Why is the media so ignorant about religion?

posted at 2:00 pm on August 28, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

A few days ago, the New York Times’ Bill Keller proposed asking “tougher questions” of presidential candidates about their faith, causing an uproar in both political and religious circles:

This year’s Republican primary season offers us an important opportunity to confront our scruples about the privacy of faith in public life — and to get over them. We have an unusually large number of candidates, including putative front-runners, who belong to churches that are mysterious or suspect to many Americans. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are Mormons, a faith that many conservative Christians have been taught is a “cult” and that many others think is just weird. (Huntsman says he is not “overly religious.”) Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum are all affiliated with fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity, which has raised concerns about their respect for the separation of church and state, not to mention the separation of fact and fiction.

Later, Keller published the questionnaire he’d like answered — and as it turns out, the entire exercise demonstrates what happens when the ignorant attempt to interrogate people on the irrelevant.  Keller picked out a spooky term in question 7, one that the Left likes to toss around when discussing candidates who profess an evangelical Christian faith, in an attempt to make it appear that candidates like Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry (among others) want to establish a theocracy in the US:

7. What do you think of  the evangelical Christian movement known as Dominionism and the idea that Christians, and only Christians, should hold dominion over the secular institutions of the earth?

Well, I guess I’m safe; I’m Catholic.  And so, by the way is Rick Santorum, who is most certainly not “affiliated with fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity.”  He attends a Latin Mass, which might give a few evangelicals — and maybe a few Catholics, too — the vapors.   Keller’s ignorance is on full display right off the bat.  If he can’t even bother to Google, what makes him an expert as a religious inquisitor?

Until a couple of years ago, I’d never heard of dominionism.  The only references I’ve ever seen to it since have come from the national media in the context of wow-those-Christians-are-scary stories … like Keller’s attempts to probe faith as a political test.  At Patheos, Douglas Groothuis demolishes the notion that “dominionism” is any kind of mainstream component of modern evangelicalism:

There is a buzz in the political beehive about the dark dangers of Bachmann’s association with “dominionism”—a fundamentalist movement heaven-bent on imposing a hellish theocracy on America. In the August 15 issue of The New Yorker, Ryan Lizza asserts that Bachmann has been ideologically shaped by “exotic” thinkers of the dominionist stripe who pose a threat to our secular political institutions. The piece—and much of the subsequent media reaction—is a calamity of confusion, conflation, and obfuscation.

Lizza notes that Bachmann was influenced by the writings of Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-84), an evangelical minister, theologian, and philosopher. Schaeffer, along with the contemporary writer Nancy Pearcey and others, are “dominionists.” That is, they believe that “Christians alone are Biblically mandated to occupy secular institutions until Christ returns.” Worse yet, Schaeffer, in A Christian Manifesto (1981), supposedly “argued for the violent overthrow of the government if Roe vs. Wade isn’t reversed.” Lizza also writes of the influence of the prolific author Rousas John Rushdoony (1916-2001), who advocated “a pure Christian theocracy in which Old Testament law…would be instituted.” Bachman is allegedly thick as thieves with all these “exotic” subversives—and should be exposed as such.

Having read reams of books from all these authors (and every book by Schaeffer) over the last thirty-five years, as well as having taught many of these books at the graduate level, I assign Mr. Lizza the grade of “F.” …

Second, Rushdoony’s devotees make up but an infinitesimal fraction of Christian conservatives. The vast majority of those who have been influenced by certain aspects of Rushdoony’s writings emphatically reject his understanding of biblical law, as do I.

Third, the key Christian influences on Bachman are not Rushdoony and his followers, but Francis Schaeffer and Nancy Pearcey. Schaeffer referred to Rushdoony’s views on mandating biblical law as “insanity,” and never sanctioned any form of theocracy. (The name “Rushdoony” does not even appear in the index of Schaeffer’s five-volume collected works.) Schaeffer explicitly condemned theocracy in A Christian Manifesto (p. 120-1). Nor did he call for the violent overthrow of the government if Roe V. Wade were not overturned. Schaeffer rather explained various ways of resisting tyranny according to a Christian worldview and in light of church history. He saw “civil disobedience” (his phrase) as a last resort and did not stipulate any specific conditions under which it would be advisable in America. In fact, Schaeffer worried (on p. 126) that speaking of civil disobedience is “frightening because there are so many kooky people around.” Further, “anarchy is never appropriate.”

And it’s also a good idea to keep in mind what kind of looney sect to which Bachmann belongs … Lutheranism.  As John Hinderaker writes at Power Line, all anyone had to do was ask her:

This reminds me of a time, some years ago–it was either Michele’s first or second Congressional race–when she appeared at a public forum to debate the issues of the day. The first question from a local reporter was, “Do you believe that the Pope is the Antichrist?” The debate went downhill from there.

A few days later I was talking to Michele on the telephone. Despite feeling that I knew her rather well, I had never discussed religion with her. I thought that the reporter’s question must be explained by her being a member of some bizarre sect. So I asked, “What denomination are you, anyway?” She replied, bewilderment evident in her voice, “I’m a Lutheran.”

John also contrasts the hostility shown by the national media towards Christianity with the “benign” treatment it gives Islam:

The press’s weirdly hostile attitude toward Christianity can be contrasted with its benign view of Islam in all its manifestations. The same reporters who fixate on Dominionism, a doctrine hardly anyone had heard of until a couple of weeks ago, take great offense at any suggestion that Wahhabism and other radical forms of Islam are significant. Never mind that Islamic extremists have carried out hundreds if not thousands of terrorist attacks, while Dominionists–assuming such people actually exist–have done nothing to cause the rest of us to be aware of them. The secular press’s attitude toward religion, at best inconsistent and driven throughout by partisan ideology, is one of the strangest aspects of our public life.

Perhaps they are as ignorant about Islam as they are about Christianity.   However, if they want to start asking questions about religion of presidential candidates, how about starting with Barack Obama and his 20-year affiliation with Jeremiah Wright and Trinity United Church of Christ?  Wright took a lot of political stands that the media roundly ignored in the 2008 election, including his sermon that the US deserved the 9/11 attacks as “chickens coming home to roost,” supports Hamas, and infamously declared, “God damn the United States.”  Maybe someone can ask about the TUCC’s adopted “value system” that insists that the US sends black men to “concentration camps.”  Does Obama believe that?  We don’t know, because Keller and his ilk didn’t bother to ask questions about Obama’s religion in 2008.

If we extend Keller’s new position to Congress, maybe we can get answers in the Times to a few questions for Keith Ellison from Scott Johnson:

4. When you were a member of the Nation of Islam, did you believe that Yakub was a black scientist who lived “6,600 years ago” and was responsible for creating the white race to be a “race of devils”?

5. Have you joined a mosque in Minneapolis? When did you join it?

6. Do you believe that Islamic law should be the law of the land in the United States? Do you think Islam should be subordinate to the constitutional separation between church and state?

7. You are a liberal Democrat who advocates the Democratic Party’s positions on gay rights, abortion, and feminism. Which branch of Islam comports with your position on these issues?

Silly Scott.  The New York media is only scared of those Christians that they fail to understand, and fail to even research properly.

Update: By the way, Perry is one of those scary … Methodists.  Also, via Wikipedia, here’s a quote from Perry’s book on the relationship between church and state: “Let’s be clear: I don’t believe government, which taxes people regardless of their faith, should espouse a specific faith. I also don’t think we should allow a small minority of atheists to sanitize our civil dialogue on religious references.”  Oooooh … what spooky tolerance he demonstrates!

Update II: John Sexton at Verum Serum has excerpts from Schaeffer that directly refute Ryan Lizza’s caricature of his work.

