Imagine for a minute that the book in question has some credibility

A story in the Bible (Numbers 27) where a group of women challenge a rule supposedly laid by God and God goes “hang on a second, good point, I’ll change the rule”:

Then the daughters of Zelophehad came forward. Zelophehad was son of Hepher son of Gilead son of Machir son of Manasseh son of Joseph, a member of the Manassite clans. The names of his daughters were: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. They stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the leaders, and all the congregation, at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and they said, ‘Our father died in the wilderness; he was not among the company of those who gathered themselves together against the Lord in the company of Korah, but died for his own sin; and he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan because he had no son? Give to us a possession among our father’s brothers.’

Moses brought their case before the Lord. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: The daughters of Zelophehad are right in what they are saying; you shall indeed let them possess an inheritance among their father’s brothers and pass the inheritance of their father on to them. You shall also say to the Israelites, ‘If a man dies, and has no son, then you shall pass his inheritance on to his daughter. If he has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers. If he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. And if his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to the nearest kinsman of his clan, and he shall possess it. It shall be for the Israelites a statute and ordinance, as the Lord commanded Moses.’

Obviously it’s still unfair and crap, in that even after the amendment women remain second to men in these inheritance rules, but still – that’s a fairly radical challenge of authority. They told God that his rule was flawed.

Human: God? This rule is dumb. Please change it.
God: Good point. Okay.

It’s a pity that God doesn’t seem to be around these days, because there are a number of dodgy rules that appear to have slipped through to his followers that could do with some questioning.

(Via The Whole Dang Thing via Slacktivist.)

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110 responses to “Imagine for a minute that the book in question has some credibility

  1. Hi Jeremy, my knowledge of the bible is limited to Catholic primary school but my understanding of ‘God’ in the old testament is that, despite being a vengeful and all round bastard, he is also willing to argue with the human characters and even change his mind (as here). Not particularly interesting in a spiritual sense to a non-believer like me. But theologically, if distinguishing the cultural differences between Jewish and Christian interpretations, quite significant.

  2. I have a reasonable appreciation of the bible, but I did not recall any parts where people actually debate successfully with God. I suspect many Christians are unaware of it, too.

  3. I remember reading this passage but its theological significance never occured to me until now. Good catch.

  4. Oh there are other examples Jeremy. Jonah haggling with God about the fate of the cities he visits, Lot doing the same about the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah – I think in both those cases God clarifies his position. You could argue the ultimate examples of this occur in the Gospels where the old Mosaic law is overthrown by Christ.
    TimT

  5. Yeah, TimT wins.

    Serious Christian theologians spend a lot of time thinking about “Does God ever change his mind about anything?”

    If the majority of the laity find it hard to think about such an inherently strange problem, well, the majority of any laity find it hard. Show me a “Richard Dawkins is the Best!” fanboi who even begins to understand the difference between Atheism and Strong Agnosticism, and… wait. I don’t even think Dawkins really spends any time thinking about that distinction. Nor Hitchens. Sam Harris might, but he’s far too intellectual and open minded in his atheistic philosophy to have a serious number of followers 😛

    So, yeah.

  6. Despite the odd ray of sunshine, the Bible is still mostly drivel. A high-school physics textbook that spent 900 pages extolling the virtues of Ptolemaic Epicycles should not get a free pass just because 10 of those pages accidentally changed tack and explained Relativity instead. And its the same with the Bible – a few of the pages accidentally agree with modern notions of ethics and equality – including changing ones mind in light of new evidence. But the vast majority of it, and the God it depicts, still remains actively hostile.

  7. “But the vast majority of it, and the God it depicts, still remains actively hostile.”

    The Bible is, literally, a library – a collection of books about the mythology, pre-history and history of the Israelites, and then the Judaic Hellenic cults of the first century, culminating in the messianic cult of Jesus Christ – (Annointed one), Messiah [chosen king of God.]

    Rabbinical Judasim has always interpreted the Torah in light of the Talmud, and other transmitted cultures and histories of textual interpretation. And similarly for Christians.

    Just as Jeremy doesn’t read the constitution before every court case and think about the Governor General giving orders to troops on the battlefield, likewise, a pious Jew or Christian does not open to a random chapter of Ezekial and go “Hmmm, I wonder how exactly I can apply the story of this ancient Israeli prophet to my life. Maybe… curse the unfaithfulness of the children of God? Perhaps. I do need to teach my kids arithmetic today, maybe its relevant to that…..”

    Most of the words Newton wrote in his life weren’t applicable to Physics. That doesn’t mean you pick up his entire body of work and say “well he only had a 20% strike rate in even talking about relevant stuff, obviously this work is nonsense…..”

    a few of the pages accidentally agree with modern notions of ethics and equality – including changing ones mind in light of new evidence

    Accidentally? What a riot. “Modern ethics” in the West is the result of a continuous process of the evolution of moral ideas, from Ramses, Nebuchadnezzar, Moses and Odysseus, through to Socrates, Zoroaster, Christ, St Paul, ……, Kiergaard, Jefferson, Locke, Russel, ….. to the modern day.

    The influence of Christianity, and Christian thinkers, on this development has been HUGE. Maybe negative in many cases, positive in others, but absolutely huge nonetheless. Accidental? In what freaking sense? As in, Christianity and Modernity randomly came to exist side by side, with some similarities?

    What History book do you study from? I suggest you need to rip out about 98% of the pages.

  8. Splatterbottom

    Unique, Kepler supplanted the Ptolemaic view of the heavens with his laws of planetary motion which were incidental to his quest to detect the music of the spheres. You have to wade through “Harmonices Mundi” and read about his speculations on harmonic configurations in astrology to get to the third law.

    The ignorant sneering dismissal of the Bible so prevalent these days is a sad reflection on those concerned and par for the course among those intent on trashing the Western tradition and rushing us headlong into a new dark age.

  9. narcoticmusing

    Unique, I don’t think the history you learned in order to make those claims about morals/ethics is very astute. Ecclesiastical law is the basis for most modern law in the West. It has evolved from that, but many of the moral / ethical starting points were biblical in origin. Indeed, even science started out a homage to Proverbs 4:7 – I only wish modern day Christians would read proverbs more – indeed that is true for non-Christians.

    There is a lot to be learned from the Bible and much wisdom. Do I believe in the god it speaks of? No, but does that make the teachings worthless? Hell no (excuse the pun). You don’t need to become addicted to drugs in order to learn its consequences. Likewise, you don’t need to believe in God in order to benefit from biblical texts.

    Although SB, really? A dark age from not looking to the Bible?

  10. The ignorant sneering dismissal of the Bible so prevalent these days is a sad reflection on those concerned and par for the course among those intent on trashing the Western tradition and rushing us headlong into a new dark age.

    Well, I am sure we can all acknowledge that certain nonsensical parts of the bible merit mockery by all sane people and we can probably all summon to mind readily at least a few such passages.

    And we don’t need to trash the Western tradition to agree that the world would be better off without all religion, Christianity included.

  11. narcoticmusing

    What a sad, angry place you must live in Buns.

  12. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic, the new dark age dawns as the lessons of history are lost to us and we devalue the hard-won freedoms people fought and died for in earlier times. Trashing old religious texts (which are vessels of cultural transmission of the highest aspirations of past generations, which contain much lyrical beauty and which are important historical documents) is pure pig ignorance. It is part of a wider problem of modernity whereby people are too easily seduced by the new in their search for the true.

    If you want to make good decisions now it is essential to have some understanding of the past, of the ancient philosopher and thinkers and of the way past societies have met the challenges of existence and survival. The goal must be to improve society without unlearning the valuable lessons of the past. Our generation is but a point in time in the fractal trajectory human history.

    I am not limiting these comments to the Bible. Much of the Koran is noble and beautiful and inspires greatness of spirit in those who aspire to be good muslims. The same goes for the Vedas and other Eastern attempts to seek enlightenment and explain reality.

    A balanced approach is to understand religious texts in their context and to consider the aspirations of our ancestors. We are not so “unique” that we can learn nothing from them. To trash them entirely is akin to the fiery frenzy of the book-burners.

  13. And we don’t need to trash the Western tradition to agree that the world would be better off without all religion, Christianity included

    Except, we don’t all agree to that. I expect those of us who are Christians, at the least, don’t 😛

    Where is your Martin Luther King Jr to fight for the city on the hill in civil rights, without Christianity? Turn you to Malcolm X instead? Oh, whoops, Islam….

    Where is your precious fight against Colonialism without Ghandi, who was certainly a deep scholar of scripture, Western and Eastern, and motivated by piety and holiness that rose beyond the sunken politics of racism in a way earthly values never could?

    Could you have written “all men are created equal”? I doubt it, for you lack Thomas Jefferson’s christian-themed Deism. And likewise the panendeism of Einstein to which Dawkins owes all the scraps of real philosophy. Yet, these controversies were old in the time of Pythagoras and Zoroaster – here you are poor child of Epicurus with no sense of your roots.

    Where is your absurdism, and postmodernism, without the theistic existentialism of Kiergaard?

    Will you fall back, heaven forbid, on Marx, first economic rationalist of the world? A good substitute, but I hope you realise Lenin was an idiot and a tyrant, and that no one has been able to implement the full political economy of Marx because he was wrong about economics.

    What say you to Lao-tze, to Confucius, to Buddha, to Muhammad? Nothing, you think you know better than them all. But they heard better versions of your objections to their creeds hundreds, thousands of years ago, and refuted them, even without the benefit of all the learning that has come since. Because they weren’t some pack of stone age idiots, contrary to your presumption.

