Quotes of the day

posted at 10:25 pm on May 21, 2007 by Allahpundit

“I pity Hitchens and other atheists of this sort. They seem like very unhappy people.”

*

“Even the low estimate of five hundred million would make unbelief the fourth-largest persuasion in the world, after Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. It is also by far the youngest, with no significant presence in the West before the eighteenth century. Who can say what the landscape will look like once unbelief has enjoyed a past as long as Islam’s—let alone as long as Christianity’s? God is assuredly not on the side of the unbelievers, but history may yet be.”


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Why would he be happy? There’s no future in it.

TBinSTL on May 21, 2007 at 10:27 PM

Do not doubt the Power of the Holy Spirit.

Zorro on May 21, 2007 at 10:39 PM

What? “the dying First-World”?

Don’t be an unhappy AP…a little mana-mana will cheer ya up!

JetBoy on May 21, 2007 at 10:42 PM

Who can say what the landscape will look like once unbelief has enjoyed a past as long as Islam’s—let alone as long as Christianity’s?

I would argue that unbelief has been around a lot longer than either Christianity or Islam.

ulyses on May 21, 2007 at 10:46 PM

I

would argue that unbelief has been around a lot longer than either Christianity or Islam.

If God created the world, wouldn’t this be an impossible statement?

JackStraw on May 21, 2007 at 10:54 PM

No. Classic Christianity would say unbelief started before the world began.

ulyses on May 21, 2007 at 10:57 PM

If God created the world, wouldn’t this be an impossible statement?

JackStraw on May 21, 2007 at 10:54 PM

No. Christianity started well after Jesus died. Before that it was just considered a sect of judaism, and Christianity certainly didn’t exist before Jesus. I’m Christian btw.

Darth Executor on May 21, 2007 at 10:57 PM

Darth – it didn’t? That’s news to me.

Most Christians relate to the OT as well, you know, “Jesus, the promised Messiah” deal?

Dr. Gecko on May 21, 2007 at 11:10 PM

No. Classic Christianity would say unbelief started before the world began.

Isn’t that going just a tad out of the way to be pedantic? If the world hadn’t begun, how could there have been anything?

And I seem to remember being told by more than one Christian, Jew…every religious person, that God has always been.

If God has always been, then there has always been believers. Otherwise, religion of all sorts is just a learned belief.

We can play this “If God exists can he make a rock so big..” game forever. Believers believe. Non-believers don’t. And for the record, I am very happy.

JackStraw on May 21, 2007 at 11:11 PM

“I pity Hitchens and other atheists of this sort. They seem like very unhappy people.”

I see this as the only real argument for religion – it makes you feel good, and maybe DO good too.

But… I feel ok, even without god.

peski on May 21, 2007 at 11:15 PM

Oh… and I DO good too. So no, Hitchens is no more unhappy than anyone else. Ask any teenager.

peski on May 21, 2007 at 11:26 PM

Darth – it didn’t? That’s news to me.

Most Christians relate to the OT as well, you know, “Jesus, the promised Messiah” deal?

Dr. Gecko on May 21, 2007 at 11:10 PM

Yes, but they weren’t called Christians, they were called Jews.

Darth Executor on May 21, 2007 at 11:31 PM

If people like Dawkins and Hitchens are going to be the godfathers (no pun intended) of tomorrow unbelievers, I weep for the future. Their brand of vicious, froth-at-the-mouth unbelief – nay, ANTI-belief – is what leads to brutal, totalitarian, “secular” regimes like we’ve seen in the past and see today.

JinxMcHue on May 21, 2007 at 11:31 PM

But… I feel ok, even without god.

peski on May 21, 2007 at 11:15 PM

Maybe without, maybe with and you don’t realize it.

mikeyboss on May 21, 2007 at 11:34 PM

We can play this “If God exists can he make a rock so big..” game forever.

According to Judaism, the answer to that question is no, God cannot make a rock too heavy for Him to lift. God cannot do what is impossible, what is contrary to His nature. He cannot, for example, destroy Himself, or make a co-equal god. He cannot become subject to the material world.

rokemronnie on May 21, 2007 at 11:42 PM

I would argue that unbelief has been around a lot longer than either Christianity or Islam.

Now that’s just silly. Most, if not all, anthropologists agree that all cultures before the modern age relied on a foundation of some belief in a deity. Unbelief or ANTI-belief is a relatively recent phenomena.

Classic Christianity would say unbelief started before the world began.

What exactly are you calling Classic Christianity? No brand of Christianity I know of believes that unbelief started before the world began. More silliness.

DrM2B on May 21, 2007 at 11:44 PM

Not all Atheists are obnoxious bitter crabby people, but a good number of them are, and make great effort to make everyone around them aware of it. Hitch, Dawkins and Harris being textbook examples of this.

Bad Candy on May 21, 2007 at 11:57 PM

“Unbelief”?

Whatever you want to call it, the Universe’s protean creavity is not to be doubted.

Disbelief in a specific man-intuited deity, perhaps.

But “unbelief”?

Sounds like a neologism with one wheel missing.

profitsbeard on May 22, 2007 at 12:03 AM

Darth – it didn’t? That’s news to me.

Most Christians relate to the OT as well, you know, “Jesus, the promised Messiah” deal?

Dr. Gecko on May 21, 2007 at 11:10 PM

But that doesn’t mean Christianity existed. It wasn’t until later, much later that Christianity broke from Judaism. Originally it was a sect of Judaism. That is a historical point that can’t be argued.

God being eternal existed before, but not Christianity. Christianity will exist everlasting, but it was and is not eternal.

Isn’t that going just a tad out of the way to be pedantic? If the world hadn’t begun, how could there have been anything?

And I seem to remember being told by more than one Christian, Jew…every religious person, that God has always been.

If God has always been, then there has always been believers. Otherwise, religion of all sorts is just a learned belief.