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Heh. It also goes to evidence that the person who holds Spong up as an example doesn’t quite have the same concept of “Christian” as most folks. (Another reason why I’d look somewhat askance at the claims of the person having ever been one him/herself.) whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 2:47 PM

Spong is an enemy of God and man, an apostate Christian. SK conscripted one of his own to prove his ridiculous point.

He told me to go watch a 45 minute youtube of Spong spouting nonsense, meaning, apparently, that SK once wasted 45 minutes of his life rapturously glued to his monitor watching an infidel cleric impress fellow apostates with anti-Christ gobble-de-goop.

Akzed on August 29, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Spong is an enemy of God and man, an apostate Christian. SK conscripted one of his own to prove his ridiculous point.
Akzed on August 29, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Spong teaches that Mary was raped by a Roman soldier (resulting in Jesus’ birth) and that Jesus body was eaten by buzzards. I didn’t have the heart to tell SK that those aren’t quite orthodox teachings in most of Christendom.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 3:06 PM

Spong teaches that Mary was raped by a Roman soldier (resulting in Jesus’ birth)

He got that from the Talmud, unfortunately.

and that Jesus body was eaten by buzzards.

He got that from Satan directly.

I didn’t have the heart to tell SK that those aren’t quite orthodox teachings in most of Christendom. whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 3:06 PM

He wouldn’t know the importance of such information.

Akzed on August 29, 2011 at 3:09 PM

ok skydaddy, whatever you say… Tried that and the cognitive dissonance was too much for me to handle anymore, so I threw the bible and all the holy texts that others ascribe to into the gutter where it belongs.

You DO know that the bible which contains all these great verses you keep throwing my way also has some disgusting verses as follows?

Look, ANY holy book with verses like Deut 23:1 which says.

“No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord.”

or Malachi 2:3 which says,

“Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces”

Or 1 Timothy 2:12-15 which says,

“Suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence”

or my personal favorite, Ezekial 23:20 which says,

“There she lusted after her lovers, whose genetials were like those of donkeys, and whose emission was like that of horses.”

Any book with verses like these in them deserves to be ridiculed and belittled. Sorry if that hurts you but YOU are the one saying it’s the word of god.

This is such a great book for kids to read though!

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 3:10 PM

OK, whatever. Maybe I used a bad word to describe which states are bigoted towards atheists, but even without the rules as written in those 9 states, that’s still almost 20% of the states that discriminate against atheists…

No, it’s not.It’s 18%.

And you stated clearly, quote:

You want to speak about bigots…?!?! In the majority of states in the united states… You have to believe in a god. If you don’t you cannot hold public office.

States that discriminate against atheists

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 1:56 PM

In the majority of states in the United States.

A “bad word”? You weren’t even close. And you’re so pathetic that you can’t even admit that you made a mistake — a basic, simple, mathematical mistake.

And you presume to lecture anyone here on science? You can’t even read your own sources. You can’t even do basic mathematics. You can’t even make an honest point.

And now let’s watch you desperately dig yourself even more into the ditch.

Even still, even in the other states I bet that a lot of those states with Christians in them would scream bloody murder if a politician claimed he was an atheist and the atheist would lose before ever getting started.

And meanwhile, you scream bloody murder if a politician espouses Christian beliefs and demand that they lose.

You know, I bet there ARE some atheist out there as politicians right now who keep their atheism hidden for fear of retribution by religious sorts who would ramrod them out of office in no time.

And you demand that politicians who espouse their religious beliefs be ramrodded out of office.

Now THAT’s bigotry for you northdallas.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 2:40 PM

So you acknowledge that you are engaging in bigotry and that you are a bigot – BY YOUR OWN DEFINITION.

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Any book with verses like these in them deserves to be ridiculed and belittled. Sorry if that hurts you but YOU are the one saying it’s the word of god.

This is such a great book for kids to read though!

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Says the imbecile who can’t even do basic mathematics.

Isn’t it funny watching the stupid imbecile SauerKraut cast aspersions on the writings and intellectual ability of others…as he cites and repeats a claim that nine states equals a majority of the 50 US states?

I mean, you look at the atheist websites that SauerKraut worships as gospel, they are actually saying that nine states equals a majority of US states. This is the degree of intellectual capability among atheists.

No wonder they are ridiculed.

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 3:18 PM

Deut 23:1, “No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord.”

Only real men can be considered part of the assembly of the Lord. Maybe that’s why you left, or were expelled.

Malachi 2:3, “Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces”

Yeah, for disobeying God and worshiping idols. What you can look forward to.

1 Timothy 2:12-15, “Suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence”

Right, in a church service. Hell, they couldn’t even vote around here until 90 years ago or so. It’s debatable whether that was a good thing actually. Certainly the liberal denominations that allowed women to break this rule are the ones now in decline for decades.

Ezekial 23:20, “There she lusted after her lovers, whose genetials were like those of donkeys, and whose emission was like that of horses.”

Yes, the Bible uses harlotry as a synonym for idolatry. Apostate Israel was going after her idols like a nymphomaniac going after lovers.

Nothing even remotely controversial in any of these. Oh, and There’s no “a” in Ezekiel.

Akzed on August 29, 2011 at 3:20 PM

ok skydaddy, whatever you say… Tried that and the cognitive dissonance was too much for me to handle anymore, so I threw the bible and all the holy texts that others ascribe to into the gutter where it belongs.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Of course, there’s no “cognitive dissonance” at all when the sources that the imbecile repeats are stating that nine states equals a majority of the 50 United States.

And of course, the imbecile screams and cries when he and his fellow atheists are ridiculed for their belief that nine of fifty equals more than 50%.

It really speaks for the lack of intellect and ignorance that atheists have, plus the degree of cognitive dissonance that comes from claiming to be “scientific” while ignoring basic mathematics.

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 3:23 PM

Nothing even remotely controversial in any of these. Oh, and There’s no “a” in Ezekiel.
Akzed on August 29, 2011 at 3:20 PM

And the concept of “context” also just seems to “WHOOSH” over some people’s heads.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Only real men can be considered part of the assembly of the Lord. Maybe that’s why you left, or were expelled.

Akzed on August 29, 2011 at 3:20 PM

Actually, the general consensus is that that verse refers to the practice of temple eunuchs among the pagan worshipers. It doesn’t refer to accidental disfigurement, just to deliberate disfigurement that was chosen as a sign of dedication to a pagan god.

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 3:25 PM

And folks, you want to see delusional…..watch as SauerKraut537 tries to defend his imbecile statement that nine of fifty United States comprises a “majority”.

OK, whatever. Maybe I used a bad word to describe which states are bigoted towards atheists, but even without the rules as written in those 9 states, that’s still almost 20% of the states that discriminate against atheists…

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Notice that? “Maybe”. Nine out of fifty is not more than 50% in any system of mathematics, any rational or logical thought…..but he can’t admit that fact. Indeed, he insists that he ISN’T wrong and that nine of fifty states equals a majority!

Delusional. Pure, unadulterated delusion. And given that he’s just repeating atheist talking points, he demonstrates just how unscientific atheists are.

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 3:28 PM

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 3:25 PM

LOL! spoken like a real apologist!

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 3:29 PM

It doesn’t refer to accidental disfigurement, just to deliberate disfigurement that was chosen as a sign of dedication to a pagan god.
northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Drat! There you go ruining an argument with context!!
And here I was going to argue that we should be a nation without laws since the 1st amendment says “Congress shall make no law”. Bah!

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 3:29 PM

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 3:28 PM

so northdallasthirty… you agree that there is bigotry on your side of the aisle as well?

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 3:33 PM

apologists always complain about context! context this, context that, context, context, context!

Context to apologize for the horrible verses in the bible, always!

