Poking the Atheist Bee-Hive


An exercise in which we find out:

  • Many atheists seem to have no thoughts of their own.
  • Their argumentation resembles strongly the blinkered, narrow-minded feebleness that passes for “deep thought” among the American left.
  • This might be a reason for the prevalence of atheism on the left: It’s the intellectually lazy way out. The path of least resistance.
  • For an atheist, Holy Writ consists of: The Thoughts of Acknowledged Experts if They Agree with Me
  • Atheists are as religiously, dogmatically inflexible as any religious zealot.
  • Atheism at its worst resembles nothing more than … jihadist Islam.
  • Finally, atheists like to say that atheism is “scientific.” We pointed out that, since no one has ever disproved the existence of God, then to say He doesn’t exist is, by definition, profoundly unscientific, even anti-scientific.

Some Background:

Recently I’ve been in a bit of a back-and-forth with a couple of atheists (here). It’s Allallt and John Zande again. That post is a follow-up to a post (here) in which we snarked at a couple of atheists who tried and failed to make convincing arguments here. Whew!

It’s a long thread — or rather, three long threads — but involves some lively reading, in which your humble xPraetorius even (consciously) stepped out of character and engaged in some verbal street brawling… with gratuitous insults no less! Things I do not permit here. That made for some entertaining reading, and some interesting snark!

I went to Allallt’s thread because I wanted to delve into some observations on their argumentation that I thought worth exploring, to wit: [1] their seemingly extreme need to have external corroboration or validation of everything they believe and [2] some pretty irrational beliefs they hold, all the while claiming to be the rational side of the “Is There A God” discussion.

This nearly extreme insecurity, this craving for external validation, was something I noticed on the part also of:

  • The Race Grievance Industry (RGI).
  • The political left.

The above-linked thread — the first one — is a long one, so I’ll distill it a bit here by indicating the points they made, and the counter-points I made and vice-versa, all in a big ol’ list.

In the exchange, Allallt was the primary representative of “the other side,” while John Zande chipped in from time-to-time, and generally with irrelevant, generally kinda dumb, things. I was happy to go down Zande’s irrelevant paths, because he’s so easy to argue against. He doesn’t seem to think about what he says, and certainly shows no inclination ever to question or explore his own beliefs in any depth.

Allallt, on the other hand, is more cerebral, and is willing sometimes to question things, but then falls back on his comfortable old war horse arguments and dogmas.

I was struck by the sheer religiosity of their adherence to their points. I’ve never met more dogmatic, more inflexible people than atheists, or leftists, or Race Grievance Industry (RGI) members. This steel-trap closed-mindedness is probably how they became what they are. After all, that level of  inflexibility demonstrates nothing more than plain old, dreary intellectual laziness.

Note: I was not the only spectator to this exchange. Before embarking on the adventure in Allallt-land, I asked for a favor from a friend of mine, the debate coach at a local university. I asked him if he would review our exchanges and tell me who got the better of each one. It would be a simple system: Point to me, or point to them, or half-point to each, or no point to either. He was eager to help. It’s partially his assessment, that I’m using at the end of each exchange. I added some commentary, of course, but he assisted with the scoring.

This led to a funny exchange with Allallt who insisted that “no one was reading what we were writing other than we ourselves.” I pointed out that “hit count” wasn’t the only indicator of the size of an audience.

One more quick note: Periodically, I copied and pasted the most recent contributions to the thread — not an easy task, as they sometimes jumped around — and passed them to another friend of mine, a college professor who teaches a class called, I think, “Debate In the Time of the Internet,” or something like that.

Our little group was just about perfect: Zande represented the immature, bomb-throwing, inflexible, dogmatic, not-too-bright troublemaker. Allallt was the more thoughtful, stuck in his ways, bright but stolid, kind of slow, steady, mid-range intellectual. I became the gadfly, with the debate chops, and the ability to poke them both from angles they weren’t anticipating, and thus to make them react from places outside of their comfort zones.

It was all very instructive, and in poking Allallt and Zande, I was able to find out all that I did, below.

First — the Basic Argument:

My contention that atheism stands indicted as a necessary component of an ideology — Socialism — responsible for the murders of more than 120 million people in the last century alone.


 

(1) Their point(s):

Atheism is “content-free.” It’s not an affirmative belief in something, rather it’s a non-belief, or at least a “not knowing.” It makes no pronouncements on what is right or wrong, or on how one is supposed to act.

My Counter-point(s):

Marx, et al didn’t believe atheism to be content-free. They envisioned it as a necessary ingredient of their vision of a perfect society. They viewed atheism as an affirmative belief, a positive statement of a belief. They made it into, what I called “Evangelical Atheism.” Atheism for them was a nearly religious affirmation of belief.

I also made this point: “You [Editor’s note: Allallt] and I both agreed that atheism is not a ‘motivator,’ but rather represents ‘permission’ for, or at least a lack of prohibition against, mayhem and atrocity.” Allallt never contradicted this either, and it represented a major concession on his part, because in all cases in all human interactions, the “enabler” is at least as suspect as the perpetrator in cases of injustice.

Result: 

Point xPraetorius. They never even addressed my rebuttal. Furthermore, they seemed to concede that Socialism did bear responsibility for the mayhem and death, but insisted, with no corroborating logic, that atheism was just not a part of that. Read more here. (6th paragraph down)


 

(2) Their point(s):

Allallt was the first to bring this up (here). It was the idea that Adolf Hitler, a frustrated artist, was also a mass murderer. Therefore an interest in the arts was just as indictable in the 20th Century’s atrocities as atheism. I’d been including Hitler in with my list of mass murdering atheists of the 20th Century, and Allallt used Hitler’s interest in painting to suggest that art and atheism had exactly the same impact on a leader’s reasoning as it pertains to how he treats the citizenry. Here’s Allallt’s introductory “Hitler” comment:

Then, an interest in the arts is just as suspect as atheism, since Hitler, an atheist, was also an artist.

My Counter-point(s):

Might as well say that “breathing” causes genocidal maniacs. Because all genocidal maniacs breathe. An interest in the arts is not related to the impulses to perpetrate mayhem and atrocities. Permission — permission that one grants to oneself — is. Allallt already admitted that atheism is that permission. Or, as he himself said: it certainly represents a lack of prohibition.

Result: 

Point xPraetorius. Allallt, never should have tried this rather feeble thing. Read more here. (It’s a long comment, so look for the quote that begins: “Did you know all artists, when given power…”) Note also, that Allallt says that Hitler was an atheist. Later he argued along with Zande that Hitler was a Christian, or that one could reasonably conclude that he was. One can conclude from that little sideshow only that Allallt and Zande are not afraid to make pronouncements on subjects about which they’re ignorant. It makes everything they say suspect.


 

(3) My point(s):

You guys are kind of jerks., which throws into question your entire argumentation. After all, how can we expect rational arguments from immature brats. Read more here.

Their counter-point(s):

You (I) started it, with the headline to your original post that started it all: “Atheist Nutballs” (here)

Result:

Point Allallt, et al. I have to admit. I started it. However, they then raised (or lowered) it to where it went. No question, though, I started it. When I went into full High Dudgeon mode, I rocked Allallt back on his heels, and he became really defensive. It’s fun reading.


 

(4) Their point(s):

Allallt said: “Atheism has no stance on moral questions at all.” (here)

My counter-point(s):

Incorrect. A person stating that he believes there is no God has served notice overtly and unambiguously that he believes in no authority greater than he himself, for whatever he does from that moment on. It’s possible that this is the point you keep missing.

I added the following, by way of supporting argumentation:

Next: There is no such thing as a peaceful atheist. There are only atheists who have decided for that moment — because, remember, they are the ultimate deciders of what is right and wrong — to be peaceful. It is perfectly permissible for any and all atheists to turn on a dime, and decide to launch as murderous a rampage as logistics allow them to commit. They did just that in Russia, Nazi Germany, Red China, Cambodia, Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba… etc. Read this and read it well: If those nations had had a strong Christian foundation — not just a Christian founding — then there would have been no Holocaust, no Holodomor, no socialist atrocities, no mass starvations, no gulags, no show trials, no killing fields, no Vietnam War, no Korean War, no Berlin Wall, no “Black Book of Communism,” and more.

You can find murderers calling themselves Christians. You can find murderers calling themselves anything under the sun. But your guys are people like Manson, Dahmer, Loughner, Lanza, Roof, Wayne Williams, Gacy, McVeigh, and thousands upon thousands upon thousands of others.

Result:

Point xPraetorius. This was a haymaker, or a series of haymakers. It, or variations on it all, made Allallt squirm for the rest of the long interaction. Under the same link as #3, above.

Zande was too non-intellectual to squirm under this one. Read more here.

I also made one more point, related to the above:

Oh, and all your mass shootings/murders were perpetrated by atheists.🙂 You go ahead and try to turn Adam Lanza, Jared Loughner, Timothy McVeigh, James Holmes, Wayne Williams, Seung-Hui Cho, Manson, Dahmer, et al into good Christians. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

That was here. It was a long reply, so you have to read down a bit to find that snippet. There was no response to it. I never had a problem with pounding home further a point I had already made.


 

(5) Their point(s):

Zande tried, somewhat desperately, to make the point that the prison inmate population has a greater proportion of religious people — and in particular Christians — than in the population at large, and, he said, that indicates an indictment of Christianity.

My counter-point(s):

What faith inmates say they belong to when they’re in prison is meaningless. What they considered themselves the day before they went into prison says something a whole lot more meaningful than that! Allallt conceded this point. It was at this point that I began to realize something: Zande inadvertently spent a lot of time helping to make my points for me. He would do that the rest of the long thread.

I made this additional point, to kind of drive the point home:

For example: in Nazi Germany, Jews were way “over-represented” in “prison.” Did that somehow indict Judaism? Obviously not.

When you talk about prison, needless to say, there’s much more to the story.

Result:

Point, rather easily, to xPraetorius. Read more here. And my rejoinder, here.


 

(6) Their point(s):

Zande tried to make the point that we should be quoting sources in all that we said. Allallt joined him in this belief. Zande and Allallt turned out to be obsessed on this point.

My counter-point(s):

We don’t have the time to vet the sources that either side proposes, and either way, the first thing we both will think is that the other’s sources are illegitimate. I turned out to have to make this point over and over and over and over again. The major problem was that the argument we were having was subjective and theoretical. By definition, there are no sources that either side could bring to bear that the other would accept without reservation. As the debate continued on, Zande and Allallt would quote this source or that, and I’d tell them, again, that I wasn’t going to play dueling sources, and they’d object, and so on. Then, one time, I used a source. Immediately, like a doctor hitting your knee with that little triangular, rubber hammer, Allallt rejected the source’s legitimacy. As luck would have it, it was another part of the very source that Allallt had used to make a point in another sub-topic. Needless to say, I took that as a cue to taunt Allallt and Zande, and that was fun.

Result:

Point xPraetorius. (Read more here. And here. Note: lots of snark involved!)


 

(7) Their point(s):

Allallt tried often to say that “atheism was not a motivator” in the murders of tens of millions by atheistic socialists.

My counter-point(s):

 I had to point out, just as often, that I had never said that it was. I had said that atheism represented permission, or lack of prohibition for those who committed the atrocities and the crimes against humanity. Words are important, and so is wording. Allallt wanted desperately for me to say that atheism was a motivator, rather than an enabler. It would have allowed him to get back on ground more favorable to his argument, because he had already conceded that atheism represents a lack of prohibition against any evil acts at all. Eventually this rather merciless point would cause him to concede the debate altogether, though not publicly.

Allallt and Zande were both fond of saying, “Facts are extremely discourteous,” or the like. What was ironic in the whole exchange was that every time they brought out “facts” they were either entirely irrelevant, or they supported my points!  You’ll see this in the entire “Hitler” sub-thread.

Result:

Resoundingly, point xPraetorius.


 

(8) Their point(s):

Pertaining to #5, above, Allallt and Zande tried frequently to paint me as crazy. This is, of course, the real last refuge of the one getting trounced in a debate! I didn’t mind it, though… it gave me a way to tweak them on their breeding and their manners elsewhere in the thread.

Here’s Allallt’s attempt to say I’m crazy (in response to my statement that “Jews were over-represented in Nazi German prisons”):

Are you accusing the American government of arresting people along faith and ethnicity lines?

That’s what we call a secondary delusion. The primary delusion was that Christians are disproportionately safe to meet. When the facts are presented, the excuse you come up with to ignore that fact is the secondary delusion.

This is why I think you’re diagnosable.

Balanced and fair.

And in an issue like this–with a completely discoverable fact, like the demographics of a prison population–your refusal to consider sources is strange. That is why you are a strange interlocutor. I explained this in the post.

Fair and balanced. (You can read the whole thing here)

My counter-point(s):

“Diagnosable.” “Primary delusion.” Secondary delusion.” That is the language of the person who is getting soundly thumped in a debate! 🙂

I, of course, never ignored Zande’s assertion about the relative representation of religious believers in prison, rather I simply showed how, absent full context, it didn’t mean anything. I then gave context for my point — the Nazi Germany allusion.

Result:

Point, resoundingly, to xPraetorius


 

(9) Their point(s):

Allallt tried to make a point that people are more at risk meeting a Christian in other parts of the world — Allallt posited various third-world hellholes — than they are meeting an atheist in those same locales.

My counter-point(s):

Yet another context-less, impossible-to-verify red herring. Allallt and Zande are full of them. I don’t know enough about what goes on in those places. I suspect Allallt has no idea either. No matter, it was off-topic, and without context, and meaningless. Allallt was obsessed with, among other things, suggesting that I simply said things without corroboration. He was frequently guilty of that very same thing, with assertions like what I mentioned above.

Result:

A draw here. Allallt brought up the irrelevant red herrings, and I was able only to point out that they were irrelevant red herrings. Read more here.


 

(10) Their point(s):

Zande is big on trying to make punchy, graphical memes that, he thinks, indict Christianity, or religious faith, or Christians in concise picture form. Here’s one of those attempts. In the picture, Zande imagines a robot tasked with enforcing Christian laws on a household. He asks rhetorically: “Would you feel safe having it in your home?”

My counter-point(s):

First of all, a Christian theologian would have a ball with that one, but I have to know my audience, so I simply counter-proposed a robot tasked with enforcing atheism. Then I suggested that, wait, we’ve already had that! It was called the Soviet Union, and it didn’t work out very well. Sixty to eighty million murdered; millions more impoverished, with lives ruined. And that was just the Soviet Union! It didn’t count Red China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, Albania, Ethiopia, and ever so many more.

To give you an idea of what Zande considers “Christian Law”:

Don’t get it in context? The rules/commands/laws presented in the bible, if carried through on without consideration or deviation, would produce a living hell-hole… Children being stoned to death for cursing their parents, people eating their children as punishment for disobedience (Lev 26:27-30), rape victims being forced to marry their rapist, killed for eating shrimp, slavery, murdered on suspicion of sorcery…

Zande honestly  seems to believe that the same Jesus who prevented the stoning of the adulteress, would approve of the stoning of disrespectful children.

Zande further seems to have forgotten, or is ignorant of, the fact that Christianity is: The New Testament. The law as Jesus brought and explained it. Jesus, plainly, disapproved of the stoning of sinners and, therefore, of unruly children as well. Jesus’ life and word represent both perfect continuity with the Old Testament, and all the particulars of The New Covenant.

Result:

Easy point xPraetorius. Note: here was another in the long line of arguments that Zande plainly hadn’t thought through. These “arguments” all ended up making my points much more effectively than they made his.

At this point, I have to imagine that Allallt was thinking, “With friends like Zande…” To his credit as a friend — though much to his disadvantage in the debate — Allallt stuck up for his none-too-bright pal. All the way through.

It should be noted also that Allallt’s loyalty speaks poorly of his attachment to honesty. Zande’s rhetorical flailings were so weak that if Allallt were really interested in the success of his thinking he should have told Zande to bug out long before. 🙂


 

(11) Their point(s):

Zande tried to make the point that “93 percent of the members of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the most elite scientific organizations in the United States, do not believe in God.

My counter-point(s):

To which I responded:

Scientists are not immune from being stupid either. I would guess that stupid scientists would, like birds, flock together… generally in organizations named things like, “National Academy of Sciences.

Besides, atheism in the sciences is nothing more than a modern-era fad. It’ll turn around and they’ll look back at their previous nitwittery and wonder how in the world they fell for it all.

In other words, Zande, there’s no reason under the sun that a scientist —even one with six PhD’s — should have one more teentsy, weentsy iota of insight into the existence of God than the lowliest of manual laborers in a remote third-world hellhole.

Your unattractive snobbery is showing here, Zande.

Try to remember, Zande: highly-educated is not necessarily well-educated.

Result:

Half-point to xPraetorius, half-point to Zande. It was an opportunity lost by me. Christianity is not for just the highly-educated — and my point at the end was well-made and -placed … but I should have driven home some basics: (1) There is nothing in a belief in God that is anti-scientific, or incompatible with science. (2) In point of obvious fact, if God exists then, by definition a disbelief in God is profoundly unscientific. Therefore, also (3) if science has not disproven the existence of God — as it has not — then, again by definition, a pronounced disbelief in God is deeply unscientific.

Finally: Christianity is not only for the highly educated, and I should have driven that point home a lot harder. I should have made all those points and I didn’t. Still the point that “highly-educated is not necessarily well-educated.” is excellent! But the most powerful point is the third paragraph: “There’s no reason to believe that a scientist would have greater insight into the existence of God than anyone else.”


 

(12) Their point(s):

We got back into the topic! Allallt presented a bunch of points, below, and I responded with my ripostes. This was one of the many direct exchanges. 

Allallt’s points:

Right, well, with that, I’m contented that I’m not the one standing in the way of intelligent conversation.

Atheists do not assume they as individuals are the arbiter of right and wrong. You tell me I’m wrong about the artist parallel, while agreeing with me perfectly. You focus primarily on form, not content. You’ve implicitly accused me of maligning Christians based on a few Christian tyrants (which I haven’t done).

And I do think I know someone who could diagnose you. You show signs of both primary and secondary delusions, possibly characteristics of narcissism and grandeur. You refuse to see that being atheist in no way explains atrocities (although certain anti-theism can). [Editor’s Note: in light of my Venn Diagram, below, this represents a near fatal concession on the part of Allallt.] You think being condescending will deter instead of motivate people.

Encountering an atheist is no more a crapshoot than meeting a theist. Statistics from prisons suggest meeting religious people is the real gamble; atheists are massively under-represented, and America has a larger problem with violence (especially in schools) than other equally developed, less religious countries. You can’t seem to get that the Nazis were Christians motivated by Christian rhetoric.

See, you’re not here to actually intellectually discuss an issue. You’re here to preach. And to do that, you’ve come to knock over the chess pieces and declare your victory, instead of actually engaging properly.

My counter-point(s) (red highlights added):

Still can’t bring yourself to be serious…

You said:

Right, well, with that, I’m contented that I’m not the one standing in the way of intelligent conversation.