We can play this “If God exists can he make a rock so big..” game forever. Believers believe. Non-believers don’t. And for the record, I am very happy.

JackStraw on May 21, 2007 at 11:11 PM

God being eternal does not make Christianity eternal. It is everlasting (future), but not eternal. There is an intrinsic difference.

We can play this “If God exists can he make a rock so big..” game forever. Believers believe. Non-believers don’t. And for the record, I am very happy.

Wait, I thought atheists were rational. (snicker)

If you actually knew the basics of logic you would not try to play that, because it violates the Law of Non-Contradiction.

Reason can not be questioned. God is infinitely rational, therefore he would not attempt to do something that defies logic such as “making a rock too big…”

Finally, unbelief did exist before the world, because Satan rejected God before (or possibly during) God’s creation of it.

Tim Burton on May 22, 2007 at 12:18 AM

I pity Hitchens and other atheists of this sort. They seem like very unhappy people. I have been unhappy and do not wish it upon anyone. In love, divine love, I found forgiveness, healing, and happiness. I trust and pray that Hitchens finds this as well.

His ideas are bad, but he is not the foe. His unhappiness and anger are just a symptom of what happens when even capable and good men try to be gods. We should pray that he is able to find the truth and see reality as it is.

John Mark Reynolds, in these two paragraphs displays the pinnacle of arrogance. Who is he to surmise what anyone else’s happiness is? Or hos it gets measured? Believers, or non-believers – live, be happy, be good, or not. Just don’t play god yourself.

“His ideas are bad” – by who’s standards? Mr. Reynolds’? Who does he think he is? God, if he/she exists might find Mr. Hitchens’ ideas the best – how would Mr. Reynolds know anyway?

How do we know if Mr. Hitchens is unhappy? He strikes me quite content, with his nice family and good deeds, the freedom to create, as curmudgeony as he is – which he also is free to be.

When did Mr. Hitchens claim to be or to play a god?

And how would Mr. Reynolds know what the truth is?

Someone will tell us to just accept all this as fact; also that Mr. Hitchens in reality believes in gods but is just writing/saying all this to annoy many of us.

Entelechy on May 22, 2007 at 12:31 AM

Who can say what the landscape will look like once unbelief has enjoyed a past as long as Islam’s

Well, the Nazis were a pretty staunch unbelieving crowd. Even Islam, with all it’s apparent pathologies, hasn’t destroyed itself as quickly those pagans did.

smellthecoffee on May 22, 2007 at 12:40 AM

Unbelief does actually predate Christianity. Poor old Socrates drank some hemlock for his troubles, or so the story goes.

Krydor on May 22, 2007 at 12:43 AM

Not all Atheists are obnoxious bitter crabby people, but a good number of them are, and make great effort to make everyone around them aware of it. Hitch, Dawkins and Harris being textbook examples of this.

Bad Candy on May 21, 2007 at 11:57 PM

Don’t forget Allah, he lives for that as well.

SARCASM

Rick on May 22, 2007 at 12:50 AM

Tim Burton-

Who says “God” is, or must be, “rational”?

I never heard “God” claim any such thing. (Not in the Bible [dependable, yes, but "rational", no], nor in the Talmud/Torah, the Bhagavad Gita, the Rig Veda, the Tripitaka, the Tao Te Ching, the Poetic Eddas, the Zend-Avesta, etc. And especially not in the Koran, site of a purely unpredictable and anti-rational “deity”.)

What’s rational about a platypus?

Or little mud-dwelling fluke worms that burrow into your bare feet, as you walk along, and end up residing in and boring through your eyeballs, causing “river blindness”?

Or the ebola virus?

Rational?

Wouldn’t it have been more rational to create a world not built on endless predation when you reach the higher and more sensitive orders of sentient life?

Butterflies and flowers aren’t slaughtering each other for survival, but can serve as models of non-violent forms of animate existence which also could have been the basis of all life.

What’s “rational” about dinosaurs? 100 millions years of brainless and bloody carnage, and then a meteor (or comet) wipes them out? (Did we need paleontologists that bad?)

What’s “rational” about 99% of creation being born for nothing but food …or compost? Billions of animal ‘children’ are hatched, from bees to robins to sea turtles, and most of them are killed by accidents, or die of deformities, or are eaten before then get beyond a few days old… and I’m supposed to see that as the work of a “rational” “God”?

What is the point of spontaneous abortions, then?

Why wouldn’t a “rational” Creator make all fetuses normally healthy? What’s the “reasoning” behind commonplace birth defects that lead to natural uterine expulsion of these unviable beings?

I see a squandering, indifferent, inventive and astonishingly experimental Suchness.

Beautiful and appalling.

But, if it has some kind of “consciousness” behind its acts, God help us.

Because a nearby, utterly unpredictable supernova explosion could turn our planet to a cinder at any moment, and all of our Civilization’s work will be charred and atomized without a concern for our struggles or interests or achievements or hopes.

And this is its “rational” structure of nature.

I find a Universe with consciousness as the endpoint, and not the starting point, more “rational”.

Because it leaves room for something in this Universe beyond a bizarre and capricious enigma beating the heart of things.

profitsbeard on May 22, 2007 at 12:56 AM

Unbelief does actually predate Christianity. Poor old Socrates drank some hemlock for his troubles, or so the story goes.

Krydor on May 22, 2007 at 12:43 AM

HA! Just give the miliant Atheists enough time, they’ll be just as much a bloodthirsty lot as any religious sect. I’ve seen enough Atheists hinting that religious oughta be wiped out on sites like Fark to know its only a matter of time till you people organize and give the genocide game a go.

The only differencee between me and the militant atheist lot is I’m under no delusion that my crew can do some pretty rancid stuff, and has done plenty of rancid stuff over the centuries.

