

            • I revel in condescension?!? Have you seen what I’ve had to edit out of your posts?!? Lolololololll!!! You might interpret my output as condescending; while you routinely descend into the disgusting, the juvenile, the idiotic, the puerile. Heck you even admitted it, deeming that, your words, “it is so much more fun to swear at” people with beliefs similar to mine. I guess, compared with that mess, I’m okay with occasionally seeming condescending. 🙂
            • I don’t know what “hand wave scientific evidence” means, but I don’t think I did it. I certainly didn’t make reference to obscure, unverifiable sources of any kind, as you did.
            • Am I a “Creationist?” Hmmmm… That’s either a good or a silly question. I don’t know what you mean by a “Creationist.” I know what I mean by a “Creationist”: someone who believes that God created the universe and all that is in it. In that sense, I guess I’m a “Creationist.”

            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –
            You said:

            You show a complete lack of intellect in these matters, a disregard for genuine historical research and spend you blog time trying to make yourself look clever rather than answer direct questions intelligently and without obfuscation.

            Reaction:
            Oooo… Ow! Ya big meanie, you!

            However, some corrections are in order, to wit:

            • I guess the level of “intellect in these matters” that I show is a subjective matter. You go ahead and assess it as you wish. I’m okay with that.
            • Also, I’ve never once shown the slightest disregard for, disrespect for, disdain for, historical research. Not once. Not ever. I have mentioned that this is not the forum in which to play dueling historical research. That much should be obvious. You should know this, and you shouldn’t play silly games by pretending that I’ve done what I obviously have not done.
            • If you wish to conclude that I’m “trying to make myself look clever rather than answer questions intelligently and without obfuscation,” I’m okay with that too. Don’t forget, though, that you have this penchant for making nonsensical points, and asking nonsensical questions. When you pose a nonsensical question, it would be quite a feat indeed to respond in such a way as to make the question non-nonsensical. Zande’s big on that too… the whole silly “Is the universe a ‘complexity machine'” flapdoodle. It’s a nonsensical question, that doesn’t have any possible answer that Zande was not going to call, like you, “obfuscation.”

            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –
            You said:

            These are classic ”debating” techniques of the internet fundamentalist.
            You demonstrate all the hallmarks of a humongous ego, my friend.
            Perhaps if you took a step back, had a deep breath or two and and made the effort to answer one or two questions with integrity you might learn something in return.

            Reaction:
            Saaaaaaayyyy… did you just call me an “internet fundamentalist?!?” Ouch! 🙂 You are fond of your labels, aren’t you! “Creationist,” “internet fundamentalist,” — next thing you know, you’ll be calling me a “name caller!”

            If you wish to conclude that I have a “humongous ego,” you’re, of course, free to do so. Don’t forget, though, that you leave yourself open to the suggestion that you’re making the accusation merely to counter my assertion that I’ve left my ego out of all this. It is, after all, a central tenet of my last post. 🙂

            Also, if you wish to conclude that I haven’t demonstrated “integrity” in answering questions, you’re free to do so. I’m not sure I know what you mean. Are you suggesting that I’m lying? If so, you have to know that you couldn’t possibly know whether I’m lying or telling the truth.

            There’s a rule to which I adhere at this blog: I make the assumption that what’s said here is said in good faith. I respond as if the commenter actually means what he or she says. If you’re accusing me of not responding in good faith, that, I guess, is your conclusion. However, since I know that I’ve responded in good faith, that means you exhibit a tendency to find any response that disagrees with you to be a bad faith response. If you’ve set up that kind of silly trap in your mind, I advise you to un-set it immediately. That will allow you vast new perspectives, not just here, but in life as well.

            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –
            You said:

            Start with offering the evidence you claim you have for Moses and the Exodus.
            Let’s see what you are really made of shall we?

            Reaction:
            Why? I think I mentioned that I was not going to play dueling sources, studies, “experts,” etc…

            This “let’s see what you are really made of shall we” thing is kind of nonsensical. I’m made of the same stuff as you… possibly more of it, though, since I’m a big dude. Oh, I’m also not here to play “dueling intellects,” Ark. Have I mentioned that I don’t have any ego in all this?
            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

            Best,

            — x

          3. Phew … that’s a long post.
            There is a rather crude saying that goes:
            Baffle them with b******t ( I include the stars as I know your son might read this. he can tell you what the missing letters are )

            I suppose the tome-length replies ( which I must admit I merely skip scan) you favour qualify on the same level.

            So, no evidence for Moses? Not even a link to an expert who might at least support your claim/s?

            Why are you afraid?
            Do you truly not think I would not be highly interested in this topic?
            In fact, it is one I find more interesting than most biblical topics and I have researched this for years, so seriously, if you have anything you consider worthwhile, maybe I haven’t read it and would be fascinated to read what you have.

          4. Let’s provide a little assist here.

            Phew … that’s a long post.

            There is a rather crude saying that goes:

            Baffle them with b******t ( I include the stars as I know your son might read this. he can tell you what the missing letters are )

            I suppose the tome-length replies ( which I must admit I merely skip scan) you favour qualify on the same level.

            So, no evidence for Moses? Not even a link to an expert who might at least support your claim/s?

            Why are you afraid?
            Do you truly not think I would not be highly interested in this topic?
            In fact, it is one I find more interesting than most biblical topics and I have researched this for years, so seriously, if you have anything you consider worthwhile, maybe I haven’t read it and would be fascinated to read what you have.

            You said:
            Phew … that’s a long post.
            Reaction:
            Okay.
            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –
            You said:
            Baffle them with b******t ( I include the stars as I know your son might read this. he can tell you what the missing letters are )
            Reaction:
            Thanks. He probably could tell me what the stars are for, but I still try to provide a good example for him.
            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –
            You said:
            I suppose the tome-length replies ( which I must admit I merely skip scan) you favour qualify on the same level.
            Reaction:
            Oops. You mean that I go to all that effort just for you, and you merely skip scan? Well, I guess you’re not worth the time and effort then. That certainly changes things
            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

            You said:
            So, no evidence for Moses? Not even a link to an expert who might at least support your claim/s?
            Reaction:
            No real point, now that I know that you only skip scan.
            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

            You said:
            Why are you afraid? [Editing reason(s): #7, 10, 11, 19]
            Reaction:
            See the edits.
            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

            You said:
            Do you truly not think I would not be highly interested in this topic?
            In fact, it is one I find more interesting than most biblical topics and I have researched this for years, so seriously, if you have anything you consider worthwhile, maybe I haven’t read it and would be fascinated to read what you have.

            Reaction:
            No real point, now that I know that you only skip scan.
            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

            Best,

            — x

          5. And you result to being churlish once again.

            As mentioned before, your ego is getting the better of you and once again, you refuse to answer a direct question.

            I am quite able to take in the gist of what you write without dissecting every painful pedantic point you make, to do that would be like [Deleted: profanity], to be honest.

            You have been afforded every opportunity to present a reasonable case but have hand-waved at every turn, affirming the assertion you have little interest in this topic outside of your own indoctrinated point of view.
            It isn’t clever, it isn’t funny, and you come across as an [Deleted: profanity].
            But it’s your blog as you can be [Deleted: profanity] I guess.

            Enjoy your ignorance.

          6. Presumably, you mean “resort?”

            Love the word “churlish!”

            As for the rest of it, there’s no real point, since you don’t read what I write.

            Best,

            — x

          7. Isn’t you wrist sore? I mean all that hand waving. [Deleted: profanity] I’d be exhausted . But then, I am not trained in the type of obfuscation gymnastics you excel at.

          8. Just thought I’d leave this here, do as you wish with it.

            These are two sources found on JSTOR with journal articles written by professional academics. The two citations are written are published by University Presses and would receive academic scrutiny and peer review. Both citations are books written where each chapter is by a different academic with a different idea about Moses and the origins of the Exodus story, and yes some provide archaeological evidence in their arguments.

            However, what these citations certainly prove is that it’s absurd to pretend and assert that their is a consensus on the subject.

            In fact, it’s intellectually dishonesty.

            Johnson, Barbara, and Barbara Rietveld. 2010. Moses and Multiculturalism. 1st ed. University of California Press. http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.uis.edu:2048/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1ppxkf.

            SIVERTSEN, BARBARA J.. 2009. The Parting of the Sea: How Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Plagues Shaped the Story of Exodus. Princeton University Press.

          9. Many thanks, phadde2! I was hoping to get Ark and Zande to recognize that once we start playing dueling experts, studies, bodies of work, etc., then we’d vastly exceed the scope of this blog.

            You and I both know that there are hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of learned documents supporting beliefs friendly to the points of view we’ve expressed here. The problem is that once we go back and forth in that vein, we’d get quickly lost in the weeds of this learned document or that.

            Our purpose here is, among others, to probe the strengths of viewpoint of those with whom we interact.

            One conclusion in that regard seems inescapable; at least in regard to the posts of Ark and Zande: Absent their priests — the authors of the documents they like — Ark and Zande are lost at sea. They’re bereft of substantive belief that is not merely derived from the thinking of others. I think that Zande recognizes this, and so has conjured from the depths of his … something … Zlork the holder of all infernal names, or some such nonsense.

            – * – * – * – * –

            You’ll notice, though, that in the previous post I injected a simple point: “I’d had personal experience of God.”

            Ark quickly dismissed it as irrelevant, against which I pushed back rather firmly. Personal experience is, after all, all we have. At which point Ark abandoned his attempt to indict “personal experience” as evidence. I think he realized that to try to debunk personal experience was to tread on very thin ice indeed.

            Personal experience is nothing less than the glue that cements together the teachings that we receive from other sources. It’s important to understand this: My personal experience perfectly corroborates the learning of Christianity — and of Christ — that I’ve received from other sources. It’s exactly the same as if I were to say that “my personal experience of remaining on earth perfectly corroborates the teachings of gravity that I’ve received from other sources.”

            How can that be? Simple: I was open to the possibility of having such an experience. An atheist is closed off from such an experience. The atheist would try to “explain” away my personal experiences as something biological, or psychological, or “confirmation bias” or whatever, but one thing is certain: the atheist will never, ever have such an experience as long as he keeps himself closed off from the very possibility of such an experience.

            God does answer our prayers — as He answered mine, every time — and He does cater to our desires. The atheist pushes God away, so God … goes away from the atheist. As requested.

            In the other post, I also wrote another pregnant little sentence: “The vast irony of it all: God may prove him [the atheist] right.” God does withdraw from the atheist, not because God doesn’t love the atheist, but precisely because God loves the atheist, and granted him free will, and does as He is asked, and goes away.

            The effect on the “vision” of the atheist is, of course: “I’m right! God’s not here!” Well, atheist, you told Him to go away! So He did.

            But ask Him to come into your life and see what happens.

            Best,

            — x

          10. @Phadde

            Phadde, you haven’t linked any JSTOR articles. You’ve named two books. Now, I’m not about to read them for you, so could you provide me the general outline of what their central arguments are, and the supporting evidences?

            Thanks.

          11. Well! Finally! You agree with me that getting into the silly game of dueling sources, books, texts, documents, experts, and whatever all else is fruitless in a forum such as this.’Bout time, Zande! Now, would you tell that to Ark., please? He doesn’t seem to grasp it. It’s not a difficult concept.

            Best,

            — x

        2. Thanks for explaining this so succinctly.
          I guess I now have no choice but to jettison all of my beliefs, values and morals…

          (and it’s only 9:37 AM. What on earth will I DO after this?)

  2. x-P, this is undoubtedly one of the greatest lessons any person will ever learn and I sincerely hope they’ll humbly take your advice as pride is evil, something to hate and pride is the ONLY source of any contention: however, with the well advised is wisdom.

    ego…pride…that evil little idol that sits in the temple of God proclaiming himself in control and as god.

    The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride & arrogance
    The fear of the Lord [the hatred of evil: pride & arrogance] is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

    We must begin somewhere Zande and Ark… begin by learning to hate pride. Another great paradox of the Father: it’s when you’re humble that He exalts you.

    Thanks for a very informative & revelatory few weeks x-P.
    I declare blessings, favor and Psalm 91 over you & your work.

    1. You display so little humility, ancients, that it is a wonder you don’t choke on your own hubris,, so utterly convinced you are of the veracity of a supposed religious text that is so blatantly flawed as to be quite dangerous.
      This, of course, is your choice, and I would never wish to deprive you of this right, but to actively seek to impart this belief upon those who are yet to develop the necessary critical thinking skills to challenge/refute your assertions, especially where the claimed penalty for not following you religious beliefs is, depending on the interpretation, eternal separation or eternal torture in a place called Hell, is, quite frankly, reprehensible.

  3. @phadde2
    Both the people you list are authors and not archaeologists, and unfortunately you do not identify the archaeologists who are featured in the book/s which suggests you have not read either of them and merely Googled as I just did
    .
    Apologies if I am wrong here.

    If you can find a qualified archaeologist that has actually dug in the Sinai, is peer-reviewed and on record stating the Exodus happened as recorded in the bible I will be in church next Sunday.

    I reiterate, I am unaware of a single professional archaeologist that agrees with the biblical account.
    And I reiterate. Mainstream historical consensus considers the Exodus simply myth.

    But I am open minded enough to consider any evidence from any archaeologist you can direct me to.

    1. Strange, You read the entire 500 pages of essays?

      The academic authors, I, or the University’s who publish works must appeal to what your deem as an authority? What an absurd concept.

      I wouldn’t say I’m a historian, but my degree is within the discipline, I work within the field and having been trained in historiographical classes, the thought of having to rely solely on archaeology to explain silences (discipline terminology) perhaps would be okay for some empiricist in the field, yet they are the minority; however, all others in the discipline would use a variety of methods.

      Furthermore, did you read my comment? Each of those books contains a Chapter written by a different Academic and there about 10 chapters in each book.The chapters were compiled by those authors you determined unworthy. So you did you google all twenty authors bios to dismiss them as well?

      1. No, I read the Amazon link. As I explained.
        I did not sign in on the other page.

        Of course I read your comment and I mentioned it was unfortunate you did not name the archaeologists. Did you not read my comment?

        There is nothing ( documentary evidence etc) outside of the bible for any historian to be able to genuinely investigate to back the biblical Exodus claims.
        Oh, and I dont lie.I have no interest in doing so simply to bolster my beliefs.
        But sadly, the religious have a nasty habit of doing so.

        So, once more, can you direct me to a single current peer-reviewed scholar or archaeologist that is on record stating the Exodus as recorded in the bible is an historical event.
        This is not a rhetorical question. The Exodus is one of the most fascinating parts of the bible so if you seriously have anything then I would like to read it.
        But, preferably not written by anyone who operates from a presuppositional religious perspective, a la Bryant Woods etc.
        Cheers.
        Thanks.

        1. Are you just repeating my comments back to me?

          Here’s a question, you say, “I have no interest in doing so simply to bolster my beliefs.”

          Why are you here? You’re either here to bolster your beliefs, gratify an ego, or as an act to spread apostatize-tion.

          I directed you to an enormous amount of of peer reviewed stuff, 500 pages worth on the topic. Both of those citiations were from college universities, being around my share of University Presses, I know that everything receives vast amounts of scrutiny before leaving the door.

          However, you’ve selected a criteria from that which you will only accept, weird. Also Strange, how one of the requirements you prefer is “presuppositional religious perspective”

          I need a further example for ‘your’ empirical method on a secular objects to see what type of evidence is acceptable.

          Do you believe in Alexander the Great (no primary written documents, no tomb, had a trusted group of men–maybe created by them?) and Attila the Hun–after all he could be just a memory of the huns and roman people. (no archaeological evidence, written primary evidence written by the Christian Rome)?

          1. I did simply ask for a single archaeologist who will state that the Exodus as per the biblical story is an historical event.
            Is this such a difficult request?
            I am not in the position to wade through the books you have listed, thuygh I have no doubt they are quite scholarly

            I will gladly discuss the merits, or lack thereof, of evidence pertaining to Alexander the Great.
            First, though, as you obviously believe there is merit in the biblical claim of an exodus, all I am asking is the name of one archaeologist as per my specs.

          2. I’ll take a look. And if I can’t find an archaeologists? There are many secular historical thesis’ I believe that do not have any archaeology evidence.

            Surely, you know the absence of evidence is not proof, especially when there are written sources and historians who view such written sources as valid.

            Oh wait, I’m assuming working in the discipline, you do actually know this right?

          3. Oh you must mean like the settlement pattern of a smaller group. I think a Historian mentioned a group of Levites? I’d have to double check the sources when I arrive at home.

          4. The Settlement Pattern as described by Finkelstein.
            I am aware of the scholar you mentioned and read his article.
            His name is Richard Friedman.
            And once again, your sarcasm is noted.
            How are you doing with the archaeologist?

          5. Oh, so certain scholars have monopolies on terms? I was unaware, as I stated, I’m not home. So I haven’t been able to look; however, due to the monopoly of what could be the truth, I understand to convince your authority will be difficult. You may be right that there are zero, at least, zero ones that the Ark finds credible, at any case as mentioned before is not a proof.

          6. It is not a monopoly on ”terms”, for goodness sake.
            Again, why are you being ”pissy”?
            You stated you were involved with history so I presumed you would be a darn sight more involved with this stuff than me and have at your fingertips, as it were, all the up to date info; be familiar with people like Noth and Whybrayetc yet you seem unaware of Finkelstein’s work and likely that of Devers as well.

            I am a bit nervous to ask here, but are you seriously trying to push a supernatural perspective that supports a literal biblical understanding?

          7. I’m not pissy at all, I am having a delicious Coca-Cola, are you reading minds again?

            Again, I don’t understand why you’re so nervous, perhaps I would suggest seeing a specialist, or have a Coke.

            I’m not a literalist, however, like Praetori, I do agree with his defintion of God’s control over creation, rather than however you seek to misconstrue those words. I would say I’d more likely to be a Thomists, if that helps.

          8. Furthermore, I’m also going to discuss what I want to discuss and not be led by your own presuppositions. One of the factors that is difficult for Finkelstein is the origin of names, which is absolutely an indicator of settlement patterns, however, one that Archaeology doesn’t traditional follow, again let’s control and dismiss this evidence and control the terminology. No thanks.

            In the torah, Moses is also identified as a Levite, you’ve conceded knowing the argument of Levites. However, using the United States as a model, many people in a few generations have shed their former cultural distinctions when settling in a new area with others. One of the few things that remains is the name of origin. Levites, have names of Egyptian origin, which other Israelites do not. This is absolutely evidence, regardless of what you believe.

            How much credibility does archaeology hold? Is it fool proof? No. If most modern archaeologist do not believe in Exodus and if they are teaching future archaeologists, what will be the result? Well, using logical deduction, which has no bias, Most will have presupposition of belief on religion, which you’ve stipulated dismisses credibility. So dismissing Dr. Bryant Wood, especially when these Archaeologists who aren’t suppose to have religious presuppositions are black listing him. I am reminded in college I became friends with a Coptic Christian who was majoring in Archaeology. He often told me how his professors would treat him with disdain as he was attempting to find truth. I never knew what happened to Josh; however, I am sure he was black listed and changed his major.

            So we must logically dismiss your requirements, furthermore, it also we must dismiss that Archaeology is the authority on the matter, as it fails to include other evidence or opinions if one wishes to overturn the stranglehold. As the criteria, you’ve set up, would dismiss Dr. John Bimson and Dr. James Hoffmeier, so like others that I’ve argued before, you’ve created your island of intellectual dishonesty.

          9. Okay, all you have done here is have a rant without addressing a single point I raised.
            So, I am going to ask you politely once more, are you pushing a supernatural perspective of a more or less literal understanding of the Pentateuch with particular emphasis to the Exodus. Yes or no?

          10. I thought I answered that, perhaps, break it down a bit more.

            Do I think there was a figure or could have been a man named Moses who was Levite as told by the Torah, The Church’s doctrine, based on Academic evidence of Levite’s Egyptian names, Moses’ Egyptian name–as told to me by UofI history professor, and evidence of geology of plagues happened and the like by the article you referenced. ( I took a class on that in secular college btw) All spread through oral tradition so certain elements of the story could be hazy and not exact as references to certain things could have been renamed or wiped from the historical record.

            Yes.

          11. Again, are you pushing a supernatural perspective of a more or less literal understanding of the Pentateuch with particular emphasis to the Exodus. Yes or no?

          12. No, you are hand waving. I am not asking if you believe in the historical veracity of the character, Moses.
            I am asking if you adhere to an acceptance of a supernatural understanding of the events described in the Pentateuch with particular emphasis on the Exodus – and we can throw in the conquest of Canaan as well if you like.
            It is a simple polite question.

          13. Do I believe God is capable of miracles. Yes. Do I believe God is capable of conducting miracles in a supernatural way if he is God? Yes. Do I believe God is capable of producing miracles in by the laws of nature, Yes. Who am I to question the wisdom of God?

          14. It’s possible. However, it’s possible that God could have produced miracles through a natural way. The problem with your question is the rule of the excluded middle, surely you understand the fallacy of a yes or no question? You say: Yes or No, black or white. I say, “Datur Tertium”

          15. Well, we could analyse each event one by one of you lie? But you seem to be couching your terminology which suggests you wish to maintain scholastic integrity but also hold on to your faith in a divinely inspired Pentateuch.
            So what you present is somewhat ambiguous, ie ”If God is real he can do miracles.”
            Then subtly stating ”I am a Catholic”.
            ( more or less)

            So let’s look at a couple of examples: 1. The parting of the Red (sic) Sea.
            1.Do you believe Yahweh was in some way responsible for creating a natural phenomena – divinely induced Tsunami for example – at the moment 2 million ( or some figure) fleeing Hebrews needed to cross?
            2. Do you believe Moses climbed Mount Horeb and received the stone tablets from Yahweh?

          16. I don’t really think I have use for the Socratic method, if I’ve stated, All things are possible to God or logically Datur Tertium. The goal is, of course, with the method in some manner to contradict to me. However, even if I were to contradict myself, it wouldn’t prove anything. I am certainly not a Catholic Theologian and would have to reflect to form a complete answer to any question.

            However, let’s skip all of that arrive at the conclusion you wish to be the result. You’ve unequivocally proven the God of Abraham is false. What’s your end game? As my wouldn’t end there, now what? It wouldn’t make me an atheist, I still would believe the Thomists proofs of God and will still seek out the creator somewhere else.

          17. What is it with you? I ask simple, straightforward questions, you come in like a bull in a china shop, attempting to rubbish every secular archaeologist, throw in Woods – I mean Wood, for gooodness sake! What next Rin Wyatt, Ken Ham. How naive do you think I am?
            Woods has an evangelical perspective and at least one of the other scholars you listed – I cannot recall which offhand has said he will side with the bible over science if push comes to shove. Then you skip and jump without offering a single definitive answer?
            You know full well I am an atheist so why are you being so coy?

            If you believe in Moses as he is portrayed in the bible then stop pissing about and simply be mature enough and spit it out.

            You can’t have it both ways, and play all ends of this game – it doesn’t work.Never has and never will.At some point the wheels of that cart are going to fall off big time.

            One way or another the bible s either false or true.
            You accuse me of intellectual dishonesty yet you are blatantly trying to cherry pick an answer while tip toeing through a minefield.and still come out smelling of roses.
            This approach is disingenuous.

            So let’s start again.Do you consider Moses as depicted in the bible to be an historical figure? Yes or no.
            There is no middle ground here.

          18. Oh well, I can answer that one, as I’m not answering the intentions of God.

            I do consider Moses to be a historical figure, as well as Homer.

          19. Thank you. That is all I asked.
            You believe Moses to be an historical figure.

            Do you believe Moses met with Yahweh o Mount Horeb and received the Ten Commandments?

          20. Of Course, Moses could have went to a Mountain or anywhere for God to instill those commandments from the Heavens or in his conscience, I certainly wouldn’t be able to answer. As Catholic tradition dictates locations and other details could change over time. Also, those Codes and Laws could be present in other nations, as truth can certainly be universal, like the Codes of Hammurabi, pagan beliefs, etc. I believe I remember CS Lewis touching a bit on this.

            On Wood, Does it? Even if I don’t believe in YEC? Does that mean I should dismiss every other assertion?

          21. You haven’t made a single intelligible point all evening.
            I realise you believe you have. But that’s not quite the same thing, now is it?

          22. Well does it matter? If I believe I have and you believe I didn’t. The grand scheme of world history and religion, did we change anything? I still believe my beliefs and you still believe yours.

            Perhaps, one who is unsure may be persuaded by an argument; however, I believe from St. Augustine, God will produce grace for their will to decide and our points wouldn’t matter much either way.

            I just wish we could enjoy a cyber Coke together.

          23. Yes, of course you still believe your beliefs.
            You are a Paulinite and thus you are a self-confessed sinner – worthless in the eyes of the Lord – and require the intervention of a man god to make you whole.
            How wonderful! (sic)

          24. Ark, if you would have asked that as a yes or no question, I could have answered, yes to all of that! Man, a lot of time would have been saved.

            Now are we going to have that Coke? Beer? Nah you strike me more of a whiskey neat type person.

          25. This might be of interest.

            Professor Magen Broshi, archaeologist at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem: “There is no serious scholar in Israel or in the world who does not accept this position. Herzog represents a large group of Israeli scholars, and he stands squarely within the consensus. Twenty years ago even I wrote of the same matters and I was not an innovator. Archaeologists simply do not take the trouble of bringing their discoveries to public attention.”

            Any thoughts?
            Intelligent ones, I mean.

          26. Interest to who, you?? The text seems to be incomplete, but No, unfortunately, I just have logical ones. Any who study historiographical bias would understand he’s merely reaffirming his point of view standing “squarely within the consensus.”

            Curious, has there been a survey on any topic?

            Of course if the text were complete, I could determine if there were dismissal of the smaller group hypothesis, as Exodus doesn’t state numbers, again the dates wouldn’t be precise by the Catholic tradition.

            Empiricists would certainly understand that consensus doesn’t represent truth… …

            You’re so whiskey-neat.

          27. Well, I asked you for an archaeologist and you offered up Bryant Woods.
            And that was it, so your familiarity of the archaeological perspective is [Deleted: mild profanity], based on that offering, yet you feel confident to dismiss Broshi and claim it’s simply a ”point of view”, trashing a couple of generations worth of archaeological work in a sentence, yet you expect me to seriously consider a Young Earth Creationist [Deleted: profanity. Come on, Ark…control yourself.] like Woods who believes dinosaurs and humans co-existed?

            Truly, you are seriously [Deleted: mild profanity] on your own credibility with this approach.
            What next? Adam and Eve, Noah and a global flood?
            As I said previously, you wholeheartedly believe in a biblical understanding of the Exodus, [Editing reason: unknowable] supernatural events included.
            Sorry, but there really is nothing to discuss [Deleted: gratuitous insult].

          28. Actually, you offered up Woods, I merely stated that your dismissing of his work wasn’t logical based on your ‘presuppositions’. Other than that the entire time you’ve assumed my position on the matter, I’ve let it slide due to the fact there was no point of telling you anything other than what you concluded.

            After your mention of Woods, I offered two different people and after they were ignored, I did offer up Dever’s thoughts to augment the thoughts of Carol Meyers, but again, you don’t agree with her, therefore, you ignored my reference.

            As Praetorius has commented on, what sources any are provided they’re dismissed or simply ignored. So again, there’s no point to your game.

          29. @phadde2
            Maybe you missed this?

            He (Dever) concludes, however, in this lecture that in the much greater part the Exodus is a myth or “pseudo-history,” and that the early Israelites were mostly indigenous Canaanites

            See that? No Exodus as per the bible.

            Hope Dever’s remark has finally made this clear for you?

            Oh, can you find the link on your own or do you need a research assistant?

          30. Reading minds and copying my comments…haha!

            Oh I saw it, only I don’t assume a zero factor in his statement.

            It’s a very ambiguous statement, the smaller group theory still would be different. Furthermore, Moses still could have been among them, no way to know right, and he still could have received commandments. No way of knowing for Dever (TM)

          31. [Deleted mild profanity]. Are you serious?
            Not a single Historian worth his salt will state that Moses was an historical figure and here you are not only stating he was historical and ”among them” ( who are them for heaven’s sake?) but that he embarked on a Pensioner’s Mountain Climbing exercise to see Yahweh’s [Deleted profanity] sorry … backside.
            No, you don't assume a zero factor but you do assume do you not?
            Or maybe, just maybe he really hitched a ride on a Pterodactyl.
            Well, you never know, right?

            Truly , you are the best! A real laugh on this Tuesday Afternoon.
            A real silly person, but a laugh nonetheless.

            Well done, you.

          32. A rather silly question, Are your ‘Archaeologist’ searching for ‘truth’ Atheist? Again, you’re dismissing academics based on your beliefs, absurd.

            Oh and his colleague, I spoke to Dr. Heather Bailey, also history professor, also believes Moses is historical.

          33. It is not a silly question at all and will have a major bearing on his perspective of history. I said any historian worth his salt.
            Now, is he a Christian, yes or no?

          34. I have just done a search.
            Yep, he is Christian. I even began to listen to one of his lectures on his Institute of Catholic Culture page.

            Some others may consider that as a Catholic ( I am taking a flyer here that he is) he is not even a proper Christian.
            Anyway, whatever the Protestants and the YECs think, I consider he is Christian ( the Catholics invented your religion after all, so should be given credit where credit is due) and therefore, he doesn’t count as an unbiased ( worth his salt) historian.
            Sorry.
            Try again, phadde2

          35. Okay so you’ve admitted all those Archaeologists are biased? Fair Enough.

            Wait, so you haven’t picked up in the context that I’m Catholic? You really only read what you want…

          36. No, [Deleted: immature profanity], of course I knew you were Catholic, but what should this have to do with the historian you recommend.
            Oh … wait a moment. LOL ..

            Now, find me an historian that is not religious.

          37. No, of course I knew you were Catholic, but what should this have to do with the historian you recommend.
            Oh … wait a moment. LOL ..

            Now, find me an historian that is not religious

          38. Your methods are just silly.

            Here is what you’re asking: “Find a historian that’s atheist, who agrees with the Judeo-Christian account.” What?…lol

            It would like trying to find a marxist historian give a positive account on the Robber Barons or a Progressive historian who gives a positive account the Federalists and Whigs.

            No historian, academic–archaeologist is without bias. A lesson learned in history 101.

            Silliness!

          39. No, you misunderstand.
            I want you to find a non religious historian who is an expert ( preferably) on The Old testament.
            One who willlook at the evidence and draw conclusion from the evidence and not be hampered by any religious belief.

            In the same way that Bertaina would read a history of Julius Caesar or Augustus and dismiss out of hand any supernatural accounts of their lives, so I want you to find an historian that is unencumbered by presuppositional beliefs regarding their own religion ( and Moses plays a huge impact on Christianity) to offer an historical perspective on Moses.

            That is all I ask.

          40. Thanks, unnecessary, but whatever, you really think he will email you back?

            I’ve emailed academics before with about 15% success rate, you must have better odds.

          41. Nice work, Zande, I’m impressed with your diligence. I think U of I is off for this entire week though, I’d have to check.

          42. Yes, if someone rejects the chief archaeologist at the Israeli Museum, Jerusalem, (a Professor, no less), but says a Young Earth Creationist employed by the inerrantist Associates for Biblical Research is somehow a greater authority, then there’s really no point in even engaging this person any further.

          43. as Exodus doesn’t state numbers

            Are you serious? Exodus 12:37: The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children.

            This, of course, means there were around 2.5 million people on the move.

            Now, is there evidence of 2.5 million foreigners arriving in the Canaanite hills in the 13th century BCE?

            No. The settlement of the hills began (not so surprisingly) 50 years after the Philistines landed on the Levant, in 1100 BCE, and the population maps estimate those numbers never exceeded 30,000, spread out over 11 villages.

          44. Are you?

            Ahh, okay, fair enough Zande, I never thought you such a literalist, never states how many crossed the sea, and no, it doesn’t mean anything, just your conclusion from there is just BS.

          45. LOL!! Classic… Exodus says, quite clearly, what the number was, but all of the sudden the bible must be wrong! Brilliant. [Deleted: gratuitous insult].

          46. Ah No it doesn’t…

            Yes, I’m the idiot, following Catholic tradition, that Exodus may have come down changed and so I don’t want to connect two separate chapters.

            Oh well, I don’t care what you think.

          47. Yes, it does. Shall I repeat the exact passage?

            Exodus 12:37: “The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children.”

            You see, Phadde, 600,000 men + 600,000 women (estimated) + 1,200,000 children (estimated) = 2.4 million.

            Math!

            Now, where is the evidence of 2.5 million foreigners arriving in the 13th Century BCE?

          48. The Math does add up in one of the other 5 books of the Moses. You can take a look at the book of Numbers just doesn’t add up after to produce the same results, and I am sure you know that.

          49. Num. 3:43, Num. 4:34-48, Num. 26:62.

            The Catholic Church doesn’t view the Pentateuch in a vacuum. Literal numbers could have easily changed through passing down, and The Book of Numbers indicates it.

            I mean this your methodology, attempt to trip me up and once I do, insult me.

            Big Deal.

            Have a Good Night.

          50. This might be of interest:

            Professor William Dever, Archaeologist Lycoming College:

            “The truth of the matter today is that archeology raises more questions about the historicity of the Hebrew Bible and even the New Testament than it provides answers, and that’s very disturbing to some people.”

            “But perhaps we were asking the wrong questions. I have always thought that if we resurrected someone from the past, one of the biblical writers, they would be amused, because for them it would have made no difference. I think they would have said, faith is faith is faith—take your proofs and go with them.”

            “The fact is that archeology can never prove any of the theological suppositions of the Bible. Archeologists can often tell you what happened and when and where and how and even why. No archeologists can tell anyone what it means, and most of us don’t try.”

            “for the very early periods such as the so-called patriarchal period, we archeologists haven’t much to say. The later we come in time, the firmer the ground we stand on—we have better sources. We have more written sources.”

            “We have no direct archeological evidence. “Moses” is an Egyptian name. Some of the other names in the narratives are Egyptian, and there are genuine Egyptian elements. But no one has found a text or an artifact in Egypt itself or even in the Sinai that has any direct connection. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. But I think it does mean what happened was rather more modest. And the biblical writers have enlarged the story.”

            You’ll quickly write off Dr. Carol Meyers, Duke Univeristy, Archaeologist, works:

            “Too often in modern western thinking we see things in terms of black and white, history or fiction, with nothing in between. But there are other ways of understanding how people have recorded events of their past. ”

            “there are one or two Egyptian documents that record the flight of a handful of people who had been brought to Egypt for one reason or other and who didn’t want to stay there.
            Now, there is no direct evidence that such people were connected with the exodus narrative in the Bible. But in our western historical imagination, as we try to recreate the past, it’s certainly worth considering that some of them, somehow, for some reason that we can never understand, maybe because life was so difficult for them in Egypt, thought that life would be greener than in the pastures that they had left.
            And it’s possible that a charismatic leader, a Moses, rallied a few of those people and urged them to make the difficult and traumatic and dangerous journey across the forbidding terrain of the Sinai Peninsula, back to what their collective memory maintained was a promised land.”

            I think what it shows is that there’s still active debate and you yourself haven’t produced anything substantive.

            Perhaps, my answer should have always been: “faith is faith is faith—take your ‘proofs’ and go with them.”

          51. Irrespective of what Devers is not saying he is telling us the bible story – especially the supernatural elements is a crock.
            That is what is at stake, and that is what you are trying to wrangle a god angle from.As I mentioned in the beginning, you cannot play both ends of this and still hope to come out with a god breathed/divinely inspired text.
            So choose; but don’t try to assume some level of intellectual honesty and still claim”goddidit’ because that is a cop-out.
            Oh, and Devers has changed his mind and perspective on several occasions when new evidence has surfaced, fr which he must be respected, and each time he has acknowledged this he ended up moving farther away from a biblical perspective.
            Like this , for example …..

            He (Dever) concludes, however, in this lecture that in the much greater part the Exodus is a myth or “pseudo-history,” and that the early Israelites were mostly indigenous Canaanites

            Oh, and Devers is retired now in case you didn’t come across this while trawling all these new ( to you) internet sites.
            But I am very pleased you are now digging into some proper science/scholarship and dumped that Creationist arse, Woods.
            Well done.

