Re: “The Impoverished Bus Campaign”

I’m going to repost a response I added to a Christian blog post I came across from my stats reference page. I’m doing this for three reasons. One, I’m going to forget all about it if I don’t make a post. I would consider it rude to do a drive-by response, as it were. Two, comments are held in moderation over there (In A Spacious Place) so I don’t know if my post will ever see the light of day. Disallowing dissent is a big thing with Christians (look at Ken Ham or any of the other lying Christians who don’t mention by name those they criticize). I’m not saying the person who runs that blog, Christopher Page, is going to deny my post – I’ve never encountered him. I’m just hedging my bets. Third, I want to highlight what a surprising number of people consider to be evidence. Most Christians, at least when it comes to religious matters, are willing to count just about anything as evidence. It’s unfortunate, and it’s one of the reasons we constantly have these struggles with creationists dishonest fundamentalists trying to smuggle creationism intelligent design into schools.

Here is the bulk of the original post. The author is talking about a recent atheist bus campaign.

Apart from wondering who has so much spare time and energy that they choose to spend it on such an enterprise and who has an extra $50,000 lying around to finance the campaign, I would be curious to know what the luminaries behind this campaign understand by their use of the word “Christ.”

I presume they mean to refer to the historical person of Jesus. If this is the case, the real question is who they understand Jesus to have been. If Jesus was, as Christians believe, the embodiment of love, light, hope, goodness, truth, beauty, and light, it is sad to think that there are intelligent people who can find no more evidence for this reality than they do for the existence of Bigfoot.

In the world I inhabit I am surrounded by “Extraordinary Evidence,” of the power of love. Everywhere I look I see abundant evidence of hope, goodness, truth, beauty, and the indestructible power of life. It is a sad impoverished life indeed that is unable to find any evidence of beauty or any reason for hope in the world.

The list of “Extarordinary Evidence” for the Claims of Christ are abundant. I see the presence of Christ in:

At this point Page lists out a number of things he personally sees as positive. A few of them are:

the profound ability of tragically broken human relationships to find reconciliation and healing in spite of desperate hurt and pain

the extraordinary tenacity of human hope in the face of what often seems to be almost insurmountable suffering

the unstinting graciousness, kindness and generosity extended toward others by countless people in so many situations of desperate need

the endless determination of people divided by deep differences to find ways to live together in peace

the persistent determination of people to find ways to fuller, more meaningful, lives

Page finishes with the usual stab at atheists, saying we cannot see all the beauty he sees. He’s trying to argue a polemic. I’m not falling for it.

It is tragic to think atheists might be unable to perceive or to appreciate these wondrous mysteries of life. What could possibly provide more “Extraordinary Evidence” of the reality of the transcendent quality of love than the faces of parents holding their newborn?

What an impoverished existence if none of the realities of life tug at a deeper part of our being and cause our hearts to open to a profound mystery than can ever be contained by our intellectual formulations or our rational analysis. How sad to live in such a truncated universe that the beauty of creation moves nothing deeper in us than a parched acknowledgment that evolution seems to work efficiently.

It is not an absence of “Extraordinary Evidence” for the reality of love and life embodied in Christ that is the problem. The problem lies in the hearts of those who are unable, or unwilling to see.

The fact that Page is being dismissive of “intellectual formulations” and “rational analysis” is a good indication that there really isn’t much, if any, good evidence for Christ.

I responded:

First, who has that much money just hanging around, waiting to be spent on bus ads? Christians, of course! And – fortunately – now some atheist groups. This whole campaign is a response to those awful ads that spam buses and billboards, telling everyone a loving god is going to send them to hell for eternity based upon particular transgressions over a roughly 80 year period.

Second, nothing you listed constitutes a shred of evidence for Jesus, whether as a man or as a divine being. You can’t get away with proclaiming all the things you personally think are good as being evidence for Jesus because you’ve defined Jesus as good and loving and all those other things.

I do rather like the header image on his blog, though.

41 Responses

  1. Do you really think you can get through to such a mindless, self deluded person? Give him a cardboard box to play with and he will be happy for the rest of his life.

