Nazir-Ali - faith freedom future
Extremism

Nazir-Ali: 'Faith, Freedom and the Future: Challenges for the 21st Century'

 

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali offers analysis of current challenges and gives urgently needed advice for Christians and policy-makers in a timely new book: Faith, Freedom and the Future: Challenges for the 21st Century, reviewed here by the Rev’d Andrew Symes of Anglican Mainstream.

One of the main themes running through this book is Bishop Michael’s conviction, familiar to those who have heard him speak or read his work before, that the freedom and flourishing of the individual within healthy and harmonious communities and nations is best preserved by a strong foundation of a Judaeo-Christian worldview. By contrast, inflexible secularism and Islamism provide the greatest threats to this essential liberty.

The book’s format is a series of essays of differing lengths, grouped together around five key subjects. It begins with some statements about what the Christian faith is, launching in to a theological discussion on the atonement, and affirming the centrality of the sacrificial and self-substituting death of Christ on the cross by which through faith our sins are forgiven, we are declared ‘not guilty’, a new community is brought into being, and God’s transforming work in the world is carried out in love. This Gospel message is for the world, because, as Bishop Michael explains in three points which suggest an evangelistic sermon, they provide a fourfold solution of forgiveness, friendship, faithfulness and family to the problems (especially in the contemporary West) of alienation, anxiety and addiction. While as he says later, the ruling authorities of the West are increasingly intolerant of faith, on the ground there remains a yearning for the spiritual, a search for meaning, direction and destiny, and a disenchantment with the “flattening” effect of secularism.

In Part Two the author asks how Christians should think and act when the “assumption of a Christian basis for our common life is being challenged and rejected?” (p51). Aware of the increasing tendency among some evangelicals to focus on church matters and disengage from responsibility to proclaim Christian values in public life, Bishop Michael offers a succinct argument for such engagement using biblical material, church history, and more recent missiological thinking of Kraft, Niebuhr and Sanneh. He concludes: “the message of Christ is not only the means for underpinning the social order, but also provides the resources for a critique of it, and points society towards its destiny” (p69).

The Church should play its part in critique/opposition, and also in building on what is good; in transformation. In order to do this, it needs to have a clear understanding of its own message, a commitment to the development and use of the gifts of each member in church and in society, and a willingness to serve the community around it without becoming captive to its values and beliefs. The idea of ‘establishment’, or a national church, only works, according to the Bishop, if the nation wants to include the voice of the Church without compelling it first to change its message. The best option going forward may be a ‘gradual, graceful retreat’ from establishment, and the development of a community ‘in exile’, building up moral and spiritual centres of Christian vision.

Part three of the book begins with a substantial piece on “freedoms we risk losing”. The origins of our understandings of liberty and human rights are traced back to the Bible, but also show the influence of Greek philosophy and even Sufi ideas of tolerance, and ancient rulers such as Cyrus, Ashoka, Constantine and Alfred. Today tyranny, totalitarianism and Islamism has stopped social tolerance of diversity in many parts of the world. Democracy per se is not enough, because it can lead to a ‘tyranny of the majority’ and be manipulated for the power of the few rather than the well-being of the many. Bishop Michael turns his attention to the increasing tendency of Western-style secular humanism to erode freedom of conscience and asks: what moral and spiritual basis does secularism offer?

This essay is followed by a number of shorter pieces on specific issues: for example the importance of marriage and family, the problem of absent fathers, the potential for genetically engineered babies, and euthanasia. In every case the abandonment of Judaeo-Christian morality has resulted in not just a lack of ethical guidelines and breakdown of social cohesion, but also the increasing intolerance of dissent to politically correct orthodoxies. Churches can play a transforming role by challenging this, and in particular by commending and supporting lifelong male-female marriage, as the Roman Catholic Church is doing.

The fourth section of the book, entitled: “Islamism’s challenge to a Christian future”, contains illuminating distilled reflections on the social, political and religious context of the Middle East, including brief overviews of the leading nations of the region. Radical Islam with its violent ideology remains a threat to the West but has been for some time a far greater disaster to the minority communities in countries which until recently did permit religious and cultural diversity albeit in contexts of political repression. Bishop Michael calls on Western nations to take notice of human rights, especially the outrageous persecution of Christians, and to “engage with ideologies” not just provide relief and economic development. There is also a chapter on how Christian communities which remain can be assisted to survive and flourish.

One of the causes of the current crisis is the rise of apocalyptic fervour in some streams of both Sunni and Shia Islam, where (for example) Shia Imams teach of the coming parousia of the Mahdi and the supernatural establishment of a new order through violence and martyrdom. Secularism simply does not understand this and attributes the disaffection of young Muslim men with the West as originating purely in US foreign policy and economic deprivation, rather than in a profoundly religious worldview.

This book has been launched on the day when former Equality Commission head Trevor Phillips has been trailing his Channel 4 documentary “What British Muslims really think”, in which he admits that multiculturalism (non-integrated separate communities in Britain) has failed – something that Bishop Michael has been saying for years. The book deals with this issue, urging new policies to help with integration but of course insisting on the recovery of a Christian moral vision as the basis for hospitality and tolerance.

If Christians have been reticent about this, it is partly due to the ‘spiritualizing’ of the Gospel and the retreat from public engagement, and partly due to the crisis which results from sections of the church abandoning “the faith once delivered”. This is explored in more detail in the final section of the book, as part of wider reflections on biblical ecclesiology and the polity of the Anglican Communion. In his introduction to this section, Bishop Michael puts his finger on the attitude to the Bible as the central problem among mainline churches in the West: “rather than a respectful reading of a privileged text, bearing witness to God’s mighty acts, we have a ‘hermeneutic of suspicion’ of reading ‘against the grain’ of the text, of seeking to deconstruct it and reducing its relevance for us” (p215). The church must seek to transform society through service and Gospel witness, but it has too often uncritically followed the values of culture.

The future for Anglicanism lies not in a schism, but reform based on the agreed authority of God’s word revealed through the Scriptures. The Bishop goes on to commend the work started by the GAFCON and Global South movements, adhering to the confession of faith outlined in the Jerusalem Declaration, and advocates a new Council for reflection and decision-making which includes not just Primates but respected clergy and lay leaders as well.

The book concludes with a sober warning: an aim of extremist Islamism and aggressive secularism is to cause Christian expression to submit and ultimately to wither. In response, Christians must speak for human dignity and freedom, support the “natural family” and be involved in social justice, as well as modelling and proclaiming the Gospel. All this comes from “fidelity to the story by which they live”.

  • The Explorer

    Secularism does not understand Muslim disaffection. (5th last para). Quite right.

    Christianity says the fundamental human problem is sin. Humanism says it’s ignorance. Ignorance is the result of poverty. The way ahead is education, and the abolition of poverty through the redistribution of wealth.

    By the tenets of humanism, it’s poverty and ignorance that breeds Jihadis. To an extent, that’s true: as the Muslim ghettos of Malmö, Brussels and Paris will testify. But when the educated and affluent become Jihadis, humanism is puzzled.

    • cacheton

      This is because most people, whether humanists or christians or other religious people, do not understand the human mind, the human ego, how it works, why it is there, what it does.
      Calling it ‘sin’ does not address these questions, and Christianity provides a ‘solution’ to this which involves believing impossible and unreasonable things. Calling it ‘ignorance’ at least leaves the possibility for understanding, knowledge, wisdom to address these questions.
      People who are what we call in the West ‘well educated and affluent’ may have a very poor grasp of spirituality and no spiritual experience at all, they are spiritually ignorant. Spiritual guidance is what is needed, and neither Islam nor Christianity provide much of that.

      • The Explorer

        Sin versus ignorance affects penal policy. Suppose some male commits rape.

        Sin view. He knows it’s wrong, but does it anyway. Give him an unpleasant imprisonment to deter him from doing it again.

        Ignorance view. He doesn’t know it’s wrong. Give him a therapeutic imprisonment, during which you teach him it’s wrong.

        There are other ramifications, of course.

        Deterministic view. Sin and ignorance are alike irrelevant. He’s the victim of his genes. Whether he thinks it’s wrong or not, he can’t help himself. Trying to teach him is useless. You can’t blame him, but you have to remove him for the safety of women.

        Illness view. He’s not sinful, or ignorant. He’s sick. You inter him for as long as it takes to cure him. No cure, no release: although you may have to release him to find out if he’s cured or not.

        • bluedog

          Alternative view: He’s a good lad and society is to blame. As the member of a minority that appears to condone rape he is naturally confused, and did not realise that his rape would cause offence, it was an expression of his identity.

        • Pastorbob666

          SIN=Self Inflicted Nonsense!

          • The Explorer

            A lot of it is.

  • The Explorer

    I mentioned the Mahdi in conversation, and someone referred to a Charlton Heston film about Khartoum. The Mahdi was some fanatic in the Sudan, back in Victorian times.

    Ignorance in our culture about the Second Coming of Christ is almost total. The uneducated have never heard of it. The educated will quote you the title of a Yeats poem. But ignorance about the second coming of the Islamic Christ and the return of the Mahdi is even greater. And yet both are crucial to the mindset of ISIS and Iran. Looking to poverty, or American foreign policy, for an explanation is like investigating the knee for a problem in the brain.

    • Anton

      Yes, it is not rocket science to understand that you cannot enact democracy in a land where the losers of an election will not abide peaceably by the result. Unfortunately too deep for Kerry and Hillary though.

  • Albert

    Radical Islam with its violent ideology remains a threat to the West but has been for some time a far greater disaster to the minority communities in countries which until recently did permit religious and cultural diversity albeit in contexts of political repression.

    As I’ve just posted on another thread, in this country, you are more likely to die of a bee sting than be killed by terrorists. But why is there such a problem in other countries: we got rid of the political oppressors. Now this is a difficult area, but it can hardly be denied that secularism as usual mucked up our foreign policy. There was an assumption – we saw it in Iraq, and we saw it in the Arab Spring, that if dictators went, Muslim countries would become gloriously liberal. No one who had an adequate grasp of religion and of Islam thought that. So if our foreign policy had been less theologically illiterate, life would be better in those lands.

    If Christians have been reticent about this, it is partly due to the ‘spiritualizing’ of the Gospel and the retreat from public engagement, and partly due to the crisis which results from sections of the church abandoning “the faith once delivered”.

    Part of the problem is that we have lost our apologetics. We have retreated into a world in which we are told, and we believe it, that religion operates in a realm purely of faith, and that it cannot be defended using reason. Because of the loss of natural law as the basis for morality, this is true, not only of issues of faith, but also of morality. But we won’t recover natural law any time soon. It would recover the Protestants not only to be more faithful on matters such as homosexuality, but also to put away their condoms. And in the end, given the choice between the faith flourishing and having a small family, Protestants will choose the latter, every time, and it doesn’t matter what the demographic consequences are.

    • Anton

      Your last paragraph is unmitigated tosh. A good protestant can make more converts in one afternoon than even the most fecund Catholic couple can procreate in a lifetime.

      • Albert

        In which case you have not understood my point. To engage the culture (not make converts) we need philosophical apologetics. But that means natural law. But natural law ill result in a return to the stricter teaching on sexuality (which in turn we deal with the demographic problem we have). But Protestants don’t want stricter teaching on sexuality. Therefore, they will not engage the culture.

        • CliveM

          Albert

          You’re letting your prejudices show. A quick check of both Protestant and Catholic communities across Europe show declining birth rates and increasing rates of contraception. Even if I agreed with your point, which I don’t, attempting to portray this as a Protestant problem just doesn’t run.

          • Albert

            I think I have answered this point now.

        • Anton

          You are smuggling assumptions in. Time to get specific rather than waste time in philosophical quagmires. You are against barrier contraception within marriage. I regard it as a legitimate freedom. Can you derive your opposition from the one mutually agreed start point we have, the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament?

          • Albert

            Yes – and Christian history, including Protestantism, sides with me here, but not to convince you. But as you reject the natural law, what is the basis of your argument with secularism, or do you have nothing to offer than a competing authority?

          • Anton

            Actually I have a high opinion of natural law arguments, but they are ultimately limited. You claim to be able to derive your opposition to barrier methods within marriage from scripture yet you won’t do it here out of, essentially, pique. A cynic might think you couldn’t, you know…

          • Albert

            I’m just resisting reducing myself to a sola scriptua position here. I don’t think anyone actually follows sola scriptura, but rather we all interpretat scripture in a context. Your context is designed to prevent scripture teaching you certain things.