          52. Augustine expressing his idea of forms to explain the presence of God and where God resides explains how those commands could passed through Moses.

          53. Regardless of our views, we should have a little humor and Well, there’s many ways I could go with the “get into bed” statement with Augustine.

          54. That is why I wrote it. Augustine’s Original Sin doctrine has been [Deleted: profanity] with the minds of Paulinites (Christians) since he wrote it.
            Much like the erroneous doctrine of Hell.

            [Editor’s note: Ark: are you going to grow up and control your language?]

          55. Here’s a different answer, even, I as a Catholic believe with the Catholic tradition which does not necessarily maintain that Moses wrote every letter of the Pentateuch as it is today, and that the work has come down to us in an absolutely unchanged form.

          56. Hi, phadde2! Are you seeing the reasoning now in my assertion that this is just not the forum for playing dueling documents, experts, sources, etc.? Especially with a pair of philadelphia lawyers like Zande and Ark.? There is a simple truth: there’s not a source or expert that will satisfy them.

            And, in fairness, there’s not a source or expert of theirs that will satisfy you or me. Why? We disagree with them! As they disagree with our experts.

            There’s just no point in the whole back and forth. As you can see, every time you point to something or someone, Ark and/or Zande call you an idiot and a moron and all sorts of other silly names.

            If I were you, I’d call a halt to it right now, and tell them that you’re not going to be drawn any further into such silliness, especially since they show no inclination to allow you to cite sources, and then to treat you and those sources with respect.

            By the way, you’re right. 🙂

            Best,

            — x

          57. Thanks, I certainly understand there’s no source for either groups, which I questioned what is the ultimate end game for them?

            I was wondering what when derogatory nature of their personalities would turn up. The truth was that it was laying in wait, If they’re representative of their core philosophy, I know few who will join willingly.

            Certainly, anything or whoever I wanted to bring up that they didn’t want to talk about simply was never addressed. On top of getting the double team, I tripped up, admittedly, my explanation on the Exodus numbering system, the Catholic explanation of numbers, and comparing Exodus with The Numbers census, as the common naysayer asserts that 2 million folks couldn’t pass– I attempted to acknowledge that point, my mistake. I attempted to frame with in a comparison of the two different biblical sources. I suppose, I’m an I**** for not having the stamina for such interrogation, I mean questioning.

            It’s also interesting how when I defended that it wasn’t logical to dismiss people outright because of their personal beliefs, that is the core source of my argument, just absurd. My words are being ignored by other words getting put in my mouth.

          58. You’ve seen it too… that’s the stock in trade of, especially, those who are insecure in their argumentation.

            Zande and Ark are not debating in good faith, as is evidenced by their constant insistence that you produce sources, experts, etc., none of which or whom they would accept anyway.

            I simply refuse to play the game.

            At this point, their entire body of “logic” rests, or so it seems, on the work of others, who may or may not be the biggest of charlatans, or sincere in their beliefs, or some point in-between. No one can know.

            Bottom line: apparently, Zande and Ark. have no thoughts of their own.

            Heck, if I want derivative belief systems I can find those anywhere!

            Best,

            — x

          59. Zande and Ark are not debating in good faith, as is evidenced by their constant insistence that you produce sources, experts, etc., none of which or whom they would accept anyway.

            LOL! Yeah, how dare we ask for evidence to support a claim. Whatever were we thinking? And while we’re here, how dare we cite Israeli professors of archaeology, the recognised experts in their fields and lead researchers at digs across Israel and the Sinai. Dastardly facts!

          60. I was not concerned with 2.5 million people supposedly passing through the sea… I was asking you for evidence of 2,500,000 foreigners arriving in the Judean hills in the 13th century BCE.

            This is your laughable “argument from silence.” There is no silence. There exists mountains of evidence, and it all points to a completely alternative Jewish history… a rather pedestrian one that virtually every Israeli archaeologist today accepts as verified fact. The Jews emerged from the general Canaanite population, refugees from the coastal states who moved (were forced) into the hills some 50 years after the landing of the Philistines on the Levant in 1100 BCE.

            Did you know, in 1998, the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), the primary American professional body for archaeologists working in the Middle East, changed the name of its magazine from Biblical Archaeologist to Near Eastern Archaeology simply because the bible had been determined to be (beyond all doubt) an entirely unreliable historical source to direct research into the early Jews, pre-Babylonian captivity.

            As for Moses, are you aware of the Babylonian tale of King Sargon of Agade? It predates the Pentateuch by 1,000 years, and begins:

            “My humble mother bore me secretly. She put me in a basket of rushes and sealed me in with asphalt. Then she put me into the river…. The river held me up, and carried me to Akki, the irrigator who drew water from the river for the people. As he dipped his jug into the river, Akki carried me out. He raised me as his own son.”

            Sound familiar? So definitive is the evidence against a historical Moses (and the Exodus he supposedly led) that the second edition Encyclopaedia Judaica (which assess all theological, archaeological and scientific evidences) concludes that the entire narrative was “dramatically woven out of various strands of tradition… he [Moses] wasn’t a historical character.”

            Now, just so you know, the only area where there is still a live debate regarding biblical archaeology is whether or not Judah had an urban society in the 9th Century BCE, which relates to the narrative concerning the United Kingdom. That’s it. That’s all there is. The Patriarchs, Egypt, Moses, Exodus and Conquest are dead subjects in the field of serious archaeology. They were dismissed as myth nearly two generations ago, and nothing has changed in that time to alter this consensus. As Israel’s oldest daily Newspaper, Hareetz, announced recently:

            “Currently there is broad agreement among archaeologists and Bible scholars that there is no historical basis for the narratives of the Patriarchs, the Exodus from Egypt, and the conquest of Canaan, nor any archaeological evidence to make them think otherwise.”

            Let’s repeat that last line: “nor any archaeological evidence to make them think otherwise.”

          61. I thought I failed you and you were leaving?

            You’ve told me your story before, and as a Professor of Archaeology once explained to me, “Similarity of general motifs is not enough to prove anything. We must have ‘complex structures.”<– You would know this, so why not share it, as a disclaimer? I would surmise it because you're not discussing ideas to find the truth, you may claim if you find something that is convincing, you'll change your mind, is that true? I doubt that it is.

            Moses was real, prove that it's wrong, unless you prove otherwise (as you can only prove you have no proof-weird.), unless you can prove that Catholic tradition of Exodus is false, you've failed. If you're quest was to convince me otherwise, you failed. As Praetorian discussed there's no need to continue unless you can make stunning new breakthrough.

            It's true, I can't know you goals. If it's not to convince me, perhaps, it's because you desire the want to believe. If I say something that fails to convince you, your heart grows angry. Regardless, let go of that aggression.

            I do not need temporal archaeological evidence for my faith, Zande, in the end it has nothing to do with proof, as the truth is all around me. I do not concern myself with what modern Archaeologists currently think is important, as with all academic studies in 100 years it could completely change.

            The world is more than it's decay, accept it.

            I believe in one God,
            the Father almighty,
            maker of heaven and earth,
            of all things visible and invisible.

            I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
            the Only Begotten Son of God,
            born of the Father before all ages.
            God from God, Light from Light,
            true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation
            he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried,
            and rose again on the third day
            in accordance with the Scriptures.
            He ascended into heaven
            and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory
            to judge the living and the dead
            and his kingdom will have no end.

            I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son,who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,who has spoken through the prophets.

            I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

          62. Complex structures, like detailed settlement patterns verified by archaeological digs of 11 villages. Yes, i’d agree, which is why every Israeli archaeologist I have spoken to (and there have been dozens) confirms that there was no exodus, no arrival of 2.5 million foreigners in the 13th century BCE, and instead the Jews emerged gradually from the general Canaanite population shortly after the landing of the Philistines.

          63. I did try to research the author/geologist and came across this:

            http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/exodus-revisited-did-a-tsunami-part-the-red-sea-1.273767

            Very interesting hypothesis.
            There have been a number of similar attempts to explain the phenomena of the plagues etc, and there have even been a number of documentaries if memory serves.

            However,if we were to give this credence – and I am not one to dismiss anything out of hand – and it were proved feasible it would immediately negate the intervention of a deity, as she is suggesting such events could be the result of natural phenomena – earthquakes, tsunami, dinoflagelytes food poisoning etc.

            It would require a large stretch of imagination to expect the Red Sea ( a mistranslation, I;m sure you know? ) to open just at the right time the Israelites were legging it from Egypt. And it must have remained open for a helluva long time to allow 2 million souls to cross.

            So even if we accept this hypothesis, there remains a tremendous amount unexplained about the story, not least the lack of evidence at Kadesh Barnia and the complete absence of evidence of the the arrival of 2 million people into Canaan.

            Again, it is an interesting hypothesis.

          64. Wait… wait..So a God who has created the natural world, who stands outside time being the creator of that as well, wouldn’t be able to create plagues within his own creation? How do you have such knowledge?

            Dismissing the explanation begs Datur Tertium! You’ve greated a strawman by your idea that explaining an occurrence as evidence there is no deity.

          65. I did mention that even if we were to give this hypothesis credence it still does not solve the problem f the complete lack of evidence at Kadesh Barnia or the entry into Canaan by 2 million people.
            And from the article,the writer, does not appear to offer any suggestion for these two very important parts of the Exodus story.
            You’ve mentioned your involvement with history and I am going to presume you are acutely interested in establishing as much factual evidence as possible in this and other areas you are involved with.
            Why are you now being all ”pissy”?
            You seem to be trying to push a supernatural explanation which would suggest you are not really interested in anything that might upset the apple cart as t were.
            Why don’t we stick to trying to examine the veracity of what evidence is available rather than push any presuppositional agenda?

          66. I see what you’re saying phadde2. You needed to make it a bit more clear. Exodus says 12:37 a number of those who left to go to Succoth but it doesn’t say how many arrived or crossed the sea at a single time. Number 1 goes over a census commanded by the lord which adds up to 603,550. Probably typology from the exodus number by the author. Numbers 26 has another census that adds up to 601,730. Youre right the Bible doesn’t give the numbers how many crossed into Egypt and lived there

        2. Exodus most certainly does not explain how many people went to the promise land, it only expresses how many left Ramses for Succoth… still in Egypt. John Zande is also assuming the number isn’t just arbitrary. It could be just a representation for a large body of people. Now connected with passages provided by phadde2 and Josey as those numbers remained 600,000 in Numbers censuses, John’s 2.5 million tirade seems a bit overblown. No reason to look for evidence for them.

          1. So are we to interpret the passages as we see fit?

            If the text appears ambiguous to some, the evidence on the ground is a lot clearer.

            If you are suggesting that the numbers are not representative of those who are claimed to have entered Canaan, must we take it that you are not disputing the numbers that left Egypt?

            If so, you might want to consider the economic impact on Egypt of such a vast number of people fleeing their former captors. By all reckoning the impact would likely have been devastating, not least because of the wholesale destruction to the military leaving the country wide open and vulnerable.
            In the interest of open mindedness and clarity surely it is wise to consider the episode as whole, rather than pick specifics to make a case?
            And from a religious perspective this would have to include the supernatural, no matter how one wished to interpret these phenomena.

            Also:
            There is no evidence of a long sojourn at Kadesh Barnea.
            There is no evidence of any mass of people entering Canaan.
            There’s no evidence of genocide or any large military campaign.
            Kenyon’s dating of Jericho is still accepted and was corroborated by radio carbon dating.

            Yet, as John Zande has outlined, there is evidence of a gradual internal settlement pattern.

            In light of this positive evidence, how is a rational person supposed to interpret the biblical tale do you think?
            Well, expert archaeologists have laid out their case – and irrespective of any other considerations – (maybe there was a gradual influx of refugees or returnees) there was no mass exodus of people as described in the Bible. This is accepted fact by all relevant professionals other than strict biblical literalists.

            And this is the crucial factor.

            Analogous tales can be elaborately weaved to explain many things, even natural causes for some of the supposed supernatural phenomena contained in the story.
            But a literal interpretation of the text is only considered valid by those with presuppositional theological leanings.

            No secular Archaeologist or genuine Historian will credit the story as it is written, any more than they would assign credibility to supernatural claims of any historical figure or event.

            Thanks
            Ark

          2. Ark seems to not read people’s post or prefers putting words into people’s mouths. If I were using reading comprehension, I would think Sean is saying the number could be a lot smaller.

            If Sean is compositing that Exodus is a bit of mnemohistory that may have some actual history. Sean says the numbers could just mean a large amount of people. I doubt a Bronze Age writer could count a mass of 600,000 people. It could just be a few thousand nomadic Levites as someone mentioned. Is it possible their leader could have been named Moses? I think so. Any evidence to the contrary? No sir.

          1. The etymology of the words contained in the bible.
            Primarily Gehenna & Sheol. ( there is no Hell as described by Christians it is a church construct. Hell does not feature in Judaism and Jesus was a Jew. He did not teach this doctrine any more than he taught Original Sin.

            Before I explain are you unaware of this?

          2. I’m aware of this and other beliefs about Hell. Just wondering what made you conclude that it was erroneous.

            Jesus did, indeed, describe “Hell,” though it was not what pop culture portrays. It was simply an eternity without God and His love. I’d describe that as Hell also.

            All denominations of Christianity have struggled with the concept and, of course, pop culture would find the least likely imagery: a lake full of lava and the like.

            Some people over think it — you, for example, Ark — and leap all over what most people don’t really believe anyway, saying, “See? See? It’s all wrong and a fraud!”

            The critique is aimed at a belief that so few have, that you shouldn’t waste your breath.

            Ask a thousand Catholic or other theologians what Hell is, and you’ll likely get a thousand different answers, but there will be one certain commonality: Whereas Heaven is being with God, wrapped eternally in His infinite love — the fulfillment of our deepest longing — Hell would be … the absence of that.

            How Hell — being outside God’s love — would manifest itself is too awful to contemplate. Is it any surprise that people would come up with colorful imagery?

            Best,

            — x

          3. Terribly sorry, I seem to have also included/ posted a comment meant for someone else.
            Please delete it?

            Here’s the one meant for you.

            I’m aware of this and other beliefs about Hell. Just wondering what made you conclude that it was erroneous.
            Jesus did, indeed, describe “Hell,” though it was not what pop culture portrays. It was simply an eternity without God and His love. I’d describe that as Hell also.

            Well, this scenario, though relatively new in Christian terms, and certainly more ‘pop culture’ ( and likely heretical) is still belief based on guilt and fear.
            A sort of ‘’Love me or Else’’ deal. That is a egotistical god that sucks big time.

            All denominations of Christianity have struggled with the concept and, of course, pop culture would find the least likely imagery: a lake full of lava and the like.
            Some people over think it — you, for example, Ark — and leap all over what most people don’t really believe anyway, saying, “See? See? It’s all wrong and a fraud!”

            But it is all fraud. You, and every Christian since Eve was chatting with a skinny reptile has yet to provide a single argument to substantiate any foundational Christian claim. But you could try, if you like?

            The critique is aimed at a belief that so few have, that you shouldn’t waste your breath.

            It is a belief punted by pretty much every evangelical Christian/church I am aware of. As for wasting my breath – tell that to the victims of this doctrine. Pick any deconvertee that was brought up with it and ask them. Remember, to me it is all garbage, my only concern is it is indoctrinated into children, and like it or not, even though anhialism is one interpretation, the original doctrine is still part of your religion.

            Whereas Heaven is being with God, wrapped eternally in His infinite love — the fulfillment of our deepest longing — Hell would be … the absence of that.

            Again, unsubstantiated dogma. Where on earth do you come up with this stuff?

            How Hell — being outside God’s love — would manifest itself is too awful to contemplate. Is it any surprise that people would come up with colorful imagery?

            The perfect response from one who is indoctrinated – blind acceptance of dogma that simply has nothing to back it up.
            Ark

          4. Well, Ark…let’s try this again and see how you do. 🙂

            You said:

            Terribly sorry, I seem to have also included/ posted a comment meant for someone else.
            Please delete it?

            Here’s the one meant for you.

            My Reaction:
            I think we squared this away.

            – * – * – *- * – * – * – * – * –

            You said:

            (Quoting me:) I’m aware of this and other beliefs about Hell. Just wondering what made you conclude that it was erroneous. Jesus did, indeed, describe “Hell,” though it was not what pop culture portrays. It was simply an eternity without God and His love. I’d describe that as Hell also.

            Your response: Well, this scenario, though relatively new in Christian terms, and certainly more ‘pop culture’ ( and likely heretical) is still belief based on guilt and fear. A sort of “Love me or Else” deal. That is a egotistical god that sucks big time.

            My Reaction:
            Okay. Now, you’re engaging in semantics. I think that we largely agree here. Except for the last line. Whether we do agree or not, it’s really just a little side-current to the main topic, but I don’t mind pursuing it with you… if, you’re going to read it. Not to be churlish here, but when you indicated that you don’t read what I post, you threw into doubt the entirety of our interactions here and elsewhere. I’ll say this as gently as I can: if you’re not going to read it, as I do all yours, then there’s truly no point in writing anything but the most cursory of replies. Things like: “Thanks for your reply,” and “Tone down your language.” 🙂

            Now, to your last line:A sort of “Love me or Else” deal. That is a egotistical god that sucks big time.Reaction: This is the interpretation of the, forgive the analogy, spoiled child who doesn’t want to follow his parents’ rules. He doesn’t understand the rules, he just knows he doesn’t like them, and he’s darned sure not going to follow them, regardless of the consequences.

            What you’ve said there takes no account of that idea that is central to our existence as creations of a loving God: free will. Well, do you think there could be such a thing as free will without consequences of any kind? Imagine, if you dare, free will without consequences. Would that really be free will? You walk off a cliff and land softly and uninjured at the bottom. You whack your neighbor with a cricket bat, and neither you nor he suffer any injury or punishment. Is that “free will?” Or is that a room lined with padded walls and no sharp objects?

            If you have free will, you have consequences. The scenario you’ve tried to summarize so maladroitly above is nothing more than that of God giving His creations free will, and explaining the consequences of exercising it carelessly or badly. Not as you say, “Love me or else,” but rather, “I have loved you so much that I have given you all this.” (cue to look around you). Only the self-destructive — ie: someone exercising free will really badly — would not love such a Creator. Or parent.

            – * – * – *- * – * – * – * – * –

            You said:

            (Quoting me:) “All denominations of Christianity have struggled with the concept and, of course, pop culture would find the least likely imagery: a lake full of lava and the like.

            Some people over think it — you, for example, Ark — and leap all over what most people don’t really believe anyway, saying, “See? See? It’s all wrong and a fraud!

            Your response: But it is all fraud. You, and every Christian since Eve was chatting with a skinny reptile has yet to provide a single argument to substantiate any foundational Christian claim. But you could try, if you like?

            My Reaction:
            Let’s focus on this clause of yours:You, and every Christian since Eve was chatting with a skinny reptile has yet to provide a single argument to substantiate any foundational Christian claim.Reaction: This is incorrect. What is correct is the following restatement of your assertion: “You, and every Christian since Eve was chatting with a skinny reptile have yet to provide a single argument — that I would accept — to substantiate any foundational Christian claim.”

            There! That’s much more accurate.

            However, you go astray in many different ways. Here’s one of them. You don’t like the idea of a global flood. Yet, there is much evidence for such a phenomenon. The problem is that you seem to be looking at the idea of a global flood from the vantage point of a 21st century dude who’s seen pictures of the earth from 250,000 miles away. Your understanding of a global flood and the ancient understanding of one would be vastly different.

            I grew up in a small town in New England. In 1955, well before I was born, there was a flood that isolated entirely the small town I would later call home. It completely swallowed up many, many neighborhoods, houses, bridges, and thousands of hectares of land. It was a completely minor, local phenomenon that got — or so my parents tell me — a lot of local news attention, but was practically unknown in the rest of the country, especially in those areas where they were used to such things.

            Anyway, if I had been brought up with no media, no television, no understanding that they even existed, had traveled nowhere, and had never even heard that “elsewhere” even existed, I might have understood “the whole world” to mean my little town and the surrounding acreage. I might have interpreted the minor flood of 1955 to have been “a flood that had engulfed the entire world.” And I would have reported it as such in my journal, and I would have been both right and wrong.

            Now go back to Noah’s time and imagine a much more cataclysmic event, as there have been many such throughout history, one that reconfigures the landscape for as far as Noah was ever aware. He might record in his journal, a flood that had encompassed the entire world, and so on. Why wouldn’t God warn Noah to make an ark and ride out the flood? As far as “the animals two-by-two,” your own belief system supports that! Noah gathered all the animals in the known world — the entire world as, far as Noah was concerned — and brought ’em along too. Now, when he let them go, off they went, and as far as your belief system is concerned, started evolving and reproducing and interacting and surviving and all that. So far, nothing to be overly concerned about as far as physical phenomena are concerned.

            Now, fast forward to your scientists searching for a “global flood.” Well, who knows? Were they looking for a truly global flood, such as they would understand one? I don’t know. If so, they might, or might not, find it. If they don’t find it, well thousands of years have passed. If they find it locally, but don’t find it in, say, Burma, are they going to conclude that it didn’t happen, even though, as far as someone at Noah’s time was concerned, it absolutely did? Who knows? Who can know? At this time in history, no one.

            Note: I said above that Noah might record in his journal that a flood had “engulfed the whole world,” or God might have clued him in on the extent of the world, and simply told Noah that he was flooding the whole world (leaving the unpopulated parts alone). Also a valid scenario. The point: at this remove, no one can know for sure. And there are too many possible scenarios, each of which would invalidate a conclusion that it didn’t happen.

            Your beloved scientists and archaeologists have, apparently, failed to say the only disclaimer that they must say: “We have found this and that, but we cannot cover all potential scenarios after thousands of years have passed, so we can’t tell for sure.” If they were really honest, they’d tack on: “so, all our conclusions are based entirely on faith.” To be fair, scientists who support my points of view need to be held to this standard as well. They usually are, though, because they’re people of faith. I note, therefore, the possibilities for confirmation bias are present in all researchers and in all their work product.


            – * – * – *- * – * – * – * – * –

            You said:

            (Quoting me:) The critique is aimed at a belief that so few have, that you shouldn’t waste your breath.

            You reacted as follows: It is a belief punted by pretty much every evangelical Christian/church I am aware of. As for wasting my breath – tell that to the victims of this doctrine. Pick any deconvertee that was brought up with it and ask them. Remember, to me it is all garbage, my only concern is it is indoctrinated into children, and like it or not, even though anhialism is one interpretation, the original doctrine is still part of your religion.

            My Reaction:
            This is a really weak paragraph, Ark. First: your definition of “punting” may be someone else’s definition of a comprehensive answer. I gave you what I believe for the definition of Hell: the absence of God’s love. There: five words that I’m pretty sure you will call “punting,” while I call it a comprehensive answer. Furthermore, I don’t particularly care how the absence of God’s love would manifest itself in someone’s eternity, and I don’t care to find out.

            As you say, to you it is all garbage. All that says to me is that you’re closed off to contrary beliefs. That’s your loss. The reason I’m able to bat back your objections so easily is that they’re all, for lack of a better term, “Stage 1” objections. They show no depth of understanding, but only a bunch of confirmation bias. People are frequently content to stay in Stage 1 thinking, because there are plenty around them, also enmired in Stage 1, to pat them on the back and tell them how wise, and how, scientific, and how reality-based they are. Atheists are the flat-earthers of the world; people who, as you have done, receive alternate viewpoint after alternate viewpoint, and simply reject them all as invalid before doing the real due diligence of one who seeks the truth: taking it seriously, and taking the viewpoint-holder seriously. I see Stage 1 thinking all the time, and it’s easy to counter. Trying not to be condescending here, but, for example, Zande’s entire world view can be summed up that hoary old Stage 1 chestnut: “How come God permits bad things to happen?” He then wraps it all up in a tsunami of Zandean fogwash to make his third grade-level question seem all wise, and insightful, and incisive and thoughtful.

            You said: “my only concern is it is indoctrinated into children…Reaction: You really seem to have no understanding of Christianity! You should know — it’s kind of basic — that Christianity is, indeed, a proselytizing faith. But we’re told that as Christians we are to try to persuade others to see and to understand for themselves. There is no “indoctrinated” belief that is real, sincere belief. Christians knows this. Apparently atheists aren’t aware of this? (see next paragraph)

            You might recognize a rather stark contrast with, say, Islam, and with militant atheism as practiced in the socialist countries of the world, where there is active, well-known, state-sponsored indoctrination going on. Hard-core indoctrination that has been going on since the Bolshevik coup d’état in 1917. (less so in Russia now.) Indoctrination?!? My goodness! You head on over to a militantly atheist country (China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba) or an islamist country in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Iran) and try to sign up for a Bible class. Let me know how you make out.

            You also said:Pick any deconvertee that was brought up with it and ask themReaction: I guarantee you’ll usually find someone who (1) was taught by someone who didn’t understand, or (2) himself misinterpreted what was being taught. The point: there is no room in Christianity for “indoctrination.”

            Finally, you said: “tell that to the victims of this doctrine” Reaction: There can be, of course, no “victims of a doctrine,” there are only victims of people, or, of course, natural disasters and disease. I urge you to avoid this kind of imprecise language, Ark. You seem to be implying that built into Christianity is permission to brainwash people. There is not. In atheism, however, there is explicit permission to brainwash people. It suffices to see where militant atheism has been a key organizing principle of a country’s governance. Again: The Soviet Union, Communist China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba… Want “victims of a doctrine?” Look there. Those are places, as mentioned, where active, aggressive indoctrination in atheism took place, and continues to take place.

            Here’s an important hint for you, Ark, and you should read this very, very well: you can task Christians with no evil that atheists haven’t long waaaaaaaaaaayyyyy exceeded — in the last century alone. You’ll note that in this very thread, Allallt, a very fine exponent of your point of view, conceded that “atheism permits all atrocities.” (<== his words) He further didn't counter my point that Christianity explicitly forbids — repeatedly, forcefully, clearly — the initiation of any violence, cruelty, even pettiness (anger is a deadly sin) whatsoever by one person against another.

            Want some “evidence?” Okay: Counter to the silly charge against Christianity, people looked to Christian doctrine and found the justification to launch the abolitionist movement. The Western world abolished slavery, based nearly entirely on the teachings of Christianity. Christian doctrine was, and remains, the sole moral justification for abolishing slavery.

            The rest of the world, and you, Ark, really need to catch up.

            – * – * – *- * – * – * – * – * –

            You said:

            (Quoting me:) Whereas Heaven is being with God, wrapped eternally in His infinite love — the fulfillment of our deepest longing — Hell would be … the absence of that.

            Your reaction: Again, unsubstantiated dogma. Where on earth do you come up with this stuff?

            My Reaction:
            Unsubstantiated dogma, for you, Ark, but then so are all beliefs. As covered at great length in this thread. The point of my above assertion was that you were directing critiques at what you seemed to be thinking were “lake of fire” versions of Hell. I was pointing out to you that the critique was (1) directed at people who don’t really believe that, and (2) irrelevant.

            – * – * – *- * – * – * – * – * –

            You said:

            (Quoting me:) How Hell — being outside God’s love — would manifest itself is too awful to contemplate. Is it any surprise that people would come up with colorful imagery?

            Your reactionThe perfect response from one who is indoctrinated – blind acceptance of dogma that simply has nothing to back it up.

            My Reaction:
            Violates editing reason(s): 1, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 17, 22. Wow, Ark! You hit he jackpot on that one! I’ll grant you a mulligan, since your phrase above appears to be just a toss-off, because you seem uncomfortable with my methodology for responding to all aspects of a post.

            – * – * – *- * – * – * – * – * –

            Now, Ark: in good faith, I’ve given you a comprehensive reply. If you don’t read it, and I’ll know by any reply you might put together, then I’ll know I wasted my time, and won’t do so in the future.

            You have to understand that you long ago stepped over into the realm where everything you post violates Editing Reason #7, and I might have to treat it as such. I’ll censor nothing, but if I’ve long since responded to something in this thread, then I’ll make it known, and not respond to it again.

            Best,

            — x

          5. Okay. Now, you’re engaging in semantics. I think that we largely agree here. Except for the last line. Whether we do agree or not, it’s really just a little side-current to the main topic, but I don’t mind pursuing it with you… if, you’re going to read it. Not to be churlish here, but when you indicated that you don’t read what I post, you threw into doubt the entirety of our interactions here and elsewhere. I’ll say this as gently as I can: if you’re not going to read it, as I do all yours, then there’s truly no point in writing anything but the most cursory of replies. Things like: “Thanks for your reply,” and “Tone down your language.” 🙂

            Well, xp, let’s try this again and see how you do. 
            My Reaction.
            Nothing of substance in this comment. Moving on

            Now, to your last line: “A sort of “Love me or Else” deal. That is a egotistical god that sucks big time.” Reaction: This is the interpretation of the, forgive the analogy, spoiled child who doesn’t want to follow his parents’ rules. He doesn’t understand the rules, he just knows he doesn’t like them, and he’s darned sure not going to follow them, regardless of the consequences.
            What you’ve said there takes no account of that idea that is central to our existence as creations of a loving God: free will. Well, do you think there could be such a thing as free will without consequences of any kind? Imagine, if you dare, free will without consequences. Would that really be free will? You walk off a cliff and land softly and uninjured at the bottom. You whack your neighbor with a cricket bat, and neither you nor he suffer any injury or punishment. Is that “free will?” Or is that a room lined with padded walls and no sharp objects?

            My reaction.
            With this statement you violate your comment policy, can’t remember which number but you will, l’m sure.

            What you’ve said there takes no account of that idea that is central to our existence as creations of a loving God:

            So, as this is not a genuine reply to my assertion we can, yet again, move right along.

            If you have free will, you have consequences. The scenario you’ve tried to summarize so maladroitly above is nothing more than that of God giving His creations free will, and explaining the consequences of exercising it carelessly or badly. Not as you say, “Love me or else,” but rather, “I have loved you so much that I have given you all this.” (cue to look around you). Only the self-destructive — ie: someone exercising free will really badly — would not love such a Creator. Or parent.
            Yes, the IF is the big thing and you have not established any grounds to suggest we have. So, once again, nothing of substance, and moving on.
            How we doing so far?

            (Quoting me:) “All denominations of Christianity have struggled with the concept and, of course, pop culture would find the least likely imagery: a lake full of lava and the like.
            Some people over think it — you, for example, Ark — and leap all over what most people don’t really believe anyway, saying, “See? See? It’s all wrong and a fraud!”
            Your response: But it is all fraud. You, and every Christian since Eve was chatting with a skinny reptile has yet to provide a single argument to substantiate any foundational Christian claim. But you could try, if you like?

            My Reaction:
            Let’s focus on this clause of yours: “You, and every Christian since Eve was chatting with a skinny reptile has yet to provide a single argument to substantiate any foundational Christian claim.” Reaction: This is incorrect. What is correct is the following restatement of your assertion: “You, and every Christian since Eve was chatting with a skinny reptile have yet to provide a single argument — that I would accept — to substantiate any foundational Christian claim.”

            Now who’s indulging in semantics? Francis Collins already [Deleted: mild profanity] on those cornflakes with the Genome Project.
            Yet again a point with no substance. Deary me, anyhow, moving on ….

            However, you go astray in many different ways. Here’s one of them. You don’t like the idea of a global flood. Yet, there is much evidence for such a phenomenon. The problem is that you zeem to be looking at the idea of a global flood from the vantage point of a 21st century dude who’s seen pictures of the earth from 250,000 miles away. Your understanding of a global flood and the ancient understanding of one would be vastly different.

            A YEC argument Are you chuffing kidding me! Oh the gods on high, I don’t believe it! Look what just crawled out the cupboard, a Young Earth Creationist. Say it ain’t so?
            We know of a localised flood and we know the Babylonian tale.
            So, another point of no substance. Moving on …. again.

            I grew up in a small town in New England. In 1955, well before I was born, there was a flood that isolated entirely the small town I would later call home. It completely swallowed up many, many neighborhoods, houses, bridges, and thousands of hectares of land. It was a completely minor, local phenomenon that got — or so my parents tell me — a lot of local news attention, but was practically unknown in the rest of the country, especially in those areas where they were used to such things.

            Great, I was raised in several small towns in England. No point yet …
            Let’s see what the next paragraph brings, shall we?

            Anyway, if had been brought up with no media, no television, no understanding that they even existed, had traveled nowhere, and had never even heard that “elsewhere” even existed, I might have understood “the whole world” to mean my little town and the surrounding acreage. I might have interpreted the minor flood of 1955 to have been “a flood that had engulfed the entire world.” And I would have reported it as such in my journal, and I would have been both right and wrong.

            So you had a sheltered childhood? The perfect environment to succumb to religious indoctrination. Next ….

            Now go back to Noah’s time and imagine a much more cataclysmic event, as there have been many such throughout history, one that reconfigures the landscape for as far as Noah was ever aware. He might record in his journal, a flood that had encompassed the entire world, and so on. Why wouldn’t God warn Noah to make an ark and ride out the flood? As far as “the animals two-by-two,” your own belief system supports that! Noah gathered all the animals in the known world — the entire world as, far as Noah was concerned — and brought ’em along too. Now, when he let them go, off they went, and as far as your belief system is concerned, started evolving and reproducing and interacting and surviving and all that. So far, nothing to be overly concerned about as far as physical phenomena are concerned.

            Are we still on the Noah kick? Is there a point you are soon to make?

            Now, fast forward to your scientists searching for a “global flood.” Well, who knows? Were they looking for a truly global flood, such as they would understand one? I don’t know. If so, they might, or might not, find it. If they don’t find it, well thousands of years have passed. If they find it locally, but don’t find it in, say, Burma, are they going to conclude that it didn’t happen, even though, as far as someone at Noah’s time was concerned, it absolutely did? Who knows? Who can know? At this time in history, no one.

            Good grief all this for what? Some dumbass Young Earth Creationist nonsense. Are you serious … I am surprised you didn’t throw in Ken Ham’s famous line ‘’Where you there?” What next, vegetarian dinosaurs? Jesus wept!

            Note: I said above that Noah might record in his journal that a flood had “engulfed the whole world,” or God might have clued him in on the extent of the world, and simply told Noah that he was flooding the whole world (leaving the unpopulated parts alone). Also a valid scenario. The point: at this remove, no one can know for sure. And there are too many possible scenarios, each of which would invalidate a conclusion that it didn’t happen.

            Geology is sure. Where’s Bill Nye when I need him?

            Your beloved scientists and archaeologists have, apparently, failed to say the only disclaimer that they must say: “We have found this and that, but we cannot cover all potential scenarios after thousands of years have passed, so we can’t tell for sure.” If they were really honest, they’d tack on: “so, all our conclusions are based entirely on faith.” To be fair, scientists who support my points of view need to be held to this standard as well. They usually are, though, because they’re people of faith. I note, therefore, the possibilities for confirmation bias are present in all researchers and in all their work product.

            Only my wife is afforded the title beloved. So, once again, nothing of substance here … moving on. My fingers are getting sore. Don’t tell me I am going to read this entire diatribe and you didn’t make a single relevant point?
            – * – * – *- * – * – * – * – * –

            You said:
            (Quoting me:) The critique is aimed at a belief that so few have, that you shouldn’t waste your breath.
            You reacted as follows: It is a belief punted by pretty much every evangelical Christian/church I am aware of. As for wasting my breath – tell that to the victims of this doctrine. Pick any deconvertee that was brought up with it and ask them. Remember, to me it is all garbage, my only concern is it is indoctrinated into children, and like it or not, even though anhialism is one interpretation, the original doctrine is still part of your religion.
            My Reaction:
            This is a really weak paragraph, Ark. First: your definition of “punting” may be someone else’s definition of a comprehensive answer. I gave you what I believe for the definition of Hell: the absence of God’s love. There: five words that I’m pretty sure you will call “punting,” while I call it a comprehensive answer. Furthermore, I don’t particularly care how the absence of God’s love would manifest itself in someone’s eternity, and I don’t care to find out.