  2. Hi Michael,

    I have a Christian background, yet I agree very strongly with your point of view and what you have said here.

    Recently, I wrote an article entitled “Creationism in the Science Classroom”, where I talk about why I object to ID theory being introduced into the science curriculum, arguing from a theistic point of view.

    Here is the link, in case you may be interested: http://galateaindeep.wordpress.com/2010/11/21/on-creationism-in-the-science-classroom/

    cheers,
    Galatea Cc

  3. What troubles me about both Creationist and Atheist camps is that each is trying to prove or disprove God by using ‘Science’.

    I am at a loss as to why Creationists believe they have to ‘proove’ God. They in their mistaken task are putting lie to their own ‘Faith’, in fact one could argue they do not have a faith at all. Jesus doesn’t demand proof, we are asked to ‘believe’ and ‘love’.
    It is love that will be evidence of discipleship, nothing else.

    I am also puzzled why Atheists hide behind a Science facade. Admit it, you also are trying to ‘prove’ what you can only believe.

    ( I wonder whether those scientists who do believe in God would take kindly to Atheists using Science to embolden their claims, just as they must object to Creationists doing the same)

    No-one can prove there is a God, nor can anyone prove there is no God.

    I think the world should stop listening to both camps and pay attention to what our hearts say.

    Which is after all what Jesus calls us to do in order to love one another.

    Perhaps then, we might have humanity being kind to each other NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE BELIEVES. ( which is what the popular Atheists say they want right?)

    Christopher Page is, I think, trying to call us back to what is evidence for love in the world, instead of us remaining on the sidelines watching 2 bullies beating up on each other.

  4. Jaquelin, you are very wrong about atheism. It is defined as not believing in any gods. It is NOT trying to disprove anything. Atheism does not require science other than to state there is absolutely no evidence of any gods. Theists have set their minds while lacking evidence. Atheists are willing to change their mind if the evidence is ever produced.

  5. You speak for all atheists Bob?

    I think there are many many theists that would change their minds if evidence of no god were ever produced

    (bear with me here for the sake of argument)

    I think most atheists would change their minds if the opposite were to be true, evidence of god.

    I think there is a bloc on both sides for whom no amount of evidence would change their minds. You wrongly assume that all atheists are rational.

  6. It is not worth discussion when you attribute several assumptions incorrectly to me.

  7. It was you that said

    “Atheists are willing to change their mind if the evidence is ever produced.”

    I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you on the whole.

  8. I actually think this is funny:

    “Jaquelin, you are very wrong about atheism. It is defined as not believing in any gods. It is NOT trying to disprove anything. Atheism does not require science other than to state there is absolutely no evidence of any gods.”

    Kind of wanting to have it both ways aren’t we:

    Are you telling me atheists want the right to tell theists they are wrong because they have no real solid empirical evidence to back their belief up..and then scurry back to ‘ooh we don’t believe anything’ and ‘we are not trying to prove anything’? Really? Who came up with the ‘no evidence’ critique for theists?

    Claiming there are no gods is of necessity a BELIEF because it cannot be PROVED there are no gods.

    Some believe there are no gods, THAT is why they are atheists.

    Hide behind convictions, not behind semantics.

  9. Thank you Michael for your comment on my post.

    I trust that in the interests of honesty, you will alert your readers to the fact that the nefarious plot you anticipated to suppress your comment did not in fact unfold and that your comments were allowed as soon as I became aware of their presence.

    You might be interested in my response added to your comment on my original post:

    December 5, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    inaspaciousplace

    The tragic power behind all colonialism is the determination of one group who believe themselves superior to another to discount the experience of those they deem inferior and in need of enlightenment.

    I experience Christ as the power of love, hope, and beauty in my life. The fact that your experience may be different is no reason to seek to invalidate mine. I feel no need to plaster ads on buses in an attempt to convince you that your experience is wrong or foolish.

  10. Jaquelin, learn logic and then we can talk. Your statements are ridiculous. I will unsubscribe and not waste my time.