            1. There is clearly natural law taught in scripture. We find it in Romans.
            2. Scripture clearly teaches procreation as one of the ends of marriage.
            3. Homosexual acts are sinful because they are unnatural.

            Now why are they unnatural? Scripture does not discuss this, so a sola scriptura interpretation cannot answer the question, but must leave it opaque. But sola scirptura does not exist. So I would say that, in the light of 1, given that natural law is about identifying the ends for which God created things, we can see perfectly why homosexual acts are sinful – they direct a sexual act away from a natural end for which God created it. Therefore, it is sinful.

            Thus I can derive my position from scripture perfectly well. Sola scriptura can be used to under cut my argument, but it cannot also be used to establish the reason for the prohibition on homosexuality. And this is because sola scriptura is an incoherent position.

          • Anton

            As I said, I have a high opinion of natural law arguments, but they are ultimately limited. Why? Because man’s moral compass is not to be trusted ever since the events of Genesis 3. The Mosaic laws governing interpersonal relations, by contrast, come from God.

            God tells us what marriage is for in Genesis 2: intimate companionship. Barrier contraception is not incompatible with that.

            You are the one banging on about sola scriptura, but it simply means “scripture alone” and is not a proposition. Have you a proposition in mind?

          • preacher

            Hi Anton. I agree with you on the points you make reference contraception, Firstly, in many countries where contraception was taught to be wrong, the result was a massive rise in birth rate, resulting in famine disease & lingering death of many of the babies. Perhaps this would be considered by some to be a form of ‘ Natural Law ‘ contraception ?.
            Secondly, in some nations unwanted new born babies were left on hillsides to die. This practice was I understand still quite common recently in China where girl children were often left abandoned. Maybe this is the ‘ Natural Law ‘ that Albert means ?.

          • Albert

            Of course man’s moral compass is damaged, but it is not destroyed – or else scripture couldn’t talk about it. I connected my argument with scripture, therefore.

            I would say that in Gen.1.28, God shows that procreation is part of marriage. It is certainly part of the sexual act as God has designed it, and this scripture also shows, to anyone who hasn’t worked it out. What is your authority to move from his design?

            I am the one who introduced the term sola scriptura, but you introduced the concept:

            Can you derive your opposition from the one mutually agreed start point we have, the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament?

          • Anton

            I simply asked a question intended to prevent us wasting time due to differing premisses. I’m happy to discuss sola scriptura or not; but, if you wish to, please state a proposition. Sola scriptura is merely a phrase.

            Procreation is indeed a normal part of marriage but nothing prevents elderly couples marrying and God says what it is for in Genesis 2: intimate companionship. Therefore children is a side-effect of the principal purpose. Most married couples who use contraception do have children.

          • Albert

            My worry about sola scriptura in this, is that if I say “the Bible says homosexuality is wrong because it unnatural, but it doesn’t say why it is unnatural, but it is reasonable to say that this is because it is inherently incapable of procreation”, you will say that the Bible does not make that last point. But I say that, interpreted reasonably, that is what it means.

            Procreation is indeed a normal part of marriage but nothing prevents elderly couples marrying and God says what it is for in Genesis 2: intimate companionship. Therefore children is a side-effect of the principal purpose.

            Not quite. The fact that someone may be blind, does not mean that seeing is a side effect of having eyes. And there is a difference between unfortunately being blind, and blinding yourself. Thus the cases are not parallel.

          • Anton

            I’m not going to waste time discussing inaccurate analogies.

            If you don’t want to state a proposition regarding sola scriptura, fine. I simply point out that in that case you haven’t said anything. I might as well reply “green tomatoes”.

          • Albert

            I’ve talked about a position I am not accepting. But look, there’s no problem here. Scripture teaches that homosexuality is wrong because it is unnatural. Reading scripture reasonably, the reason it thinks it is unnatural is because it is not capable of procreation. Therefore, the Bible’s teaching on the wrongness of homosexuality, also shows us that contraception is wrong:

            That which God has joined together, let no man put asunder. He has joined together sex and procreation. He has condemned acts which separate sex and procreation. Therefore, I think it is clearly biblical teaching that contraception is wrong.

            I’m not going to waste time discussing inaccurate analogies.

            It was your comparison that failed, since it did not actually undermine my position.

          • Anton

            I meant about the blind.

            I don’t agree that you can boil the biblical arguments against homosexual acts down to one thing, the impossibility of procreation.

          • Albert

            My blind people analogy, only doesn’t work if you mistake my position, as your comment about old people did.

            I don’t agree that you can boil the biblical arguments against homosexual acts down to one thing, the impossibility of procreation.

            And at this point, it’s going to be hard to stick only to scripture. That’s my point.

          • Anton

            But I am not discussing homosexuality. I am discussing marital contraception.

          • Albert

            But biblical teaching on homosexuality, helps us to understand sexuality in general – as Robert Runcie helpfully pointed out: the CofE teaching on homosexuality changed, when the CofE changed its teaching on contraception.

          • Anton

            Runcie was talking nonsense there, as he commonly did.

          • Albert

            Maybe, maybe not. He would say, he was interpreting the Bible!

          • Anton

            Maybe, maybe not…

          • It is not unnatural because they can’t have babies. Heterosexual marriages often are unable to have babies and are not deemed ‘unnatural’. The clue is in the text; the problem is sex between people of the same sex.

            ‘Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.’

          • Albert

            It is not unnatural because they can’t have babies. Heterosexual marriages often are unable to have babies and are not deemed ‘unnatural’. The clue is in the text; the problem is sex between people of the same sex.

            You have this back to front, I think. Procreation is not accidental to the ordering of sex. Rather sex is ordered towards procreation, but sometimes accidentally fails in that end. The fact that some people have eyes but are blind, does not demonstrate that eyesight is accidental to the ordering of the eye.

            With regard to the text, the question is why is is unnatural to have sexual relations with people of the same sex? I can answer that – and it shows that artificial contraception is also wrong. What answer do you have?

          • The Genesis record does not state procreation as the reason for marriage but companionship; it is not good for man to be alone. Of course procreation is part of the reason for marriage but not the principal reason. Again, if this were so then the marriage of women beyond child-bearing reason would be open to the criticism of Roms 1.

            Again, I think the text makes it plain; what is unnatural is sexual relationships of the same sex. Paul is not merely saying it is sinful, adultery is sinful but is not unnatural.

          • Albert

            The Genesis record does not state procreation as the reason for marriage but companionship

            I think you’ve conflated two discussions here. The original issue is not marriage, but sex. Now God has, by natural law, shown that one of the natural ends of sex is procreation, therefore homosexual relationships are wrong, but also so if the use of artificial contraception. This is true regardless of the good for which marriage is created.

            Since marriage necessarily involves heterosexual sex, marriage necessarily is a relationship open to the procreation of children. Hence, scripture says:

            So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it

            and again,

            So I would have younger widows marry, bear children

            I asked why is is unnatural to have sexual relations with people of the same sex?

            And you answered:

            what is unnatural is sexual relationships of the same sex.

            But that clearly does not answer the question any more than if I had asked “What makes hot air rise?” and you had answered “because hot air rises”.

          • Sorry Albert, it is beyond me how you cannot see the ‘unnatural’ thing that Paul refers to is the sexual relationship between people of the same sex. Procreation is not raised in his discussion at all. You are introducing an unnecessary complication and foreign element. Heterosexual sex is natural and homosexual sex is unnatural because it has abandoned the natural order.

            In fact, homosexuality is probably mentioned because it is an example of God’s fair judgement (eye for an eye…). They had exchanged the truth of God for a lie therefore in judgement God allows humanity to exchange the normal heterosexual for the abnormal homosexual with all the destructive consequences that brings.

          • Albert

            Sorry Albert, it is beyond me how you cannot see the ‘unnatural’ thing that Paul refers to is the sexual relationship between people of the same sex.

            What is unnatural about people of the same sex having sex? You say that it has abandoned the natural order. But what is that order? It is the order nature has given. Thus, even if I accept your position, you still don’t escape the problem. Artificial contraception is unnatural, that’s what “artificial” means here. It is the abandonment of natural order. What’s sauce for the gay goose is sauce for the straight gander.

            They had exchanged the truth of God for a lie therefore in judgement God allows humanity to exchange the normal heterosexual for the abnormal homosexual with all the destructive consequences that brings.

            You don’t think that evils have come with contraception have been destructive?

        • CliveM

          http://www.mapsofworld.com/europe/thematic/countries-by-birth-rate.html
          I note ‘Protestant’ UK has a higher birth rate than ‘Catholic’ Italy, is this also the fault of Protestants?

          • Albert

            No. It’s the fault of unfaithful Catholics. But the issue here is intellectual. Protestants cannot do the philosophical apologetics using natural law because they don’t follow it. Therefore, what they have is the Bible. That’s great, but a secularist does not accept the authority of the Bible. So it gets no where.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            Albert
            “a secularist does not accept the authority of the Bible”
            implies that a secularist will accept the authority of “natural law”.

            Can you give me a clear definition of what you mean by natural law?

          • Albert

            Now that’s a fair point. By natural law, I mean the moral law inbuilt into nature. It is from this law that know that murder is wrong, even if no authority has proscribed it. To a degree, the secularist does accept the natural law. If you really push him, we will use it to defend human rights. It clearly forms the basis of many of medical laws – whether you can use painkillers which may be lethal etc.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            I think that many secularists would wholly reject that idea of natural law, from a relativist point of view (‘It might be wrong for me but is okay in his culture’). In some strongly Islamic countries it is acceptable to settle grievances by making up a story* about someone having done something naughty to a copy of the Koran and then killing that person. Many secularists will certainly not condemn that but will even make culturally based excused or even blame the victim for not having been more careful about what they did.

            * If there is a blasphemy law then the person s/b arrested, investigated and, potentially, tried. Killing by the accuser (or by lynch-mob) should, IMO, be taken as an assumption that the accusation was false.

            Even on something as fundamental as murder, the amount of genuinely common ground is smaller than you might think. Not because of what people think of murder but what they regard as murder.

            Not only the (partial) defences such as manslaughter and self-defence, but many (most?, overwhelming majority of) secularists would not only reject the idea of abortion & euthanasia as being murder but they would regard them as good things.

            And euthanasia brings me to your last point. You are referring to the dual-effect, an argument that I accept. Many secularists don’t think that needs to be considered but that medics should be allowed to give drugs whose sole purpose is to kill. See the repeated (almost annual) attempts to get the law changed.

          • Albert

            I agree with all this, I think. Personally, I don’t think it is possible on secularism to have a morality, so of course I think any moral argument will break down eventually. But insofar as we are attempting to have moral discourse with them, and they have moral discourse, I think that it makes better sense to use things that we may have in common, to some degree, than simply an authority (e.g. the Bible, the Pope etc.) they reject.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            Albert,

            As far as I can see you earlier said that secularists will accept the authority of natural law but are now saying that secularism (and hence secularists) has no innate morality, hence secularists will not accept the authority of natural law.

            “I think that it makes better sense to use things that we may have in common”
            Well of course, but I think that whilst you & my views of natural law might be similar they are a long way from what an extreme secularist might view as moral law.

          • Albert

            As far as I can see you earlier said that secularists will accept the authority of natural law but are now saying that secularism (and hence secularists) has no innate morality, hence secularists will not accept the authority of natural law.

            Not quite. I am saying you can have a conversation about natural law, which you cannot have over the Bible.

          • CliveM

            Sorry why can’t they? Really you are referring to Catholic understanding of natural law, but that is only one understanding.

          • Albert

            Fine – if someone can show how natural law can defend consistently artificial contraception, restriction to heterosexual marriage, and condemn homosexual acts, in the light of scripture, let them try.

          • CliveM

            Albert

            Apologies by I really don’t see a link between the two. I can’t see why the position on something that is (to use a Catholic phrase) intrinsically disordered, will be undermined by ‘artificial ‘ contraception. Presumably non artificial contraception is allowed, so why is this compatible with natural law?
            Btw I want to be clear on something, I am defending Protestantism, not attacking Catholicism.

          • Albert

            Thank you Clive.

            What makes homosexual acts wrong? What makes sex with an animal wrong? It’s the fact that these things are unnatural. In what way are they unnatural? The sexual act is directed (among other things) to procreation (just the 3 million sperm in each ejaculation – they’ve all be directed to the same end, but their creator!).