            Only weak in your eyes. Your definition is not in accord of the evangelical movement not the YEC movement nor the Catholic Church which is the inventor of your religion.
            So you are still stuck with a Hell of Christian invention. And this is indoctrinated into kids. Stand up and refute it. To evangelicals. I can give you a couple of sites. I dare you
            So, sorry, fail here too. Moving on.

            As you say, to you it is all garbage. All that says to me is that you’re closed off to contrary beliefs. That’s your loss. The reason I’m able to bat back your objections so easily is that they’re all, for lack of a better term, “Stage 1” objections. They show no depth of understanding, but only a bunch of confirmation bias. People are frequently content to stay in Stage 1 thinking, because there are plenty around them, also enmired in Stage 1, to pat them on the back and tell them how wise, and how scientific, and how reality-based they are. Atheists are the flat-earthers of the world; people who, as you have done, receive alternate viewpoint after alternate viewpoint, and simply reject them all as invalid before doing the real due diligence of one who seeks the truth: taking it seriously, and taking the viewpoint-holder seriously. I see Stage 1 thinking all the time, and it’s easy to counter. Trying not to be condescending here, but, for example, Zande’s entire world view can be summed up with that hoary old Stage 1 chestnut: “How come God permits bad things to happen?” He then wraps it all up in a tsunami of Zandean fogwash to make his third grade-level question seem all wise, and insightful, and incisive and thoughtful.

            Yes it is garbage because every foundational tenet is based on supernaturalism. That is all the justification I need to offer. You make the positive claim – you prove it.

            You said: “my only concern is it is indoctrinated into children…” Reaction: You really seem to have no understanding of Christianity! You should know — it’s kind of basic — that Christianity is, indeed, a proselytizing faith. But we’re told that as Christians we are to try to persuade others to see and to understand for themselves. There is no “indoctrinated” belief that is real, sincere belief. Christians knows this. Apparently atheists aren’t aware of this? (see next paragraph)

            You might recognize a rather stark contrast with, say, Islam, and with militant atheism as practiced in the socialist countries of the world, where there is active, well-known, state-sponsored indoctrination going on. Hard-core indoctrination that has been going on since the Bolshevik coup d’état in 1917. (less so in Russia now.) Indoctrination?!? My goodness! You head on over to a militantly atheist country (China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba) or an islamist country in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Iran) and try to sign up for a Bible class. Let me know how you make out.

            Of course I understand Christianity. I was brought up a Christian you pompous ass. And I’ll bet you dollars to donuts my understanding of your religion, its tenets history and archaeology will leave your paltry interpretation in the starting blocks. And how dare you patronize me.

            You also said: “Pick any deconvertee that was brought up with it and ask them” Reaction: I guarantee you’ll usually find someone who (1) was taught by someone who didn’t understand, or (2) himself misinterpreted what was being taught. The point: there is no room in Christianity for “indoctrination.”

            Flagrant untruth. Ask a deconvertee.
            Better still how about a dozen links to their blogs?

            Finally, you said: “tell that to the victims of this doctrine” Reaction: There can be, of course, no “victims of a doctrine,” there are only victims of people, or, of course, natural disasters and disease. I urge you to avoid this kind of imprecise language, Ark. You seem to be implying that built into Christianity is permission to brainwash people. There is not. In atheism, however, there is explicit permission to brainwash people. It suffices to see where militant atheism has been a key organizing principle of a country’s governance. Again: The Soviet Union, Communist China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba… Want “victims of a doctrine?” Look there. Those are places, as mentioned, where active, aggressive indoctrination in atheism took place, and continues to take place.
            The perfect response by one who is indoctrinated. An apologetic response.
            Again no substance here so …moving on …

            Here’s an important hint for you, Ark, and you should read this very, very well: you can task Christians with no evil that atheists haven’t long waaaaaaaaaaayyyyy exceeded — in the last century alone. You’ll note that in this very thread, Allallt, a very fine exponent of your point of view, conceded that “atheism permits all atrocities.” (

            (Quoting me:) Whereas Heaven is being with God, wrapped eternally in His infinite love — the fulfillment of our deepest longing — Hell would be … the absence of that.

            Some atheists do bad things because they are bad people. Some theists do bad things because they believe they are doing your God’s will. This is sick. Your own country is founded upon the belief that the indigenous population were largely godless savages, as were the Negro slaves.

            Your reaction: Again, unsubstantiated dogma. Where on earth do you come up with this stuff?
            My Reaction:
            Unsubstantiated dogma, for you, Ark–

            Nope, not just for me but unsubstantiated period. And you have yet to produce anything to substantiate your arguments. Not a damn thing.
            Moving on … once more.

            (Quoting me:) How Hell — being outside God’s love — would manifest itself is too awful to contemplate. Is it any surprise that people would come up with colorful imagery?
            Your reaction The perfect response from one who is indoctrinated – blind acceptance of dogma that simply has nothing to back it up.

            My Reaction:
            Violates editing reason(s): 1, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 17, 22. Wow, Ark! You hit the jackpot on that one! I’ll grant you a mulligan, since your phrase above appears to be just a toss-off, because you seem uncomfortable with my methodology for responding to all aspects of a post.
            – * – * – *- * – * – * – * – * –
            Now, Ark: in good faith, I’ve given you a comprehensive reply. If you don’t read it, and I’ll know by any reply you might put together, then I’ll know I wasted my time, and won’t do so in the future.

            You have to understand that you long ago stepped over into the realm where everything you post violates Editing Reason #7, and I might have to treat it as such. I’ll censor nothing, but if I’ve long since responded to something in this thread, then I’ll make it known, and not respond to it again.
            Best,

            You actually violate you own comment policy, though I cannot recall which number with this.
            Whereas Heaven is being with God, wrapped eternally in His infinite love — the fulfillment of our deepest longing
            Unsubstantiated opinion.
            So, all in all pretty much a load of nonsense and not a single coherent point.
            Oh well …
            Moving on….

    2. Google? No. I used JSTOR, because I am professional.

      Also, I showed, by using JSTOR, an example of many contemporary histories written on the subject, which does prove there is NO ‘consensus’.

      I would say you’re simply lying when stating, “And I reiterate. Mainstream historical consensus considers the Exodus simply myth,” as the works indicate as much; however, you may really believe what you say.

    3. Quick note here, Ark: The following is, on the face of it, hogwash: “And I reiterate. Mainstream historical consensus considers the Exodus simply myth.

      The word “Mainstream” means nothing. If the “mainstream” were all-knowing, the earth would still be flat and the sun would still be revolving around the earth. You should probably try to stay away from such nonsense words.

      Just out of curiosity, why the obsession with archaeologists? Hard to see how they would have anything more to say about theology than anyone else…

      Best,

      — x

  4. At which point Ark abandoned his attempt to indict “personal experience” as evidence. I think he realized that to try to debunk personal experience was to tread on very thin ice indeed.

    Let’s try to put this Personal Experience into perspective shall we?

    Saul of Tarsus claimed he saw Jesus on the road to Damascus.

    Any evidence to back this up? No. Can it be dismissed with impunity. Oh, yes indeed it can.

    X-P claims ” “I’d had personal experience of God.”
    Great! Evidence? Zip!
    Must we accept such a claim as valid. Nope. Not at all.
    Would such an unevidenced claim gain any truck in any other forum beside those who are religiously inclined? Nope. And not even with those outside of the believers immediate faith either.And quite possibly not within his own faith!
    I doubt X-P believes in all that nonsense about snakes charming etc in some of the charismatic churches and evidence of several deaths from snake bite clearly indicate the claims of these people are fallacious.
    In other words we can jettison it as merely hearsay or possibly a delusional experience based on the mental condition of the individual and can be put down to stress induced by drugs emotional trauma( PTSD fr example) guilt or other neurological issues.

    The Ark has personal experience of a motorcycle accident.
    Is there evidence? Most certainly. X-Rays, scarring on right ankle, medical testimony, police report and witness testimony, photographs of the accident and the insurance claim.

    Will such personal experience be accepted in a court of law?
    Yes indeed it will.

    There. Your ”Personal Experience” explained.

    1. Quick note: Sorry to hear of your motorcycle accident.

      Now, let’s have 2,000 years elapse and see just how good your evidence of your accident is. Even with all that great stuff you mentioned (X-Rays, scarring, testimony, police report). If any of it even exists after that time, the point will be that whatever archaeologists or paleontologists ( 🙂 ) of the future say, people will believe whatever they believe about it … on faith.

      So, out goes the motorcycle accident as a valid experience.

      No, you don’t need to accept my assertion that I have had personal experiences of God. But I do. I’m reality-based, and choose not to deny things that are simply historically true.

      I have no need to give you “evidence” of my personal experiences of God. I see the chances as near zero of you accepting them as meaningful in any way. I’m not worried that you would think that of them, it would simply be a waste of time.

      Ark: you said, “Saul of Tarsus claimed he saw Jesus on the road to Damascus.” Any evidence to back this up? No. [Oh? Paul’s personal story. And eyewitnesses.] Can it be dismissed with impunity. [With impunity? Meaning without punishment? What punishment do you fear?] Oh, yes indeed it can. [Oops! Unless, that is, it’s true. You have nothing any more credible than what I have to indicate otherwise.]

      I should stop right here, since you won’t read further, I suspect.

      Best,

      — x

      1. If any of it even exists after that time, the point will be that whatever archaeologists or paleontologists ( 🙂 ) of the future say, people will believe whatever they believe about it … on faith.

        Aside from the last two words I agree with you
        But this does not alter the reality of my bike accident or the veracity of the evidence.
        It happened. You may choose to accept it or not.

        However, for the religious things you believe there is no hard or verifiable evidence whatsoever. Read that again and let it sink in.

        You can produce nothing to back a single claim.

        Every single foundation tenet of your Christian belief is based solely on faith. The book you derive your evidence from has been shown time and time again to contain falsehood, much of which is acknowledged by the very Christians who, to varying degrees, preach it’s veracity – they just couch their terms.

        This is the power of indoctrination and (especially) the born-again Christian, in fact any believer or any religion is living testimony to the absurdity of such belief.

        “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”
        ― Voltaire, Questions sur les Miracles à M. Claparede, Professeur de Théologie à Genève, par un Proposant: Ou Extrait de Diverses Lettres de M. de Voltaire

        Worth pondering.

        1. Well, let’s ponder then, shall we?

          You said: “Aside from the last two words I agree with you”

          Reaction: And yet, the last two words are self-evidently true. You have faith that your sources are reliable, that your understanding of them is accurate, that your memory of what you have concluded is accurate, that the conclusions you draw are correct, that the bases for the conclusions your sources draw are correct, that your understanding of the world around you is at least roughly correct, and a million other things. All of which make up your understanding of the world around you and 100% of which is faith.

          You said:However, for the religious things you believe there is no hard or verifiable evidence whatsoever. Read that again and let it sink in.

          Reaction: So what? Seriously, so what? Remember, you’re the guy who’s going to try to tell me that you have solid evidence of things that happened two millennia ago, and before. Oooooookay… Sorry, anything you believe about what happened back then, you believe entirely on faith.

          You said:You can produce nothing to back a single claim.

          Reaction: Except, that is, septillions of cubic kilometers of matter and seething energy of such vast, roiling enormousness as to be well beyond our ability to grasp even a tiny part of it. Oops. There’s some hard evidence! Interestingly, you have none… except, that is, for a bunch of sources to which you give your touching, gullible faith.

          You said:Every single foundation tenet of your Christian belief is based solely on faith. The book you derive your evidence from has been shown time and time again to contain falsehood, much of which is acknowledged by the very Christians who, to varying degrees, preach it’s veracity – they just couch their terms.

          Reaction: The first sentence is correct. And it applies to you as well. The second sentence violates editing reason #9 – “Wrong on the face of it.

          You said:This is the power of indoctrination and (especially) the born-again Christian, in fact any believer or any religion is living testimony to the absurdity of such belief.

          Reaction: Lol! This also violates editing reason #9; as well as reasons #’s 3, 6, 12, 17 and 22.

          You said:“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ― Voltaire, Questions sur les Miracles à M. Claparede, Professeur de Théologie à Genève, par un Proposant: Ou Extrait de Diverses Lettres de M. de Voltaire

          Reaction: Thank you for this! Let’s reverse engineer it, shall we? Since there were 120 million well-documented atrocities committed by atheists in the last century alone, Voltaire’s words say perfectly clearly that atheism consists of absurdities. Worth pondering, indeed!

          I appreciate the assist.

          Best,

          — x

          1. Reaction: So what? Seriously, so what? Remember, you’re the guy who’s going to try to tell me that you have solid evidence of things that happened two millennia ago,

            I think we need to address this as you have everything [Deleted: mild profanity] backwards.

            Archaeologists went digging with the express belief that the bible was TRUE.
            This point you have to understand.
            They were not looking to find things to refute the biblical tale but confirm it,( notwithstanding the miraculous events) and this includes such luminaries as William Albright and William Devers ad initially a large part of the Israeli archaeologists, who were sent into the Sinai with the express orders to ”Find the title deeds to the promised Land”.

            But what they found dd not correlate.
            Allbright could not match the biblical chronology with what he dug up.
            Kenyon’s re-dating of Jericho was confirmed by radio carbon dating., and confirmed even more with more up to date radio carbon dating.

            And archaeologists have now produced the evidence to show of a completely different Jewish history that refutes the bible at every turn.
            It is called the Settlement Pattern and it shows how the Jews fled the low lying coastal areas to the hills after the invasion of the Sea Peoples who became known to history as the Philistines.

            And no, [Deleted: mild profanity], I am not going to provide a hundred and one scientific links. I am not a library assistant. You are intelligent and you have Google.
            If you are serious, and get stuck with any research and you really want to examine the history, let me know and I’ll help. But only if you are serious and not simply [Deleted: mild profanity].

            Your call …

  5. Wrong on its face, Ark. No one has any “evidence” or proof for any of their personal experiences. That’s why we call them “personal experiences.” We all have just our word. Take it or leave it. If you choose to “leave it,” then you’ve just debunked all your so-called “evidence,” since you obtained it, screened it, evaluated it in a series of “personal experiences.” In other words, if what you say is true, you just proved yourself entirely and utterly wrong. I’ll grant you yet another mulligan on the whole “personal experience” thing.

    However, since you don’t read what I write, there’s no point in pursuing it any further.

    Best,

    — x

      1. It should suffice just to look around you.

        We’ve discussed the idea of “evidence” already. I’ve already told you what my evidence was, and you rejected it.

        You haven’t yet outright rejected my personal experiences of God, but you’ve tried to reject it pre-emptively by saying that you’ve never met anyone who “converted for other than emotional reasons.” You didn’t, though, offer any reason as to why that would invalidate any conversion.

        Do you like logic? Well, that’s just emotion. Not the logic, but the liking of it. Not trying to be cure here, but all beliefs are a mixture of emotion, thought, logic, faith, wild guesses and other things. Just a question of what the proportions are.

        Actually, belief is 100% faith, which is made up of the above-mentioned components.

        Then you presented a bunch of stuff that all violated editing reasons #’s 2, 16, 19 and 22 and considered it “evidence.”

        Of course there can be no evidence that God doesn’t exist (especially since He does exist. 🙂 ), but there are vast, immeasurable quantities of compelling evidence everywhere around you that God does exist.

        It suffices to look around you… and to have a slightly open mind.

        Best,

        — x

        1. If you wish to make a case simply for a creator deity, no probs.
          I can live with this.
          But you are arguing for the Christian god
          You have no evidence, only faith.
          This does not count except in the minds of those who wish to find what they already presuppose.
          This is how indoctrination works.
          You could call it building a talking donkey [Deleted: mild profanity] backwards.

          I am sure I have mentioned this before?
          There are even scientific studies conducted by world class neurologists.
          I am not saying you are nuts, simply misinformed.
          The only source of your god is the bible and I have tried to explain that Yahweh was simply a Canaanite deity the Jews ripped off.
          If what you believe was real then the rest of the world would believe the same.
          They don’t, and your Middle Eastern god had to be exported and belief was instilled largely through fear violence and ignorance.
          Those are the facts, Jack.
          Highly inconvenient, I realise.
          But don’t shoot me … go and blame your church, or the one that invented your religion at least.

          1. Well! We make progress!

            However, you’re still stuck in the mud in places. You discount “faith,” yet it’s all you have for your viewpoint. And you fall back on that faith constantly… then you deny it to Christians? Hello! Sorry. Invalid!

            Faith does, indeed, count… or you and I have nothing to argue about, because I understand your belief system to consist completely of, you guessed it: faith.

            There you go again with the scientific studies by neurologists! I come from a family of very accomplished psychologists, and every last one of them has said the simple truth of psychology: it’s all, 100%, theory. They, and neurologists, bump into the same — let’s use your term — inconvenient truth: The brain can’t study itself and have any possibility of coming to anything but highly suspect conclusions.

            Lol! Good of you not to say I’m nuts, but you can if you so desire (I think I might edit it out as a gratuitous insult though.) Either way, you’re free to think I’m nuts, though that would speak ill of you, since you don’t know me.

            You said:

            “The only source of your god is the bible and I have tried to explain that Yahweh was simply a Canaanite deity the Jews ripped off.
            If what you believe was real then the rest of the world would believe the same.

            They don’t, and your Middle Eastern god had to be exported and belief was instilled largely through fear violence and ignorance.”

            You then suggested that these are “facts.” (though my name isn’t “Jack,” it’s “xPraetorius”)

            They are, of course, all only theories that don’t pass the simple editing reason #19: So what?

            So, Ark: God has to transmit knowledge of Himself according to your rules, Ark? Or else you won’t believe in Him? Pretty brassy of you, telling God how it’s gonna be, and what the rules are.

            Your last line is the most ironic. You spend a whole lot o’time and intellectual ergs fabricating and inventing and misrepresenting, and mischaracterizing a God and a faith that don’t in the least resemble God, as I, and Christians, understand Him, and then tell me to “go and blame your church, or the one that invented your religion at least.”

            Funny one, Ark!

            Best,

            — x

          2. This is your most ridiculous reply to date.
            You have yet to establish there is a god or identify which god it is you refer to? Unless you are referring to Yahweh as I have noted. Well, are you?
            Start there and we can move right along.
            Oh, and please stop with the ”violation code”.
            You don’t like to discuss this then simply say so, but I am getting sick and [Deleted: profanity] tired of your junior school nonsense.

            Next …

          3. Have I not mentioned that I’m a Christian? Only a hundred times or so! Wow! I guess I need no further indication that you don’t read what I write. Okay. Noted.

            Apropos of the “junior school” nonsense, I’m not the one who can’t control his vocabulary. I find that exposing nitwittery in that way, tends to get the perpetrators to rein it in. Not always true, but it also shields me from any silly accusations that I’m censoring the meaning of content. I told you my rule pretend my 12-year old son is reading what you write and keep a civil tongue in your head…errr… on your keyboard.

            Okay, okay, the imagery breaks down at “civil tongue.”

            Best,

            — x

  6. I’m laughing here. Without even looking at the subject matter and just focusing on the tone, xPraetorius and Ancients are confident and smart about what they believe, while others are just shrieking banshees of chaotic confusion. Don’t be a shrieking banshee of confusion if you are trying to win an argument.

        1. I laugh a lot. Even when I read the bible. Though not too much during the exploits of Moses.( people look at me funny) He was a bit of a naughty boy, and I am not one for slavery, rape, murder, incest, genocide, sacrificing animals for no reason.
          But if you want a true reflection on how people can be hoodwinked into believing this stuff you should watch Life of Brian – at least once a month.
          You will be hosing yourself laughing. Eventually at yourself, I venture.

          1. You do know, don’t you, that “The Life of Brian” doesn’t actually provide any actual insights into God, life and the meaning of anything?

            I wasn’t sure how to break that to you, so I figured I’d just come right out and say it. 🙂

            Best,

            — x

          2. It doesn’t? Oh my [Deleted: swearing], and all this time I thought it was a genuine portrayal.
            Well [Deleted: mild profanity]. Those miserable gits in my history class lied to me!
            So, are you telling me that this movie was simply a humongous [Deleted: mild profanity] about nothing?
            That there never was some bloke called Jesus who got hisself crucified?
            And the Judean People’s Front were all made up too?
            What about Judith? Surely she was real?

            I am so miserable now. Really, who can you believe?
            Before long people will be telling me the Gospels are all made up that Moses wasn’t real, there never was a global flood and Adam and Eve were simply analogues.
            I tell you what though, the church really did a number on us hey?
            Lying [Deleted: mild profanity]!

  7. You’ll notice, though, that in the previous post I injected a simple point: “I’d had personal experience of God.”

    In hindsight, my dismissal of this claim was likely in haste.
    If you are able to put aside any obvious animosity you must now have for my skeptical position, please describe your experience and how you came to believe/recognise it as a direct experience with God?

    1. I have no animosity whatsoever toward you or your positions. I disagree with you. I do get annoyed with your refusal to control your language. That’s all.

      As regards describing my experiences, I’m kind of a busy guy, and don’t really have the time to write a bunch of stuff that I know will not be read.

      Furthermore, even if you were to read them, you’d likely dismiss them — as I mentioned in something that you probably didn’t read — as psychological or biological, or delusional, or whatever. Or, you’d say that even if it were true, how could I know this or that about it. And so on.

      Life is, among other things, an exercise in playing percentages. We know that there’s a tiny but non-zero chance that we’ll be hit by a meteor when we walk out the front door, yet, playing the percentages, we continue to walk out the front door. The percentages say that if I were to tell you what those experiences are, they would meet with nothing that would add value. So, for the time being, you’ll simply have to take my word for it.

      I realized with Zande’s responses that he doesn’t read what I write either, since his responses were so ignorant and failed to address countless points. Therefore, in looking back at all that’s been written, I understand that unless you or Zande break new ground, there’s no real point in me saying much more.

      Best,

      — x

      1. If you are wanting to put your experience forward as evidence then why would you not want to share this with me?
        Yes, I am aggressively skeptic,very aggressive, but you are claiming your experience was real and is valid and ought to be considered. By whom?
        And why would you raise the emotional, psychological aspects? Are there issues here besides straightforward conversion?

        You are called to spread the word and what better way than your own testimony. Surely, if it cannot stand up to scrutiny even you would not accept it?
        You certainly would not accept testimony from another who had converted to Islam for example so I am going to assume this was a powerful experience that convinced you.

        In the interest of clarity I promise I will read all of it – even the big words, providing it isn’t a novel.

      2. Still waiting for your testimonial,X-P.
        I really am interested in reading it.
        Why don’t you make a separate page and stick it up on you header bar or as a drop down?
        Many Christians do this and it gives the reader a clear indication from where the Blog Host is coming from?
        Just a thought.

          1. Well, I didn’t convert, but it would be a sad conversion, or belief system indeed, if there were no emotion involved.

            However, my Christian beliefs are an admixture of emotion, reason and logic. I’d be at a loss to quantify the proportions.

            Best,

            — x

          2. Maybe at some point I’ll produce it. However, I should warn you, it’s quite pedestrian and boring. Except, of course, for me, for whom it was deeply, richly rewarding and, interestingly, targeted where I was most vulnerable, wounded and in pain.

            One such incident — there were several obvious ones, which made me realize that there had been hundreds more that I simply had missed — wiped that pain away, and gave me such indescribable peace and relief as I couldn’t possibly convey in words.

            Best,

            — x

          3. This may be an exercise in semantics, but there are no “typical” experiences of God. All are perfectly unique, and completely and utterly unlike any other.

            It’s like my “ballpark” analogy. In brief: a guy hits a home run (I gather you’re from Britain, so this might not be known to you — essentially, a player in one stroke scores from one to four “runs” [points] for his team in a game of baseball. In so doing, in accordance with the rules of baseball, he runs around all the bases, being sure to touch all four of them.) and as he circles the bases, points heavenward — often in an expression of gratitude explicitly to God (though not always). Well, a radio announcer I listen to was talking about that little gesture and said something petulantly dismissive like, “As if God cares about the guy’s home run, and whether his team wins of loses the baseball game!”

            Where the announcer got it exactly wrong was that God does, indeed, “care” about the home run, and about who wins, and about every other aspect of the home run hitter’s life, as well as how each little thing in that game affected every other person in the ballpark, and watching on television, or otherwise interacting with the game.

            As I might have mentioned, this kind of attention would be easier than easy for a Creator who created septillions of cubic parsecs of matter, along with vast, incalculable energy and forces, all moving through time in an impossibly intricate, and at the same time simple, dance we call we “the universe.”

            Every moment of every day is an “experience of God.” We just have to have the eyes to see it, the ears to hear it and the open mind to know it.

            The point: there is no such thing as a “typical experience of God.”

            Best,

            — x

          4. . This may be an exercise in semantics, but there are no “typical” experiences of God. All are perfectly unique, and completely and utterly unlike any other.

            .
            This should also cover your ballpark analogy ….
            I agree, the experiences are all highly individual to the individual but the dynamics usually involve similar circumstances which often include such factors as childhood abuse/trauma, drugs, alcohol relationship and money issues and /or sexual issues.
            And all (as far as I am aware) have a highly-charged emotional component that is often fueled by the convert’s/ believer’s situation or current state of mind. Such factors are also compounded by peer pressure and one’s (religious) environment.
            You would never hear/heard of an Amazon tribesman suddenly ‘discovering god’’ out of the blue.
            Such reasons demonstrate why your god and such god belief is unique to Christians and why your god never manifested in any other geographical location other than the Middle East until it was exported.
            But I reiterate, maybe your story is different. Feel free to tell it.

          5. You said:

            This may be an exercise in semantics, but there are no “typical” experiences of God. All are perfectly unique, and completely and utterly unlike any other.

            You said:

            This should also cover your ballpark analogy …

            I agree, the experiences are all highly individual to the individual but the dynamics usually involve similar circumstances which often include such factors as childhood abuse/trauma, drugs, alcohol relationship and money issues and /or sexual issues.

            And all (as far as I am aware) have a highly-charged emotional component that is often fueled by the convert’s/ believer’s situation or current state of mind. Such factors are also compounded by peer pressure and one’s (religious) environment.

            Reaction:
            And a million other things. You really need to get out more, Ark. The dynamics do not “usually involve similar circumstances which often include such factors as childhood abuse/trauma, drugs, alcohol relationship and money issues and /or sexual issues.” Sometimes, yes, but it would be really weird if the dynamics didn’t. God is there to, among other things, give comfort. What you’ve covered there are times of great discomfort in people’s lives. That’s when God is most present and available, if, that is, the person is open to Him. Duh!

            You said:

            You would never hear/heard of an Amazon tribesman suddenly ‘discovering god’ out of the blue.

            Reaction:
            Correct: It’s also true that you would “never hear/heard of an Amazon tribesman” saying anything whatsoever. In other words, if your hypothetrical Amazon tribesman did discover God you’d never hear of it. Also: Duh!

            You said:

            Such reasons demonstrate why your god and such god belief is unique to Christians and why your god never manifested in any other geographical location other than the Middle East until it was exported.

            Reaction: Ah, there you go again, telling God how to make Himself known to various and sundry! Boy, I hope He’s taking notes! 🙂 Bottom Line: God hasn’t behaved in ways you expect Him to behave, so you refuse to believe in Him. In other words, you’re falling into the trap that all atheists fall into: You set your expectations for God, then decide that when He doesn’t conform to them, you’re outta there. Fair enough, but I hope you see the absurdity of doing that.

            You said:

            But I reiterate, maybe your story is different. Feel free to tell it.

            Reaction:
            I just might.

            Best,

            — x

            You said:


            Reaction:

          6. Your response, neatly hand-waving and not actually directly addressing the comment, is once again, in the tone of one blinded by indoctrination.
            You can see it with all the presuppositional statements.

            That you continue to deny it is ample evidence of your current state.
            The term is compartmentalization, I think?
            It is one of the ways such fanatical believers are able to cope without suffering severe cognitive dissonance.

            However, you may surprise and if you elect to tell your tale I hope it is an honest rendition.
            Until then, I will reserve further comment until I have read your revelation.

          7. Lol! This violates so many Editing Reasons, I’m going to keep it as kind of a clinic for others who might be tempted to be be as careless or lazy as you seem to be.

            Here’s your post with all unnecessary fluff removed:


            Your response, neatly hand-waving and not actually directly addressing the comment, is once again, in the tone of one blinded by indoctrination. [ER #: 1,2,3,6,7,22]

            You can see it with all the presuppositional statements. [ER #: 3,21,22]

            That you continue to deny it is ample evidence of your current state.
            The term is compartmentalization, I think?
            [ER #: 1,2,6,10,11,12,14,17,18,19,21,22]

            It is one of the ways such fanatical believers are able to cope without suffering severe cognitive dissonance. [ER #: 1,2,3,6,7,16,17,18,19,21,22]

            However, you may surprise and if you elect to tell your tale I hope it is an honest rendition. [ER #: 6,7,10,11,12] (Editor’s Note: You were fine until you make the silly “honest rendition” mistake. Of course, when and if I choose to tell you any of my “tales,” you would have no way under the sun of knowing whether they are “honest” or total fiction.)

            Until then, I will reserve further comment until I have read your revelation.


            Let’s see what we have left that’s worth responding to:

            You said:Until then, I will reserve further comment until I have read your revelation.

            My Response: Okay.

            Best,

            — x

          8. Let’s really see what’s left.
            [Deleted: gratuitous insult]
            I can’t wait to read your confession testimonial.

            Bet you a thousand dollars I have got the reasons down pat in accordance with what I already wrote?

            Why not give me a hint?

          9. Sorry, I missed this.

            In other words, if your hypothetrical Amazon tribesman did discover God you’d never hear of it. Also: Duh!

            Of course you would hear of it because your god is the character, Jesus of Nazareth, and Christians are commanded to Spread the Word, so the likelihood of the outside world hearing of this tribesman’s conversion are very high in actual fact, especially as good ole’ Christian Missionaries are forever making forays into forgotten patches of the Earth just in case they missed the odd little fish or two.
            Duh!

          10. Your hypothetical seemed to suggest that we were just encountering these tribesmen for the first time. Or at least that was my interpretation. Or, you seemed also to suggest, that we might never encounter these tribesmen. I was giving you your best case scenario, ie: no contact with other Christians, and, you seem to imply, no conversions to Christianity. By means of response, I simply stated the obvious: You and I can never know.

            Best,

            — x

          11. I have never encountered such [Deleted: profanity and gratuitous insult] on the internet. Okay that’s not entirely true,[Deleted: gratuitous insult].
            Really, you are a shining light [Deleted: gratuitous insult].

          12. And I missed something too. Of course, what you said is pure nonsense. Whenever Christian missionaries go into “forgotten patches of Earth,” there are many, many conversions. All of them voluntary. Duh! 🙂

            Best,

            — x

          13. You can call it gold. The guy definitely went native. The dude’s conclusions aren’t borne out by his description of the Pirahas.

            The pirahas, for example, don’t talk about the distant future or the distant past. Okay, so this guy has interactions with a group that is not interested in history, or science, or anything that might give them insights on where they came from or where they’re going, and this guy somehow translates that into a need to become an atheist.

            Sorry, the dude’s none too bright and, it seems, particularly easily led.

            You need to do better than that, JV!

            Best,

            — x

          14. Ah.. the voice of the critical thinker.
            That just about clinches it, I reckon.
            And those reading will understand why. Though I doubt you will. Sigh …never mind.
            I think we are done, don’t you?
            Say Hi to Ken Ham for me.

  8. @Zande, I never said I ‘linked’ anything. It’s really easy, I gave you two citations from JSTOR. All you have to do is go to JSTOR copy and paste and boom you have both citations. Every single essay.

    Again, As I’ve explained, I present the citations to present the Academics’ work, not butchered by my own summary, so you can in effect attempt to dismiss their assertions from it. Furthermore, it was to provide evidence of a lack of academic consensus, so the need for a summary wasn’t needed, but you would certainly know that, wouldn’t you?

    1. Phadde, I followed the titles after the link didn’t work. Guess what, no articles.. just two books. I subscribe to JSTOR.

      So, have you read these books? Could you tell me what the central arguments are, and what supporting evidence the authors present.

      Thanks.

      1. Well it’s essay format with different academic, for example, you can go to one academic who argues that Moses was an Egyptian. Another title examines the plagues connected in the field of geology.

        However, find the rest yourself.

        I’m not your research assistant, If you don’t have access to everything on JSTOR, not my problem.

    1. I had a personal experience, I went to sleep one night had a dream. In my dream it told me that as soon as we relinquished Christianity, humanity would realize its full potential as our own gods.

      1. Silly post, Josey… I advise against such inanity.

        ‘Sides, we’ve had experience of what happens when people decided they would be their own gods.

        Your gods — those militant atheists who, apparently, believed as you do — were responsible for the murders of more than 120 million people in the last century alone.

        We’ll get a lot more of that if you get your way and succeed in ridding the world of Christianity.

        Best,

        — x

        1. Can you demonstrate that the cause of the death of those 120 million people is the fact the dictators in charge were not religious?
          Or, more to the point, as it is silly to compare non-rational dogmas to reasoned thought, can you demonstrate that the problem of the ideologies you allude to is the problem of being too sceptical or too reasonable?

          1. Lol! Okay, Allallt, I can’t prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Hitler’s, Mao’s, Stalin’s, Pol Pot’s, atheism was responsible for all the murders. They did, however, share two common characteristics: socialism and atheism. I guess I do have to connect the dots, though to get to my conclusion.

            Oops! So does everyone else whenever they believe anything. So, really, your question was a nonsense question.

            Best,

            — x

          2. Hitler was a Christian, as you are already fully aware, and Pol Pot was a Buddhist.

            But tell me, if you want to try and make this point, would you say Pinochet (a Christian) murdered tens of thousands in the name of Christianity… Or would you just call him a dictator?

          3. Okay. So, we appear to be coming at the issue from the philosophical stance of creative conjecture and criticism known as ‘falliblism’. That seems an acceptable approach to me.
            While I’m simply noting your comment, instead of replying to it (which I shall come to), it is also worthy of note that I said “demonstrate” and you said “prove beyond a shadow of a doubt”. They are exceptionally different and bringing in the concept of total certainty is misleading.
            If we are following the approach of falliblism, I put it to you that your conjecture should be replaced if a better explanation of the evidence were brought forward. For that, I shall reintroduce my own conjecture, that I only alluded to in the previous comment. Namely, that there is an active ideology at play in motivating the people you mention.
            The mere correlation between their atheism and their actions doesn’t permit itself to any sort of explanation. Whereas, examination of their ideologies does.



            xPraetorius’ Response in the post (in blue) since to do so as WordPress would suggest, would place this response way down. I thought that Allallt’ post was so worthy of a thoughtful response that I figured I’d provide it this way.

            Allt: you’re exactly half-right in this. The ideology in question — socialism — is at fault. However, I maintain that socialism, being the coercive ideology that it is(1), requires atheism. Socialism requires atheism so that mankind can make the rules, unhindered by a Supreme Authority above him.

            An atheist is encumbered by only the rules that he chooses to adhere to at any given moment. There’s nothing to stop him from doing whatever he pleases, believing in whatever rules he chooses to, observing whatever values he so chooses… tomorrow. Or this afternoon. And there would be no impact on his conscience. the most empathetic, kind atheist today could become the coldest, most ruthless mass murderer tomorrow if he so chooses, because there’s nothing except his own rules, his own decisions as to what he finds right, wrong, good, bad, or whatever. Nothing whatsoever.

            No Christian is free to commit mass murders, depredations, cruelties and atrocities and pretend he’s actually a Christian with any kind of standing before, yes, the Supreme Authority. People mock the “No true Scotsman,” or “No true Christian” thing, but there is truth to it.

            No true Christian would do what a monster does. At the same time, with the exception of Jesus, I’m sad to admit that there are no true Christians — meaning, flawless followers of Jesus’ word and teachings — we all get it wrong sometimes and some of us get it wrong a lot. But when Christians get it right, you truly can know them by their deeds. It’s not that their good, kind, charitable, helpful, loving deeds prove that they’re, but they tend to be good indicators. Christians, understanding the sacrifice of Jesus, yearn to do good to be worthy of such perfect nobility.