This “Religions exacerbate/cause strife and violence and ills in the world, so lets scrap, ban, undermine, mock or otherwise destroy it for shiny new Atheism(TM)” thinking is as moronic and deluded as the liberal elite thinking that banning spooky looking assault rifles from civilian ownership is going to end all gun crime. Of course, some of you are sitting there reading and saying there is an underlying cause for many of said liberals wanting to ban guns…yes, there is.

Bad Candy on May 22, 2007 at 1:12 AM

Heeeeeey, the (TM) usually does an auto-script thingy, what gives?

Bad Candy on May 22, 2007 at 1:14 AM

Oh, and it does it for me there…of course.

Oh, and when I say “…yes, there is.” No, I don’t know the answer.

Bad Candy on May 22, 2007 at 1:16 AM

Overheard at an atheist’s funeral:

“What a shame, all dressed up and no place to go.”

infidel4life on May 22, 2007 at 1:16 AM

You gonna follow up with,”I just flew into town, and boy are my arms tired” infidel?

Bad Candy on May 22, 2007 at 1:18 AM

Just give the miliant Atheists enough time, they’ll be just as much a bloodthirsty lot as any religious sect.

Who needs to give ‘em time? The USSR and the PRC cranked up the genocide in very short order.

Karl on May 22, 2007 at 1:21 AM

Who needs to give ‘em time? The USSR and the PRC cranked up the genocide in very short order.

Karl on May 22, 2007 at 1:21 AM

No, no, no, no Karl, they’ll tell you that Mao and Stalin created state-God religions and Cult of Personality religions. Yeah, I laughed writing that, and you’re laughing reading it, but that’s the dodge they all use.

Bad Candy on May 22, 2007 at 1:28 AM

Overheard at an atheist’s funeral:

“What a shame, all dressed up and no place to go.”

infidel4life on May 22, 2007 at 1:16 AM

Hey, that’s religious unbeliever intolerance!!

SARCASM

Rick on May 22, 2007 at 1:30 AM

No, no, no, no Karl, they’ll tell you that Mao and Stalin created state-God religions and Cult of Personality religions

Bad Candy on May 22, 2007 at 1:28 AM

So they weren’t living the “eat, drink and be merry” lifestyle?

What about that little troll in N. Korea, or the crazy bearded guy in Cuba (both of which run around in military uniforms)? Or are they both just “disciples” of Father Stalin and Reverend Mao?

Rick on May 22, 2007 at 1:42 AM

Bad Candy,

I just said that unbelief predates Christianity, and you go off on some odd tangent. Just because it does is no reason to get all worked up.

For future reference, within the atheist community, the only thing that we hold in common is an unbelief in God(s). It doesn’t infer a group consciousness with similar goals.

Note to self: start shredding papers, Bad Candy knows too much. Best to evacuate the underground lair, while we’re at it.

Krydor on May 22, 2007 at 1:43 AM

AP

It is also by far the youngest, with no significant presence in the West before the eighteenth century.

Sorry but you are mistaken, it pre-dates Christianinty Judiasm and Islam by several thousand years.

In early Ancient Greek, the adjective atheos (ἄθεος, from the privative ἀ- + θεός “god”) meant “godless”. The word acquired an additional meaning in the 5th century BCE, severing relations with the gods; that is, “denying the gods, ungodly”, with more active connotations than asebēs, or “impious”. Modern translations of classical texts sometimes translate atheos as “atheistic”. As an abstract noun, there was also atheotēs (ἀθεότης), “atheism”. Cicero transliterated the Greek word into the Latin atheos. The term found frequent use in the debate between early Christians and pagans, with each side attributing it, in the pejorative sense, to the other.[10]


Atheism…….

doriangrey on May 22, 2007 at 1:47 AM

Hitchens is pathetic, no matter what his belief system is. It’s all about him.

Connie on May 22, 2007 at 2:04 AM

When all else fails trace atheism to Stalin – Godwin’s Law for people who are too pussy to mention Hitler.

Nonfactor on May 22, 2007 at 2:24 AM

The current surge in the condemnation of all religions is mostly due, I believe, to the refusal by some to single out Islam as especially egregious and violence-prone. By condemning all, it gets them off the hook of having to make a rational value judgment about a designated multicultural victim group. I saw this starting a few years ago among the politically correct, when it became too ridiculous to deny the violence within Islam, but too damning for the PC mentality to admit how insane their moral equivalence is. So, a blanket condemnation of all religions becomes a way to avoid the real issue while pretending one has integrity left.

That’s only the politics of it, not the theology, which is a whole other bag.

Halley on May 22, 2007 at 3:39 AM

Halley on May 22, 2007 at 3:39 AM

Hitchens often singles out Islam, but he also often singles out Christianity. When people condemn religion it isn’t for some secretive political goal, and unless you have evidence to show otherwise it’s just a speculative conspiracy theory.

Nonfactor on May 22, 2007 at 3:45 AM

By condemning all, it gets them off the hook of having to make a rational value judgment about a designated multicultural victim group.

Don’t forget that in the case of atheists, moral relativism very often prevents them from calling a sin a sin. You know, the “what’s true for you is true for you, but my truth might be the exact opposite” self-delusion.

Freelancer on May 22, 2007 at 4:52 AM

Hitchens protests too much. Anybody that defensive is afraid to admit to themselves they feel the small tug of conscience.

WasatchMan on May 22, 2007 at 5:26 AM

From profitsbeard 12:56

a Universe with consciousness as the endpoint, and not the starting point

This statement admits to one of the best “observable and testable” evidences for the existance of God.

Science, in astronomy, has proved this universe had a beginning. In atomic physics it has proved that everything with mass has a half life. Eventually it all ends.

This universe is temporary.

It is logical that for anything to exist something must be eternal – without beginning.

roydee43 on May 22, 2007 at 7:11 AM

Hitch is an admitted contrarian *shrug*. He likes being on the opposite side of the majority. If Atheists were the majority in the world, he’d be a holy roller.