  11. The tragic power behind all colonialism is the determination of one group who believe themselves superior to another

    Where did this come from? Oh yeah, the divine right of kings, derived from the church.

    I feel no need to plaster ads on buses in an attempt to convince you that your experience is wrong or foolish.

    Then tell your theist buddies to stop doing it too. They plaster that nonsense all over the place, on every church sign (lighted up like honky tonks); on buses; on billboards; in fliers; in newspapers; in magazines,; on mountaintops; 100 foot high statues; on and on and on, ad nauseum.

    Theistic hypocrisy is hilarious!

  12. So is all hypocrisy, including atheistic. We can’t all be as superior as you Bob.

  13. Bob is right, you are not making a shred of sense, Jaqueline.

    Claiming there are no gods is of necessity a BELIEF because it cannot be PROVED there are no gods.

    That’s true. If someone claimed there was no way there could be any kind of deity out there, he would be making a claim of faith, because it cannot be known for certain.
    Now show me someone who makes that claim. I certainly don’t, Bob doesn’t, Michael Hawkins doesn’t, none of the so-called Horsemen of the New Atheism do, nor anyone else I know or have heard of. What’s your point?

    Hide behind convictions, not behind semantics.

    How about not hiding at all?

    What I and 99% of atheists “believe” is that gods are as unlikely as any other arbitrary and unproven idea, such as invisible unicorns or an unseen celestial teapot. We do not claim to know either of those ideas are impossible, but until proven there is zero reason to believe them. If someone else, such as a Christian, believes they know one of those to exist, they need to provide the evidence for it.

    If you believe we should disprove claims, try proving there is not a tiny, invisible lion living inside your teeth. This is impossible, but by your logic, it is then true… right?

  14. The objection is about some Atheists demanding that Theists produce evidence of god, and not demanding the reciprocal evidence of themselves..

    Perhaps you should argue your objection with whoever wrote this on Wikipedia, which is a populist resource which I quote to demsonstrate my statement about Atheism is not an uncommon understanding.

    ‘Atheism, in a broad sense, is the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.[1] In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.[2] Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist.[3] Atheism is contrasted with theism,[4] which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.[5][6]’

    I think you are focusing on one aspect of what I wrote, for sake of argument and missing the point.

    I think the objection form both camps is about one set of people forcing their ideas on others and demanding that the whole of society conform to their ideas. That our culture has had the misfortune of suffering that under male dominated and interpreted Christendom is tragic. And some of us are not blaming Christ for man’s mistake. Since WW2 that sort of Chritiansied dominance has declined dramtically

    Haven’t Atheists read the papers, don’t they study statistics? Church is dying …and NOW Atheists want to get on the ‘Bus Wagon’? Isn’t this called kicking them while they are down?

    Whether, Atheist, Christian, Islam, Nazi, Communist, whatever…the action of wanting to make the world into an ‘ism’ is what we need to be working against.

    What we need to be working toward is a kinder , more inclusive less divisive world, not one in which we all have to think or beleive the same in order to get along , but one in which we are loving enough to appreciate all sorts of different ways of being human and in my book I do not care what you say you believe or don’t believe, if that is what you deeply value and are wanting to live.

  15. The objection is about some Atheists demanding that Theists produce evidence of god, and not demanding the reciprocal evidence of themselves..

    I know. And that’s exactly what I answered. The answer, if I must repeat it, is that atheists do not make any claim. Well, of course atheists likely make other claims, but atheism itself is not a claim, it’s a lack of it.

    Atheists say that the existence of God is as unlikely as any other arbitrary and unproven idea. This is not a positive claim, it’s a claim of lack of knowledge. It’s impossible to prove, because there is nothing to prove.

    The Christians, who make the positive claim of the existence of God, or at least likelihood of it, have the burden of proof in the matter. They must provide proof of their claim, or we cannot be expected to believe it. More than that, it is also irrational for them to believe it.

    Haven’t Atheists read the papers, don’t they study statistics? Church is dying …and NOW Atheists want to get on the ‘Bus Wagon’? Isn’t this called kicking them while they are down?