            Well, when you see a bunch of people doing good, charitable, helpful things around the world, most times it’s Christians doing it. When you see the opposite, when you see cruelty and violence and cold callousness all around, it’s likely you’ve stumbled into one of the big three tendencies that permit violence: Socialism and its inevitable sidekick atheism, or Islam.

            It’s instructive that when people like Hitler and Stalin rejected Christianity, that was when they became monsters.

            Best,

            — x

            Notes


            (1) – Socialism is an ideology of prohibitions: It’s feudalism with a bunch of pretty words in thick books. No property, no free speech, no economic advancement, no religion…

            Capitalism, and its emphasis on the free market is an ideology of permissions, and it functions best in the presence of maximal freedom. Freedom to speak, therefore the freedom and the ability to become informed, freedom to own things, freedom to advance economically at one’s own pace, etc. It’s a simplistic comparison, but valid.

          4. Hitler was, obviously, not a Christian. It is not part of any historical record that Pinochet “murdered tens of thousands.” He certainly didn’t murder anyone “in the name of Christianity.

            Zande, the faster you remove the obvious nonsense from what you write, the better off you’ll be, and the less of everyone else’s time you’ll waste. There is a political argument to be had about Pinochet, and to fog it over with a non-existent Christianity component is, as mentioned, to waste everyone’s time.

            Did Pinochet institute an authoritarian régime? Yep. It was a lot better than that of Pinochet’s predecessor, but that doesn’t make it alright.

            Also, we already had this Hitler-Pinochet, etc. argument. Please refer to those passages for my thinking if you’re interested in it.

            Best,

            — x

          5. There is a political argument to be had about Pinochet, and to fog it over with a non-existent Christianity component is, as mentioned, to waste everyone’s time.

            Ahhh, I see… So when its a Christian he wasn’t, of course, acting as a christian, for Christianity, he was just a political despot, but when it was atheist…. Nice hypocrite double-step there, Praetorius 😉

            And as for Hitler, enjoy this brief expose of his Christianity:

            “I believe today I am acting in the same way as the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lords work!”
            -Adolf Hitler, speech delivered in 1936.

            “Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith…. We need believing people.”
            -Adolf Hitler, April 26, 1933

            “We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.” -Adolf Hitler, in a speech in Berlin on 24 Oct. 1933

            “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow my self to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows . For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.” -Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922

            “Christianity could not content itself with building up its own altar; it was absolutely forced to undertake the destruction of the heathen altars. Only from this fanatical intolerance could its apodictic faith take form; this intolerance is, in fact, its absolute presupposition.” -Adolf Hitler Mein Kampf

            “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” -Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

          6. @Zande: Maybe at some point in their lives. Who knows? Only they and God. However, as I’ve said many times, there is nothing in Christianity that anyone can ever use to justify oppressing another person. This much is howlingly obvious.

            Best,

            — x

          7. I think WordPress is messing up and notifying me of your replies to JZ. Even so, JZ has a point: you note the asserted pattern of those horrors being committed by atheists while refusing to speculate what the explanation might be and refuse that any greater discussion may be beneficial to the conversation. However, pointed towards a Christian who has committed horrors, suddenly more conversation is needed and ‘no true Christian’ and ‘not in the name of Christianity’ excuses come forward. Surely the double standard is clear to someone who removes their ego from how they conduct themselves.

          8. At last! You’ve finally agreed with our side! I agree that atheism is nothing but irrational dogma. Look, for example at your, and Ark’s and Zande’s constant pounding on the theme of our side’s need to produce texts (dogma), even as you produce yours.

            Never have I seen anyone more irrationally dogmatic than an atheist! I’m glad you concur, All!

            Best,

            — x

            (Relax! The “you agree with me” part is sarcasm. The rest is right On. The. Nose. though. The most rigidly dogmatic people I’ve ever met are atheists. No group is more obsessed with their sacred texts than atheists. )

          9. Prae

            These folks are not my allies, the person in my dream, I saw one day walking, confirmed the prophetic dream. He revealed himself to be Xenu. The prometheism the atheists who are still under the hypnotic spell is still a false system. Humanity can only reach their true power when they learn to break their state of unconsciousness.

          10. It requires deep historical illiteracy, or serious ignorance of both history and Christianity to pretend that Hitler was a Christian.

            At one point in his life he might have been, but he’s pretty much the poster child for the Christian who … ummmm …”strayed a tad.” 🙂

            Nope, Hitler was a socialist, and an atheist. I argued this at length elsewhere, so I don’t need to go over it again here.

            Best,

            — x

        2. Boy! You people — Ark, Zande, All — you really like your labels, don’t you! It’s kinda funny, this, it seems, visceral need to categorize others and the way they think into nice, neat little boxes, so that you can make generalities about what and who they are and what they say and think.

          I advise against it. It’s dumb.

          No, we’re not coming at it via “fallibilism,” or via any other thing that’s worth tagging with a label. We’re talking about beliefs, and you and Ark and Zande can’t seem to produce anything that’s not derivative of what you find in your sacred texts.

          Best,

          — x

          1. Well, falliblism is a type of epistemology and as such is a way of informing beliefs. If, however, you want to discuss your beliefs without discussing any way of informing beliefs and simultaneously disarming your opponent of any critical and rational tools, well that’s apparent behaviour. It is for your readers to discern. And your readers are probably able to tell the difference between agreeing with the person they simply agree with and identifying the person who is engaging in the discussion non-rationally.
            As for my sacred text, which texts are you referring to? What text have a presented? When did I say a text is an infallible authority? What type of justificationism are you actually accusing me of?

            I can almost imagine your non-response now:
            Justificationism? Oh, the labels are just relentless. Don’t people realise how stupid they come across when they use language? Look at these pitiful fools using language and academic terms! Can’t they just reinvent all knowledge from scratch for each and every discussion?

        3. I’ve just noticed this. It’s quite funny actually. You have fallen for the perfect Poe experiment; Josey was being sincere, but you thought she was being “silly”.

  9. Ah, the one who removed ego had to brag about it publicly, belittle the opponent and smugly claim superiority.

    I’m curious as to how you actually won. Can you link the thread that includes the citations and reasoned arguments, showing yours are far superior to JZ and Ark? Or provide a brief synopsis?

    If not, it seems your definition of “winning” is to remain calm, regardless of the truth of your stance.

    1. You’ll need to re-read a little, All… I belittled arguments, never people.

      Your word “smug” is an interpretation, and you’re free to make it. However, I do prefer the other word that you used: “calm.” Yes, I did remain calm in the face of vein-popping profanity on the part of Ark,. and vast outpourings of florid inanity on the part of Zande.

      Now, I see, I have your ill-informed assessments to deal with. Guess what: I’ll remain calm through that as well. 🙂

      I have a characteristic that Ark. and Zande seem to lack — at least in their blog posts — I’m impossible to offend. Even a little. I don’t care in the slightest what you say, think or feel about me. I don’t know you, and you don’t know me, so our opinions about each other lack any basis in knowledge or understanding. Therefore, I don’t bother to have opinions about the people writing here.

      I do, however, have opinions about what you write, and I will express those opinions. I will, of course, extend to you the same courtesy as well.

      If, however, you write ignorant nonsense, as you’ve done above, don’t expect me to treat such output kindly. If all you face on a blog with strong opinions is “smug,” perhaps you should count yourself lucky.

      Best,

      — x

      1. Instrumentalism, applied to psychology, is called ‘behaviourism’. The trite summary of behaviourism is that from actions one can make meaningful summations of actor. Your comments are your actions. From there I can make summations about you. I remain convinced by my assessment and unconvinced of your rebuttal, which was more like complaining than containing any point.

  10. You make the same error that the America left make all the time: “You say this, therefore you’re a racist!” (or a sexist or a homophobe, or a fill-in-the-blank)

    It’s a really stupid, embarrassing error, and I advise against demonstrating in public that you make that error.

    Best,

    — x

  11. @All — I appreciate the ‘fallibilism” post above… It’s a good one. I’ll respond in greater detail a bit later.

    I apologize for the hastier one I penned above, and will address the meat of your thoughtful post later on.

    Right now, though, I have to go out into the third world hellhole where my work as brought me, and see what I can do to further the cause of making the world safe for democracy.

    Best,

    — x

      1. If this question is suggesting I might be in the armed forces, I’m not. At least not as they’re commonly thought of.

        I realize I’ve invited the armed forces impression with my borrowing of the expression, “attempting to make the world safe for democracy” (roughly). However, I’m doing so in a different way.

        Best,

        — x

    1. Ah, I missed this comment. If I’d noted it it might have encouraged me to take a slightly different tact in my previous comment.
      However, as well as addressing my falliblism comment, it is also worth addressing my initial question: is simply remaining calm sufficient criteria for declaring victory?
      If so, you may as well assert that you are nothing more than a photograph of yourself, refuse to speak to the defence of such a claim and ignore the apparent paradoxes and remain calm. That would constitute some sort of intellectual ‘victory’.

      1. Allallt: “is simply remaining calm sufficient criteria for declaring victory?”

        Did you read the previous (relevant) thread?

      2. Well, let’s see… How do I think I “won?”

        Well…

        • I never ridiculed anyone, but remained calm. I had a teacher who said once that you could always tell who was losing the argument, by who lost his temper first. Or, who started calling names first. The person winning the argument wants none of those distractions, rather he wants to be sure that people will hear his lucid, well-supported thoughts and conclusions. He never risks losing his audience or opponent by insulting him and giving him an excuse to stalk off.
        • Re-read and you will see that both Zande and Ark, then you, went frequently after the irrelevant — “You must read this guy!” Or: “Well, that guy (presumably a source of mine) is an idiot!” Or: “Oh, you’re an XYZ-ist or an ABC-ist!” And on and on and on and on. All irrelevant. I said it many times. Forget who, or what I am, respond to what I say.
        • I exhibited a great deal more confidence in my points of view. I didn’t need to impugn anyone else’s integrity, character or intelligence.
        • I refused to be drawn into a fruitless game of dueling esoteric sources. I didn’t need them. Everything that Zande and Ark advanced was weakened by the fact that it was all derivative. Numerous times I said that we could throw sources at each other all day and night, and get nowhere. This was, and is, obviously true.
        • I advanced numerous points that Zande and Ark ignored completely, whereas my style of responding is to respond to all points that someone makes. Ark even admitted that he didn’t read all that I wrote. Well. Since he was confessing that he (1) wasn’t arguing in good faith, and (2) didn’t know all that I was saying, therefore, (3) he was unserious. In a topic that’s plainly of importance to him, he gave every overt indication that he had thrown in the towel and was now simply struggling to save face; to have the last word. I know a capitulation when I see one.
        • All those who have written in support of the same positions as mine have adhered to the same courteous standards, with few exceptions. Each deletion I have had to make to Ark’s content has been a sign of surrender. He knows the rules, refuses to adhere to them in someone else’s place, and thereby shows a need to distract. A person winning an argument loathes distractions. He wants to focus like a laser on his winning salvos, and he wants everyone else to do so as well.
        • My side’s posts were the educated, mature adult posts, as against the posts of what seemed like bright but ignorant teenagers, just learning that they just might not know it all after all.

        I could go on, but that’s enough for now.

        Re-read the two posts in question, and you’ll see that my assessment is pretty much on the mark.

        Best,

        — x

        1. Firstly, I don’t know which two posts are in question, so I can’t go read them (yet). I’ve been asked to be linked to them or to be offered a synopsis and no one has. Therefore, all I had to respond to was this post. This post clearly says you know you won because you remained calm.
          I have a slightly better understanding of your point now, although I think it is a poor one: it is not true that remaining calm is a sign of being right. One method to be deemed right, according to you, is to calmly engage in condescension and inaccurate representations of the opposition and one will have offended the person regardless of who (if anyone) is right.
          This is why I deemed it an appropriate criticism (and not a distraction) to allude to the possibility that, in fact, the say you are conducting yourself is steeped in your own ego (despite your assertion to the opposite). You may also have noticed I have started saying certain things are for your readers to figure out, because you’re not engaging with the content of my comments. As an example, it is irrelevant (and a distraction) to discuss whether Hitler is a Christian, because my point was that you are happy with a superficial explanation of a pattern of horrific behaviour by atheists but demand a greater explanation of horrific behaviour from Christians.
          It is equally a distraction to discuss whether the use of labels is constructive or not. Every word is a label. Every word is intended to reflect a narrow band of the greater complex of all possible meanings. I have no labelled you. I use labels, but that’s because I’ve read enough stuff to wrong what I’m talking about and refuse to reinvent knowledge for every conversation. But I have not said “You are a [label]”. It’s the exact same distinction you make very early on: you’re not attacking people, you’re attacking ideas. Well, I’m not labelling anyone, but I am identifying the approaches to knowledge used and certain behaviour.
          I’ve also remained calm, impeccably behaved and (contrary to my own intuitions) haven’t cited any sources. Does that mean I’m soundly defeating you right now? Because, by contrast, you’ve started throwing some distractions about with the occasional accusation.

        1. Here’s something my PE teacher told me: the referee can’t also play the game. Their impartiality can never be assured.

          To show my point, score us. What are the scores of you, me, Ark and JZ?

        2. You believe defending (largely) make-believe characters from a (largely) make-believe story in a book so violent and bloodthirsty, so bereft of basic human decency in the major parts of its narrative is an argument worth defending;especially in light of the doctrine that non-believers will be separated from your god and annihilated or sent to Hell for non- belief, to be tortured for eternity by the very deity you claim loves humanity.

          Do you not ever wonder why deconvertees, and especially former ministers, pastors priests etc, are often the most vocal critics of god-belief and often confess to feelings of acute embarrassment coupled with a large dollop of shame when they think back; not only what they defended but what they preached and of the tacit and sometimes open condemnation they heaped upon parishioners.

          Well, maybe you should give it some thought?

  12. Here is my response to your comment in blue (above). I think this is a better way to organise it.

    “The ideology in question — socialism — is at fault. However, I maintain that socialism, being the coercive ideology that it is(1), requires atheism”
    Ah, socialism. There you go with your labels again (therefore I win?). Besides, I think you’re exactly wrong. I think you defined socialism wrongly and I think socialism does not require atheism: I think there is such a thing as religious socialism and I think Jesus of Nazareth was a socialist. Given that you don’t want to get into source-duelling, I really don’t know what you want to do to resolve this disagreement.

    I also don’t think socialism was the problem with these people. They had beliefs in the superiority of one race over another, of the superiority of agriculture to other economic methods, of the superiority of one nation over another. What is required is having the belief that one thing is superior to another and refusing to allow criticism of that idea. (Under falliblism, the method I put forward, one must accept their idea is fallible, at least in some degree, to allow for criticism and, therefore, improvement.) One can very readily believe in superiority when they are religious.

    Jihadism requires Islam and The Inquisition required Christianity. Concepts like apostasy and heresy require religion. This is my point: atheism doesn’t cause horrors, there is no correlation and no causative link. When we’re talking about atheism, you’re not interested in that discussion. But, if we talk about religion, you are. The irony here is that one can actually articulate a causative link or an explanation as to how one gets from the religion to the horror, here. At best, one can only argue that atheism permits (not requires) horror. But that’s only because atheism is not defining; it is a lack of a genre of beliefs. The dogmas the dictators you allude to is important, their atheism is not.

    “An atheist is encumbered by only the rules that he chooses to adhere to at any given moment. There’s nothing to stop him from doing whatever he pleases, believing in whatever rules he chooses to, observing whatever values he so chooses… tomorrow.”
    I’m just pointing this out. I’m not actually going to engage with this distracting mischaracterisation of atheism. A religious person doesn’t have to value the rules laid down by God, is also only encumbered by the rules they choose, and so the same risk applies to them. Atheism is not unique in this case either.

    No Christian is free to commit mass murders, depredations, cruelties and atrocities and pretend he’s actually a Christian with any kind of standing before, yes, the Supreme Authority.
    False. No true Praetorian Christian would, because all those Christians, the ones that follow Praetori’s interpretations of the Book, have those exact rules in mind. However, other types of Christians can and have. And there is no way to tell whose interpretation of the Book is more valid. All groups selectively overlook parts of the Book the other groups hold dear. I don’t think Westboro Baptist Church thought they were being unbiblical. And I seriously doubt the Catholic Church has doubts about its holiness.

    The problem here is that once someone holds a bad idea for religious reasons, the nature of that reason becomes immune from rational criticism. (I’d argue that Hitler’s superior race idea was basically religious, and―interestingly enough―contrary to socialism; how sure are you Hitler was a socialist?)

    “[T]here are no true Christians — meaning, flawless followers of Jesus’ word and teachings”
    I disagree with your definition of a true Christian. You don’t like source-duelling, so I don’t know how you want to resolve this. I’d argue that anyone who believes in the divinity of a real Jesus Christ is a Christian. But if we follow your ‘no true Christian’ argument, you’re left with what? I suspect it’s ‘bad Christians’. And, suddenly, your point dissolves; a bad Christian is as free to do as they please as anyone else.

    Well, when you see a bunch of people doing good, charitable, helpful things around the world, most times it’s Christians doing it. When you see the opposite [it’s probably] Socialism and its inevitable sidekick atheism, or Islam.

    Not according to crime statistics or prison populations; in the USA atheists are underrepresented in prisons by a factor of 40. That’s not what you’d expect, if they were the main causes of monstrosities. Also, not according to any correlation between the religiosity of a country and its crime rate. Missionaries who advocate not using condoms, therefore being complicit in the spread of aids, is that good and charitable or is it the opposite?
    However, I do accept that atheist populations are pretty poor at giving to charity.

    1. Excellent post, Allallt!

      Lots of meat and lots of thought, well-presented. I can’t address it here in any depth. Needless to say I disagree with some, and agree with some. I’ll point out my disagreements later in the day.

      Best,

      — x

    2. As mentioned before: Great post, well-presented. Here are my reactions to your thoughts

      You said:

      “The ideology in question — socialism — is at fault. However, I maintain that socialism, being the coercive ideology that it is(1), requires atheism”

      Ah, socialism. There you go with your labels again (therefore I win?). Besides, I think you’re exactly wrong. I think you defined socialism wrongly and I think socialism does not require atheism: I think there is such a thing as religious socialism and I think Jesus of Nazareth was a socialist. Given that you don’t want to get into source-duelling, I really don’t know what you want to do to resolve this disagreement.

      Reaction:
      Some labels are okay in that they’re convenient ways to bundle up a bunch of thoughts into one word. Labels are, however, also dangerous shorthands because of the risk of different understandings of the labels being used. However, without them we’d have to write a whole bunch more in order to express ourselves.

      Where you went astray was in your attempts to label and categorize me (and possibly the other commenters here), which you can’t legitimately do until I give you the labels you can use. If, for example, I call myself a socialist (I’m not), and I start to express free market-type thoughts, it would be legitimate to call me on it… because I gave myself the label.

      People in exchanges such as these so frequently stray from the prime directive — addressing the text being presented — that it becomes annoying. Frankly, who and what I am, and my level of education, integrity and character, what I like, need, want, where I live, etc., are all perfectly irrelevant because they can’t be known. My words are on the page; address them.

      Now, nobody’s perfect…I’ve done it too — speculated as to my interlocutor’s motives, etc. — and I don’t mind at all being called on it, at which point, if the accusation is correct, then I simply apologize, and endeavor not to do it again.

      You said, above: “I think Jesus of Nazareth was a socialist.

      Yes. I agree. I’ve long thought this as well. However, Jesus was not an ideological socialist. He was pretty firm about the idea that he was not bringing ideas about how to run governments on earth, but rather about how people should govern their own lives within the context of the world in which they live.

      There is a place for the most important idea, the one that many (most?) socialists insist sums up socialism — egalitarianism: it’s in our personal lives. Treating everyone as an equally precious child of God is a vital character trait for humane interactions between all people. And, as you mentioned, Jesus was a proponent of it long before Marx et al. came along. The purest expression of the ideological egalitarianism, as contained in the tomes socialists hold dear, is in the American Constitution — also long before Marx, et al. “We hold these truths te be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” It’s important to note that the equality expressed in that brief phrase is not economic, but rather at the level of interpersonal relations, with all the abstractions contained therein: respect, love, admiration, charity, generosity, etc.

      However, egalitarianism, when imposed from above by the government is economic — the government doesn’t know, or care, from interpersonal relations — and its proper name is serfdom. Everyone’s equal in serfdom as well.

      Equality is like anything else: it’s got its very good side and its very bad side. The parallels between serfdom and socialism are astonishing: (1) economic equality (2) the means of production owned by “the people,” (meaning by the government) (3) no private property rights, (4) other basic human rights non-existent (speech, worship, assembly, “press,” etc.)

      Jesus was a “socialist,” in that he insisted that all people are equal in real value — before God, the only place where equality actually counts. Jesus therefore suggested to rich people that they abandon much or all of their wealth.

      However, there was a massive difference between the “Personal Socialism” (for lack of a better term) of Jesus, and the imposed socialism of Marx: Jesus’ redistribution of wealth was voluntary, and benefited not the recipients, but the one turning his focus from his wealth to God. Imposed, ideological socialism, on the other hand, redistributes — steals — others’ wealth ostensibly to benefit the recipients of the stolen wealth.

      It’s important to understand “wealth” properly as well. In Jesus’ teaching, wealth and the material representations of it have no real value as far as what’s truly important is concerned. Therefore, in divesting oneself of one’s money and turning to God, one has lost nothing, and gained everything. In ideological socialism, wealth and its material representations — money and the means of production — hold all value. That’s why Marx et al. obsessed over it. And, when ideological socialists take a person’s wealth, there is no pretense that the victim of that theft has gained something. Everyone knows the rich guy is being “punished.”

      With these two polar opposite understandings of the place wealth should have in the people’s lives, there is, therefore, no room in ideological socialism for belief in God, and the possibility that the people might devalue material wealth in their lives. If the people were to do that, then they might cease to be the good little “means of production” that socialism requires. Hence my continued belief that socialism requires atheism.

      One last point: after outlawing belief in God, the extreme examples of socialism (the ones I mentioned above: Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot) all instituted very much religious systems in which the propaganda organs of the system indoctrinated the people into considering the top dogs — Hitler, Stalin, etc. — as quasi-deities.

      The question must pose itself: if faith in a Higher Authority is so important to the people, why not just establish a religion that would allow socialism to claim justification from a divine source? Why go through all the gymnastics and gyrations required to try to convince people of the highly debatable idea that “religion is the opiate of the masses?”

      Well, socialists did just that. We call it Islam. I coined the terms “socialislam” and “fascislam” in these pages. It’s no accident that any society that has claimed Islam as its main organizing principle, has also been socialist. Gaddafi even admitted it openly. There are all the hallmarks of socialism in all other islamic states and collectives (adding in ISIS here): vast authority vested in a strong central authority, no basic human rights, etc. Try to imagine an “islamic state” of any kind that might relax its massive list of prohibitions. Why, you might have women not walking around in body bags!

      – * – * – * – *- * – * – * – * – * – * –

      You said:

      I also don’t think socialism was the problem with these people. They had beliefs in the superiority of one race over another, of the superiority of agriculture to other economic methods, of the superiority of one nation over another. What is required is having the belief that one thing is superior to another and refusing to allow criticism of that idea. (Under falliblism, the method I put forward, one must accept their idea is fallible, at least in some degree, to allow for criticism and, therefore, improvement.) One can very readily believe in superiority when they are religious.

      Reaction:

      I covered some of this in the previous post. However, you did have some points here. You and I will have to disagree with the first sentence. Socialism is, by definition, coercive. It’s filled with prohibitions against the people, whereas capitalism is loaded with prohibitions against the government.

      The racial component is merely an expression of that aspect of human nature that has existed since time immemorial. I would not expect atheists to abandon racism, as there is nothing in “atheism,” by definition, that requires its abolition. But a racist atheist atop the system of government in the United States (as least as it is now) would not be able to institute gulags, mass murders, genocides. We have had such people in the Presidency: Woodrow Wilson (though not an atheist), for example. We have a racist atheist atop the US government now, however, and there are no gulags or government-sanctioned mass murders.

      We don’t have to imagine what happens when a racist atheist makes his way to the top of a socialist government — we have such examples already: Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, etc…

      It’s interesting to note that the only country in the world to have defeated (not abolished) racism, is the USA. Racism is not a factor in the vast majority of human interactions in America now. Don’t get me wrong, it exists…the American Democrat party is the home of racism — overt and covert — in America today. However, in normal human interactions, racism has very little effect.

      Another good point of yours: “One can very readily believe in superiority when they are religious.”

      Reaction: So true! But not a Christian; not legitimately, that is. Not if the Christian is being true to his Christianity. Jesus was pretty clear on that point. As you yourself said, and as I agreed, Jesus was a socialist. However, the distinction must be made because it’s crucial: His socialism was wholly contained in his teachings regarding human interactions. He had nothing to say, and said so, about how governments should be organized, run, constituted, etc.

      Your point is excellent, however, and is encompassed in a phrase that I like about Christianity: “The worst thing about Christianity is the Christians.” We — I absolutely include myself in this — fail so often to be true to our Christianity.

      That brings up another massively important difference between Christianity (and other theisms) and atheism: A Christian can fail in his Christianity, and it’s pretty easy to see that he’s mucked up. An atheist can do anything at all and can never “fail” atheism. That’s another reason for which socialism requires atheism: it allows the top honchos to do whatever they wish, establish whatever system they want, erect concentrations camps, wipe out thousands, millions of inconvenient people, and they will have failed no doctrine forbidding them to do so.

      There’s no reasonable debate that, for example, a rapist who calls himself a Christian has utterly failed in his Christianity in doing what he does. You can, however, debate all day long whether or not concentration camps, extrajudicial murder, terrorism, starving whole countries, fall within the legitimate exercise of socialism… and in the Soviet Union, there were such debates. Needless to say, the “against” side lost that debate.

      You said:What is required is having the belief that one thing is superior to another and refusing to allow criticism of that idea.
      My reaction: That is absolutely on the nose. And it’s a hallmark of societies ordered around either socialism or, as mentioned above, Islam. The more the society implements socialist principles — divesting the people of private property, eliminating economic mobility, etc. — the more urgent it is to constrain or eliminate basic human freedoms.

      It goes without saying that the atheist is able to believe whatever the heck he wants as regards human freedoms, as the whim hits him.

      – * – * – * – *- * – * – * – * – * – * –

      You said:

      Jihadism requires Islam and The Inquisition required Christianity. Concepts like apostasy and heresy require religion. This is my point: atheism doesn’t cause horrors, there is no correlation and no causative link. When we’re talking about atheism, you’re not interested in that discussion. But, if we talk about religion, you are. The irony here is that one can actually articulate a causative link or an explanation as to how one gets from the religion to the horror, here. At best, one can only argue that atheism permits (not requires) horror. But that’s only because atheism is not defining; it is a lack of a genre of beliefs. The dogmas the dictators you allude to is important, their atheism is not.

      Reaction:

      Partly true. I think the first phrase is best expressed: Islam requires Jihadism requires Islam. The first requires the second, which uses the first as justification for its acts.

      It’s important also to understand at least the reason for The Inquisition: it was to stop extrajudicial killings of heretics that were happening frequently (Christians failing to be Christians) and to establish a judicial framework for punishing heretics. The killing of heretics dropped precipitously as a result of The Inquisition. It’s ironic, isn’t it? The real argument that could be brought up against Christians is that of the extrajudicial killings that were happening before The Inquisition. Is anyone surprised that those earlier Christians would implement a “solution” to extrajudicial killings that was better than what it replaced, but was still a bad solution?

      The Inquisition, however, makes my point for me. Eventually Christians rejected it. Recently even, the Pope shamefacedly apologized for The Inquisition, and specifically condemned its un-Christian nature.

      There is no chance that some highly influential atheist will condemn the 120 million+ dead in the 20th and 21st Centuries and somehow say that those murders were “unatheist.”

      That brings me to something else that you said:This is my point: atheism doesn’t cause horrors, there is no correlation and no causative link.My reaction: Exactly correct! However, atheism permits horrors, or more to the point denies any Higher Authority who would forbid such horrors. Atheism doesn’t cause the horrors, but it removes the possibility of an authoritative prohibition against such horrors. It’s a distinction without a difference.

      Christianity explicitly forbids such horrors. Unambiguously.

      While I understand that there are those who would dispute that, there are no significant numbers of Christians anywhere who believe that Christianity permits the initiation of violence, or pettiness, or cruelty, or anything negative whatsoever, against anyone for any reason whatsoever. You point out, accurately, others who call themselves Christians who seem to engage in pretty cruel behavior. Again, though, there are very few people who grant them any credibility or legitimacy whatsoever. These are fringe groups and individuals only.

      That is not true of atheists who have in living memory murdered more than 120 million people. Yes, yes, yes, they were socialists too. However, as I might have mentioned, the nature of socialism, the defective ideology, is that it requires atheism. I might add that since atheism is a required component of socialism, that alone should give every atheist grave doubts about the company his belief (or non-belief, if you insist) system keeps. 🙂

      – * – * – * – *- * – * – * – * – * – * –

      You said:

      (Quoting me)An atheist is encumbered by only the rules that he chooses to adhere to at any given moment. There’s nothing to stop him from doing whatever he pleases, believing in whatever rules he chooses to, observing whatever values he so chooses… tomorrow.

      I’m just pointing this out. I’m not actually going to engage with this distracting mischaracterisation of atheism. A religious person doesn’t have to value the rules laid down by God, is also only encumbered by the rules they choose, and so the same risk applies to them. Atheism is not unique in this case either.

      Reaction:

      In there, you said also: “A religious person doesn’t have to value the rules laid down by God, is also only encumbered by the rules they choose, and so the same risk applies to them. Atheism is not unique in this case either.” My reaction: Exactly right! However as I mentioned in the previous block, the Christian (not every religious person: remember: muslims discern in their texts the permission to commit all manner of atrocities.) unambiguously violates Christian teachings in engaging in behavior that causes harm without cause to others. (there are justifications in Christianity for self-defense). The atheist violates no set-in-stone rules by committing atrocities or other horrors. Again, for the Christian, unjustifiable harm to others is explicitly forbidden while that prohibition simply doesn’t exist for the atheist. That is a distinction with a difference. A massive difference.

      – * – * – * – *- * – * – * – * – * – * –

      You said:

      (Quoting me): “No Christian is free to commit mass murders, depredations, cruelties and atrocities and pretend he’s actually a Christian with any kind of standing before, yes, the Supreme Authority.”

      Then, you commented:
      False. No true Praetorian Christian would, because all those Christians, the ones that follow Praetori’s interpretations of the Book, have those exact rules in mind. However, other types of Christians can and have. And there is no way to tell whose interpretation of the Book is more valid. All groups selectively overlook parts of the Book the other groups hold dear. I don’t think Westboro Baptist Church thought they were being unbiblical. And I seriously doubt the Catholic Church has doubts about its holiness.

      Reaction:

      Correct and incorrect. My earlier statements about the lack of ambiguity in Jesus’ teachings still apply. As time has gone on, the teachings that I’m referring to have come to be common to all major denominations of Christianity. I’ve said nothing in this thread that would be even slightly controversial among the vast, vast majority of Christians.

      Yes, there are still some fringes — Westboro, for example — but they’re so few in number as to be insignificant. This is not true of Islam, for example, in whose ranks there are, apparently, hundreds of thousands who would saw your head off today if they had the chance; and millions who believe that that would be a laudable thing to do. Same for atheists, who, as I just mentioned above, still have not answered for more than 120 million murders in the last century alone.

      Yes, there’s disagreement about the detailed meaning in some of the passages of The Bible, but about the major points there is no real dispute. No one, for example, defends The Inquisition, and no one has defended The Inquisition for centuries. Want evidence of this? Look at the growing movement of reconciliation between the Eastern and Roman churches. Look at the recent and growing rapprochement between the Lutheran and Roman churches. As Christianity itself shrinks around the world due to demographic trends (and other things), the Roman portion of Christianity steadily increases. What you call “the Praetorian” interpretation of Christianity is by far held by the majority of Christians; it’s very much mainstream Christianity.

      And, yes, I agree: no Christian pretends that he holds absolute truth, or has a perfect understanding of Christianity itself. The faith was, after all, given to us by a perfect man. Since none of us is perfect, we are left with doing our very best to emulate His example.

      – * – * – * – *- * – * – * – * – * – * –

      You said:

      The problem here is that once someone holds a bad idea for religious reasons, the nature of that reason becomes immune from rational criticism. (I’d argue that Hitler’s superior race idea was basically religious, and — interestingly enough — contrary to socialism; how sure are you Hitler was a socialist?)

      Reaction:

      Within that you said: “The problem here is that once someone holds a bad idea for religious reasons, the nature of that reason becomes immune from rational criticism.” Reaction: I agree somewhat, but would add, for clarity’s sake, “in the mind of the holder of the of the bad idea,” and would change your word “immune” to something like “resistant.” Immune? No. Saint Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus proved that. Though, it’s plain, he was a stubborn cuss, and required being knocked off his feet and blinded in order to see the light. 🙂 However, he definitely changed his bad ideas that he held for religious reasons.

      You said also in that passage:I’d argue that Hitler’s superior race idea was basically religious, and — interestingly enough — contrary to socialism; how sure are you Hitler was a socialist?Reaction: Oh, I don’t know. Hitler himself thought that it was scientifically justified, and he was a big believer in 1920’s-style American eugenics.

      Your point is a good one. Hitler’s superior race theory was counter to socialism — the socialism that Jesus articulated concerning interpersonal interactions. Hitler’s theory was, however, perfectly consistent with ideological socialism that sets up a flattened society with a vast stratum of “equal” citizens and a hyper-unequal ruling élite. Like in feudal Europe.

      Yes, I’m confident that Hitler was a socialist. His society had all the characteristics: (1) vast power centered in a tiny ruling élite, (2) central control of the means of production, (3) little or no social or economic mobility for the people, (4) strong control over the details of every day life, (5) severely curtailed basic human rights. The differences between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union were too trivial to call them anything but nearly the same thing. Near the end of the war, Stalin removed virtually all difference between his country and Nazi Germany, even as he was crushing it on the battlefield.

      – * – * – * – *- * – * – * – * – * – * –

      You said:

      “[T]here are no true Christians — meaning, flawless followers of Jesus’ word and teachings”
      I disagree with your definition of a true Christian. You don’t like source-duelling, so I don’t know how you want to resolve this. I’d argue that anyone who believes in the divinity of a real Jesus Christ is a Christian. But if we follow your ‘no true Christian’ argument, you’re left with what? I suspect it’s ‘bad Christians’. And, suddenly, your point dissolves; a bad Christian is as free to do as they please as anyone else.

      Reaction:

      I would agree with all but the last, where you said: “a bad Christian is as free to do as they please as anyone else.” This is absolutely, positively, unambiguously untrue. A Christian is never “free to do as he pleases” without regard to the teachings of Jesus. And a Christian — good bad or indifferent — one who has accepted the divinity of Jesus Christ, and who has acknowledged that He is our Savior — in other words, not a hereditary Christian, but one who has said to himself, “Hey, I’m a Christian, and here’s why! … ” a Christian who has thought about it — knows full well that he is absolutely not free to do anything he pleases whenever he wants. And it is plain that this understanding has brought about vast good on earth, as Christians by the millions have gone out to do good in the world. It is equally plain that the above-stated basic understanding that all Christians have has prevented vast evil — both on the part of Christians, and on the part of those who have seen Christians’ examples of loving, giving charity, generosity and selfless humanity. Do Christians get it wrong? Sure do. But a lot less often than others who are untethered by either Jesus’s example and teachings, or His sacrifice, or His exhortations to love one another as oneself, and to love one’s enemy.

      – * – * – * – *- * – * – * – * – * – * –

      You said:

      (Quoting me): Well, when you see a bunch of people doing good, charitable, helpful things around the world, most times it’s Christians doing it. When you see the opposite [it’s probably] Socialism and its inevitable sidekick atheism, or Islam.

      Not according to crime statistics or prison populations; in the USA atheists are underrepresented in prisons by a factor of 40. That’s not what you’d expect, if they were the main causes of monstrosities. Also, not according to any correlation between the religiosity of a country and its crime rate. Missionaries who advocate not using condoms, therefore being complicit in the spread of aids, is that good and charitable or is it the opposite?