            Thus, what makes these things wrong, intrinsically disordered, is that they order the act, away from that to which reason and evidence shows God has ordered it. Therefore, if one allows that one can artificially separate sex and procreation with contraception, it follows that the natural law argument against homosexuality fails.

            This point is made quite clearly by people on both sides of the debate. Robert Runcie, for example, said the CofE changed its teaching on homosexuality in 1930 when it allowed artificial contraception. It’s not true that you are defending the Protestant position, you are defending the secular position which Protestants have submitted to. Many Protestants, and secularists defend my argument, only with the opposite conclusion.

            Now notice that the position I am defending makes sense of a lot of scripture – the teaching on homosexuality, the teaching on marriage. It makes sense of the fact that all Christians taught the Catholic position throughout almost the entirety of Christian history. Notice that the breaking of the link between sexuality as God created it with procreation has resulted in many social evils. Notice that from this break, we lose many other things that Christian hold dear – sanctity of marriage for a start. Note that in the culture, while contraception enables the break, abortion guarantees it and homosexuality exemplifies it, and then respond to the challenge I set you:

            if someone can show how natural law can defend consistently artificial contraception, restriction to heterosexual marriage, and condemn homosexual acts, in the light of scripture, let them try.

          • Malcolm Smith

            The three functions of sex are love, procreation, and pleasure (not necessarily in that order). It is unwise to try to pry them apart. Note, however, it is possible to have too much of a good thing, such as children. The Church of Rome agrees with this, because they are quite happy with what they call “natural family planning”, and they teach and encourage it to people too poverty stricken to afford more children. The bottom line, however, is that the ban on artificial contraception has no basis in the Bible.
            Of course, people with a healthy attitude to life still want children. It is mostly the ungodly who convert family planning into planning non-families. Just like in the Roman Empire, churchgoers, both Papist and Protestant, still have more children on the average than the ungodly – which is why, ultimately, they will prevail. Google “survival of the godliest”.

          • Albert

            The bottom line, however, is that the ban on artificial contraception has no basis in the Bible.

            That’s just an assertion. In fact, the idea that the Bible is opposed to contracpetion is one that the majority of readers Protestant or Catholic, until secular morals became influential, accepted.

          • Malcolm Smith

            It’s not an assertion. Where does the Bible condemn artificial contraception?

          • Albert

            If you mean “there is no commandment condemning artificial contraception” then that is true. But the Bible does not only operate like that. We infer it from the general principles. From its teaching on natural law and homosexuality, we can infer that biblical teaching condemns artificial contraception. That’s what I mean.

          • Anton

            Who is “we”?

          • Albert

            All readers. We infer things from general principles.

          • Anton

            I meant in the sentence “…we can infer that biblical teaching condemns artificial contraception”.

          • Albert

            I am proposing that it is possible for persons, with me, to infer it.

          • Anton

            And I am proposing it is not.

          • Albert

            Great! I think it can be defended from scripture and you don’t. That’s the position I began with.

          • Anton

            It’s the position you have failed to derive from scripture, certainly.

          • Albert

            It is the position the overwhelming majority of Christian inferred from scripture. The fact that you don’t want to infer it, does not render my inference invalid.

          • Anton

            Then show your working. So far all you have said is that it can be done, without saying how.

          • Albert

            I have done it in detail, already. As you would say, read the thread.

          • Anton

            To date on this thread you have specified one verse, Genesis 1:28, and your argument then ran “I would say that” without further justification from to this verse. That might satisfy you. There are many it won’t satisfy.

          • Albert

            If you think the Bible doesn’t condemn homosexuality, then I am not likely to manage to persuade you that biblical teaching is opposed to contraception.

            Besides, it’s not true that I have only cited Genesis 1.28, I have also cited Mark 10.9.

          • Anton

            My understanding of what the Bible says about homosexuality probably matches yours, but I question its relevance to marital contraception. Mark 10:9 has nothing to do with marital contraception; it is about conscious attempts to wreck a marriage.

          • Albert

            Mark 10.9 has everything to do with contraception. It establishes a principle: that which God has joined together, let man no separate. God has joined sex and procreation. Ergo.

          • Anton

            Why then did God make the human female sexually receptive – unlike mammalian females – at times when she is infertile?

            It is perverse to suppose that those words of Christ’s are about anything other than the joining of two persons.

          • Albert

            It is perverse to suppose that those words of Christ’s are about anything other than the joining of two persons.

            I never said that they were. I said that they establish a principle – what God joins together we should not separate. Is it not obvious? When you hear those words you’re supposed to think “Of course, I shouldn’t separate things God has joined together.” So the principle applies more widely.

            Why then did God make the human female sexually receptive – unlike mammalian females – at times when she is infertile?

            That sounds a bit confused to me – we are mammals. Anyway, I don’t know enough about the biology of the animals you are speaking of.

          • Anton

            And if I’d said “unlike other mammalian females” you might have pointed out that we are not merely animals. I am *informing* you that mammalian non-human females are not generally sexually receptive when infertile. Yet women are. Why should God have made us that way?

            Nonsense; those words of Christ are meant to make you think “Don’t do anything to come between husband and wife”.

          • Albert

            Don’t you need to ask also why did God make those animals that way? And what do you mean by “generally”?

            Nonsense; those words of Christ are meant to make you think “Don’t do anything to come between husband and wife”.

            Clearly, the force of the words is in the principle they teach that we should not undo what God has done. One of the things he has done, is join together sex and procreation.

          • Anton

            You are again thinking like a philosopher rather than a normal human being.

          • Albert

            Philosophers are normal human beings.

          • Anton

            Yes, I have drunk with many. But they don’t THINK like normal human beings.

          • Albert

            That’s because normal human beings are sloppy in their thinking. You’re a mathematician and a scientist, you know that in maths you must do the same on both sides of an equation. Thus it’s not enough to ask Why has God made human beings different from most of the animals, you need also to ask whether you should be asking Why are most of the animals different from human beings? I expect it’s down to which evolutionary pathway we came from.

          • Anton

            Philosophers tend to export their professional mode of thought into the everyday, and it does not improve the latter.

          • Albert

            But we’re not talking everyday stuff. We’re talking about philosophical issues. It seems an odd complaint to say that I have imported philosophical thinking into a philosophical discussion.

          • Anton

            That’s exactly your problem: you think that theology is philosophy.

            Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men – Paul, from 1 Corinthians 1.

          • Albert

            And your problem is your partial approach to scripture. Paul quotes philosophers with approval, and says things like Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse So it’s hard to see how your particular downer on philosophy is really biblical.

          • Anton

            Then I question whether you understand what Paul is saying.

          • Albert

            Ditto.

          • CliveM

            Certainly not after a few pints.

          • IanCad

            Isn’t there something about Onan casting his seed upon the ground? Genesis 38:8-10

          • Anton

            To see what Onan’s sin was, consider the event from the viewpoint of his sister-in-law. This was about familial duties and responsibilities and the selfish (ab)use of a woman for one man’s gratification. Disentangling from those complexities the principle that marital contraception is wrong is sheer eisegesis.

          • IanCad

            Certainly not meaning to be dogmatic Anton – more like free association.
            I agree the notion would require adding meaning to the text.
            However, the passage is used as biblical injunction against the sin of palmistry – which again, would be a stretch.

          • Except the punishment for failing in one’s familial duties was not death and where did Jewish law forbid selfish gratification in sex?

            You are making inferences from the text.

          • Anton

            This was before Sinai and what was the law was simply the custom in those days. But please see my reply to you about Onan elsewhere.

          • Albert

            Yes, but it is not a direct comment on contraception. It’s also perhaps about something else.

          • IanCad

            Nearest I could get Albert.

          • It’s more than breaking Jewish law and is a condemnation of sterile sex. This was the orthodox view held by all Christian denominations until 1930.

          • CliveM

            What makes homosexuality wrong?
            What makes sex with animals wrong?

            You argue these things are wrong because sex is misused ie because sex in these circumstances can’t result in procreation.

            Well I can think of other issues with the second example but will come back to that later!

            But for the moment let’s stick to the procreation argument.
            In addition to creating life sex has other functions. It bonds married couples, it encourages intimacy, it promotes love and it can also be fun! This is why sex doesn’t become wrong when fertility ends or one part of the union in infertile in the first place.

            So sex can result in life, but it doesn’t need to OR have the ability to do so, to be a Christian good. What this means is that sex without the opportunity of contraception, is not in itself intrinsically disordered. Context matters!

            So I would suggest that sex with animals isn’t banned because it cannot result in life, but because it is intrinsically selfish and abusive. An animal can’t give consent, it doesn’t create a loving relationship and I Suspect creates no enjoyment for the animal.

            I have typically avoided debates on homosexuality (more heat then light) so I am treating this discussion in your terms or it is intrinsically disordered. I don’t want a long debate as to the rights and wrongs.

            So why is contraception in accord with natural law and homosexuality isn’t? My reading is that the position within many Protestant churches is that contraception isn’t allowed simply to selfishly deny life, but to enable some element of control allowing for circumstances ie the pregnancy might be dangerous to the mother or financial issues etc but even within Protestantism, generally sex and marriage is exposed to lead to children. There is simply an element of control as to when and how many.

            Homosexual sex can never lead to life.

            Let’s be clear, whilst the bible endorses Natural Law, it does so in the context of Gods love and grace. Natural Law does not define Christian morality. It can’t. Outside the context of a Christian morality, it is simply a glorified system of secular morality, open to cultural interpretation like any other. That is why there is more than one theory or understanding of Natural Law.

            So why does contraception not undermine natural law and the traditional position on homosexuality? Because the two are not the same. Natural Law does not exist in an inviolate vacuum, separate of Gods revealed word and Gods revealed word does not ban or otherwise disallow non-procreational sex. It simply puts limits to it and one of those limits, clearly stated, is homosexual sex. What it does not do is ban recreational heterosexual sex within marriage. Even if some form of contraception is used.

          • So is anal sex permitted between a married heterosexual couple for recreational purposes?

          • CliveM

            I tend not to give anal sex a great deal of thought. I’m not sure that any answer actually has much relevance to the discussion one way or the other.

            Are you saying recreational sex between a loving married heterosexual couple is wrong?

          • Jack doesn’t recognise the concept of “recreational sex”. Sex for the purpose of expressing love towards one’s spouse is perfectly normal and healthy and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying it. However, it perverts sex if it is artificially separated from its procreative purpose. It’s the equivalent of puking after over eating so as not to gain weight.

            Accept sex as simply about pleasure and unity, then what argument can you present against homosexual ‘marriage’?

          • CliveM

            Which would all make sense if the Catholic Church banned all forms of contraception. But it doesn’t, it simply bans certain types. Its position is incoherent. Either contraception is wrong, in which case it’s all wrong or its right. In which case it can’t complain if people want to use more effective methods.

            So we know the RCC allows sex without procreation (although it try’s to pretend it doesn’t) what arguments does it use against homosexual sex and marriage?

            I’ve given a full explanation of what I believe to Albert. Now this is partly my fault but my original intention of entering this discussion was not to get into a debate on contraption as such (never the twain etc), but to refute his apparent claim that the population decline and the social changes that underpin it are somehow that fault of the Protestant Church!!

          • NFP is not a contraceptive.

          • CliveM

            Happy Jack

            You can call it what you want. It’s a form of birth control. Adherents attribute 99 to 100% reliability. It gives people the chance to have sex without pregnancy.

            If that doesn’t mean it interferes with the Catholic definition of the natural purpose of sex, I’m curious as to know what does and how it differs.

          • Anton

            In all seriousness, read Deuteronomy 24:1-4 and consider that ERWAT DAVAR might plausibly refer to a demand for something like that.

          • Oral sex?

          • Anton

            “Something unclean” and, in context, sexual. God left some shades of grey even in the Law of Moses, and I suggest that that was deliberate.

          • CliveM

            You do wonder why, if you are able to target the infertile period of the woman’s cycle, it would matter.

          • The clue is in the term “intrinsically disorder”. As Albert asks why is homosexuality described as such? Why do you think progressives and liberal Christians want natural law to be ignored?

          • CliveM

            I’m not arguing against natural law, I simply don’t see that by supporting contraception you undermine its arguments against homosexual sex.

          • Anton

            “It’s the fault of unfaithful Catholics.”

            You have a camera in every bedroom? Perhaps they are simply following what they as good Catholics believe Joseph and Mary (not) to have done.