    Even Bertrand Russel, surely the true patron saint of the modern Atheist if there is one, would criticise your foolish and prideful assumption you know better than all your ancestors purely by virtue of living in 2012, without real literacy in understanding WHY atheism is the current flavour of the month amongst the intellectual elite of society. Read “Unpopular Essays” if you read nothing else from the last 2500 years of Western thought.

    So, go back to school, and THEN we can talk about abolishing my religion 😛

    God, and audience, forgive my arrogance, but sometimes trumped up atheists are a bit irritating 🙂 Many thanks to narcotic and other more humble commentators! I aspire to your level of patience and forbearing…..

  14. Not really. You don’t know me, so that’s really not something you’re in a position to say. Anyway, it doesn’t really contribute to a discussion here for you to be making personal attacks like that. Disagree with me all you like, but see if you can keep the cheap personal shots to yourself. Thanks.

  15. narcoticmusing

    Point taken. My apologies Buns. I will re-phrase more constructively: it is equally intolerant to consider the world better off without religion – which has added much good and bad – as your very complaints about religion.

  16. This is one of my favourites:

    The Prophet Abraham never liked to eat alone. He felt that food was a divine blessing and, as such, should be shared with others, particularly those in need. Therefore, he made it his constant practice that before a meal he would invite someone to eat with him. One day, Abraham invited a fire worshiper to have a meal with him. On sitting down to eat, Abraham asked him to begin in God’s name and to recite, “In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful.” The Zoroastrian said, “You want to buy my religion with your one meal? I am a fire worshiper, why must I take God’s name?”
    This shocked Abraham who preached of the One God, the Creator, while this person wanted to eat in the name of his fire. Unable to tolerate this idolatry, Abraham asked the man to leave his table, which he did. The Lord immediately sent a revelation to Abraham: “For the past ninety years this person has not taken My Name at all, in spite of which I have been feeding him without fail, while you found it difficult to feed him just this one meal. Regardless of whether he takes My Name or not, you cannot eat until you bring him back and make him happy.

    i.e. Stop being a bigoted so-and-so and pretend you know everything about your religion just because it’s in the Bible.

    There are some commenters here and MANY elsewhere who should pause to consider that one.

  17. zaratoothbrush

    I wonder how many damn kids SB tells to get off his lawn every day. Must be in the millions by now.

  18. zaratoothbrush

    The thing is, returned man, all they have to do is whip out their own bible and cite some other text that contradicts the passage you just cited. You can’t win that way. It’s still a free-for-all.

  19. One of my favourites.

    And God did say unto Moses ‘ Come forth Moses ‘ and Moses tripped on a Lion shit and came fifth. I take religion very serious.

  20. zaratoothbrush

    Jordan, your entire argument is built around the appeal to consequences fallacy. You should look it up; there are a number of good fallacy guides around. Bertrand Russell probably mentioned it in some of his early works. Because someone did this, and someone else did that and they were all just swell people, has no bearing whatsoever on whether what they believed is true or not. Sure, what they believed has it all over the savage belligerence of really ancient times, but who’s to say you can’t do better than both of them. Just because they did good things, there’s just no reason to assume that we’re obliged to believe the same things, no matter what else we’ve learned from them. We’re better obliged to follow reason; it’s not impossible, just difficult as hell.

  21. zaratoothbrush

    Ecclesiastical law is the basis for most modern law in the West. It has evolved from that, but many of the moral / ethical starting points were biblical in origin

    The key word here is “evolved”. Change is good. If something new works better, use it. No need to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but you can’t just leave the water there forever, and you certainly don’t want to leave the baby in it that long.

  22. JordanRichard Dawkins is the Best!” fanboi who even begins to understand the difference between Atheism and Strong Agnosticism, and… wait. I don’t even think Dawkins really spends any time thinking about that distinction

    Jordan – just for the record – you’re wrong. I think it is in “The God Delusion” that Dawkins devotes almost an entire chapter to understanding the difference between agnosticism and atheism. Rightly or wrongly he divides the sphere of human belief into 7 levels, with 1 being absolute certainty of god’s existence and 7 being absolute certainty that God doesn’t exist. He then discusses the point at which agnosticism becomes atheism, although I can’t really remember what he concluded.

    SBTrashing old religious texts (which are vessels of cultural transmission of the highest aspirations of past generations, which contain much lyrical beauty and which are important historical documents) is pure pig ignorance.

    Why do I doubt that you extend that same philosophy to those who trash the Koran?

  23. Splatterbottom

    Jordan: “no one has been able to implement the full political economy of Marx because he was wrong about economics.”

    One reason he was wrong about the economics is that he misunderstood human nature.

  24. narcoticmusing

    A fair enough explanation of your claim SB, thank you. Although I would also add that disregarding science or calling scientific discover ‘left wing opinion’ as opposed to discovery, is also calling for a dark age to occur. This is a disturbing trend occurring more and more in the media, particularly the ABC that seem to represent ‘science’ = ‘left wing opinion’ and ‘right wing opinion’ = ‘facts that can be repeated verbatim as truth’

    Jordan – a fabulous summary! Brava. I too dislike the preaching of trumped up atheists or trumped up Christians for that matter (or other religions, that I must admit, I am not as regularly exposed to). Who am I to question the billions that believe in a deity of some kind? Is that proof of that deity, perhaps – considering evidence is often considered that which is understood by an ordinary person – but it is not enough to convince me. So be it. A little more compassion and empathy on both sides wouldn’t go astray…

  25. Splatterbottom

    Mondo: “Why do I doubt that you extend that same philosophy to those who trash the Koran?”

    Because you are cynic and don’t believe my sincerely held comments on the Koran above?

    I am not arguing that the foundational writings of the various religions should not be critically analysed. I am arguing that you shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater- that the wholesale trashing of religious texts like the Bible or the Koran is unwarranted.

  26. “One reason he was wrong about the economics is that he misunderstood human nature.”

    Poor old SB. He seethes with anger and has nothing but contempt for Karl Marx one of the greatest minds of the 19th century. In one sentence SB works out the very character and essence of the man.

    Gee SB old Karl being a Prussian I would have thought fitted right in well with your philosophical position of the world.With out the boots of course.

  27. zaratoothbrush

    Another fallacy from Jordan – that of the strawman. Nobody I’m aware of is talking about “abolishing” religion. They’re just saying that it isn’t worthy of belief. We’re really not out to get you, you know.

    There seem to be a lot of fallacies in the air – strawman, ad hominem, appeal to authority, appeal to antiquity, appeal to popularity, appeal to consequences, etc. Of course, any recourse to theology is just the fallacy of the courtier’s reply; see the piece by PZ Myers on Google (or Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo etc)

  28. zaratoothbrush

    So if Dawkins is wrong because he doesn’t know his theology, then what about all those of the christian laity who never knew theirs – were they wrong too? Or was there some sort of theological trickle-down effect? I doubt it; mass religious belief through the ages has always been about coercion, the state could murder you if you avowed atheism. Before that ever happened, your parents would simply beat it into you, to keep the world off their backs. It’s like a gang: to avoid being one of it’s victims, you have to join it. For the worst part of two millennia, the “love of God” has simply been an effect of the Stockholm Syndrome…

  29. Because you are cynic and don’t believe my sincerely held comments on the Koran above?

    Sigh. No – it’s because I’m an idiot who didn’t notice your comments about the Koran above.

  30. Thanks for the reminder, mondo. Yeah, Dawkins acknowledges atheism versus agnoisticism. But his grasp of it – his whole epistemological framework – is just weak. Weak, weak, weak. He is worse at it than C.S. Lewis, even. Dawkins is a brilliant biologist and wasted as an atheism apologist, there are simply better people for the job, and it means he spends time debating creationists that could be spent discovering more about evolution! A shame.

    @Zara, you might not have noticed from my earlier post, but I also took philosophy 101! And in fact did rather well as it happens. If you just want to make a laundry list of the names of various fallacies, why stop at those ones?

    Theology can be a fallacious appeal to authority, or good philosophy, or bad philosophy, or various others. Note most of the things you name are “soft fallacies” – appeals to authority, popularity etc can be legitimate, and not fallacious, unlike say denying the antecedent (or consequent, whichever way around that is….)

    Please note also my entire post is a response to a suggestion that we can “all agree the world would be better off without any religion”, from Buns3000. That’s Maybe not direct advocacy of a policy of abolishing religion, but its certainly a strong (and empirically dubious!) claim that eradication of religion would benefit the world.

    So you may not personally be out to crudely evangelise atheism and mock non-atheists. But you should probably be aware many atheists these days do take this approach.

    @lynot: Karl Marx was one of the greatest minds of the 19th century, possibly the worlds greatest ever economist. He was simply mistaken, in essentially the same way Newtown made mistakes that others came along and corrected. He more or less thought the politics of revolution would work itself out, when in fact its almost intractable; he had the wrong Theory of Economic Value; he misunderstood the evolution of capitalism and the way some of its faults can be corrected without critical failure; etc etc. He was surely intelligent enough to have recognised these issues himself, had he lived until the current day.

  31. “I doubt it; mass religious belief through the ages has always been about coercion, the state could murder you if you avowed atheism.”

    Indeed. Anyone that hasn’t got anything else better to do than watching the candidates for the nomination of possible President of the U.S. for the repuglycan party if living in the States, should be very afraid. Listening to Gingrich waxing lyrical about religion, he is going to bring back the rack for non believers. Let the inquisitions begin. That should make you happy SB?

    All this uttered bunkum from a known adulterer and hypocrite. What a laugh, but it gets better, we may yet have a Mormon to lead the free world.Still not to worry, he’ll have direct advise from Joseph Smith. I wonder if Romney will speak in tongues in the White-house. Oh that’s right he already does.

    When will we be free of these religious wackos?