      Reaction:

      I’m not sure that is the case in prisons — the ratio of atheists to religious. However, let’s take your word for it. If that’s the case, then first of all I’d be wary of the methodology of the study. Second: I think it’s safe to say that Christianity was never used as a justification for whatever crime — drugs, robbery, rape, murder, assault, white collar crime — that landed the miscreant in prison. Next: did they go in as whatever, and recognizing the enormity of what they had done, and the awfulness of their situation, experience a prison conversion? Next: there are many “conversions” to Islam in prison, and these are generally not real, in that there is real danger in not converting — a serious indictment, by the way, of our prison system that absolutely needs to guarantee the safety of all inmates. Your 97.5% to 2.5% ratio of religious to non-religious is highly suspect. You’ll note that I didn’t say “religious” either in the assertion to which you’re responding, but said “Christian.” Christians are noted for their mild manners, and their charity.

      Regarding the missionaries who advocate against the use of condoms. Yes, they are doing the correct thing. If, that is, they explain that engaging in homosexual sex causes AIDS, as is true (yes, as well as intravenous drug use, but that has no bearing on condom use.). If a missionary were to encourage the use of condoms in homosexual sex (in heterosexual sex, there is almost no risk of transmitting the AIDS virus to one’s partner), then he would be encouraging homosexual sex, and condoms break. I apologize, but I’m about to quote a source. Michael Fumento in “The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS” explained how the encouragement of homosexual sex, by suggesting that condoms could prevent AIDS was, in fact, condemning countless gays to contracting HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, explaining that if one doesn’t engage in homosexual sex, and doesn’t do intravenous drugs, then one reduces his risk of contracting HIV/AIDS to near zero, is the good and charitable thing to do. It’s telling someone the truth. There’s a lot of that truth-telling in Christian missionary circles.

      You and I will have to disagree on much of your passage above. Charity and kindness are also seen as basic requirements of being a Christian. That is also true of Islam, but it’s those other pesky justifications that some are using even today to saw the heads off people, to crucify them, or to burn or bury them alive. Needless to say, the atheist is unconstrained by anything at all in the way of a Higher Authority to condemn his horrific behavior.

      Christians are sometimes called “selfish” because, the thought goes, they’re only being good in order to save their own souls and obtain salvation and eternal happiness. Well if that’s the definition of “selfish,” then what to think of the atheist whose only limits on his behavior are in place due to a fear of being arrested or punished for threatening the societal order? Talk about selfish!

      – * – * – * – *- * – * – * – * – * – * –

      You said:

      However, I do accept that atheist populations are pretty poor at giving to charity.

      Reaction:

      That might be because they’re frequently impoverished as well.

      – * – * – * – *- * – * – * – * – * – * –

      To summarize: it didn’t go unnoticed that you didn’t make a concerted effort to knock down my thesis that atheists are unconstrained by a Higher Authority. You chose to focus on the idea that others need feel no such constraints, if they so choose, either. We then engaged in a “discussion” of socialism, Islam, Hitler, and other arcane things, and how they fit, or don’t fit, into the definitions we understand for faith or atheism. We went on several amusing tangents, and came back, and all-in-all, it was a lot of fun. At no point in there, did I ask you about yourself, because I don’t care. Well, it’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that it’s not germane to the scope of this forum. Let’s face it, there’s a reason you’re seven letters on the screen — “Allallt” — and I’m xPraetorius (obviously not my real name.). It’s because we have here an opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas without all the distractions of what you and I look like, where we live, for whom we vote, how old we are, how handsome or beautiful we are, whether we’re people of character, integrity, education, intelligence, wisdom…or not. in other words: real egalitarianism! Just thoughts and ideas duking it out, one might hope, on a nearly perfectly level playing field. To try to tilt that field is something that I always resist. Your post, above, was one of the finest examples of that excellent idea, and you’re to be congratulated for it!

      It’s simply one of the most outstanding, thoughtful posts disagreeing with me, that I’ve ever seen in a blog such as this, and others.

      I appreciate it!

      Best to you and yours for a Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!

      — x

      1. The topics of socialism, egalitarianism and wealth (relating particularly to atheism) are complex and I’m ready to admit I am not the person to engage fully in the conversation with. However, from a historical view, there are still problems with your representations of the tyrannical socialisms you’ve described. There was no egalitarianism in Nazi Germany: Jews, blacks and disabled people were all second class; there was no egalitarianism in the Khmer Rouge: anyone who didn’t look the part of an agrarian economy was a second class citizen (and that included disabilities). Hitler did not try to reallocate wealth, and I’m not sure Pol Pot did either. I again think the better way to describe these tyrants is to describe them in terms of their belief in the absolute superiority of something (an economic structure, a nationality etc). I don’t even think socialism is the absolute idea they held to: you haven’t convinced me Hitler did anything that makes sense within socialism (because you described dictatorship). Belief in absolute, infallible superiority is a problem. It is not necessarily the superiority of a person or idea that is problematic: the superiority of a religion or God is also problematic (as much as people want to point to ISIS and Al Qaeda as an example, Christian history in the West and modern Christians in the world are still guilty of this). I suspect the fairest structure to input into any system, that humans have come up with, is the understanding of how to overthrow it without violence if it turns out to be bad. (It is important to notice the nuance here: “fairest… that humans have come up with” is not the same as “absolute fairest” or “fairest humans will come up with”. I’m trying to not talk in absolute terms.)
        Absolute superiority, I think, is the defining characteristic of problems: religion, misinformation, political dogmas.
        The idea, then, that ideological socialism is incompatible with religion seems wrong. God made all people equal (in Abrahamic religions), people enter the afterlife according to egalitarian rules (in most religions, including reincarnating ones), people are forced into socialism in religion (“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven” I’m paraphrasing). The line here between egalitarianism and socialism is not clear, and I’m only discussing this in religious terms. So, that one excludes the other seems backwards. God will enforce it either way.
        Your point about socialism that justifies itself from a Divine source is another example of what is exactly wrong with ideology in general: it’s “justified” to the point of being beyond criticism. But nothing is beyond criticism. Your distinction between Jesus’ socialism and political socialism is not beyond criticism, neither is my argument that such a distinction is unclear.
        It’s also unclear how socialism can be coercive, by definition. It is especially unclear how it is more coercive than other political structures. The US and Europe’s foreign policy at the moment seems to include the line “spread democracy by drone-force”. So, democracy is also coercive. (“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for the other things we’ve tried” – Churchill, again, paraphrased.) Socialism is, by definition, not coercive, because everyone’s rights and lives and freedoms are equally valued. The very problem with the tyrants we’re discussing is that nothing about their methods are socialist.
        (It’s probably worth mentioning that a broad array of definitions of socialism exist. I am not a socialist, in that i do not believe that all people should be equally rewarded. Doctors simply do deserve more than cleaners. We’d miss both, probably equally, but the cleaners can be easily replaced and so it’s the doctors that deserve and need the remuneration to keep them in place. However, I also think all people should be given equality of opportunity: this is not the same as equality of outcome, but people should have equal opportunity, in a genuine meritocracy, to advance to different careers. Outcomes will vary: black people will continue to dominate sport, men’s sporting achievements will continue to be more impressive generally than women’s, and women will be better middle-managers and carers.)
        I also think you’re very wrong about America being the only country in the world to have defeated racism. Racism seems worse in America than in the UK (where I live). The #BlackLivesMatter is an example: it’s not the UK that has the case studies that make this needed. We also don’t have a KKK (an overwhelmingly Republican group, for the record).

        It’s not as easy as you think to identify a Christian that is mucking up. You can identify a Christian that is not doing as you think a Christian does (and perhaps you identify yourself in that camp on occasion). But Witch Hunts were not necessarily an example bad Christianity; they were a bad example of poorly executed thought and humanism, but “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” might make a Witch Hunt a good Christian thing. It might not be “loving”, in a way you have thematically interpreted from Christianity, but that as a rebuke is much less direct than a straight reading. You need humility of thought and humility of ideas to truly discuss what a ‘good’ idea is, both intellectually and morally. Religion does not advocate that; it may advocate personal humility, but one is not supposed to be humble about their religious ideas. I hope the differences (and consequences) are clear.
        So, again: atheism is compatible with horrors and tyrannies. But it is not necessary. The necessary thing for tyranny is the dogmatic stance of superiority lent to any idea or thing. Atheism lends itself just as well (and much more commonly) to humanism, Deep Ecology, equality and openly moral discussions. Alternatively, if all we had was the Bible, we could have a literal “source-duel” arguing the support for and arguments against rape throughout the Bible, and have no real way of distinguishing which of us was representing the Bible ‘better’. We would both believe that we have “justified” true representations of the Bible and God’s will.
        I applaud the Pope for claiming The Inquisition was un-Christian, and I think it’s wise. Again, this is the great thing about fallibilism: it permits one to realise a previous norm was actually wrong. The cynic in me thinks that, regardless of what the Pope actually thinks, he had to reject The Inquisition for the sake of socialising Christianity. Christians may reject The Inquisition, but I don’t see that one has a clear defence from the Bible. A Muslim could, and many do, come out in scorn of Jihad and terrorism, yet you would join me (I imagine) in thanking that individual, but recognising that their scorn cannot be defended from the Koran. Those Muslims who speak out against terrorism, one might argue (and I do), are putting a heavily humanist and secular slant on the way they read their religious book. I would extend that interpretation to Christians as well.
        (As an aside, have you ever noticed that everyone completely agrees with their interpretation of God’s will? Atheists always find things they don’t think, even ones who think religion has a broad benefit to society. But religious people, despite their exceptionally broad sets of ethics and morals, always think their religious books agree with them absolutely. Feminists and misogynists, racists and abolitionists. That’s another problem: despite your argument to the contrary, there isn’t a clear message in the Bible.)
        You said:
        It goes without saying that the atheist is able to believe whatever the heck he wants as regards human freedoms, as the whim hits him.
        And although that is theoretically true, I think it is actually wrong. I suspect you’re talking about some abstract ‘pure atheism’, which doesn’t exist; atheists have their own moral structure. Most who call themselves nihilists are actually situationists (the distinction being that, although they may think ethics don’t matter on a cosmic scale, that do matter on a social scale), others are humanists, and so on. But, one way or another, they have a moral structure they feel personally bound to. An atheist is no more likely to abandon that structure on a whim than a Christian is. Although pure atheism would be unable to hold an action to account, there is no such thing as pure atheism: a person is always coloured by personal morality. One may not be able to say Hitler behaved unatheistically, but one can say he acted irrationally (i.e. he held an unquestionable dogma), un-humanistically (i.e. he did not behave as if humans had their own value and that problems could be solved by human rationality and thought). Again, and it’s worrying that I have to labour this point, atheism is not a thing: it is just the pronouncement of an absence of a belief. The only thing that is ‘unatheist’ is religion. Everything else needs to be evaluated by some other method.
        You said:
        Atheism doesn’t cause the horrors, but it removes the possibility of an authoritative prohibition against such horrors. It’s a distinction without a difference.
        Because atheism only relates to a question to religion. It permits things because it has nothing to do with them. It’s not a social idea or political ideology. It is the answer to the question “are you convinced of a God?”: No. That’s it. It no more permits horrors than the growing of moustaches or wearing of belts. Atheism’s unambiguous relationship to political and social horrors is that of complete irrelevance.
        The same is not true of Christianity. The Old Testament, which Jesus did not come to overturn, clearly shows God’s favour for ethnic cleansing. Christianity clearly advocates the superiority of a single complex of ideas (Christianity). Jesus clearly claims to not have brought peace, but the sword (that’s symbolic/out of context/allegorical/other convenient but ultimately nonrational get-out clause! Well, you can only know that by applying your own filter to it. That’s fine, but that’s not unambiguous. You can’t appeal to majorities of interpretation here, for a number of reasons: truth isn’t a democracy, you’re using a modern-day sample even though historically Christians have thought differently to you, you can’t actually demonstrate the consensus you’re reaching for.)
        It doesn’t matter that what you’re saying isn’t controversial to most Christians. That’s completely irrelevant to the question of what the text of the Bible can justify and permit, what it actually says, and what humanism most Christians (according to you) have applied to get rid of the horrific ideas in the Bible. If you include Christians throughout history and throughout other parts of the world, I think you’ll find you’re friendly, ingratiating Christianity doesn’t gel with a lot of Christians. It’s not as simple as rejecting Christians you disagree with as ‘fringe’. It’s not even about the actions of Christians; it’s about the philosophies and messages contained in the Book.
        (It’s interesting to consider that Christians are only bound by Christian rules if either (a) they are scared of Hell or (b) they care intrinsically about God’s view. Both of these are ethical decisions a person must make before Christianity can be binding. Is it the same in all structures: things are only binding is one believes in and is concerned with the consequences of deviation. This is true for Christianity, contracts and atheists. So, yes, Christians are free to do as they please. I’m reminded of the joke “I prayed for a bike, but then I remembered God doesn’t work that way, so I stole a bike and prayed for forgiveness”.)
        You said:
        (1) “[F]or the Christian, unjustifiable harm to others is explicitly forbidden…” (2) “… while that prohibition simply doesn’t exist for the atheist.”
        (1) Again, no. The key word you used is “unjustifiable”. Christians have a thick book by which to ‘justify’ harm to others. In fact, to parrot you, the distinction between “Christians are permitted to harm others” and “Christians are not permitted to cause unjustified harm to others” is a distinction without a different. If I want to kill someone, I can do it because they worked on the Sabbath, talked back to their parents, are gay, and all this is ‘justified’ within Christianity. (2) One cannot justify harm using atheism: one must pick a philosophy to justify harm. Atheism isn’t one. Christianity is. So is socialism. Again, the problem is the belief in the superiority of anything. Atheism is devoid of such a belief. Religions aren’t. Atheism won’t answer for the murder of those 120m people because it is not to blame. If atheism has to answer for it, so does digestion, growing moustaches and reading. All equally permit the murder, and all are equally to blame.

        As for the discussion about charity being the act of Christians and everything else being atheists (or Muslims), there are a number of problems with your rebuttal. First, let’s get the numbers out of the way: atheists make up for ~20% of the general population in the US and ~0.8% of the prison population in the US; that is what I mean by being underrepresented by a factor of 40. Secondly, it in no way matters whether the actions that landed a person in prison were motivated by Christianity or not; you’re claim was that acts of charity are the near-exclusive domain of Christians and the opposite was the near-exclusive domain of atheists. So, it doesn’t matter what motivated a Christian to do a bad thing, the point is that they did, and that atheists don’t (to the same extent).
        As for missionaries and HIV/AIDS, it is worth remembering that all sex can spread HIV/AIDS. Gay sex is not exclusive in the spread of HIV/AIDS. Sex with anyone with HIV/AIDS, regardless of marriage, consent, sexuality or whether they tell you they have HIV/AIDS, risks the spread of HIV/AIDS. Condoms stop HIV/AIDS. Encouraging condom use will reduce (and does reduce) the incidents of HIV/AIDS. To claim, as Michael Fumento does, that heterosexual sex with an HIV positive person has a near-zero risk of transmission is wrong. One only needs to actually ask Google “can heterosexual sex spread HIV” to get a mountain of data and reports contrary to Fumento. Fumento is ‘bearing false witness against his neighbour’. Yes, sharing needles with someone who is HIV+ is more dangerous than sex, but sex with an HIV+ person is dangerous and condoms are the method of prevention. Telling people in Africa, where AIDS is rife, that condoms are a sin, is horrific. If missionaries are right about God, they’ll have to justify that lie and the suffering and deaths it has caused, to God. (And I suppose I’ll meet them in Hell, unless they ask for absolution in the last few minutes.)

        Further reading:
        I have actually written about selfishness and altruism before, here. On the grounds that all altruism can be defined in selfish terms, necessarily, I argue for a redefinition of altruism to ‘being able to derived satisfaction from the safeguarding of the wellbeing of others’. I didn’t put a religious slant on it, because my blog is so heavily religious that I’m trying to step away from it. However, it wouldn’t be easy to see that being good for the sake of Heaven remains selfish, whereas one can behave well because it may make other people happy, and that’s what makes the actor happy. Perfect.

        1. My goodness, Allallt! How about some paragraphs?!? 🙂

          Are you okay with my editing your post — adding some paragraph breaks — so that I can work with it as I usually do in any response I might have?

          Best,

          — x

          1. That’s fine. I tried to group themes. I should have included subheadings, I think it would be easier for me to write as well as you respond.

        2. An excellent, long and thoughtful post, Allallt! Needless to say, it’ll take some time to respond to it all. Therefore I think I’ll make a mini-project of it, and release “installments.” Here’s the first one.

          Installment #1


          You said:

          The topics of socialism, egalitarianism and wealth (relating particularly to atheism) are complex and I’m ready to admit I am not the person to engage fully in the conversation with. However, from a historical view, there are still problems with your representations of the tyrannical socialisms you’ve described. There was no egalitarianism in Nazi Germany: Jews, blacks and disabled people were all second class; there was no egalitarianism in the Khmer Rouge: anyone who didn’t look the part of an agrarian economy was a second class citizen (and that included disabilities). Hitler did not try to reallocate wealth, and I’m not sure Pol Pot did either.

          Response:

          I agree with much of this. Remember, I claimed that socialist societies claim to be all about egalitarianism, but they never seem to get even close. If you look at the Soviet Union, Red China and elsewhere, it was all egalitarian this and egalitarian that, and then they all set up completely stratified societies with definite favored and disfavored groups based on the silliest of criteria. In other words, one can quibble that they never really achieved “socialism,” and that’s probably true, but the point is that none of them ever got even close to egalitarianism. They all merely winked and nodded at the concept in order, I guess, to have pretty words to say to the masses.

          Hitler didn’t necessarily try to redistribute wealth, but he controlled it. There was not a lot of economic mobility in Nazi Germany. Don’t forget: wealth redistribution in a socialist society is, by definition, a one-time thing. It’s possible Hitler simply hadn’t got around to deciding how wealth should be distributed among the population. He was, as it turns out, rather rudely interrupted by others. Pol Pot much the same.

          – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

          You said:

          I again think the better way to describe these tyrants is to describe them in terms of their belief in the absolute superiority of something (an economic structure, a nationality etc). I don’t even think socialism is the absolute idea they held to: you haven’t convinced me Hitler did anything that makes sense within socialism (because you described dictatorship). Belief in absolute, infallible superiority is a problem. It is not necessarily the superiority of a person or idea that is problematic: the superiority of a religion or God is also problematic (as much as people want to point to ISIS and Al Qaeda as an example, Christian history in the West and modern Christians in the world are still guilty of this).

          Response:

          I agree with your first sentence, but don’t think that it is incompatible with what I’ve said. I’ve simply labeled the thing Hitler and Pol Pot believed in as socialism and atheism. In this, I might be guilty of believing thugs and scoundrels who indicated they were socialists and atheists. Were they simply nodding to these things, because they said they were organizing their societies around socialism? Could be. Am I extrapolating because Pol Pot said he was a communist and Hitler said he was a socialist? Also possibly true. Maybe however, this also seems correct: egalitarianism — in its economic form (aka: socialism) — requires dictatorship.

          Also: I’m not sure that Hitler said much of anything that made any sense. In any context. However, what he did fits much more comfortably in the intellectual confines of socialism than of any other doctrine.

          – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

          You said (also in the same passage):

          Belief in absolute, infallible superiority is a problem. It is not necessarily the superiority of a person or idea that is problematic: the superiority of a religion or God is also problematic (as much as people want to point to ISIS and Al Qaeda as an example, Christian history in the West and modern Christians in the world are still guilty of this)

          Response:

          I don’t know. Belief in the infallible superiority of God — the Creator, after all, of the universe — seems perfectly reasonable. That there is an absolute truth strikes me as a reasonable belief. Belief, however, that you or I might be in possession of that absolute truth is, indeed, problematic. Hence, exchanges such as this.

          You point out that Christian history in the West and modern Christianity in the world are still guilty of this. Guilty of what? Of believing that their beliefs are correct? All people believe this. Even (especially?) those who pretend to be tolerant of other beliefs. However, Western Christians don’t impose their beliefs on anyone else. Unlike, for example: atheists, muslims and others who are willing to bend all of society to their will.

          – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

          You said:

          I suspect the fairest structure to input into any system, that humans have come up with, is the understanding of how to overthrow it without violence if it turns out to be bad. (It is important to notice the nuance here: “fairest… that humans have come up with” is not the same as “absolute fairest” or “fairest humans will come up with”. I’m trying to not talk in absolute terms.)

          Response:

          I agree with this. Very American Founding Fathers of you! 🙂 One small quibble. Don’t rule out the absolute. It’s always there, even if we can’t always talk about it without igniting passions. We might be able to come up with “the fairest” that humans can come up with, but that should never stop us from reaching for the “absolute fairest.” You know: socialism in interpersonal interactions?

          – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

          You said:

          Absolute superiority, I think, is the defining characteristic of problems: religion, misinformation, political dogmas. The idea, then, that ideological socialism is incompatible with religion seems wrong. God made all people equal (in Abrahamic religions), people enter the afterlife according to egalitarian rules (in most religions, including reincarnating ones), people are forced into socialism in religion (“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven” I’m paraphrasing). The line here between egalitarianism and socialism is not clear, and I’m only discussing this in religious terms. So, that one excludes the other seems backwards. God will enforce it either way.

          Response:

          I agree completely with your final sentence. And with much of the passage. However, I have ambivalence about the rest. Here’s the breakdown.

          – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

          You said:

          The idea, then, that ideological socialism is incompatible with religion seems wrong.

          Response:

          The problem here is control of the means of production. Socialism’s founding documents’ dirty little secret is to leave out the fact that governments would consider people as part of the means of production. As a result, socialists tend to “dispose of” people — as of machines — when they become inconvenient, unproductive, unruly, etc.

          For the socialist society to control that aspect of the means of production, the people can’t be encouraged to have dual allegiances. They might just fall back on religious objections when the government comes along to “dispose of them.” 🙂

          This is, indeed, a restatement of your “absolute superiority” passages, above. The problem: socialist societies always do this. Look even at the socialist-lite countries of Europe where they’re already implementing euthanasia and have long since implemented abortion. Look also at increasingly socialist America where as a country, we’ve long since accepted abortion, are busy bringing in euthanasia, and have a fast growing eugenics movement.

          People are part of the means of production, and as a result you will not see this kind of thing, — or at least you’ll see less of it — in capitalist societies…if, that is, we were ever able to implement one.

          – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

          You said:

          God made all people equal (in Abrahamic religions), people enter the afterlife according to egalitarian rules (in most religions, including reincarnating ones), people are forced into socialism in religion (“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven” I’m paraphrasing).

          Response:

          I agree.

          – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

          You said:

          The line here between egalitarianism and socialism is not clear, and I’m only discussing this in religious terms. So, that one excludes the other seems backwards.

          Response:

          If I’ve understood this correctly… Both religion and socialism overtly include egalitarianism in their doctrines. Not sure there’s a “line between egalitarianism and socialism.” The problem: socialist societies always seem to do a “Procrustean Bed” kind of thing in order to get to at least the illusion of egalitarianism.

          – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

          Best,

          — x

          1. Quick question (I won’t get into my replies proper until you’ve completed your project): atheists impose their beliefs on others? Referring only to the question ‘is there a God?’ (i.e. not about secular philosophies, just about atheism itself) can you defend the proposition that atheists are more guilty of imposing their beliefs than Christians?
            I’ll get you started with some topics, you can ignore them if you want: Jesus Camps; missionaries; book burning and banning; the inquisition; abortion clinic shootings; ‘this is a Christian country’ arguments against stem cell research; gay marriage; and reproductive health and freedom choices. You can ignore them, but I’ll notice.

          2. Okay: Responses to the interim question in bullet point format:

            • Your question: atheists impose their beliefs on others? Reaction: Perhaps awkwardly expressed by me. They actively suppress freedom of worship.
            • Your question: Jesus Camps – Reaction: Not sure I know what they are. If you are going to say they are places of indoctrination, I’ll say that I suspect that such things exist. However, it’s always pretty easy to leave any Christian denomination. Granted there are fringe kook denominations, but that’s the reason we have the words “fringe,” and “kook.” They denote rarities. I never have tried to pretend that Christians are perfect.
            • Your question: missionaries – Reaction: I like missionaries. The vast, vast majority of their work has been highly beneficial.
            • Your question: book burning and banning – Reaction: Bad things, long gone. When I talk about the sins of atheism (and of socialism), I’m referring to current events. One can’t bring up the increasingly distant things forever.
            • Your question: the inquisition – Reaction: Bad thing that all Christians admit was a bad thing. In vain do I await the champion of atheism suggesting that the permission that atheism gives to bad behavior played at least a role (I think a significant role) in the murders of more than 120 million souls ( 🙂 ) in the last century. Also, as mentioned above, One can’t bring up the increasingly distant things forever.
            • Your question: abortion clinic shootings – Reaction: Bad things, extremely rare, meaningless as it pertains to the bigger picture. They happened, the vast majority of Christians condemned them, then they were all but gone. I don’t remember the last one. (Not sure what the recent Planned Parenthood thing was. No matter. It’s prominence in the news proves its rarity.)
            • Your question: this is a Christian country – Reaction: It is. Less so than before. It’s also the most humane country in the world. Less so, as it becomes less Christian.
            • Your question: arguments against stem cell research – Reaction: I don’t understand your question. Arguments against stem cell research are arguments against stem cell research. It should be noted that the only arguments against stem cell research are against embryonic stem cell research. These are largely the same arguments as against abortion. And I agree with these arguments, by the way.
            • Your question: gay marriage – Reaction: Self-evidently, there’s no such thing. If you’re talking about the ability of gays to enjoy the same tax benefits as real married couples, what’s the propblem? I gather you’re a proponent of “gay marriage?” If so, I’d pose a question right back at you: Why should society grant state approval for access to a vital pillar of a stable civilization — a stable father-mother-children household — to those possessed of an abnormality that strikes at the heart of that pillar? Related question: If you don’t consider it an abnormality, imagine if all humans were to become gay. Needless to say, this would be a fatal occurrence.
            • Your question: reproductive health and freedom choices – Reaction: Presumably you’re talking about abortion? Abortion, of course, has nothing whatsoever to do with “reproductive health.” As you have probably gathered, I’m pro-life. We’ve covered abortion rather comprehensively here.

            Tell me, Allallt, based on my methodology in responding to posts, why on earth would you suggest that I’d “ignore your post?” I’m mystified.

            Best,

            — x

          3. I didn’t suggest you’d ignore my post. I entertained the idea that you would ignore my proposed case studies, because I chose intentionally biased case studies.

            There seems to be a certain inconsistency in how you’re approaching this. You want me to forget the historical transgressions of religious people whose actions are directly related to the text of their book, and yet you want me to accept the idea that atheism is to blame for historical atrocities.
            You’re asking me to ignore the coercion, indoctrination and blackmail done by religious people and institutions (with chapter and verse in mind) and yet somehow deem it relevant that some atheists have done atrocious things.

            You see, if you get rid of the word “Christian”, there are still people bound by the content of a book and the actions those people commit it line with it, or as permitted by it are acting in a way that reflects the content of the book.
            If you get rid of the word “atheist”, you’ve got nothing left. There’s no concept atheism relates to that can continue to which is consistent through all the examples you are citing.

        3. Installment 2

          (In response to this post)


          You said:

          Your point about socialism that justifies itself from a Divine source is another example of what is exactly wrong with ideology in general: it’s “justified” to the point of being beyond criticism. But nothing is beyond criticism. Your distinction between Jesus’ socialism and political socialism is not beyond criticism, neither is my argument that such a distinction is unclear.

          Response:

          I agree with all this.

          – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

          You said:

          It’s also unclear how socialism can be coercive, by definition. It is especially unclear how it is more coercive than other political structures. The US and Europe’s foreign policy at the moment seems to include the line “spread democracy by drone-force”. So, democracy is also coercive. (“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for the other things we’ve tried” – Churchill, again, paraphrased.) Socialism is, by definition, not coercive, because everyone’s rights and lives and freedoms are equally valued. The very problem with the tyrants we’re discussing is that nothing about their methods are socialist.

          Response:

          Economic egalitarianism is also known as the absence of economic mobility. To abolish economic mobility, thereby imposing economic egalitarianism, a society has to exercise tight control of the flow of capital among the people. This is highly coercive by itself.

          – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

          You said:

          The US and Europe’s foreign policy at the moment seems to include the line “spread democracy by drone-force”. So, democracy is also coercive. (“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for the other things we’ve tried” – Churchill, again, paraphrased.)

          Response:

          Except: To use coercion to remove a coercive government (eg: the removal of Hitler) and then to set up a non-coercive government is, by my way of looking at it, a good use of coercion. If, that is, that’s what happens. It was what happened in Western Europe and Japan after World War II. The use of coercion, economic or otherwise — slavery is a great example of this — tends to be temporary in dcmocracies (and in capitalism, which is, by definition, non-coercive). Is it always correctly used by democracies. Definitely not. However, the “temporary” characteristic still makes democratic and capitalistic societies (sorry for this) superior to socialist and non-democratic.

          – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

          You said:

          (It’s probably worth mentioning that a broad array of definitions of socialism exist. I am not a socialist, in that i do not believe that all people should be equally rewarded. Doctors simply do deserve more than cleaners. We’d miss both, probably equally, but the cleaners can be easily replaced and so it’s the doctors that deserve and need the remuneration to keep them in place. However, I also think all people should be given equality of opportunity: this is not the same as equality of outcome, but people should have equal opportunity, in a genuine meritocracy, to advance to different careers. Outcomes will vary: black people will continue to dominate sport, men’s sporting achievements will continue to be more impressive generally than women’s, and women will be better middle-managers and carers.)

          Response:

          I agree with all of this — it’s classic free market economics — except to quibble just a bit with the last. You said: “black people will continue to dominate sport, men’s sporting achievements will continue to be more impressive generally than women’s, and women will be better middle-managers and carers.

          I suspect that all these groups will rise and ebb in these various specialties as cultural changes and time go by. Though the “men’s sporting achievements” disparity will continue for the foreseeable future.

          – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

          You said:

          I also think you’re very wrong about America being the only country in the world to have defeated racism. Racism seems worse in America than in the UK (where I live). The #BlackLivesMatter is an example: it’s not the UK that has the case studies that make this needed. We also don’t have a KKK (an overwhelmingly Republican group, for the record).

          Response:

          Oh, we’d defeated it alright, until the American left and the media did their level best to resurrect it.

          You may not agree with this assessment, but the Black Lives Matter movement is a fraud. A racist fraud at that. It sprang up on the energy that came out of the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown (Ferguson, Missouri) incidents, that were completely misreported in the press. The press leaped to convict George Zimmerman (the Martin incident) and Darren Wilson (the white cop who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson). Then, when the facts didn’t bear out the press’ fraudulent reporting, all the built-up anger had to go somewhere. Black people in America do have significant problems, but none of them can logically be laid at the feet of racism. My colleagues and I have made that case in numerous posts (here, for example)

          It’s important, though, to point out a significant error you made: The KKK was actually constituted by the Democrat Party after the American Civil War. It is, and always has been, a Democrat Party problem. Your assertion that it’s an “overwhelmingly Republican group” shows the vast extent to which the general narrative advanced by a corrupt media corps has permeated into “conventional” wisdom in the West.

          All the well-known racist institutions of the increasingly distant American past were Democrat Party creations: Segregation, Jim Crow laws. The only significant opposition to Civil Rights legislation in America came from the Democrat Party (we documented it here and elsewhere in our blog.)

          – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

          Second installment done.

          Best,

          — x

        4. Installment #3

          In response to this post here.


          You said:

          It’s not as easy as you think to identify a Christian that is mucking up.

          Response:

          But it’s not all that difficult.

          – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

          You said:

          [repeating] It’s not as easy as you think to identify a Christian that is mucking up. [/repeating] You can identify a Christian that is not doing as you think a Christian does (and perhaps you identify yourself in that camp on occasion). But Witch Hunts were not necessarily an example bad Christianity; they were a bad example of poorly executed thought and humanism, but “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” might make a Witch Hunt a good Christian thing.

          Response:

          And yet, everyone now understands, and for a very long time, has understood that the witch hunts were wrong. In vain, again, will we wait for those from (1) the atheist side, and (2) the islamic side, and (3) the socialist side to engage in the same thought processes that always seems to cleanse (1) Christianity and (2) Capitalism! (seriously wide-ranging comment!)

          Some elaboration:

          • On the islamic side: they think that all the blood-letting and torture are the right things to do. You are correct about Islam: it’s a political movement masquerading as a religious one.
          • On the socialism side, we continue to await from socialists the repudiation of the blood-letting that is accurately attributed to socialism. We even have an avowed socialist goon running for President of the United States. Needless to say, he has not repudiated the depredations of socialism. You can quibble all you want about the definition of socialism, but everyone knows that the principal movement that murdered more than 120 million people in the last century alone called itself “socialism.” Left-wing historians will have great difficulty somehow spinning those atrocities out of socialism. Though, they will try mightily. Personal note to you: You and I both know that words can weave a truly magic spell. They are the only real magic in the world. 🙂
          • On the atheistic side: It is clever people like you, Allallt, who doom atheism. Yes, you can claim all you want that it is “content-free,” and in one sense — the purely theoretical — it is. But life is “content.” People who call themselves “atheists” then have to live their lives with two kinds of people: (1) people who believe as they do (2) and people who don’t. As you have admitted, every time avowed atheists take over power, they become, in your words anti-theists. I’ve advanced my theory that it’s really socialism, that requires atheism, doing it, as well as atheism. You disagreed. However, in the case of the Inquisition, you insisted that it was politics all along driving it — the idea that something is superior to another at the political level. Yet, the Catholic Church — In Jesus-like fashion — took responsibility for it, apologized for it, owned it, and declared it anathema to its teachings. It is, indeed, convenient that there is no “Atheist High Council,” though there should be. After all, it was an absolutely necessary part of Marxist socialist theory. Otherwise, why would he spend so much time on what, one would think, would be a minor distraction. No, Marx considered belief in God, and specifically Christianity and Judaism as major obstacles to the success of socialist doctrine. Why? Simple: Marx justified obtaining power through violence, and then ruling through terrorism. There’s just nothing in Judaism or Christianity — except the rather pedestrian, tortured interpretations of Ark and Zande — that can be brought to bear to permit the depredations that would inevitably accompany the violent takeover of power by a socialist régime, or the maintenance of that power. It is indeed striking that in all of atheism and socialism, there is not a widespread movement to repudiate the tens and tens and tens of millions of atrocities committed in their names.

          – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

          You said:

          You need humility of thought and humility of ideas to truly discuss what a ‘good’ idea is, both intellectually and morally. Religion does not advocate that; it may advocate personal humility, but one is not supposed to be humble about their religious ideas. I hope the differences (and consequences) are clear.

          Response:

          I’m not sure what you mean here. A Christian is, indeed, supposed to be humble about his faith. He is never supposed to presume that it makes him superior to anyone else. This is Christianity 101, Allallt. Christians are supposed to spread the word, but there is no exhortation to be anything but thoroughly humble in all the things they do.

          – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

          You said:

          [repeating]You need humility of thought and humility of ideas to truly discuss what a ‘good’ idea is, both intellectually and morally.[/repeating]

          Response:

          If I understand your meaning — removing ego and pride from the discussion of ideas — then I agree 110 percent. It is, after all, kind of a crucial thesis of the original post in this thread. 🙂

          Best,

          — x

          1. *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
            “And yet, everyone now understands, and for a very long time, has understood that the witch hunts were wrong.”
            That’s not relevant. I’d argue that all ‘liberal’ and ‘moderate’ Christians are putting a heavy Humanist filter on the way they interpret their religion. I think that is a good thing. However, I also think it is the explanation as to why people now believe the Inquisition and the Witch Hunts (and everything else I have listed) are wrong. I don’t think there is any clear way of reading the Bible that makes these things bad and, in fact, I think there are a lot of ways of reading the Bible that defend them.

            I think it is very easy to get from the Bible to these religious atrocities, through a direct reading of a core text.