          • Albert

            If so then bravo!

          • Anton

            No kidding?

          • Anton

            Contrary to 1 Corinthians 7:5.

          • Albert

            But not Matthew 19.12.

          • Anton

            I’d read that as referring to certain unmarried people. Any other reading, moreover, means that God is contradicting himself in the two verses we have specified.

          • Albert

            So you’re saying that married people must not abstain from sex, except for a limited period of time?

          • Anton

            It’s advice, not a command, and the reason for it is given.

          • Albert

            Precisely. And it is not difficult to come up with situations in which couple should not have sex with each other. There is nothing in your original claim to exclude that possibility. Hence I stand by my bravo, and refute your unwarranted reference to 1 Corinthians 7:5.

          • Anton

            You are not refuting it; you are denying it.

          • Albert

            Are you denying that there are instances when a couple should not have sex, or indeed that sex should stop completely? Your problem is that if you make too much of 1 Cor.7 you turn it into a command, but you say it isn’t a command. But if it is a piece of advice, then it is difficult to see that they are violating. Now of course, if you really wish to be precise, you can simply say, they are going against a piece of advice in 1 Cor.7. Well fine. If it’s advice, then it is assumed that some people will go against it, that going against it is legitimate, and may be right in some situations. That’s what advice is. But at that point, your point seems so weak as to be trivial.

          • Anton

            You seem to think that an exception to a rule means the rule is meaningless, even when it is given by God.

          • Albert

            No, I am not saying it is an exception to the rule, I am agreeing with you that it is advice. If it is advice, it isn’t a rule. And if it isn’t a rule, what I am saying is not an exception to a rule.

            Let’s just quote a little more widely:

            Do not refuse one another except perhaps by agreement for a season, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, lest Satan tempt you through lack of self-control. I say this by way of concession, not of command. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.

            So the whole advice is that it would be better not to get married in the first place. But I can hardly say that getting married is an exception to the rule, or that there is anything wrong with it, even though Paul advises us to remain single. And the only reason he seems to be giving to get married here is lack of self-control – which, judging by the reference to passion, seems to mean sexual self-control. Therefore, on a literalist interpretation, anyone who gets married for non-sexual reasons, is violating Paul’s advice. But that’s just silly. This is where your over literalist approach leads you – again.

          • Anton

            You are ignoring the fact that Paul is speaking to both the married and the unmarried. Many of the former will have got married before their conversion. In a Greek culture they are liable to pick up ideas of ascetism that could lead to temptation and infidelity. Paul is dealing with that.

          • Albert

            I’m clearly not ignoring that. I am assuming it. Paul’s advice is not to get married. Paul says you can get married if you cannot control your passions. Therefore, on your overly tight reading, anyone who gets married for some other reason goes against Paul’s teaching.

          • Anton

            You are inordinately fond of inaccurate extrapolations.

          • Albert

            On the contrary, I am arguing to an inaccurate extrapolation to show what happens when one follows such an inordinately literalist interpretation as you do.

      • CliveM

        Agree with your first sentence, it all gets a bit sectarian after that!!

        • Anton

          Who started it?

          • CliveM

            Now, now Anton, that’s not really an excuse is it :0)

          • Anton

            I am not going to stand idly by while Albert seeks to take away legitimate freedoms such as barrier contraception within marriage.

          • CliveM

            I did upvote you!

          • Anton

            Ditto (just!)

          • Albert

            It’s amazing. On one thread Protestants complain about the demographic crisis and Islam, on the other, they will complain about homosexuality, and on another complain about tradition Christian teaching on contraception.

          • Anton

            Basing one’s views on scripture might well be amazing to you.

          • Albert

            It’s amazing that anyone thinks that those opinions are consistently based on scripture.

          • Anton

            You consistently amaze, Albert.

          • Albert

            If so, then I’m amazed. I just say what I always say, and what the Church teaches – tediously so, one might have thought. 🙂

          • Anton

            It’s the way you tell them.

          • Albert

            🙂

          • No … what you mean is your unnecessarily limited reading of scripture. Because scripture (in your opinion) does not explicitly forbid contraception, then it is licit. Apart from the “sin of Onan” (understood for 2000 years as a prohibition against deliberately rendering sex as sterile) it is riddled through with an implicit connection between sex and procreation.

          • Anton

            Not so, Jack! The sin of Onan is best understood by viewing it from his sister-in-law’s point of view: it is about familial duty and not just using a woman who has been promised a baby for a man’s own gratification. There is, perfectly obviously, a connection between sex and procreation, but the question is what is marriage for and the answer is intimate companionship with children a usual consequence that most married couples want, including those who use barrier contraception. What you are doing is taking away a freedom that God gives. Contraception was for centuries associated with prostitutes, hence the church’s historic opposition, but today respectable married monogamous people use it so a rethink is in order (unless you are a celibate old man in a palace in Rome). And Carl has made an irrefutable point about the aim of NFP and barrier contraception being exactly the same in most marital beds most of the time.

          • But you’re claiming sex has recreational pleasure as its primary purpose. The Church’s historic objection was not based on its use by prostitutes. Where did you dig up that argument? It was actually based on the passages relating to Onan. Funny how the interpretation of scripture has changed to suit the behaviour of modern man. Even the Lambeth Confence recognised the immorality inherent in contraception but it decided to leave it to individual conscience.

            The intention of NFP and contraception can be the same – planning one’s family. The point is one deliberately frustrates the generative purpose and separates it from its unitive purpose and the other doesn’t.

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            Deliberately separating sperm from egg – whether by time or by latex – deliberately frustrates the generative purpose. There is no moral difference. You can’t bootstrap a difference into existence merely by demanding that it exists.

          • NFP Is natural, requires abstinence and selflessness. It does not frustrate the generative purpose of sex because during the fertile period there is no sex.

          • Anton

            What you call recreational pleasure, I call an act of love, within marriage anyway. It is an act of recreational pleasure outside marriage.

            NFP when ‘used’ to avoid conception “deliberately frustrates the generative purpose”.

          • How can abstinence frustrate a generative purpose?

          • Anton

            The “purpose” is to avoid conception.

          • Of course, but through abstinence. The method is morally licit.

          • Anton

            Nobody is disputing that. The question is about barrier methods within marriage.

          • As Jack has said, contraception goes against nature by making it inherently sterile. And why are you restricting your comments to condoms? Do you regard the contraceptive pill as illicit?

          • Anton

            I said barrier methods and there are others beside condoms. The discussion is more equivocal regarding contraception if fertilisation takes place and would be a side issue here.

          • If fertilisation takes place then intervening is abortion. However, some chemical methods prevent ovulation rather than making the womb hostile to life. So, do you object to the pill as well as barrier methods? And what about sterilisation?

          • Anton

            I haven’t thought sterilisation through, Jack. I was talking about barrier methods simply because I knew they never involved fertilisation. Let’s clear up that issue first, becasue it is the one in which there is a clear difference between us which other issues do not confuse.

          • Barrier methods wilfully compromise the generative capacity of sex. It’s the equivalent of over eating and vomiting to avoid weight gain.

          • Anton

            Yes they do but it is no analogy. You are not advancing the dialogue beyond what I have written already.

          • It is a good analogy. Eating, driven by appetite and hunger, serves a natural purpose but is also pleasurable and a social activity. Emphasis one at the expense of the others, or ignore one altogether, and a perversion arises.

          • Lol …. you did.

          • Anton

            Albert was talking good sense in his initial post until he threw in a dig at protestant attitudes to marital contraception. But you might, on reflection, be referring to 1517 and all that. Just a year to go to the anniversary, Jack!

          • And, going by this thread, the Church it produced in England is all but dead.

          • Anton

            Take that up with Anglicans; the church I go to is lively enough.

      • William Lewis

        Upvoted for the sheer amusement. 🙂

      • dannybhoy

        Why is it tosh Anton? Christian apologetics is essential in presenting the case for Christianity. Not proving it, but showing that it is as reasonable to believe in our faith as to believe -or pretend to believe, in atheism.

        • Anton

          I meant the stuff about marital contraception, which taints the paragraph. Natural law has both strengths and weaknesses, as Albert and I have debated below.

      • It’s the Holy Spirit who converts and certainly not Protestants.

    • carl jacobs

      Because it is well understood by advocates of NFP that time isn’t a barrier, and that the motivation for using NFP is TOTALLY DIFFERENT from the motivation for using a condom. That’s why NFP instructors advertise great prevention rates. Please. I’ve had the course, Albert.

      I once asked a Roman Catholic friend for a Scriptural case against contraception. He handede a 300+ page book – which I dutifully read. It was full of Papal Bulls and philosophy and learned dissertations by Catholic theologians. But I admit it did have one Scriptural reference. One. In an appendix. A reference in Genesis to the sin of Onan. When the maybe three sentences of explanation.

      I was underwhelmed.

      • Anton

        I recall being in Siena cathedral and seeing busts of countless Popes. Included also was one of Christ, Decent of them to remember him, I thought.

        • Albert

          I’ve never been there, but I doubt that the number of images of popes outnumbers the images of Christ. Did you look at all the altars?

          • Anton

            As if the number matters!

            One of the better art galleries I’ve been in…

          • Albert

            The number was your point!!!!

          • Anton

            Just go there. Then you may pontificate.

          • Albert

            You made a point about numbers. The point was either true or false. I am quite sure that it is false, if you include all the images in the place. Did you count them all?

          • Anton

            Of course not; I’m a mathematician. The point, as you are well aware unless I am overestimating you, is that Christ appears in the same series as the Popes, and in the same way.

          • CliveM

            Don’t you think this is a little aggressive?

          • Anton

            I think you do! Please notice that I took the mick out of myself at the same time.

          • CliveM

            Sorry!

          • Albert

            But why should Christ not appear in the same series as human beings? He chose to.

          • Anton

            But he behaved unlike any other human being. Whereas the Popes…

          • Albert

            I am staggered. That point, though true, does not alter the fact that:

            it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, “I will proclaim thy name to my brethren,in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee.”

            And again

            Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.

            I’m really not sure you quite get the doctrine of the incarnation.

          • Anton

            The imagery in Siena cathedral clearly and blasphemously elevated the Popes to stand with Christ. Which of us is heretic?

          • Albert

            No it didn’t. It clearly showed Christ became a human being. As scripture says:

            Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.

            It further emphasises what ministry means:

            Truly, truly, I say to you, the one receiving whomever I shall send, receives Me; and the one receiving Me, receives the One having sent Me

            And being in Christ means that what happens to us in our identity as Christians, happens to him:

            `Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ And I answered, `Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, `I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.’

            This is the logic of the incarnation – he shares in our life, that we might share in his.

          • Anton

            I could not agree more with that! But I suggest you see Siena cathedral before preaching about it, rather than about Christ.

          • Albert

            From the pictures I can see, it is about Christ being the first of many brethren – as scripture says, that is, about apostolic succession. Perhaps you should try to understand that which you critique.

          • Anton

            I understand – and reject – the apostolic succession.

          • Albert

            Yes, but as that is the understanding of the artist, it makes a difference to what he is doing. He isn’t saying “Look, I think the popes are equal to Christ.” He is saying “Look the Church’s ministry is founded in Christ and continues from there according to the principle, he who receive you receives me.” Thus, although you doubt Christ’s ministry is continued in the popes, the theological principle, of the identity of the minister with Christ, is one you accept. Therefore, you are unfair in your comments.

          • Anton

            Given the Catholic view of the papacy at the time the cathedral was decorated, I stand by them!

          • Albert

            But that does no address the fact, that, within the context of the art, it is conveying nothing more than what scripture says. The fact that you don’t think authority has been handed to the popes, does not mean that therefore, the artist was doing anything wrong in, on the basis of scriptural principles attributing that authority.

          • Anton

            Sometimes a picture conveys a thousand words.

          • The papacy has never been viewed as greater or equal to Christ. Popes are the successors of Saint Peter and carry authority as Christ’s stewards until HIs return.

          • len

            Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, November 18, 1302
            “The pope, as the Vicar of Christ on earth, possesses the same full power of jurisdicton that Christ Himself possessed during His human life.”
            and even worse;
            Pope Clement VI., Acta Clementis, c. 1350; cited in the Roman Catholic publication: Granfield, Patrick, The Limits of the Papacy, NY: Crossroad, 1987; p.36.

            “The pope can do all things God can do.”