  32. Splatterbottom

    Mondo. you’ve gone a bit soft! But you are not an idiot.

  33. zaratoothbrush

    lynot, I love you dearly, but please don’t use that expression “the free world”, and please, please don’t imply that the U.S is its leader. Try “rich white world” instead, thanks.

  34. zaratoothbrush

    Happy to swing the topic away from religion (yawn): Newt Gingrich isn’t really a hypocrite. He’s a full blown psychopath. Today’s world is just made for ’em.

  35. zaratoothbrush

    Jordan: I don’t believe that the eradication of religion will make the world a better place; I believe that the political struggle to make the world a better place will simply make religion irrelevant. I also believe that such a struggle would make extremely self-contented people such as yourself lose their sense of comfort, and so move you more towards reason, and away from the self-justification you currently employ.

  36. So if Dawkins is wrong because he doesn’t know his theology, then what about all those of the christian laity who never knew theirs – were they wrong too?

    If theology is about anything meaningful at all, hopefully most people are wrong about it most of the time, because that implies the possibility of improved understanding, ala philosophy, science etc.

    Less trivially – most Christian laity don’t agree with me theologically and so are wrong 😛 But, indeed, most Christian laity are relatively ignorant of theology, as are most Atheist laity, most Buddhist laity, etc.

    Dawkins took time out of a brilliant career in biology that was doing more to discredit Creation Science by advancing understanding of evolution than almost anyone else – to debate creationists. And as a side effect, decide to write some pop-culture fluff level opinion about theology, a subject he has really no expertise in (even if you deny the possibility of meaningful study of theology itself, religion as a psychological and social phenomenon IS a field of science that can be studied, and Dawkins is a rank amateur pulling wild guesses out of his arse on that front 😛 He’s also bad at the relevant kinds of philosophy he’s trying to employ.)

    Whereas most Chrisitan laity? Not giving up their day jobs to write bad books about God.

  37. For the worst part of two millennia, the “love of God” has simply been an effect of the Stockholm Syndrome…

    For the love of… do you have any actual idea of the global history of the likely ill-defined category of things you choose to label religion* ? What do you think was happening BEFORE the previous two millenia, a rolling secular humanist atheist paradise from 5 million BC until the idiot Christians came along out of the blue? And what about all those those places that funnily enough don’t have a calendar conveniently starting in 1 anno domini – couple of small areas you might have heard of: China, India, the dreaming of the indigenous people of Australia, the religions native to Africa, and to the Americas…. and then right back to the cradle of civilisation, to Babylon and Ur, to the conflict between monotheism and polytheism dating right back to some of the oldest records in Egypt with Akenahten, to the cave paintings and ceremonial burials of pre-history?

    At least I should be thankful you pay my beliefs the minimal respect of acknowledging their existence enough to hold them in contempt. A huge percentage of the world’s population, both alive today and from the last million years of history, aren’t even on your radar, it seems.

    Or are you just being sloppy?

    (* Hitchens for one was happy to define Marxism as a “religion” in those cases where he wanted to bomb the relevant country, like North Korea. A bit no-true-scotsman, indeed.)

  38. zaratoothbrush

    Dawkins is a brilliant biologist and wasted as an atheism apologist, there are simply better people for the job, and it means he spends time debating creationists that could be spent discovering more about evolution! A shame.

    Actually, Dawkins’ major talent is as a science communicator – there are many, many other biologists all over the world who are doing all sorts of important work on the empirical matters of the theory, so it’s not in any danger because of one man’s hobbies. Perhaps you should try to think of a more substantial argument against the man.

    Why do you think that the “epistemology” of your invisible friend is so important?

  39. zaratoothbrush

    Jordan, why do you essentially ignore my argument and go on to bombard me with the appeal to antiquity fallacy? Yeas, before all these civilisations, life no doubt was savage and coarse. But that’s not the point. Humanity started from a very low base, more than 70,000 years ago. It’s only been in the last 200 years or so that we’ve developed ways of knowing that are able to transcend the biases and misperceptions built into our species.

    Why are you offended by my mention of the violent history of your religion? What I said was factually true – doesn’t that mean anything to you? Why didn’t you actually deal with this truth in your reply? Or does the truth prickle your vanity too much?

    All those ancients you mentioned did the best with what was available to them, only now we have so much more to work with, and we owe it to the children of tomorrow to make their playgrounds as fruitful as possible. We can do that much more with our eyes on the future and our minds able to change when the evidence warrants it.

  40. zaratoothbrush

    It’s not an act of contempt or disrespect to speak the truth.

  41. “Try “rich white world” instead, thanks.”

    Duly noted, will comply. You are right, what was I thinking?

    “Why do you think that the “epistemology” of your invisible friend is so important?”

    Because like most God botherer’s, he/she is sh!t scared of dieing, and finding nothing. Reality is not their thing.

  42. Because like most God botherer’s, he/she is sh!t scared of dieing, and finding nothing. Reality is not their thing.

    Not actually sure about the nature of the afterlife, and not scared to die. Thanks for asking! Oh and of course it is impossible to “find nothing” because you wouldn’t know it.

    Incidentally, its more traditional to use the term “god-botherer” as a reference to people who evangelise their religion unprompted, rather than people who merely defend religion in general when a bunch of atheists do a whole bunch of “not-god” bothering. Cheers 🙂

    Actually, Dawkins’ major talent is as a science communicator – there are many, many other biologists all over the world who are doing all sorts of important work on the empirical matters of the theory,

    My understanding is that Dawkins is also a major contributor to evolutionary theory in his own right.

    Perhaps you should try to think of a more substantial argument against the man.

    Its not an “argument against him”. I genuine love The Blind Watchmaker and have heard only wonderful things about The Selfish Gene.

    In the case of someone like Christopher Hitchens, well, the intellectual equivalent of rabble rousing is what he did for a living, and that’s all well and good. But Dawkins really is a great mind wasted in a field he won’t put enough effort into understanding, because he’s obsessed with the low common denominator, American-young-earth-creationist types. I like it when atheist intellectuals who are a bit smarter about the whole business, like Sam Harris, talk and write about religion. I want to see MORE of that.

    As far as more substantial arguments go, The God Delusion pays little attention to actual research on human psychology and how it functions in a religious context. I believe (may be wrong again about some of this as I was before with mondo, while since I’ve read it) it underplays the objective empirical evidence about the benefits correlated with religious faith – improved mental health, higher generosity to the poor and marginalised, etc etc. It doesn’t even define properly what kinds of belief systems it has a beef with – which forms of Taoism are objectionable? Does Dawkins get shitted off by Buddhism, even though much of modern psychology is plagiarised wholesale from Buddhist techniques?

    It tries to make epistemological arguments – what we can know about existence by observation and so forth – which are at the core of any philosophical argument about God’s existence, especially when brining science into play. But its clear Dawkin’s lacks any real grounding in this beyond his intuition developed as an applied scientist. His naieve and amateur handling of the atheism vs agnosticism distinction with that numeric scale…. is a sign of someone who hasn’t really grasped the state of the art in the theory of knowledge, frankly. He needs to read some more philosophy of science to get is ideas straight.

    I’d re-read the book in a pinch to refute it more seriously, but frankly I’m not the one in this debate throwing around the word “appeal” a lot, making cliched and tired references to “invisible friends”, and it’d be nice to see some good faith from other people

    It’s not an act of contempt or disrespect to speak the truth.

    Oh boy another person who thinks saying anything you think can never be disrespectful provided its true! Lord have mercy on us all 🙂

    I bet you tell every fat or ugly person you’re ever introduced to that they’re fat or ugly, right?

    Nevermind, the internet has a meme prepared earlier for you and some of the commenters on this blog. Its like “WWJD” but don’t worry its a safely secular version.

    http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/41wn/

  43. Why are you offended by my mention of the violent history of your religion? What I said was factually true – doesn’t that mean anything to you? Why didn’t you actually deal with this truth in your reply? Or does the truth prickle your vanity too much?

    I’m not offended by the violent history of Christianity, nor that you mention it. Christianity is a flawed and messed up human institution with a long track record of grievous sins and occasional triumphs, like most others.

    I’m offended because your absurdly simplistic “religion has been fucked up totally ever since those Christians spent 2000 years spreading it by military means” shows a stunningly ignorant view of Western history, and treats non-Western history and religion like an irrelevant footnote.

    Or is it disrespectful to call someone who is ignorant but presumes to know better about things, ignorant? Sorry, I’m losing track 😛

  44. narcoticmusing

    Zaratoothbrush – the reality that when people get power they are selfish pricks and will use any means necessary to keep it, including mass manipulation – is not unique to religion or non-religion. It is unfortunately a trait of not just humanity but most organisms will attempt to attain and improve then maintain their pecking order. So your mass generalisations that because people have mis-used religion for their own gain is no different from mass generalisations that litigation is evil because some people are dodgy with it, or corporations are evil because some people abuse the corporate veil, or that all Trusts are evil because of that idiot in the US adopting his 42 y.old gf to make her a beneficiary.

    The reality is that religion has been used poorly and abused and has a lot of flaws. So do corporations, laws, and pretty much any other recognised institution – don’t get me started on medicine and the health system. Politically, religion is utterly toxic to the way it can be used to manipulate the masses, but so too are corporations and the power they exert.

    In other words, it is utterly disrespectful and ignorant to tar all who follow relgion based on your conveniently selected biased examples of the deeds of religion.

    This thread is about the value of some of the learnings available in the bible – to disregard these with the rationale you provide is to not understand them, their role in our society as we know it and to, as the old adage goes, throw the baby out with the bathwater.
    Disclaimer: I am an avid atheist who in general finds religions (as opposed to a religious person) offensive, particularly in relation to the views opined by their most vocal representative bodies (eg ACL) and the way that religion is used as the basis for policy that is actually contrary to the true rationale of that religion.