Response:

Okay, if you wish to think that. However, the hostile environment that you established, and that you continue to foster speaks ill of you and of your pretense that you’re not standing in the way of intelligent conversation.

– * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

You said:

Atheists do not assume they as individuals are the arbiter of right and wrong. You tell me I’m wrong about the artist parallel, while agreeing with me perfectly. You focus primarily on form, not content. You’ve implicitly accused me of maligning Christians based on a few Christian tyrants (which I haven’t done).

Response:

Well, yes, atheists state that they are the arbiter of right and wrong for themselves. And, really, that’s all that counts. Hitler, Stalin, et al, didn’t care one jot what others considered to be right or wrong.

You said: “You tell me I’m wrong about the artist parallel, while agreeing with me perfectly. You focus primarily on form, not content. You’ve implicitly accused me of maligning Christians based on a few Christian tyrants (which I haven’t done).

In what world do you live?!? (1) I told you where you were wrong with the artist nonsense. (2) I focus nearly entirely on content, and spend a good deal of my time suggesting that you do likewise, instead of obsessing over IP addresses and the like. (3) Attempt to malign Christians is precisely what you’ve done, while doing your level best to absolve your thought tendency of all responsibility for its role in millions upon millions of atrocities in the last century alone. Wow!

– * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

You said:

And I do think I know someone who could diagnose you. You show signs of both primary and secondary delusions, possibly characteristics of narcissism and grandeur. You refuse to see that being atheist in no way explains atrocities (although certain anti-theism can). You think being condescending will deter instead of motivate people.

Response:

My point exactly: You’re not a serious interlocutor, because you, along with the half-wit Ark, and the loony Zande are more concerned with who I am, or rather who you silly arm-chair psychologists think I am, as opposed to what I say. I’m not surprised. It’s how most people proceed when they’re out of intellectual gas. The point: even if I did have “primary and secondary delusions, [and] possibly characteristics of narcissism and grandeur“, so what? Despite these terrible handicaps, I’m apparently able to put words down on a web page that you seem to have no arguments to counter, except these feeble derailments and diversions.

So, I’ll tell you what, I’ll let you call me crazy (’cause, frankly, I don’t care about your opinion of me. I hope you feel the same about my opinion of you 🙂 ), and we’ll be done with that little irrelevancy. Now, why don’t you concentrate on the words.

One last time: Being an atheist helps to explain atrocities in that the atheist is missing certain extremely important limits on his behavior that, for example, Christians have. That Buddhists have. That Jews have. An atheist is just like an Islamic jihadist, except that where the atheist lacks prohibition to commit atrocities, the jihadist believes that he has explicit permission, even a command, to commit atrocities. Bottom line: both commit atrocities. Lots and lots and lots and lots of ’em. The millions upon millions upon millions of victims probably fail to appreciate the distinctions that are so important to the sophists who would pretend that atheism is not a factor in massive death dealing.

– * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

You said:

Encountering an atheist is no more a crapshoot than meeting a theist. Statistics from prisons suggest meeting religious people is the real gamble; atheists are massively under-represented, and America has a larger problem with violence (especially in schools) than other equally developed, less religious countries. You can’t seem to get that the Nazis were Christians motivated by Christian rhetoric.

Response:

Wrong on the first count. You know that encountering an atheist is a crapshoot. By definition. You also have near perfect confidence that to encounter, for example, a Christian, represents a near 100% chance that you’re safe. This is simply true, and you know it. And, I have a secret argument, that I’m holding, possibly, for the next reply of yours.

Next: America has very little problem with violence in schools. America has a problem with media fads. When the media stop fixating on “school violence” the shootings will nearly disappear. Simple as that. If you wish to consider that an indictment of the American people, I have two words for you: President Obama. The average American, let’s face it, is not paying attention. He is pretty much led by the media and pop culture. If the media were to fixate all of a sudden on, oh I don’t know, ladybugs, just watch how fast we’d all be tearing our hair out about the “ladybug crisis.” That phenomenon explains entirely, eg, the environmental movement.

Next: the prison statistics are wrong, and they’re meaningless even if they were right.

Next: The part about Christian rhetoric intermingling with Naziism is partially correct. Yes, Hitler tried to sell his atheism to a Christian country. No one doubts that Hitler was a marketing master. However, the ideas he espoused were not, in any way, Christian. Since Hitler came to power via election, this is another indictment of democracy itself. Mind you, I’m a big fan of democracy. Hitler was an atheist trying to package atheitic thinking for a largely secular, but nominally Christian country. Again, the indictment goes against atheism. If you want to try to make the case that Hitler was a good Christian, or that Naziism represents good Christian thinking, then that indicts your thinking.

– * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

You said:

See, you’re not here to actually intellectually discuss an issue. You’re here to preach. And to do that, you’ve come to knock over the chess pieces and declare your victory, instead of actually engaging properly.

Response:

To some extent I did what your second sentence suggests. On purpose. You have, as you’ve admitted, no standards. I took advantage of that. It was kind of fun. Zande did the same thing on my blog, but I have standards there, to which I adhere, and to which I expect others to adhere. Zande opened the door here — go ahead, read the comments on this post. He insulted me and questioned my integrity and sanity. As did you. I therefore felt no qualms about unloading on him. Of course, if you had any standards here, then you wouldn’t have allowed the gratuitous, and stupid, insults to have got through. To question my integrity or sanity contributes nothing to moving forward the discussion of the topic. You purport to be an intellectual — by your tone and wirting — yet you allow poorly educated half-wits like Zande and Ark to say what they want and to debase your content.

As to your first sentence: Re-read the comments — top-to-bottom — on this post. I need say nothing more than that.

As to your second sentence: That’s an opinion. I’ll tell you what. I’ll tell you what I’m here for, and we’ll let that determine why I’m here. I’ll extend to you the same courtesy. Okay?

– * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

Best,

— x

Result:

Point rather easily to xPraetorius. I also made the point in there that atheism is like Islamic jihadism, in that each has permission –either overtly (jihadism) or indirectly (atheism) to commit atrocities on a limitless scale. Note: my last paragraph slightly contradicted my previous paragraph, in which I admitted that I was there to be a bit of a boor. However, my contention — that I was the one to say why I was there, and no one else — was correct. Whenever I engage in a back-and-forth with just about anyone, I’m constantly forced to tell them to stop pretending they can read my mind, or that of anyone else, for that matter.

I scored an important point with this paragraph:

My point exactly: You’re not a serious interlocutor, because you, along with the half-wit Ark, and the loony Zande are more concerned with who I am, or rather who you silly arm-chair psychologists think I am, as opposed to what I say. I’m not surprised. It’s how most people proceed when they’re out of intellectual gas. The point: even if I did have “primary and secondary delusions, [and] possibly characteristics of narcissism and grandeur“, so what? Despite these terrible handicaps, I’m apparently able to put words down on a web page that you seem to have no arguments to counter, except these feeble derailments and diversions.

Later, I pointed out that if I were as messed up as Allallt and Zande suggested I was, then it ought to be child’s play to knock my thoughts and ideas out of the park, and that maybe, just maybe, they ought then to try to do that. It was kind of fun to taunt them, because they made it so easy for me. The last sentence, highlighted in red above, was a withering jab.


 

(13) Their point(s):

Allallt tried to make the point that since there are Christians who commit acts specifically prohibited by Christianity, then these Christians do not have limits on their behavior.

My counter-point(s):

First of all, I made the point that Christians do have limits — imposed specifically by Christianity — on their behaviors. Absolute, unambiguous limits. Sometimes  Christians choose to ignore those limits. That, I pointed out, is not the fault of Christianity. Conversely, atheists have no limits they can point to except those they choose voluntarily to impose on themselves.

Result:

Point xPraetorius. My point was plainly stronger than Allallt’s


 

(14) Their point(s):

Allallt tried to make the point that in our supposedly Christian country, there are all sorts of school shootings and mass shootings. He said:

America is the most religious developed country and it has the highest problem with school violence and shooting. Clearly, being massively religious hasn’t been a prohibition on school shootings. But, hey, facts. I’m sure you’ll say I’m wrong, not tell me what the real facts are, disregard sources and go back to making assertions that run contrary to the facts. Because, that’s the conversation we’ve been having.

It’s not the media, either. It’s the actual numbers (per capita) of people attacked in schools. Facts. You have a problem with facts.

My counter-point(s):

More meaningless, substanceless, context-less red herrings. I told you why on the prison idea. Why don’t you stop opening new huge cans-of-worms, you’re starting to sound desperate. Red herrings. You have a problem with irrelevant red herrings. Oh, and with defensiveness.

Oh, and all your mass shootings/murders were perpetrated by atheists.🙂 You go ahead and try to turn Adam Lanza, Jared Loughner, Timothy McVeigh, James Holmes, Wayne Williams, Seung-Hui Cho, Manson, Dahmer, et al into good Christians. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Now can you stop with the irrelevant red herrings, diversions and distractions?

Result:

Point xPraetorius, again rather easily. My debate coach friend told me that these side tangents are not allowed in real debates, so that made his task of “officiating” in this one more difficult. He expressed frustration that Zzande and Allallt kept bringing up the side topics and said that it made it more difficult for him to be impartial.

Zande and Allallt were fond of calling me crazy, and my debate coach said, “Are these guys unhinged? Can’t they stay on the subject?” I had to laugh at that one.


 

(15) Their point(s):

Allallt tried a hypothetical. Here it is:

Imagine a woman-hating psychopath who kills prostitutes. As is common among psychopaths and sociopaths, this killer also plays an instrument.

Then, playing an instrument is indicted as the cause of his murderous behaviour, not his psychopathy or misogyny.

My counter-point(s):

I riposted:

Nope. Just that playing an instrument and being a woman-hating psycho can live within the same person.

Just as anti-theism — which you’ve already indicted as a motivator to kill millions — and peaceful atheism can live within Atheism.

Anti-theism cannot live within Christianity.

Now, we’re getting somewhere! I accept your concession on this important point.

Result:

Point xPraetorius. This is important, because it represents the introduction of the sub-topic that led to my Atheism Venn diagram.

Allallt frequently tried to allow atheism to wriggle off the hook of historical judgement, by claiming that atheists who had committed atrocities and crimes against humanities weren’t really atheists, you see, but rather were “anti-theists.” Okay, I’ll buy that label. (Allallt is very big on characterizing and labeling things)  However, a serious problem with this reasoning was that the so-called “anti-theists” didn’t attack only religious believers. They attacked, and killed, all manner of people they deemed inconvenient for whatever reason. As a result, I came up with the diagram below. Note: I’m not sure whether Allallt called his belief system “Secular Materialism,” or “Rational Materialism.” I can change the label if needed. See below:

Venn
Atheism Venn Diagram

 

(16) Their point(s):

At a certain point, both Allallt and Zande, I think, became exhausted. As has always  been my experience with the Race Grievance Industry minions and the Left, they start to try to find out things about their opponent that are perfectly irrelevant, but that might serve to impeach, at least a little, the guy. Sure enough. Zande and Allallt had done this in a previous thread, and had found out that I allow other friends to use our posting arrangement as well, hence they appear to post from the same IP address. The fact that millions could post from the same IP address didn’t deter these two, now clownish characters, from concluding that these other people and I were all the same person trying to appear like many. Here’s one mention of this, in a post of very weak snark by Allallt:

One of pages on the Praetori blog does actually state there are a few authors. xPrae, bPrae, aPrae. I’ve only seen xPrae post or comment. But that means I barely thought it a silly comment to suggest that he’s accidentally used another account.

Instead, xPrae has chosen to claim that he successfully logged on with a typo in his username. Now, I don’t know what that means. And I’m not about to go into adductive reasoning and claim that the only explanation I can think of is that he’s got multiple accounts that he uses to make himself seem important.

However, I will note that having several accounts going through the same IP address and two accounts that claim to have the same person at the other side of the screen does demonstrate that the accounts and the people on the other side do not line up.

But, instead of just entertaining the idea that he’s set up accounts to exaggerate his own popularity, it’s also not impossible that xPrae is actually an early model of Google’s Deep Learning algorithm.

My counter-point(s):

Oh, and Allallt… the reason my id appeared with a typo in it is likely because of how your template works. One needs to “log in” only if one appears to be using an ID already in use. Since, “xPraetoriusx” is not in use by anyone else, there was no need to log in, and the comment went right through. [Editor’s Note: I had posted a reply and typoed my ID as xPraetorius(with an extra “x” at the end). Since that was not an ID in use by anyone, Allallt’s blog page accepted it without need to log in. In full desperation mode, Allallt interpreted this perfectly normal blog software behavior as some kind of nefarious ploy by me, and pointed it out. I explained below.]

So, here’s the deal: I’m one person. I post as one person. I have friends whom I allow to use my means of posting anonymously. One characteristic of that is that we all post from the same IP address, or addresses. It’s what happens, for example, if a group of separate people all post from the same institution of higher learning. Separate people, separate e-mail addresses, etc. Same IP address. It’s a way of providing privacy protections for internet users right in the structure of the internet itself. Kind of like a P.O. box return address for snail mail, but better.

Just, as you said once when you threw a Trumpesque tantrum, covering some bases. As ignorant as you are about other things, I guess I’m not surprised that you’re ignorant of this aspect of the internet. Nor am I surprised at your obsession with it. After all, that’s exactly how it played out with the Race Grievance Industry whiners when they ran out of intellectual gas too.

They also felt the need to scrabble around to try to find out who I am, where I was posting from, where others who were supporting my point-of-view were posting from. Furthermore, if I wished to make it seem as if I were posting from Denmark, I could do that in a blink. It wouldn’t change, however, the fact that you’d still scrabble around to find something irrelevant in that! It’s how the debate loser operates: “We’re out of gas! Deflect! Deflect! Deflect! Look, a squirrel!

Result:

Point, easily, xPraetorius. There was no possible counter to my reply, and none was forthcoming.


 

(17) Their point(s):

Hitler! This became Zande’s pet obsession. Zande tried as hard as he could to persuade me that Hitler was really a Christian. I’m not sure what his point would have been; I’d already conceded that Christians sometimes act badly, and get Christianity all wrong. We went back and forth a bunch of times. However, I try to be accommodating. And Zande is one who throws out a poorly thought-through idea, and then digs a hole for himself. The more you demonstrate the silliness of what he’s saying, the more furiously he digs. It’s fun to watch him dig, then to toss a bunch of sand on his noggin as he realizes there are holes in his thinking big enough to drive a Mack truck through. Here’s one of Zande’s “Hitler” offerings:

[Quoting me] Okay. Now — even more so — we can be done with sources. [End quote]

No, we’re not. Allalt and I appreciate facts that support an argument. So far, you have produce absolutely ZERO to support your position. Whereas I can provide you just some of the following to support mine:

1. Adolf Hitler: Acting According to God’s Will
I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.
– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 2

2. Adolf Hitler: Thanking God
Even today I am not ashamed to say that, overpowered by stormy enthusiasm, I fell down on my knees and thanked Heaven from an overflowing heart for granting me the good fortune of being permitted to live at this time.
– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 5

3. Adolf Hitler: Deutschland Über Alles
I had so often sung ‘Deutschland über Alles’ and shouted ‘Heil’ at the top of my lungs, that it seemed to me almost a belated act of grace to be allowed to stand as a witness in the divine court of the eternal judge and proclaim the sincerity of this conviction.
– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 5

4. Adolf Hitler: God’s Grace Smiles
Once again the songs of the fatherland roared to the heavens along the endless marching columns, and for the last time the Lord’s grace smiled on His ungrateful children.
– Adolf Hitler reflecting on World War I, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1, Chapter 7

5. Adolf Hitler: Fulfilling God’s Mission
What we have to fight for is the necessary security for the existence and increase of our race and people, the subsistence of its children and the maintenance of our racial stock unmixed, the freedom and independence of the Fatherland; so that our people may be enabled to fulfill the mission assigned to it by the Creator.
– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 8

6. Adolf Hitler: Fate of God
But if out of smugness, or even cowardice, this battle is not fought to its end, then take a look at the peoples five hundred years from now. I think you will find but few images of God, unless you want to profane the Almighty.
– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 10

7. Adolf Hitler: Sin Against the Will of God
In short, the results of miscegenation are always the following: (a) The level of the superior race becomes lowered; (b) physical and mental degeneration sets in, thus leading slowly but steadily towards a progressive drying up of the vital sap. The act which brings about such a development is a sin against the will of the Eternal Creator. And as a sin this act will be avenged.
– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 11

8. Adolf Hitler: Sacrilege Against God
Anyone who dares to lay hands on the highest image of the Lord commits sacrilege against the benevolent creator of this miracle and contributes to the expulsion from paradise.
– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf Vol. 2 Chapter 1

9. Adolf Hitler: Confidence in God
Thus inwardly armed with confidence in God and the unshakable stupidity of the voting citizenry, the politicians can begin the fight for the ‘remaking’ of the Reich as they call it.
– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf Vol. 2 Chapter 1

10. Adolf Hitler: Gold has Replaced God
It may be that today gold has become the exclusive ruler of life, but the time will come when man will again bow down before a higher god.
– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf Vol. 2 Chapter 2

11. Adolf Hitler: Sin Against the Will of God
It doesn’t dawn on this depraved bourgeois world that this is positively a sin against all reason; that it is criminal lunacy to keep on drilling a born half-ape until people think they have made a lawyer out of him, while millions of members of the highest culture-race must remain in entirely unworthy positions; that it is a sin against the will of the Eternal Creator if His most gifted beings by the hundreds and hundreds of thousands are allowed to degenerate in the present proletarian morass, while Hottentots and Zulu Kaffirs are trained for intellectual professions.
– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf Vol. 2 Chapter 2

12. Adolf Hitler: Creation of God
That this is possible may not be denied in a world where hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people voluntarily submit to celibacy, obligated and bound by nothing except the injunction of the Church. Should the same renunciation not be possible if this injunction is replaced by the admonition finally to put an end to the constant and continuous original sin of racial poisoning, and to give the Almighty Creator beings such as He Himself created?
– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf Vol. 2 Chapter 2

13. Adolf Hitler: Don’t Just Talk About Fulfilling God’s Will
The folkish-minded man, in particular, has the sacred duty, each in his own denomination, of making people stop just talking superficially of God’s will, and actually fulfill God’s will, and not let God’s word be desecrated. For God’s will gave men their form, their essence and their abilities. Anyone who destroys His work is declaring war on the Lord’s creation, the divine will.
– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf Vol. 2 Chapter 10

14. Adolf Hitler: Doing Justice to God
To do justice to God and our own conscience, we have turned once more to the German Volk.
– Adolf Hitler in speech about the need for a moral regeneration of German, February 10, 1933

15. Adolf Hitler: Going Where God Wills
I go the way that Providence dictates with the assurance of a sleepwalker.
– Adolf Hitler, Speech, March 15, 1936, Munich, Germany

16. Adolf Hitler: May God Bless Us
May divine providence bless us with enough courage and enough determination to perceive within ourselves this holy German space.
– Adolf Hitler, Speech, March 24, 1933

17. Adolf Hitler: When We Appear Before God…
We don’t ask the Almighty, ‘Lord, make us free!” We want to be active, to work, to work together, so that when the hour comes that we appear before the Lord we can say to him: ‘Lord, you see that we have changed.’ The German people is no longer a people of dishonor and shame, of self-destructiveness and cowardice. No, Lord, the German people is once more strong in spirit, strong in determination, strong in the willingness to bear every sacrifice. Lord, now bless our battle and our freedom, and therefore our German people and fatherland.
– Adolf Hitler, Prayer, May 1, 1933

18. Adolf Hitler: Fighting for the Lord’s Work
I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord’s work.
– Adolf Hitler, Speech, Reichstag, 1936

19. Adolf Hitler in Conversation with Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber
The Catholic Church should not deceive herself: if National Socialism does not succeed in defeating Bolshevism, then Church and Christianity in Europe too are finished. Bolshevism is the mortal enemy of the Church as much as of Fascism. …Man cannot exist without belief in God. The soldier who for three and four days lies under intense bombardment needs a religious prop.
– Adolf Hitler in conversation with Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber of Bavaria, November 4, 1936

You see how it works, Praetorius?