Keep making more of a fool out of yourself. you’re not fooling anybody but yourself.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 3:37 PM

The biggest catch-22 there, skydaddy, is that without a literal reading you would have no need for Jesus’ love or righteousness.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Not at all. I don’t need Genesis to tell me I’m a sinner in need of saving. All I need is a mirror. :-)

skydaddy on August 29, 2011 at 3:39 PM

so northdallasthirty… you agree that there is bigotry on your side of the aisle as well?

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Oh, I see, being an apologist for your bigotry by trying to claim that others do it.

Keep making more of a fool out of yourself, you’re not fooling anybody but yourself.

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 3:39 PM

In the case of SK, God has economized by making the village idiot the village atheist. It saves on skin, of which SK is a waste.

Akzed on August 29, 2011 at 3:43 PM

Indeed, without a god/God there is no atheism. Otherwise they would be simply “A-ists”. “Atheism” by it’s very nature is dependent on God.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 11:17 AM

You probably have trouble with the number zero as well as the empty set.

Annar on August 29, 2011 at 3:43 PM

apologists always complain about context! context this, context that, context, context, context!

Context to apologize for the horrible verses in the bible, always!

Keep making more of a fool out of yourself. you’re not fooling anybody but yourself.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Sort of like how Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, and others prove that atheists are supporters of genocide? After all, they have statements and quotes out there proving that they were atheists.

So since you state context is always, ALWAYS invalid, and that anyone who tries to use it is an “apologist” and a “fool”, those quotes prove that atheists support genocide.

Anyone want to bring up quotes and watch SauerKraut try to spin out of those?

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Skydaddy,

The Myth of Original Sin does far more evil than merely inverting our inherent desire for knowledge and understanding and turning our greatest and most beautiful attribute into a means of debasement. Perhaps even more vile, the Myth of Original Sin seeks to replace our greatest attribute, our rationality and understanding with Faith.

While there is an extensive epistemological discussion on what constitutes Faith elsewhere on this page, the brief summary is this. Faith is a belief in an unknown or unrealized proposition in spite of evidence that the belief is incorrect. Faith is clearly NOT a belief in an unknown or unrealized proposition that is SUPPORTED by the evidence, because if that belief was supported by the evidence, it ipso facto does NOT REQUIRE Faith.

Faith is impervious to reason. Unmoved by evidence. Undeterred by logical inconsistency of fallacy. Faith is, by its very nature, an irrational belief, a belief contrary to the available evidence. The very antithesis of rational understanding.

The Myth of Original Sin takes our inherent desire to know and understand the world through our senses and with our minds and declares that we are evil, debased, fallen because of our curiosity and our desire to know. Our most basic human desire and our most powerful means of knowing about ourselves and the World is therefore BAD. At the same time, our redemption from our fallen state, our salvation from our mortal sin is to have Faith in an unseen, unknown, empirically obscured entity known as God. To have Faith, is therefore GOOD.

Since God is unseen, unknown and empirically obscured, how do we know what to have Faith in?
Have Faith in what his Agents tell us about Him.

How do they know what his Will is?
Have Faith because they have received Revelations from Him (or ARE Him).

How do we know that they’re telling the truth?
Have Faith.

How do we know that they’re accurately reporting what His will is?
Have Faith.

How do we explain the fact that a lot of what you say is inconsistent?
Faith.

How do we explain the fact that a lot of what you say is inconsistent with our observations of the world?
Faith.

How do we explain…
Look, you just don’t get it, Faith does not require explanations – explanations are unnecessary. In fact, if you could explain it, if you had evidence for it, it wouldn’t require Faith and it would therefore be BAD.

The Myth of Original Sin and Exultation of Faith are an insidious masterstroke for the human Agents of God. In one fell swoop, they completely insulate themselves from any and all criticism, any and all rational inquiry, any and all accountability for discrepancies and inconsistencies in their ‘Revelations.’ Any irrationality can be quickly dismissed for to seek knowledge and understanding is BAD, a part of our fallen and debased nature. And to have Faith in SPITE of contrary evidence is GOOD. Therefore any troublesome question can be quickly dismissed with a simple admonition that the questioner lacks the proper amount of Faith.

This is, of course, complete lunacy.

What is truly ironic is that while Faith is a perfectly valid salve for any and all inconsistencies, errors, inaccuracies and unexplainable or irreconcilable problems within a given belief structure, Faith in OTHER belief structures is wholly invalid. Christians, Jews, Muslims all extol the virtues of Faith. When asked why they do not believe in the belief systems advocated by others, however, what do they cite? Evidence of inconsistencies, errors, inaccuracies, unexplainable or irreconcilable problems within that belief structure and deviations from their own belief structure. In other words, THEY CITE EVIDENCE! They appeal to REASON! They reject OTHER FAITHS based on evidence and reason, yet fail to apply the same standard to their own.

As an outsider, all of their criticisms appear valid and their reasons for rejecting one another’s faiths all appear wholly rational.

The problem here is NOT rationality, NOT reason, NOT understanding or our desire to know. The common problem is Faith. The common problem is irrationality. Which leads, of course, to the old saying ‘When you understand why I have rejected all other Faiths, you will understand why I have rejected yours

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Indeed, without a god/God there is no atheism. Otherwise they would be simply “A-ists”. “Atheism” by it’s very nature is dependent on God.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 11:17 AM

You probably have trouble with the number zero as well as the empty set.

Annar on August 29, 2011 at 3:43 PM

Thanks for vividly demonstrating my point via mathematics, Annar. You can deny zero, but it still exists. Your denial of it and refering to yourself using it’s frame of existence would only stress that point.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 3:49 PM

The Myth of Original Sin does far more evil than merely inverting our inherent desire for knowledge… SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Naturally, SK wants us to think that he wrote this, which is why he didn’t link to the site he cut it from.

I believe that you were once a Christian, SK, I just don’t believe that you left of your own accord.

Akzed on August 29, 2011 at 3:53 PM

SK, it’s ALL about context. Cherry-picking verses to support a debating point (especially when the verse reads differently in and out of context) is called “proof-texting.” It’s a fallacious method of argument. (So are ad-hominem attacks, which is why I’m not going to pile on about the nine states.)

SK, there are horrible verses in the Bible because the Bbile is about PEOPLE and PEOPLE can be pretty horrible. We need to understand that before we realize our need for a Savior.

skydaddy on August 29, 2011 at 3:54 PM

Ah yes, the desperate atheist is trying to appeal to “reason” after his blind insistence that nine of fifty is a “majority”.

But he inadvertently brings up the issue with atheism.

Our most basic human desire and our most powerful means of knowing about ourselves and the World is therefore BAD.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Therefore, Dr. Josef Mengele’s experiments on human beings were perfectly justifiable, moral, and valid because he was just following the “most basic human desire” and executing the “most powerful means of knowing about ourselves and the World”.

Mengele in fact did a beautiful job of avoiding “irrationality” — or put differently, sentimentality — by not allowing human life or suffering to get in the way of his “most basic human desire” and carrying out “the most powerful means of knowing about ourselves and the World”.

After all, since vivisection is by far the most powerful means of knowing about human anatomy, it is justified. Any belief system that would oppose it is “irrational” and treats our most basic human desire as bad.

And since raising children in isolation is by far the most powerful means of knowing about human psychology, it is justified. Any belief system that would oppose it is “irrational” and treats our most basic human desire as bad.

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 3:56 PM

The biggest catch-22 there, skydaddy, is that without a literal reading you would have no need for Jesus’ love or righteousness.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Not at all. I don’t need Genesis to tell me I’m a sinner in need of saving. All I need is a mirror. :-)

skydaddy on August 29, 2011 at 3:39 PM

That’s only part of the problem, skydaddy.