  45. Oh, Jeremy, I just noticed – I have a comment stuck in moderation earlier, that talked about Dawkins in more detail but obviously people wouldn’t have been able to read it. Could you take a look? Cheers.

    appeal to antiquity fallacy? Yeas, before all these civilisations, life no doubt was savage and coarse. But that’s not the point. Humanity started from a very low base, more than 70,000 years ago. It’s only been in the last 200 years or so that we’ve developed ways of knowing that are able to transcend the biases and misperceptions built into our species.

    Its the “last 200 years that we’ve developed ways of knowing” that’s utterly fallacious, as you would understand if you’d followed the appeal to antiquity more closely.

    Lets examine some common anti-antiquity strawperson arguments shall we? 🙂

    No one prior to 1800 had ever heard of Atheism or Agnosticism, that’s why they were so superstitious!

    Err, no, wrong. Atheism and Agnosticism in Western thought date to at least the time of the birth of classical Greek philosophy, and all major philosophers, theologians and other thinkers in the tradition are familiar with At

    Ah but no one prior to 1800 had ever heard of skepticism and empirical evidence!

    Wrong, again. Scepticism and empiricism both date, again, to circa 5th century B.C. Athens. Its quite probable St Paul, for one, conversed directly with philosophers from schools directly descendant from the original sceptics and empiricists, for instance.

    Ah but no one prior to 1800 had ever heard of the scientific method!

    The scientific method doesn’t really exist. Its more or less another stupid stupid catch phrase promoted by overzealous high school teachers of science.

    Bad ideas get weeded out over time because people discover their flaws. That has been happening since ideas existed. Of course bad is not directly synonymous with false; an idea can fail to correspond to reality but still possess “memetic fitness”.

    Scientists are, to a first approximation, people who employ more concious effort in weeding out bad ideas by going out of their way to find (or in best circumstances, engineer) observations that can provide strong negative evidence against claims.

    This idea itself is not one that was “invented ex nihilo” in 1800 or at any other time, but rather has gradually evolved like any other; Francis Bacon and Karl Popper stand out as thinkers who have especially contributed to it, but very few practising scientists really need to understand the philosophy of science to do their jobs any more than every lay Christian needs to be an expert theologian. This is one reason Dawkins can be a very good scientist and a very mediocre scientific philosopher.

    Oh, and everything you think you know about the Middle Ages being some backward hellhole is a bunch of propaganda you absorbed from Enlightenment era writers, that has little real connection to actual Medieval history, as all my Medieval history academic friends will be very happy to explain to you I’m sure. Many important social and technological innovations occurred, continuously, from the decline of the Roman Era until the Renaissance.

  46. the views opined by their most vocal representative bodies (eg ACL)

    The ACL are neither especially vocal nor especially representative! The media just likes to publish them heavily because they know it creates controversy.

  47. narcoticmusing

    Jordan – re ACL – I am merely stating that I disagree with both most of what the ACL says and thier representation (the ACL would claim they do represent all Christians, for example).

    They are indeed very vocal regardless of media coverage of them. You may only hear what is published by the media, but their lobbying of government is what i referred to when i said ‘vocal’ – in that context they are quite deafening.

  48. I hope the ACL don’t try to claim to represent all Christians! I might have to have some words with you.

    I agree they are vocal, sorry, I should have been clearer – by “[not] especially vocal” I was trying to convey that plenty of other more traditional Christian representative bodies make public statements, participate in political debates, lobby governments, etc. See pretty much all the major churches and their stances on refugees, for one instance. Its just this vocalism gets less attention, so the ACL ends up appearing more vocal relative to other Christian groups than they really are.

  49. Please note also my entire post is a response to a suggestion that we can “all agree the world would be better off without any religion”, from Buns3000. That’s Maybe not direct advocacy of a policy of abolishing religion, but its certainly a strong (and empirically dubious!) claim that eradication of religion would benefit the world.

    So you may not personally be out to crudely evangelise atheism and mock non-atheists. But you should probably be aware many atheists these days do take this approach.

    If you re-read my previous comment, you’ll see that I didn’t either (a) advocate the abolition of religion; (b) “evangelise” anything; or (c) mock non-atheists.

  50. Splatterbottom

    Doubtless the world would be better off without Marxists but I am not mocking them. No sireee!

  51. You must be joking. Surely your comprehension is not that bad. Firstly, I expressed the belief that the world would be better off without religion, not without followers of religion. Secondly, I can maintain the belief that the world would be better off without religion while at the same time respect absolutely every person’s right to religious beliefs.

  52. “Not actually sure about the nature of the afterlife, and not scared to die. Thanks for asking! Oh and of course it is impossible to “find nothing” because you wouldn’t know it.”

    Exactly. And neither do you. Only logic and common dog is on my side not yours. I don’t have to prove anything, I start on the basis of any person in the world not so infected with this nonsense, is normal. Religion like racism,is learnt from other people. You are not born religious or racist.

    Atheism is a natural order of things, In fact the label atheism is invented by the God botherer’s to denounce people who don’t believe in their fairy story. Of course what the God botherer’s can’t come to terms with is, we are just another species, no different from all the others.Because we have evolved into the most intelligent species on the planet, this has to have some reason that can’t be found according to them, in science.

    Adherents of religious faith (Christian)are as gullible as the day is long. To try an intellectualise this nonsense with references to antiquity, Karl Marx, the dark ages, the enlightenment, or in fact the price of fish, is just trying to give the whole nonsense credibility.

  53. buns3000 wrote: You must be joking. Surely your comprehension is not that bad. Firstly, I expressed the belief that the world would be better off without religion, not without followers of religion. Secondly, I can maintain the belief that the world would be better off without religion while at the same time respect absolutely every person’s right to religious beliefs.

    Nicely put ‘buns’. If having a faith helps one get you through the day, that’s fine by me. The problem comes with the zealots and prosthelytisers who see it as their role in life to force their “right” views down non believers throats. By almost any means.

    As for Christians, the problem surfaces when adherents see the Bible as a textbook of science,or history or archaeology, rather than a book that may give some meaning and purpose to their existence.

  54. OK IMA reiterate and consolidate my position against the sneering atheist bridage in this thread 🙂

    First we had from uniquerhys

    And its the same with the Bible – a few of the pages accidentally agree with modern notions of ethics and equality – including changing ones mind in light of new evidence.

    “Accidentally” is so obviously wrong, given the evolution of Western Secular Humanism out of the Western Christian ethical tradition, that it is either supposed to be intentionally satirical, or is a sign of the deluded “hate everything that made the Western world what it is” leftism that SB so despises 🙂

    Buns3000 joins in a little later with

    And we don’t need to trash the Western tradition to agree that the world would be better off without all religion, Christianity included

    While I exaggerated the strength of this comment in overreacting to it :-), claiming the world would be better off without all religion is an utterly absurd claim to try and pass off as “so obvious as to be not controversial.” And the idea that “we might all agree”, if intended to be read by the, uh, commenters at this blog, overlooks, well, all of us known-to-be religious commenters on the blog. Further, its a patently lazy cliched statement of modern atheists, that is obviously bound to come across as insultingly dismissive to non-atheists. And if its not “advocating the abolition of religion”, I don’t know what its trying to communicate! Sure its not proposing we outlaw religion, or persecute its followers – and I never claimed it did! – but surely it IS proposing we would be better off to get rid of Religion by some means! Is that not claiming the end of religion would be a great positive more or less the equivalent in meaning to the advocacy of the abolition of religion? Or is Buns speakling some heretofore unknown dialect of English? or an I an imbecile as the sneering atheists would have it?

    But then everyone comes along later and has the hide to quibble semantics and call my arguments in response to that sentence strawmen. Faugh.

    (TO BE CONTINUED).

  55. FFS. No, claiming that the world would be better off without religion is not “more or less equivalent in meaning to the advocacy of the abolition of religion”. Not at all.

    I can’t make it any plainer than this: I believe the world would be better off without religion, but I fundamentally respect every person’s right to hold whatever religious beliefs they choose and do not at all advocate any steps being taken to abolish religion. I’m sorry if anyone is unable to parse how these positions are not inconsistent.

  56. I believe the world would be better off without religion, but I fundamentally respect every person’s right to hold whatever religious beliefs they choose and do not at all advocate any steps being taken to abolish religion. I’m sorry if anyone is unable to parse how these positions are not inconsistent.

    How can you believe that the world would be radically better without religion, but not want to take any steps toward ending religion? Surely this is only possible if you don’t care if the world gets better or not?

  57. From my perspective, buns3000, holding such a position means you are either totally amoral, inconsistent, or confused and in a state of cognitive dissonance.

    Sorry, but I don’t see any other way to reconcile your views.

  58. “From my perspective, buns3000, holding such a position means you are either totally amoral, inconsistent, or confused and in a state of cognitive dissonance.”

    You really can’t make this stuff up.

    Not only insults BUT “Cognitive dissonance” Bwaaaaaaaaahaha. Let me see cognitive dissonance is, if you have an opinion that doesn’t fit in with my view of the world. Yep that makes sense. Next time I go and vote I’ll tell
    the chump next to me if he didn’t vote for the Greens, he has cognitive dissonance. Because after all, the world is going to hell ( hell is just figure of speech for me) in a hand basket, and the Greens are the only party attempting to do anything about it.

    What is that sign Kerry Stokes has in his office. Oh Yea I remember.

    Don’t let university degree get in the way of a good education.