Dash on May 22, 2007 at 7:33 AM

I just said that unbelief predates Christianity, and you go off on some odd tangent. Just because it does is no reason to get all worked up.

Krydor on May 22, 2007 at 1:43 AM

Where’s your proof of this?

/irony

James on May 22, 2007 at 7:53 AM

Well, the Nazis were a pretty staunch unbelieving crowd.

Let’s put an end to this little piece of bull right now.

“I follow the path assigned to me by Providence with the instinctive sureness of a sleepwalker,”

“But there is something else I believe, and that is that there is a God. . . . And this God again has blessed our efforts during the past 13 years.”

“My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter.”

“The Ten Commandments are a code of living to which there’s no refutation. These precepts correspond to irrefragable needs of the human soul.”

“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.”

Now for a chance at the bonus round and the really big money, who said those things?

(Hint: It wasn’t Hitchens)

JackStraw on May 22, 2007 at 8:39 AM

Let’s be careful how we use the term unbelief. We all have some kind of belief. Hitler believed in his brand of religion. It just happens to be rooted in Hegelian philosophy. The emphasis on the “divine will” is not the CHristian understanding of this but the idea of the Absolute will that is coming to self-realization through the life of the creatures in the world.
It is far from unbelief but it is also far from Christian belief.

DrM2B on May 22, 2007 at 8:55 AM

Socrates was no atheist either he was convicted of atheism in greece which means that he didn’t worship the cities gods. He worship/believed in other gods as his writtings reference. One coyuld make a better case for Aristotle but he, too, had his gods – the Unmoved Mover.

DrM2B on May 22, 2007 at 8:57 AM

Even a pagan like me has read the bible.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God
created he him; male and female created he them.

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and
multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have
dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the
air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

So what do we have here. God creates man after creating heaven and earth and then gives man instruction on what to do and how to live. Now I might not get logic and all that high falutin stuff, but if God created the first man, and if I am correct, Judiasm, Christianity and Islam all agree on this, then how could there have been unbelievers before Adam, who was a believer, if he was the first man?

As to Satan, well no. There are various interpretations as to exactly when Satan was cast out of heaven ( curse you and your boring books, Milton) but it really makes no difference. Satan was an angel and not only a believer, he was one of God’s favorites. He believed, he just wanted to take the franchise in a different direction.

JackStraw on May 22, 2007 at 9:01 AM

Allah, you truly missed your calling, if you’ll pardon the pun. You should have a blog dedicated solely to the issues of atheism and religion; you seem to enjoy this more than anything, with the possible exception of Rosie O’Donnell.

That said, I always wanted to ask you something. You are an atheist, and I guess that means you do not believe in any higher power than humanity.

So, if you close you eyes and picture the black void (anywhere, indoors or out), and then you open your eyes, you believe that everything you see is a bizarre accident of chemistry?

This leaves aside the weird, unanswerable questions of the beginning of time, but I guess those are no easier to answer for theists than anyone else.

Jaibones on May 22, 2007 at 9:01 AM

This leaves aside the weird, unanswerable questions of the beginning of time, but I guess those are no easier to answer for theists than anyone else.

Nail..Head. Atheists and agnostics say they don’t know, theists say God did it and rely on faith, not facts. There is no logic (yea, I took it too) that explains it so people are free to believe what they will and neither can be proved right or wrong.

But it sure is fun to argue about and makes for long blog threads. Hmm… I smell a conspiracy.

JackStraw on May 22, 2007 at 9:21 AM

“God is assuredly not on the side of the unbelievers, but history may yet be.”
- Allahpundit

Wow. Allah is waxing quite profound. I am especially impressed with this last sentence.
{no scarcasm intended}

Lawrence on May 22, 2007 at 9:43 AM

“There is no logic (yea, I took it too) that explains it so people are free to believe what they will and neither can be proved right or wrong.”

JackStraw on May 22, 2007 at 9:21 AM

Ya know… Jack kinda makes a good point.

What is interesting to me that on one side are people who argue in favor of any number of scientific theories based solely on their faith in what they believe accept as fact. While at the same time decrying their opposition for arguing religious ideologies base solely on their faith in what they believe accept as fact.

The first point illustrated here is the issue is not so much about logic as it is about critical thinking skills.

The second point here is that it’s not so much about proving what is right and wrong as it is about understanding what is right and wrong.

Lawrence on May 22, 2007 at 9:54 AM

“I pity Hitchens and other atheists of this sort. They seem like very unhappy people.”

The saddest part of this statement is that it’s entirely true. Have you noticed that the most depressed person on this site is Allahpundit, who does not believe in a God? If you’ve ever noticed my comments, you’ll agree that they are generally unhappy too. Atheism/agnosticism is depressing. When they tell you otherwise, they’re lying. There’s no ‘freedom’ associated with it. There’s only nihilism. And that sucks.

I seriously envy (the greenest of green envy) people who firmly believe in God, and I suspect AP does too. Some of us are incapable of faith, and need proof. Scientific proof, such as ‘if I pray for $5.00, I will receive a $5.00 bill 3 hours and two minutes later’, for example. Of course that is not the way that God or faith works, but it’s a stumbling point for so many of us (myself included).

I’m serious. Religious people p*ss me off. But not because they believe ridiculous concepts. ‘Cept for a God, I believe the same things. They p*ss me off simply because they believe in something I desperately want to believe in, but am incapable.

I often wonder if others suffer from a similar situation, but am afraid to mention it, being that I’m strongly conservative and most conservatives are strong in their beliefs (‘cept AP, whom I’m not completely convinced is conservative, BTW).

Or maybe it’s just me.