Another huge catch-22 is you find yourself in argument with Jesus himself; in his teaching about marriage he clearly claimed “from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female”. (Mark 10:6)

It’s a problem when an internal logic collapses in on itself, whether it be in Darwinian theories or religious theories.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Faith is a belief in an unknown or unrealized proposition in spite of evidence that the belief is incorrect.

This is incorrect. “Faith is the evidence of things not seen.” it is believing despite a LACK of proof, not in the face of contrary evidence. You cannot PROVE that God does not exist (just as I cannot prove that He does.)

Faith is clearly NOT a belief in an unknown or unrealized proposition that is SUPPORTED by the evidence, because if that belief was supported by the evidence, it ipso facto does NOT REQUIRE Faith.

Again, incorrect. My faith is bolstered by a GREAT deal of evidence that convinces me that there is a reality beyond the material world, that Jesus lived, died, and rose again. But that does not add up to faith. There is still room for doubt, so that there is room for faith. And that is a very good thing, because “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

skydaddy on August 29, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Another huge catch-22 is you find yourself in argument with Jesus himself; in his teaching about marriage he clearly claimed “from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female”. (Mark 10:6)

It’s a problem when an internal logic collapses in on itself, whether it be in Darwinian theories or religious theories.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Not really.

To use the analogy of a building, an architect can say, “From the very beginning, I made this building to be special.”

Well, how? After all, when a building is in the blueprint stage, it isn’t “made”. When you’re installing the specific light fixtures, they’re not “made” yet; they have to be wired and tested, etc.

So what you’ll find is that all the little things that made it special weren’t there “in the beginning”; the plan that they would be, though, was, and as the execution of that plan unfolded, they were put in place.

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 4:05 PM

(So are ad-hominem attacks, which is why I’m not going to pile on about the nine states.)

skydaddy on August 29, 2011 at 3:54 PM

No worries, skydaddy. It’s not ad hominem when you are requiring the person to live up to their own rules and standards. Since SauerKraut wants to argue that Isaac Newton was a mathematical idiot in spite of the evidence because Newton was a Christian, SauerKraut’s own belief that nine of fifty states equal a majority is an open topic for review.

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Here’s the thing about faith.

The apostles preached about the resurrected Christ whom they saw. Their preaching was heard and believed by many hundreds of people who had also seen the risen Christ, and many thousands more who knew these people but had not seen the risen Lord. Many people who heard the apostles preach had seen and heard Jesus, and knew people who had been healed by Him and so on. In other words, the mission field from Dan to Beersheba, from Caesarea Philippi to the Negev, was well plowed.

So the people who first believed the apostles preaching were believing eyewitness testimony. Then their disciples took their places, and could say e.g., “I walked with Nathaniel for twenty-five years, and he never varied in his testimony of Jesus, and the other disciples all verified one another” and so on. They were very credible.

The gospel and epistles were handed down by witnesses to the people who believed the witnesses, then by the believers to new believers and so on. So although we have not seen Jesus, we are believing the testimony of eyewitnesses who had to meet a rigorous standard of believability and factual accuracy due to the very public nature of Jesus’ ministry. Those who deviated, like the Gnostics, were marginalized and ignored.

Faith therefore, is belief in the eyewitness testimony of the first century disciples and apostles, handed down to people who had every opportunity to check their stories and verify their accounts of things, and put their stamp of approval on the record.

That’s why cretins like SK are so shallow and thoughtless. They haven’t even scratched the surface of what we believe and why we believe it, but the mere fact that we believe it drives them nuts.

Akzed on August 29, 2011 at 4:15 PM

Another huge catch-22 is you find yourself in argument with Jesus himself; in his teaching about marriage he clearly claimed “from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female”. (Mark 10:6)

It’s a problem when an internal logic collapses in on itself, whether it be in Darwinian theories or religious theories.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Not really.

To use the analogy of a building, an architect can say, “From the very beginning, I made this building to be special.”

Well, how? After all, when a building is in the blueprint stage, it isn’t “made”. When you’re installing the specific light fixtures, they’re not “made” yet; they have to be wired and tested, etc.

So what you’ll find is that all the little things that made it special weren’t there “in the beginning”; the plan that they would be, though, was, and as the execution of that plan unfolded, they were put in place.

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 4:05 PM

I think you’re straying mighty far off there, instead of addressing the actual points – there’s no need for an analogy.
But even in using your analogy, we can note that 1) there is a written plan to go by and 2)a building is made according to the written plan. Sounds pretty “literalist” to me.

I assume you believe that the universe did not come into being on it’s own, but rather was “birthed” by God in some way, e.g. “Big Bang” or the like? Or is my assumption incorrect?

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Faith therefore, is belief in the eyewitness testimony of the first century disciples and apostles, handed down to people who had every opportunity to check their stories and verify their accounts of things, and put their stamp of approval on the record.
Akzed on August 29, 2011 at 4:15 PM

That, of course, is excluding the extra-biblical accounts of the era. Although not considered scripture, interesting none-the-lesss.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 4:24 PM

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 4:24 PM

And this.

Akzed on August 29, 2011 at 4:32 PM

Akzed, everyone else…

Please… quit telling me I wasn’t a Christian and that I wasn’t Christian enough. Almost EVERY single apologist excuse that you guys have given in response to my comments, both in regards to Christianity as well as against evolution, are ones that I’ve used myself many times before when, like you, I argued against atheists.

The difference between us at this point is that I decided to quit kidding myself with all the apologist excuses that you guys keep vomiting in my direction.

I’ve heard them all. I used them all. I believed them all with my heart and my “soul”. I just developed a bit of intellectual honesty a few years ago.

You just don’t get it. I was as dyed in the wool as you guys are right now and I argued as fervently for my beliefs as you are.

Someday, maybe you’ll get it.

Over and out for now, take your parting shots!

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 4:36 PM

whatcat, Jesus was speaking to 1st-century Jews. What Genesis said about Creation was what they believed. (Interestingly, mitochondrial DNA shows that all living humans are descendants of a single female in the distant past.) So, Jesus spoke in terms they understood. he also talked about fig trees, camels, and sheep because that is what they understood.

The physical evidence is pretty compelling that the Earth is billions of years old, and that life developed in stages that very closely match the sequence in Genesis – flowering plants is the only glitch. While the Hebrew word “yom” (“day”) used in Gen 1 can mean a literal 24-hour day, but it does not have to. In “the day of King David” or “the day of the Messiah” it means an indefinite period of time. Gen 1 is poetry. You can see doing it as a call-and-response liturgy.

All of that argues against a requirement for a literal reading.

skydaddy on August 29, 2011 at 4:38 PM

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 4:24 PM

And this.
Akzed on August 29, 2011 at 4:32 PM

I don’t think even a first year history student would have any problem with Pilate. Being a casual collector of coins and misc, I know the old guy’s existence is not even up for debate, lol.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 4:38 PM

whatcat?

what extra biblical accounts? A forged comment by Josephus or the simple fact that a Roman historian mentioned a new cult started by a man named Crestus somewhere in the middle east?

There ARE no real records of Jesus other than the Gospels, and most biblical scholars admit this. THATS why you have to have faith, because there IS no good evidence, only anecdotal evidence by the followers of Jesus, and that can hardly be called unbiased evidence now can it?

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Akzed, everyone else…
Please… quit telling me I wasn’t a Christian and that I wasn’t Christian enough. SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 4:36 PM

I believe that you were once a Christian, SK, I just don’t believe that you left of your own accord. Akzed on August 29, 2011 at 3:53 PM

Akzed on August 29, 2011 at 4:40 PM

There ARE no real records of Jesus other than the Gospels, and most biblical scholars admit this. SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Have you polled “most biblical scholars” genius?