  59. While it would be nice to spend time building on autonomy’s comment and setting a more civil tone for dialogue with buns3000, I’ll take a second to act smuggly superior at some of the others a bit more, because frankly most Christians you’re likely to find in a left wing politics blog in Australia are too pleasant to bite back at Atheists. Someone has to do the dirty work 🙂

    So yeah, zaratoothbrush, have you run off from the debate with your tail between your legs yet? If not, I found another one for you! See how lynot casually dismisses my arguments with a sentence or two of anti-intellectualism? If someone uses a phrase like “cognitive dissonance” I’ll just accuse them of insulting people, and then insult them as overeducated!

    Anyway, that’s kinda like a reversed fallacious appeal to authority, or at least the “I’m so smart” subtype of appeal to authority. “Oh look you used a lot of fancy words, obviously that proves you’ve just wrong and trying to cover it up.” Its a pretty weak kind of argument, and much more likely to be fallacious than, for instance, an actual appeal to authority.

    I forget if it has a latin name, maybe you could look it up.

    Anyway. Cognitive dissonance is not an insult; its a part of how every single human brain works. It goes like this:

  60. Buns seems to think that

    A) The world would be MUCH better if all the world’s religions disappeared
    and
    B) No one should ever try to change anyone’s religious opinions about anything (or something like that), because that’s disrespectful.

    For him to consistently hold both of these views, he must also hold one of the following:

    C1) Making the world a better place doesn’t matter (the “amoral” position)
    C2) Disrespecting people by trying to change their views is bad, a much more grevious harm than that caused by religious belief (the “offending people is Satan” position)
    C3) Religion is in some special category of things that exempts it from the normal way we think about views, morality etc (the “discussing religion is some weird exception to the laws of logic” position)
    C4) The “A and B” aren’t in contradiction because I say so
    ….[various other alternatives I won’t go into right now.

    The latter position, C4, is the one I suspect is most likely, because its the one I find most commonly amongst people with very strong views about religion (or anything) who don’t “evangelise” those views. Namely, there is a contradiction present – the believe their evangelism would improve the world if people took it seriously, they believe in improving the world, they believe it is wrong to evangelise, and they don’t even notice there is any tension between these beliefs, because your brain tends to not confront you with all the contradictory beliefs that float around in your head, because that drives you insane.

    Every person does this, a lot, because the world is complex, and self-contradiction is inevitable. Psychologists term the unpleasantness that results from becoming too conscious of the tension, “cognitive dissonance”.

    Luckily buns is here! So I’m not limited to speculation. Like a good scientist, I can ask him what his views are, and see if there is some perfectly good explanation for the apparent contradiction that I’ve missed through not being privy to his internal thought processes (a definite possibility.)

  61. Oh, and before I go to sleep, one last comment for now:

    So far, the only self-professed atheists who have posted more than once in this thread and have shown much sign at all of:

    ACTUALLY treating religious beliefs with respect, by not calling the Bible “drivel” or mocking God as an “invisible friend”, etc etc read all those lines on the internet a million times already,

    Giving the LEAST acknowledgement that actual religious people might have actual views on religion worth listening to (what a shock!)

    are narcoticamusing and Mondo.

    And in the latter case that was because he rushed to flame Splatterbottom so quickly about the Koran, that he actually constructed a strawperson SB had already directly stated the opposite of; and Mondo, at least, is decent enough to acknowledge his own errors, as he has a strong record of doing on this blog.

    For the record, I would love to have a non-arrogant discussion about religion! But if people want to do arrogant, I have a reasonably high IQ, bipolar disorder, and have almost certainly read more about science, philosophy and religion than you! For realz! So yeah, I can do arrogant until the cows come home. You might even say I am the most arrogant person here, and you wouldn’t be far from the truth……

    If you want to try a one paragraph “science proves religion is dumb” or “philosophy proves religion is dumb” argument, you missed the boat – my dozen or so closest friends-who-have-PhDs already covered those bases, at one of our fortnightly dinner parties (appeal to intellect of social circle! I bet that doesn’t have a Latin name). Actually, I think we covered most of it about 10 years ago, when we first met. So maybe try to come up with something at least as convincing as what you imagine the average science or philosophy doctorate holder might say in a discussion between atheists and non-atheists. HINT: NONE OF YOU HAVE COME REMOTELY CLOSE YET 😛

    This isn’t your regular ol’ internet religious flamewar anymore, ladies and gentlemen. One, the most regular commenters on this blog are actually reasonable people, and two, the non-reasonable are welcome to ALL pile on as much as you like and I will keep shutting you ALL down, simultaneously, until I GET BORED, which might take a while; I find most things in the world quite interesting.

    OR you can all just fall back on lynot’s “knowing about stuff makes you stupid” approach, if you like.

    Or there was another option. What was it?

    Oh yeah….. there’s some proposition floating around… something like “religion is a bunch of stupid hogwash that only an idiot would believe and its blindingly obvious the world would be better off without it (ergo, all the religious people reading this are idiots, by modus ponens.)” Yeah, that proposition, especially the latter bit, “Jordan is gullible, ignorant, and/or stupid.” I read that somewhere once before, and I had a counterargument worked out at the time…. its lying around somewhere.

    Anyway those propositions. Maybe some people could – GASP – concede, given their rather awkward inability to provide a definitive proof, admit that they are in fact NOT trivially obvious propositions?

    ……..

    So, narcotic, SB, et al, did I tell them all to go fuck themselves politely enough, do you think? 🙂

  62. Jordan Rastrick ranted:How can you believe that the world would be radically better without religion, but not want to take any steps toward ending religion? Surely this is only possible if you don’t care if the world gets better or not?

    Life must be a breeze for someone like you who sees things as black or white. You see there are many of us who hold strong views and argue them vigorously but don’t wish to deprive others of the freedom of choice. To choose another path. Unlike religious zealots who, for example, oppose abortion and therefore seek to impose their views on those of us who see it from a different perspective. The same applies to dying with dignity and others issues to numerous to mention. Get out of our lives!

  63. Huh?

    Autonomy, I never said anything about depriving people of freedom of choice, unless arguing for what I think is right (on a thread ABOUT religion, in which other people attacked religion FIRST) is depriving you of freedom to….. not believe that only atheists exist, I guess? So, I’m uh, sorry about that? I just didn’t know ignorance of opposing views was a fundamental human right, probably because I’m such an immoral theist!

    WAIT. Quick, someone call Tony Abbott and tell him that there are a bunch of left people, existing, and actually stating their views! Right here at this very blog. They must be depriving him of ALL sorts of freedoms, by making arguments! Oh, the horrors, oh, poor Mr Abbott.

    In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that SOME of the people in this thread even try to – GASP – get their preferred politicians into power and LEGISLATE THEIR LEFT WING VIEWS. QUICK, SOMEONE CALL THE STOP THEOCRATIC TYRANNY NOW BRIGADE, WE MUST SURELY FACE THE END TIMES. I mean no religious person on this thread has ever gone so far as to suggest our values be embodied in evil government LAWS; we just want to say them out loud, but I think that means we are disrespectful of others, or something.

    Oh wait, the Christians around here (SB and I) DO occasionally say things like “let ten times as many refugees into the country” or “gay marriage should be legal”, which (maybe?) are views informed by our values, possibly even religious values? So should we stop making those arguments, in case anyone’s feelings get hurt. Right? That’s how it goes?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    See, to me, autonomy, it seems like you’re in such cognitive dissonance about the tension between “evangelism is wrong” and “other people’s views are wrong and should change” that even after I explicitly wrote my whole little speculative thing about buns being in cognitive dissonance, which (hopefully?) you read, you STILL managed to keep those two contradicting values in your head, by inventing an entire bizarre strawperson of the “logical conclusion of my views” which isn’t in fact the logical conclusion at all, or just outright pretending I’m an ACL type despite all the evidence, or whatever it is you did there.

    Oh, and I’m pro-legal-right-to-euthansia, and pro-choice (at least within the limits of Roe vs Wade), for the record, thanks for asking! But I’m not going to stop expressing my opinions just to get out of your life, you anti-democracy libertarian-extremist you!

    Y’know sometimes I miss the actual libertarians that comment here as opposed to the “massively-libertarian-only-when-it-suits-my-argument” bridgade…..

    Any other atheists up to the plate? NOT BORED YET!

    🙂

    Seriously there’s like half a dozen of the sneering variety commenting here, minimum, if you’re all lost for words in the face of what I’ve written so far that’s frankly pathetic.

  64. Oh and since I sometimes get accused of using too many words that don’t say anything and are just designed to exhaust, I present, the TL;DR version of “thread so far”.

    JORDAN IS STILL RIGHT, AND MUCH BETTER AT ARGUING THAN ALL OF THE SNEERING ATHEIST BRIGADE PUTT TOGETHER, KKTHX4PLAYINGBAINOW

    😛

  65. JORDAN IS STILL RIGHT, AND MUCH BETTER AT ARGUING THAN ALL OF THE SNEERING ATHEIST BRIGADE PUTT TOGETHER, KKTHX4PLAYINGBAINOW

    Apart from talking a load of utter bollocks, me thinks Jordan just may be up himself just a tad. A load of bollocks by the way Jordan, is not just another word for a load of bollocks. Religion is also a load of bollocks, sad I know, but bollocks none the less.

    You see that Jordan, bollocks mentioned 4 times in a paragraph, check mates all of your inane twaddle period.

  66. You might have noticed lynot that I already bragged about being the most arrogant person in this thread. Well, you would have if you’d read what I wrote instead of skimming it.

    But I know how much you dislike me writing long comments in which I use words I learned at (gasp) university – well TBH I dropped out almost straight away but I paid attention while I was there. So I wrote a REALLY SHORT version that doesn’ have any university words in it, just for you and everyone who feels the same way as you.