Kevin M on May 22, 2007 at 10:08 AM

Some of us are incapable of faith…

Kevin M on May 22, 2007 at 10:08 AM

Ephesians 2:8-9

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Faith itself is a gift. May God give you the gift of faith Kevin.

infidel4life on May 22, 2007 at 10:26 AM

A large survey in 2001 found that more than half of American Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, and Presbyterians believed that Jesus sinned—thus rejecting a central dogma of their own churches.

I call BS. I don’t know what churches they’re polling, but It’s not any around here.

Buck Turgidson on May 22, 2007 at 10:32 AM

Well, the Nazis were a pretty staunch unbelieving crowd.

Let’s put an end to this little piece of bull right now. . .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. . . . who said those things? (Hint: It wasn’t Hitchens)

Do you expect me to believe that Hitler actually believed believedthis? If you want to throw this quote in my face, I would say that Hitler only said it to make clear that he was in fact “declaring war on the Lord’s creation.” And he had the hubris, or more properly the meglomania to not only declare war on the Lord’s creation, but to declare war on the G-d himself, by trying to stamp out some of His more dogged proponents. Hitler was anti-religion to the core. That’s why if he’d managed to finish with the Jews, he would have started with whatever Christians didn’t want abandon their faith. Now I know how Guliani felt when he heard that crap come out of Ron Paul’s mouth.

smellthecoffee on May 22, 2007 at 10:40 AM

Socrates was no atheist either he was convicted of atheism in greece which means that he didn’t worship the cities gods. He worship/believed in other gods as his writtings reference. One coyuld make a better case for Aristotle but he, too, had his gods – the Unmoved Mover.

DrM2B on May 22, 2007 at 8:57 AM

I guess it depends on what semantic game one might like to play on that one, and what definition one wants to apply for atheism. Regardles, Socrates was convicted of unbelief.

There’s a whole ‘nother discussion in there, somewhere. For our purposes, Socrates wins.

Krydor on May 22, 2007 at 10:50 AM

Oh come on now. I checked the formatting before I posted. I’d say PIMF, but there isn’t one.

Krydor on May 22, 2007 at 10:51 AM

Who among you haven’t read America Alone by Mark Steyn. It makes a clear case that where atheism reigns islam moves in and is on the road to domination. It doesn’t take faith to see the corollary trends in things like birth rates and demographic decline that would seem to favor the religious side. Weather God exists or not, the fate of largely atheist Europe would suggest to rational people that atheism is hardly a path to a healthy society long term. And to the atheists what about the notion that you have inalienable rights that are God given, life, liberty…and all that stuff. You appreciate that don’t you? That was a lucky fluke for you. I’m not insisting you believe, I just don’t get the fact you can’t see the many benefits of living in a society oriented toward Christianity. You have an easier time not having to go to church than secular Arabs, yet you seem so hyper-vigilant of the impending theocracy because American Christians vote on election day. Woooo.

Buck Turgidson on May 22, 2007 at 10:53 AM

Do you expect me to believe that Hitler actually believed believedthis?

I believe you wouldn’t believe anything that contradicted your belief that Hitler wasn’t a believer. Believe it.

If you want to throw this quote in my face, I would say that Hitler only said it to make clear that he was in fact “declaring war on the Lord’s creation.”

I’m not throwing anything anywhere. It is an article of faith and as consistent as the sun rising in the east, that someone will say, “Well Hitler and Stalin where atheists” during one of these discussions and sure enough, happened here, too. I merely pointed out that it isn’t true. Did he use religion for his own purposes? You betcha. That makes him unique, how? History is replete with examples of people using religion to justify their actions. The vast number of conflicts in the world today are based on religion. One of my biggest complaints with relgion is the need many have to demand the supremacy of their particular brand.

I think you’ll find that this is a point Hitchens makes often and despite his arrogance and condescension, its hard to prove him wrong.

JackStraw on May 22, 2007 at 12:13 PM

Ugh, here we go with the Hitler was Atheist stuff. We aren’t probably gonna know what the bastard was about, but the regular people were at least self ID’d christian, so its irrelevent.

Oh, and Krydor, wasn’t arguing about the beginning of time crap, just pointing out that atheists hold every bit as much potential to be bloodthirsty savages as any religion regarding your ‘poor Socrates’ lament.

Bad Candy on May 22, 2007 at 12:24 PM

Buck Turgidson,

I just don’t get the fact you can’t see the many benefits of living in a society oriented toward Christianity.

Gah, there it is again. Whose Christianity are we talking about? It’s not some all encompassing umbrella.

Krydor on May 22, 2007 at 12:30 PM

Bad Candy,

Oh, I have no doubt that all groups have their fringe actors. I also have no doubt that within those fringe elements, people will use whatever justification they can for violence.

The problem comes about when it’s labeled as “atheistic”. The people you are talking about aren’t Christian, but that doesn’t mean they’ve abandoned organized religion. They’ve put their faith into Marxism or Greenism or the ability of the state to do all.

Religion is about control and appeals to authority that can’t be questioned. It doesn’t matter what is called God or hinted at as infallible, the point is that it can’t be questioned. I’ve discussed, elsewhere (not here), the notion of Biblical inerrancy with hardcore fundamentalists and their responses are just as nutty as someone who thinks Marxism can work if done properly.

I do have a propensity to lump religions together, and it is one of my flaws. I see them as counter to free thought. Paths of inquiry are cut off because they run counter to whatever scripture is placed at the forefront.

Krydor on May 22, 2007 at 12:48 PM

It is an article of faith and as consistent as the sun rising in the east, that someone will say, “Well Hitler and Stalin where atheists” during one of these discussions and sure enough, happened here, too. I merely pointed out that it isn’t true.