Facts.

So, whenever you want to produce some evidence that Hitler was not a Christian (the Nazi’s of course practiced Positive Christianity) I’d be happy to review it.

Over to you.

My counter-point(s):

My counter-points came in a flurry of back-and-forths with Zande, as below:

  1. They’re irrelevant facts, as I’ve explained before, and they’re even facts that support my conclusion better than yours, but, yes, they appear to be facts.

    Best,

    — x

    1. Ty Cobb’s lifetime batting average was .367. It’s a fact. A fact irrelevant to this discussion, but a fact all the same.

      Get it, Zande? There are irrelevant facts! Well, my goodness! Surprise, surprise! xPretorius was right all along!

      Best,

      — x

Result:

Point Zande. Because I didn’t directly rebut his “facts,” merely pointed out that they’re irrelevant, which they are. To the casual observer, though, Zande’s “facts” sure would seem relevant. They are, after all, Hitler saying publicly that he was a Christian. It was important for me, though, to make the point that some facts that appear to be related to the topic can, in fact, be perfectly irrelevant.

I would debunk Zande’s Hitler = Christian theory only later. This doesn’t change the fact, though, that Zande took this point.

If you don’t want to read all the posts (Zande’s: herehere, here, here, herehere and here – Mine: here, here), they go like this:

  • Zande finds a bunch of quotes by Hitler saying that Hitler’s a believing Christian.
  • I point out, weakly, that Zande’s facts and quotes are irrelevant. They have to be. After all, everyone knows Hitler was not a Christian. However, I had left myself open to the “Oh, yeah? Prove it!” thing.
  • Allallt produces a Wikipedia entry suggesting that Hitler was a Christian.
  • I find, in another part of Allallt’s own link a paragraph quoting Alan Bullock — pre-eminent Hitler historian — saying that Hitler believed in neither God nor conscience, but rather, Bullock said, Hitler was an opportunist who used Christian rhetoric to try to “expand his own myth.”
  • Zande quotes a bunch of Catholic luminaries of Hitler’s time calling Hitler a great Christian.
  • I then lower the boom, indicating that Zande’s Hitler quotes and his theologian quotes support Bullock’s assertion that Hitler believed only in his own myth, and dishonestly used a Christianity in which he didn’t believe to try to sell that myth.

Important Note: I wish I could suggest that it was all part of my Grand Master Debate Plan, but it wasn’t. I do have confidence, though, in the correctness of my ideas and thinking, and that eventually the weakness of the others’ arguments will show itself.

In this case, at least, I was correct in that confidence. In fairness, Allallt and Zande, with their obsession with sources, and their inability to admit where they might be wrong, ended up being particularly weak opponents. I like to think that I was able throughout to keep them off their usual game, which seemed to be to call those who disagree with them names.

I wonder, though, whether they’ve ever been meaningfully challenged on their beliefs. I’ve visited their blogs, and  they appear to be mostly echo chambers.

On the other hand, I invite (beg?) those who disagree with me to show up on my blog. That’s the reason behind the rather provocative headline on my blog that started all this: “Atheist Nutballs.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love the validating, complimentary comments after a post, but I get the intellectual exercise from those who disagree.

Another Important Note: I made an important point with the red highlighted text, above: “Oh, and I noticed that you abandoned the ‘renounced his Christian faith’ silliness.”

Zande, I think, realized that I had nailed him with this exchange. He had continued to demand that I indicate where Hitler had “renounced his Christian faith.” I suggested that Hitler never “renounced” his faith, because (1) he didn’t have a faith and (2) it served his purposes to continue to pretend to be a Christian (both of which , Bullock had suggested), in which case, though not a Christian, Hitler would never publicly renounce Christianity.

Zande abruptly stopped insisting that I show where Hitler had “renounced his Christian faith,” and started demanding that I “prove Hitler wasn’t a Christian.” Note: the first would be provable if it had happened, but the second — reading Hitler’s mind — would not be.

Zande had backed himself into that little trap all by himself. It turned out to be pretty easy to move Zande down the path of showing him that (1) he’d lost the argument, and (2) he was now arguing my points and pretending they were his own. My friend the debate coach indicated that that was every bit as as important as winning the points outright.


 

(18) Their point(s):

Zande and Allallt continued to pound on drums I had already debunked. Prison statistics, sources, and a steady diet of gratuitous insults.

I used the reply below to re-tie up those loose ends a bit. Here’s the link.

You find their post and my reply all contained in the “My counter-point(s)” section, below.

My counter-point(s):

This one was funny (from your reply to Zande):

[Editor’s Note: this is a post from Allallt replying to Zande about me.]

He’s telling the truth. He’s really not going to show you.

That means we can discard his point entirely. His source could be his imagination, a fiction book, a tea-leaf reading. Anything. So, it is discarded.

Whereas, the Patheos article we’ve discussed is from a Freedom of Information request. It is much more reliable than that nothing Prae is offering.

Which is disappointing. I’d love to have a real discussion. He can’t offer one.

Watch this, this comment will be seen as us colluding, making us the same person, therefore Prae can refer to us as an ‘ilk’, waste wordcount on explaining why he feels like a victim having his point held to any level of scrutiny, and then not address the issue.

I consider having your point held to a level of scrutiny a mark of respect. It would be disrespectful to read it and think ‘he’s clearly not smart enough to adjust his views in the light of well-reasoned argument and evidence’. Although, I’m headed that way.

[Editor’s Note: This is my reply to the above post.]

Do you really find it that difficult to understand my reluctance to play dueling sources? Holy mackerel! Where do you live, in a cave in the Philippines? Let’s try it another way: Do you really think there are no sources I could find that would support my point of view? Okay. We agree that there are sources — lots of them — that I could dig up that would support my point-of-view. As I agree that there are sources — lots of them — that would support your point of view. However, since I don’t think you’re an honest debater, I don’t believe there are any sources I could use that you wouldn’t automatically condemn as somehow illegitimate. You believe the same about me. So, seriously, what point would there be in going through the time and effort to find sources that neither of us believes the other will take seriously?

So, again, let’s just stipulate that I have lots of sources. You and I both know that there are millions of pro-Christian, pro-theism web sites , documents, books, tracts, treatises, essays, scientists, academicians, thinkers, philosophers, lay thinkers out there. They’re of varying degrees of academic sophistication from the very simple to the hyper-learned, and all points in-between. I know the same about pro-atheist (for lack of a better term) web sites and sources. Can we now be done with your obsession over the stupid dueling sources moose poo now? Does that make it comprehensible to you?

This is one of the reasons why I level the sophist charge: because this is not a difficult thing to understand. I’m forced to wonder whether your bafflement is on purpose. I recognize that it might put you at a disadvantage, since I suspect you just might be at a loss without your “experts” to fall back on, but try to soldier on anyway. My way means a whole heckuva lot less wasted time in trying to assess the legitimacy of someone else’s source. Sheesh!

You said: “Whereas, the Patheos article we’ve discussed is from a Freedom of Information request. It is much more reliable than that nothing Prae is offering.

Oh? Not if it’s wrong. Or meaningless. Absent context, it is, as I’ve described, perfectly meaningless. So, what’s the point of offering it? Here’s one reason: what faith inmates say they adhere to in prison means nothing. What they were before they went into prison tells a lot more. An FOI response tells something if and only if someone has posed the right question in obtaining the information.

You said:

Watch this, this comment will be seen as us colluding, making us the same person, therefore Prae can refer to us as an ‘ilk’, waste wordcount on explaining why he feels like a victim having his point held to any level of scrutiny, and then not address the issue.

Response:

Let’s see. Let’s do a word count on the word “ilk.” Well, well… it appears only once… where you used it (and now this second time.) You do waste everyone’s time on irrelevancies, don’t you! Of course, if you can continue to deflect and evade, then you can also continue to dodge the real topic.

I don’t feel like a victim at all. I just feel as if I’m talking to the wall. I’ve given up on Zande and Ark. They may not be bumbling, half-witted fools, but they play them in blog posts, and I don’t have the patience to deal with their half-wittery. You on the other hand, Allallt, appear not to be a total lost cause.

– * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

You said:

I consider having your point held to a level of scrutiny a mark of respect. It would be disrespectful to read it and think ‘he’s clearly not smart enough to adjust his views in the light of well-reasoned argument and evidence’. Although, I’m headed that way.

Response:

And now you call me stupid. To add to crazy and all the rest. Such a friendly little place you run here! No wonder Zande and Ark are regular contributors! Itis kind of fun to read of how you supposedly disapprove of all the things I do… which you then just do in the very next breath.

– * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

Best,

— x

I also used the above to keep them a bit off-balance. To show them that I was not going to let cheap insults go by without at least a return salvo of some kind. (Immodesty alert!) I’m a stronger writer than they are, so it was easy to return shot for shot, with my shots landing harder than theirs.

Result:

No points, but I solidified an already substantial debate lead.


 

(19) Their point(s):

As a side note to the Hitler topic, Zande suggested that there were other atheists who had led other countries who had not caused mayhem and atrocities. He provided a list, as below:

A short list of just some openly atheist leaders:

David Ben-Gurion, first Prime Minister of Israel 1948-1954: atheist
Golda Meir, Prime Minister Israel 1969-1974: atheist
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.
Francois Hollande, president of France: atheist
Jens Stolentberg, Prime Minister Norway, 2005-2013: atheist
Aleksander Kwasneiwski, President, Poland, 1995-2005: atheist
Zoran Milanovic, prime minister of Croatia: atheist
Elio di Rupo, former Prime Minister of Belgium (2011-2014) : atheist
Milos Zeman, president of the Czech Republic: atheist
HC Hansen, Prime Minister Denmark, 1955-1960: atheist
Hans Hedt oft, Prime Minsiter of Denmark 1950-1955: atheist
Jens Otto Krag, Prime Minister Denmark 1962-1968: atheist
Thorvald Strauning , Prime Minister Denmark, 1924-1926: atheist
Vilhem Buhl, Prime Ministrer of Denamrk 1942: atheist
Sandro Pertini, President Italy, 1978-1985: atheist
Olof Palme Prime Minister of Sweden, 1969-1976: atheist
Clement Attlee, Prime Minister, UK, 1945-1951: atheist
James Callaghan, Prime Minister of UK 1976-1979: atheist

Praetorius, according to your “hypothesis,” we should see corresponding evidence of violent moral debauchery related to these world leaders and their periods in power.

Please provide data to support your ‘hypothesis.”

Here’s another of Zande’s posts that, he thinks, suggest that Christians commit atrocities. As I ended up admitting, Chrisitans do commit atrocities and crimes, but they have to go against Chrisitianity to do so.

My counter-point(s):

About Zande’s silly Post (reproduced below):

[Quoting Zande’s post] Shall I post this again?

A short list of just some openly atheist leaders:

David Ben-Gurion, first Prime Minister of Israel 1948-1954: atheist
Golda Meir, Prime Minister Israel 1969-1974: atheist
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.
Francois Hollande, president of France: atheist
Jens Stolentberg, Prime Minister Norway, 2005-2013: atheist
Aleksander Kwasneiwski, President, Poland, 1995-2005: atheist
Zoran Milanovic, prime minister of Croatia: atheist
Elio di Rupo, former Prime Minister of Belgium (2011-2014) : atheist
Milos Zeman, president of the Czech Republic: atheist
HC Hansen, Prime Minister Denmark, 1955-1960: atheist
Hans Hedt oft, Prime Minsiter of Denmark 1950-1955: atheist
Jens Otto Krag, Prime Minister Denmark 1962-1968: atheist
Thorvald Strauning , Prime Minister Denmark, 1924-1926: atheist
Vilhem Buhl, Prime Ministrer of Denamrk 1942: atheist
Sandro Pertini, President Italy, 1978-1985: atheist
Olof Palme Prime Minister of Sweden, 1969-1976: atheist
Clement Attlee, Prime Minister, UK, 1945-1951: atheist
James Callaghan, Prime Minister of UK 1976-1979: atheist

Praetorius, according to your “hypothesis,” we should see corresponding evidence of violent moral debauchery related to these world leaders and their periods in power.

Please provide data to support your “hypothesis.” In particular, you might want to start with the Israeli’s: David Ben-Gurion (first Prime Minister of Israel 1948-1954), and Golda Meir (Prime Minister Israel 1969-1974).[End quote of Zande’s post]

[Editor’s Note: now my reply to the above.]

Sigh — I’ll explain again. Apparently the feeble-minded Zande was unable to assimilate the previous explanation: the above-listed people found themselves atop structures founded by others. One reason Stalin, Hitler, et al were able to kill so many people was that they were able to manipulate and re-make the power structures to reflect their own characters, and to permit their depredations.

In other words, one can conclude also — directly from Zande’s list above! — that whenever atheists mold the power structures of a country explicitly using aggressive, evangelical atheism (like Soviet atheism) as a foundational concept, you almost guarantee atrocities and crimes against humanity.

Zande: your list indicts atheism more strongly than ever, as an important component in the murder of millions.

Best,

— x

Result:

One half point to xPraetorius, one-half point to Zande. My point was important: “the above-listed people found themselves atop structures founded by others. One reason Stalin, Hitler, et al were able to kill so many people was that they were able to manipulate and re-make the power structures to reflect their own characters, and to permit their depredations.” However, it was academic and cerebral. Zande’s post was on the level of the poorly thought-out, shallow and stupid. A cerebral answer to a stupid post is often ineffective.

My most important point was to turn Zande’s point into my own. Effectively he was making my points for me, since the power structures which his list of atheists led had been set up by others, not by the people in Zande’s list.

All the founders of the power structures in question that had been set up by Christian founders, would not have permitted an atheist to lead them and become a mass murderer. This was a direct endorsement of Christianity.

Several of Zande’s  examples — Poland, Croatia, the Czech Republic  — had had experience in recent history with power structures set up by atheists — their Soviet-dominated post-World War II Communist governments — and by non-atheists — their post-Communist governments. Under the Communist governments, yes, people did expect the governments to be vicious, brutal, deadly, oppressive. Under the post-Communist governments, the expectations of the governments were vastly higher. Again, Zande’s examples made my points for me much more effectively than they did for Zande.


 

(20) Their point(s):

Zande thinks that Christianity permits “the stoning of disrespectful children” because he found it in the Old Testament (Lev 26:27-30) (links here and here).

Zande and Allallt, who both present themselves as learned scholars, are profoundly ignorant of Christianity. In his mind, Zande was able to reconcile Jesus’ prohibition against stoning the adulterous woman (Let him who is without sin cast the first stone) with the idea that Jesus would think it would still be okay to stone disrespectful children. How does one argue against someone who is able to keep those two things in his mind?

Zande’s point: I should be able to show where Jesus had come to “free us from Mosiac Law” when, Jesus had said that He was here to “fulfill the ‘Law and the Prophets’ (the Old Testament), but not to change a ‘jot or tittle’ of it.

My counter-point(s):

Here’s one. Here’s another.

I summarized my objection here:

Of course, as I explained before, Jesus never said we were “free of Mosaic Law,” to the contrary, in fact. Jesus came to give the law, which, by definition, became the Law.

I explained all that in this very thread, Zande. Do you have a literacy problem?

Zande, you’re either very thick or a completely dishonest interlocutor.

Best,

— x

Result:

Point: xPraetorius. This one was easy. Jesus came to say, simply, that the law remains the same — untouched (all the prohibitions in place were still in place) — but that the entire arrangement and mankind’s relationship with God had changed because of His presence. There was now a way to redeem oneself, through Christ, even when one had  broken the Law. The law remained the same, as did the eventual punishment, but Jesus had inserted Himself between us and the punishment, with His hand outstretched, if we were willing to take His hand. No difference in the law; no difference in the punishment, but Jesus was all the difference. In this He was, just as He had said, the fulfillment of the prophecies, and at the same time, He made everything radically different.

In that sense, Jesus prohibited the stoning of the adulterous woman, but then told her to go, and sin no more. He did not, of course, “free her from the prohibition against adultery,” as Zande would suggest, but rather told her that she was, indeed, still absolutely commanded to go and sin no more. To obey the Law.

This one was really pretty easy, and it reinforced my maxim above: “Highly-educated is not necessarily well-educated.” Allallt and Zande plainly have some education, but obviously nothing substantial in Christian doctrine, on which they profess to speak authoritatively. The errors they make, and the misunderstandings they exhibit, are of the most basic in nature.


 

(21) Their point(s):

Allallt tried regularly to accuse me of “accusing atheism of being guilty of all the atrocities” committed by atheists. That was not my charge. Atheism, I said, stood accused of being a necessary component of an ideology, Socialism, that was guilty of mass murder.

That’s an important distinction.

It suggests that, absent atheism, there is no possibility of Socialism, and that is, I believe, true. Therefore, if you remove atheism, you give yourself the chance to remove the number one cause of premature death in the history of the world (not counting natural causes.).(1)

Here’s one of Allallt’s posts trying to make his point. It was also a kind of temper tantrum on his part, in which he called me names and accused me of a bunch of things I never said.:

I don’t think the fact Christians are attacking Muslim in the Central African Republic is an attack on all Christians. I haven’t said Christianity is to blame. The fact you think pointing out that fact Christians are attacking Muslims or that Christians attacked homosexuals is maligning Christianity, then you’re stupid. If you think me pointing out the attacks of Christians is the the same as you blaming the Holocaust on atheism, then you’re stupid.

If you think you’ve addressed my points, then you’re stupid.

If you think I can write anything about you in a post you’ve already responded to, you’re an idiot.

If you think atheists think attacking people unprovoked is okay, you’re an idiot.
If you think atheism is necessarily the same as nihilism, then you’re a nihilist. And not a good one.