    In other words, your arguments are full of steaming horseshit, which is a rather similar thing to complete bollocks, and I’m sorry that I don’t have the time or patience to explain to you why.

    Maybe one of the other lefties around here can tell you about the perils of anti-intellectualism in their own time, since I’ve got six people to argue with at once in this thread, plus the other one with Jeremy, AND I’ve got better things to do.

  67. Comment stuck in moderation.

    I’m sure all my intellectually superior atheist brethren in this thread also have comments stuck in moderation, which explains their deafening silence.

  68. “Maybe one of the other lefties around here can tell you about the perils of anti-intellectualism in their own time”

    Since you are clearly not an intellectual that would be an utter waste of time. Moreover, don’t confuse being a good word smith is in any way connected to your i. q. The good Dr Goebbels was one of the best in the business but as you know he was an idiot. , and ugly too. See, just like you I can put in absolute meaningless twaddle

    There are no prizes for seconds in the insult exchange.You are not in my league sunbeam..

    So, in conclusion, religion is a load of utter bollocks, crappola, nonsense. and is peddled to people who in most cases don’t have a grasp on reality, and are as superstitious as the day is long..There is not a scintilla of evidence that there is, was, or will be a God any time soon. So you can go on waxing lyrical about it until the cows come home. It still won’t make it true.

  69. Apparently I’m not in lynot’s league trading insults. Well thank God for small mercies.

    Oh, and my IQ has been measured and really high. And so are all my academic marks. Oh, and lots of really smart people take my ideas really seriously. So lynot maybe you want to fall back on some OTHER measure of intelligence that will convince you you’re superior to me, you poor old self-deluded fool.

    Anyway, I do not wish this to become ugly instead of merely playfully argumentative, so I will not escalate the tone with you any further past this. Comment with some fucking respect about religion and I will show you some fucking respect; act like an arsehole and I will continue to treat you like an arsehole, which, since you don’t respond well to demonstrations of your own stupidity, will now be by ignoring you completely, and engaging OTHERS in a polite conversation (or an arrogant one if they’re still up for it!)

    Hopefully we can get back to talking about how to save the world from right wing idiots some other time. Thanks dude, its always fun to have you around even when you don’t have the slightest clue what you’re talking about. And did I mention I loved you’re story about the young liberal chick from back in the day? That was awesome 🙂

    Peace, my friend.

    Narcotic, where are you? It’d be nice to be reminded that some internet atheists are capable of not irritating me.

  70. “Oh, and my IQ has been measured and really high. And so are all my academic marks. Oh, and lots of really smart people take my ideas really seriously.”

    Jordan you are indeed a legend in your own mind. I would have said arrogant but that just wouldn’t cut it for you. So now we all know the truth, not only are you a religious zealot, you are a rabid right wing religious zealot.

    Yes a lot of smart people take my ideas serious too. When I’m not giving advice to NASA, I am busily working away at finding a cure for cancer.

    I have not the slightest intention of showing any respect for the nonsense labelled religion. It is not worthy of serious debate. Besides if you are going to discuss this schlock seriously one has to able to speak in tongues and be able to produce a nice rhythm on a tambourine.Being a musician of many years standing, I could probably give you some lessons, not only in music but an over active ego.

  71. “And did I mention I loved you’re story about the young liberal chick from back in the day? That was awesome ”

    Indeed, but not as awesome as the young lady concerned. After that long night of passion Jordan, she turned into a rampant no nonsense communist. Yes she gave up her liefs work of screwing (excuse the pun) over the poor, and gave up that self delusion that unfettered capitalism is the way to Nirvana, and set off for India to work with Mother Terese.

    See Jordan I ain’t such a bad commie.

  72. I am glad you have conceded the overwhelming evidence of my greater arrogance, my friend. Right wing religious zealot is a little misplaced, given that I am pro-choice, pro gay marriage, pro secularism (of the government), pro-taxation, pro defending the marginalised, and so on. But I do take the Bible seriously, and if that makes me a right wing zealot I will wear the label with pride.

    I’m glad your “missionary dating”, as a Christian might term screwing-for-evangelism, had such success in making a young Tory see the light 🙂

    If you do not wish to pay respect to religion, no worries; it is not a pressing concern that we come to agreement on the matter, so a civil dialogue is not required.

    Now that that is settled, would any other of the rest like to step up to the plate?

    Come on. Buns3000, autonomy, zaratoothbrush, surely one of you wants to take another crack? I’m a glutton for punishment, don’t you know we Christians have a martyrdom complex, won’t you give me some of that good stuff?

    Or have you gotten so contemptuous that Jeremy won’t even publish your words anymore? That’s impressive given how much intellectual agression I was allowed to get away with.

    Cmon. Hit me with your best shot 🙂

  73. “I am glad you have conceded the overwhelming evidence of my greater arrogance, my friend. ”

    I am on to the obvious straight away if not sooner.

    “Maybe one of the other lefties around here can tell you about the perils of anti-intellectualism in their own time”

    If you were one of us, well me anyways, you wouldn’t have made such a reference, what else am I to conclude that you are to the right. Besides anything to right of the good John Howard himself is a lefty to me.

    The religion debate is over, mainly because there is such thing in an empirical sense. What you and the other followers of this nonsense do, is just seek a little comfort from each other, saying to your selves, it must be true if other people believe it. Well we don’t all believe it, and our numbers are growing. But you already know that, I think you may be just taking the piss

    Moving on.

  74. zaratoothbrush

    I’m offended because your absurdly simplistic “religion has been fucked up totally ever since those Christians spent 2000 years spreading it by military means”

    For goodness sakes Jordan, don’t put quotes around statements I did not make, and don’t explicitly attribute these strawmen to me!! I simply said that for the vast majority of Christianity’s existence, the vast majority of people who practised it, did not do so voluntarily, which tends to put a damper on ant claims of success for the wretched business. Most people are religious not because the world’s best ever philosophers and theologians tuck them in at night; they are religious because they are performing a social obligation imposed upon them by the people to whom they owe their sense of security in the world. My non-belief is not guided by the deeds of Christians, however; I simply have enough sense to not credit the supernatural with any properties of existence.

    I would never call a fat person fat; they would almost certainly not be lying about their obesity, and I’m a sensitive kind of guy. You are just picky, picky, picky. But I can’t for the life of me see why I owe you the slightest respect for your religious beliefs. Are they some sort of disability you have no control over or something? If your beliefs are that personal, I can’t help but doubt them even more. All Human opinions should have clearly marked exits; as Nietzsche said, convictions are greater enemies of the truth than lies.

    You rattle off a list of what you call strawmen arguments. Funny, that’s what I’d call them too, as I’ve never made any of them, nor do I know anybody who has. You keep mentioning Hitchens in response to my posts; I’ve never said a word about him, don’t like him, don’t wish to be associated with him. Most of your responses to me are about stuff I’ve never mentioned. So I haven’t run away with my tail … etc, I’m just waiting for you to say something that actually engages with anything I’ve said. You do waffle on, you know that?

    As for your statement that there’s no such thing as the scientific method, I mean, good grief Jordan, take a deep breath and read that again! You’re not going to argue that in the 200 years or so that science has been the dominant mode of natural inquiry in the world, that the human knowledge of the natural world has simply exploded, that the understanding of our minds is proceeding apace, and
    that the assumptions of the ancients are becoming fuzzier and fuzzier.

  75. I’m a little bit late to the party, but I thought I should mention this anyway: the Jews, more so in the earlier books of the Old Testament, repeatedly argue with God and convince Him to change his ways.

    Abraham and Moses both did so; Moses many times. It’s actually a charming feature of the first few books.

  76. zaratoothbrush

    One last tip: you know you’ve won an argument the moment your interlocutor mentions his IQ

  77. I simply said that for the vast majority of Christianity’s existence, the vast majority of people who practised it, did not do so voluntarily

    Wow. I believe the expression they use on wikpedia is “Citation Needed”.

    Most people are religious not because the world’s best ever philosophers and theologians tuck them in at night;

    And the exact same statement applies to atheists, agnostics etc.

    But I can’t for the life of me see why I owe you the slightest respect for your religious beliefs

    Because

    A) I’m an intelligent human being who has done lots of serious research into the issue and thought a lot and come to my beliefs on those grounds, and so while you may not agree with me some basic respect is only a matter of common decency, and

    B) Contemptuous disrespect of the religious views of others has a REALLY bad track record, as you can ask anyone who died because of their religious beliefs. You don’t have to be a murderer any more than John Calvin needed to be a murderer, for someone to take your contemptuous views of others beliefs and turn them into bloodshed, as happened with Calvin, and with most other religious reformers who were too confident they had a handle on the truth.

    Although frankly in Calvin’s case I think a decent prosecutor could have done him on at least manslaughter….

    My non-belief is not guided by the deeds of Christians, however; I simply have enough sense to not credit the supernatural with any properties of existence.

    There are plenty of religious people in the world who do not believe in (what I’m guessing you mean by) “the supernatural.” And there are shitloads of unscientific, superstitious “unbelievers” out there.

    Are you defining “religious” as “believes in the supernatural?” Because that’s not a view well supported by the everyday use of the term.

    As for your statement that there’s no such thing as the scientific method, I mean, good grief Jordan, take a deep breath and read that again! You’re not going to argue that in the 200 years or so that science has been the dominant mode of natural inquiry in the world, that the human knowledge of the natural world has simply exploded, that the understanding of our minds is proceeding apace, and
    that the assumptions of the ancients are becoming fuzzier and fuzzier.

    The scientific method is a buzzphrase that rarely has any sort of agreed upon coherent definition (its not impossible to give such a definition, but its not worth using the phrase until you have done so). Newton invented physics long before anyone thought to call that kind of knowledge “science” – his book was named in Latin “The Mathematical Prinicples of Natural Philosophy” – and certainly before anyone wrote down a recipe for doing science, because such a recipe doesn’t really exist.