            Also, a lot of Christians do not disown or disavow the Witch Hunts and Inquisitions and other Christian atrocities. I don’t know how it works out in proportions, and I’m certainly not going to start making statements about the Christian populations globally, but a lot of Christians I have spoken to about issues like this talk in terms of “it was a different time”. That’s not disavowing it, that’s justifying it.

            In a debate on Intelligence Squared, on the title ‘Is the Catholic Church a Force for Good?’ on the supporting team someone asked how the people of the time were meant to know better than the barbarism of their actions at the time. Stephen Fry’s response was that if you can’t tell the different between a good and a bad act, then “what are you for?” This is an important question: we can understand how human understanding is slow and stumbling and makes mistakes, but we also understand that in generally makes some kind of progress; the same cannot be said of revelation. Revelation is an absolute thing.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “In vain, again, will we wait for those from (1) the atheist side, and (2) the islamic side, and (3) the socialist side to engage in the same thought processes that always seems to cleanse (1) Christianity and (2) Capitalism!”

            (1) I’ve asked you to present the texts and high priests that you think define atheism. You haven’t. Without doing at least that, you can’t demonstrate that atheism or a ‘reading’ of atheism is responsible for anything. Thus, there is nothing to apologise for or accept credit for on behalf of atheism.

            (2) I think you need to start lending Islam the same favour you lend Christianity. There are Muslims whose interpretation of their book is as “Humanised” as your reading of the Bible. Muslims do speak out against terrorism.

            (3) I’m not a socialist. I don’t care.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “People who call themselves “atheists” then have to live their lives with two kinds of people: (1) people who believe as they do (2) and people who don’t.”

            Atheism is not ‘how I believe’. Atheism is not an epistemology. Atheism is not a body of knowledge. Atheism is not even a conclusion. Atheism is the failure, through any given epistemology, to conclude as you do about the existence of a God. (Careful, here come some labels) I am a methodological materialist. That means I believe that it is only through material things do I think we can derive knowledge about the universe. There’s an important nuance to add to that: through material things, immaterial things can become the best available explanations; from that, one can talk about information, emotion, qualia, knowledge, concepts, morality etc. I’m also a fallibilist, which means all the knowledge I think I have and even the ontology and epistemology I apply are admittedly provisional and awaiting a better explanation. I am also critical and sceptical, which means I have to be content with not having an answer if a ‘good’ explanation is not available.

            (A ‘best’ explanation will always be available, but that doesn’t make it good: with regard to the question ‘2 + 1 = ?’, of the answers 5.86/0.0001 and ‘suspension bridge’, the numerical one is the best, but still not good.)

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “As you have admitted, every time avowed atheists take over power, they become, in your words anti-theists.”

            I have admitted no such thing. And if I did I was wrong. I cannot claim to know the religious view of every prime minister of my own country, let alone the presidents and Kings and Queens and Ayatollahs of every country through all time. I accused you of a selection bias. That was my explanation of the tyrants you like to cite.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “I’ve advanced my theory that it’s really socialism, that requires atheism, doing it, as well as atheism.”

            I disagree that socialism needs atheism.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “However, in the case of the Inquisition, you insisted that it was politics all along driving it — the idea that something is superior to another at the political level.”

            Nope. I blame Christianity from the Inquisition. I blame the belief in the superiority of Christianity. I think something similar could happen as a result of a strictly political system, if that political system were devoid of reception to criticism. But, the Inquisition, I blame Christianity and the Christians.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “Yet, the Catholic Church — In Jesus-like fashion — took responsibility for it, apologized for it, owned it, and declared it anathema to its teachings.”

            Strange. Because I can read the Bible in a way that support the Inquisition. I think the Catholic Church has done a good thing in renouncing the Inquistion—which it was responsible for, by the way—but I think it did that through the lens of a Humanised Christianity.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “It is, indeed, convenient that there is no “Atheist High Council,” though there should be. After all, it was an absolutely necessary part of Marxist socialist theory.”

            Oh, so now there’s no Atheist High Council. You’ve been saying there is. It’s not convenient that there isn’t one, it’s nonsensical to even think what the function of such a council would be. There’s nothing to preach, nothing to learn, nothing to share.

            There may be come analogous council for Humanism, secularism, anti-theism or even nihilism. But it makes no sense to claim one for atheism.

            As for Marxist Socialist Theory, I’m not familiar with it. But, unless its teaching regarding secularism or anti-theism (which you willingly confuse with atheism) are about an epistemology that necessarily excludes religion and had ethical or knowledgeable superiority, then it is nothing more than a bare-faced dogma (indistinguishable from a religion). If it does teach what I just described, then it’s a thinly veiled dogma. If it doesn’t teach superiority… well, then, I don’t know why they’d kill over it.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “No, Marx considered belief in God, and specifically Christianity and Judaism as major obstacles to the success of socialist doctrine. Why? Simple: Marx justified obtaining power through violence, and then ruling through terrorism.”

            There’s nothing there that stops him being religious. I have a friend who, ironically, holds some of the economic beliefs of the Khmer Rouge. However, he also recognises that those beliefs would get in the way of his personal development and success. I’m not arguing that Marx was religious, I’m arguing that his beliefs cannot mutually exclusive of religion; it is possible to share them. It would be perfectly coherent for a Marxist to say “Christianity is true, but it’s believers and doctrines really get in my way. Therefore I will kill the believers and eradicate the religion”.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “There’s just nothing in Judaism or Christianity… that can be brought to bear to permit the depredations that would inevitably accompany the violent takeover of power by a socialist régime, or the maintenance of that power.”

            One need only talk about Israel to debunk that. Or the Midianites. Or the Canaanites. Okay, it was land for the Jews that was being spread, not socialism, but it was a series of violent take overs.

            Also, there’s nothing in atheism that can be brought to bear to permit the depredations…

            There’s nothing in atheism.

            The tyrants you mention also didn’t believe in me and didn’t recognise me as the all-powerful arbiter of morality, ethics and knowledge. Can I argue that it is the absence of reverence of me is the cause of horror? Using your logic, I can. Or, perhaps it was failure of reverence to you. Or Google. Or disbelief in Russel’s Teapot or Sagan’s Dragon.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “It is indeed striking that in all of atheism and socialism, there is not a widespread movement to repudiate the tens and tens and tens of millions of atrocities committed in their names.”

            I’m not a socialist. I’m not well versed in politics. Although socialist countries do exist, I’m not sure how many of them are recognisably similar to the thing that paraded itself around as socialism when Marx was taking charge. I do know, however, that socialists complain about China all the time. However, I am not a socialist and am not that bothered.

            I am, however, an atheist. There is no atheist movement or core. It’s not a group. There’s no membership and no content. The entire word exists to highlight the absence of theism.

            I haven’t shaved for a while, should I now repudiate all the actions of every horrible person with facial hair? Once I’ve shaved, should I then repudiate all the actions of every smooth-faced person (or perhaps just the cleanly shaven men). In fact, do you see utility in all men forming as a group to elect a representative to release a statement that repudiate the actions of Peter Sutcliffe? Probably not, because ‘all men’ is not a group.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “I’m not sure what you mean here. A Christian is, indeed, supposed to be humble about his faith. He is never supposed to presume that it makes him superior to anyone else.”

            Perhaps not. But the belief is superior to all contrary beliefs. That much is taught. Christians are tasked with the impossible: remain humble while telling people they are the ones who are right! They have the Truth™. You were quick to draw a distinction between the person and the belief at the start of this conversation, so perhaps you can do the same now: Christians may be humble, but Christianity most certainly is not.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “If I understand your meaning — removing ego and pride from the discussion of ideas — then I agree 110 percent. It is, after all, kind of a crucial thesis of the original post in this thread.”

            I thought we’d given up on that part of the conversation after you tried to convince me that (1) one cannot tell anything about a person from their actions and (2) remaining steadfast in your initial claim and calm is some kind of flag in the ground for truth.

            What I’m talking about is not the same as what you’re doing. Humility in an idea is not about repeating it calmly. It is about changing your idea if that’s what reason brings one to do.

          2. “As you have admitted, every time avowed atheists take over power, they become, in your words anti-theists.”

            Please, let me add a quick note here with just five contemporary examples. I couldn’t be bothered looking for more.

            Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia 2010 to 2013: atheist.

            John Fredrik Reinfeldt, Prime Minister of Sweden 2006 to 2014: atheist.

            Dilma Rousseff, current President of Brazil: atheist.

            John Key, current Prime Minister of New Zealand: atheist.

            José Mujica, President Uruguay 2010 and 2015: atheist.

            Praetorius, can you please demonstrate where any of these world leaders became violent anti-theists…

        5. Installment #4

          In response to this post here.


          You said:

          So, again: atheism is compatible with horrors and tyrannies. But it is not necessary.

          Response:

          Thank you for this. If one is hell-bent (heh-heh) on achieving his goals, and doesn’t care whether he murders a few tens of millions along the way, do you really think that he’s going to embrace Christianity or Judaism? Admit for me at least that the would-be mass murderer, of necessity, needs to reject those two faiths, else be plagued by no end of moral and ethical obstacles to the completion of his goals.

          I admit that he can embrace Islam — a political movement masquerading as a faith — without significant moral challenge to his goal of murdering tens of millions. (remember: we coined the terms “socialislam” and “fascislam” in these pages here.) By way of evidence I propose the following thought exercise (that I’ve proposed before). Let’s say that before 9/11, Osama bin Laden gives his disciples a quiz on which there is only one question: For us to consider September 11 to be a success, we will need to kill how many Americans:
          (A) 4,000?
          (B) 40,000?
          (C) 4,000,000?
          (D) 40,000,000?

          It’s not really a trick question. “Professor” bin Laden’s correct answer is, of course: (D).

          Now, however, let’s explore that same thought exercise from a different angle:

          Now, the atheist professor gets up in front of her class (trying to be politically correct here) and hands out a
          quiz. On the quiz is one question:
          For an atheist, how many people is it okay to kill?
          (A) 4,000.
          (B) 400,000.
          (C) 40,000,000.
          (D) 4,000,000,000 (four billion).
          (E) In pursuit of something identified by someone as of superior value to human life, (eg: environmentalism) all killings are permitted.
          (F) All of the above.

          I hope you will admit to me that, to the atheist, the only possible answer is: (F). After all, since life, for the atheist, simply stops at the end, and in light of the universe’s many billions of years of existence, who really cares when anyone’s life stops?

          – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

          You said:

          The necessary thing for tyranny is the dogmatic stance of superiority lent to any idea or thing. Atheism lends itself just as well (and much more commonly) to humanism, Deep Ecology, equality and openly moral discussions.

          Response:

          The problem is that one set of atheists kills all those others. 🙂 And I don’t care how commonly good atheism leads to wonderful things, all it takes is one bad one to kill ’em all. As it did in the last century.

          – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

          You said:

          Alternatively, if all we had was the Bible, we could have a literal “source-duel” arguing the support for and arguments against rape throughout the Bible, and have no real way of distinguishing which of us was representing the Bible ‘better’.

          Response:

          Except that, as mentioned above, Christianity has come to mean a complete prohibition of rape. The plain meaning that was there all along. If you and I can agree that it is superior not to rape rather than to rape, then that ought to decide the exchange in favor of Christianity once and for all. Because that’s where Christianity has led us: to the firm conclusion that rape is very wrong. Period. Again, there are Christians who believe differently, but none whom anyone takes seriously. You are left to argue that atheism, whose lack of prohibition is a tacit acceptance, is somehow on at moral equality with Christianity. Nope. You and I both know full well that there is nothing in Christianity as we understand it now that permits rape. Moreover, the command to love everyone unconditionally is an explicit prohibition against rape.

          It’s important to note: A doctrine that has a chance of being true will contain clear, self-cleansing components that will cause it to improve — morally, ethically, intellectually — over time. That is the reason for which atheism can never get beyond — Uhhh… go ahead, I got nothing to say to oppose whatever you want to do. And why Christianity might also be interpreted to say the same thing… but not permanently. There is no progression in Christian thought that can bring it anywhere but to a better place. You, Ark and Zande are fond of pointing out the oddball Westboro’s of the world, but they simply make my point for me. They’re noteworthy because they’re so rare. They’re noteworthy also because the vast majority of Christians absolutely reject their nonsense.

          – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

          You said:

          We would both believe that we have “justified” true representations of the Bible and God’s will.

          Response:

          I covered this above. My interpretation — Christianity explicitly prohibits any evil visited upon one by another — won out, and there is no indication that Christianity would ever head back to some other interpretation. Please note: this victory by the right over the wrong, the good over the bad, is not a credit to me, or to other Christians, but to the Word given to us by Jesus.

          – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

          Best,

          — x

          1. *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “If one is hell-bent (heh-heh) on achieving his goals, and doesn’t care whether he murders a few tens of millions along the way, do you really think that he’s going to embrace Christianity or Judaism?”

            Perhaps one of the most amazingly consistent thing about God is that God fully supports the ethics of the believers. There’s no reason to not embrace Christianity if you want to wipe a group of people off the planet. All one needs to be to selectively read the Old Testament as well as you have, but instead of the Humanism filter you apply, one applies a self-interested filter instead. And there’s no way you can claim your interpretation is better than theirs without calling on something other than the Bible.

            Probably humanism

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “Admit for me at least that the would-be mass murderer, of necessity, needs to reject those two faiths, else be plagued by no end of moral and ethical obstacles to the completion of his goals.”

            Nope.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “I admit that he can embrace Islam — a political movement masquerading as a faith — without significant moral challenge to his goal of murdering tens of millions.”

            But Islam is a religion of peace and love.

            And every Muslim who says that says it as well defended by the content of their book as you are by yours.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “remember: we coined the terms “socialislam” and “fascislam” in these pages here.”

            Labels! I can spot them like I spot the devil. Or apostates of atheism.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “Now, the atheist professor gets up in front of her class (trying to be politically correct here) and hands out a
            quiz. On the quiz is one question:
            For an atheist, how many people is it okay to kill?
            (A) 4,000.
            (B) 400,000.
            (C) 40,000,000.
            (D) 4,000,000,000 (four billion).
            (E) In pursuit of something identified by someone as of superior value to human life, (eg: environmentalism) all killings are permitted.
            (F) All of the above.

            I hope you will admit to me that, to the atheist, the only possible answer is: (F). After all, since life, for the atheist, simply stops at the end, and in light of the universe’s many billions of years of existence, who really cares when anyone’s life stops?”

            I was almost certain you would eventually make this mistake. Atheism is also not nihilism! I’ve written a post called “We Hope You Enjoyed Your Journey: why the passing of life is why we should care”. Maybe you should read it. Come over to my blog and actually have a perusal. Hit the ‘random post’ button a few times. Go wild.

            The reason atheism is not nihilism, by the way, is that atheism doesn’t attempt to answer questions of ethics. Nihilism does.

            Which brings us directly to your question: how many people is it okay for an atheist to kill, from within the worldview of atheism? Null. Atheism isn’t a worldview and it doesn’t attempt to answer questions of ethics. The question doesn’t make sense.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “And I don’t care how commonly good atheism leads to wonderful things”

            And I don’t care how commonly some interpretations of Christianity lead to wonderful things. The book supports genocide.

            I also find it interesting that you don’t care for the good atheism, but your selection in terms of Christianity is to not care for the ‘bad’ Christianity. That’s a perfect bias.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “Except that, as mentioned above, Christianity has come to mean a complete prohibition of rape.”

            How did that happen? God commands rape in the Bible and it doesn’t even make the 10 commandments. How did the Bible come to mean a prohibition of something it has an ambivalent attitude towards, at best?

            The answer is that it didn’t. (The exception being people who haven’t read the Bible and hold it up as a symbol of good morality, regardless of what the Bible actually says. I argue, still, that the ‘good morality’ they’re talking about is derived through humanism, not religion.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “If you and I can agree that it is superior not to rape rather than to rape, then that ought to decide the exchange in favor of Christianity once and for all. Because that’s where Christianity has led us: to the firm conclusion that rape is very wrong.”

            No. You and I believe in firmly in the prohibition of rape. The Bible does not give a clear argument for the prohibition of rape. Therefore, we found our agreement through other means. I maintain that is Humanism.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “Again, there are Christians who believe differently, but none whom anyone takes seriously.”

            Again, false. The truth is that equipped with only the Bible you can’t tell whose more right on the issue of rape.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “You are left to argue that atheism, whose lack of prohibition is a tacit acceptance”

            False. You need to start getting your head better around the idea that atheism is not a worldview. Atheism is no more a tacit acceptance of rape than not believing in the germ theory of disease. Unlike Christianity, atheism doesn’t answer questions of ethics. It doesn’t attempt to. That’s not what it’s for.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You and I both know full well that there is nothing in Christianity as we understand it now that permits rape.”

            Christianity as we understand it now is very different from the raw content of the Bible. It’s gone through a long run of criticism and whittling down. It’s been Humanised.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “Moreover, the command to love everyone unconditionally is an explicit prohibition against rape.”

            It’s not explicit. It’s implicit. And it’s not compatible with stoning gays and unruly children, or the keeping of slaves, or forbidding women from teaching, or murdering sinners. This is what I mean when I talk about Humanising the Bible: you like Psalms, you don’t like Deuteronomy; therefore, Psalms applies and Deuteronomy doesn’t. In the next bit I will quote of you, you talk about a self-cleansing mechanism. That mechanism, even/especially in religion, is humanism.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “It’s important to note: A doctrine that has a chance of being true will contain clear, self-cleansing components that will cause it to improve — morally, ethically, intellectually — over time.”

            False. That’s a lovely thing to build in. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle were very much into that. The Enlightenment flourished on the back of that ethic. However, these existed in contrast to knowing things by authority and by revelation. Those two epistemologies—authority and revelation—have no self-cleansing mechanisms. They have cleansing mechanisms applied to them, and often those mechanisms were met by the sword and went by names like “heresy” or “witch craft”. But they don’t self-clean.

            They had to be cleaned, externally. And you know what I think cleaned up Christianity.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “That is the reason for which atheism can never get beyond — Uhhh… go ahead, I got nothing to say to oppose whatever you want to do.”

            I’m getting tired of saying this, but you won’t seem to stop making the same mistake. Atheism does not answer questions of morality and ethics. No one should appeal to atheism for answers to questions. Atheism doesn’t even have: “go ahead, I got nothing to say to oppose whatever you want to do.” Atheism would only have “that’s not my domain, consult something else”.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “You, Ark and Zande are fond of pointing out the oddball Westboro’s of the world, but they simply make my point for me. They’re noteworthy because they’re so rare.”

            No. They are noteworthy simply because they fly in the face of ethics, so publicly. They drag their nonsense through the lives of hundreds of people. It is not rarity that makes them noteworthy.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “They’re noteworthy also because the vast majority of Christians absolutely reject their nonsense.”

            Doesn’t matter. The Bible justifies their actions. You can get from what they read to what they do/did. That makes what they read (slightly) culpable. And, what they read was the Bible.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “My interpretation — Christianity explicitly prohibits any evil visited upon one by another — won out, and there is no indication that Christianity would ever head back to some other interpretation.”

            I agree, in the Western world. I thought you were out in the scary more impoverished parts of the world and therefore wouldn’t be quite so quick to disregard the Christians of the wider world.

            I’ll reiterate my point again, but only because I have been accused of not addressing concern before when my answer would simply have been a repeat of something I have said many times before: Humanism is the external force that has been cleansing Humanism.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            “Please note: this victory by the right over the wrong, the good over the bad, is not a credit to me, or to other Christians, but to the Word given to us by Jesus.”

            I think a pretty good argument can be made to show this is false. And the argument is based in Islam.

            See, Islam is about 700 years younger than Christianity. And, Islam appears to be on a similar trajectory as Christianity: it’s been spread by force, it’s had its organised Inquisition-style culls, now it has considerable pockets of extremism… it’s moderating. And it doesn’t have Jesus to thank. It has… well, you know what I think it has: the free light of enquiry, criticism, humanism, the attitude of fallibilism.

          2. “You, Ark and Zande are fond of pointing out the oddball Westboro’s of the world, but they simply make my point for me. They’re noteworthy because they’re so rare.”

            Oh please, allow me one more minor note:

            Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. is telling his students to arm themselves and murder Muslims.

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Falwell and Liberty “University” (surely, a joke) are very much mainstream evangelical Christianity.

            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2015/12/christian-university-president-urges-students-to-carry-guns-and-kill-muslims/

          3. An unserious experiment using Old Testament readings, read to people who don’t know the difference between them and contemporary Christian belief and practice.

            Interesting how the one person said, roughly, “They really need to get with the times,” failing to realize that Christianity had “gotten with the times,” had in fact driven the greatest humanitarian revolution in the history of the world, had made the times that the person said it needed to get with, and had launched all that more than 2,000 years ago. I’m guessing that the responses of those who were actually knowledgeable about Christianity were edited out of that video.

            I guarantee you that if you were to take a Bible, disguise it as a Koran, go up to a bunch of muslims and read a bunch of things that Jesus said — say, from the Sermon on the Mount, or the Beatitudes — the muslims would say, “See? See? Islam is a religion of peace!” So, you can fool people when you make a good show of being sincere. Big deal. And, of course, it proves nothing.

            The real problem is, of course, the idea of playing dueling YouTube videos. It’s as stupid as playing dueling sources, experts, publications, studies, etc.

            Kind of disappointing, Allallt, that you would fall for that kind of transparently meaningless nitwittery. You dropped several ranks in my estimation with this one.

            Best,

            — x

          4. Oh…. It’s just that earlier you seemed to be talking in terms of consensus of belief. I see now that it has become inconvenient for you, so now we’re talking in terms of some ‘obvious’ truth.

          5. Lol… just watched the video Allalltt linked.
            What can one say about your last response?

            And if this experiment was done in the States, dollars to donuts the responses would have been a lot more explicit.

            I reckon the video says it all and clearly demonstrates how ignorant people are abut their religion and how untenable your position truly is.

            Hilarious.

          6. Thanks for the Falwell note. Not familiar with all the details of it, but it does prove my point again. You guys are fond of plucking these onesie-twosies out of the vast mass of America and saying, “See? See?” Failing to realize that the only thing that distinguishes them is typically their rarity.

            Now, I must emphasize, I’m not familiar with the details of the Falwell thing, but I’ll read up and let you know what I think of it.

            For now, though, you guys are simply dancing to the left-wing media piper’s tune, and pretending that you’re thinking for yourselves.

            Hilarious. 🙂

            In the last couple of years, I had it out with some staunch members of the Race Grievance Industry (it produced a television documentary and a college text book), and they were fond of doing that too. “See? See? This white guy did that thing and that proves that all whites are racists!”

            Anecdotes are useful to provide color to larger narratives, but they’re useless to make a point about vast populations.

            Best,

            — x

          7. You guys are fond of plucking these onesie-twosies out of the vast mass of America and saying, “See? See?” </blockquote

            LOL!

            Liberty “University” is considered the leading Christian university in the United States. Ted Cruz made his announcement for his presidential run there just recently. George W. Bush made it a policy to hire Liberty graduates. Jeb Bush gave the 2015 commencement speech. Jerry Falwell is one of the central figureheads of Christianity in the United States.

            This is not some redneck Baptist pastor, but one of the central arteries of American Christianity… and Falwell is urging his students to murder Muslims.

            But of course, this doesn’t fit your narrative, does it….

          8. Now that I have some more background about the incident, I see that, as usual, there is no incident.

            Jerry Falwell, Jr. (Not the Jerry Falwell, in the sense of the much better known senior Falwell, who died in 2007) did not call for anyone to shoot muslims. He did call for Americans to shoot muslim terrorists — there’s kind of a difference, Zande — a sentiment that any sane person endorses wholeheartedly.

            And Notre Dame might quibble with your assertion that Liberty University is considered “the leading Christian University in the United States.” It’s a fine university, but there is no leading university of any kind.

            For those of you reading this: note this important tactic in the left’s arsenal of distraction and ducking debate: the deliberate misrepresentation of something that was said or done. It took me maybe 20 seconds to find out that Zande had misrepresented what had been said.

            The left is nothing if not lazy, lazy, lazy. It would have taken Zande maybe 20 seconds to find out that Falwell had not said what Zande reported. But Zande didn’t want to take the time to find out what had really happened. Journalists have a saying about: “A story that’s too good to check.” This is the creed of the left. They make up things that are too good to be checked by other leftists, knowing full well that those other leftists will not verify the story.

            Best,

            — x

          9. He said “Muslims” not “Muslim terrorists.”

            If you read the supporting article I posted, which evidently you didn’t, you would have seen that he was forced into damage control where the next day he had to add the word “terrorist.”

            So, since he’s added the word “terrorist” after the fact or calling for simply “Muslims” to be murdered, do you think Falwell would insist Liberty University students also kill Christian Terrorists, like the Christian Terrorist who went on a killing spree last week in the women’s health centre?

          10. (Let’s see if this comment gets censored)

            You guys are fond of plucking these onesie-twosies out of the vast mass of America and saying, “See? See?”

            LOL!

            Liberty “University” is considered the leading Christian university in the United States. Ted Cruz made his announcement for his presidential run there just recently. George W. Bush made it a policy to hire Liberty graduates. Jeb Bush gave the 2015 commencement speech. Jerry Falwell is one of the central figureheads of Christianity in the United States.

            This is not some redneck Baptist pastor, but one of the central arteries of American Christianity.

            But of course, this doesn’t fit your narrative, does it….

          11. As mentioned several times already, I never censor anything. Do you have a literacy problem, Zande? Possibly a short-term memory problem? Or like Ark, do you just skip scan?

            Best,

            — x

          12. Lol! Okay, Zande… you just keep on believing that Jerry Falwell, Jr. called on all Christians to go out and kill muslims and you just keep thinking that doesn’t make you sound like a buffoon. 🙂

            Best,

            — x

          13. Who said “all Christians”?

            Nice straw man there, Praetorius. I think you’re losing the plot.

            Falwell called on all “students at America’s leading Christian university, Liberty, to arm themselves and kill Muslims.”

            Hmmm, does that say “all Christians”? See the difference?

            Probably not… It’s not the narrative you’re trying to weave, is it?

          14. Try to be fair here johnzande. I believe the correct context is ‘when they come HERE……..looking to kill us.’ As in the University………

            There was no charge for people to ‘go into all the world and kill muslims.’ You cannot frame your own reality and then ask others to defend your illusion.

            To borrow from SoM, it’s not a good idea to hallucinate…………..

          15. Of course, which is why Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe condemned Falwell’s remarks as “repugnant.”

            My administration is committed to making Virginia an open and welcoming Commonwealth, while also ensuring the safety of all of our citizens. Mr. Falwell’s rash and repugnant comments detract from both of those crucial goals. Those of us in leadership positions, whether in government or education, must take care to remember the tremendous harm that can result from reckless words.

            Terrorism is terrorism… Christian and Muslim.

          16. “Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here,” Falwell told thousands of cheering students during convocation.

            What in God’s good name do you think this means zande? Use your brain.

            Your credibility is fast slipping, As a matter of fact…………..

          17. Mmmm, where’s the “looking to kill us,” Colourstrom. That is what you wrote, wasn’t it?

            “I’ve always thought, if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walk in.”

            Just Muslim, and just kill them.

            Now, could you please show me where Jesus said something supporting this?

          18. Good gravy zande. The context was HOW and WHERE the murderers JUST WALKED in and slaughtered people in CA.

            You have no sane case for ignoring what was meant and said.

          19. Ah, so you can’t show me where Jesus said, “Arm yourself and go on the offensive, strike preemptively, and kill.”

            I see. Thanks. I must, of course, be missing something because this is a leader in US Christianity, and obviously he knows far more about it than me, right?

            So, are you going to buy your Jesus Gun, Colourstorm?

          20. Go ahead, Zande… you just keep on pretending you caught one of those mean ol’ wascally Christian leaders showing his true genocidal colors, you eagle-eye, you.

            Why, of course Falwell, Jr. meant for Christian students just to go out and kill muslims! Why, of course that’s the only possible interpretation that could possibly be drawn from what a Christian leader says!

            And no clarifications allowed, or accepted!!!(1)

            Never mind that Allallt could make it all mean that your cat found a bear, wrestled it to the ground and is playing charades with it in the gazebo. Never mind that even America’s leftist press — surely further to the left (meaning even less lucid) than a piker like you, Zande — admit there’s no Christian leader calling for the murder of any muslims.

            There, there, Zande, it’s okay. You just keep on searching out those messages from Christian leaders to go out and hunt down muslims and kill them. Never mind that this is of a piece with your paranoia about being censored here… which, also, never happened.

            Don’t worry, Zande, I’m sure you’re perfectly rational and lucid in your fear of those murderous, bloodthirsty Christians. We’ll wait right here as you go on your quest to find all those tewwible, tewwible things those nasty-wasty Christians are saying, and if we spot any of those big, mean ol’ bully Christians, we’ll yell reeeeeeal loud, “The Christians are coming! The Christians are coming!” That way you’ll know that you need to duck your wittle head and stay out of the way.

            Because while you’re out hunting for those genocidal Christians, keep an eye open for unicorns, atheists with brains, honest leftists and the Easter bunny. They’re all hiding in the same place. Hint: it’s dark in there, and you can hear things rattling about, and you carry it with you on top of your neck. No more hints! Off you go!

            In the meantime, the rest of us can have a serious conversation.

            Best,

            — x
            Notes

            (1) – That is, right there, one of the truest hallmarks of the brainless left: When they stick their foot in their mouths, the press (and the rest of the left) fall all over themselves to make the clarifications for them. A Conservative says something that obviously means something different from the plain meaning of his words, and that’s it! We got ’em!!! Bwa-hah-hah-hahaha! Nabbed! No clarifications allowed! No clarifications accepted! It’s one of the reasons we have to put up with the inanities and brainlessness of Zande’s and Ark’s “arguments” in this forum.

          21. Don’t worry, Praetorious, I understand you’re embarrassed. I get it, and I can even sympathise with you. You try and invent a narrative that contradicts reality, and, sadly, that’s always going to end in embarrassment. Sure, if Falwell was some redneck Baptist preacher your handwaves might find a little traction in your mind, but Falwell is president of the United States premier Christian university, a captain of Christianity whose institution is front and center in the Conservative movement.

            Anyway, look on the bright side… One of your Christian brothers has made a gun just for Liberty students.

            Now, sorry to say it, but you have thoroughly bored me.

            Take care.

          22. Lol! xP – you absolutely floor me! I get more laughs watching you tear Ark and Zande apart than I do anywhere else.

            “Your cat found a bear, wrestled it to the ground and is playing charades with it in the gazebo” is one of the funniest lines I’ve ever read. That you applied it to Allallt is even better!And you’re right, Allallt COULD make something read that way.

          23. Lol! Things happening fast and furious! While I was writing the above, it looks like Zande has put tail between legs and skedaddled! As if to prove what a moron he is, he posted a parting link! Too funny! What was it you’ve said about a million times about dueling links and sources and things? These guys are IDIOTS!

          24. @Zande: you mean you’re scared. Go on home to mommy.

            Yes, I admit that I’m non-plussed whenever someone of similar political persuasion (at least I think he is — I don’t know him, so I can’t tell. If the media label him “Conservative,” that’s your first clue that they hate him and will lie about him as soon as they possibly can) as mine says something awkward. Why wouldn’t I admit that?

            That you show no embarrassment whatsoever for the avalanche of painfully stupid stuff coming from your various persuasions is much more revealing. When someone apparently on my side of things messes up, I admit it — hence, the recognition of the need for clarification. When someone on your side says something stupid — which, I admit, happens only on days when they say something — the left circle the wagons, issue a blizzard of clarifications and pretend it never happened.

            Best,

            — x

          25. Lol!

            “When someone on your side says something stupid — which, I admit, happens only on days when they say something — the left circle the wagons, issue a blizzard of clarifications and pretend it never happened.”

            This one almost made me spit coffee!!!

  13. Ark seems to not read people’s post or prefers putting words into people’s mouths. If I were using reading comprehension, I would think Sean is saying the number could be a lot smaller.

    If Sean is compositing that Exodus is a bit of mnemohistory that may have some actual history. Sean says the numbers could just mean a large amount of people. I doubt a Bronze Age writer could count a mass of 600,000 people. It could just be a few thousand nomadic Levites as someone mentioned. Is it possible their leader could have been named Moses? I think so. Any evidence to the contrary? No sir.

    I think you misunderstand.
    At this point we are not discussing if there were at some point a ( relatively) small band refugees that left Egypt. Although to accept this one must assume they ether somehow escaped under the noses of their ”captors” or were given permission to leave- maybe even chucked out, a la the Hyksos

    However, we are discussing the veracity of the biblical text and the evidence we have rules out any mass exodus as per the biblical tale.
    It also rules out any invasion and rules out any genocide. This evidence refutes the biblical text as it stands and this is all that is of concern.
    If people wish to postulate that there may have been a band(s) of runaways then fair enough. Postulate away.

  14. Christianity explicitly forbids such horrors. Unambiguously.

    Blatant lie.
    According to the bible, your god annihilated humanity in the Flood and instructed Moses and Joshua to commit some horrific genocides, even after he had issued the commandment Thus shalt no kill ( murder)
    Oh … and please don’t come back with some pithy split-hairs answer about Jesus. Thank you.
    Now, go and study some proper history ….

    1. – @ Ark,
      You’re not sounding the least bit coherent in these discussions AT ALL.

      – First, you spent several days arguing – with profanity, no less (guess the profanity is supposed to give your argument credence)- that Moses NEVER existed; that the Biblical flood DID NOT happen; you even just mentioned on CS’ blog that the Bible is a lie.

      – Yet, here you are telling x-P, “go and study some proper history” … to do what Ark… to be properly informed that the God who does not exist,- did in fact- instruct Moses, whom you’ve vociferously argued never existed; OR to be properly informed that those things DID IN FACT happen.

      Is that what you’re saying Ark, that you now believe the above (annihilated humanity in the flood, & instructed Moses & Joshua to commit genocides…) happened?
      Surely, you’ll now show us your hard-evidence and conclusions from your leading scholars… because after all, we know that’s the ONLY way you would believe such things did in fact happen.

      Tell us Ark, we defer to you, what does the proper study of history say and how does that square with the above tantrum?

      Thank you.

      1. The fact that it is all nonsense does not prevent indoctrinated people such as yourself from believing such nonsense, and, sadly, building a religion based on fallacious history and passing this diatribe onto those unable, unsophisticated or not mature enough to marshal
        adequate critical thinking skills to refute the fallacious biblical text your revere.

        The suggestion to study proper history is in reference to the claim: Christianity explicitly forbids such horrors. Unambiguously. such as concentration camps, for example..

        And if you believe similarly then I recommend you too go and study.

        Then we might be able to have a reasoned discussion.
        Off you go …

        1. @ Ark: “The suggestion to study proper history is in reference to the claim: Christianity explicitly forbids such horrors. Unambiguously. such as concentration camps, for example..”

          Duh!
          You don’t need a proper study of history. You need a proper study of Christianity.

          1. @theancients
            I realise that it probably isn’t your fault for being such an [Deleted: profanity, gratuitous insult], ( I know you will appreciate the epithet) but you really really ought to try to [Deleted: profanity, gratuitous insult] now and then and really try to understand that, when I say it’s best you go and study i really mean it, for your own good.
            And I probably understand more about your religion that you will learn in two lifetimes, simply because I am NOT a Christian.( that might be a tad too difficult for you to assimilate all in one sentence. But try to anyway, okay?)

            Best

            🙂

          2. How does one properly study Christianity?
            In discussion so far, we have explored the following: the idea of some kind of “consensus Christianity”, which xPrae both introduced and then rejected; studying the Bible only by criteria set out in the Bible, which I challenged one’s ability to actually distinguish horror from beauty this way; the concept of “humanised religion”, where certain things like beauty and horror are open to discussion through criteria established not through the Bible, but through human discussion, I’ve received no comment on that yet, but I expect to be told (a) LABELS!?!?!?! and (b) no, not like that at all, something more Bible-y.

            So, tell me, how does one properly study the Bible?

          3. One study the Bible under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of wisdom who is responsible for leading one into ALL truth.