          • The institution has a leader certainly. The Mystical Body of Christ has Christ as its Head. Until HIs return, He has placed authority with the successors of Peter.

          • Do you understand the word “jurisdiction”?

          • len

            Do you understand the words ‘come out of her’ in a Biblical context?

          • Nonsense. The Church regards Christ as the Head and Popes as HIs appointed representatives, carrying HIs authority over the Church until HIs return. You’re just making a cheap prejudiced point and it’s beneath you.

          • Anton

            The Church? Nay, your church.

          • As we’re being so sectarian, the Church.

          • Anton

            Nay, your church.

          • len

            The RCC regards the Pope as the head of the Church.

          • The earthly leader and head, certainly. However, popes are accountable to Christ and they exercise authority on His behalf.

          • len

            Have you ever read a history of the Popes?

          • Incidentally, they do not become his brethren by his incarnation but in his resurrection. He qualifies to be their brother by his incarnation but they qualify to be his brothers through his resurrection. Only in resurrection can they be a common ‘one’, a new humanity. Thus it is a resurrected Christ who declares his name to his brothers (Ps 22). It is only a resurrected Christ who refers to his disciples as his brothers (Jn 20:17)

          • Albert

            I would use the expression “incarnation” the way the Fathers of the Church do – to cover the whole of the economy of the Son of God.

      • Albert

        Because it is well understood by advocates of NFP that time isn’t a barrier, and that the motivation for using NFP is TOTALLY DIFFERENT from the motivation for using a condom. That’s why NFP instructors advertise great prevention rates. Please. I’ve had the course, Albert.

        I don’t understand this paragraph.

        I was underwhelmed.

        Well obviously, the friend misidentified it as a scriptural case.

        • carl jacobs

          The paragraph was heavily laced with sarcasm. The difference between NFP and a condom is purely method of barrier. That’s why NFP instructors say you shouldn’t use NFP to create a childless marriage. Neither will they say how many children a couple using NFP should have. Two? Three? Five?

          If you were consistent, you would advocate a purely providentialist position.

          • Albert

            I guessed it was sarcastic, but it wasn’t clear, not to me anyway. The problem here is that you don’t seem to have got all of Catholic teaching. You’ve got the bit about contraception. But you don’t get the idea of the contraceptive mentality (which makes most of your point moot) and you interpret this, as with matters of mass killing of the innocent in times of war, in a purely consequentialist framework. So rather than being sarcastic, why don’t be a bit more transparent and state your real objection: you don’t agree with natural law?

          • carl jacobs

            Evasion. All you have said is “If you agreed with me, you would understand.” The truth is that I do understand. Catholics teach and use NFP exactly like others teach & use a condom. For the same purpose and to achieve the same outcome – a regulated family size. (Although to be honest I suspect most Catholics use condoms instead of NFP.)

            I don’t know natural law as a binding norm. I do know Scripture, and you have already admitted you have no Scriptural case. Therefore you have no standing to bind my conscience.

          • Albert

            The truth is that I do understand. Catholics teach and use NFP exactly like others teach & use a condom. For the same purpose and to achieve the same outcome – a regulated family size.

            That is obviously such a false statement Carl, I’m surprised you’ve made it.

            I don’t know natural law as a binding norm. I do know Scripture, and you have already admitted you have no Scriptural case.

            I have not admitted that. I have simply said I will not be judged by sola scriptura, because it is an incoherent position that no one actually takes.

          • carl jacobs

            Well obviously, the friend misidentified it as a scriptural case.

            You say you have not admitted to the lack of a Scriptural case. If that is true, then I misunderstood the above sentence. You must have intended the pronoun ‘it’ to refer to the book and not the case. Is that correct?

            If so, then make your case. State why you are not a providentialist. And state why NFP would not fall afoul of this selfsame prohibition. As I am sure you are aware, there are Providentialist who say exactly that.

            I will not be judged by sola scriptura

            No, you will be judged by Sola Ecclesia which just this last Friday opened the door between Catholic dogma and Catholic practice.

          • Albert

            It was the book I was referring to.

            If so, then make your case. State why you are not a providentialist. And state why NFP would not fall afoul of this selfsame prohibition. As I am sure you are aware, there are Providentialist who say exactly that.

            I’m not sure I understand what you mean by providentialist.

            No, you will be judged by Sola Ecclesia which just this last Friday opened the door between Catholic dogma and Catholic practice.

            No it didn’t.

          • carl jacobs

            A providentialist asserts that married couples should not attempt to regulate family size. They rather assert the couple should have sex with the assumption that God will bring forth conception within his Providence as He sees fit.

            No it didn’t.

            Last Friday will be an historic day in the history of the RCC.

          • Albert

            In that case, you are going to need to provide a non-consequentialist argument to show that I must be a providentialist.

            Last Friday will be an historic day in the history of the RCC

            For someone who is normally so good at argument, I’m finding your shyness in providing an argument, rather telling.

          • carl jacobs

            I am asking you to justify the difference between NFP and a condom to a Catholic Providentialist. I would like you to do so without making vague references to “contraception mentality”. I would also like some argument that goes beyond Jack’s oft-repeated but utterly unconvincing argument about natural processes.

            You know what the Pope did. I don’t need to tell you.

          • Albert

            I’m not sure what a Catholic Providentialist is, insofar as the Catholic teaching which prohibits artificial contraception, also permits, both logically and formally, NFP.

            Now, your case is that somehow I am the same a Providentialist or something like that. So I asked:

            In that case, you are going to need to provide a non-consequentialist argument to show that I must be a providentialist.

            And you’ve completely failed to justify your claim. Instead, you have attempted to push the case onto me. And in so doing, I am still confused as to what you are talking about – as shown by my first paragraph in this post.

            If you wish me to answer your position, set out your position properly, defend it, and then I will respond. What you cannot reasonably do, is what you are doing here, which is to be unclear, refusing to defend your assertions, but then (and this is implicit) when I fail to do what you ask, drawing the conclusion that I cannot defend myself against your accusations. Come on, Carl. You can do better than this – it’s like arguing with some of our wackier friends down here.

            As for what the Pope did, I honestly do not know what you are referring to, because I do not see that anything he said (or at least that I have seen he said) does what you say he has done. But again, you are refusing to defend your position, and presumably just ready to draw your conclusion, that because I haven’t answered your argument, I cannot. I am not answering your argument because you haven’t stated it.

          • CliveM

            Albert

            Reposted as requested!


            Avatar
            Albert CliveM
            a day ago
            Thank you Clive.

            What makes homosexual acts wrong? What makes sex with an animal wrong? It’s the fact that these things are unnatural. In what way are they unnatural? The sexual act is directed (among other things) to procreation (just ask the 3 million sperm in each ejaculation – they’ve all be directed to the same end, but their creator!).

            Thus, what makes these things wrong, intrinsically disordered, is that they order the act, away from that to which reason and evidence shows God has ordered it. Therefore, if one allows that one can artificially separate sex and procreation with contraception, it follows that the natural law argument against homosexuality fails.

            This point is made quite clearly by people on both sides of the debate. Robert Runcie, for example, said the CofE changed its teaching on homosexuality in 1930 when it allowed artificial contraception. It’s not true that you are defending the Protestant position, you are defending the secular position which Protestants have submitted to. Many Protestants, and secularists defend my argument, only with the opposite conclusion.

            Now notice that the position I am defending makes sense of a lot of scripture – the teaching on homosexuality, the teaching on marriage. It makes sense of the fact that all Christians taught the Catholic position throughout almost the entirety of Christian history. Notice that the breaking of the link between sexuality as God created it with procreation has resulted in many social evils. Notice that from this break, we lose many other things that Christian hold dear – sanctity of marriage for a start. Note that in the culture, while contraception enables the break, abortion guarantees it and homosexuality exemplifies it, and then respond to the challenge I set you:

            if someone can show how natural law can defend consistently artificial contraception, restriction to heterosexual marriage, and condemn homosexual acts, in the light of scripture, let them try.
            see more
            1 Reply

            Avatar
            CliveM Albert
            a day ago
            What makes homosexuality wrong?
            What makes sex with animals wrong?

            You argue these things are wrong because sex is misused ie because sex in these circumstances can’t result in procreation.

            Well I can think of other issues with the second example but will come back to that later!

            But for the moment let’s stick to the procreation argument.
            In addition to creating life sex has other functions. It bonds married couples, it encourages intimacy, it promotes love and it can also be fun! This is why sex doesn’t become wrong when fertility ends or one part of the union in infertile in the first place.

            So sex can result in life, but it doesn’t need to OR have the ability to do so, to be a Christian good. What this means is that sex without the opportunity of contraception, is not in itself intrinsically disordered. Context matters!

            So I would suggest that sex with animals isn’t banned because it cannot result in life, but because it is intrinsically selfish and abusive. An animal can’t give consent, it doesn’t create a loving relationship and I Suspect creates no enjoyment for the animal.

            I have typically avoided debates on homosexuality (more heat then light) so I am treating this discussion in your terms ie it is intrinsically disordered. I don’t want a long debate as to the rights and wrongs.

            So why is contraception in accord with natural law and homosexuality isn’t? My reading is that the position within many Protestant churches is that contraception isn’t allowed simply to selfishly deny life, but to enable some element of control allowing for circumstances ie the pregnancy might be dangerous to the mother or financial issues etc but even within Protestantism, generally sex and marriage is expected to lead to children. There is simply an element of control as to when and how many.

            Homosexual sex can never lead to life.

            Let’s be clear, whilst the bible endorses Natural Law, it does so in the context of Gods love and grace. Natural Law does not define Christian morality. It can’t. Outside the context of a Christian morality, it is simply a glorified system of secular morality, open to cultural interpretation like any other. That is why there is more than one theory or understanding of Natural Law.

            So why does contraception not undermine natural law and the traditional position on homosexuality? Because the two are not the same. Natural Law does not exist in an inviolate vacuum, separate of Gods revealed word and Gods revealed word does not ban or otherwise disallow non-procreational sex. It simply puts limits to it and one of those limits, clearly stated, is homosexual sex. What it does not do is ban recreational heterosexual sex within marriage. Even if some form of contraception is used.

          • Albert

            Thank you Clive. A couple of clarifications. I do not hold that sex with animals is only wrong because it cannot lead to life. I hold that even if all the other things that are wrong with it were said not to be wrong, it would be wrong anyway. It is intrinsically disordered (i.e. it’s not must that you can’t have a loving relationship with an animal – something which, someone might be able to dispute in principle).

            Secondly, I do not mean that sex is only ordered to procreation – rather openness to procreation is an inherent element of how God has ordered. We all know this really – if people didn’t know that, they wouldn’t be using contraception! Thus I am not denying that an expression of love is an inherent part of it, I am simply saying that, also, openness to procreation is an inherent part of it.

            Now turning to the rest of your argument, I think God’s revelation does ban both kinds of sex (homosexual and contraceptive). I would reverse this sentence:

            Natural Law does not exist in an inviolate vacuum, separate of Gods revealed word

            To say also:

            God’s revealed word does not exist in an inviolate vacuum, separate of God’s natural law

            And since God’s word commends natural law to us, and since that natural discloses God’s law, it follows that, God’s revelation does disallow contraception. This is not the same as saying scripture does, but as I am arguing, I don’t think a sola scriptura view of scripture makes sense – especially not here, where scripture actually commends natural law to us.

          • CliveM

            Albert,

            thanks for your response. I don’t propose to continuing with this. Nothing worse that a discussion which simply goes in circles! We are clearly not going to agree. And that’s fine (by me at least). :0)

            Just a clarifications. I need to be more precise, but I knew you could think of other objection to sex with animals, I was being a little facetious! Dangerous on a blog, easily misunderstood.

          • Albert

            Thank you Clive. A nice exchange. I’m happy to leave to leave it there, too.

          • The intent may be the same but the method is different. Abstinence during the fertile period does not frustrate the natural generative act. It is not a contra-ceptive. NFP works with the natural rythm of the body.

          • carl jacobs

            Which is a distinction without a moral difference. The intent follows the bullet, or in this case the barrier.

          • One doesn’t expect a moral consequentialist to appreciate the distinction between ends and means.

      • Indeed. Onan’s sin was not contraception per se but contraception on this instance; his sin was refusing to further his brother’s line despite an obligation to do so.

    • Royinsouthwest

      As I’ve just posted on another thread, in this country, you are more likely to die of a bee sting than be killed by terrorists.

      Bees are useful. Terrorists are not.