    You can perform experiments, but there are sciences such as astronomy that are far more oriented at simple observation. You can perform thought experiments, as per Einstein, but those can be called exercises in philosophy as easily as they can be called exercises in science. You can write down equations as the String Theorists do, but its highly contestable as to whether they are doing science or “just maths.” After the fact when a theory has been clearly defined and withstood the test of attempted falsification by data, you might call it science. But some philosophers do not buy into that Popperian definition of what science is! And the “after the fact” part is much more critical than people think, which is why “cutting edge” science like string theory or Darwinian evolution (at the time) or the earlier versions of climate science are so subject to controversy about whether they are scientific at all.

    None of this in any way detracts from the achievements that have occurred in the name of science. But when the ancestors of the Mayans and the Aztecs tried out various breeding methods many millenia ago when they first domesticated corn, that was science. When the Europeans of the “Dark Ages” innovated all sorts of agricultural techniques to do with crop rotation, livestock management etc, they were performing science.

    We’ve accelerated the rate of science, and understood the concept better, in recent years. But that’s true of many other domains; its part of the general trend of exponential growth in human civilisation.

    Science is really nothing more than what its Latin name says it is – “knowledge”, those things we think we know because they haven’t yet been proven to be inaccurate. It doesn’t have some fixed “method”.

  78. All Human opinions should have clearly marked exits; as Nietzsche said, convictions are greater enemies of the truth than lies.

    Nietzsche said a lot of stuff, most of it definitely worth paying attention to (as per any of histories great thinkers).

    He also promoted the virtue ethics of the strong over the weak, dismissing what he viewed as the broken religious ethics of the right over the wrong. And I’m willing to take a Godwin’s to point out that the Nazis and their “Aryan Ubermensch” business were heavily influenced by his creed.

  79. zaratoothbrush

    What a ridiculous bag of wind you are. You simply don’t know how to look an argument in the eye. You just waffle on and on and on about your own presumptions, as if your prolixity was evidence of your greater knowledge.

    Look at the last point about Nietzsche – completely ignoring the point I made, then going on about the person I borrowed a line from, in a way that was totally and utterly irrelevant (just imagine if I’d made a point about the KKK’s “Christianity”, even if I’d made it in context) That’s just not an argument – Jesus, it’s not even contradiction, and I’d rather pay 5 pounds to hear that, it’d be over sooner. You bray like prince of the precious people about respect, but you don’t actually do people the honour of listening to them, which is the greatest disrespect of all. Pompous git…

  80. jordanrastrick

    I have made many points, for which I get called a “ridiculous bag of wind” – that’s called ad hominem in case you were asleep in that part of the “Introduction to Philosophy” course you took.

    Then you call me too prolix, which is just a more sophisticated version of the argument someone else used earlier: “stop using all those words and concepts from books about philosophy and science and religion and history, I still don’t agree with you no matter what you write so your argument must self-evidently be wrong.”

    And then you take issue with the last offhand remark I make about Nietzsche (after I’ve already noted he is worth reading for various concepts, such as the “exit” point quote you referred to.)

    Finally, you have the hide to accuse ME of being the one not engaging seriously with the argument! As lynot would quite eloquently put it “you can’t make this stuff up.”

    Do you actually have a definition of the “scientific method” in mind, since you objected to my criticism of the concept? Can you give one?

    Do you know what it means for an idea to be falsifiable? Do you understand the importance of the concept to science? Have you heard of Bayes theorem, and why some thinkers believe it subsumes the Popperian concept of falsifiability?

    Do you know what an axiom is? Do you subscribe to a broadly Platonist view of epistemology and metaphyics, or something in a more empiricist tradition? Do you in fact know what the terms “Platonist”, “Epistemology”, “Metaphysics” and “Empiricist” mean?

    There. Those are some very simple questions, rather than more of those objectionable answers. Just easy ones, to get started. Answer them succinctly and maybe you can create a much more convincing impression of knowledge than I have with my prolixity.

    At the moment you just come across, to me, as someone out of your depth in a philosophical debate, who has therefore resorted to name calling. Maybe some neutral observers would beg to differ, maybe you strike them as twice the philosopher as I.

    So be it; I know I have argued in quite good faith throughout the history of this thread, with multiple opponents, in the face of what one of the Atheist regulars at this blog has characterised as “ignorant, offensive comments”, “intolerance”, “hypocrisy”, and “[a disappointing]… lack of respect”, over the course of several comments.

  81. zaratoothbrush

    More evasion, irrelevance, pomposity, prolixity. You’re hysterical. You make Polonius look like Lenny Bruce.

  82. jordanrastrick

    I’ll also throw in one more point of substance and note that citation for your extraordinary claim about most christians in history being forced into their religion by physical force is still, well, needed.

    And for all your demand that I pay attention to your words, you seem to have paid little attention to mine. I am not responding to your words about Hitchens; I brought him into this conversation myself, way back at the start where I was being perfectly civil, before several atheists decided to write a rather large volume of ignorant mockery of my religious faith. It proved sadly prophetic, as his brand of intellectually trumped up atheism-as-an-exercise-in-snobbery managed to come to the fore, here, rather early on in the piece.

  83. jordanrastrick

    Actually, reading back over this thread, I’ve been unfair in my judgement of it.

    I was PERFECTLY fracking forbearing and patient and humble at the start of this thread, and the more atheists kept coming in and insulting religion and saying stupid and clearly incorrect shit like “we can all agree the world would be better off without religion” etc, the more defensive I got. It wasn’t the snap-into-bipolar-rage that I’d kind of assumed I’d been heading towards, and decided to consciously enact as a result. In reality I simply gradually became less and less willing to have a civil discussion with people who were rude from the start and just got ruder as they went.

    At least lynot is a decent enough chap in that he mocks everyone and everything he disagrees with unapologetically which makes an honest agreement do disagree possible.

    Oh and Buns3000 you’re STILL in a state of unresolved cognitive dissonance! Come here and we can resolve it for you! I will play nicer this time I swear!

    Oh what’s that? Could it be the sound of impending…. DEAFENING SILENCE?

    You know I think it IS. Buns, I am sad to say, confirms what I always thought of the quality of his comment contributions here.

  84. zaratoothbrush

    All that martyrdom must be thoroughly exhausting; I feel for you.

  85. jordanrastrick

    Not at all. God’s grace is quite empowering I can assure you 🙂

    Would you like to have a civil discussion, now?

  86. jordanrastrick

    In fact its almost like we get Bonus energy when martyring ourselves…..

    If martyring a fraction of one’s time and attention to an internet argument is such a blessing, its no wonder the saints who died for goodness achieved such amazing things.

  87. jordanrastrick

    Amazing Grace, the prince’s page
    Declares His war on War
    And now His peace reigns for the Age
    We’ve all been waiting for

    😉

  88. zaratoothbrush

    It’s not possible to have a civil discussion with you, you’re delusional.

    And I say that sincerely, more in pity than malice.

  89. One always finds it hard to accept that people like JR actually have such extreme views. As divorced as he/she is from the world of contemporary ideas, cut off as it were, from the natural world, the twists and turns of his/her thought bubbles seem to the intelligent person, to be so blatantly ridiculous as to be a figment, the twisted imaginings of someone with a severe personality disorder of some kind.

    Of course this is not the case (like mondo and sb) he/she actually believes that the convoluted ranting/s spewed forth are in fact reasonable, logical and considered. Hence the need for such long and exhausting posts, constantly backing up his/her “logic” with even more convoluted doodling.

    One is reminded of this: “The conservative shift to ever more extreme, ever more fantasy-based ideology has ominous real-world consequences….” from David Frum, who is of course a conservative.

    Because JR and his ilk do not live in the real world, they are not aware that anything they believe or advocate would have any real world consequences.

    IMHO this is what makes them so dangerous, as at the moment they hold the high ground, often preaching stuff like “that won’t do your cause any good” if we insult them. But of course they desperately need insulting and ridiculing, that’s why they hate it when we (the broad left) do it. Slowly, over time, if we stop being too polite to them they’ll have a bit of light shinned on their views for what they are…..extreme (even, yes, insane) ideas only ever enacted under totalitarian regimes, and open to historical analysis as abject failures.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/06/right-stupidity-spreads-enabled-polite-left

    Apols for length and if that particular link has appeared here on this blog before. But in the case of JR, it really is spot on. IMHO of course 😉

  90. zaratoothbrush

    If martyring a fraction of one’s time and attention to an internet argument is such a blessing, its no wonder the saints who died for goodness achieved such amazing things.

    It must feel good to know that you’re right up there with them

  91. jordanrastrick

    One always finds it hard to accept that people like JR actually have such extreme views. As divorced as he/she is from the world of contemporary ideas, cut off as it were, from the natural world, the twists and turns of his/her thought bubbles seem to the intelligent person, to be so blatantly ridiculous as to be a figment, the twisted imaginings of someone with a severe personality disorder of some kind.

    Thanks for the diagnosis over the internet, but its Bipolar, not a personality disorder.

    And I’m not divorced from contemporary ideas at all. I spend most of my time writing computer code, reading science and technology news, pondering breakthroughs in Behavioural Economics and Philanthrocapitalism and Social Media and X 2.0 etc.

    But thanks for your concern, its touching..

    Of course this is not the case (like mondo and sb) he/she actually believes that the convoluted ranting/s spewed forth are in fact reasonable, logical and considered.

    They are in fact all of those things. You’re repeating the already-made-by-other-people-twice argument: Jordan wrote too many words referring to too many concepts that went over my head, clearly he’s a crazy idiot. Third time is a charm?