            If one could know all truth just by reading/studying the Bible, then one wouldn’t need the Spirit of Truth to lead/teach them into ALL truth…

            Furthermore, if one could know God strictly by reading the Bible, the Pharisees would have rocked and would have recognized and known God when He’s right there before them.

            So, as you guys have proven, the Bible is a dangerous Book without a relationship with the Holy Spirit.

            Your next question should be – how does one get the Holy Spirit?

            Have a nice day.

          4. @Allallt: not sure if that question was meant for me… it did appear in my comments, so I went ahead and answered it….
            so ignore it, if it was meant to be answered by someone else.
            Thank you.

          5. Thank you for your answer. Yes, the question was addressed to you.
            I’m not really sure what to make of the imperative to study the Bible under the guidance of something I need to have read the Bible to know exists…
            And I use the word “know” quite obscurely.

          6. That’s okay…
            for you, the world is purely physical/material… so anything pertaining to the spiritual realm will be viewed as foolishness.

            In reality, there are many who do not read the Bible, yet are aware – even more so than many Christians – of the spiritual realm.
            Where did they get their information?

          7. Don’t second guess my philosophy.
            There is a difference between foolishness and ‘unsubstantiated’. So, don’t second guess my evaluations either (or, admit it’s almost pure speculation on your side).
            I have no idea where people get their information on the spiritual realm. It’s clearly not a reliable source, because they have disagreed for millennia.
            I have a dog who has an awareness of my pockets being filled with food and tennis balls. I don’t know where that awareness comes from either. But that dog is wrong.
            (I know of another dog that doesn’t believe you have a ball and food if he watched you get ready for the walk and didn’t see you put the stuff in your pockets. I know where that dog gets his information. He’s been wrong before — there has been stuff left over from the previous walk–but he has a mechanism.)

          8. but we’re not speaking about dogs, are we.
            I agree: there’s a difference b/w foolishness and unsubstantiated.

            Listen, we cannot even agree on things in this realm; I’m not about to start a discussion about another realm you clearly do not believe exist, but perhaps would if it were proven to you… where did we hear that argument before… has it been resolved yet… 🙂

        2. You’re flailing, Ark.

          You’ve arrived at a point where you can’t seem to prevent yourself from engaging in truly amateurish arguments and half-witted insults. That you seem unable, or worse, unwilling to believe that someone could arrive at a viewpoint contrary to yours except through indoctrination is profoundly stupid. Especially since you seem to have confessed in an exchange of ours that you actively avoid contrary viewpoints. Your comment on FOX News — really the only major news outlet that actually gives a serious hearing to right-wing views — was quite revealing. Embarrassingly for you.

          And, yes, Ark, Christianity explicitly forbids the construction of things like concentration camps, such as they we understand them.

          While you are actively sending others to study, you routinely expose serious ignorance. I used to be that way too… I once knew everything, and couldn’t imagine why others didn’t think exactly as I did, and frequently suggested disparagingly and witheringly that others were less-informed, ill-informed, or downright ignorant. Then I turned 13 and got over it.

          Best,

          — x

          1. Lol … you truly are ignorant aren’t you?
            Many people have views contrary to mine. That’s a good thing. It encourages diversity.
            Those that harbour right wing, conservative religious views are often simply parading their ignorance – which is based largely on indoctrination. It is what religion does X-P.
            Haven’t you figured this out yet?
            And as evidence of this claim look at Islamic Fundamentalism as another perfect
            example of what can happen in the extreme.
            Oh, hold on It’s just dawned on me – I’ll bet you thought I was solely referring to your version of god belief , didn’t you! Hilarious.

            Then I turned 13 and got over it.

            And have been indulging in [Deleted: inappropriate] ever since, and are still as ignorant on this subject as you were when you were 13.

            Oh, and I don’t watch Yank news. I could not give a monkey’s uncle what Fox news says. Really, I think your panties are on too tight.

          2. Let’s help you out with this, JV:

            Here’s your post, unedited:

            Lol … you truly are ignorant aren’t you?
            Many people have views contrary to mine. That’s a good thing. It encourages diversity.
            Those that harbour right wing, conservative religious views are often simply parading their ignorance — which is based largely on indoctrination. It is what religion does X-P.

            Haven’t you figured this out yet?

            And as evidence of this claim look at Islamic Fundamentalism as another perfect
            example of what can happen in the extreme.

            Oh, hold on It’s just dawned on me — I’ll bet you thought I was solely referring to your version of god belief , didn’t you! Hilarious.

            Then I turned 13 and got over it.

            And have been indulging in [Deleted: inappropriate] ever since, and are still as ignorant on this subject as you were when you were 13.

            Oh, and I don’t watch Yank news. I could not give a monkey’s uncle what Fox news says. Really, I think your panties are on too tight.

            Now here it is, with the substanceless fluff removed:

            Lol … you truly are ignorant aren’t you? [Editing reasons: #3,4,7,10,22 ]

            Many people have views contrary to mine. That’s a good thing. It encourages diversity.

            Those that harbour right wing, conservative religious views are often simply parading their ignorance — which is based largely on indoctrination. It is what religion does X-P. [Editing reasons: #1,9,12,21,22]

            Haven’t you figured this out yet? [Editing reasons: Follows up from previous passage edited out for cause. ]

            And as evidence of this claim look at Islamic Fundamentalism as another perfect example of what can happen in the extreme.
            Oh, hold on It’s just dawned on me — I’ll bet you thought I was solely referring to your version of god belief , didn’t you! [Editing reasons: #1,2,11,12,17,22 ] Hilarious.

            Then I turned 13 and got over it.

            And have been indulging in [Deleted: inappropriate] ever since, and are still as ignorant on this subject as you were when you were 13. [Editing reasons: #1,3,6,10,11,17,22 ]

            Oh, and I don’t watch Yank news. I could not give a monkey’s uncle what Fox news says. Really, I think your panties are on too tight. [Editing reason: #1 ]

            Now, let’s see what we’re left with to which we can respond:

            You said:

            “Many people have views contrary to mine. That’s a good thing. It encourages diversity.”

            Response:
            Oh? There’s no inherent value in diversity. For example, I’d guess that your love of “diversity” would melt away at the first Nazi who wanted to join your group, or your company, or your organization, or drink with you at the bar.

            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

            You said:

            “And as evidence of this claim look at Islamic Fundamentalism as another perfect example of what can happen in the extreme”

            Response:
            I agree. However, Islam claims to be a religion, but is really a political movement. It suffices to see that Islam insists that countries be organized around islamic principles, while Christianity makes no bones about the fact that it has nothing to say about how countries’ governments should be organized, constituted or governed.

            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

            You said:

            (Quoting me:) “Then I turned 13 and got over it.

            Response:
            Okay. Thanks for quoting me.

            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

            You said:

            “Oh, and I don’t watch Yank news. I could not give a monkey’s uncle what Fox news says.”

            Response:
            Plainly. This last statement of yours is a surprisingly candid admission of the inadequacy of your sources of information, Ark.

            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

            Best,

            — x

          3. So, still parading your ignorance?
            Well, maybe in some cases it really is bliss.
            Look up the word succinct.
            See, only four sentences and I still get manage to get you to metaphorically [Deleted: mild profanity].

            Best.

          4. If it explicitly forbids concentration, there will be an exact chapter and verse that mentions concentration camps with an imperative to not create, make, utilise or else engage with them.

            It’s been a while since I read the Bible, so I can’t recall where that is.

            If it’s not there, you mean “implicitly”. There’s an extra layer of interpretation in there, but I’d love to know what chapters and verses you infer it from, too.

      2. @ancients

        The riddle is posed by the atheistic mind: Give me proof of your scriptures while I do not believe one word of scripture. Give me proof of history while I do not believe one word of history…….

        It is a self induced hypnotic effect in which there is no cure………….unless………..

        ……….there is more daylight in this post and comments by the host and others………..even the good doctor on the couch may inquire to his militant unbelieving client: what law of reason is called upon to ask for answers from a source that you despise?

          1. To be fair, its not right to address that here………….but THAT comment of yours disappeared.
            Send it again.

          2. It hasn’t “disappeared.” It’s there. The first is still being censored, but you can address the second. If, however, I’m seeing something that you are not, you can always retrieve your censored comments from the trash.

          3. Nope, as I said, I tried replying to your ‘second,’ yesterday, which was actually more clear, but its gone.

            But you are being somewhat petty making it an issue here.

          4. Can someone re-post the comment that I supposedly censored?

            I’ll search for it in the list. I suspect, though, that Zande either never submitted it, or submitted it somewhere else in error.

            Comments containing profanity are held for evaluation so that I can edit the offending passages. However, I censor no comments. Ever.

            Best,

            — x

          5. No jz, so that all may know, you posted a one word answer, you asked ‘why?’

            Since there were two rails on the track,

            1. ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,’ and
            2. ‘Deal with it.’

            …..since I am not a mind reader………one could rightfully wonder:
            1. ‘why’ as to the creation……..or
            2. ‘why’ should you deal with it.

            So I stand un-accused, and you are a bit loose in your ambiguous request. And I have no desire to play 20 questions.

          6. Why did Yhwh create the heavens and the earth?

            You knew exactly what i was asking, Colourstorm. The truth is, [Deleted: gratuitous insult], so you censored it, [Deleted: gratuitous insult].

            Why did Yhwh create the heavens and the earth?

          7. Nice. since I am a pathetic coward who has just revealed your obvious lack of reading skills, I’ll respectfully decline to acquiesce your request here.

          8. john john-
            My answer would be word for word from scripture, which by the way there are plenty. Or perhaps I have empathy in that I do not want to be responsible for heaping fires of coal upon your head…………or,

            That you may turn aside and trample the good words of scripture, so again, I’ll pass here.

            I am not ignorant of certain devices by the way. But there is plenty of good stuff here by xP and friends to keep you busy.

          9. What comment is missing? I censor nothing. However, if you used inappropriate language, I filter it out until such time as I can clean it up. I see no post that has been held for evaluation.

            Best,

            — x

          10. To clarify: I delete no comments. Ever.

            I edit out profanity and gratuitous insults.

            What other of your premises are based on such falsehoods, Zande?

            Best,

            — x

          11. I’m not talking about you. Colourstorm deletes, alters, edits, censors comments. It’s pathetic. [Deleted: gratuitous insult, and Editing reason: #17]. Strange.

          12. @ john zande, you never answered madblog on the previous thread: [I was really looking forward to your answer but wasn’t the least surprised at your inability to even attempt one 😦 ]

            – how are you able to write a book declaring that all is evil IF all really is evil? How would one notice?

            – Please explain how a totally malevolent Creator is able to create even the illusion of good, joy or pleasure, (in order to please himself by allowing us to suffer.)

            – How is a created being able to critique his creator by applying criteria that neither he nor the creator possess?

            I know you cannot answer these questions… the thing for you to do is to seriously ‘research’ why.

          13. I did answer that, and in some detail. Perhaps you should actually read what has been written, and that way you would avoid future embarrassment.

            Just a suggestion.

          14. @ j zande:

            Interesting. For the record, this is a sample of your “answers”…

            mb says: “But I’ll cut right to the chase here. Given your premise, you must either: A. be perfectly content with the “evil” universe you see around you, or B. Justify whence you obtained a concept for a universe which is different from the one (you say) we have.
            And that is a problem for your premise.

            john zande | November 23, 2015 at 8:52 am
            As the magnificent Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine said:
            “Facts are facts. They are enormously discourteous. They do not revere old books, they do not stand in awe before old beliefs. They do not bow before famous ancestors. They are simply the stuff out of which reality made, and the final judge of truth.”

            madblog | November 23, 2015 at 9:06 am

            …And that is the response to what?
            ——————
            mb says: “AND you still have not answered my challenge. How is a created being able to critique his creator by applying criteria that neither he nor the creator possess?”

            john zande | November 24, 2015 at 5:07 am
            Ask a sensible question, you might get a sensible answer.

            You didn’t answer my question… What criteria doesn’t a created/creator possess?

            My goal was and is NOT to rehash this discussion here… but to point out your schizophrenic projections.

          15. So you do enjoy being embarrassed, huh?

            So be it.

            It was answered at November 19, 2015 at 4:42 am (comment to Praetorius) then repeated to Madblog at November 23, 2015 at 10:54 am

          16. lol…
            I read your disempowering delusions zande… and I did in fact learn a few things:
            1. your writing is very bombastic and circumlocutory.
            2. based on #1, you’ve deluded yourself into thinking you’re ‘smart’.
            3. your thesis was not well thought out… you should have had the critique you’re now getting and receive it in a constructive manner.
            4. as Ark would say – you need to do a proper study of Christianity.

            so, thanks for teaching me a few things 🙂

          17. @JZ, there are lots of answers to this, but one is surely: Who knows? Who cares?

            Scientists will tell you that there is no way to tell what the universe was like before the Big Bang, so there are no real efforts to take a stab at answering the question. Your question: “Why did God create the universe?” asks the impossible. We can’t read each other’s minds, much less God’s.

            Why would you ask the impossible? Not another Zandean attempt at tricking those gullible rubes, those Christians into falling into your rhetorical traps again, is it?

            There is one way to know why God created the universe: If He were to tell us.

            Simple.

            Best,

            — x

          18. Hardly. It’s not a question worth answering. It calls for claiming some special knowledge of the unknowable: what God is thinking. Furthermore, even if God Himself were to come in some form and tell you, you likely wouldn’t believe Him.

            As I might have mentioned: the question appears like a rather silly attempt to set a rhetorical trap. In other words, there is no possible answer that, I figure, you would find acceptable. I advise against wasting time and effort on such silliness.

            Best,

            — x

          19. Sorry, Zande… I know that was a flippant reply and, according to my prime directive, I’m supposed to treat even the most ridiculous question as sincerely posed. So, here’s a bit more:

            You said:

            In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…

            Why?

            Response:

            A response as valid as my flippant “Why not?” is: “Because.” However, ColorStorm gave you that response and you dismissed it out of hand. You did so in a particularly juvenile and inappropriately sneering and derisive manner, I might add.

            You question is a “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin“-type of question. It seems obvious that there’s no answer that you would find satisfactory, or honest, or thorough, or that you would not dismiss with a patented Zande sneer.

            You’ve been receiving the message that your question is (1) unanswerable, and (2) not worth answering. Why would you press for an answer to it from those who view it as, at its best, silly?

            I’ll give you a break, though. Let’s pretend that ColorStorm and I are as dull as you insist we are. Why don’t you explain to us dullards why your seemingly dumb, unanswerable, pointless question is, indeed, not dumb, unanswerable and pointless.

            Speaking for myself, if you’re able to make an even slightly credible case that your question is not as dumb as it seems, at that point, I just might take a stab at answering your question. However, being the dullard that I am, I can’t promise anything better than “I don’t know.” At which point, surely, you’ll respond, “Ah, hah! You’re dependent on faith, you dumb, ignorant rube!!!” Uhhhh…yeah. Did I ever try to pretend otherwise? I long ago demonstrated that you’re 100% dependent on faith as well. So what? You simply have faith in what your high priests of atheism and Zlorkism say. Whatever.

            Oops. Sorry. I shouldn’t presume to tell you what you’re going to do or say until after you’ve produced a mildly convincing (all I ask is mildly convincing) argument that you’re question is not howlingly stupid.

            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

            Best,

            — x

          20. One would think this would be the question every believer has an answer to.

            Obviously not.

            Why did your god create this universe?

            I can answer this in a flash if we’re talking about TOOAIN.

            Why can’t you?

          21. Correct: This is not a question every believer has an answer to. My goodness, this isn’t the only question to which believers don’t have an answer. It’s also not the only dumb, unanswerable, pointless question asked of believers.

            Seriously, Zande, this is a particularly dumb line of inquiry on your part. I’m not sure I understand why you’re pursuing it. I thought you considered yourself some great authority on religious belief and Christianity.

            If you think you have the answer to “Why did God create the universe?” then bravo for you. You seem to have other delusions as well: Zlork, for example. 🙂

            Best,

            — x

          22. Interesting.

            I would suggest you mediate on your inability to answer what must be the most obvious of all questions: Why did your god create this universe?

            Like I said, I can answer this question in a flash. Why can’t you?

          23. Lol! You can’t answer the question. At least not better than I did. Note: this was not a poorly disguised taunt to try to get you to “answer the question.” There’s no answer that you could give that wouldn’t be either a tautology (Ex.: Because He wanted to) or something else unenlightening.

            Best,

            — x

          24. Surely you meant “meditate?” In some circumstances the strange word “mediate” could work. I interpreted “meditate,” though, and wanted to be sure that I was not taking inappropriate liberties.

            Best,

            — x

          25. One more quick thing: it’s nice of you to concede that my God created the universe. As you grow up, presumably you’ll understand that He’s your God as well. 🙂

            Best,

            — x

    2. Morning, JV! Thanks for your post.

      Your post demonstrates an embarrassing ignorance of the Old and New Testaments. My assertion — “Christianity explicitly forbids such horrors. Unambiguously.” — remains clearly true.

      Quick note: Let’s see, you’re telling a Christian not to use Jesus in an argument about Christianity? Why not have an argument about baseball, but forbid talking about bases, balls and bats?

      You’re clearly not thinking about what you’re writing and arguing from purely irrational emotion here.

      Best,

      — x

    3. Just a random FYI:
      x-Prae accused me of saying (in quotation marks!) “Atheism permits all atrocities”. I’ve used the ‘find text’ option and I can’t find any reference to me saying that, the closest I can find is this: ” atheism permits (not requires) horror.” The next sentence is this: “But that’s only because atheism is not defining; it is a lack of a genre of beliefs. The dogmas the dictators you allude to is important, their atheism is not.”

      I’m not sure we’ve chosen debate with an honest interlocutor.

        1. I am sorry if I’ve strong armed your conversation. I originally only popped up to question the epistemic point that calling smugness “calmness” and calling calmness the way you know you’re right.
          Now I’m arguing that active beliefs are more to blame than absent beliefs (which one shouldn’t have to point out, I don’t think) and that Prae represents a narrow slice of the spectrum of interpretations of the Bible in the US, globally, and historically. (But apparently there’s no true Scotsman.)

          1. I never argued that “calmness was the way I knew I was right,” merely one way, among many. It’s somewhere in one of these threads — my more detailed explanation of why I “won.”

            Calm is frequently a sign of greater confidence in one’s argument, while the regular mini-thromboses of Ark, and the ridiculous grandiloquence of Zande were rather obvious signs of insecurity.

            Best,

            — x

        2. Have you ever been outside of the US? Always a silly question. I’ve been to plenty of places: Narnia, Middle Earth, Mars, 19th century England, and Mexico. Although one could assert that it’s as much of an elitist class-conflict question than anything else. Folks usually don’t travel because they can’t afford to do it.

      1. It’s okay, Allallt, he has recently accused me of suggesting what Stalin did was acceptable.
        There comes a point when must smile.
        After all this nonsense he has eventually broken out and started espousing his theology:
        God sent Jesus etc etc.
        And this is where I laugh.
        He is simply just another small minded christian fundamentalist with a big ego and and even bigger chip on his shoulder.

        1. Well, fair enough.
          I’m finding it very difficult to argue with someone who dislikes sources, dislikes labels, and refusing to show an understanding of what atheism is (i.e. content free)

          1. The term, Baffle them with bovine excrement seems appropriate ( I am not allowed to type [Deleted: profanity]).
            Somewhat like listening to William Lane Craig.
            Eventually it’s a fair bet your teeth will hurt and you will have a headache and you will be left wondering,
            ”What the heck was that all about?”
            (I can’t type [Deleted: mild profanity] either)

          2. @Allallt… szome disappointingly weak posts here. I thought you were above the childishness of Ark and Zande.

            I’m going to use this post to respond collectively with some thoughts on some of the posts that popped up in my absence today.

            @Allallt: Atheism, in principle, is “content-free.” In practice (yes, there is a practice of atheism) it is every bit a doctrine with holy books, priests, high priests and the like. And, of course, the adherents of no other “content-free” belief system get so violently all fired up about the so-called “nothing” that they believe. Fired up enough to murder 120 million souls last century. I know, I know, I know… it’s all about “belief in the superiority of something over something else.” Also expressed as: the belief that the other is inferior. In the case of all the atheists I’ve ever met (as mentioned further in this post) the “other’s” belief is vastly inferior. That is an affirmative belief. Among others.

            For example: Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Bukharin, Trotsky and the other important “thinkers” and movers of the Bolshevik coup d’état were absolutely insistent on atheism’s role as a vital component of what they viewed as a “progressive” society. They were absolutely — though this seems as though it should be a nonsense term — “militant atheists.”

            In America, as surely in Great Britain, there are many atheist organizations — some quite militant, some not at all, and all points in-between — with founding documents, creeds, statements of belief. There is a strong movement led by atheists to rid all town squares and parks, and any public locale of any Christian symbols. (They approach muslim symbols with a good deal more caution. Gee, I wonder why. 🙂 ) When the atheists succeed, as they frequently do, they haven’t removed an imposed set of beliefs, they’ve merely imposed their own beliefs on everyone else. Want proof? Go ahead and try to set up a Christmas tree in the town square and see whether someone imposes his beliefs on you.

            This is a common phenomenon across many areas. In some states if you witness an act of violence directed at someone and you do nothing to assist, you can be arrested and charged with a crime. But, you say, how can that be? I didn’t do anything? Isn’t a crime something? Yes, and in that case — actually in all cases — doing nothing is doing something. Choosing nothing is making a choice. Believing in nothing, or the lack of something, is a belief. I don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy. That is a belief. How can that be? Simple: each of those “nothings” can be easily turned into a something by looking just a tiny bit deeper.. Did you do nothing while someone got mugged? No you didn’t; you actively engaged in “depraved indifference.” You chose to avoid your civic responsibility. Did you choose not to eat lunch? You overtly chose to work through lunch. Do you not believe in God? You absolutely believe in not God.

            Interestingly, every atheist I’ve ever met with whom I’ve engaged in a debate simply as to whether or not God exists, has demonstrated all the rest of what comes along with this. (Zande and Ark are the same and have failed to see their own contradiction.) It’s some inexplicable need to accompany their disbelief with an affirmative belief that anyone who believes differently from them — ie believes in God — is stupid, superstitious, evil, psychotic, retarded or some such thing. Personally, I think it’s to get in some massive, supposedly argument-stopping accusation before they have to answer for the fact that militant atheists murdered more than 120 million souls last Century alone.

            Believing that God doesn’t exist is still believing. It’s a belief. Want proof? Look at all the sources that Ark and Zande quote. Were these people writing about nothing? No. They were writing about a belief system; their belief(s).

            There are no large movements, bunches of organizations, lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit, all centered on … nothing. I thought you were aware of this. It’s pretty basic.

            You could certainly say you were speaking theoretically, but I was speaking of atheism in the real world. Again, go ahead and bring a Bible to North Korea and tell me whether atheism is “content-free.” When and if you get out of the concentration camp, we’ll see if you still believe the same. Atheism is just another religion, that has simply replaced a belief in God with a belief in man as the Supreme Being.

            As regards sources, I stated the obvious: You and I can play dueling sources all day, and we’ll never get to the end of it. I know this, because I’ve done it. It’s an exercise in one person saying, “Your source is garbage and here’s why!” with the other replying with the same thing in slightly different words. If you’re unable to produce any thinking that’s not derivative, then maybe you’re not a worthy interlocutor.

            Look: I’ve read all the sources you likely could produce; I’ve picked and chosen those that I believe to be credible, and I’ve read and rejected those I felt lacked credibility, or perspective, or intelligence, or exhibited some fatal flaw or other. So, finally, do you now understand why I don’t want to play dueling sources?

            I have to admit, it’s disappointing to have to point out all this rather basic stuff to you, Allallt, as it seemed as though you were prepared to exchange original thoughts. If your lengthy reply of before was merely more derivative slop — of the type that Zande and Ark are dependent on — that’s a shame. You’re making me wonder whether it’s worth it to go through with the mini-project to respond to your lengthy post. Especially if all I’m doing is responding to another Zande or Ark, only one who’s actually literate. I can get derivative literacy anywhere. I’m hoping for original thinking, and cogent analysis.

            Best,

            — x

          3. *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You said:
            “In practice (yes, there is a practice of atheism) it is every bit a doctrine with holy books, priests, high priests and the like.”

            I have already asked:
            “As for my sacred text, which texts are you referring to? What text have a presented? When did I say a text is an infallible authority?” and received no answer.

            I add to that now:
            Instead of simply saying “no, there simply isn’t” (because that doesn’t really allow for a conversation) I am going to ask for examples of the high priests who are especially in tune with the pitiless indifference, or the content of any of the doctrines of atheism.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You said:
            “[T]he adherents of no other “content-free” belief system get so violently all fired up about the so-called “nothing” that they believe. Fired up enough to murder 120 million souls last century.”

            I say:
            I know you come to this in the very next sentence, but atheism is not the cause of these murders. You cannot get from any content of atheism (because there isn’t any) to the actions of the tyrants we’ve discussed ad nauseum. You can―and this is a very important distinction―get from the ‘greater good’ and superiority beliefs of the 4 individuals to the murders.

            As for atheism’s role in the belief in the superiority of the German ‘race’ or of agrarian economies, atheism doesn’t address issues of these topics. Atheism has no greater role in this that beards or quantum theory or the Hoyt model of urban layout.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You said:
            “Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Bukharin, Trotsky and the other important “thinkers” and movers of the Bolshevik coup d’état were absolutely insistent on atheism’s role as a vital component of what they viewed as a “progressive” society.”

            I say:
            This is similar to when people argue that biological evolution is responsible for social Darwinism. It isn’t. Biological evolution does not address questions of how one ought to comport themselves, interact in a society or run political institutions. It is merely a description and subsequent prediction of how animals do interact across generations (no mention of ‘ought’ at all; there is nothing prescriptive here). I’m not bringing this up because I am interested in getting into deeper debate with you about Darwin as well, but my means of analogy.

            As a more direct point, Marxist-Leninist Atheism (M-LA) does have content and is not the same as atheism. M-LA is about the inferiority of religion, as an “opium for the people” (meaning it is an escape from the hardship of their lives, not that it dulls their sense, as many commentators imply). It explicitly requires the abolition of religion. This is not atheism.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You said:
            “In America, as surely in Great Britain, there are many atheist organizations — some quite militant, some not at all, and all points in-between — with founding documents, creeds, statements of belief.”

            I say:
            There aren’t any that I know of. However, religious people in Great Britain generally seem a lot more aware that they have no special entitlement to political favour. It’s also pretty common knowledge that if, say, a Christian display is allowed so is a Hindu or Muslim display.

            There’s an irony here, as Great Britain is officially a Christian country and yet it operates as a multicultural secular society. The US is officially a secular country founded by a multicultural group from across Europe (predominantly), but it operates as a Christian country. Now, I don’t know much about groups in America, however, it is clear that the Freedom from Religion Foundation is a political and secular group concerned that Christians (in particular) are assuming privileges from the State and that the state often seems to agree.

            In Great Britain we have Humanist groups, but they are particularly advocating the strength and value of human flourishing, wellbeing, creativity and science, as well as a moral and ethical epistemology. It tends to be atheist, but doesn’t have to be. And it’s not identical to atheism.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You said:
            “There is a strong movement led by atheists to rid all town squares and parks, and any public locale of any Christian symbols… they’ve merely imposed their own beliefs on everyone else.”

            I say:
            These are secular ideals. There’s a different word for it because it’s a different thing. Secularism is a political idea. I happen to believe that secularism is necessary for equality. But, again, it’s not atheism: you can be religious and still not want the State to show preference to religion.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You said:
            “In some states if you witness an act of violence directed at someone and you do nothing to assist, you can be arrested and charged with a crime. But, you say, how can that be? I didn’t do anything? Isn’t a crime something? Yes, and in that case — actually in all cases — doing nothing is doing something.”

            I say:
            Some states claim that once you are witness to certain types of crime you are imbued with certain responsibilities. Thus, doing nothing fails to meet those responsibilities. Similarly, if I don’t hand any coursework in or I just hand in empty pages, I will fail against the criteria of the mark scheme. It’s not that I have done anything wrong, it’s that I haven’t done anything even though I was expected to.
            This doesn’t touch on the idea that atheism is content free.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You said:
            “Choosing nothing is making a choice.”

            I say:
            Is it? Although it is true that in the question “should I make myself a sandwich?” indecision will lead to no sandwich, which is the same outcome as having actually decided “No”, this doesn’t always apply. Not voting is not the same as favouring a political party. And it’s not necessarily a decision: you could be unable or unaware.

            So, I agree that there are circumstances where this is true, they are not identical statements.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You said:
            “I don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy. That is a belief.”

            I say:
            False. It’s an important philosophical distinction. (1) You can believe there are no good reasons to believe in a tooth fairy, that is a belief; (2) you can believe there is no tooth fairy, that is a belief; (3) you are free to not belief there is a tooth fairy, that is not a belief. That is an absence.

            (3) Can be due to ignorance. Some cultures have no such myth pervading their consciousness. It can also be due to simply being unsure in terms of ontology or epistemology. It could even be due to ambivalence, thinking there is good evidence in all directions pertaining to that question. (2) by contract is the result of relative confidence in one’s epistemology and ontology and measuring of the evidence (even nonrational evidence―It’s possible to be right for the wrong reasons).

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You said:
            “You absolutely believe in not God.”

            I say:
            When I first started this conversation with you you appeared very defensive about whether I could or should make judgements about you. Yet, here you are making an explicitly absolute judgement about me. I do not “absolutely believe in not God”.

            I provisionally believe in methodological materialism. That means I think the reality we can know about is defined by the material world we can observe. Notice the power of some of this: from observing the material world we can know about some immaterial things, like qualia and emotion and information. But our opportunity to learn about them is bound by the material. I, therefore, am not convinced of a God.

            To reiterate: based on a provisional stance, I am not convinced of a God.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You said:
            “Look at all the sources that Ark and Zande quote. Were these people writing about nothing? No. They were writing about a belief system; their belief(s).”

            I say:
            Okay. So? I’m not saying that atheists don’t have beliefs. I’m saying that the label “atheism” doesn’t tell you what those beliefs are. Methodological materialism is something, and with regard to the question of the existence of a God, it gets you nothing.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You said:
            “I have to admit, it’s disappointing to have to point out all this rather basic stuff to you, Allallt”

            I say:
            It’s not basic stuff. It’s reasonably nuanced philosophy. And you’re getting it wrong. You show no awareness or acceptance of the default position nor the different between “I do not believe…” and “I believe there is not…”. You are making exactly the mistake one must make to get from atheism to M-LA.

            For a more extreme misunderstanding, take your reference to North Korea. Do you really think atheism is the problem there? Because, it isn’t. They have a history of deifying their leaders and worshipping them. This quasi-religion has similarities to Islam, in that it refuses a distinction between politics and religion. (Something Christianity doesn’t do: “Give unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar”.)

            As for your idea that atheism permits people to deify other people, that’s literally wrong but has a spirit that may as well be true. You can’t be an atheist and deify something. Once one accepts a deity one no longer lacks a belief in deities: they are at least quasi-religious. And, it seems religious people can also deify more things than their religion commands them to. You, for example, have deified yourself in this conversation: you are the arbiter of what is “worthy”. It hasn’t gone unnoticed.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            I have said:
            One of the questions I have asked, that you haven’t answered, is this: “can you demonstrate that the problem of the ideologies you allude to is the problem of being too sceptical or too reasonable?”

          4. Hold your horses there, Praetorius. I haven’t been rude once, and Ark is only being rude [Deleted: profanity]… He’s otherwise a perfect gentlemen.

          5. hey jz

            You are defending your friend as a perfect gentleman? This explains why you can’t see the Creators hand. Your judgment is impaired, and common sense is no where to be found.

          6. Yes, thanks for that Colourstorm.

            You know Colourstorm, you never have answered two questions I’ve asked you quite a few times:

            Are you married?

            Have you ever traveled outside the United States?

          7. Eh, more important stuff here as in how many ways it has been told you here by xp and friends that God’s word is good, very good.

            ‘He made the stars also.’ There are no greater five simple English words in literature, anywhere. And the good part? It’s true.

          8. No, i think this is quite important to understanding where you’re coming from.

            Are you, or have you ever been, married?

            and

            Have you ever traveled outside the United States?

          9. Just stepping in for a moment, but these are probably two completely irrelevant questions. I could be wrong, not being aware of the entire context, but just that they were posed in this thread.

            It’s possible they were asked elsewhere as well, and were relevant there. Here, though, if read in the context of this thread, they’re dumb as stumps.

            Zande: You and Ark are really big on completely irrelevant questions. Why is that?

            Best,

            — x

          10. No “perfect gentleman” is ever tempted to act like the boor that Ark has been. Ark gives every indication of being a spoiled, immature baby.

            Best,

            — x

          11. Contraire! When one is lucky, as you have been here, a perfect gentlemen, such as our learned South African friend, will take the time to momentarily join the challenged and floundering pauper at their colourless level of existence, where through carefully delivered wit and nuanced charm they will attempt demonstrate to said mushroom that a truly wondrous world of art and the finest of pleasures truly does exist should they merely lift their eyes from the vat of sickly black tar in which they sit.

          12. Lol! I think I already replied to this, Zande, but I re-read what you wrote and had to say: the thing that strikes me most about what you say: No one can say absolutely nothing, using so many words, as you can.

            Best,

            — x

          13. I can’t get to this in any detail right now, except to say that I agree with some and disagree with some.

            This part, for example: “As for your idea that atheism permits people to deify other people, that’s literally wrong but has a spirit that may as well be true. You can’t be an atheist and deify something.

            The first part seems inaccurate on the face of it. The more determined, the more militant, the atheist, it seems, the more hell-bent ( 🙂 ) he seems on fabricating his own deities. Look, for example, at the impassioned case Zande made, and continues to make, for his Zlork.

            As for North Korea, you simply confirm what I just said above. All that you said was, for the most part, simply a restatement of what I said. I agree with those parts, needless to say.

            For example: I said, “Choosing to do nothing is doing something.” And you said, “Yes, sometimes, and sometimes not.” Okay. However when you don’t choose to make that sandwich you don’t just wink out of existence, you do something else.

            I said, “Not doing anything about the mugging is doing something.” You agreed. You simply said that it was doing something other than what I said, and you explained why you thought so.

            You then made the case that one atheism (M-LA) is different from another. Okay. Whatever. Are they all housed under the umbrella term “atheism?” Are they not? Is “atheism” inadequate as a term? Possibly.

            You then seemed to say that you’re not an atheist, but rather an agnostic. Okay. (Indulging in a little labeling, myself here.)

            And, in another post, you indicated that you were upset at my refusal to play dueling sources and to use labels. Listen: You, Zande and Ark have dropped bunches and bunches of labels into the hopper and “atheist/atheism,” “Methodological Materialism (or some such)” “Young Earth Creationist,” “Creationist,” “Secularism,” etc.– I can’t remember ’em all.

            However, if you have four people — Zande, Ark, Allallt, xPraetorius — in the room, and you’ve all agreed to use just five labels, that means you have twenty different labels in the room, because each person has a different belief about, or understanding of, each label.

            Like the dueling studies, sources and authors, that becomes a morass before too long as well. Surely you can see why. Look, after all, at the exchange you and I have had concerning only the one label: “atheism.”

            I understand that we have to deal in labels to some extent — each word is a label meant to house a concept — however, to throw around the obscure things you others are throwing around devolves quickly merely an effort to drown the whole thing in Zandean fogwash.

            I can say something that ought to be uncontroversial: In the 20th Century, men who called themselves socialists, and who implemented violently anti-religious régimes, who denied that God exists, then tried to set themselves up as quasi-deities themselves, and murdered at least 120 million people in the century.

            You seem to be trying to absolve atheism, when those who militantly embraced it as an integral part of their belief system did what they did. I think that the idea that atheism is a non-belief, or is content-free is hogwash because of how those who embrace have acted, and act today.

            Zande and Ark have tried to indict Christianity because of the acts of those who have called themselves Christians. Okay, then that indictment, if true, squashes atheism under the thumb of cosmic justice because of the acts, in the past century alone, of those who have called themselves atheists.