Why were you excommunicated?

Akzed on August 29, 2011 at 4:43 PM

Akzed on August 29, 2011 at 4:40 PM

LOL! I didn’t leave of my own accord? You sound like my brother who thinks Satan whispered in my ear and got me to renounce my belief.

Akzed on August 29, 2011 at 4:43 PM

Excommunicated? Lutherans don’t get excommunicated.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 4:48 PM

You’re pathetic.

Akzed on August 29, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Well they do actually excommunicate (Lutherans, there is a process for it), but they don’t use it anymore.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 4:50 PM

whatcat, Jesus was speaking to 1st-century Jews. What Genesis said about Creation was what they believed. (Interestingly, mitochondrial DNA shows that all living humans are descendants of a single female in the distant past.) So, Jesus spoke in terms they understood. he also talked about fig trees, camels, and sheep because that is what they understood.

The physical evidence is pretty compelling that the Earth is billions of years old, and that life developed in stages that very closely match the sequence in Genesis – flowering plants is the only glitch. While the Hebrew word “yom” (“day”) used in Gen 1 can mean a literal 24-hour day, but it does not have to. In “the day of King David” or “the day of the Messiah” it means an indefinite period of time. Gen 1 is poetry. You can see doing it as a call-and-response liturgy.

All of that argues against a requirement for a literal reading.

skydaddy on August 29, 2011 at 4:38 PM

Yes, I understand what you’re saying. But I’m more focusing on the logic involved, that’s why I asked if you accept the idea of God creating the universe from nothing, ex nihilo.

You see, to me it doesn’t make sense to accept that while – at the same time – not believing God capable of creation as recorded. For example, if I know a guy can bench press 300 lbs it wouldn’t make sense to me to not believe he could lift a 5 lb hand weight. If he tells me he did, I’m gonna give him the benefit of the doubt.
(Especially if he’s peeved at me!)
:D

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 4:51 PM

LOL@Akzed… I’mpathetic? Pot, meet Kettle!

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 4:52 PM

whatcat?
what extra biblical accounts?
SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Just can’t force people to read, much less do research. Ah, well, like they say about leading horses to water.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 4:55 PM

There ARE no real records of Jesus other than the Gospels, and most biblical scholars admit this. THATS why you have to have faith, because there IS no good evidence, only anecdotal evidence by the followers of Jesus, and that can hardly be called unbiased evidence now can it?

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Sure, just like a majority of the states ban atheists from public office. Remember that claim?

You want to speak about bigots…?!?! In the majority of states in the united states… You have to believe in a god. If you don’t you cannot hold public office.

States that discriminate against atheists

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Given how your own source blew up in your face on that one, I can see why you don’t dare publish anything that looks like proof. Instead, we’re just supposed to take you on faith.

How hilarious. Isn’t it amazing how the delusional bigot, a proven liar, is trying to argue that the rest of us should take him on faith? He’s already demonstrated that he’s a delusional bigot who can’t even do basic mathematics, yet he’s insisting that we should take his stories and assertions at face value?

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 5:04 PM

I assume you believe that the universe did not come into being on it’s own, but rather was “birthed” by God in some way, e.g. “Big Bang” or the like? Or is my assumption incorrect?

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Yup, that’s correct.

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 5:06 PM

because there IS no good evidence, only anecdotal evidence by the followers of Jesus, and that can hardly be called unbiased evidence now can it?

Of course it’s not unbiased. So what? We have thousands of ancient copies of the New Testament documents, which are collected from eyewitness accounts, and corroborated by the lives of the apostles and their followers. If you discount the authenticity of the NT docs as valid historical records, then you have to throw out EVERYTHING we think we know about classical thought.

Do they prove that Jesus is the Son of God? No. But they do demonstrate very conclusively that within living memory of the events, people were absolutely convinced that he rose from the dead after being crucified.

skydaddy on August 29, 2011 at 5:10 PM

whatcat,

“God said, ‘Let there be light.’ And there was light.” Sounds like the Big Bang to me.

God doesn’t lie. Not in his Word, not in His Work. The universe is pretty clearly billions of years old. And while God could create a young universe that appears to be old, He just doesn’t work that way. That sort of deception is totally counter to His nature as revealed in Scripture.

A literal reading of Genesis leads to all sorts of problems trying to reconcile theology and science. Let the universe speak for itself instead of trying to force it to conform with a literal reading, and “the heavens declare the glory of the Lord.”

skydaddy on August 29, 2011 at 5:16 PM

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 4:55 PM

That’s a pretty big assumption on your part isn’t it whatcat? I did my due diligence years ago.

In fact, it was my desire to arm myself against atheists that led me to learn that all these extra biblical accounts are bunk. In some cases they are forgeries from overezealous adherents who wanted to shore up belief in their belief system, as was the case with Josephus.

In other cases where I thought they were proof… Once I delved deeply into the claims, I found them to actually be lacking.

But you gotta do the research yourself.

As you said, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Do they prove that Jesus is the Son of God? No. But they do demonstrate very conclusively that within living memory of the events, people were absolutely convinced that he rose from the dead after being crucified.

skydaddy on August 29, 2011 at 5:10 PM

Skydaddy,

Thanks for the intellectual honesty on the first part. As for the second, it was not too long ago that one David Koresh had enthralled hundreds of followers into believing HE was the son of god. Like Jesus, he was able to get his followers to die for him, but does that prove he was really the son of god? Nope, it doesn’t, but get this.

I live in Dallas, TX, about 90 miles north of where that event actually took place. Do you realize that there are STILL Branch Davidians today who believe that Koresh was the son of god?

Whats to say that in 2000+ years, the Branch Davidians haven’t been able to convince enough people that he was the son of god? To wit, there is actually MORE evidence that David Koresh was a real person than there is that Jesus was.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 5:28 PM

I live in Dallas, TX, about 90 miles north of where that event actually took place. Do you realize that there are STILL Branch Davidians today who believe that Koresh was the son of god?

Whats to say that in 2000+ years, the Branch Davidians haven’t been able to convince enough people that he was the son of god? To wit, there is actually MORE evidence that David Koresh was a real person than there is that Jesus was.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 5:28 PM

And who cares?

It’s no skin off the nose of anyone here that they believe that. They’re entitled to their beliefs, and it certainly doesn’t change my own.

You seem extremely obsessed with intellectual conformity. Indeed, you ridicule and belittle anyone who believes anything different than you do. You state that only your own beliefs are correct and that anyone who doesn’t agree with you is an idiot.

What seems obvious is that you are threatened by people who think differently than you do. Indeed, you have stated that you want people who think and believe differently than you do excluded from government and publicly shamed and belittled.

Isn’t it funny how atheists, who claim to be so rational, are irrationally terrified by anyone who disagrees with them?

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 5:40 PM

whatcat,

“God said, ‘Let there be light.’ And there was light.” Sounds like the Big Bang to me.

God doesn’t lie. Not in his Word, not in His Work. The universe is pretty clearly billions of years old. And while God could create a young universe that appears to be old, He just doesn’t work that way. That sort of deception is totally counter to His nature as revealed in Scripture.

A literal reading of Genesis leads to all sorts of problems trying to reconcile theology and science. Let the universe speak for itself instead of trying to force it to conform with a literal reading, and “the heavens declare the glory of the Lord.”

skydaddy on August 29, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Actually I don’t have much interest in billions of years of anything. But you did get to core of the issue and touched on what I meant to cite as the real problem in the inherent logic.

If the criteria is “a literal reading of Genesis leads to all sorts of problems trying to reconcile theology and science.” Then it’s “Houston, we’ve got a problem” – at least if you subscribe to the basic historic teachings of orthodox, common Christian faith.