My counter-point(s):

My counter-points came in the form of several rapid-fire back and forths with Allallt. I had already told him that I considered atheism an “enabler,” an essential component of socialism, but not the primary cause of socialism’s atrocities. That, however, didn’t stop Allallt from accusing me of blaming atheism entirely. Here is the flurry:

  1. No, just covering some bases. I can look for what I’ve written about religious nihilism, if you want.
    I think you might be a religious nihilist.

  2. Sorry, so focussed on not understanding why you can’t use a source to establish facts that I forgot that if you don’t like it, it’s a label.
    You do fit the ‘religious nihilist’ description though. If I send you a post that discusses it, can you let me know if it normally falls under a different name? I hesitate to think I invented the concept.

  3. Lol! Even drunk, you do have at least a marginal sense-of-humor!

    So, calling me a “religious nihilist” is not labeling me?

    Seriously?

    And you’re calling me stupid?

    Best,

    — x

Result:

Point to Allallt. He was just re-making a point that I had already debunked, but that didn’t absolve me of the responsibility of re-making the debunking point. Still, it was a fun read.

I also enjoyed tweaking Allallt for labeling me, about which he was obsessive. You’d be shocked at the number of things that Allallt has insisted that I am, very few of which I’d even heard of. 🙂

Enjoy!


 

(22) Their point(s):

The vast majority of atheists are peaceful, caring, gentle people. The fact that I don’t include them in my indictment shows only “selection bias.” Here’s Allallt’s quote:

And that’s before we get into the nature of the inclusion and exclusion criteria you’ve used: peaceful atheists are simply not part, and that’s a selection bias. (Read the full post here. This part is at the bottom.)

My counter-point(s):

This is beside the point. It’s when atheists seize power, and when they form the government with atheism as a primary component, that they become the bloodthirsty tyrants that they have become. And, it seems to happen every time.  Here’s all that in my reply to Allallt:

If you acknowledge my other two posts on our discussion (and part 4 is coming soon, I just decided to break it up with some other things) you’ll see that this false-correlation you keep presenting is irrelevant. It’s not just that the correlation is not representative of the larger atheist population, but that without an explanation a correlation is irrelevant. And that’s before we get into the nature of the inclusion and exclusion criteria you’ve used: peaceful atheists are simply not part, and that’s a selection bias.

Response:

The only relevant part of this was the last. I addressed all the other stuff long ago (except your future post. You’ll deny this, of course, as is your wont. 🙂 )

So, for your last part: “peaceful atheists are simply not part [of the atrocities of which their brothers are guilty], and that’s a selection bias

As for “selection bias,” I look back at all the peaceful Christians you absolved because of the depredations of a few fake ones. 🙂 Oops!!! Okay, admit it. You had that coming.

Next: There is no such thing as a peaceful atheist. There are only atheists who have decided for that moment — because, remember, they are the ultimate deciders of what is right and wrong — to be peaceful. It is perfectly permissible for any and all atheists to turn on a dime, and decide to launch as murderous a rampage as logistics allow them to commit. They did just that in Russiad, Nazi Germany, Red China, Cambodia, Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba… etc. Read this and read it well: If those nations had had a strong Christian foundation — not just a Christian founding — then there would have been no Holocaust, no Holodomor, no socialist atrocities, no mass starvations, no gulags, no show trials, no killing fields, no Vietnam War, no Korean War, no Berlin Wall, no “Black Book of Communism,” and more.

On the other hand. In Christianity, you know — and you have always known — that you have nothing whatsoever to fear from a Quaker. Or a Shaker. Or a Mennonite, or an Amish person. Or… [fill in a thousand other denominations here.]

You can find murderers calling themselves Christians. You can find murderers calling themselves anything under the sun. But your guys are people like Manson, Dahmer, Loughner, Lanza, Roof, Wayne Williams, Gacy, McVeigh, and thousands upon thousands upon thousands of others.

You know that there is a significant percentage of Christianity — well in excess of 90%, probably 99.something% — from which you need have no fear whatsoever. You just can’t say that about atheists. Every encounter you ever have with an atheist is a crapshoot. Is this one of the “peaceful ones,” or is this a psycho? Or just a mugger, or a thief, or con man, or just a perfectly amoral person who will somehow abuse me and others? Atheism permits them all, and says nothing about their goodness, badness, rightness or wrongness.

Christianity, though, defines goodness and badness, rightness and wrongness, and makes no bones about its unambiguous disapproval of the bad and the wrong.

Result:

Point xPraetorius. The point that there “is no such thing as a peaceful atheist, only one who is choosing to be peaceful at that moment…” is a devastating point that I made in several ways in several different places. Allallt tried valiantly to overcome it — for example pointing out that Christians choose to do bad things too — but there he was never able to overcome the fact that the atheist faces no Higher of Highest Authority than he himself, setting out rules forbidding his bad behavior.

Furthermore, there is little or nothing to say to rebut the mind-numbing fact of the 120 million or more people murdered in the 20th Century alone, by people in thrall to an ideology, Socialism, of which atheism is a vital component.


Snark Interlude: As mentioned at top, I engaged in snark — rampant gratuitous insults — that I would not allow at my own blog. It was because Allallt had opened the door, and I hoped to shame him into setting some standards on his blog. It’s amazing the extent to which you have to up your rhetorical and logical game when you have no resort to insults.

Here are some examples:

Zande, you are nothing if not full of really stupid attempts at meme production!

I swear, John, if you were denied stupid distractions, you’d have nothing at all to say.

Say, “Hi!” to Zlork (speaking of stupid distractions) for me!

And (insulting scientists who consider themselves atheists) …

In other words, Zande, there’s no reason under the sun that a scientist — even one with six PhD’s — should have one more teentsy, weentsy iota of insight into the existence of God than the lowliest of manual laborers in a remote third-world hellhole.

Your unattractive snobbery is showing here, Zande.

Try to remember, Zande: highly-educated is not necessarily well-educated.

And this to insult both Arkenaten and Zande:

Thanks for this! This: “…shall therefore be ignored, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, I can’t hear you…” sums up perfectly most of your interaction so far!

I suspect it describes any interactions in which you find yourself in disagreement with someone who doesn’t lay down for your copious codswallop.

It’s exactly the same as when Ark confessed to the same thing, and unwittingly (boy is that word a propos for Ark, eh?!?) let slip that he didn’t even read what I write.

I, of course, fell it necessary to point out that he was admitting to being full of moose droppings. It was an enlightening moment.

And, to Allallt, in reference to Zande:

Of course, if you had any standards here, then you wouldn’t have allowed the gratuitous, and stupid, insults to have got through. To question my integrity or sanity contributes nothing to moving forward the discussion of the topic. You purport to be an intellectual — by your tone and writing — yet you allow poorly educated half-wits like Zande and Ark to say what they want and to debase your content.

To Allallt, who couldn’t prevent himself from trying to read between my lines to get at who I am, which is, of course, entirely irrelevant, and the sign of someone who has nothing relevant left to say:

Are you forgetting that you invited me here? Did you want to talk about something other than the topic of your post? I’m sorry. You didn’t say that anywhere. Or were you expecting me to come on over and just sing praises to your surpassing wisdom? And you call me diagnosable? Some host you are! Sheesh!

To Allallt, who also had the curious trait of repeating something over and over and over again. I tried to be patient and bat each instance back from a different angle. Good practice, after all!

You’re like a little child! You think that if you say it over and over and over and over again, that’ll somehow make it true.

Look, I get it. Atheism is an essential ingredient in some seriously bad stuff, and you’re an atheist, so you’re feeling defensive, and you feel the need to deflect and call me crazy and question my integrity and call me stupid, but that doesn’t change anything, and you know it, and that, I suspect, bothers you immensely. I don’t blame you.

Allallt had said somewhere that he wished to have a “real discussion” with me, but that I was incapable of it. He had indicated that the comments of others, like Ark, were occasionally “counter-productive.” I responded with:

Zande’s been a complete buffoon. His very first comment — the very first comment — right out of the box, in this very post was, and I quote: “Praetorius has to rank as one of the most baffling, self-idolising bloggers i have ever encountered… Possibly also suffering from a severe and worrying multiple personality disorder.

Since you called me stupid (in a post I haven’t yet responded to), I feel justified in asking you: Are you a blithering idiot? 🙂 That’s perfectly okay with you?!? You don’t find that counter-productive?!? And you then have the nerve to write this: “I’d love to have a real discussion. He can’t offer one.” Yeah, right! Okay.

See? I read what you write. I extend to you at least that basic courtesy.

I was having fun here. I have to admit that, when one must unleash it, one’s inner-snark  can be an awful lot of fun to play with!

Allallt and I had the following entertaining exchange, in which we both went at it in joyful snarkiness:

  1. I don’t think the fact Christians are attacking Muslim in the Central African Republic is an attack on all Christians. I haven’t said Christianity is to blame. The fact you think pointing out that fact Christians are attacking Muslims or that Christians attacked homosexuals is maligning Christianity, then you’re stupid. If you think me pointing out the attacks of Christians is the the same as you blaming the Holocaust on atheism, then you’re stupid.

    If you think you’ve addressed my points, then you’re stupid.

    If you think I can write anything about you in a post you’ve already responded to, you’re an idiot.

    If you think atheists think attacking people unprovoked is okay, you’re an idiot.
    If you think atheism is necessarily the same as nihilism, then you’re a nihilist. And not a good one.

In one of the three threads linked at the top of this, Zande insisted that there were people — scientists, he claimed! — who said that some crystals, some rocks, were indeed alive, and, in fact, suffering. He often used the term “affectionately suffering,” whatever that means. At some point, I just had to say something like the following:

And you will, I hope, enjoy your many and multivarious delusions. Along with Zlork. Maybe you and he can find some affectionately suffering, living rocks to keep you company.

Best,

— x

Allallt told me that I was playing the victim. I responded:

I don’t feel like a victim at all. I just feel as if I’m talking to the wall. I’ve given up on Zande and Ark. They may not be bumbling, half-witted fools, but they play them in blog posts, and I don’t have the patience to deal with their half-wittery. You on the other hand, Allallt, appear not to be a total lost cause.

Then Allallt and I had this little exchange:

I consider having your point held to a level of scrutiny a mark of respect. It would be disrespectful to read it and think ‘he’s clearly not smart enough to adjust his views in the light of well-reasoned argument and evidence’. Although, I’m headed that way.

Response:

And now you call me stupid. To add to crazy and all the rest. Such a friendly little place you run here! No wonder Zande and Ark are regular contributors! It is kind of fun to read of how you supposedly disapprove of all the things I do… which you then just do in the very next breath.

And there was the following fun exchange. I think that Allallt was really trying to rattle me, not realizing that it ‘s quite impossible to rattle me in a blog post! As it should be for anyone. These are people who don’t know me! Why on earth would I be upset in the slightest at what they say?

You said:

I haven’t called you stupid. But, I will: you’re stupid.

Response:

Oooo… ya big meanie, ya! 🙂

– * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

You said:

But I haven’t called you crazy, and I really won’t.

Response:

Ever so charitable of you. No skin off your back. Zande and Ark already called me crazy, so it’s done. Considering the sources — one who thinks that crystals and rocks are living and suffering, and the other who thinks that if archaelogists can’t find evidence of The Flood, then the Bible is completely discredited — I’m not upset about it. Now, if someone sane or intelligent (you opened that door!) called me crazy, then I might worry. 🙂

I tossed this off, because I was unable to dislodge Allallt and Zande from their silly obsession with sources weighing in on matters of opinion or belief:

I’ll repeat it again for the dullards with whom I’m interacting. I’ll use big letters, okay? ANY SOURCE I USE YOU WOULD AUTOMATICALLY SAY LACKS CREDIBILITY.

There. I typed it really slowly, so you wouldn’t have to work your soggy brains too hard figuring it out.

Best,

— x

I followed that up with:

Our debate — yours and mine — (Zande and Ark are too stupid and poorly educated) is on the theoretical/metaphysical level.

There are no sources, other than super-esoteric ones, that can be brought to bear in that realm. ‘Sides, any such sources would be stating purely subjective things. I can do that, and, I’d think, so can you.

However, that does bring us to an interesting point. If your atheism is based only on what others say, then you’re a phony. Or at least your atheism is phony. What do you think? (Hint: that’s not a question you’re supposed to answer here, but rather to yourself.)

I’m not interested in what others think. I’m interested in what you think.

The debate coach said that I had scored a major point with that one. It wasn’t necessarily a point that would have counted in an actual debate format, but one that got easily past all of Allallt’s “sources” arguments.

I had this exchange with Zande:

  1. — x

  2. Lol! Good snark!

    You have no idea! In fact, you know me, and who I am. You’ve seen me on television. So, yes, I’ve interacted with people.

    Quite successfully, I might add.

    To that very point, I see you’re past banging your hooves on the floor, and you’ve learned some typing now! Good for you!

    Best,

    — x

I had the following extremely entertaining exchange with Allallt. Entertaining, because he thought that he had zinged me but good, and I simply turned it around into a double-zinger on him. I’ve highlighted in red the entertaining parts:

You said:

Were you an American football player? I hear they take quite severe blows to the head. (Yes, that was a little insult thrown in at the end of an otherwise okay comment. Yes, I do this to see if you’ll take up the distraction instead of the content. No, you dont always.)

Response:

Yes, it was an insult. What you might not understand is that I’m impossible to insult. Oh, you can try, but I don’t care. Why would I care in the slightest about your opinion of me? I hope you have the same feeling toward any insults I might offer. I always get a chuckle out of the people who get all in a lather at someone insulting them online. Why on earth do they care? Even one tiny jot!

No, I was not an American football player.

Were you an atheist? I hear they aren’t bright enough to play American football. 🙂

 

 


 

(23) Their point(s):

Allallt and I had the below pivotal exchange in which several light bulbs went off in my head, which I dutifully jotted down. Their point is that atheism, like the arts, has nothing to say about morality. It’s a fundamental point of his, and I disagreed throughout from a bunch of different angles. I marked the important parts of the exchange in red. They’ll become a blog post at some point in the not-too-distant future:

My counter-point(s):

You said:

To be honest, though, laughing at your sense of self worth is a lot more fun than reading your repeated claim about atheism. I’ve read your claim. Atheism offers no prohibitions. I get it. It’s not a problem. Art doesn’t offer prohibition either. But you think too much of yourself to actually engage with the rebuttal. You just assert it’s irrelevant.

Response:

Weak snark. You have no way to assess my sense of self-worth. You fabricated that as well. This is interesting coming from someone of a thought tendency that alleges that we Christians have fabricated things. I’ve found that to be true. The greatest fabricators are generally the atheists. They are the ones with their Gaia’s and their living rocks and crystals, and their Zlorks… and, of course, their silly allalltian attempts at mind-reading.

Why do you constantly bring up things that have already been batted down? I already explained to you the irrelevancy of an interest in the arts. I then explained to you the relevancy of atheism to one’s worldview and to one’s interactions with others.

Atheism houses not only the meek, mild-mannered atheism you say you espouse, but also the aggressive, expansionist, almost jihadist atheism of Marx-Lenin that you’ve branded “anti-theism,” but that also lives under the umbrella of atheism. That you profess not to belong to that branch of atheism, doesn’t change the fact that it exists, and that it was a major component in the murders of tens of millions in the last century alone.

The more you talk about it, the more you make atheism sound, and act, and smell, and feel like: Islam. Islam has people who are meek, mild-mannered and willing to live and let live too. They get upset, too, at the suggestion that there might be something in Islam itself that is a component in murder and mayhem. And Islam has also many hundreds of thousands who think it’s just okay to cut off the heads of babies, or crucify old men and women, or bury or burn them alive. Just like atheism. Thanks for this post! I think you might have just added an important chapter to the book and some good conceptual material to explore!

I once asked an agnostic friend of mine why he didn’t call himself an atheist. His reply: “Atheism is jsut another religion.” I never really understood the reply until just now. The zeal with which you struggle and strain and twist your logic into convoluted knots, all to protect your conscience, as well as your urge to avoid your responsibilities, and your thought tendency’s responsibilities, is positively religious. It’s the same with Zande and Ark, up to using even religious language. Ark uses “the character” all the time, like a talisman, or like a Christian might cross himself. Zande and his pseudo-iconography in the form of his silly graphical “memes.”

Hmmmmm… I think this might be fertile ground as well. Atheism as religion. It certainly was for Marx, Lenin, Stalin, et al. My Russian professor of some years ago told of how the Soviets even came up with a Trinity: Marx-Lenin-Engels! They had, he said, simply replaced God with their own “secular moral philosophy” that amounted — except for an avowed belief in God (a lacuna they eventually filled with Stalin) — to religion.

..

Result:

Point xPraetorius. No extensive elaboration needed. Allallt and Zande had tried to attack this reasoning at other times, but equating expansionist atheism with jihadist Islam, I think, rocked them back on their heels.

Still, it must be noted that Marx , Lenin et al were quite adamant that atheism was a necessary component of what they believed to be an ideal society. The parallel between atheism and and aggressively expansionist — jihadist — religion, are unmistakable.


 

(24) My point(s):

Atheism answers ethical questions as well. By not pronouncing on them. It’s the coward’s way out. It’s the way to say, “I’m okay, you’re okay,” when, sadly, you’re not. But you get to avoid causing someone else consternation, stroking your conflict-avoidance neurosis, and you get to be all in high dudgeon if someone confronts you for your lack of courage, or for being, as you are, morally unmoored.

For theism, it’s [Editor’s note: pronouncing on morality] not a trespass, though…it’s a core function. Thank you for the phrase: “secular moral philosophy!” A perfectly valid “secular moral philosophy” would be: “Kill everyone I encounter,” and no other “secular moral philosophy” has an answer for that, except to say, “I don’t like it,” to which the other would reply, “Too bad,” and continue to kill. And that would be okay.

Not in Christianity, though.

Their counter-point(s):

None. They ignored, especially, paragraph 2, above.

Result:

Point xPraetorius.


 

(25) Their point(s):

Allallt tried the “humanism” thing again. He said that all of mankind’s impulses to decency came not from a belief in God, but rather from Humanism, that he views as a kind of constant effort to be better. I pointed out that, in Humanism,  the definition of “better” was as elastic as the humanist believer needed it to be.

Here’s Allallt’s explanation:

You confuse the idea of word-use with explanation. They are not the same. You have said nothing to explain why an appreciation of art is less important than atheism.
I have not accused Christians of fabricating things.

Given that you have claimed, in another thread, you have special access to knowledge, and given that assessing someone’s tone is exceptionally easy for most people, let alone people who have studied English literature and language at college-level, so I could quite easily defend my assessment of your elevated level of self worth, or at least your lack of humility (which is how this debate began). You defend yourself with ‘can’t see the forest for all the trees’ reasoning.