Sorry for the “believedbelieved typo above, and congrats to you Jack Straw for capitalizing on it–what class. I rarely participate in discussions like this (in fact it’s a rule of mine not to), and was not aware that it is an article of faith for atheists that it will be brought up. Heaven forfend (if you’ll excuse the allusion) that I should be caught stating the obvious, or the tedious, depending on how you feel about this. I merely raised this article of faith in response to dozens of other atheist articles of faith that have been sited in this pointless thread. You know, “Religion is about control, it’s about people’s need to find meaning in a chaotic world, yada yada.” I should have known better than to get into a pissing match, you’re right about that.

1. My initial post said, “Nazis.” Are you going to argue with that?
2. Mein Kampf was written in 1927, when Hitler was still arguably sane. In his full-blown meglomaniac phase, he may have thought he was the Messiah–under those conditions what is the nature of one’s belief in G-d?
3. Can one be considered a “believer” if one order’s a henchman (Alfred Rosenberg) to found “a religion of blood,” even for propaganda purposes?

Jacob Frank, a nutso rabbi and messianic pretender in the wake of the Shabbatean Controversy, created a “theology of sin, as it were,” that one could best serve G-d by sinning, and the more greviously the better. So he got into a whole thing with incestuous orgies–really ugly. Eventually he was excommunicated. Religious? Uh. . .yeah. Copius quoter of scripture? Undoubtedly. Believer? Yes–in something–and I would put Hitler in the same category. I never claimed Hitler didn’t believe in anything.

What I was astonished by, which is why I invoked the Guliani/Paul exchange, was that you quoted Hitler’s writings from Mein Kaumpf as if to make the point that he was somehow religious in the conventional sense. No one who is religious in a conventional sense orders someone to found a religion of blood. Next you’ll be telling me he was good Catholic?

Anyway all of this is a great object lesson for me in when it’s just better to keep one’s mouth shut, and keep to one’s cardinal (oops, sorry) rules, such as not arguing about religion with atheists. It’s like arguing with Al Gore about global warming.

smellthecoffee on May 22, 2007 at 1:19 PM

You point to Marxism and its worshippers blind faith as well, and essentially invalidate your own grievance against religion specifically. Your issue is with blind worship, not religion itself.

As for whether its a counter to free thought, I don’t think it is. It might be a roadbump, but rarely does it ever stop inquiry dead in its tracks. And roadbumps can be good. It makes you think about what you are doing.

I’ll admit, I’m one of those types that Kevin was talking about, faith isn’t easy for me, I find myself questioning what sparked existence constantly, so blind obedience isn’t something I find myself getting trapped by because the questions that always run through my head. So maybe its because of that that I get defensive about blanket condemnation of religious.

For a lot of atheists, they fall into this trap believing all religious devotion is blind.

Ill admit, I tend to like to go to church for the art, architecture and music, and volunteer opportunities more than the service, that’s more inspiring to me than anything else.

Bad Candy on May 22, 2007 at 1:22 PM

On top of that, who says Atheism can’t formalize and become an active organized movement? Who is to say Atheist radicals can’t rally around their godlessness and become militant? That is my gripe with Atheists, far too many are too arrogant to realize they too can fall into the very same patterns of savagery that religions have fallen into, under the banner of Atheism itself.

Bad Candy on May 22, 2007 at 1:27 PM

smellthecoffee on May 22, 2007 at 1:19 PM

You’re an angry, insulting little man, aren’t you? Not very Christ like.

No, you probably shouldn’t have started saying that Nazi’s were atheists simply because you are factually wrong. Have you read Mein Kampf? It is peppered with Hitler’s belief that he was acting in God’s design. A Christian God. I didn’t bring up the Nazi/atheist allusion, you did. I merely pointed out that you are wrong. Hitler considered himself a follower of God and he was not an atheist. I never said he was a good Catholic or a bad Protestant. If I prevent one more person like you from saying Hitler was an atheist, then my work is done. If you can’t understand why atheists or non-believers get at least as tired of being told that Christians are the wellspring of all that is good in the world and that atheists are just mass murderers, then you ought to grow up.

Not all religious people are saintly, not all atheists are mass murdering maniacs. You don’t have a corner on goodliness. I have no problem having debates with people of all religions. Unlike you, I don’t make blanket judgements of people based on their faith or lack of faith. Oh and the believing thing, it was a joke. Lighten up Francis.

Now I know how Pontious Pilate felt when he got sold out by Joseph Caiaphas.

JackStraw on May 22, 2007 at 1:54 PM

Nah, my gripe is organized religion Bad Candy. That religion can take many forms is irrelevant.

Ideally, Atheism doesn’t have a structure. What am I, the fiscally conservative, free market, post-humanist, logically minded Atheist going to have in common with a big government, closed borders, price control and wholly illogical Atheist? Nothing, except for not being a believer in an essentially unknowable God of some sort.

We couldn’t form any kind of overall structure because the gaps regarding day to day things are far too deep. There are Atheists who think the notions of Hate Crime and Hate Speech are dandy, I reject such tenets without reservation.

We couldn’t organize under any umbrella because our shared unbelief is not enough to form cohesion on other issues. You might get 3 or 4 different organizations who could claim to be atheists, but the goals of those organizations would be insanely diverse.

Krydor on May 22, 2007 at 2:06 PM

Bad Candy on May 22, 2007 at 1:27 PM

Your gripe with atheists is that they might one day radicalize like religion has? That makes a lot of sense…

Nonfactor on May 22, 2007 at 2:12 PM

Ideally, Atheism doesn’t have a structure

Ideally being the operating word.

I wouldn’t assume that atheists couldn’t organize either, don’t fall into that trap. People can rationalize the most abhorrent behavior and work with people they’d like to see dead on any other day, given the right circumstance.

Bad Candy on May 22, 2007 at 2:16 PM

Nonfactor on May 22, 2007 at 2:12 PM

No, my issue is the arrogance that many of Atheists carry thinking they are immune to radicalization under the banner of Atheism. And it does make sense, you just lack the neurons to wrap around it. People will organize to do ill around anything they feel they need to, its in their nature.