For example: does science allow for a person to turn water into wine, much less for a person who has been dead for three days to come back to life?

Get my point, skydaddy? I’m just spitballing the rationale involved, not pickin’ on ya, lol.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 5:41 PM

I find this interesting, overall.

Rick Perry has not called for the exclusion of non-Christians from government and public office. Indeed, Perry has been attacked on this very thread for his willingness to be allegedly too inclusive of non-Christians and non-Christian faiths.

Meanwhile, atheists like SauerKraut537 have called for the exclusion of Christians and anyone of religious faith from government and public office.

ALL religions are a joke, and when we look for politicians who are running for office we should find people who are as far away from religious affiliation as possible.

SauerKraut537 on August 28, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Who are the intolerant bigots here?

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 5:46 PM

@northdallasthirty

That’s funny! Isn’t it the goal of Christianity to achieve uniformity of thought as well? I’m no different than you in that regard. We all want uniformity of thought. The problem is that wrong uniformity of thought is well… Wrong. If something is right and true we should follow it. But if something can’t be verified to no doubt we should withhold from claiming it as truth.

As I said before. I’m arguing for skepticism on this topic of gods and religion.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 5:48 PM

northdallas giving his/her best impression of a parrot,

“squawk! Sauerkraut’s a bigot, SauerKrauts a bigot, squawk!”

Give it a rest. No matter how much you keep saying it, it doesn’t make it true. JUST like saying Jesus was the son of god over and over doesn’t make THAT true.

LOL@northdallasthirty

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 5:52 PM

In some cases they are forgeries from overezealous adherents who wanted to shore up belief in their belief system, as was the case with Josephus.
SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 5:22 PM

I’m glad you caught them in the act. The fiends! How many pics did you get of those dang dominionists as they were carrying out the plot? Or did you just take notes so as to not let them know you were privy to their secret plans – just a shutter click sound would’ve exposed you!

And what’s the real skinny on Aristotle? Since we have only a few manuscripts some 1,400 years after his alleged existence, those fiendishly clever dominionists must have been in on that fakery too!

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 5:54 PM

If the criteria is “a literal reading of Genesis leads to all sorts of problems trying to reconcile theology and science.” Then it’s “Houston, we’ve got a problem” – at least if you subscribe to the basic historic teachings of orthodox, common Christian faith.

For example: does science allow for a person to turn water into wine, much less for a person who has been dead for three days to come back to life?

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 5:41 PM

Current science, whatcat? No.

But then again, in the Middle Ages, current science didn’t allow for the healing of leprosy, either. The fact that we now know how to do that does not obviate the existence of God; it simply means that God predates our understanding of it.

And hence the point. The growth of humanity is about drawing closer and closer to the level of the Divine. We will never fully catch up with God, but we draw a bit closer and closer to Him every day with everything that we learn.

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 6:01 PM

As I said before. I’m arguing for skepticism on this topic of gods and religion.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 5:48 PM

No, you’re not.

It’s not that the media is so much ignorant of religion, it’s that religion is so ignorant.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 5:48 PM

That’s not skepticism. That’s a blanket dismissal.

You are a bigot.

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 6:03 PM

Do you have a serious objection to what I said whatcat, or just playing cute like the cute little whatkitten you are? ;-)

Don’t believe me, just do your own due diligence.

Skydaddy earlier made the claim that there are thousands of documents proving Jesus, and I used to think the same thing because I heard others before me also make that claim.

THEN I went and researched these “thousands of documents”… They don’t exist, at least not in the thousands, although there are certainly a lot of words that have been written about Jesus over the last two thousand years. It’s a bluff by the religious to boost their belief in the unbelievable.

Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. – Voltaire.

If god is so evident as the Christian proclaims, then WHY ON EARTH have oceans of ink been spilled trying to prove him?

You would think that a god that was so evident wouldn’t need lowly humans writing word upon word trying to prove him, right?

His holy book should be so clear and concise as to blind us with it’s truth, yet I can still see. At least NOW I can once I took off my religious goggles.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 6:04 PM

squawk! bigot bigot bigot squawk!

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 6:05 PM

That’s funny! Isn’t it the goal of Christianity to achieve uniformity of thought as well? I’m no different than you in that regard.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 5:48 PM

Nope.

Jesus Himself made it clear that “uniformity of thought” was an impossibility, and that there would always be goats among the sheep and tares amongst the wheat.

Thus, He told his disciples to preach the Word and to baptize those who asked, but not to compel those who refused at the point of the sword in the name of “uniformity of thought”.

This is a common rationalization used by militant atheists such as yourself. You need uniformity of thought and suppression of any sort of doubt, disbelief, or skepticism, so you project that onto Christians and believe that they, like you, are intolerant of anyone else’s beliefs.

However, as I have just shown, you are the only person here who has stated that people should be excluded from government and public office based on their religious beliefs. That makes you a bigot.

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Intellectual honesty was what led me to become a Christian.

I decided to debunk the historical claim of the Resurrection, because I saw it as the key to the whole thing. (Later I discovered that Paul said the same thing. Ironic.)

Having established that belief in the Resurrection dated to AD 50 at least, I had to figure out how the story got started. So I used the process of elimination:

Spontaneous healing and revival in the tomb? Ludicrous, for LOTS of reasons. Jesus was dead before they took him down.

Conspiracy? The apostles were all martyred. People will die for a lie if they think it’s the truth. No sane person gives up his life for a lie that he knows is a lie. Besides, do a character study of these yahoos. Not exactly brainiacs. James and John were the Bicker Brothers. Peter had serious impulse control issues.

Last-minute substitution? Islam teaches this, based on Muhammed’s revelation. There’s no other evidence to support it.

Hysterical hallucination? Doesn’t fit the psychological profile of the disciples. They did not understand that Jesus had to die even when He tried to explain it to them.

Mythic mashup with Mithraism? Doesn’t fit what we know about folklore and oral tradition, and there’s not nearly enough time for it to happen.

Those were the hypotheses I examined and discarded as crazy, or at odds with the evidence. That left me with History – people fervently believed that they’d seen Jesus alive again after they watched Him die because it really, actually happened.

That still didn’t make me a Christian, though.

skydaddy on August 29, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Do you have a serious objection to what I said whatcat
SauerKraut537

When you come up with something serious, then I might have something serious with which to object. (Your emotional explosions don’t count towards that, sorry.) Good luck with that.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 6:21 PM

If the criteria is “a literal reading of Genesis leads to all sorts of problems trying to reconcile theology and science.” Then it’s “Houston, we’ve got a problem” – at least if you subscribe to the basic historic teachings of orthodox, common Christian faith.

For example: does science allow for a person to turn water into wine, much less for a person who has been dead for three days to come back to life?

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 5:41 PM

Current science, whatcat? No.

But then again, in the Middle Ages, current science didn’t allow for the healing of leprosy, either. The fact that we now know how to do that does not obviate the existence of God; it simply means that God predates our understanding of it.

I don’t intend to sound mean but that doesn’t make any sense, ND30.

And hence the point. The growth of humanity is about drawing closer and closer to the level of the Divine. We will never fully catch up with God, but we draw a bit closer and closer to Him every day with everything that we learn.
northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 6:01 PM

I gotta tell ya, I keep up with what’s going on in this world of ours and I don’t think God has to really worry a whole lot about people catching up to his divinity & goodness.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 6:28 PM

SK,

God IS evident, for those that have eyes to see:

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.”
Psalms 19:1-2

Your problem is that you’ve blinded yourself:

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
Romans 1: 18-22

skydaddy on August 29, 2011 at 6:28 PM

I gotta tell ya, I keep up with what’s going on in this world of ours and I don’t think God has to really worry a whole lot about people catching up to his divinity & goodness.