Can I scorn all Christianity with the Lord’s liberation army, or the anti-balaka movement in Central African Republic? So far, you claimed that I cannot because they’re not real Christians. This is the Western-consensus bollocks definition of Christianity you use (this rejecting any Christians up until about 150 years ago), but don’t extend to a definition of Islam. You think the “consensus” on Christianity is what you think Christianity is, you think Islam is limited to your idea of Islam, and you think atheism can be scorned by the behaviour of distinct individuals whose behaviour is not well explained by atheism itself. Your conjecture really fails on the marketplace of ideas.

I am neither struggling nor straining to protect my conscience. I know Hitler was a bad person, and I understand there is no meaningful link between his philosophy and mine., regarding the specific horrors he orchestrated. It’s your demand that atheism be construed as a meaningful link between me and the tyrants that is tortured rhetoric.

I am not morally unmoored and I’ve never met an atheist who is morally unmoored. And I see no evidence that theism offers a good mooring. (As I have argued, all the moral mooring that anyone spends anytime congratulating religion for is spawned from humanism.) But as you have an entirely uninformed concept of secular moral philosophy (and religious morality, so far as I can tell) you’re blind to all that.

My counter-point(s):

 

  1. That was one big, silly “Nunh unh!”

    Where do you get the idea that I didn’t explain the arts thing? I told you — and you seemed to agree — that an interest in the arts is unlinked to moral prescriptions. I further told you, and you seemed to agree, that religions do offer moral prescriptions. That that is where you properly go to find moral prescriptions.

    Where you mess up, and I thank you for this as well: the only possible good or decent humanism (after all, humanism is a continuum as well!) comes after belief in God; after belief in a Higher Authority dictating that we behave properly toward one another. Absent that belief in a Higher Authority, humanism is, to borrow my own phrase, morally unmoored. Any “common decency” component in humanism, absent a Higher Authority, is nothing more than a passing phase, waiting to be supplanted by whatever the next thing is.

    You accuse me of using my own definitions of Christianity. But you’re just as guilty of using your own definition for humanism. Faith in a higher ideal is possible only with faith in a Higher Authority. Humanists pretend that the higher ideal stems from Man’s desire for constant self-improvement (I believe in that, by the way), but the problem is the definition of “self-improvement,” which, absent a Highest Authority, is as elastic as the secularist needs it to be, in order to conform to his basest ambitions. The secular humanist Soviets thought they were well on the way to “creating” the perfect man, the “New Soviet Man,” who would bring about the Socialist Utopia.

    That turned out … poorly.

    Best,

    — x

Result:

Point xPraetorius. Pointing out that the profoundly evil Soviets considered themselves “Humanists” is an argument for which Allallt has no rejoinder. Paragraphs 2 and 3 are devastating to Allallt’s belief in the idea that all good things spring from Humanism. I pointed out that all bad things do as well. Keep in mind that Stalin, Hitler, Mao, et al, all thought they were doing good things. They were not, arguably I admit, aware of the fact that they were doing great evil.


Then, Allallt and I had the following exchange, again on the subject of whether Hitler was an atheist:

(26) Their point(s):

Hitler frequently said that he was a Christian. Zande then posted numerous quotes. Allallt also posted a reply asking how, in light of All the Hitler quotes, I could still believe that Hitler was an atheist. It all started with a post from Zande, to which Allallt replied:

“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

I can keep posting quotes by Hitler affirming he was a Christian, and anti-atheist.

Like I said, if at any time you wish to provide some contrary evidence, evidence where Hitler says, for example, he does not believe in the Christian god, then at that time i’ll be happy to review it.

Over to you….

  1. Why do you think Hitler is an atheist? Have you got a source? Did he admit it in his diary or something?

    Honestly, I’ve never bothered to look into it until about 2 hours ago, and there’s a lot to suggest he’s a Christian.

My counter-point(s):

I re-quoted Bullock and made some powerful points (in red highlight), in this exchange:

    1. There you have it. I asked why you think he’s an atheist and you said he isn’t.
      I’d appreciate an explanation, but for now I’m going to just let that point stand.

  • Because I’ve explained it over and over and over and over and over again to the likes of Zande, a half-wit who just keeps coming back and saying, “Hitler was a Christian, Hitler was a Christian…” again and again and again, like a brain-dead parrot. First: Hitler wasn’t. You’re a big boy, go do some research of your own. Second: even if he had been, it means nothing. In this very thread, from Zande’s own source, we found this:

    The religious views of Adolf Hitler are a matter of interest and debate. According to Alan Bullock, Hitler was a rationalist and a materialist “who believed neither in God nor in conscience.” Nonetheless, Hitler opportunistically employed the language of ‘divine providence’ in defence of his own myth.

    Go ahead and impeach Alan Bullock. He’s Zande’s source. Done with sources now.

    Let’s pretend that Hitler, the murderer of millions, was a Christian. Zande’s premise is: because, so Zande says, Hitler was a Christian, that indicts Christianity.

    By his, and apparently your, ‘logic,” the laws against murder cause murder because even though they plainly prohibit murder, still murderers commit murder.

    As an atheist, you actually can make that leap, because without any Ultimate Authority, you can, and do (remember: Zande thinks Hitler was a Christian!) make any leaps of faith you want.

    Heck, you’re about to pen a piece, or so you say, that suggests that the ethics of a belief system that commands us to love everyone in the world are inferior to those of a belief system that was, and continues to be, instrumental in the murder, impoverishment, dislocation and destitution of tens of millions of people and their families.

    By the way, I’ve already figured out the tack you’ll take, and this very thread debunks it completely in one line. Here’s the line:

    Remember: where you see atheism as “content-free,” people like Marx — and his acolytes and offshoots (Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, etc) — all very much saw content in the idea, and introduced the world to what I called in the previous post: “evangelical atheism.”(©xPraetorius, 2016)

    Best,

    — x

Result:

Point xPraetorius. The basic point that Allallt and Zande were trying to make — indicting Christianity because (they say) Hitler and others were Christians — was a particularly feeble point in the first place. It was easy to bat it down.


 

(27) My point(s):

I’d had enough of the rampant insulting, even though I gave more witheringly than I got. My participation in it was all just a ploy to try to convince Allallt to introduce some standards on his blog anyway. If I had been able to do that, Ark’s participation would be severely constrained, because one of Ark’s favorite things is to use his potty-mouth to deride debate opponents. My ploy didn’t work. I’ve noticed that any appeals to the RGI, to the left, and to atheists (so far) to elevate their discourse … has failed every time.

So, I abandoned the insulting (but not entirely the snark) because, as I pointed out to them, I have no need for dirty words, cussing, swearing or any other such nitwittery.

Here’s my post explaining all that:

Now, it’s time to change things up a bit. I have a concession/confession to make myself.

I’m not who I seem to be in these posts. Oh, I’m still the same dude (same description as before), it’s just that I’ve been playing a character

As you probably should have cottoned to long ago, and as I mentioned more than several times at my own blog, I disapprove strongly of the gratuitous insult, of bad or coarse language, and of questioning the integrity, the honesty or the sanity of others.

I was hoping that I could show by example that that is the best policy, and that maybe Allallt would adopt some standards, but I did not succeed in that effort.

So, please accept my apologies for all the “stupid” this and the “idiot” that. I didn’t mean them. Needless to say, no one here is stupid, or an idiot; they’re simply people who disagree with me.

I hinted at this a bit earlier when I said that I no longer felt constrained by my own standards, and I’d hoped that Allallt would take the hint, and think about raising the level of discourse at his otherwise not-too-bad blog.

So, at this point, I’m going back to where I’m more comfortable; in the realm of the non-combative back-and-forth.

You two are still both wrong, and I think I’ve pretty well demonstrated it. 🙂

Especially with the Alan Bullock quote, that pretty much should put the Hitler distraction to bed.

Here’s a snippet from Wikipedia (again, not my preferred “go to” for information anyway) about Bullock:

In 1952, Bullock published Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, the first comprehensive biography of Adolf Hitler, which he based on the transcripts of the Nuremberg Trials. This book dominated Hitler scholarship for many years. The book characterised Hitler as an opportunistic machtpolitiker (“power politician”). In Bullock’s opinion, Hitler was a “mountebank”, an opportunistic adventurer devoid of principles, beliefs or scruples whose actions throughout his career were motivated only by a lust for power. Bullock’s views led in the 1950s to a debate with Hugh Trevor-Roper who argued that Hitler did possess beliefs, albeit repulsive ones, and that his actions were motivated by them. Bullock’s Guardian obituary commented that “Bullock’s famous maxim ‘Hitler was jobbed into power by backstairs intrigue’ has stood the test of time.”

When reviewing Hitler: A Study in Tyranny in The Times in 1991, John Campbell wrote “Although written so soon after the end of the war and despite a steady flow of fresh evidence and reinterpretation, it has not been surpassed in nearly 40 years: an astonishing achievement.

Later, Bullock to some extent changed his mind about Hitler. His later works show the dictator as much more of an ideologue, who pursued the ideas expressed in Mein Kampf (and elsewhere) despite their consequences. This has become a widely accepted view of Hitler, particularly in relation to the Holocaust.

So, I guess some consider Bullock to be credible. I admit, I don’t know enough about his work to conclude any which way. The real danger of relying on sources made manifest!

Oh, and Allallt… to clean up a bit of a mess you left on the floor, I don’t believe that anyone has incorporated Jainism as a vital component of a ruling ideology that’s quite comfortable with dealing death on a massive scale. Therefore, Jainism is implicated — as far as I know — in no mass murders. Atheism — or “Evangelical Atheism” (© xPraetorius) — is, indeed, implicated in the murder of tens of millions, and therefore remains indicted. It was a vital part of socialist ideology, and bears the same bloody stains as socialism. Sorry. No defensive squirming of yours, or of anyone else, can change that. As you’re fond of saying: Those are the facts, and the facts are discourteous.

Best,

— x

Their counter-point(s):

None.

Result:

Point xPraetorius. This happened a lot. I tended to answer more comprehensively than they. I don’t apologize for that — the gap can be called laziness, and the principal characteristic of those with whom I’ve debated is: intellectual laziness(2) — but it does result in a lot of my points being ignored. I view those as points not countered, therefore a point made. I tend not to ignore any of their points, so this happens less frequently to me.

Needless to say, Zande couldn’t prevent himself from responding stupidly. He had the chance to respond in magnanimous fashion to my “apology,” and failed to. Of course, he had taken it on the chin the most. Well, he was the stupidest. Here’s his response to my post above:

  • [First Zande quoted me] So, please accept my apologies for all the “stupid” this and the “idiot” that. I didn’t mean them. Needless to say, no one here is stupid, or an idiot; they’re simply people who disagree with me.

    [Now, his response] Ahahaha! You’ve lost your mind! Do remember, Praetorius (or whoever it is we’re talking to here, at this moment), that Allalt has linked back to your blog where you behave even worse than you have here.

  •  

 


 

(28) Their point(s):

Again on the Hitler argument. I made the point that Zande was relying on Hitler’s word in his assessment that Hitler was a Christian. I pointed out that Hitler might not have a close relationship with the truth. I had further pointed out that my conclusions were based on Hitler’s acts rather than his words, which I adjudged unreliable.

Zande’s entries to this effect consisted of lists of quotes from Hitler insisting that he was a Christian. Rather than post them all, I figured I’d link to them. They’re here.

My counter-point(s):

I see how it works now, Zande.

You believe that Hitler, your “source,” was a great truth-teller. A great teller of “facts.”

Your source above is — Wow! — the horse’s mouth!

What else of what Hitler said was great fact? Are you a believer that Hitler was a great man, Zande? Hitler thought he was, and hinted constantly that he was. Is that “fact” too? Hitler said it, after all, and you seem to put great store into what Hitler said, as “fact” and “truth.” ‘Cause facts can also be called “truth.” If a fact is false, then it’s not a fact.

Well, the “facts” you presented are all from Hitler! Are you saying this is a credible source for historical consideration? Aer you implying that Hitler would never, ever lie in order, say, to gain power, or to manipulate public opinion, or to try to burnish his legacy, or any other less than noble end?

Surely there are some things that Hitler said that were not “facts?” I hope so, else we fought a great war against what we thought was a very bad man. You seem to be indicating that he was really one who told the truth!

Silly me! Yet, again, you have so kindly produced all the above assertions by Hitler himself, and you call them “facts!” Every last one of those quotes from Hitler quite neatly supports Bullock’s assertion that Hitler was merely pretending to be a Christian in order to “expand his own myth,” but you say they’re facts!

This is incredible! Have you called historians? They’d be really interested to know that Hitler was actually stating facts all along! What a revelation! What a source! And right there in the open for all to see! Why, oh why, I wonder would Bullock say that Hitler was only pretending to be a Christian! Could it be that Bullock suspected Hitler of humbuggery? Of being less than entirely honest? Of a lack of integrity? Whence, I wonder, would he draw that conclusion?!?

Oh, by the way, I’m quite willing to agree that it’s a fact that Hitler said all those things. I’m pretty sure he said a lot of things. I’m thinking, though, that Hitler lacks credibility, as a source, for the actual truth of what he was saying. 🙂

See how that works, Zande?

Best,

— x

I followed all that a bit later with (red highlights added):

Lol! You demand over and over and over and over and over again that I provide sources.

So, I give you one — your own! — and you say, “That’s not what I meant! I want you to present sources the way I want you to present them! Waaaaaahhhhh!!!”

And you say, “What’s the source for your source?”

Can you take a moment to acknowledge that what I said before, and what you admitted was true — that you would take any sources I might offer and immediately dismiss them as somehow illegitimate — simply came blindingly obviously, and repeatedly, true in this thread? And why? You couldn’t prevent yourself.

You said:

“Bullock’s opinion isn’t worth s*** until we have some idea what evidence it is based on.”

Wait, wait, wait… were you questioning the legitimacy of my source? Heavens! Who predicted that?!? And even when I usedyour source!

Face it: There’s not a single, solitary source I could present, to which you would not respond that way.

The atheists’ Holy Writ: “The Opinion of Others if It Agrees With Me.

If it doesn’t, though, “Bwwrraaawwk!! Sources please! Sources please! Bwwrraawwwwk!”

In the Atheists’ Echo Chamber, this is The Atheist’s Endless Loop that allows him to stay inside the chamber’s cozy, comfortable confines.

Oh, and about Bullock: Google him. After all, he was your source. I simply borrowed him for a bit, ’cause he was a better source for me than for you.

Get off the sources thing, and stand on your own two feet. Unless, that is, you’re too chicken to.

Best,

— x

Result:


 

(29) Their point(s):

I took the opportunity to make some more points. To my credit, though, they brought these things up. Here’s a post from Allallt, still trying to indicate that Hitler could have been a Christian:

If I claim I am a Christian and can convince–over a long period of time–the Catholic Church that I am a Christian, that is the best evidence you are ever going to have as to my beliefs.

However, if I say I’m black, then there will be evidence that can overthrow my assertion, even if I believe it very firmly.

I hope, as your blog offers “Unusually Insightful and Literate Commentary on the World Around Us”, you can see that these are different domains that require and entertain different levels of evidence.

My counter-point(s):

Here’s my counter-punch, with an additional few points:

  1. This is a silly argument. If you are black, there is physical evidence to counter your assertion. There is no evidence on earth that can prove of disprove your assertion that you are or are not a Christian.

    Again, this is not a difficult concept to understand.

    However, you may unwittingly have stumbled upon something: The strange case of Rachel Dolezal. A plainly white girl — blonde hair, blue eyes, etc. — decides that she wants to be — or is! — black, and begins to dye her skin and hair, and call herself black. She convinces enough people eventually to find herself the head of the Seattle (or thereabouts) chapter of the NAACP!

    After some years in that position, someone recognizes her and outs her as a white woman, to which many respond that she actually is black, merely from the desire to be black.

    We see also the equally strange case of one “Caitlyn Jenner” an obvious man who said one day that he was really a woman, despite the indisputable evidence which included a victory in the 1972 (or thereabouts) men’s Olympic decathlon event!

    Absent the skin and hair dyes, and the surgeries and the ongoing hormone replacements, both Dolezal and Jenner would be exposed for what they really are: a white woman and a man. Everyone knows this, yet there are many here in America who insist that she is black and he is a woman. Furthermore, they will characterize you as the worst of bigoted louts if you have the temerity to point out that, absent chemical modification her skin is white, and absent surgery and hormones, he’s got all the objective, incontrovertible evidence of being a dude.

    Herein the rub: People are now able to look you and me straight in the eye and say white is black, and man is woman, despite all the very, very scientific, once incontrovertible evidence. And that’s for physical things! Things with measures, and counts, and numeric values and the like.

    It’s this state of mind that allows Zande to suggest that Christ, when He plainly forbade the stoning of the adulteress, nevertheless would approve of the stoning of unruly children.

    Pray tell, what sources could one bring to an argument where one side is willing to make these kinds of nonsensical arguments? None, of course.

    While the black-is-white, man-is-woman, Christ-supports-stoning-unruly-children arguments are ridiculous on their face, they’ve carried the day in America, and they’ve opened the country to a vast slew of other really stupid arguments. For example: euthanasia. Eugenics for another, both of which are all the rage on the American left, which is absolutely able to believe anything at all, as long as you throw some fancy words around it.

    How does one argue against people who are posing such stupid arguments? Well, one simply does one’s best, and points out the absurdities where one can. One then hopes that one has planted the seeds of reason and sanity in the fuzzy thinking, where, one day they [the seeds] might germinate and grow.

    You are plainly in the “truth is anything I want it to be” crowd, and you’ll find plenty of company there. It’s also jam-packed with atheists, who, absent an Absolute Truth, give themselves permission to believe anything they want, thereby confirming Chesterton’s observation.

    Best,

    — x

Result:

Point xPraetorius. By the way, here’s a Wikipedia entry about Hitler’s religious beliefs, with red highlights added:

According to Kershaw, Hitler was “a very private, even secretive individual”, able to deceive “even hardened critics” as to his true beliefs. His anti-Christian world view is evidenced in sources such as the Goebbels Diaries, the memoirs of Albert Speer, and the transcripts edited by Martin Bormann in Hitler’s Table Talk. The historian Evans wrote that Hitler repeatedly called Nazism a secular ideology founded on science, which in the long run could not co-exist with religion. Goebbels wrote in 1941 that Hitler “hates Christianity”. Speer wrote after the war that Hitler had “no real attachment” to Catholicism, but that he never formally left the Church. Rees concludes that “Hitler’s relationship in public to Christianity—indeed his relationship to religion in general—was opportunistic. There is no evidence that Hitler himself, in his personal life, ever expressed any individual belief in the basic tenets of the Christian church”.