    Actually you may want to read those papers again, because even though the church may be “dying”, religious people are still by far the majority – in the US and in the world, though at least not in my country, for which I’m grateful.

    This, however, doesn’t matter. Kicking people while they’re down is a convenient metaphor for the losing side, but when it’s not a question of actual violence but merely a faulty idea getting the fatal blow, it’s not a bad thing.

    Whether, Atheist, Christian, Islam, Nazi, Communist, whatever…the action of wanting to make the world into an ‘ism’ is what we need to be working against.

    First of all: Why is an “ism” by definition bad?

    Secondly, the second religion no longer exists, there is no need for the term “atheism” either, just as there is no need for “asantaclausism” or “aleprechaunism”.

    If you want to get rid of the ism of atheism, there is no better way than to work against religion.

    What we need to be working toward is a kinder , more inclusive less divisive world

    Well, you’re entitled to your opinion, but I strongly disagree. I think we should work toward a more enlightened world, not one where every kooky idea is seen as equally likely and deserving of respect, simply to avoid conflict.

  16. I trust that in the interests of honesty, you will alert your readers to the fact that the nefarious plot you anticipated to suppress your comment did not in fact unfold and that your comments were allowed as soon as I became aware of their presence.

    Or I will just quote where I took the time to say in explicit terms that I wasn’t accusing you of any sort of suppression.

    I’m not saying the person who runs that blog, Christopher Page, is going to deny my post – I’ve never encountered him. I’m just hedging my bets.

  17. “I think we should work toward a more enlightened world, not one where every kooky idea is seen as equally likely and deserving of respect, simply to avoid conflict.”
    I do not think that is ideal either.

    I see this as the opposite of the tendency to want everyone to think the same in order to get along…: not all ideas are worthy of respect nor should ideas be immune from discussion or scrutiny. But not idea is worth killing anyone over and no idea is worth demanding that all believe or think the same. Kindness should transcend what we think.

    My hope is that we can respect each other’s humanity and treat each other kindly despite what we believe or think.

  18. ‘If you want to get rid of the ism of atheism, there is no better way than to work against religion.’

    There is nothing wrong with an ‘ism’ in and of itself except when those who identify themselves with it demand that others conform and that it have the exclusive influence on the lives and minds of others..

    That is what I meant by ‘the action of wanting to make the world into an ‘ism’ is what we need to be working against.’

    I do not want to rid the world of Atheism.

    Whether we like it or not it or whether we believe in gods or not.,it seems to be an expression of who we are as human beings to express our idea of god.

    Atheism keeps the religious honest.

  19. But not idea is worth killing anyone over and no idea is worth demanding that all believe or think the same.

    I agree. Now show me any atheist who has killed people in the name of atheism, or even tried to force atheism on someone else. And no, criticism, argument and wanting to not be forced by the other side are not force.

    Almost everyone, including atheists, think we should treat each other kindly but that does not preclude criticism or debate.

    There is nothing wrong with an ‘ism’ in and of itself…

    So what you meant to say was not that we should work against isms, but simply that we should work against anything that wants to make the world into something else?

    In that case, what about wanting to make people more educated? What about wanting to make people more tolerant? Happy? Open-minded? Healthy?
    As long as it isn’t done by actual force but by information and encouragement, which this is, why is wanting to change the world a bad thing?

    Whether we like it or not it or whether we believe in gods or not.,it seems to be an expression of who we are as human beings to express our idea of god.

    Does that mean atheists are not human beings, since they have no idea of god? Does that mean that religious converts are different humans than they were before?

    I’m honestly unsure of your point here. Are you trying to convey the idea that losing faith is losing humanity, or in any way a bad thing? If so, I’ll have to ask you to elaborate.

  20. […] share. A comment referring to me that appeared on the “For The Sake Of Science” blog (https://forthesakeofscience.wordpress.com/2010/12/05/re-the-impoverished-bus-campaign/), demonstrates the level of discourse to which some people quickly sink when they find discussion […]

  21. Slater: You know very well what I am saying. You know very well what I mean.

  22. just to clarify: atheists express and discuss ideas about god just like anyone else does

  23. Jaqueline:

    Actually, I really don’t. I don’t understand your point at all, if you have one.