    • Rhoda

      Why does having a small family mean the faith will not flourish? Christians having a large family does not mean that all the offspring will themselves be Christians. Being a Christian is a choice; each person decides for themselves whether to believe or not. The faith of your parents will not get you to heaven.

      • Albert

        All of this is true, but a child is more likely to become a Christian or a Muslim, if the child is born in the first place.

    • bluedog

      Your argument doesn’t explain the collapse of the birth-rate in Catholic Spain and Italy. Is Protestantism to blame for the fact Italian women have been on strike for a generation and produce only 1.3 bambini each? Silly question really, we know the answer.

      • Albert

        Actually, I’ve addressed this already, but I’m happy to deal with it here. The reason Catholics don’t follow Catholic teaching is because of sin and ignorance. But the question here is about apologetics. What Catholics can do is engage the culture, because we have a consistent theological and philosophical position which we can use apologetically. Protestants don’t, because they have rejected that tradition and therefore can only confront the culture with authority the culture rejects. This adds to the problem: religion just looks irrational.

        • bluedog

          Thank you, Albert. I did subsequently find your discourse with CliveM on the topic, further down the thread. As a Protestant, I can’t see the problem with Biblical authority and am dubious about a dependence on ‘culture’. Whose culture, and who determines what constitutes ‘culture’? The Pope? Why not!

          • Albert

            I’m not suggesting a dependence on culture. I think perhaps we are at crossed-purposes. I am saying that to address a secular culture, you need more than just saying “the Bible says”. You need to be able to say something like “and this is better than what you offer, because…”

      • CliveM

        Maybe the couples in all these Catholic countries are simply very good at identifying the non fertile part of the woman’s cycle and are using the approved methods of contraception.

        In which case that’s alright!

        • bluedog

          More likely they probably aren’t that good at the rhythm method, but know a doctor with flexible values who performs abortions when there has been a mishap. Albert bewails the sin and ignorance of Catholics who use the Pill. But the truth may be even less palatable.

          • CliveM

            Thing is the logic of the Catholic position is you can , without sin or ignorance, avoid procreational sex and not have children. They simply try and convince themselves it’s different.

            But I suspect, as you say, that Italy does a roaring trade in ‘artificial ‘ contraception!

  • preacher

    I’ve always thought that Michael Nazir-Ali has had a good understanding of this issue. This book seems a good comprehensive guide & I will certainly look for & read it. The only possible problem that I anticipate is that it requires a response from all the Church to be effective & in this day & age that can be like trying to knit with spaghetti.

  • len

    Biblical Christianity has the only answer to the problem inherent within humanity and the solution to that problem which of course is the new birth the new nature in Christ. All other ‘answers’ to that problem either ‘clean the outside of the cup’ to make it ‘look nice’ or try to’ rationalize’ the problem away.
    ‘The problem ‘ is that human nature has the potential to do great good and also great evil this is ‘the two sides of the same coin’.
    Secular Humanists have rejected Gods Law(or at least a greater part of it )and have opened’ a Pandora’s box ‘of rebellion against any sort of authority and a determination to ‘get ones way’ whatever the impact on others in society. In a word when one turns away from God’ self’ and ‘selfishness’ becomes deified.

  • David

    I have long been an admirer of the work of Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali. His wisdom spans cultures and provides us with true Christian wisdom. He is the Archbishop of Canterbury that we never had. Because he is not PC he was ignored by the establishment. He speaks straight, offering carefully considered wisdom, all based on his enormous experience of several cultures, deep Biblical and theological knowledge and a good “feel” for where we are headed if we ditch our Judaeo-Christian heritage. He is a true “watchman”.
    Does anyone know where his book can be bought ?

    • preacher

      It’s available from Amazon David, but will probably be generally available in most Christian bookshops soon.

      • David

        Thank you.

    • bluedog

      ‘He is the Archbishop of Canterbury that we never had.’

      Yes, indeed. Compare and contrast Nazir-Ali with Sentamu.

  • preacher

    I find it interesting that the Bishop advocates a ‘ graceful, gradual retreat ‘ from the establishment & the development of a communlty ‘ in exile ‘ building up moral & spiritual centres of Christian vision. Does this mean a new reformation as this suggests ? This could be very beneficial, as long as the right people lead it.
    The Celtic Christian Church worked on similar principles and was extremely effective before the synod of Whitby which IMO marked a spiritual decline in the teaching & spirituality of the Church at the time.

    • dannybhoy

      I don’t like the idea of the established church breaking up because of the ramifications for the structure of our society. Everything we value is built on the Christian faith and however poorly is represented by the Church of England.
      But it may be that seeking to support the established order will do us no good in the long run. If elements of the CofE broke away and established a more evangelical, true to the Scriptures movement, we would slough off the dead weight of secular conformity and accommodation.
      I think the resultant contrast between practical and spiritual Christianity and “Mere Churchianity” would set the Church free….

      • preacher

        Agreed dan, but the Church as it now exists is not the same creature that it was even in the mid 1950’s. We desperately need to clean house & start afresh. Sometimes it’s the only way forward.
        From the time of the Lord to now, the Church has grown & flourished both spiritually & numerically, only when it has been outside the ‘ city ‘ establishment of organised establishment religion. There are many roads that could be travelled, most of them not very appealing, but in the long run, it’s not about us, it’s about God – the same God who came & sacrificed himself for us. He’s been running the show from the beginning & won’t stop now. He loves His people with a passionate love that saved us, but I believe a word I got in the week that said ” I love you, but I don’t need you ” All the things that we can do are as Paul says ‘ Dirty rags ‘ . It’s God that has & is doing it all, we serve Him because we know, love & worship Him & it’s a privilege to do so.
        Rest assured brother that God is in control.
        Blessings. P.

    • Anton

      The Church of England is indeed in gradual retreat, and has been all my life. But you cannot have a gradual retreat from Establishment; either there is an Established church or there is not, and if there is a change of the law from the former to the latter than it happens at an instant, when that law comes into force.

    • Anton

      Yes, Whitby was a great shame.

      • preacher

        More than that brother, I would say Tragedy. But through it all there has always been a remnant to carry the gospel. Fresh waves of Holy Spirit revival have inspired, invigorated & refreshed the saints.

        • Anton

          I look forward to hearing the tale of many Waldenses and Lollards in heaven.

          • preacher

            We will have plenty of accounts of our own by then, Don’t forget the old rhyme ” It’s not pie in the sky when you die, it’s cake on the plate while you wait ! “.

  • dannybhoy

    In relation to this post I include this web link…
    http://maslibres.org/wearen2016en/?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiT1RJMllXSXlNbUV6TUdObCIsInQiOiJLRm9iMUZwWmRJM1hlaDJqTkp1VzM5eURrUTBjWWtUSnZVcVorbkZINUpaYXRSajBiVmtZSkpVVVg4aHA5ZWhIZGxmV3AwUFpTSEZSXC91RWlPdkRPUVFKRVphWFMwQU9cL0xCYXA3WGc2STVNPSJ9
    The reason being that if the UK and the Western world continues its march towards religious and cultural homogeneity, what is happening across the Middle East and parts of Africa will happen here. Regardless of whether the majority of people claim to be irreligious or atheistic or agnostic, whichever culture proves the most ruthless will prevail, and there will be nowhere to hide.

  • an aim of extremist Islamism and aggressive secularism is to cause Christian expression to submit and ultimately to wither

    I don’t think we can blame either Islam or secularism for the withering of Christianity. As Britain becomes more Muslim, secularism will itself be forced to submit to Islam; a secularism which brought about its own demise would be a strange creature indeed. The bishop’s other suspect, Islam, reveres Christ as a prophet and specifically allows Christian worship to continue.

    By contrast, a religion which teaches that Christ is being punished in Hell by immersion in boiling excrement and which is ‘imbued with a very deep hatred towards Christianity’ would be deliriously happy to see the back of everything Christian.

    • The Explorer

      Islam sees Christ as a Muslim. When he returns with the Mahdi he will abolish pork and the jizya. The jizya will be unnecessary because there will be global Islam, and nothing else. It’s a bleak outlook for any other belief system, Christianity included. And, of course, for pigs.

      • @ The Explorer—Islam has it that everyone is born a Muslim. The outlook for other faiths (and animals of a porcine persuasion) won’t be bleak if Islam can be pushed back to its part of the world.

        • Royinsouthwest

          “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”

          Psalm 24:1

  • johnb1945

    Huzzah! I have long said that the Church is being killed by establishment.

    It’s a Church, not a government mouthpiece.

    • The Church of England is only here because it was established. It served to give legitimacy to the Crown in an era where authority was believed to come from God. Being disestablished will not stop its decline. Take a look at the Church of Scotland.

      • johnb1945

        The trouble with establishment is that people no longer believe power comes from God, they believe it comes from the whims of the electorate.

        The Church of Scotland probably gets the worst of both worlds because its status would best be described as “semi established”. So officially it is spiritually independent, in actuality it has a promise of protection from the crown not enjoyed by other religions, and obviously this is a quid pro quo.

        You may also be aware but the Scots have issues with the current establishment in all of its forms, and this affects the Kirk, who are seen as part of it.

        Many people are hacked off with liberal orthodoxy and rule by whim, i.e. mob rule, or twitter rule. No established Church is well positioned to provide a bulwark.

        This is the point of separating powers – the Church shall be a Church and shall articulate opinions on current issues informed by Christianity, not by the results of a popularity contest or a diktat issued by a government.

  • Findaráto

    This book should have been subtitled “How To Spin Your Way Out Of Decline And Into Relevance”.

    A “graceful, gradual retreat from establishment” really means “waiting for the blow to fall”. Disestablishment is coming down the line whether Anglicans like it or not. It will find you rather than you finding it.

    Once it’s been disestablished the Church will become just another lobby group competing with thousands of others for attention and relevance. The ex-bishop realises this, I think, and wants the Church to start positioning itself in a lobbying stance while it still retains its unique position in the public life of the nation.

    The problem is that nobody knows what a disestablished Church will look like. How will it be funded? Will the assets currently managed by the Church Commissioners go with the Church? Are they public or private property? What about Church real estate? Who owns that? Who will have to pay for its upkeep?

    Personally I would strip the Church of its assets because in reality they belong to the people, having been extracted from the people under false pretences. But perhaps the government that finally disestablishes the Church won’t agree.

    In any case, however much cash the Church ends up with will decide what its future role will be. It might almost be worth making a tactical voting choice and supporting Comrade Corbyn in the hope that his Marxist Labour government will cut the Church loose on the most disadvantageous terms possible.

    Now there’s something to think about for the next election…

    • The Explorer

      I suspect your prediction will be right in relation to the confused old, earthbound C of E, and wrong in relation to the Church that is the Body of Christ: which contains some from the C of E among its members.

      As for the upkeep, I suppose there’s the Soviet model: dynamite the majority of the buildings, and retain the best of the cathedrals as archaeological museums, with a charge for admission, as with castles. On the other hand, the Muslims might not allow it. They might want to keep all the buildings as future mosques. Interesting times.

      For the best view of Europe’s future, watch what happens with Sweden. That’s the canary in the coal mine, and the blueprint for what’s to come should manifest itself there within the next five or ten years.

      • dannybhoy

        It is worth visiting their news sites and blogs to see how in some places the Swedish authorities seem to have gone into full retreat..

        • The Explorer

          I do. You tube is full of Swedish stuff. It’s a culture in crisis. And goodbye Sweden seems to be Pat Condell’s number one topic at the moment. And never mind the authorities. The deeply-suppressed Viking instinct seems to be resurfacing in vigilante activity that bypasses the authorities altogether.

          • Pubcrawler

            Swedish Vikings tended to be more peaceable traders than aggressive plunderers. So their current lack of vim is in character.

          • The Explorer

            Wasn’t the Varangian Guard made up of Swedish Vikings? If so, some Swedes, at least, were expert at fighting.

          • Pubcrawler

            Some Rus and Swedes, especially in the early decades, but not exclusively. I did say ‘tended’, and the composition of the Varangian Guard is only a very small part of specifically Swedish Viking history. They traded rather than raided.

    • Anton

      “Once it’s been disestablished the Church will become just another lobby group competing with thousands of others for attention and relevance.”

      That is indeed the secular view. I would say rather that once it is disestablished the church can serve its true master properly again, rather than trying and failing to serve two masters.

      • chiefofsinners

        Is there anyone … anyone at all who thinks the church should remain established?