Amen to that!

skydaddy on August 29, 2011 at 6:31 PM

Science without religion is lame.

Religion without science is blind.

Albert Einstein

Nuff said.

volsense on August 29, 2011 at 6:32 PM

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Yes, and a very angry one. I don’t know what happened to you or what it is you have chosen to do that the Church teaches is wrong, but your anger goes far beyond someone who just doesn’t have faith.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Jesus lived and he died for your sins. His blood type was AB.

I hope you find peace, but you will have to let go of that anger, first.

pannw on August 29, 2011 at 6:48 PM

However, as I have just shown, you are the only person here who has stated that people should be excluded from government and public office based on their religious beliefs. That makes you a bigot.

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Bubkiss! You proved nothing of the like Parrot. If anything, the real bigots are Christians and the like in this country who don’t allow atheist to hold office.

The count is at 9 states right NOW, but you DO realize that in the past this was likely higher than 9, right? It’s just that we’ve grown as a people and as a nation to where government articles such as those outlined in the website I linked you to have been rescinded.

Parrot, you’re nothing but a hypocrite, like most religious people who tell others how to live their lives and then cry foul when those people point out the hypocrisy of their religion.

Here’s the god of the bible in a nutshell:

Create man with foreskin. Command him to cut it off.

Place fossils in ground. Troll scientists.

I gave you free will. Use it exactly as I command.

Create world just for humans? World covered in 70% salt water which is detrimental to human life.

Unconditional love. With conditions.

No masturbation or premarital sex. Hormones peak at age 16.

Explain how I created the universe. Leave out the first 13 billion years.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 7:03 PM

I hope you find peace, but you will have to let go of that anger, first.

pannw on August 29, 2011 at 6:48 PM

You misread me pannw… I’m not angry at god, I’m not angry at all.

I’m befuddled at people’s insistence that THEIR religion is the one true faith that’s right.

None of you KNOW that, you feel it, but you don’t KNOW it.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 7:04 PM

@volsens

Einstein was an agnostic at best but most think he was an atheist. He kept his mouth shut though, for the most part. He didn’t want any backlash against his scientific endeavors.

Quote #1
“I received your letter of June 10th. I have never talked to a Jesuit priest in my life and I am astonished by the audacity to tell such lies about me. From the viewpoint of a Jesuit priest I am, of course, and have always been an atheist.”

- Albert Einstein, letter to Guy H. Raner Jr, July 2, 1945, responding to a rumor that a Jesuit priest had caused Einstein to convert from atheism; quoted by Michael R. Gilmore in Skeptic, Vol. 5, No. 2

Quote #2
“Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true. The consequence was a positively fanatic orgy of freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is intentionally being deceived by the state through lies; it was a crushing impression. Mistrust of every kind of authority grew out of this experience, a skeptical attitude toward the convictions that were alive in any specific social environment – an attitude that has never again left me, even though, later on, it has been tempered by a better insight into the causal connections.”

- Albert Einstein, Autobiographical Notes, edited by Paul Arthur Schilpp

Quote #3
“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.”

- Albert Einstein, letter to Morris Raphael Cohen, professor emeritus of philosophy at the College of the City of New York, March 19, 1940. Einstein is defending the appointment of Bertrand Russell to a teaching position.

Quote #4
northdallasthirty, you’ll love this one!

“The bigotry of the nonbeliever is for me nearly as funny as the bigotry of the believer.”

- Albert Einstein, quoted in: Einstein’s God – Albert Einstein’s Quest as a Scientist and as a Jew to Replace a Forsaken God (1997)

Quote #5
“I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.”

- Albert Einstein, letter to Guy H. Raner Jr., Sept. 28, 1949, quoted by Michael R. Gilmore in Skeptic, Vol. 5, No. 2

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 7:11 PM

I’m befuddled at people’s insistence that THEIR religion is the one true faith that’s right.
SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 7:04 PM

I have no idea why that should be skin off of anyone’s nose. If I were to walk around enraged because other people think they are right, I’d be furious 24-7/365 at everyone.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 7:18 PM

God IS evident, for those that have eyes to see

skydaddy on August 29, 2011 at 6:28 PM

skydaddy, as I’ve said many times before, I actually tend to think that there IS a god out there who made all this, but I’m agnostic on whether or not we can ascertain that. We can imagine one exists, but that’s as far as I go anymore.

What I AM sure of is this… The god of the bible isn’t it. The god of the koran isn’t it. The god of the upanishad isn’t it. The god of the torah isn’t it, and every other holy text you want to put out there that makes claims to divine providence.

Religions are man made constructs, thus they are suspect in my eyes, as they should be with you as well.

As Einstein intimated above in one of the quotes I provided volsense… The gods of antiquity are too provincial, too local to the area where they spawned. Too tribal for me to think of the god of the cosmos as being.

They jsut make no sense any more.

It’s time to grow up

Instead of being born again, why not jsut grow up instead? We shuck Santa Claus to the dustbin of childhood beliefs, we shucked the Greek and Roman gods to the dustbin of history, why can’t we do the same with the Abrahamic gods as well?

The short answer is we can, and I have, and when I die, the atoms that I’m made of will be recycled back into the rest of you, just as history has proven time and time again.

We are made of star stuff, all the atoms that comprise your body were made in the cores of stars that have blown themselves apart billions upon billions of years ago.

“We were told long ago and for a long time that there was only the Earth—that we were the center of everything. That turned out to be wrong. We still haven’t fully adjusted. We’re still in shock. The universe is not what we expected it to be. It’s not what they told us it would be. This cosmic understanding is all new to us. But there’s nothing to fear. We’re still special. We’re still blessed. And there might yet be a heaven, but it isn’t going to be perfect. And we’re going to have to build it ourselves.

If I have something that could be called a soul that needed saving, then science saved it… from religion.”
philhellenes, Science Saved My Soul (can be found on YouTube)

Open your mind a little.

The bible is SUCH a joke!

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 7:22 PM

SauerKraut537 is very disturbed and I am afraid, after reviewing this thread, that we are only stoking his psychosis.

Upon reviewing this thread I apologize SauerKraut537, for goading you, a poor, sick, jackwipe, and I only hope that the authorities do not trace your computer to this thread when you are eventually caught.

Akzed on August 29, 2011 at 7:26 PM

The common belief is that out of all the religions that have ever been, that one of them has to be right.

But what if the REAL answer is that none of them are… That’s a valid answer that nobody ever thinks would be the right answer.

think about it.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 7:29 PM

No, I don’t know that I’m right. I could be wrong. Unlike every other religion, it is theoretically possible to disprove Christianity. Just produce the body of Jesus of Nazareth. Yes, I know that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But a scourged and crucified skeleton of a robust Jewish man in his early thirties, in an ossuary marked Y’Shua ha’Naz’ret, with unassailable documentation provenance, would tear it.

You cannot disprove any other religion, because they’re all based on ideas. Christianity is based on an event.

None of that matters to you, I suppose. I really feel pity for you, SK, I truly do. You are the epitome of what Proverbs describes as “fools” and “mockers.”

I am no longer going to engage with you, since you are not interested in honest dialog, but simply scoff and mock. Do know this, though, that you were never a Christian. You never believed. You never trusted God. Jesus said, “No one will snatch them out of my hand.” Paul taught that “nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.” If you were once truly a believer, you would never be able to make the statements you have made.

One day you will have your proof, be sure of that. Along with every other, your arrogant knees will bend before Jesus when you face Him on the last day.

But when there is no longer room for doubt, there will also be no room for faith. It will be too late.