    Yes, atheists can discuss ideas of god perfectly, but being atheists they by definition hold the position of scepticism and requiring evidence for the positive claims of god.
    It’s still impossible to prove not being convinced. It doesn’t even make sense to try. So what’s your point?

    It’s the same with the other parts of that post. I honestly have no idea what you are trying to say. Should we be working against any attempt to change the world or not? Is humanity defined by faith or not? You seem to be jumping back and forth between arguments and claims.

    How about taking them one at a time?

    What is your problem with the “ism” of atheism? Are you opposed to isms in general? Are you opposed to changing the world by information? What?

  24. I think you know what I mean. but perhaps I should answer your question:

    >> There is nothing wrong with an ‘ism’ in and of itself…

    So what you meant to say was not that we should work against isms, but simply that we should work against anything that wants to make the world into something else?

    In that case, what about wanting to make people more educated? What about wanting to make people more tolerant? Happy? Open-minded? Healthy?<>As long as it isn’t done by actual force but by information and encouragement, which this is, why is wanting to change the world a bad thing?<>Now show me any atheist who has killed people in the name of atheism, or even tried to force atheism on someone else.<<

    I can't name one name off the bat, but I don't particularly like some of the rhetoric that comes through lately or what was said to me a a party recently that all religious people should be taken out and shot.

    Instead of continuing to remind us of the bleeding obvious that religion has been used as an excuse to butcher people, it might be helpful to use that as an example of how one world view looks when imposed exclusively. However it is not only religion that has been used as an stick to beat others with.

    We already have examples of an atheistic world view imposed on others: they are called NAZI Germany, Stalinist Russia and Maoist China. Perhaps we need to learn from those as well…and remind ourselves that Atheists have not always been the picked on minority, nor are they blameless when it comes to the world's ills..
    Atheists might need a very big carpet to explain away those three examples.

  25. Sorry Slater, my last comment has been inadvertantly edited…there is a whole run of quotes by you that ought to have comments but are missing now …

  26. Thankfully I have been able to retrieve the rest. phew….

    >> There is nothing wrong with an ‘ism’ in and of itself…

    So what you meant to say was not that we should work against isms, but simply that we should work against anything that wants to make the world into something else?

    In that case, what about wanting to make people more educated? What about wanting to make people more tolerant? Happy? Open-minded? Healthy?<>As long as it isn’t done by actual force but by information and encouragement, which this is, why is wanting to change the world a bad thing?<<

    No-one gets away in our culture by forcing people to agree with them anymore. Religious Fundamentalists have hardly used force to influence so many 'good' Americans…they have used exactly those methods which you say are OK to use.

    In whose image exactly are we going to change the world? Will it look like your idea or mine?
    A world in which diversity and dialogue and cross pollination of ideas is allowed seems the healthier option.

  27. hmm this piece was missing form the new post as well..is there a word limit on posts?

    just to clarify, THIS is what I wrote :

    “There is nothing wrong with an ‘ism’ in and of itself except when those who identify themselves with it demand that others conform and that it have the exclusive influence on the lives and minds of others..”

    Clearly I am not talking about just ANYTHING; clearly I am referring to ‘isms’ as exclusive influencers of a society: those who believe in an ‘ism’ and use education to teach only their point of view, who say that the only way to be happy is to follow the ‘ism’, who only tolerate those who agree or allow them, who do damage and compromise the health and well being of those who dissent.

  28. I think I can figure out the comments, don’t worry about that.

    I can’t name one name off the bat, but I don’t particularly like some of the rhetoric that comes through lately or what was said to me a a party recently that all religious people should be taken out and shot.

    Well, that sounds like an asshole atheist, I’ll fully agree to that, and I am quite aware those exist.