        • CliveM

          Me.

          • William Lewis

            Me too. It’s not like one can’t find a disestablished church should one choose.

          • CliveM

            It not actually CofE, but I think moe good has come out of it being established, then bad.

          • chiefofsinners

            So, four of you. And possibly Carl, who is being evasive.
            Well you won’t have trouble finding a pew.

          • carl jacobs

            Evasive about what? To save the Church in England you should burn the Church of England to the ground. When ex-Liberal bishops are begging bread in the streets, (metaphorically speaking … kind of) then you will know you have done what is necessary.

          • chiefofsinners

            No longer evasive. At the time of writing your post said “Wh”

          • carl jacobs

            A premature engagement of the post button occurred. It was quickly corrected.

            Jack’s fault without exception.

          • Premature engagement seems to be a significant issue for you, Carl. One is sure there is help available.

          • carl jacobs

            Of course help is available. This is where I’ve been all week.

            http://t4g.org/about/

            But about your willful evasion of fault…

          • CliveM

            Premature what?

          • carl jacobs

            Now Clive. Let’s not go channeling our inner Jack.

          • William Lewis

            “A premature engagement of the post button occurred”

            Yikes

          • CliveM

            Considering his previous employment, I find his problems with buttons troubling!

          • William Lewis

            Exactly. I think we all dodged a “bullet” there.

          • chiefofsinners

            These Popish plots are fiendish and merciless.

          • CliveM

            Well as Mary Slessor use to say “God plus one is a majority “!

          • chiefofsinners

            She was wrong, of course. God plus none is a majority.

          • CliveM

            I think you understand the point she was making.

          • chiefofsinners

            I do. You imply that God wants the church to remain established. How fortunate that you have a direct line. It will save the rest of us debating any issue on its perceived merits.

          • CliveM

            Now we are in a grump!

            It was a tongue in cheek response to your comment about all the supporters being able to fit on a single pew.

          • chiefofsinners

            That’s me. Grumpy old git. Flippant one minute, viciously sarcastic the next. By the power of numbskull…
            I’ll try to get a bit more sleep.

          • … and possibly a fifth. Jack hasn’t made his mind up.

          • William Lewis

            At the back preferably

          • chiefofsinners

            Aye, there’s the rub. With only four people, everyone’s at the front.

          • Old Nick

            Ego etiam

          • carl jacobs

            Why?

          • CliveM

            Carl

            In many ways I’m an old style Tory. I’m a monarchist, I believe that what passes as a constitutional settlement in my country works. I like that Christianity has a formal function within our state. I also think over the years it has done more good than harm.

            It also pisses of secularists and atheists!

          • carl jacobs

            But it’s a church shot through with corruption. It is chained to Parliament and so chained to the mores of the world. In ten years it will be no different from TEC in the US.

            How long before it justifies homosexualiy? One year? Two?

            Whatever it was, it is no more.

          • CliveM

            It is also a Church shot through with Godly men and women, standing witness to the truth, loving God and proclaiming the Gospel. There is still a lot of good in it.

          • William Lewis

            And yet I came to Christ through initiatives developed and people free to act under its umbrella.

        • pobjoy

          While the Vatican, gift of Benito Mussolini, stands free of bulldozers and wrecking balls, yes.

        • IanCad

          I’ve advocated for disestablishment several times before on this blog.
          Somehow though, I don’t want it to happen.

          • chiefofsinners

            I know what you mean. It would be an irreversible step towards a secular society. Like giving directions to a motorist, there is a certain pleasure in saying “I wouldn’t start from here”.

    • chiefofsinners

      King Henry VIII stole from the church almost all it possessed. Perhaps upon disestablishment it should be reimbursed, along with the trendy modern ‘apology’ from someone who had nothing to do with it.

      • pobjoy

        King Henry VIII stole from the church almost all it possessed.

        When did the church ever possess the wealth of this world?

        • chiefofsinners

          Before Henry stole it.

          • pobjoy

            If that was the church, the CoE cannot be a church at all. Henry did not consider that he stole, because he did not consider Ecclesia Anglicana to be anything but a fraudulent caricature of the real church, that he feared. He simply considered that the uppity Vatican had to be put in its proper, original place, under the thumb of civil power. For Henry, the Vatican had been the creation and tool of the Roman Empire, and his own empire stood in legitimate stead of Rome, in his own realm. The CoE was conceived and constituted quite differently, as part of the true worldwide church.

            The Bergoglio following can sue the Crown for loss of real estate when it can prove, in court, that Jesus meant Simon Barjona when he said ‘and on this Rock’. And it’s not foolish enough to try that.

            Until then, it is the Bergoglio following that can be sued, on the same grounds, and for its very last cent, quite irrespective of abuse findings. And by any who consider themselves to be its victims.

          • chiefofsinners

            Dress it up how you like. What Henry did was to assume ownership of the monasteries, sell them off and spend the proceeds on wine, women and war. If the crown would now like to disown the church, please can we have our monasteries back?

          • Anton

            Not even Queen Mary managed to get the lands back. But who wants monasteries?

            Monasticism was partly a reaction to the sin and corruption of the world, just as eremeticism is partly a reaction to the sin and corruption of one’s own soul. But these reactions to sin and corruption came partly from single men (who are free to move around) fleeing persecution; and also from ancient Greek ascetic notions of piety, rather than from the gospel in which Christians are told to be salt and light in the world. The Hebraic (and protestant) ideal was to set an example within your family, your place of work, your town. You cannot convert others, or make the world a better place, if you isolate yourself. In making this effort the Christian also makes himself a better disciple; we are to tackle the evil in ourselves and in the world together; Jesus was explicit that we are sent into the world but are not of the world (John 17:16-18). When St Paul advocated that men stay single to serve God (1 Cor 7), he never advocated that they withdraw from the world into a single-sex community. Paul engaged intensely with the world, and held himself up as a model (1 Cor 7:8). Your deeds inform your prayer and your prayer informs your deeds, so that a monastic life of prayer without deeds is not a full Christian life; to grow, faith needs practical testing. Jesus often went alone to the desert to pray, but he always came back, to do. He did not found a monastic community, and he never suggested to his disciples that they should. He ignored the monastics of Judaism, the Essenes (the likely writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls). Certainly we must spend time alone with God, and fast for specific ends; but mortification can mutate into holier-than-thou salvation by works. I prefer to read of the experience of sanctification from those who, like their Master, are overcomers in the world, rather than retreaters from it.

            Christianity is for all. The idea that it was or is practised better in solitude or in monasteries than in the world, is erroneous. Were Jesus or the disciples hermits or dedicated mystics?

          • Findaráto

            Well of course Mary I couldn’t restore the monasteries. She was played by Daphne Slater, a colourless and one dimensional Shakespearean actress of the “declame your way to fame” school of the dramatic arts.

            If you were having to fight for screen time with Glenda Jackson, you’d have no stomach for any other struggle either. You couldn’t hold off the Labour Party’s answer to Elena Ceausescu with one hand while dispossessing half the kingdom with the other, and all while dancing attendance on the Pope and refusing to pass wind for 9 months in the hope that your swollen belly would somehow miraculously yield up a baby to serve as your screen rival’s nemesis.

            When I think that had she succeeded in subduing her greedy nobility and forced them to return their ill-gotten lands to those poor innocent fornicating monks and monkesses, and then dealt with her harpy of a sister in a manner befitting the grandchild of the Catholic Kings (i.e. a nice little auto da fe in the back garden featuring roast heretic as the main course), we would have been spared hours of that awful woman’s shrieking and cackling being broadcast into our homes and casting a long shadow over our childhoods, I find it hard to forgive Mary I…

          • chiefofsinners

            Hmm… but monasteries might be useful places to put people like Jack. He seems keen. Vow of silence maybe, and a tonsure instead of that hat.

          • pobjoy

            You first have to prove that Jesus spoke of Simon Barjona as ‘this Rock’, don’t you?

          • chiefofsinners

            No, I’m just arguing with Findarato on his own terms.
            The entire planet belongs to God, of course, – the cattle on a thousand hills and so forth – although the kingdoms of the world are in the gift of Satan.
            Peter means stone, not rock, and the church was built on his confession of Christ as the Son of the living God, not on Peter personally.

          • pobjoy

            Peter means stone, not rock, and the church was built on his confession
            of Christ as the Son of the living God, not on Peter personally.

            Quite so! But I don’t understand how a believer in that view can require return of the monastic lands. Maybe, like Job, have uttered what I did not understand, things too high for me to know. 🙂 If so, just ignore this.

          • chiefofsinners

            I was just arguing with Findarato on his own terms. He was suggesting that the church could not survive financially if disestablished.

          • pobjoy

            There are fascists who would have the English going to Confession and Mass, and the CoE is their first obstacle.

          • …. so they can be returned to their rightful owners.

          • pobjoy

            their rightful owners

            Why wait for the Crown to give up interest? Litigate, tout de suite.

      • Findaráto

        Henry VIII didn’t go far enough. He should have taken all Church property and attached it to the Crown Estate, leaving the parsons to fend for themselves. That’s what one hopes a Corbyn government will do, after nationalising the Crown Estate and ditching the freeloading Windsors first, of course.

        No apologies for the Reformation, except insofar as it’s appropriate to apologise to the people for a job poorly done.

        • chiefofsinners

          A Corbyn government? I have seen you stretch the bounds of credulity many a time, but you have surpassed yourself.

      • All asets should be returned to the Catholic Church.

    • Dreadnaught

      If it helps put Islam back in the box leave the CoE well enough alone and hope that the politicians come to their senses for the sake of future generations to enjoy the freedom for which their forebears gave their lives.

  • carl jacobs

    Secularism isn’t killing religion. Secularism is killing itself and is leading to a revival of paganism.

    • sarky

      A revival? It never went away.

    • Humanism is killing faith and secularism is its bedfellow.

      • carl jacobs

        When I say “Secularism” I mean “The aggressive assertion of man’s sovereign autonomy over his own life”. Which is to say, I’m not sure your use of humanism and my use of Secularism differ all that much.

  • len

    When the church finally breaks free from the State (which is a corrupting influence) perhaps there will be enough life in the body for it to revive?.

    ‘The Church/Churches’ need to take a long hard look at itself and to heed the Word of God and to repent and to apply the remedy that Jesus Christ commands in His Letter to the Churches ‘Revelation 2-3’.

    • Anton

      “When the church finally breaks free from the State (which is a corrupting influence) perhaps there will be enough life in the body for it to revive?”

      Yes there will; Jesus can raise the dead!

      • len

        Amen!

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Goodness! Does that mean Tony Benn could still be prime minister?

        • chiefofsinners

          We are indebted to Mr Benn, both for his excellent children’s television programme and for the observation that the Labour party has never been a socialist party, although there have … been socialists in it – a bit like Christians in the Church of England.

    • preacher

      Well written Len. But we still have a way to travel, the Lord promises the believers that they who overcome will receive the laurels of victory & there’s still a lot of overcoming to do.

    • Pubcrawler

      Ezekiel 37.

      • len

        It will take the Breath of the Lord to bring Life into’ the dry bones’ of the Church.Perhaps another Reformation?

        • But how can Protestants protest against themselves? All they need do is set up yet another ‘church’.

          • len

            ‘But how can Protestants protest against themselves?’
            Wrong question.
            Right question. How can anyone protests against a lie?.
            Answer ,easy If you have a love of the Truth.

  • chiefofsinners

    The past few hundred years have been a brief interlude, in which British Christians have had the luxury of being mainstream. We have grown lazy, something fat and middle aged. The days have come when we must once more ‘play the man, master Ridley’.

  • Nogods

    Contemporary religious superstitions are taking their last gasp of air and will soon find themselves keeping company with other ancient beliefs we now refer to as mythology. The strength of religions has always arisen from their ability to control the information, and in turn, the message. Without countervailing arguments, religions have made believers out of non-believers and kept the faithful content.

    But those days are over. The digital/information age has ushered in the unlimited and immediate access to reliable information. At the click of a mouse, one can learn the intricate details of the theory of evolution or fact check outrageous religious claims. The curtain has been lifted exposing religions’ logical inconsistencies. While “faith” was enough to satisfy the curiosities of primitive Iron Age civilizations, today’s generation demands facts. And that is something religions can never deliver. So prepare to celebrate the death of religion as it will finally free our civilization and allow it to move forward, unhindered by the dogmatic and irrational beliefs of ancient superstitious cultures.