Although skeptical of religion, Hitler referred to belief in a “creator” and sometimes Christianity in speeches. Given his hostility to Christianity, Rees wrote, “[t]he most persuasive explanation of these statements is that Hitler, as a politician, simply recognised the practical reality of the world he inhabited… Had Hitler distanced himself or his movement too much from Christianity, it is all but impossible to see how he could ever have been successful in a free election”. Hitler’s public relationship to religion was one of opportunistic pragmatism. He saw Christianity as a temporary ally against Communism. Use of the term “Positive Christianity” in the Nazi Party Program of the 1920s is commonly regarded as a tactical measure. Julian Baggini writes that Hitler’s Germany was not a “straightforwardly atheist state,” but one which “sacrilized” notions of blood and nation.Hitler angered Christians by appointing the neo-pagan Alfred Rosenberg as official Nazi ideologist. According to Max Domarus, Hitler had fully discarded belief in the Judeo-Christian conception of God by 1937, but continued to use the word “God” in speeches. In Mein Kampf (1925/6), Hitler refers to an “Almighty Creator” and “Providence”, but declared himself neutral in sectarian matters and supportive of separation between Church and State. The book presents a nihilistic, Social Darwinist vision of a universe, a vision in tension with traditional Christian notions.

There. Sources. Needless to say, you can see the quagmire that presenting this would have brought about on Allallt’s blog.

I googled “Hitler was not a Christian” and got almost 29 million hits. They were all over the map: for and against the search topic. Then I searched “Hitler was a Christian” and got 32 million hits. Essentially the same number. Both for and against the search topic. Then “Hitler hated Christianity” got 318,000 hits, and “Hitler loved Christianity” got 1.2 million hits. All searches had a mix of hits for and against the search topic.

Do you think we could have played dueling sources for a few centuries with all that material? More to the point, do you think that the obsession with sources on the part of Allallt and Zande was nothing more than a cheap way to dodge the real issue? I do.


 

(30) Their point(s):

Finally, Allallt tried to make the point that only my definition of Christianity mandates that people act as good and decent people. I countered that there is no such thing as “my definition” of Christianity, there’s only Christianity. I either get it right or I don’t. However, when I get it wrong, that’s not the fault of Christianity, but rather my fault. That exchange started here. Here’s the text of Allallt’s point:

“Unusually Insightful and Literate Commentary on the World Around Us”
But not aware that “proof” is not the level of confidence reasonable people aim at.
I didn’t say Hitler was a Christian or an atheist. I said Zande is actually willing to provide quotes from both Hitler and Christians that were convinced Hitler was a Christian, and you are willing to provide something that boiled down to ‘that’s not my definition of Christianity!’
Well, unless God died, I don’t think you’ve been made the arbiter of what Christianity is. And you haven’t been able to defend your ‘Humanised’ Christianity (I’m aware that term is loaded, but you know what I mean).

With regard to Hitler, your argument has been ‘That’s not my Christianity’ and ‘no, I won’t present a cogent argument for for my Christianity’. So, as much as you can bicker about Zande’s argument, you’ve presented nothing of substance on the issue. And you think we should invest energy in taking it seriously.

With regard to the tyrants, I don’t think the Kims are atheists, I think they are the actual Gods. I don’t know that Hitler was an atheist, but no one has presented an argument to say he’s an atheist, other than you assertion of atheism equating to nihilism on some level and that’s the only explanation you can think of. I’ve not known abductive reasoning be reliable. So, I’m not sure I’m willing to include Hitler in your list of atheists.

But, Mao’s still there. Stalin’s still there. Okay, that takes the exclusivity out of your claim, but that doesn’t actually affect your claim. Your claim is that atheism offers no prohibitions and therefore that is a more important focus that the things they actually believed and the things that actually motivated them. My rebuttal that it’s not atheism, but a lack of Jainism, that should be the focus is precisely as valid and I’ve offered precisely as much defence.

When you eventually rebut that, you’ll have to say something like Christianity also offering prohibitions, at which point I’ll offer two rebuttals (1) that is a concession that it is more sensible to focus on the things people do believe and (2) the Bible gives so many moral imperatives as to offer no prohibition to anyone except people like you who have opted to take a compassionate interpretation of the Bible. I’m not arguing that is a bad thing to do, I am arguing it’s not Biblical. (Or, at least, that you haven’t defended it with anything other than pointing at the bits you like. That’s identical in substance to me point to the bits you don’t like, morally, and that’s why Christianity also offers no prohibition.)

The problem with your claim that you understand Christianity, and even more strangely, that it’s obvious how you should interpret Christianity, is that there is a genuine plethora of beliefs and people are heinous in the name of Christianity and they have been throughout the millenia. How can it be obvious? Even if you’re right (which your yet to convincingly defend) how on earth can it be obvious?

I’m not sure you understand Zlork. Zlork is an exploration of Ontological arguments for a God. Zande is actually an atheist, the point in Zlork is that he makes as much sense, if not more sense, of some of the traditional arguments for God’s existence. It’s actually a very difficult God to argue against without also tearing down more traditional Gods. I’m sure you’re invited to try.

My counter-point(s):

Here’s the whole exchange. Again, it’s entertaining reading (red highlights added):

  1. Have to hit this with bullet points. Time considerations.

    You say: “Humanised Christianity,” when you mean: “Christianity.” No qualifier needed. Christianity started out “humane.” That humans abused it is not surprising. It validates the expression: The worst thing about Christianity is the Christians.” Thank God (and I do!) Jesus came along and gave us a way out of the muck of our own making!

    • As pointed out, Zlork made no sense on very basic, very elementary grounds. Don’t forget that Zande based a good deal of his argument for the idea that Zlork makes as much sense as the real God, on (1) living, suffering rocks and crystals, (2) suffering protozoa, (3) suffering vegetation. Go ahead … in your mind, see where a sense of ethics can take you with that mess, and you decide — sans sources! — whether it makes more sense than religious belief.

    • You don’t “concede” as much as you make my argument for me, then try to pretend it’s your own. I classify that as a concession, because I’m not the only one perceiving all this, and it’s helpful for me to point it out when you do this.

    • Concerning the Kims of North Korea. If a person proclaims himself a Marxist, as the Kims do — albeit with their own branding — (Like, Mao, Lenin, Stalin, Lenin — and even Hitler and Mussolini!) then, the foundation for them — Marxism — has as a basic component: atheism. Even Evangelical Atheism! As seen over and over and over again, when power-mad (yes, that term is a gift to you) atheists actually make the society in their own image, and place themselves atop it as “gods,” they’re still atheists in good standing. The idea of the atheist substituting himself for God, and establishing a quasi-religion based on himself, is a well-known phenomenon. Mao did the same. Khrushchev spoke of Stalin’s “Cult of Personality,” a watered-down term meaning “religion.” So, for terminology’s sake, I still consider someone — ie Hitler, or the Kims — as atheists, if they try to supplant God in the minds of the people.

    • With regard to Hitler, my argument is not “that’s not my Christianity,” but rather, “that’s not Christianity. Period.” Christianity isn’t “mine,” and it doesn’t permit any of the main components of Hitlerism (Nazism) that were absolutely necessary for Hitler’s rise to power, and his subsequent crimes. The belief that the Jews were inferior: forbidden. The mirror belief that Aryans were superior: forbidden. The dispossession of the Jews: forbidden. The initiation of what became World War II, as well as the minor steps leading up to it — the annexations, the Anschluss, and all: forbidden. The attempt to exterminate the Jews: forbidden. The attempt to exterminate Catholics, gypsies, homosexuals and others: forbidden.

    Here’s a non-controversial statement: There is no way that Hitler, acting as a good Christian, could have arrived at the pinnacle of power in Nazi Germany. He might have arrived at the pinnacle of power in another sort of Germany, but not that one. I do wonder what would have happened if someone with Hitler’s oratorical gifts had been able to express himself as hypnotically as he did, and had brought with him a message of good rather than of evil.

    A small anecdote: Years ago, I was watching a documentary on television. One or other of the History Channels, I think. At that time I didn’t speak any German. The documentary involved the showing of a Hitler speech in its entirety, with English subtitles. I didn’t have my glasses, so was unable to read the subtitles, but was able to make out Hitler and his gestures and all. The speech was mesmerizing. I had no way of knowing what he was saying, but I could sure tell that he was being persuasive in whatever he was trying to get across. I could feel the energy and intensity and effectiveness of the presentation. There was no doubt that those watching and listening to him at the time of the speech would have felt it a great deal more powerfully than I was with decades of remove and no knowledge of the language.

    Best,

    — x

  2. Forbidden – in your interpretation of Christianity. You were wailing on about subjectivity earlier. It’s here, too.

    The statement is controversial. “Good”, by what metric? I agree that a “good” person (regardless of any other qualifier) couldn’t have done what Hitler did. But I’m using an ethical standard derived from human discussion and Humanism. If you want to derive it from Christianity, devoid of the human discussion that supersedes it, then there’s a problem. Your claim becomes controversial.

    Also — I see you take people at their word when it suits you. Why do you take Mao and the Kims at their word, but not Hitler?

  3. Forbidden. In Christianity. There is no “my interpretation of Christianity.”

    Thank you for this. An atheist would say: “‘Good’, by what metric? I agree that a “good” person (regardless of any other qualifier) couldn’t have done what Hitler did.” In an atheist’s worldview, “good” is anything he wishes to believe it is at any given moment. You and I agree on this point.

    Presumably, you also agree that, for any given atheist, Hitler was a very fine person, a “good” person, if he [the atheist] chooses to think so.

    You said:

    But I’m using an ethical standard derived from human discussion and Humanism. If you want to derive it from Christianity, devoid of the human discussion that supersedes it, then there’s a problem. Your claim becomes controversial.

    Again, my claim is controversial only for an atheist. A Christian with [t]he merest of a rudimentary understanding of Christianity sees no controversy in my statement.

    Needless to say, there are overlaps between your “Humanism” and Christianity. But, there are serious divergences as well. For example, your beloved “Humanist” frequently has no problem with killing babies. Peter Singer considers himself a highly ethical (probably) Humanist, and he is for the “humane” murder of “defective” babies. I suspect you are as well. I already know that if someone presents himself on Tuesday to two doctors, and convincingly suggests he has no reason to continue to live, you are okay with killing him. This is a divergence from Christianity, that you envision in Humanism. Christianity, though, envisions the possibility that on Wednesday he might change his mind.

    About my taking Mao and the Kims at their word, but not Hitler, you know that’s not true.

    I analyze the entirety of their words and deeds. I’ve made arguments about all these things many, many times in other threads. Including the last one in which we interacted. I view this thread as only a continuation of that interaction. So do you, by the way. Mark, for example, your constant insistence that “you link back there.” Presumably that others would follow those links? I don’t, therefore, feel the need to rehash arguments I’ve already made many times before.

    Best

    — x

  4. It’s so funny that when I was insulting you, you had no problem with it.

    When I apologized for the insults, and have been nothing but polite and genial, you went right around the bend. And now you’re taking your ball and going home to mommy.

    You are a strange duck!

    Best,

    — x

Result:

Point xPraetorius. I meant the “concession” thing. Let’s face it, I’m plainly not an idiot, so the above was just an exasperated parting shot from someone who had long since run out of intellectual gas.


 

 

Summary:

  • At its very best, atheism represents a lack of prohibition for a person, as it pertains to morality. This means that, if he’s striving for a higher ideal, then the atheist is dependent on his default “Supreme Authority:” whomever he chooses. If at some point, he thinks about that, he’ll recognize that the very act of his choosing says that he considers himself the Supreme Authority.
  • At its worst, atheism is an overt mandate to kill believers, because believers’ very existence — as we’ve demonstrated convincingly here — challenges the validity of a viewpoint that they believe is essential to a proper world order.
  • Atheism is a continuum, as our Venn diagram, above, indicated. It has currents and sub-currents and side-currents, but is still has in its history — its recent history — an important role in the murder of more than 100 million people. Atheists often become profoundly uncomfortable with that truth, and become hyper-defensive in being reminded of it.

 

Now, I should point out that Zande and/or Allallt, will probably pen indignant screeds thinking to debunk all this, and I look forward to those efforts. Needless to say, they’ll call me “crazy,” or “diagnosable” (Allallt’s favorite) or “stupid,” or the like, and I look forward to that as well. After all, that would mean that they were confessing that such a messed up, stupid person had beaten them up one side and down the other in a debate about a topic on which they considered themselves well-informed. 🙂

Or else they’ll realize they were well and truly thumped in this debate and ignore it all.

One important thing to know: Allallt’s and Zande’s obsession with “sources” went hand-in-hand with their extreme reluctance to divulge what they themselves were thinking — their own thoughts — regardless of what others think.

I had the cheek to suggest that, just maybe, they had no thoughts of their own, therefore that they had no real thinking based on their own real experiences, and that their ideas were all simply derived from the thinking of others.

The problem is that their ideas were feeble from the start, and their methods — an obsessive reliance on validation from others, insults, Zande’s poorly thought-out sideshows  — made their thinking all the feebler.

Worse, their dyspeptic attitude gives a strong indication that they are (1) not used to being challenged, and (2) deeply insecure in their beliefs.

— xPraetorius

Notes:


 

(1) Important: this does not mean that you can simply get rid of atheism and you’re all set. No, Islam is the very image of socialism, only with an acknowledgement of God’s existence.

(2) I think that the laziness is the result of rarely, if ever, being challenged. The general feebleness of the responses — especially Zande’s — to my points, leads me to believe that these guys, like the American left, and the RGI, rarely if ever challenge their beliefs, and rarely if ever expose themselves to dissenting views.

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45 thoughts on “Poking the Atheist Bee-Hive

    1. A typical contribution from the brain-dead Ark. Just because you have no curiosity, or desire to explore or question your own beliefs, doesn’t mean we’re all that limited.

      Go back upstairs and play with the baby-sitter.

      Best,

      — x

        1. Or, could it be? Maybe just someone exploring and challenging his own viewpoints with people who disagree with him? Couldn’t possibly be that, now could it?

          Naaaaahhh…

          My apologies. You plainly weren’t equal to the task. 🙂

          Best,

          — x

          1. No, nothing quite so involved. It’s simply that [juvenile profanity removed], that’s all.
            But I will keep a casual eye on the hundreds of comments this piece gets.

          2. Actually, I’ll tell you why I did it. Okay? Got it? Since no one can read anyone else’s mind — especially in a series of blog posts! — all we have is what they say themselves. So, I’ll explain anything you need to know as to my motives, since that’s the only possible way you could draw any conclusion whatsoever.

            In other words, any other conclusion you draw as to my motives without my essential input is, by definition, ignorant, rock-headed and stupid. Unsurprising, though, because that’s definitely consistent with the rest of your output so far. 🙂

            Since I never question your motives why don’t you grow up and stop trying to question mine?

            These are not difficult things to understand. And I typed them all really, really slowly just for you. 🙂 Do you need me to use a bigger font?

            Best,

            — x

  1. “Atheists do not assume they as individuals are the arbiter of right and wrong.”
    But they do. An avowed and proud evangelical atheist does indeed. He has to, since he visits us so often with pronouncements on our atrocious posts and condemns our views as evil. Yet he is unable to point to any source for his pronouncements but himself.

    1. Sooooo… if you don’t need to question my motives, and if you’re so sure you can read my mind to discern them, then why do you constantly question my motives, and engage in other irrelevant conjecture?

      Oh pick me! Pick me!

      Yes, x?

      It’s because he’s out of gas, teacher!

      That’s right, x! You got it exactly right!

      Thanks, teacher!

      Best,

      — x

          1. Oh, I certainly did. That’s why I joined in.
            I’m sorry about this, it’s not the first time my sense of humour has fallen flat with you. I’m clearly reading the audience all wrong.

          2. Or, you don’t do snark in such a way as I can get it.

            Not a problem.

            I engage in elaborate word games with my kids all the time. I take a sentence and jumble the various syllables all up — 52-card pickup style — and say it to them. It’s generally in the form of a request so that by the tone of my voice, they know I’m asking them to do something.

            They usually take a very brief moment to unscramble the sentence and go and do as I ask them. One time with my daughter, I did that with a Spanish sentence, and she figured it out just fine.

            But when they do it right back to me, I have a load o’trouble figuring it out.

            It’s strange how the brain works. I can accurately jumble the living daylights out of these sentences, and can extemporaneously say a sentence backwards by “seeing” the words in my mind and reading them backwards.

            But, when my kids do it to me, I blank out. They’re always saying, “You can dish it out, Dad, but you can’t take it!”

            Glad that’s not true in the blogging world! 🙂

            Best,

            — x

    1. In forums such as these, silly boy.

      In history, and with historical figures, obviously, we have their words and their actions, and we can compare the two.

      In this forum, however, you have only someone’s words. Anything else is meaningless speculation.

      Best,

      — x

      1. I think I’ve just spotted part of what it is that so compels me to respond to your nonsense. Your comment to me just now alludes to the idea that where I quoted you, you expressed yourself wrongly. You were wrong; you did not mean what you said. You spoke in absolute terms–“no one”, “anyone else”, “all”–but meant it (or so you claim) in very limited terms. The mistake is entirely yours. And yet, you show no humility and no concession. You call me a ” silly boy”.
        It’s disingenuous and I think might be part of what compels me to respond more than the stupidity of your thesis.

        1. How very bilious of you, Allallt! 🙂

          Honestly, sometimes you do have the personality of a cinder block. You should, perhaps, grow up and get some self-respect?

          I’ve not made the claims you think I’ve made. Rather you’ve tried to take plain English and, with your predilection to try to discern infinite flexibility in others’ words, you’ve tried to turn what I’ve said into something it isn’t or wasn’t.

          It’s why I’ve often had to explain things to you several different ways, and it is, indeed, the sophistry about which you are, justifiably, so defensive.

          Don’t confuse your weakness at understanding plain English for someone else’s problem.

          Best,

          — x

        2. Oh, in addition to what I just said above, I’ve said many times that as far as historical personages are concerned, we have both their words and their actions by which to assess them.

          As far as blog posts are concerned, obviously, we have only someone’s words. It’s not like it’s even remotely the first time I’ve ever said these two things.

          I think I can be excused for having been under the impression that you’ve been paying attention.

          Again, don’t try to blame your deficits — either of attention or of memory — on others. 🙂

          Best,

          — x

  2. This is due to come out in May, but I thought I’d give you exclusive access to it now. It’s a rebuttal to this post.

    There exists a common charge against atheists and atheism that atheism is instrumental in the genocides of the Western World, in the 20th century. If you let the debate run on long enough, the key actors in this argument are Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, the Kims of North Korea and Mao. The exact tyrants they name depend on the level of understand of history they choose to present, and how skillfully they think they can argue a particular person is an atheist. You may come up against rhetoric like “are you going to argue ‘tyrant X’ was a good Christian?” as a way of defining someone as an atheist, which is a language game I think is too obvious to argue with: what does one mean by “good Christian”?

    One strange interlocutor took this argument a step further, arguing that atheism is a necessary precondition for the horrors of the 21st Century in the Western world, alluded to by mentioning the tyrants above. I want to make a series of points against this: not all the people mentioned can confidently be said to be atheist; religious people have lead atrocities; and atheism is a poor focal point for understanding why someone did something, it would be much better to focus on what they did believe.