    Of course the reason for this idea of his isn’t atheism, which can’t really command or suggest any actions, being just a description of a lack of belief, but I won’t insult you with blurry semantics. I agree that if a much larger proportion of atheists than religious people wanted to see the other side physically wiped out, it would suggest an unhealthy mental side-effect of atheism.
    However, first of all, this is to the best of my knowledge not the case, and secondly when discussing the truth value of atheism, the effect of its realisation on the mind isn’t really relevant.

    Even if atheists were angrier, more destructive or the like, this would not in itself cause a God to exist – and in my opinion truth is more important than happiness.

    We already have examples of an atheistic world view imposed on others: they are called NAZI Germany, Stalinist Russia and Maoist China.

    No no no no no no, please don’t rehash that old canard. Hitler was not an atheist. He was a very devout Catholic, and has said again and again that he was acting on what he believed was the will of God. Look up “Gott mit uns” for more verification.

    Stalin was an atheist, but (unlike Hitler) he didn’t murder and oppress because or in the name of his ideology. He was just an evil dictator who happened to be atheist. He also happened to have a moustache, but would you blame moustaches for the evils of the Stalin-led Soviet? Are moustaches to blame for the world’s ill?

    Even if Hitler had been an atheist, this would be a terrible argument, just as the fact that he was Catholic does not prove that Catholicism is evil.

  29. >>Even if Hitler had been an atheist, this would be a terrible argument, just as the fact that he was Catholic does not prove that Catholicism is evil<<.

    If we cannot site these three movements as examples of what Atheism has produced then I beg for your 'side' to let go of the mantra 'what about the crusades etc etc and the present evils of certain Catholic clergy and fundamentialists as reasons to dismiss Christiantiy.

    and please..I think our sources for Hitler's belief system are quite at odds….He had no intention of religion being allowed to go any further than to convince those already religious that he was their man. Stalin just another nasty dictator? …do not let Stalin off the hook or paint less him evil than Hitler.

  30. pS thanks for weighing in, it is good to discuss even if we are at odds…I like the idea that something new may come forth when views are engaged with even without agreement.

  31. an evil dictator who happened to be an atheist?

    Is not Communism based on the rejection of religion and is it not as a philosophy essentially atheist?
    Why is it OK for you to say this ..’oh he was evil who happened to be’…I do not hear any evil done by those who happened to claim Christianity let of the hook so easily.

  32. If we cannot site these three movements as examples of what Atheism has produced then I beg for your ‘side’ to let go of the mantra ‘what about the crusades etc etc

    But there is a difference. The crusades happened because of Christianity, or at least using Christanity as an excuse.

    If an atheist with a moustache does something evil, atheism is no more at fault than the moustache, because atheism has no rules or tenets, and you cannot do something because of it. Again, I admit that if most atheists were evil and religious people were not, it would suggest an unhealthiness of atheism, but when talking individuals or smaller groups, atheism has no relevance.

    On the other hand, if a theist does something evil, it is possible that he did it because of theism, because theism does have rules and tenets and tells you what to do. It’s also possible he was just evil by nature or for some other reason.

    The latter is why very few people blame Christianity for Hitler. Hitler was obviously a twisted person, and Christianity was just an excuse for his actions.
    A lot of the atrocities committed by churches or champions of churches, however, don’t have this excuse – and the sheer volume of atrocities committed in the name of Christianity speaks for something other than a coincidental coexistence.

    He had no intention of religion being allowed to go any further than to convince those already religious that he was their man.

    So your source in saying he was an atheist is a guess that he was lying about his Christianity?
    Come on. While this is indeed possible, it’s hardly enough to support your claim, is it? At best we don’t know what he was.

    an evil dictator who happened to be an atheist?
    Is not Communism based on the rejection of religion and is it not as a philosophy essentially atheist?

    First of all, no. Communism in the Soviet was tied to atheism, but communism does not require it, nor the other way around.

    Secondly, even if it were, is communism evil?
    If you are American, you’ve probably been spoon fed from childhood the notion that communism is terrible and bad, but do you know why? It is simply a political ideology based on everyone being completely equal, which is accomplished by removing private ownership and wage differences. You may agree or disagree with this ideology, but is it evil? Is it not a beautiful thought that everyone is entirely equal?