    Because JR and his ilk do not live in the real world, they are not aware that anything they believe or advocate would have any real world consequences.

    Cheers. But my psychiatrist has already set me straight on the difference between fantasy and reality, and stocked me up with meds. I hold down a full time job and look after myself, I have tonnes of friends, I haven’t needed acute treatment for my insanity in years.

  92. jordanrastrick

    IMHO this is what makes them so dangerous, as at the moment they hold the high ground, often preaching stuff like “that won’t do your cause any good” if we insult them. But of course they desperately need insulting and ridiculing, that’s why they hate it when we (the broad left) do it.

    Oooooh dangerous I like that. Since you can’t be bothered conducting a civil conversation with me, what’ya going to do with the dangerous fool, big shot?

    I don’t quite understand why if I “need” insulting I “hate” being insulted, though. OH I UNDERSTAND. Its because I’m so incapable of rational thought that I hate getting my needs fulfilled!

    That’s a great insight, I will pass it on to my mental health professionals.

    Apols for length and if that particular link has appeared here on this blog before. But in the case of JR, it really is spot on. IMHO of course

    If you paid attention around this blog, you would know I tend to vote Greens or Labour, want to quadruple the refugee intake, support gay marriage and am pro-choice, am against the internet filter, want a more secular scripture system in public schools, better services for the homeless, indigenous and other marginalised groups, and a higher distribution of wealth to the poor in general. But I’m a right winger, I gather from your criticisms of me?

    Slowly, over time, if we stop being too polite to them they’ll have a bit of light shinned on their views for what they are…..extreme (even, yes, insane) ideas only ever enacted under totalitarian regimes, and open to historical analysis as abject failure

    Good plan. But before you slowly stop being too polite, you could start being remotely polite in the first place? Because I think to reduce the level of politeness really quickly from where you are now would leave you calling for me to be shot as a rabid lunatic or something.

    @zara:

    It must feel good to know that you’re right up there with them

    I wish!

    If can only achieve an iota of a fraction of what the likes of Michael Servetus or Georg Cantor or the like did in the service of God, I will die very happy.

  93. jordanrastrick

    Oh, would Splatterbottom, mondo rock, narcoticamusing, Jeremy, uniquerhys, or one of the other actual regular commenters around here, like to stand up for the fact that I’m not some untreated Schizophrenic Neo-Nazi better left locked up for my own safety? Because that seems to be where Eric’s argument is headed.

  94. Splatterbottom

    Zara: “It’s not possible to have a civil discussion with you, you’re delusional.

    And I say that sincerely, more in pity than malice.”

    In your comments over the years in your various guises the thing that stands out most is your pretentious arrogance. You are good for a quick quip and sometimes some amateur philosophy but that is about it.

    It is a shame that Jordan mistook you for a reasonable interlocutor.

  95. narcoticmusing

    So Eric, this is how you respond to someone you believe is mentally ill. No wonder mental illness is heavily stigmatised and has such irrational fear associated with it.

    [Sarcasm warning] Many thanks to people like you and Zara for promoting that anyone you disagree with can be brandished mentally ill to insult them. Why not call them gay too? It’s a great way to turn a legitmate biological state into an insult just because you disagree! Hooray, societies ills are solved. [End Sarcasm]

    And I say that sincerely, more in pity than malice

    How lovely of you, because you’ve shown no malice so far and your condescension couldn’t posibily be out of malice. You and I have very different comprehenion of these words.

  96. zaratoothbrush

    If you paid attention around this blog, you would know I tend to vote Greens or Labour, want to quadruple the refugee intake, support gay marriage and am pro-choice, am against the internet filter, want a more secular scripture system in public schools, better services for the homeless, indigenous and other marginalised groups, and a higher distribution of wealth to the poor in general.

    So you’re not evil, just a bit daffy, and you mean well, which is the most important part. That’s cool, I can live with that – hey, I’ve had had to live with a lot worse…

  97. Splatterbottom

    I’ve got one in moderation Jordan.

    You have to understand that you are dealing with leftist dead-enders here. These are people who are so ideologically committed that they are incapable of making even the slightest concession to ideas not approved by the great leftist hive mind. Eric is typical, all bluster and bile, no logic at all. And he apparently thinks David Frum is still a conservative.

    In the 60s the left was very big on free speech. They needed to be heard. Now the left is about shutting down free speech because they don’t want any other views to be heard. In argument they will avoid engaging with substantive points and quickly resort to trite insults.

    On the topic of this thread, the argument being put is so ridiculous it doesn’t pass the giggle test.

    Apparently it some sort of crime for parents to take steps to educate their children in a way consistent with their own religious beliefs.

    If it is wrong for private schools to provide religious education without giving equal time and significance to all of the religions in the world then presumably it must be wrong for parents to do so directly. No doubt this will ultimately be defined to be some sort of “child abuse”. Screams will be shrieked demanding state intervention in such cases (because to the leftist mind there is nothing the state cannot do). That is the basic MO of people who think that every thought-bubble problem they come up with can be solved by some government measure or other, not realising that there are limits to what government measures are able to achieve and that often the remedy is worse than the disease.

    All that is going on in this thread is the denigration of other religions by the religion of secular atheism and, as you can see, it is the most intolerant of religions.

  98. Whereabouts did I say that JR was mentally ill? Please point that out if you can. In fact I said the reverse.

    “Of course this is not the case…” is what I actually said.

    There, now you can carry on taking issue with me about something I didn’t say.

  99. Oh, and by the by, JR also refers, early on, to “Serious Christian theologians…”..as if theology was in any way serious, or even really an “ology”. It is about as credible as goblinology.

    This little statement..that there is such a thing serious theology …. really gave the game away. Everything else he/she prattles on endlessly about is of no consequence. IMHO of course. Nuff from me.

  100. zaratoothbrush

    I really was sincere you know, i was trying to demonstrate that you could say such a thing without meaning to be vicious. I prefer doubt to belief, as a matter of humility – no, really. I’m sometimes inclined to think that those who persist in belief, so much so that it becomes intertwined with their sense of identity, such that when they defend their belief, they are really defending themselves, can safely be labelled “delusional”. And it’s not just “believers” who do this – I’ve spoken to atheists who are like that, and they just make me wanna go heave…

    I believe that people owe it to themselves to maintain at least the possibility of detachment from their beliefs. The more persistent people become in defense of their beliefs, to the point of simply ignoring their detractors, the more I despair. But, yeah, I can see how you might think I was being condescending; hopefully I’ve explained myself better now….

  101. zaratoothbrush

    You have to understand that you are dealing with leftist dead-enders here

    It’s all “leftists this” and “leftists that” with you isn’t it? I wonder what your real problem is.

    I guess we’ll never know…

  102. Splatterbottom

    FYI Zara, leftist dead-ender = But of course they desperately need insulting and ridiculing, that’s why they hate it when we (the broad left) do it.”

  103. zaratoothbrush

    As someone who’s had two lengthy stays in hospital for depression, and was denied a third stay for lack of beds, I gotta say that I have no interest whatsoever in stigmatising mental illness. I just get so sick of people persisting in behaviours, with all the tenacity they can muster, for reasons other than reason, hence the depression. You got that?

  104. zaratoothbrush

    SB, why don’t you admit that you need people like that, they’re what keeps you going, you’d be lost without them.

  105. In your comments over the years in your various guises the thing that stands out most is your pretentious arrogance.

    Can anyone be this totally lacking in self-awareness? Breathtaking.

  106. narcoticmusing

    “Serious Christian theologians…”..as if theology was in any way serious, or even really an “ology”.

    So now even study of a religion is out? My goodness, you are intolerant.

  107. jordanrastrick

    One always finds it hard to accept that people like JR actually have such extreme views. As divorced as he/she is from the world of contemporary ideas, cut off as it were, from the natural world, the twists and turns of his/her thought bubbles seem to the intelligent person, to be so blatantly ridiculous as to be a figment, the twisted imaginings of someone with a severe personality disorder of some kind.

    My emphasis. And then:

    Whereabouts did I say that JR was mentally ill? Please point that out if you can. In fact I said the reverse.

    So the my thoughts comes across as the twisted imaginings of someone with a sever personality disorder. But you weren’t in fact trying to imply that my thoughts got that way because of an actual severe personality disorder. Or you were simply treating the entirety of my belief system as not a mental illness but something as “twisted” as one.

    Well. If christian friends hadn’t rebuked me to come down off my high horse, I’d be getting a little upset right now on behalf of my brilliant friends who struggle with personality disorders. But for now… I’ll let your words Eric, and everyone else’s mine included, stand as their own record.

    Let the more moderate atheists etc here judge for themselves whether only the religious are incapable of intolerance, in the cold light of morning.

    That’s about all I’ve got the energy left for, here. More important stuff to be getting on with.

    Thanks heaps SB and narcotic I won’t forget the respect and kindness you’ve shown me in this thread.

    Peace, my friends.

  108. ““Of course this is not the case…”…sigh.

  109. narcoticmusing

    So then Eric it returns to you just using mentall illness as a slander for any you don’t agree with then?

    Oh he’s not mentally ill but isn’t it fun to say his views are crazy because they aren’t mine!

  110. jordanrastrick

    Thank you, again, narcotic.

    A truly psychotic man has come into my life and shown me more grace than I possessed previously in this thread. The mentally ill do not need defenders amongst the sane; the sane will need saviours amongst the mentally ill.

    http://www.esvbible.org/Psalm+139/

    And I thank God that he has chosen a new convenant with his enemies where he will slay them by the power of his loving words and not the wrath of his righteous anger. I beg forgiveness for all here that I was a witness to anger and not to truth.

    Amen.

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