    The reason this matters is because the claim being made is that atheism is a “necessary” precondition; if the people at the helm of atrocities are not exclusively atheist, then it cannot be said that atheism is a “necessary” precondition. To a certain extent, the premise being arguing defeats itself: the simple fact the parameters are so limited in time and in geography shows a selective sample that it contrived to exclude certain events.

    Thanks to xPrae, I was caught up in exactly this debate without knowing it. I’d become exhausted with his contorted logic, disregard of basic philosophy and wilful ignorance of facts. I had simply decided to irritate him. Poor form, I know, but letting him express his sense of self-worth was a lot more fun than giving him facts and well-reasoned arguments (that he’d simply call “sophistry”). Meanwhile, xPrae, according to himself, had a university debate moderator scoring our exchange. He won, according to the moderator (according to xPrae), but that’s like having a referee declare a 3rd League High School Basketball team the winners against an NBA team who were talking a walk in a park; one team wasn’t even playing. Even then, the blog post xPrae wrote about shows signs of a biased moderator. (Read for yourself.)

    Who can we not say was an atheist?

    I want to look at two groups of people in the suggested tyrant list: those we cannot confidently say are atheists, and those we can confidently say are religious. These groups work to cast doubt on and entirely destroy the premise offered, respectively. Hitler and Pol Pot are both difficult to claim as atheists. The Kims are religious.

    Hitler made numerous recorded public and private declarations of faith. The Nazi movement was perpetrated on Hitler’s proclamations of Christian faith. One can blindly speculate that Hitler’s actions exclude him from being a Christian, but his actions did not convince the Catholic Church or a variety of other Christian leaders that Hitler wasn’t Christian. Not only did Hitler say he was Christian, but he also managed to convince a lot of people within Christianity that he was Christian. Not just the leaders and authorities within different Churches, but also the German people. There is nothing about Hitler’s actions that convinced people at the time he was not a Christian.

    The entire argument that Hitler was not a Christian comes from some of the people closest to Hitler claiming that his ideas and attitudes did not conform to their own definition or standard of Christianity. But, that is a person definition of Christianity and not an idea I accept.

    Pol Pot was a raised a Buddhist and acted like a Buddhist right up to the point he became a dictator. There was no obvious denouncement or even gradual falling out of Buddhism; no transition. It’s difficult to say he was a Buddhist at one point, but stopped being a Buddhist at any point before he was a tyrant. That said, he did persecute Buddhists first. I find this far too mixed a picture to be able to say confidently that he was atheist,

    The Kims aren’t atheists. They are Gods of a religion. A dead Kim is still the leader of North Korea, because the religion (which, I don’t think has a name) doesn’t accept that he died. That’s not atheism.

    But that still leaves Stalin and Mao. I could be done here, as once I have demonstrated that the call of exclusivity of atheism in these atrocities cannot be reasonably exclaimed, I have completely done away with the idea that atheism is “necessary”.

    Religious people have lead atrocities

    The fact that not everyone on the list can be said to be atheist is not the only way to demonstrate that atheism has no exclusive position at the helm of the atrocities. The other way is to point out that people we can confidently say are religious have lead atrocities. The Solomon empire, the Inquisition, Witch Hunts, Jorge Rafael Videla, and The Lord’s Liberation army are all pretty well known examples.

    But we also live in a world where Jihadists are committing genocide, Sunnis and shi’ites are committing genocide against each other, Christians are committing genocide against Muslims in the Central African Republic, Buddhists are committing genocide against Muslims in Myanmar.

    Religion is very much still a prominent factor in many wars and atrocities across the globe.

    These examples may fail to meet the criteria of the premise: Western. But I’d argue that is an entirely contrived parameter, written in for the implicit purpose of excluding these examples. Not only are the Kims, Mao and Pol Pot also not “Western” (leaving only Stalin―and only arguably―in the argument, which isn’t much of an argument at all, is it?) but such a limit undermines the whole idea of atheism being a “necessary precondition”. If atheism were necessary, it would not be so context specific as to exclude nearly all the atrocities that are actually happening.

    So, not only are all the “atheists” not atheists, but they are also not the only people that commit atrocities.

    Why try to focus on atheism at all?

    There is a clear agenda present in trying to make atheism the focus of modern atrocities. It involves a contorted logic to exclude religious tyrants, and to try to make atheists out of people who are not atheists, and it serves a goal (which might explain why it’s so important to some people). But atheism is precisely not the issue. The issue is what people actually believed, and in every case, what the person at the helm believed, and convinced others of, was basically religious.

    The claim that the tyrants believed and convinced others of was this: there is a better world available at the other side of this actions, therefore this action cannot be thought of as bad. It was an unwavering belief in a utopia existing at the other side of an atrocity. It is this dogmatic certainty and willingness to follow through that is the concern, and that which I am characterising as religious.

    A better Cambodia exists, for the survivors, and it is just on the other side of eradicating intellectuals and those who refuse to farm; a better race exists, and can be realised and purified, and it will inherit a utopia once there are no Jews, black people or disabled people in Germany; the world is a purer and more faithful place without heretics, and so there’s just one little thing we need to do to create a utopia; 72 virgins and bliss await the martyr…

    Short of immediate protection, we should be immediately sceptical of anyone who says they are willing to kill for a greater good. That person is not selling atheism, that person is selling religion.

    1. Excellent! Now, your post was erudite and worth reading.
      Yahweh , of course is the biggest monster of them all. For theists to deny this puts them in a very awkward position, hence they invented DCT.

        1. The reply was to Allallt, in actual fact.

          And please stop signing off your comments to me with a kiss. I am neither gay not have any interest indulging in any form of cyber romance with a Young Earth Creationist such as you. Thanks.

          1. Lol!

            I’m content to have you admit you’re wrong about God, and that presumably, you’ll do your best to be right with God. I don’t care what else you say.

            However, I am bemused at Allallt’s, Zande’s and your various obsessions, including that of categorizing, boxing and labeling me. If you wish to call me a a Young Earth Creationist, I guess that’s your right. I don’t know what one of those is, but whatever.

            As regards the imagined “kiss,” there is none. It’s a smiley face. Schmaltzy and hokey, I’ll admit, but I’m definitely about schmaltzy and hokey. However, it has nothing to do with romance of any kind.

            Does your browser render it as something other than a smiley face?

            Oh, and, let’s face it together: You are gay. I can tell by what you write. (Hey, this mind-reading thing is fun!)

            🙂

            Best,

            — x

          2. Oh? What evidence to you have? Are you saying that you know: How It All Came About?

            Wow! Seems to me that all you have is a bunch of archaeologists running around trying to find out whether this 2,500-year old guy said this or that, and whether or not various things happened 2,000, 3,000 or 6,000 or however many years ago.

            Then, when they can’t find conclusive evidence of said phenomena, you say, “See? See?” Even though they and you have nothing, and it means nothing.

            Could be they just didn’t find it. Could be it’s just not findable. Now, at least. Could be they didn’t understand it, or know it, or recognize it, or admit it when they did find it. Could be they denied it, or lied about it (atheists do that habitually) because it didn’t fit their narrative, or hid it, or ignored it. Could be they were honest about finding it, but the mostly atheist scientific community ignored them. Atheists are generally pretty stupid, after all.

            But then there are a million different possible explanations! None of which support your stunted thinking.

            You have, literally, nothing. And you call that big, fat, ol’ nothing-burger “evidence.” You don’t even have an opinion you can call your own!

            But you do have faith, I’ll give you that. No evidence for your faith, but you do have it, and I guess that’s a start.

            You see creation all around you and deny there’s a Creator. That’s a bit like seeing bread all around you, and denying there’s a baker. You just lost any right to call anyone else stupid ever again.

            Best,

            — x

          3. Lol! You “see” such evidence, but can’t produce any, except your highly dubious, and generally illiterate, feelings. I thought you were supposed to be able to come up with all sorts of S C I E N C E to dazzle us all, and make us see the light and all that.

            Instead we get from you exactly what you’ve got: nothing.

            Arkenaten must mean “all smoke and no fire” in ancient Egyptian. And where’s your evidence that it doesn’t? Because I happen to know that that’s what they called the old fool in private. How do I know that? Well, like you, I can read minds!

            Best,

            — x

          4. Lol! You “see” such evidence, but can’t produce any,

            Silly person!
            Of course I can produce evidence.
            I just cut and paste the URL to your blog and direct readers to any one of your posts or comments.

            They have the epithet, ”ignorant little tit” written all over them and not in code either!

          1. (Sorry – misplaced reply.)

            Lol!

            I’m content to have you admit you’re wrong about God, and that presumably, you’ll do your best to be right with God. I don’t care what else you say.

            However, I am bemused at Allallt’s, Zande’s and your various obsessions, including that of categorizing, boxing and labeling me. If you wish to call me a a Young Earth Creationist, I guess that’s your right. I don’t know what one of those is, but whatever.

            As regards the imagined “kiss,” there is none. It’s a smiley face. Schmaltzy and hokey, I’ll admit, but I’m definitely about schmaltzy and hokey. However, it has nothing to do with romance of any kind.

            Does your browser render it as something other than a smiley face?

            Oh, and, let’s face it together: You are gay. I can tell by what you write. (Hey, this mind-reading thing is fun!)
            🙂

            Best,

            — x

    2. Thanks for this generally not bad post! Especially for the tone, which was only partially snarky. I do enjoy good snark, and yours wasn’t terrible. I kind of like the “strange interlocutor” label (as fond as you are of labels, this one wasn’t bad).

      Einstein, and Tesla, Shakespeare, Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov were “strange” by virtue of inhabiting the far reaches of most bell curves on which they might have found themselves being measured.

      Yes, yes, yes, I know, there are other, less savory, people whom one might characterize as “strange” as well! I’ll stick with my examples.

      You did, in this post, basically concede to me all my points, and I appreciate it. I’ll explain how in a bit, but I gave you a clue as to how you did that in our exchange back at your place.

      For the moment, though, you should re-proofread, clean up some incorrect word use — “led” vs. “lead” — and “perpetrated” (Did you really mean that?) and other awkwardnesses (“arguing,” “level of understand”), and when I finish my response, I’ll post that.

      Best,

      — x

    3. Thanks, Allallt, for the preview. As mentioned a bit above, maybe you should have taken some care to had done some editing? Below are some thoughts concerning your post, above.

      Note: This reply from Allallt was kind of sloppy. I made what I thought were corrections to some of the words he used. He seemed to be feeling not up to the task of supporting his ideas carefully, with some thought to taking the necessary care that they be well-expressed and -written.

      My corrections are in red, in his text, in the “Allallt said:” sections. One is, of course, tempted to think: sloppy thinking produces sloppy writing. As you’ll see, Allallt’s argumentation does little to dispel that notion. 🙂

      Allallt said:

      This is due to come out in May, but I thought I’d give you exclusive access to it now. It’s a rebuttal to this post.

      Response:

      Okay.

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

      Allallt said:

      There exists a common charge against atheists and atheism that atheism is instrumental in the genocides of the Western World, in the 20th century. If you let the debate run on long enough, the key actors in this argument are Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, the Kims of North Korea and Mao. The exact tyrants they name depend on the level of understanding of history they choose to present, and how skillfully they think they can argue a particular person is an atheist. You may come up against rhetoric like “are you going to argue ‘tyrant X’ was a good Christian?” as a way of defining someone as an atheist, which is a language game I think is too obvious to argue with: what does one mean by “good Christian”?

      Response:

      By a “good Christian,” I would mean, of course: a Christian. You probably don’t have a very good understanding of what “a Christian” is, but I might be able to help. It’s someone who actually believes, and has faith, that Jesus is the Messiah, the Redeemer, the Savior, and that through Him all Christians’ sins are forgiven, and he will have eternal life in Heaven. Close enough. That means that if Adolf Hitler truly believed that, then he was a Christian. There is little indication that he believed all that. Plainly, Stalin, Pol Pot, the Kims and Mao (SPoPoKiM?) … did not and were not Christians. They also believed in no other Supreme Authority than themselves, since they were willing to take irrevocable and catastrophic actions that correctly belong only to God. Oddly, since an atheist believes that there is nothing beyond life, they should be, by far the most ferocious defenders of life. The most peaceful, conflict-avoidant, pastoral people in the world — for once a person loses his life, in the atheist’s thinking, he loses everything … forever. He loses the closest equivalent of infinity that an atheist can get to. One would think that, in the atheist’s view of the world and everything, nothing could be a graver crime against all that is good and decent than that.

      That atheists so commonly, and so seemingly naturally, choose to bring about death on a massive scale almost makes the case for God better than any believer could. After all, if there is no God, then why not set oneself up as God? Thereby ironically giving persuasive testimony to a recognition of the universal human yearning for God.

      Further, how could a creature that had simply “evolved,” without God, so constantly and relentlessly seek after God? It would seem obvious, if there is no God, that the very idea of God would be innately counter-natural or counter-intuitive, instead of innately human as it so obviously is. It’s as if the yearning for God is built in to the human condition. Well, where would that come from, hmmmmmmmm…? Certainly not from directionless, motivation-less evolutionary forces.

      I disagree with the word: “instrumental.” Atheism, certainly, served as an enabler in the murders of more than 100 million people. You seemed to agree with that conclusion. With its lack of prohibition against depraved behavior, atheism served as an important component in those crimes.

      But, not instrumental. In fairness, I think I did say “necessary component,” which could be interpreted as “instrumental.” When I think of “instrumental,” though, I think of something that acts on something else, as opposed simply to not being an obstacle or impediment. Atheism did “act” in the murders of tens of millions of innocent during the 20th and 21st centuries in that it was a large part of the belief system of socialism. Those who were socialists certainly believed, and continue to believe, and make no bones about it, that atheism is a necessary component of socialism.

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

      Allallt said:

      One strange interlocutor took this argument a step further, arguing that atheism is a necessary precondition for the horrors of the 21st Century in the Western world, alluded to by mentioning the tyrants above. I want to make a series of points against this: not all the people mentioned can confidently be said to be atheist; religious people have lead atrocities; and atheism is a poor focal point for understanding why someone did something, it would be much better to focus on what they did believe.

      Response:

      Thank you for the “strange interlocutor” thing. 🙂 Please note that I never said that atheism was a necessary “precondition.” I said, rather, component, and element and ingredient. And that strikes me as obvious. People who kill other people for any reason other than self-defense arrogate to themselves the powers of God.

      One can’t lay claim to the powers of God and at the same time believe in God. Remember, these are people who want get rid of other people. If one believes in God, then, of necessity, one understands that in killing people, one is killing the creations of another. Without God, that potential rather major, qualm disappears.

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

      Allallt said:

      The reason this matters is because the claim being made is that atheism is a “necessary” precondition; if the people at the helm of atrocities are not exclusively atheist, then it cannot be said that atheism is a “necessary” precondition. To a certain extent, the premise being arguinged [Note: My edit.] defeats itself: the simple fact the parameters are so limited in time and in geography shows a selective sample that it contrived to exclude certain events.

      Response:

      Remember: I didn’t say “precondition.” However, as I argued above, to arrogate to oneself the powers that rightly belong to God — the power of life and death — pretty much immediately consigns one to the category of atheist. An atheist can believe in himself as a deity and still be an atheist in good standing. In fact, the self-deification that is so common among atheists is another persuasive piece of evidence of the innate human yearning for God.

      This is an important point. Remember, the only way for a theist to kill anyone else is either (1) to have it baked into his religion, as in Islam, or (2) to get their religion wrong, as when Christians have killed, claiming to have found justification for their actions in Christianity.

      These two things that seem to make so little sense — the massive killing sprees that atheists undertake, and the ubiquitous self-deification — actually do make sense. They show atheism as such a perversion of the human condition that they represent a massive gravitational pull toward both God, and belief in God. When the atheist resists, he is, plainly, tempted to commit horrific crimes in an attempt to usurp God’s authority, and to replace God with himself. All this in a desperate attempt to prove himself right, rather than face the simple truth: there is simply overwhelmingly evidence for a Creator. What is that evidence? Simple: creation. It’s all around. Where did it come from? Why does it have form, and substance, and rules for interaction (aka physics)? Why are the rules so simple, and yet they’ve produced such incomprehensibly vast complexity? Why are the rules so simple, yet so incomprehensibly difficult to understand? Think: string theory. An atheist looks you right in the eye and says: Yes, there is creation all around, but there’s no Creator; yes, there are rules all around, but no one formulated them. They just are. They just appeared. It’s the Steady State theory of epistemology. Yes, there’s bread all around, but no baker.

      Important Note: Yes, I called muslims atheists, above. I think it’s an accurate characterization. Remember, the atheist Hitler proclaimed himself a thorough-going believer in Christianity. Jesus said: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” A simple recognition of the fact that there are those who will say whatever they think is expedient at the time, but who don’t really mean what they’re saying. It certainly is sometimes true that those who proclaim their piety the loudest are the most thoroughly atheist.

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

      Allallt said:

      Thanks to xPrae, I was caught up in exactly this debate without knowing it. I’d become exhausted with his contorted logic, disregard of basic philosophy and wilful ignorance of facts. I had simply decided to irritate him. Poor form, I know, but letting him express his sense of self-worth was a lot more fun than giving him facts and well-reasoned arguments (that he’d simply call “sophistry”). Meanwhile, xPrae, according to himself, had a university debate moderator scoring our exchange. He won, according to the moderator (according to xPrae), but that’s like having a referee declare a 3rd League High School Basketball team the winners against an NBA team who were talking a walk in a park; one team wasn’t even playing. Even then, the blog post xPrae wrote about shows signs of a biased moderator. (Read for yourself.)

      Response:

      Lol! This was funny. I liked the “3rd League High School Basketball team against the NBA team” image. Allallt’s only problem was that he switched the teams. His argumentation was the “3rd League” stuff. Does anyone really believe that Allallt actually had all his supposedly devastating arguments at the ready, but that he simply didn’t use them because he was trying to “irritate” me? Seriously? That’s pretty lame! It’s the ol’ “If I’d Really Been Trying I Coulda Beat Him” ploy, that every kid who ever lost a schoolyard game of tetherball is tempted to use! Nice try. Or, is it really just a whole lot more likely that Allallt was out of gas, and was struggling desperately to save face? You can read the exchange (here)

      And then he says: “I was caught up in exactly this debate without knowing it“?

      Seriously? When was the last time you were “caught up in a debate” and didn’t know it? Also … pretty lame.

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

      Allallt said:

      Who can we not say was an atheist?

      I want to look at two groups of people in the suggested tyrant list: those we cannot confidently say are atheists, and those we can confidently say are religious. These groups work to cast doubt on and entirely destroy the premise offered, respectively. Hitler and Pol Pot are both difficult to claim as atheists. The Kims are religious.