            I realize you can derive from that a “get out of jail free” card for atheism, but the point is that every militantly atheistic society ever formed has indulged in this kind of bloodletting and savagery. Every society ordered around Christian ideas has done its share of bad things, but nothing in comparison to what atheistic societies have done. And every society ordered around Christian ideas has “come around,” for want of a better term, and evolved (yes: evolved) to a better, more humane place. Christians reject the Inquisition. Christianity at one time didn’t overtly condemn slavery, and now rejects it utterly. Christianity now overwhelmingly rejects cruelty of any kind toward anyone, such as the death penalty, and all crimes or violence or cruelty of one person against another.

            Atheism, whatever it is — we can agree that the “practice” may not agree with the pointy-head theory, but you and I have to live in the real world, all while enjoying our forays into the theoretical — has served as a rallying cry, as an integral part of belief systems in which human slaughter was a hallmark. I’m guessing that Marx never would have guessed that due in large part to his efforts, people pointing to him as their influence would murder more than 120 million people in a century. And, it makes sense that Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, et al, would reject the existence of God, would reject especially Christianity in their pursuit of their goals atop their countries.

            Best,

            — x

          14. Your objections to labels is problematic. Understanding distinction between atheism, secularism and humanism would begin to unpick why it is that atheism is not to blame for the named tyrannies.

            See, to hold an idea accountable for an action, there must be a link between the action and the idea. When it comes to the Witch Hunts and the Inquisition, even if every Christian today rejects it, there is a link between the content of scripture and those actions. The same is not true for Stalin and atheism.

            Atheism is entirely content free. It has no practices, no dogmas, no high priests and no infallible texts. I’m taking your repeated refusal to provide examples to the contrary as an implicit agreement (and will continue to do so until you offer examples to the contrary). It is for this reason there cannot be an link between an idea contained in atheism and the actions of Stalin.

            I have no contested that these tyrants claimed to be atheist. I haven’t even contested whether they actually were atheist. I’m saying that their atheism is entirely irrelevant. Correlation isn’t enough, you need some sort of causative explanation.

            And, to be quite honest, you don’t even have a correlation. You have four people. Four. And from these four people you enter into a strange argument. Your selected sample of four has apparently empowered you with the knowledge that atheism does in fact have content “because of how those who embrace have acted, and act today”. Perhaps you’d like to argue that socialism is caused by facial hair and extreme economic views are caused by being Asian. You’ve got the exact same arsenal available to you.

            Now, you’ve added a detail that hasn’t gone unnoticed: “militantly atheistic society”. “Militantly”. You just threw that in. Peacefully atheistic societies are no longer contrary to your thesis, because they don’t apply. But, now the problem is not the word “atheistic”, it is the word “militantly”. One, of course, can’t be militantly atheist, one can only be militantly anti-theist. Or, in the case of a good friend of mine, militantly rationalist. Atheism is an aside from these problems.

            I should probably address why I think the question ” can you demonstrate that the problem of the ideologies you allude to is the problem of being too sceptical or too reasonable?” You’ve ignored it twice, so it seems you don’t think the question matters. However, I consider my atheism a symptom of my scepticism and reasoned thought. So, in me, extreme atheism would actually be extreme reasoned thought and scepticism. Are they to blame for any problems?

            (As for JZ and Zlork, Zlork is great example of the problem of evil and Poe’s Law. There’s no deity there that JZ believes in. You’re clutching at straws.)

            Getting onto something/nothing, I don’t think you’ve bothered to engage with what I’ve written. Taking the making a sandwich or not example, again: I can choose to not make a sandwich and you’re right that I don’t cease to exist at that point. I can choose to use that time differently, like watching TV. But “I choose not to make a sandwich” and “I choose to watch TV” are not identical. And “I choose not to make a sandwich” doesn’t become a content-filled decision just because I replaced making a sandwich with something else.

            As for M-LA, I argued that does have content. That is because it is a political idea, and is an anti-theism, not an atheism.
            Anti-theism is problematic.

            I won’t say more until you’ve had a chance to engage with my previous conversation in more detail.

          15. Apologies for the delay… my current assignment sometimes has me out later in the day than I’d prefer, and I was unable to sit down to type. Now that Ark has capitulated, I suspect I’ll be less distracted and can address this soon. Right now, though, I’m hitting the hay.

            In the meantime, I’ll consider your critique of my attitude toward labels. And, I admit that I use them myself as I find them convenient. However, we obviously disagree significantly — I suspect mainly in scope — on the three main ones that you want to discuss — humanism, theism and atheism. Now, you’ve also thrown in “rationalism” (I haven’t forgotten “fallibilism” either). We’re swimming in labels, and I think we long since tipped over into “angels on the head of a pin” territory.

            It’ll be difficult for us to have a discussion if, when using these terms, we don’t agree as to what they mean. For example you, I think, make a serious error when you differentiate M-LA’s “anti-theism” from atheism. Surely “anti-theism” is a subset of atheism, wholly contained within the umbrella concept. There was no room for a metaphysical god in Stalin’s “anti-theism.” Futhermore, why was Stalin “anti-theistic?” Surely not because he believed in the existence of God.

            Surely all of Stalin’s depredations came from somewhere, and I bow to no one in my contempt for their political/ideological roots. But, I think you cannot separate out the implicit permission for those atrocities — or, if you prefer, the absolute lack of a philosophical prohibition — that Stalin’s atheism, and yes, his rejection of Christianity, provided for him. Remember: Stalin’s savagery came after the time when, it was thought, he might become a priest.

            Best,

            — x

          16. If you want a whole set to be defined by the behaviour of an extreme subset, then you need to stop distancing yourself from Westboro Baptists, Inquisitors, Witch Hunts, abortion clinic shooters, slave holders, Christian-led massacres and genocides…
            Atheist is necessarily content free. I admit, that makes it permissive. But, as you said when discussing the decision to not make a sandwich, one does not simply disappear. In this case, one finds other answers to the questions of ethics.
            Not making a sandwich and watching TV instead is not the same as not making a sandwich and bombing your neighbours instead. And bombing ones neighbours is not the fault of ‘a-sandwich-ism’ (the lack of preference for sandwiches).
            Anti-theism is necessarily an active belief. It is a belief in the inferiority of religion and the superiority of godlessness. It is an absolute belief and a dogma. That is very distinct from atheism.

          17. You’re making it difficult for me to continue my mini-project here, Allallt!

            You said:

            If you want a whole set to be defined by the behaviour of an extreme subset, then you need to stop distancing yourself from Westboro Baptists, Inquisitors, Witch Hunts, abortion clinic shooters, slave holders, Christian-led massacres and genocides…

            Response:

            Nope. I don’t have to. The vast, vast majority of Christians reject all those things. In vain will your or I find the atheist group or luminary (Dawkins, Hawking, and more) to come out and say that atheism was a key component of the belief system of the most horrific mass murderers of all of history. You say that atheism — in theory a non-belief — is content free, but that’s just convenient. The anti-theism dodge that you’ve so glibly inserted into the exchange is just that: a dodge. You are correct in saying that atheism is “permission” — heck, I was nicer, I said it was “lack of prohibition!” — and that means only a very simple thing: a lack of limits imposed by a Higher Authority on a person is a significant contributor to murder… on a massive scale

            Allallt: you’re clever, and you have a good command of language and that allows you to do a lot of weaseling around a difficult truth for atheists of today: The permission, or the lack of prohibition, that you and I both agree on, was a major factor in what allowed the 20th Century’s mass murderers to twist politics, ideology, morals, history, philosophy, science — all things — to support their goal of seizing and keeping power.

            I repeat something you and I both know: See some Christians coming down the street toward you, you have no fear whatsoever. That little thought exercise is one I like to use because it demonstrates clearly that you and I might disagree in theory, but when you walk out the door, you, and most everyone, behave as if you agree with me.

            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

            You said:

            Atheist is necessarily content free. I admit, that makes it permissive. But, as you said when discussing the decision to not make a sandwich, one does not simply disappear. In this case, one finds other answers to the questions of ethics.

            Response:

            And, as you and I both agree, the question of ethics for the atheist is wide open. Not for the Christian. He has to face a choice in his ethical dilemmas: Does he remain true to his beliefs, or does he not? The atheist is free to make up his beliefs on the spot. As I mentioned before, we’re in “angels on the head of a pin” territory here.

            However, all the back and forth in the world, and all the fog, and all the nuance and all the anti-theism/atheism/rationalism hoo-hah anyone can bring, doesn’t change the fact that Christianity doesn’t have to answer to the indictment of the murder of more than 120 million people in living memory.

            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

            You said:

            Not making a sandwich and watching TV instead is not the same as not making a sandwich and bombing your neighbours instead. And bombing ones neighbours is not the fault of ‘a-sandwich-ism’ (the lack of preference for sandwiches).

            Response:

            Thank you for this. Because it allows me to state a simple, and obvious, truth: All would be a whole lot better off if he’d simply make the sandwich. 🙂

            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

            You said:

            Anti-theism is necessarily an active belief. It is a belief in the inferiority of religion and the superiority of godlessness. It is an absolute belief and a dogma. That is very distinct from atheism.

            Response:

            Tell me, then, why did what apparently started out as mere atheism in these mass murderers, always devolve into anti-theism, and the murders of millions? Every time.
            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

            Best,

            — x

          18. *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
            You said:
            The vast, vast majority of Christians reject all those things [Westboro Baptists, Inquisitors, Witch Hunts, abortion clinic shooters, slave holders, Christian-led massacres and genocides]

            I say:
            I don’t know how you know that. Again, if you’re talking about modern-Western-Christianity, then perhaps. Although, I don’t know what a “vast, vast” is. Are we talking about 99.99%? 90%? 70%? I predict that you don’t know. Is it based on your friends at your Church? What about the Lord’s Liberation Army? Or the anti-Balaka Christian militias, using the ‘eye for an eye’ quote as a slogan?

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You asked:
            In vain will [you] or I find the atheist group or luminary (Dawkins, Hawking, and more) to come out and say that atheism was a key component of the belief system of the most horrific mass murderers of all of history[?]

            I answer:
            I suspect not. Mostly because it isn’t true. Nor is it relevant to Dawkins, Hawking or Hitchens or Harris or Dennette or Dilahunty or Boghossian or any other public thinker I can think of who is an atheist. The ones I’ve named, where I know much about them, are humanists. All the ones I named reject dogmatic ideas. Dogma is to blame for these mass murders.
            The mass murderers didn’t need to be atheist to do what they did. We’ve discussed this: religious people have done it. Therefore, atheism is an irrelevant aside.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You say:
            “The anti-theism dodge that you’ve so glibly inserted into the exchange is just that: a dodge.”

            I say:
            No it isn’t. Anti-theism and atheism are not the same. Anti-theism is content-laden and contains a belief in superiority. Atheism is content free and contains no belief in superiority. The distinction is important.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You say:
            “[A] lack of limits imposed by a Higher Authority on a person is a significant contributor to murder… on a massive scale”

            I say:
            Did you know there’s very little evidence Hitler actually killed anyone. People carrying out his orders did. They, overwhelmingly, were Christian. Their Highest Authority, God, didn’t seem to stop them.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You say:
            “Allallt: you’re clever, and you have a good command of language and that allows you to do a lot of weaseling around a difficult truth for atheists of today”

            I say:
            Thank you? I’d really love to see where I have ‘weaselled out’. I’ve made important distinctions. When someone is killed because of atheism, and no meaningful distinction between the reasons for that murder and something else entirely, I will admit that and renounce it. There was a shooter who killed 3 Muslims in their flat who arguably was motivated by their atheism (or a parking dispute ― jury is sincerely still out on that). And I can say right now that I renounce that action and that people should be able to live free of fear of persecution based on their religion…
            Oops. That’s secularism, isn’t it?
            Still, I’d love to see an example of the weaselling.
            As for atheism killing people… perhaps the motive might be to suppress evidence of a God, in a way to demand that being content free is still rational. If that happens, I’ll renounce it from the stance of atheism.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You say:
            “The permission, or the lack of prohibition, that you and I both agree on, was a major factor in what allowed the 20th Century’s mass murderers to twist politics, ideology, morals, history, philosophy, science — all things — to support their goal of seizing and keeping power.”

            I say:
            Just to clarify: we agree that atheism isn’t prohibitive. (I think your wording is more accurate than mine.) We don’t agree it was a major factor in the mass murders.
            As an aside, it is nice to see atheism being separated from the accusation of scientism. Normally, that’s the appended baggage.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You say:
            “I repeat something you and I both know: See some Christians coming down the street toward you, you have no fear whatsoever.”

            I say:
            This is “derivative slop” (to quote you). I’ve seen Hitchens address this question, and he lacks the certitude you do. And so do it. I obviously don’t know what country you’re in, but in the Congo you might have a different attitude. It’s a very modern-Western bias. It would have been terrifying a few hundred years ago, and it’s still terrifying in some places of the world.
            If you want to keep this consensus-Christianity definition, you have to engage with the bias in the video I linked earlier and not dismiss it by suddenly calling on some ‘obvious’ truth definition. Keep it consistent.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You say:
            “That little thought exercise is one I like to use because it demonstrates clearly that you and I might disagree in theory, but when you walk out the door, you, and most everyone, behave as if you agree with me.”

            I say:
            There was a lovely little passage on Radio 4 in the UK the other day. It was a satirical news broadcast. There was some atrocity, and the news anchor past over to the right-wing and the left-wing correspondents.
            Right Wing Correspondent: Well, obviously, this atrocity confirms everything I already believe.
            Lift Wing Correspondent: No, this atrocity confirms everything I already believe.
            That may be what is happening here. See, I think the lack of fear I have when walking past a Church is evidence for the ‘Humanised Christianity’ theory I’ve already espoused, and not that the Bible doesn’t say to kill unbelievers.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You say:
            “[T]he question of ethics for the atheist is wide open. Not for the Christian. He has to face a choice in his ethical dilemmas: Does he remain true to his beliefs, or does he not?”

            I say:
            Not quite so. Although atheism tells us nothing about morality, an individual is likely to have their own moral system or epistemology. It may be humanism, or nihilism, or Deep Ecology, or some derivative of hedonism (I’m under no illusions about all atheists being nice people).
            But, Christians are in a similar position. The Bible isn’t unambiguous, and so a lot of human work has to go into understanding what one should do. Faced with an unruly child, compassion is often thought to be the right way to handle that. But the Bible is explicit about stoning them. At the pearly gates, it may be that Christians are asked to justify their choice to not stone the child. (And, as another aside, you’d be entirely unequipped to chastise such a God as you’ve already submitted your ethics to their will ― or, at least, your best interpretation of it.) Given that uncertainty, a Christian must make up his beliefs on the spot.
            That’s not to say they’re bad people. Often, in my experience, they are not. But, again, to me, that supports my thesis that it is humanised religion.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You said:
            “However, all the back and forth in the world, and all the fog, and all the nuance and all the anti-theism/atheism/rationalism hoo-hah anyone can bring…”
            I am still uncomfortable with your derision of nuance and distinction
            “… doesn’t change the fact that Christianity doesn’t have to answer to the indictment of the murder of more than 120 million people in living memory.”

            I say:
            Neither does atheism. But let me about the Lord’s Liberation Army.
            Also, for all your ‘they’re so fringe as to not worry about’ defence of Christianity, you’re talking about 4 atheists.

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You said:
            “Thank you for this. Because it allows me to state a simple, and obvious, truth: All would be a whole lot better off if he’d simply make the sandwich. :)”

            I say:
            Have you got smooth peanut butter? I am getting a little hungry. While you’re doing that, I’ll put the kettle on. Coffee or tea?

            *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

            You said:
            “Tell me, then, why did what apparently started out as mere atheism in these mass murderers, always devolve into anti-theism, and the murders of millions? Every time. “

            I say:
            It doesn’t. It’s not difficult to look up atheists in political power. And, an overwhelming majority of them don’t end in tyranny and atrocity. Although, I think the religious persuasion of those who took America to war in the Middle East is a matter of common knowledge.

        2. Lol! Do you think that the juvenile taunting will get a rise from me? As mentioned before, I’m impossible to offend. You’re apparently unable to offer an original thought.

          Best,

          — x

        3. Let’s help you with this, JV. You seem to have trouble understanding some pretty simple things. 🙂


          It’s okay, Allallt, he has recently accused me of suggesting what Stalin did was acceptable.

          – – Well. Let’s see. Your logic suggested fairly plainly that Stalin’s motives and acts were superior to God’s having produced the flood. Rather than place both phenomena on the same moral level in your mind, your words suggested that Stalin’s acts were somehow more justified than God’s Your words were pretty clear. Of course, it’s possible you aren’t all that literate and don’t express yourself well.


          There comes a point when must smile.

          – – There comes a point — actually many points — when one should edit, JV. Such carelessness is likely why your thinking is so sloppy as well.


          After all this nonsense he has eventually broken out and started espousing his theology:

          – – Have I ever failed to mention that I’m a Christian? Oh, yes… I forgot. You don’t read. Oops. Guess you didn’t see it. The whole God sent Jesus thing is pretty basic.


          And this is where I laugh.

          – – I’d expect nothing less. Nothing more, but nothing less. I certainly don’t expect intelligent posts. 🙂


          He is simply just another small minded christian fundamentalist with a big ego and and even bigger chip on his shoulder.

          – – This one’s funny. The guy calling names, saying things that are perfectly unknowable, trying desperately to belittle those who disagree with him, seemingly unable to post a thing without resort to really stupid vocabulary, regularly losing his cool and going off in a lather … calling me small-minded.

          You really are Junior Varsity!

          Best,

          — x

    1. Argue? Why should this be an argument? Once MORE, go and study the history, especially of concentration camps then when your face is no longer red, come back and I will accept your apology.

  15. Sorry to interrupt, but your post is on ego and how you have somehow managed to rid yourself of it in exchanging with JZ and Ark.
    Questions: are you separating ego from pride?
    How have you accomplished this superhuman feat?
    How do you think you’re doing in the effort to extinguish ego and pride in your current exchange with Ark and John on this thread?
    -KIA

    1. Your presence is welcome. Kind of hard to “interrupt” a blog exchange.

      Question 1: Pride is a part of ego. One can’t separate them.
      Question 2: I haven’t, because it’s not possible
      Question 3: I’m not trying to “extinguish ego and pride,” it’s just that my ego’s not a major part of my side of the exchange with JZ and Ark.

      They, however, give every indication that they care much more for showing how clever or erudite they are as opposed to exchanging points of view. As a result, they come off as silly rather than serious.

      Ark’s failure to control his language, despite numerous polite requests, speaks very poorly of his maturity level.

      Best,

      — x

      1. if you will allow a personal opinion from one who has only given cursory perusal of your comments as well… you might be as guilty and culpable of the same as you have charged Ark and JZ. -KIA

          1. Lol! Correct.

            But, to state a simple fact is to state a simple fact.

            If I am humble, and I were to say out of some kind of false modesty that I am not, that would certainly be worse than stating that I’m humble.

            However, I’m not all that humble… Certainly not as humble as I should be. And walking all over JZ and Ark was no help in that department!

            Best,

            — x

          2. “And walking all over JZ and Ark was no help in that department”
            is that a possible apology to them and a repentance to god I hear? 🙂 -KIA

          3. Lol! No apology is necessary from me or from them. I readily admit that I’m more prideful in life than I should be, but not here. I frequently repent in life of my pridefulness. However, in this forum, I use a style. That’s all. I suspect that neither JZ nor Ark is asking for an apology.

            Best,

            — x

        1. Nope. It’s just juvenile. Especially when you’ve been asked nicely not to do so.

          Such immaturity is indicative, though, of an immature petulance, born likely both of a failure to grow up, and insecurity in the beliefs being advanced. No one who is confident in his beliefs has any need to put on such childish displays.

          Best,

          — x

          1. Adherence to the religious beliefs you espouse is proof positive of insecurity. It is the defining characteristic of Christians: abrogating the meaning of their lives to a ”higher power”; namely your so-called god, Yahweh/ Jesus of Nazareth.

            The evidence – and there is evidence, XP, has to date refuted every aspect of god-belief put forward, the arguments for the existence of a creator god are feeble and the ne put forward for the Christian god are utterly ridiculous. All you have is faith. Nothing else.

            Now THIS smacks of immaturity; a refusal to accept scientific evidence that your foundational tenets are nothing but concocted man-made myth

            When measured against the heinous doctrine you and [Deleted: gratuitous insult] punt/preach etc regarding what awaits in terms of punishment for non-compliance with this belief the odd [Deleted: ] is utterly meaningless.

            if you truly wish to be seen as emotionally mature then put aside your indoctrinated, blinkered bias and tome-like exposition and let’s talk history,science and archaeology as two adults without the silly rhetoric you love to employ, using such terms as ”your priests” etc.

            You behave like an adult in this manner and I give you my word I will forgo all tasty expletives?

          2. Couple of things:

            • No, you forgo the, as you say, tasty expletives and behave like an adult. Period. Or else I’ll send your juvenile backside to your room without any dinner. How about: I don’t dictate to you the terms of participation at your blog, and you don’t dictate to me the terms of participation at mine. My rules are pretty simple, and very inclusive and lenient. Any adult, as you seem to consider yourself, should have no difficulty in adhering to them.
            • How is it that you get to decree that your so-called “scientific evidence” is the only component of the debate that there can be? Lol! That is saying: “Let’s debate, but you get to use only my arguments.”
            • There is no evidence that has “refuted” anything that The Bible says.
            • Your post is replete with mere opinion and conjecture, unbolstered by any coherent reasoning. Ex.: “the arguments for the existence of a creator god are feeble and the ne put forward for the Christian god are utterly ridiculous.” The following is equally valid: “the arguments against the existence of a creator god are feeble and the ne put forward against the Christian god are utterly ridiculous.
            • This is a hot mess: “Now THIS smacks of immaturity; a refusal to accept scientific evidence that your foundational tenets are nothing but concocted man-made myth” I reject no scientific evidence. And there is none that suggests that “my foundational tenets” are myths. A “tenet” is an abstraction. There is no way for science to prove or disprove a “tenet.” If you’re trying to suggest that the documents on which tenets are based are filled with myths, then make that assertion. Don’t force me to wade through incoherence and interpret what you’re trying to say. The first clause of your passage is nothing more than “I know you are, but what am I?” (Editing reason #15)

            Best,

            — x

          3. No, you forgo the, as you say, tasty expletives etc …

            Fair enough … good call.

            How is it that you get to decree that your so-called “scientific evidence” is the only component of the debate that there can be? Lol! That is saying: “Let’s debate, but you get to use only my arguments.”

            Another good call. Will ypu please put forward all the evidence( that you trust) you have for honest open evaluation.

            There is no evidence that has “refuted” anything that The Bible says.

            Yes, there has, actually, but we can forgo going into detail until we have had a chance to examine your evidence.

            Your post is replete with mere opinion and conjecture etc….

            Again, a misunderstanding on your part.
            The foundational tenets of your belief are all laid down by the church and you have no evidence to back a single one.
            And you have not addressed the questions I asked either.
            Why don’t you start with those> This will give us a basis from which to proceed.
            So, do you believe in the veracity of:
            A global deluge as described in the bible
            The Virgin Birth,

  16. with apologies in advance for the possible offense to your proclaimed ‘sublimated’ ego,
    to the point then, what is the implication of someone claiming superiority and crowing victory (with, I’d say anyways, pride or ‘ego’, if you want to use that word instead, fully intact and engaged) for having prevailed in these exchanges without the pride and ego one clearly exhibits in the denial of said? Macbeth much? “methinks she (he) doth protest too much”
    it all seems a bit arrogant and boastful wouldn’t you think, if were someone else doing the post and you were evaluating the language and tone? how would that match with 1 cor 13 the fruit of the love of christ or galatians 5 the fruit of the Holy Spirit active and controlling your responses?
    -KIA

    1. You said:

      with apologies in advance for the possible offense to your proclaimed ‘sublimated’ ego,
      to the point then, what is the implication of someone claiming superiority and crowing victory (with, I’d say anyways, pride or ‘ego’, if you want to use that word instead, fully intact and engaged) for having prevailed in these exchanges without the pride and ego one clearly exhibits in the denial of said? Macbeth much? “methinks she (he) doth protest too much”

      Response:

      No apologies necessary. I’m truly impossible to offend. Certainly you wouldn’t be able to offend me. No offense intended, but you don’t know me; what could you possibly say that could offend me? Likewise, what could I possibly say that could offend you?

      Your passage is a bit on the incoherent side, but I’ll try to tackle it. I didn’t “crow victory.” I simply stated facts. I had a fairly easy time with Zande and Ark, and it was because they engaged in constant chest-thumping and scornful attempts to belittle contrary viewpoints, and the holders of those viewpoints. The personal attacks on me didn’t bother me in the least, and I pointed that out to them. But they continued anyway, telegraphing the idea that they were heavily emotionally invested in what they were saying, and had difficulty remaining rational and polite. Well, you and I both have a good idea of how to handle people coming at us overtly exposing their weaknesses…

      I then responded each time in the way I thought most effective, without regard to anyone’s feelings, but rather in keeping with what I thought to be the best response. I didn’t care about winning or losing, which made it easy, ironically, to win, because I was “grappling” with two interlocutors who gave all appearances that they cared deeply whether they won or lost.

      At the end, though, I started to worry about Ark. He seemed to be so heavily invested in what he was saying that he was having difficulty staying rational. I worried that I might be picking at old wounds. I’m of that state of mind now. I worry about dealing with fragile egos, and Ark appears to be quite fragile.

      Were my posts “humble?” No. Am I a humble man? Yes. However, no, there is no pride from me in my posts. I use a style. If I thought another style would be more effective, I’d use that other style, and I frequently do so in other venues. It’s like when I play improvisational jazz guitar. I like to use a percussive hard picking style that actually produces quiet, but articulate, smooth, fast progressions. However, when I play the blues, I like to loosen up, and even get a bit sloppy with my picking. Different genres, different audiences and venues, different things being expressed, different ways to express them.

      Would “humble” posts have been more effective? I don’t think so. I did put a bit of an edge into my posts with the idea that it might get a rise out of them. It apears to have worked, bearing out my mini-plan.


      – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –
      You said:

      it all seems a bit arrogant and boastful wouldn’t you think, if were someone else doing the post and you were evaluating the language and tone? how would that match with 1 cor 13 the fruit of the love of christ or galatians 5 the fruit of the Holy Spirit active and controlling your responses?

      Response:

      Yes, you could interpret it as arrogant and boastful. However, you could also interpret it as confident. In any case, my style has always been significantly less arrogant and boastful than Ark’s and JZ’s.

      – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

      Best,

      — x

      1. Thx for the reply. I appreciate the candor. One request though. If possible, could we shorten down the lengths of replies to eachother? It would be easier for all if we used more bite sized retorts. Thx

        1. Thanks for the request, KIA.

          I’m going to have to decline. I don’t ask others to abridge their replies, since I’m curious as to their full thinking.

          A viewpoint is, I think, a three-dimensional object, requiring scrutiny from several different angles. I find it useful, in explaining a viewpoint to explain those angles and that can lengthen a reply.

          I don’t encourage copying and pasting vast swathes of text, as that doesn’t represent original thinking.

          As you probably can tell, I’m big on original thinking. This is a blog, for crying out loud! It’s not a forum where we can pore for hours over thick tomes and discuss their contents and authors! People should do some of their own thinking!

          Anyway, I also type ferociously fast, and love to write and think, so I’d be remiss if I were to deny to others what I find enjoyable.

          ‘Sides, there’s a secret to this blog — of which I’ve made no secret — that renders it desirable to expose as much of your thinking as possible. If, that is, one can raise his thinking out of the immature, the basic and the juvenile… you know, out of the Junior Varsity.

          I’ve tried to alert Ark about his tone and content because of who might be taking it all in. He thinks it’s my 12-year old son, and that’s true, but it’s not only my son.

          Best,

          — x

          1. I’m sorry if it seemed I was trying to ‘limit’ responses or original thought. not my intent or the reason I requested. it’s just when there is so much to respond to, shorter clips and bite sized pieces in my mind make it both easier to respond, and easier to make sure two people aren’t just talking past each other. inundation often leads to obfuscation, both unintentional and, sadly so, intentional. smaller chunks allows for more ‘accountable’ conversation and exchange (if I can use that term in that way). I hope you understand. no offence intended towards full expression or original thought.

          2. thank you for the consideration. have a go on one of my posts? open invite from a Recovering Know It All. 🙂 -KIA

          3. I’d be delighted. I have a few things to address here in my third-world hellhole where I’m trying mightily to make the world safe for democracy. So, when I can, I’ll visit and maybe comment.

            Best,

            — x

          4. oh? where in the third world might I be catching you? are you in the military then making the world safe for democracy?

    2. Apologies, I forgot to add that my language and tone, my style, had nothing to do with Scripture. It’s a style. Used as, I hope, the most effective possible tool to communicate.

      Best,

      — x

    1. As mentioned several times, I never censor comments. I do edit them if need be. Cf, eg: about 40% of Ark’s output. I’ll remind you again: I would allow my 12-year-old son to read this blog.

      Best,

      — x

    1. Zande: you are aware, are you not, that we blog owners get notifications when there are comments to moderate? I go in, I review them, I clean them up if need be (like Ark’s), and I let them on through. I censor nothing. Ever.

      Have you been drinking?

      Best,

      — x

  17. It seems time to cut through some of the murk. Zande and Ark are clever enough chaps, who play the buffoon to make some obscure point that I’m not even sure they have a firm grasp on. Ark, though, seems to have a lot of growing up to do. They have, really, nothing to say and say it at great length.

    Allallt is a Philadelphia lawyer’s Philadelphia lawyer. Apparently convinced that it makes him seem wise and “nuanced,” he’s able to parse through every word of what a person says to find the meaning he wishes to find, or to find no meaning at all.

    If one were to read all of Allallt’s output in these several threads, one could conclude quite reasonably that anything you read can mean anything at all. He says that he finds justification for genocide in a belief system whose two most important tenets are: (1) “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy soul and all thy mind” and (2) “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

    Well, truth to tell, a clever enough chap could discern the justification for genocide in the phone book. It doesn’t mean he’s right in his conclusion.

    This is simply doing whatever one can, in order to fit what one reads into one’s preconceived notions; regardless of what it actually means.

    Allallt is John Kerry telling the world that he “understands the rationale” of the bloodthirsty goons who shot up Charlie Hebdo. John Kerry prides himself on his close relationship with “nuance” too. Little did Kerry know that he simply sounded like a buffoon.

    Allallt is not a buffoon, he’s an intelligent chap with a fine command of the English language, but his endless parsing of every word leads to a buffoonish place, and he should beware of that.

    If you were to believe Allallt, anything you read, anything someone says, can mean anything at all. In a sense, he’s right. Words are sufficiently elastic — due to the vagaries of expressive ability and the interpretation of the listener — that the clever person can find the justification for genocide in the phone book.

    But here’s where he’s simply flat-out wrong: The spoken and written word do not mean anything the observer wishes; they mean what they mean.

    Jesus came here not only to convince Philadelphia lawyers that they need to stop their infernal nitpicking and word parsing and pay attention to His message. He came to put forward a message that could be easily understood by all people — the uneducated and the learned alike.

    There is a reason for which Ark, Zande and Allallt have stayed away from Jesus in these exchanges: because His word was unmistakable:

    “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy soul and all thy mind, and love thy neighbor as thyself.”

    It sums up all of Christianity, from the rough-and-tumble Old Testament — out of effect for more than 2,000 years now — to the New Covenant, the new relationship with God presented by Jesus, and inaugurated in the New Testament.

    Jesus represented a complete break from, and complete continuity with, the Old Testament. A bit (but only a bit) like you and me and our younger selves.

    At 16 we were full of idealistic fire, passion and drive. We knew it all, and we weren’t afraid to tell people. Then we grew up and realized that others didn’t see those obvious truths we were so clear on in our younger days. Some of us (Allallt) then go on to insist that they have matured, and found out that nothing means anything at all!

    Nope.

    You just overshot the mark. Everything means what it means. The truly discerning person finds the real meaning.

    With that said, there is truth and discernment in what Allallt has said. He’s pointed out that some Christian groups fall down on what I consider to be Christianity, and that in light of that, who am I to decide that my Christianity is the right Christianity and not theirs? He calls that my “humanist filter,” or some such thing.

    A quick story: I had a colleague, a black woman, some years back, with whom I was having a discussion about something or other. She made the remark that in her church, they occasionally became a bit rowdy during their Sunday worship service. A Catholic, I said, “Sounds fun, can I come some time?” She laughed and said, “Oh, no…you wouldn’t want to come to my church, you wouldn’t be comfortable at all.” I asked why. She replied, “Well, you wouldn’t really be welcome there, you’re white.”

    “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy soul and all thy mind, and love thy neighbor as thyself.”

    How did my friend do in light of the above? Well, she, and apparently a bunch of other Christians got it very badly wrong. Obviously. Love her neighbor? Not quite! Christians do get it wrong. Often. The Bible is replete with stories not of God getting it wrong, as Ark, Zande and Allallt seem to interpret, but of people mucking it up and failing as miserably as they can fail. It doesn’t change the plain meaning of:

    “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy soul and all thy mind, and love thy neighbor as thyself.”

    … within which, I have no doubt, (1) the very clever Allallt could find some obscure justification for genocide, and for which (2) Mr. Preconceived Notions 2015, John Zande, could find some way to evade the clear meaning, and of which (3) Ark could locate no archaeologist to confirm the existence — of the quote or of the speaker.

    Whatever. The meaning is clear. Christianity unambiguously calls for all people to treat all other people with kindness, generosity, charity … love. At all times.

    To put together a phrase that Zande might appreciate (but not Ark, because there are no juvenile inappropriate words in it): Allallt, you weave a pretty tapestry with words, that Occam’s merciless Razor shreds into teentsiest-weentsiest little bits.

    I have no doubt that Allallt will respond with something like: “Well, really, who are you to say that your interpretation of Christianity is correct and your colleague’s is not?” And off he will go spinning and spinning down the rabbit hole he dug for himself, and in which he will say he “understands the rationale” of those who pretend that a call for universal, unconditional love for all by all, really contains a call to genocide. 🙂

    Best,

    — x

    1. RE: Calls for genocide.
      God called for genocide.

      RE: Occam’s razor.
      I have not multiplied entities in my explanations.

      RE: universal love
      It actually is possible to declare genocide is an appropriate part of universal love. It’s not sophistry that allows me to do that, it’s philosophy. And I can do it without any calls to nihilism. But I won’t and haven’t
      Instead, you declare universal love is the overarching message of the Bible, and I say that’s not evident reading it. I, thus, challenge why universal love takes precedent over [any given God-commanded horror in the Old Testament]. My money is still on the humanist filter (and that’s not a bad thing).
      Further notes: normally, to explain God’s calls for genocide, one must explain how genocide is compatible with universal love. Often, the Canaanite genocide is defended by reference to the idea they were a plague of sin and needed to be ‘cured’. I’m not advocating that philosophy, I am just pointing to it to illustrate that I am not the sophist in these discussion.

      RE: Nihilism, and your accusation that I am a convenient nihilist (i.e. I deny meaning in words when it suits me — a label I’m happy to share with you).
      I’ve skim read some of my output. Not all of it, because there’s too much to be worth my time really. But I can’t see a time where I have made a word either elastic beyond its meaning or entirely meaningless. Thus, can you please give examples?

      1. Just some quick notes. Things are breaking in the third world hellhole. Keep your eyes on the evening news.

        Re: “God called for genocide.”

        If such it can be called, it was all Old Testament. Out of effect for more than 2,000 years. You can say all you want to me that one cannot ignore history, and that’s true, but the atheists killed their hundreds of millions in living memory. Atheism (sorry: anti-theism is a dodge.) was a key component in the murders of tens of millions just yesterday. You can call “anti-theism” a flavor of atheism (not content-free, or it wouldn’t be an “ism.”) but the broader category — atheism — is necessary to murder even one person, never mind millions. To deal death is to usurp the authority of God. You cannot believe in God if you believe yourself to be able to take on absolute authority.

        The atheists you point to who did not do the mass murderin