    Stalin was evil because that’s what he was. He happened to be an atheist and he happened to be a communist (well, not really – he disguised dictatorship with communism, but for the sake of argument…), but none of those were to blame for anything he did, any more than his moustache was.

    When an entire church decides that a country needs to die because their holy book says so, then the entire church is to blame. When this happens often, then the holy book that told them what to do has a certain blame as well — unlike a book, such as a book on evolution, which only tells you how reality is, not how we should act upon it.

  33. Slater, Honestly?..Moustaches?
    Why is it that arseholes who are atheists are no way to judge atheism, but arseholes who claim Christiantiy are ways to judge Christianity?

    Double Standard. Not rational in my book.

    And while on the subject of arseholes, who exactly are the people that have been in power for milllenia? Men. Are we to judge all men because the world was lead by murderous power hungry, war mongering oppressive men?

    Why not be inclined to blame men, shall we, for the ills of the world more than the religions they say they followed- after all THEY are the common denominator not matter what philosophy or religion happened to be favoured. If we are going to look at what and who had more influence over the last couple of millennia…I would be mounting a huge anti- men campaign to ensure they never had a chance at power again!

    What ever the trappings, the crucifixes, their words, their ceremonies, their songs, their self-righteousness…their actions, their power hungry murderous domination identify them as NOT disciples or followers of Christ.

    I think it is time to stop blaming Christ for human beings’ mistakes and figure out the difference between who has been killing in order to conquer the world and the person who died for the love of it..

    That some cannot tell the difference seems highly irrational to me.

  34. Why is it that arseholes who are atheists are no way to judge atheism, but arseholes who claim Christiantiy are ways to judge Christianity?

    I… just explained that. What more do you want?

    If you disagree, please offer a counter-argument. Just repeating what you said before isn’t very productive. If not, what is it you didn’t understand?

    I think it is time to stop blaming Christ for human beings’ mistakes

    Atheists do not blame Christ, because they do not believe in Christ. This should be fairly straightforward. What they do blame is his fan club, who just happen to also be the people committing these atrocities.

    That some cannot tell the difference seems highly irrational to me.

    Well sure, when you ignore the reasons, everything seems irrational. But this does make me wonder — are you not right now on the other site, inaspaciousplace, arguing that irrationality is not a bad thing? If you believe that, why are you calling me irrational, as if it invalidates what I say?

    Sure, if my claims were irrational, it would invalidate them, but if you agree to that, then you would also have to agree that Christianity being irrational, which you have conceded, would make it false.

    You can’t have it both ways.

  35. Correction: are you not arguing that irrationality can determine truth?
    I do agree irrationality isn’t bad. Some feelings are quite nice. They just can’t be used to find truth.

  36. You are the one laying claim to rationality…I am observing that your defense to my citing three totalitarain atheist systems as not convincing and betraying of a double standard.

    Of course Atheists have criticised and attempted to refute Christ,, perhaps you, not being a Christian haven’t noticed…..

    For me it does go both ways…I have not limited the way the world is allowed to tell me about itself.

    I am not always enamoured or convinced by the fans of atheism either.

    And I wonder…if you can tell the difference between Christ and his fans, why are not Atheists calling them to be consistent with whom they believe in instead of telling them to stop believing?

  37. “Stalin was evil because that’s what he was. He happened to be an atheist and he happened to be a communist (well, not really – he disguised dictatorship with communism, but for the sake of argument…), but none of those were to blame for anything he did, any more than his moustache was.”

    Not everyone sees it that way:

    “Communism offered a coherent belief system, based on a false theory of the perfectibility of man and the pseudo-science of economic determinism. It had universal appeal: brutal in fact, but seemingly idealistic, the system solidified under Stalin won admiration in many poor countries, and from a host of clever fools in rich ones.” – from: http://www.economist.com/node/346857

  38. You are the one laying claim to rationality

    Yes, it is. And you are the one not contradicting me, but instead claiming that irrationality is just as good a tool in finding truth.
    At least make up your mind on which position to hold: that Christians are rational as well, or that rationality is not necessary.