Bad Candy on May 22, 2007 at 2:19 PM

Nonfactor, Do I think they’d do it in ten years, not at all.

Seventy years, One hundred years, two-three hundred, who knows?

You never assume anyone’s immune to anyhting, same logic in preserving the second amendment, you never know when things will go sour, just because it doesn’t or won’t go bad in your lifetime, doesn’t mean it won’t go to hell in the next generations lifetimes, likewise, Atheism could get nasty, just because it shows no sign of going bad now, doesn’t mean it never will.

Bad Candy on May 22, 2007 at 2:29 PM

Kevin – 10:08 AM

Some of us are incapable of faith, and need proof…. Of course that is not the way that God or faith works

Google “iblp”, find the information on the “basic” siminar. Watch the first session free on line.

No one has time to actually check out everything we believe accept as reasonable so we tend to listen to the differing opinions and select our “experts” I’m just referring you to one I have listened to and selected.

Your statement reminded me of his story (toward the end of the siminar) about how they obtained the site for their headquarters.

roydee43 on May 22, 2007 at 2:35 PM

Gah, there it is again. Whose Christianity are we talking about? It’s not some all encompassing umbrella.

Krydor on May 22, 2007 at 12:30 PM

Krydor, God bless ya, I know I’m wasting my time. Your attitude toward Christianity is well understood. I’m talking about the Christianity that inspired the founding fathers to declare that You – Krydor, have inalienable rights bestowed to You by God that you should have the freedom that you do have. Wether you believe in God or not. I assume you like having freedom to the extent that you do. You are the beneficiary of people who believed God wanted you to be free. You could have done much worse, is all I’m saying.

Buck Turgidson on May 22, 2007 at 2:57 PM

Hitler was anti-religion to the core.

That’s what I said. And no I’m not angry nor am I little nor am I Christian. I am a man, and I’m Jewish, actually, and I learned what I wrote about Hitler from my studies ten years ago at the Jewish Theological Seminary. They do lousy theology, but they are good on history. Everything I’ve read about Hitler today suggests that he was very mixed on religion. He was raised Catholic, he hated the church, he quoted scripture, but he wanted a “religion of blood” to be created. Can we agree that the guy was a fruitcake, so if he was religious it probably wasn’t normal?

Not all religious people are saintly, not all atheists are mass murdering maniacs. You don’t have a corner on goodliness. I have no problem having debates with people of all religions. Unlike you, I don’t make blanket judgements of people based on their faith or lack of faith.

Show me where I claim to have a corner on goodness. Who was I making a blanket statement about? Hitler? A blanket of one? Nazis? You still want to argue they weren’t anti-religion? Man are you off base. I don’t have a dog in this fight anyway. I like pale ale, my best friend likes hefe-veisse. I care as much about the fact that he doesn’t like pale as I do about whether someone else is an atheist or not. At any rate, I wasn’t speaking theologically; I meant to speak historically. Apparently there a disagreement in the historical record.

smellthecoffee on May 22, 2007 at 3:09 PM

Bad Candy,

I’m not denying or ignoring that. What I am saying is that those folks will need something beyond a simple unbelief.

“I don’t believe in God!”

“Hey, me neither!”

“Wanna go burn down some churches?”

“Yeah!”

Any growth in the movement you envision would probably stem from a definite state sponsored supression or something similar.

Krydor on May 22, 2007 at 3:17 PM

Buck,

I’m looking at the Bill of Rights, or the first 10 Amendments, and I might be missing the God part. The Delcaration of Independence, however, is a different kettle of fish. It doesn’t speak of God in the sense of the Trinity, but the Creator. A rhetorical flourish or an intentional rejection of the notion of a Christian God in favour of Deism? I’m going with the latter for a myriad of reasons. There’s some Federalist Papers stuff I can dredge up.

You aren’t wasting your time, Buck. There’s plenty both of us can learn.

Krydor on May 22, 2007 at 3:28 PM

If I prevent one more person like you from saying Hitler was an atheist, then my work is done.
JackStraw on May 22, 2007 at 1:54 PM

Hi Jack, how are you?
Joseph Stalin.
Back to work.

Buck Turgidson on May 22, 2007 at 3:29 PM

Fear is all they need Krydor. Its all anyone needs, real or imagined.

Dolschtoss was was a lie used to scapegoat Jews in Germany. It was pure garbage, a manufactured scare with no basis in reality, preying on stereotypes Germans believed. It was used to devastating effect to percecute Jews. Atheists engage in as much stereotyping as anyone else, and are just as susceptible to lies as anyone else.

And if you don’t think it could happen today, about a third of Democrats think 9/11 was an inside job, after all.

Bad Candy on May 22, 2007 at 3:37 PM

No. Christianity started well after Jesus died. Before that it was just considered a sect of judaism, and Christianity certainly didn’t exist before Jesus. I’m Christian btw.

Darth Executor on May 21, 2007 at 10:57 PM

Darth, technically Christianaty did exist before Jesus. It existed before the creation. Revelation 13:8 describes Jesus as “Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world”. Even though it may not have been called “Christianity” at that time, God had already made provision for man’s salvation.

“God is assuredly not on the side of the unbelievers, but history may yet be.”
- Allahpundit

I would rephrase that to say that the unbeliever is not on the side of God.

jman on May 22, 2007 at 3:39 PM

Bad Candy,

You aren’t finding much in the way of disagreement from me when you put the hypotheticals forward. The problem is that I think you have it backwards in this case. If anyone is in danger of being tossed into camps by a suspicious majority, it is the Atheists.

The Nazis used age old suspicion of a minority, bolstered by the very real writings of Martin Luther and reinforced by some really crappy science. They were rounding up people with little more than weak blood ties to Judaism but might never have been inside a synagogue. Heck, the German Jews thought (by some accounts) that Hitler was talking about the eastern Jews and not THEM.