      Hitler made numerous recorded public and private declarations of faith. The Nazi movement was perpetrated on Hitler’s proclamations of Christian faith. One can blindly speculate that Hitler’s actions exclude him from being a Christian, but his actions did not convince the Catholic Church or a variety of other Christian leaders that Hitler wasn’t Christian. Not only did Hitler say he was Christian, but he also managed to convince a lot of people within Christianity that he was Christian. Not just the leaders and authorities within different Churches, but also the German people. There is nothing about Hitler’s actions that convinced people at the time he was not a Christian.

      The entire argument that Hitler was not a Christian comes from some of the people closest to Hitler claiming that his ideas and attitudes did not conform to their own definition or standard of Christianity. But, that is a personal definition of Christianity and not an idea I accept.

      Pol Pot was a raised a Buddhist and acted like a Buddhist right up to the point he became a dictator. There was no obvious denouncement or even gradual falling out of Buddhism; no transition. It’s difficult to say he was a Buddhist at one point, but stopped being a Buddhist at any point before he was a tyrant. That said, he did persecute Buddhists first. I find this far too mixed a picture to be able to say confidently that he was atheist,

      The Kims aren’t atheists. They are Gods of a religion. A dead Kim is still the leader of North Korea, because the religion (which, I don’t think has a name) doesn’t accept that he died. That’s not atheism.

      Response:

      1. Hitler – We covered Hitler extensively (here) and I don’t think we need to say all that much more. Hitler was an atheist. One quick note: See how glibly above, Allallt discards the thinking of “some of the people closest to Hitler.” Goodness! What kind of knowledge of Hitler, after all, could “some of the people closest to Hitler” have had? Oh, yeah: deep, comprehensive, important knowledge. Allallt says, though, that we should ignore these extremely historically important people’s perspectives on Hitler, because he, Allallt, doesn’t agree with their definition of atheism. And he accuses us of selectivity! 🙂
      2. Pol Pot – This monster murdered millions. That’s pretty obviously an attempt to: “replace God.” He also claimed to be a Marxist, and the western-educated future genocidal maniac probably got that in France. A vital component of Marxism is atheism. Militant atheism: atheism with an urge to wipe out all religious belief — or believers — in his country. Allallt seems to believe that an atheist who may not have been raised as an atheist must somehow renounce his previous beliefs. Why is that? I see no such requirement. For Pol Pot, as for other historical figures, we have their acts, as well as their words, by which to assess their thinking. Pol Pot surely took on for himself powers that most consider not proper for people to have. Whether they believe God should have those powers, or Nature, or the Tooth Fairy, is irrelevant. When you commit genocide, you’re seeking to be God. That makes you an atheist in good standing. Yes, I understand the contradiction in the assertion. It’s all explained in the now famous Venn Diagram (here) (search for “Venn Diagram” in the lengthy text.).
      3. The Kims – Also proclaimed their adherence to Marxism, with its necessary henchman: atheism. However, these dirtbags stamped their Marxism with their own brand called: “Juche.” (translation: “self-reliance”) Wikipedia says that “Juche” has replaced “Marxism-Leninism” as the ruling ideology of North Korea. However, in moving from Msarxism-Leninism to “Juche,” the mass murdering Kims didn’t somehow become religious all of a sudden. Sort of. Some scholars calle “Juche” a state religion. Again, more persuasive evidence of the constant human yearning for God.

        G.K. Chesterton famously said (roughly), “A man who won’t believe in God will believe in anything.” One is tempted to suggest a corollary: “and spends the rest of his time seeking after God.” If the Kims found God, there’s no indication of such, other than to suggest that they’ve spent a lot of time and effort trying to convince their poor, downtrodden people that the Kims themselves are gods. They’re still, by all reasonable indications, just wretched, power-hungry, maniacs … and atheists in good standing.

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

      Allallt said:

      But that still leaves Stalin and Mao. I could be done here, as once I have demonstrated that the call of exclusivity of atheism in these atrocities cannot be reasonably exclaimed, I have completely done away with the idea that atheism is “necessary”.

      Religious people have lead atrocities

      The fact that not everyone on the list can be said to be atheist is not the only way to demonstrate that atheism has no exclusive position at the helm of the atrocities. The other way is to point out that people we can confidently say are religious have lead atrocities. The Solomon empire, the Inquisition, Witch Hunts, Jorge Rafael Videla, and The Lord’s Liberation army are all pretty well known examples.

      But we also live in a world where Jihadists are committing genocide, Sunnis and shi’ites are committing genocide against each other, Christians are committing genocide against Muslims in the Central African Republic, Buddhists are committing genocide against Muslims in Myanmar.

      Religion is very much still a prominent factor in many wars and atrocities across the globe.

      These examples may fail to meet the criteria of the premise: Western. But I’d argue that is an entirely contrived parameter, written in for the implicit purpose of excluding these examples. Not only are the Kims, Mao and Pol Pot also not “Western” (leaving only Stalin?and only arguably?in the argument, which isn’t much of an argument at all, is it?) but such a limit undermines the whole idea of atheism being a “necessary precondition”. If atheism were necessary, it would not be so context specific as to exclude nearly all the atrocities that are actually happening.

      So, not only are all the “atheists” not atheists, but they are also not the only people that commit atrocities.

      Response:

      First: Allallt has notdone away with the idea that atheism is ‘necessary’.” Rather, atheism is everywhere in the commission of atrocities. It is a requirement — by definition — in the commission of atrocities.

      I see a bit of Allallt’s confusion here. The athesits I have mentioned — the Kims, Stalin, Mao, etc… — were all religious atheists. “What the heck does that mean?” I hear you say. Just what I’ve said above. You can’t just remove religious belief from a country — as all the above-mentioned militant atheists tried to do — you have to replace it with something. And what did these atheists use to replace the religion they were trying to rip oiut of their people? Why a religion based on themselves, of course! As we mentioned above, the fact that the above-mentioned atheists all acted really religiously doesn’t change the fact that they were atheists. Atheism was their religion. It was necessary that they “spin” their atheism as some kind of religion in order to sell it to the people. Some, of course, bought it, and others brought their beliefs underground.

      Allallt said also:Religious people have lead atrocities.
      — First, this is a really awkward phrase. “Led atrocities?” What does that mean? Led people who committed atrocities? Committed atrocities themselves? I’m going to guess that it means “Led people who committed atrocities.My response: Yes, but that’s because they were usurping the authority of God. They were acting as atheists. Believers do that all too often. In the Christian faith, we do it all the time, whenever we do something wrong, whenever we commit sin. We’re not atheists, but we temporarily act as such, and we need to ask God for forgiveness.

      It’s not all that complicated. A Christian can act like an atheist and not be an atheist. However, when a historical figure acts like an atheist, and does so over and over and over and over again, for a very long time, one can logically figure that he probably was an atheist, despite any protestations to the contrary.

      Allallt said also:The fact that not everyone on the list can be said to be atheist is not the only way to demonstrate that atheism has no exclusive position at the helm of the atrocities. The other way is to point out that people we can confidently say are religious have lead atrocities. The Solomon empire, the Inquisition, Witch Hunts, Jorge Rafael Videla, and The Lord’s Liberation army are all pretty well known examples.

      Response: We covered this in the “Christians acting badly” responses, above. Not sure of Videla, or of the Lord’s Liberation Army — I don’t know enough about them — but there are plenty of examples of Christians behaving badly through history, myself included. The fault is with the people acting badly — acting as atheists — not with Christianity or with religious belief.

      Allallt said also:But we also live in a world where Jihadists are committing genocide, Sunnis and shi’ites are committing genocide against each other, Christians are committing genocide against Muslims in the Central African Republic, Buddhists are committing genocide against Muslims in Myanmar.
      Response: Okay, okay…let’s be more careful with the language here. (1) Jihadis do wish to commit genocide – both Sunnis and Shiites. (2) Christians committing genocide against muslims in the Central African Republic? You’d have to prove that to me. I’ll bet the Christians would tell you that they’re only defending themselves. Knowing Islam and Christianity as I do, I suspect that’d be a very plausible claim. (3) Buddhists are committing genocide against muslims in Burma? You’d have to prove that to me too. Buddhism is less a religion than a philosophy of life, while Islam is an expansionist religion/ideology that, some say, requires the murder of non-believers. I’m betting that the Buddhists will make, again, a quite plausible claim that they’re only defending themselves.

      Also, let’s tone down the wording here. Unless these peoples are pursuing their adversaries with the intent of wiping them out entirely, let’s not call it “genocide.” You’ll make no points by overcooking your rhetoric, and “genocide” is a much overused word.

      Allallt said also:Religion is very much still a prominent factor in many wars and atrocities across the globe.
      Response: Or people claiming to find their justification in religion (again, not counting Islam). Otherwise, the perpetrators of atrocities, are, obviously, not Christians. I realize I’ve introduced a new concept here: a believer acting like an atheist, by trying to usurp powers that rightfully belong to God. But, you’ll notice that I did something else: I defined it as well. As follows: A Christian: (1) commits a sin, (2) asks for forgiveness from God, and (3) endeavors not ever to do it again. People who go out and commit crimes, or atrocities time and time again, but claim to be Christians, can reasonably be called non-Christians. Just like athief who loudly proclaims his innocence, people claim all the time, that they are things they simply are not … all the time. Other religions may not have that kind of process — Islam certainly doesn’t — but Christianity does, and it implies a constant process of examining our behavior in order to find those times where we’ve fallen short of Jesus’ commandments, and need His forgiveness, and to stop doing what we did that necessitated forgiveness.

      Allallt said also:These examples may fail to meet the criteria of the premise: Western. But I’d argue that is an entirely contrived parameter, written in for the implicit purpose of excluding these examples. Not only are the Kims, Mao and Pol Pot also not “Western” (leaving only Stalin?and only arguably?in the argument, which isn’t much of an argument at all, is it?) but such a limit undermines the whole idea of atheism being a “necessary precondition”. If atheism were necessary, it would not be so context specific as to exclude nearly all the atrocities that are actually happening.

      Response: I never made any restriction, that I know of, to Western thought. Not sure what Allallt is referring to, but I’m, pretty sure I was the one who brought up the names of Mao, the Kims, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot, etc. “Western” is nowhere in my criteria for my basic premise. So, I think this is just a misunderstanding on Allallt’s part here. Yes, yes, yes, it’s possible that I said something that might have brought about that misunderstanding, but I don’t know what that was. Stalin was not Western, but Hitler was.

      It’s possible that Allallt is referring to my frequent recourse to Christianity, which would be an odd interpretation of my thinking, since that faith originated in the Middle East. However, I stipulate to the idea that there might be things in other religions that permit genocide — that’s certainly the case in Islam — but that is not the case for Christianity, and that’s pretty evident.

      Allallt said also:So, not only are all the “atheists” not atheists, but they are also not the only people that commit atrocities.

      Response: I think we covered this pretty thoroughly, above. The mentioned atheists were, indeed, atheists. And, the people who commit do bad things are either atheists or people acting like atheists. However, the people who regularly commit atrocities are, pretty evidently, atheists. The only way for them not to be atheists is to torture the definition of the word “atheist,” which is what Allallt does.

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

      Allallt said:

      Why try to focus on atheism at all?

      There is a clear agenda present in trying to make atheism the focus of modern atrocities. It involves a contorted logic to exclude religious tyrants, and to try to make atheists out of people who are not atheists, and it serves a goal (which might explain why it’s so important to some people). But atheism is precisely not the issue. The issue is what people actually believed, and in every case, what the person at the helm believed, and convinced others of, was basically religious.

      Response:

      I admit: I was the one who brought up atheism. Atheism is, we’ve pretty persuasively demonstrated, a vital element involved in the murder of tens of millions of innocents in the past more than 100 years.

      As to trying to absolve “religious tyrants,” that’s pure hogwash. Nowhere do I absolve any tyrant whatsoever, and Allallt is dishonestly making that accusation. First he says that I had some unstated agenda to contort logic to try to absolve those tyrants, which pretends that he can read my mind to discern my intent. He doesn’t need to fall into this trap of pretending to have magical powers. I’ll trll him exactly what I think. If I were here to absolve religious tyrants, I’d have said so in as plain English as I know how. I am here to condemn the atheist tyrants of the past mroe than a century, and I’m pretty sure I made no bones about it. Go ahead, try to find in anything I’ve written anywhere — encompassing eleven books, thousands of blog posts, massive correspondence both public and private — that excuses any tyrants anywhere. Find anything that even hits at that, I dare you. I have compared tyrants and found one less bad than another, but none have ever received a pass for what they did. And none ever will.

      Allallt said also:The issue is what people actually believed, and in every case, what the person at the helm believed, and convinced others of, was basically religious.

      Response: Yes, atheism is religious in nature, because mankind is religious in nature. The practice, if you will, of atheism demonstrates convincingly that man continues always to yearn for his Creator, even in the face of the most vociferous, violent denials of Him. Even in the face of that, people continue to yearn for God.

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

      Allallt said:

      The claim that the tyrants believed and convinced others of was this: there is a better world available at the other side of this actions, therefore this action cannot be thought of as bad. It was an unwavering belief in a utopia existing at the other side of an atrocity. It is this dogmatic certainty and willingness to follow through that is the concern, and that which I am characterising as religious.

      A better Cambodia exists, for the survivors, and it is just on the other side of eradicating intellectuals and those who refuse to farm; a better race exists, and can be realised and purified, and it will inherit a utopia once there are no Jews, black people or disabled people in Germany; the world is a purer and more faithful place without heretics, and so there’s just one little thing we need to do to create a utopia; 72 virgins and bliss await the martyr…

      Short of immediate protection, we should be immediately sceptical of anyone who says they are willing to kill for a greater good. That person is not selling atheism, that person is selling religion.

      Response:

      I agree that the “logic” of the tyrant is ever the idea that the depredations and crimes of today are unfortuntate necessities for now, in order to lead to a better tomorrow. That no one ever pointed out that the idea of “the ends justifying the means” is so terribly incorrect is a great tragedy, and part of the cause of a great deal of misery throughout history. The ends are the childrens of the means. There is simply never a need to kill someone else — unless someone is under actual attack.

      Allallt also said:Short of immediate protection, we should be immediately sceptical of anyone who says they are willing to kill for a greater good. That person is not selling atheism, that person is selling religion.

      Response: I agree with the need for skepticism in the face of anyone declaring that he or she would kill anyone “for the greater good.” (It’s why I’m a long-time opponent of the death penalty. Note: I applaud this last declaration of Allallt’s and assume that he’ll be joining me on the pro-life ramparts, and in opposing the obscenity that is euthanasia.) That person who suggests that he or she would kill “for the greater good,” who would usurp the rights and privileges of God, is not selling religion — and certainly not Christianity — but atheism. Evangelical atheism. Religious atheism.

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

      Best,

      — x

  3. Beehive indeed. I have actually felt like I had a swarm of insects buzzing around me the last few days. Truth be told, I don’t have the time or the stamina for the comment wars. I’d rather put my post there and let it speak for itself but I know I invited it this last time.

    Never again for me. Thanks so much for your support in the last one.

    1. Your post is so good that I thought it important to add my meager efforts. You cut through the fog and murk so well with your excellent question! It was enlightening to see Ark run terrified away from it. Sad to see, but enlightening.

      Best,

      — x

      1. Thank you for your kind words. Sadder still is his (3rd) follow-up. Right back to default ugliness. The last thing he said to me before that was “No hard feelings.”

    1. Lol! This is funny, Allallt.

      You put forward a whole passel of unserious, frequently silly arguments, then claim you were “just kidding,” all to try to get my goat?

      Lol! Good one!

      Not “poor form.” Simply transparently false. Go ahead and show me the arguments that you tried to advance that you don’t, actually, believe.

      Also, not “poor form,” but dishonest. You expect your readers to believe that you frothed on and on and on and on, all just to irritate lil’ ol’ me? That is funny! All that says, if it’s true which is doubtful, is that you wanted to be sure that you got the last word, even if it was insipid nonsense. We got past that kind of hyper-immature behavior in the Third Grade.

      Go ahead and show me the “well-reasoned” arguments that supposedly fill your thinking… You know, the ones that aren’t merely regurgitations of someone else’s published works? Those “well-reasoned” thoughts.

      No, you didn’t put forward well-reasoned thoughts because you don’t really have any well-reasoned thoughts of your own. Oh, you can quote this Wikipedia entry or that Wikipedia entry, but when I point out to you an obvious truth: I can find as many internet sources to support my contentions as you can, then you’re lost. All out to sea. Lost without recourse to the thinking of others who might be popular, in vogue, or all the rage right now.

      You seem to be the typical myopic, tunnel-visioned, pseudo-intellectual, who’s — probably — never had to do real work in his life. Sorry: academia is not a hard life. I usually don’t engage in speculation about someone else’s occupation or background. It’s impossible to know, but you tick all the boxes for someone who’s just lost an argument. Badly. Disparage the intelligence of the opponent? Check. Call the opponent an ego-maniac? Check. Question the opponent’s sanity? Check. Pretend to be “just kidding?” Check. Go on and on and on and on and on — in what seven full-length blog posts now? — about how the opponent is obsessing on oneself? Check.

      Doesn’t look as though you got my goat, Allallt. Your goat was good and got from the get-go!

      When I tire of interacting with someone I consider unserious, I simply ignore him. For some reason, your long string of barely coherent diatribes filled with personal attacks and other nonsense — as well aso, of course, an unserious attempt to suggest that you’ve been “just kidding” all along — suggest that you’re not simply “trying to irritate me,” but are really worried that — ready for this? — I have a point. Or, more to the point: a whole lot of points. Not only that, your obsession with this exchange suggests that you consider your points to have been sorely tested, and found wanting.

      As for sophistry, you’ve seriously attempted to advance one argument that Hitler was a Christian. You’ve also attempted to advance another argument that Stalin was not an atheist, but rather an “anti-theist,” as if he couldn’t possibly be — ready for this — both. For you to try to sustain those arguments — both of which were your counters to my evidence (Stalin, Hitler, Mao, the Kims, Ho, etc) that atheism is a key component in Socialism, which is indicted as a principal contributor to the murders of more than 120 million people in the past century alone — required you to perform defensive intellectual gyrations that were the purest sophistry. You couldn’t counter the argumentation, so you bluffed, dissembled, invented terms, distracted by constantly trying to label me, and all but admitted that you were out of gas, without actually saying it.

      Now, we have this post. Number seven I believe? The one that says, “I was just kidding! Over all those pages and pages and pages and pages of material and comments and questions and replies, I didn’t really mean it! Ignore that man behind the curtain!” <== Pop culture reference to the Wizard of Oz, who was also a big phony, who got unmasked, merely by someone’s lifting the curtain.

      I tend to assume that a blogger means what he says, and believes what he writes. My default position on what one puts out there for all the world to see, is that one wants all the world to take one seriously. In this case though Allallt, this post smacks so loudly and resoundingly of, “No mas! I need desperately to deflect! Help! Mommy!” that it’s hard not to laugh.

      Best,

      — x

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