And for that I am very sad.

skydaddy on August 29, 2011 at 7:29 PM

LOL@Akzed… whatever bro. Your false concern is noted.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 7:29 PM

OK skydaddy, believe what you want to believe, you’ve already proven that you can do that.

I’ll pray for you bro!

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 7:31 PM

Akzed on August 29, 2011 at 7:26 PM

By the way Akzed, is it against the law for me to speak out against something which I believe to be false? Is that a punishable offense in this day and age? Your thought that I’d be locked up for my beliefs is a weird one but maybe if we lived back in the dark ages I might take your comment a little more seriously.

LMFAO@Akzed

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 7:33 PM

Ok, one more since your last couple of posts verged on thoughtfulness, but then I do have to go.

It is possible for all religions to be wrong. But it is also possible that one is right. What is NOT possible is for them ALL to be right.

All religions EXCEPT Christianity share this in common: Man *earns* favor with God. You do the do’s and don’t the dont’s. You keep kosher. You go on haj. You do penance. You perform rituals. You sacrifice. You earn good karma. All but Christianity.

Christianity is unique in that God gives Man a free gift, unearned, unearnable. All we have to do – all we CAN do – is accept the gift. That makes Christianity unique, which makes it more likely IMO that if any one religion is correct, it is.

My God isn’t a local tribal deity. He spoke the Universe into being. You’ve seen the Hubble Deep Field picture, right? To paraphrase Doug Adams, God is big – REALLY big.

skydaddy on August 29, 2011 at 7:39 PM

@skydaddy,

He may be big, but he isn’t Yahweh, El, Ashira, Vishnu, Allah. Those are puny gods compared to the god that might be.

The issue is this skydaddy, when they made these gods up in antiquity, they thought volcanoes were gods way of punishing them, they thought floods were the way he showed his displeasure with what they were doing.

Do human parents throw their kids into volcanoes when they misbehave? No, well some did, I’m sure. Do parents flood their kids rooms when they are wicked little shits? Nope.

You see, the god’s described in these books from antiquity were written by nomadic shepherds and Bedouins. They didn’t know squat about the universe compared to what we know today, AND WE’RE GOING TO LISTEN TO THEM WHEN IT COMES TO MATTERS AS GRAVE AS WHICH GOD TO CHOOSE?

Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism?

Really? THATS THE BEST WE CAN DO?

Religions have simply scabbed off one another since they were first entertained as a thought. Look at what Christianity did with Judaism… Stole the Torah and added a few chapters in with a “part 2″ sense about it, and made it their own.

Then Mohammed comes along and sees the success and decides to start a religion of his own, doing the exact same thing Christianity did but not quite so boldly. They only stole chapters of the Torah and then referenced Jesus but demoting him to prophet status only (not actually being resurrected), and saying they are the latest iteration of this Abrahamic god.

Then we have the Mormons with the coup de grace whereby they steal the entire bible like the Christians did the torah, Joseph Smith decides to write the book of Mormon and voila! Another religion.

The reason we only see so few major religions these days is that they were, pardon the evolutionary reference, the fittest to survive. Their adherents have been especially good at spreading the word and conquering in the name of their gods.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 7:58 PM

Bubkiss! You proved nothing of the like Parrot. If anything, the real bigots are Christians and the like in this country who don’t allow atheist to hold office.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 7:03 PM

Really? Where?

I haven’t seen a single person here argue that atheists shouldn’t be allowed to hold public office or participate in government.

I haven’t seen a single person here argue that AllahPundit, who is an avowed atheist, shouldn’t be allowed to hold public office or participate in government.

But we have seen YOU state that anyone with religious beliefs should be barred from holding public office or participating in government.

ALL religions are a joke, and when we look for politicians who are running for office we should find people who are as far away from religious affiliation as possible.

SauerKraut537 on August 28, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Man up and own up to your own beliefs. It’s hilarious your cowardice and hypocrisy in whining about “Christians” when you yourself are the one demanding that people be discriminated against and barred from government based on their religious beliefs.

And then we get this hilarity:

Here’s the god of the bible in a nutshell:

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 7:03 PM

Nope. That would be your strawman.

In the interim, I can prove that you are ignorant of math by simply quoting your own words.

So let’s see; I can prove that you don’t read your own sources and that you don’t understand basic mathematics by simply quoting your own words.

You have to build strawmen to attack Christians — and demonstrating consistently your bigotry by your refusal to similarly attack Jews or Muslims.

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 8:58 PM

You see, the god’s described in these books from antiquity were written by nomadic shepherds and Bedouins. They didn’t know squat about the universe compared to what we know today, AND WE’RE GOING TO LISTEN TO THEM WHEN IT COMES TO MATTERS AS GRAVE AS WHICH GOD TO CHOOSE?

Ah, the rant of the childish teenager who insists everyone who is older than they are is an idiot.

And yet somehow, these idiots not only managed to survive, but thrive and do rather nicely under conditions in which you wouldn’t last a day, much less a lifetime.

Who, again, are you calling stupid?

This is really nothing more than watching a three-year-old who is convinced that a dime is worth less than a nickel because it’s smaller. You’re asking them to think beyond their worldview, and it’s pretty clear that SauerKraut just isn’t able to do that.

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 9:07 PM

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 7:04 PM

I would say LOL to your argument that somehow I misread you, except that it isn’t funny. If you really believe you aren’t angry, you are delusional and I say that in all sincerity. You are so angry with the God of the Bible, the One True God, you have spent pages on a blog denigrating Him and His people. You can say it isn’t just Him, that you are an equal opportunity deity hater, but I don’t think anyone here is going to buy it. Again, I don’t know why you hate Him, but that’s between you and Him. I pray you get it sorted out before it is too late. I do see hope for you, though, right there in the pages of the Bible you so detest. I would that thou wert cold or hot…But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth… No one who was lukewarm would spend the time you’ve spent slamming God, not just on this thread, but any that deal with religion. So yeah…

No comment on the blood of Jesus? Surely there is plenty there to ridicule. That NASA technology they used to compare the two cloths, maybe?

pannw on August 29, 2011 at 9:41 PM

You’re asking them to think beyond their worldview, and it’s pretty clear that SauerKraut just isn’t able to do that.

northdallasthirty on August 29, 2011 at 9:07 PM

Clearly I AM able to think beyond my worldview… I used to see the world as you did once, but I got over it and accepted the fact that when we die, we die, that’s it.

You’re just scared because you don’t know what comes after. I get it northdallasthirty. Who WOULDN’T want to spend eternity with their loved ones? It’s a nasty little trap they lay for you.

“Tell em their eternal soul depends on it Bishop!”

But please, carry on being a sheep.

Ever since we learned of our pending mortality — the most unfortunate consequence of evolving a larger brain — we have done our best to mitigate its doleful message. Much of the greatest works in philosophy, religion, art, and music either exist to bewail our mortality or to argue that a spiritual continuity permits us to accept the physical decline, and eventual decay of our bodies. As the lyrics of Bach’s Jesu meine Freude insists: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit.”
Stephen J Gould, Urchin in the storm

Contemplation of one’s mortality can addle even the clearest of thinkers. It’s a bit like religion in that way. In fact, it IS religion, and by that I mean that the fear of death gives a lot of oomph to the God hypothesis.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 10:09 PM

Rationalwarrior

;-)

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 10:29 PM

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 10:29 PM

Ahhh…angry ‘music’ for an angry man. Fitting, and pitiful. :(

pannw on August 29, 2011 at 11:01 PM

Read the words, they’re what’s important.

It’s typical of opponents in this argument, to say they’re angry.

Don’t address the content, just attack the motive (that’s a false motive by the way, I’m not angry, more exasperated than anything else, that so many are so blind to the truth of religion.

SauerKraut537 on August 29, 2011 at 11:39 PM

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