Look at the scapegoating going on in this thread, for instance. Atheists did this, Atheists did that. It’s far too easy to reduce the horrors of the totalitarian movements in the 20th century to the point of absurdity. Stalin would have used whatever was the best way to control Russia, as Mao would have.

Misunderstood minorities have a more difficult time when things get crappy. In the event of something really bad happening, I don’t think Christians of whatever sect have very much to worry about, at least in the USA.

Krydor on May 22, 2007 at 3:51 PM

Krydor on May 22, 2007 at 3:51 PM

Times change, sands shift. Today’s supermajority, today’s superpower could be nothing but historical record with time. The tables could turn, and it could be atheists in the supermajority someday. Maybe not in my lifetime, but I’m arguing in a philosophic sense more than one that takes current events in account.

My point ultimately is that people like Hitch Dawkins and Harris and other atheists are wrong in their blaming religion as the cause or exacerbator of societal ills. Its human nature they should rail against, not religion.

Bad Candy on May 22, 2007 at 4:02 PM

Religion has merely been used a tool used to focus societal ills, but as we both agree, any ideology can be used to such effect.

Bad Candy on May 22, 2007 at 4:04 PM

The Nazis used age old suspicion of a minority, bolstered by the very real writings of Martin Luther and reinforced by some really crappy science.

But of course he did, which is what I have been saying. People use religion all the time to justify their actions. Like the Inquisition and the Crusades. Right, Buck?

Look at the scapegoating going on in this thread, for instance. Atheists did this, Atheists did that. It’s far too easy to reduce the horrors of the totalitarian movements in the 20th century to the point of absurdity. Stalin would have used whatever was the best way to control Russia, as Mao would have.

Indeed. People constantly misapply the term atheist to people like Stalin or Hitler or Pol Pot. Their religion as it were was their belief in the state first and they were opposed to anything that would disrupt that goal. If Hitler and Stalin were in fact atheists on a common mission, why were they bitter enemies. More bitter than their hatred of the west?

These were not true atheistic states. They didn’t organize around the principle of the destruction of religion. Atheism may have been a by product in certain areas where it was useful to them but it was never a driving force. This is not the case in states like Iran or Taliban/Afghanistan or even midieval Europe.

When someone can point to a state that was founded on the principle of the destruction of any form of religion as the states primary goal, then you have an atheistic state. Everything else is a cheap shot.

JackStraw on May 22, 2007 at 4:09 PM

Krydor on May 22, 2007 at 3:28 PM

I never really gave atheism or atheists much thought until HA sucked me into this thing. I was not raised in the church at all. At 21 I had a short lived marriage to a Catholic that didn’t do much for my view of that faith, (at the time). Music was my religion and I set out to be the best bassist & singer that I could be. Though Sunday mornings were for sleeping off the previous nights activities, I always had a general sense that Christianity was a good thing and glad somebody was going to church as long as it wasn’t me. As a rocker I often wondered why more “satanic” imagery was so common in rock yet you could count on one hand the popular rock songs with a direct Christian reference, (back then). One day while listening to a new CD I heard a beautiful song about Jesus Christ where I did not expect it. I was moved. I was pondering all the song-writing possibilities of a love so perfect there would be no, boy meets girl-boy looses girl, etc. No. Perfect love. Inextinguishable. Now that would be something worth singing about. As I was mulling this over in my mind, I felt a wave of emotion come over me. Like Old Yeller just got shot with a cannon. I of course did not actually hear voices, but I was thinking things that seemed strange to me, (which is saying alot). It’s hard to explain but I sensed an endorsement of my line of thinking that did not come from my own sense of self. It was a powerful moment in my life. I would like to say I jumped up a new man, but I probably had a drink, I don’t know. I went on with my life but could never get that experience completely out of my head. When I finally remarried at 38 the pastor and congregation seemed so nice we decided to get up and go on Sunday morning and see what we could learn. I learned that perfect love does exist. I believe the Spirit of that perfect love paid me a visit as I was pondering about it. And I have been the musical director of that church now for 5 years. We have built a new church building and continued to grow during my time of leadership. I believe I was called to this. You may believe I’m a nut. Something happened to me that changed my perception of religion. When I look at my daughter’s face, I’m glad I changed course.

Buck Turgidson on May 22, 2007 at 4:24 PM

I guess my point is Hitler, Stalin, who cares? If an Angel lands on your head, talk to it and try to find out what it wants.

Buck Turgidson on May 22, 2007 at 6:32 PM

Buck,

Glad you are happy. I, strangely enough, am also happy. Let’s both be happy, even though we will never agree on the subject of religion.

Krydor on May 22, 2007 at 6:44 PM

Agreed and understood. Outside the religious threads, I agree with much of what you have to say. As far as I’m concerned you are as much (or more) of a political conservative as I am.

Buck Turgidson on May 22, 2007 at 6:53 PM

Perfect love. Inextinguishable.

That’s way perfect Buck. Glad you weighed in. It was a long read to get to it, but it was worth it :)

Krydor!

Guys like me, hard right Christian conservative types, have always appreciated guys that think like you, free-thinking open-minded types. From my point of view, you and I have a lot in common, unyielding demands for the truth, as best we can make it out. We’d actually have more in common than many of our religious peers.

But that’s the point most of the thread misses, I think. Hitchens is religious. Man, is he. For him there is no God and he takes that on faith, and no bloody burning bush is going to make him second guess it. Athiests aren’t hateful, but Hitchens is: he honestly can’t stand me. He thinks I’m a mindless idiot.

When someone can point to a state that was founded on the principle of the destruction of any form of religion as the states primary goal, then you have an atheistic state. Everything else is a cheap shot.

Why would this be the goal of an athiest state?

Axe on May 22, 2007 at 11:00 PM