    I am observing that your defense to my citing three totalitarain atheist systems as not convincing and betraying of a double standard.

    I can only repeat again: I have already explained this to you. There is a difference between a descriptive and a normative position. If I recall correctly, Michael Hawkins has an excellent post on this particular difference, explained better than I can.

    The short version: atheism is a descriptive position, it has no rules and doesn’t tell you to do anything. It’s just a description of the position of not believing in God. Therefore it is impossible to do anything in the name of atheism.
    Christianity is the opposite. It does have rules and it does tell you to do things, thus if you do what it tells you to do while being Christian, it’s quite rational to blame Christianity for it, except in the cases where it’s obvious it was used as an excuse or completely misunderstood.

    And you continuing to call Hitler an atheist can at this point only be seen as wilfully ignorant.

    if you can tell the difference between Christ and his fans, why are not Atheists calling them to be consistent with whom they believe in instead of telling them to stop believing?

    Quite few atheists are calling Christians to stop believing, but we wouldn’t mind if they did. The reason for that is quite obvious: We don’t believe the Bible is true, which means acting consistently with the teachings of Christ is still living a lie, and basing your life and decisions on lies is bad, no matter what the lie is.

    Communism offered a coherent belief system

    What? Is he saying atheism is a belief system, or that communism is itself a belief system? In either case, it’s obviously bullshit. Communism is an ideology. If you take it to be anything more than that, you are focusing on Soviet communism, which is not all that communism is.
    That would be exactly the same as blaming all of Christianity for the evils of the Westboro Baptist Church. Nobody does that.

  39. “Christianity is the opposite. It does have rules and it does tell you to do things”

    THE ONLY commandment that Jesus gave us was to LOVE ONE ANOTHER…no rules…

    that men in power then had to make up rules in order to feel more secure and powerful is the same as Stalin making up rules to secure his own power.while describing himself as an atheist.( according to your interpretation)

    Is it a requirement of rationality to be either/ or in your thinking?
    Is it possible for instance to be rational AND irrational and see both as relevant?
    I think the essence of this gets back to what John wrote, that you are upholding rationality as the only way to comprehend the world. perhaps Religion won’t fit into that box…if the only way you will be convinced that Religion is relevant is for it to fit into rationality, then you will be disappointed ( or relieved ).
    In fact I suspect that it was the religious trying to make it rational that may have made it a warped and mistaken, lopsided version of itself. ( as it is too easy to see with Creationism and Fundamentalism)

    “acting consistently with the teachings of Christ is still living a lie”

    So trying to love one another, love your enemies, give to the poor, welcoming the stranger, eating with outcasts is a lie is it?

    If that is the lie then perhaps I do prefer it over the truth.

  40. THE ONLY commandment that Jesus gave us was to LOVE ONE ANOTHER…no rules…

    That’s just plainly untrue.

    First of all, Jesus clearly said in the Bible that the old laws still applied. Secondly he made several other direct commandments. A quick Google search gives much more comprehensive lists than I could provide in this space, such as:

    http://patriot.net/~bmcgin/pearl-thecommandmentsofjesus.html
    http://www.isaiah58.com/broadcasters/command.htm
    http://www.voiceofjesus.org/Witnesses/commandmentsofjesus.html

    that men in power then had to make up rules in order to feel more secure and powerful

    Except they don’t make them up. A lot of terrible, evil rules are present right in the Bible, both new and old testament.

    So trying to love one another, love your enemies, give to the poor, welcoming the stranger, eating with outcasts is a lie is it?

    If you’re doing it because you think someone, who was the son of God, said so 2000 years ago, and if we assume this isn’t true, then yes, obviously.
    I’m amazed you could disagree with this.

    If that is the lie then perhaps I do prefer it over the truth.

    Nobody ever said you couldn’t love people, give to the poor etc. without being told to by a god. In fact, doing it without being explicitly told to means a lot more.

    Regarding your points about irrationality as a way of comprehending the world, I’d still very much like to hear an example. How would you determine if something concrete was true based only on emotions or irrationality? Please explain.

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