    • len

      Nogods is an illusion. You either have the God of the Bible who came to give Life, or the ‘god of this age’ who comes to steal , kill and destroy…(The spiritual world as the material world abhors a vacuum)

      So what do you choose Life or death?.

      • Nogods

        “Nogods is an illusion.”

        If I’m an illusion, you are delusional.

        “You either have the God of the Bible who came to give Life, or the ‘god of this age’ who comes to steal , kill and destroy…”

        That is a false dichotomy. There are thousands of gods you could choose to worship. The one thing they all have in common is they are all fictional.

        “(The spiritual world as the material world abhors a vacuum)”

        The spiritual word only exists in your mind. It is as real as Santa’s workshop in the North Pole.

        “So what do you choose Life or death?”

        I choose to reject ancient superstitious beliefs.

        • len

          You are just words on a page I deny you exist..

          • Nogods

            Your denial conflicts with your delusions.

          • len

            Your denial of the God of the Bible is delusional.Evidence of the God of the bible is everywhere for all to see.

          • Nogods

            You believe in your 1st century superstition because of faith. That means you will not find any evidence for your superstitious beliefs in the natural world. So stop looking for it. And stop pretending you have found it.

          • len

            Plenty of evidence you have just not bothered to look…I suppose you prefer your ‘no god’ delusion?

          • Nogods

            Prove that your god is the one real one. I will get you started:
            1. My god is real because______. The evidence supporting this claim is as follows ______.
            2. My god is real because______. The evidence supporting this claim is as follows ______.
            3. My god is real because______. The evidence supporting this claim is as follows ______.
            Keep going until you run out of reasons. Then we will talk about your poor reasons and your complete lack of evidence.

          • bluedog

            Len’s too smart to let you set the agenda. Keep whistling.

          • Meepestos

            It’s not delusional; just an assertion. Just like the assertion many scientists, anthropologists, and historians make that geography and its environmental differences influence cultures and how they construct their beliefs and deities based on observations such as the folk in the times of “Abraham’s” locale and other peoples around the globe like the Haida that lived in coastal rainforests.
            The Haida’s deities basically reflect the spiritual relationships they had (and many still do) with the natural environment that elicited a certain behavior that we also see in their gods. Though seafarers and raiders, these people were tied to territories with boundaries that were abundant in natural resources that played a vital role in their well being as well as art and culture hence gods like Gyhldeptis were created. Her traits are like that of the people who aspired to be like her – She’s somewhat environmentally friendly and understood the importance of consultation, cooperation, and staying calm within the community in order to save the day and reflects in a way in which the women of these people had a form of autonomy through the clan/matrilineal system. Keep in mind these people also went to war to acquire objects of wealth and had a slave-based economy and in no way am I trying to romanticize their way of life.
            As for the god character in the bible, “he” demonstrates the same traits and characteristics of those that created it. It is like they were looking in the mirror when they created the concept of it, which is understandable when one looks at the locale and times of these folks – a time of population movements that led to violent changes that elicits behaviours that we obviously see in their God. Though this god character does good things, “he” also kills women, children, and infants and doesn’t seem to respect or acknowledge any form of autonomy for women just like the folk that created “him” probably because women’s roles that play a part in political and social authority didn’t exist then for practical reasons whereas in other parts of the world at the same time it did due to it being practical. In an environment such as this and where the maternal social structure had been long gone, it is understandable why they were this way; it’s human nature under these conditions.
            Stop pretending as Nogods stated; not even theologians with a tertiary education looking at the bible objectively would state that the god character in the bible is everywhere for all to see.

          • bluedog

            Nobody round here has ever heard of the Haida. If you’re going to quote examples to support your assertions, you need to make them relevant, not as additions to your obscurantism

          • Luminya

            Sigh, no one of your limited education has heard of the Haida. You need to go back to school.

          • Meepestos

            Sometimes I’m a tad embarrassed that I learned more about the Haida and Nisga from the Germans.

          • bluedog

            Sniff. Attending a school that focussed on the Haida would be an embarrassment and evidence of incompetence on the part of the teaching staff. While this tribe may loom large in your own consciousness, whatever their merits, the Haida are not central to the development of Western civilisation, or indeed any civilisation.

          • Luminya

            Your posts are always so good and informative and relevant Meepestos.

          • Meepestos

            Thank you. Always a pleasure reading yours.

          • sarky

            No its not.

          • Pastorbob666

            Give one example of your “evidence.”

          • Luminya

            Your blanket statement isn’t cutting it. Come on provide proof, snap to it. I am hearing crickets here.

          • sarky

            You talking about Nogods or your god?

        • ‘There are thousands of gods you could choose to worship. The one thing they all have in common is they are all fictional.’

          And you know this because…

          • Nogods

            Here is a short list of gods you could choose to worship. Tell me what ones you think are real: Angus, Belenos, Brigid, dana, Lugh, Dagda, Epona, Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Atehna, Demeter, Dionysus, Eris, Eos, Gaia, Hades, Hekate, Helios, Hephaestus, Hera, hermes, Hestia, Pan, Poseidon, Selene, Uranus, Zeus, Mathilde, Elves, Jesus, Eostre, Frigg, Hretha, Saxnot, Shef, Thuno, Tir, Weyland, Woden, Alfar, Balder, Beyla, Bil, Bragi, Byggvir, Dagr, Disir, Eir, Forseti, Freya, Freyr, Frigga, Heimdall, Hel, Hoenir, Idunn, Jord, Lofn, Loki, Mon, Njord, Norns, Nott, Odin, Ran, saga, Sif, Siofn, Skadi, Snotra, Sol, Syn, Ull, Thor, Tyr, Var, Vali, Vidar, Vor, Black Shuck, Herne, Jack in the Green, Holda, Nehalennia, Nerthus, endovelicus, Ataegina, Runesocesius, Apollo, Bacchus, Ceres, Cupid, Diana, Janus, Juno, Jupiter, Maia, Mars, Mercury, Minerva, Neptune, Pluto, Plutus, Proserpina, Venus, Vesta, Vulcan, Attis, Cybele, El-Gabal, Isis, Mithras, Sol Invictus, Endovelicus, Anubis, Aten, Atum, Bast, Bes, Geb, Hapi, Hathor, Heget, Horus, Imhotep, Isis, Khepry, Khnum, Maahes, Ma’at, Menhit, Mont, Naunet, Neith, Nephthys, Nut, Osiris, Ptah, ra, Sekhmnet, Sobek, Set, Tefnut, Thoth, An, Anshar, Anu, Apsu, Ashur, Damkina, Ea, Enki, Enlil, Ereshkigal, Nunurta, Hadad, Inanna, Ishtar, Kingu, Kishar, Marduk, Mummu, Nabu, Nammu, Nanna, Nergal, Ninhursag, Ninlil, Nintu, Shamash, Sin, Tiamat, Utu, Mitra, Amaterasu, Susanoo, Tsukiyomi, Inari, Tengu, Izanami, Izanagi, Daikoku, Ebisu, Benzaiten, Bishamonten, Fu.kurokuju, Jurojin, Hotei, Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc, Inti, Kon, Mama Cocha, Mama Quilla, Manco Capac, Pachacamac, Viracoc.ha, or Zaramama.

          • William Lewis

            You seem confused about definitions here. An atheist does not believe there is a God or sentient creator of the universe. A Christian believes there is a God, primarily because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ., for which there is some evidence. Therefore a Christian is categorically NOT an atheist.

          • bluedog

            Disappointing. This particular random generator of secular thought wasn’t programmed to include Leviticus.

          • William Lewis

            Must be a newer generation. But it has been verified by Donkey Hotay, so that must be reassuring that it is on the right track.

          • bluedog

            Looks like a cut and paste job though. The bit about the religious beliefs of inmates in US Federal prisons is completely out of context and in any event, irrelevant to the rest of the rodomontade.

          • Nogods

            You seem confused by labels. There are thousands of gods one could choose to think were real. A Christians rejects them all but one. So a Christian is a non-believer as to thousands of gods, just like an atheist. An atheist just goes one god further.

          • Bam !!

          • William Lewis

            Then you might as well call me a vegetarian who eats meat because I eat vegetables.

          • sarky

            Crap analogy.

          • William Lewis

            It is exactly analogous.

          • Nogods

            Don’t be confused by the labels. Look to the substance.

          • William Lewis

            The “substance” is that I am like an atheist because I don’t believe in Zeus etc. But so what? A non vegetarian is like a vegetarian because he eats vegetables. So what?

            The mode of an atheist is that he does not believe in a God. The mode of a Christian is that he does believe in a God because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

          • Nogods

            You have misstated the equation. The mode of an atheist is that he does not believe in thousands of gods. The mode of a Christian is that he also does not believe in thousands of gods. But he does believe in one of the many.

          • William Lewis

            The mode of a vegetarian is that he eats carrots, leaks and potatoes. The mode of a non-vegetarian is that he eats carrots, leaks, potatoes and steak. So what?

          • Nogods

            Need need for a poor analogy. I have accurately stated the equation. You have not.

            “The mode of an atheist is that he does not believe in thousands of gods. The mode of a Christian is that he also does not believe in thousands of gods. But he does believe in one of the many.”

            Every statement made in this paragraph is correct, is it not?

          • William Lewis

            “Every statement made in this paragraph is correct, is it not?”

            It is correct as far as it goes but it is incomplete for the atheist.

            It’s like saying that the mode of a vegetarian is that he eats carrots, leaks and potatoes when the mode of a vegetarian is that he does not eat meat.

            Anyway, so what?

          • Nogods

            You keep resorting to inaccurate analogies when they are unnecessary. And the paragraph accurately captures the atheist position.

          • William Lewis

            My analogy is accurate and therefore necessary. Unless you can show otherwise?

          • Luminya

            That is a ridiculous analogy and you are being either willfully ignorant or deliberately disengenuous.

          • William Lewis

            You don’t even understand the analogy.

          • Anton

            There is only room for one creator of the universe.

          • Nogods

            Who says? You? There are over a 100 gods of creation. Let’s play a little game. You tell me all the reasons why the universe was not created by the god, Viracocha. And then I will repeat all those exact same answers back to you in an effort to explain to you why your god didn’t create the universe either.

          • Anton

            You misunderstand me. Only one deity (at most) can have created the universe and all in it. You are raising the subsidiary issue of the name and further actions of that deity – a perfectly valid question, but not the one I was addressing at that point.

          • Nogods

            “Only one deity (at most) can have created the universe and all in it.”

            Who says? You?

            And the hundred gods of creation are all different; they aren’t the same. They all have different material qualities.

          • Anton

            Show me a hypothetical scenario in which multiple deities each create the entire universe!

          • Nogods

            People work as a team all the time. Who says gods can’t? You?

          • Anton

            Do explain how.

          • Nogods

            It is clear. There is nothing to explain.

          • Anton

            You don’t understand the mechanics of creation. Well, fair enough; neither do I. But you don’t understand the notion of a hypothetical question, either.

          • Nogods

            And you haven’t explained why I am not right.

          • Anton

            About what?

          • Anton

            William, you and Nogods are reproducing a debate that was had in the Roman Empire; Christians WERE accused of being atheists because the Romans denied that their (our) God existed and the Christians denied that the Roman pantheon existed.

          • William Lewis

            Thank you, Anton. There’s still nothing new under the sun, then. 🙂

          • Pastorbob666

            Where is your evidence that mr. jeezus ever existed?

          • The Explorer

            Do you think polytheism evolved into monotheism, or monotheism degenerated into polytheism?

          • Nogods

            What culture are you referring to?

          • The Explorer

            The history of humanity.

          • Nogods

            You mean the indigenous tribes of Malaysia? Or the superstitious beliefs the early American Indians?

          • The Explorer

            Humanity is made up of more than Malaysians and Native Americans.

          • Nogods

            But the evolution of superstitious beliefs is unique to each culture.

          • The Explorer

            True enough. The Christian explanation for the diversity of religions is that the natural link between God and humanity was severed by the Fall (in whatever sense that is to be understood). Monotheism degenerated into various forms of polytheism, in which were memories of the original: some more accurate than others. Revelation was needed to restore the link.

          • Nogods

            Your understanding of the history of Christianity is poor.

          • Pubcrawler

            Your understanding of his comment is worse.

          • Nogods

            His understanding of history is worse than yours.

          • Pubcrawler

            On what evidence do you base that claim?

          • Nogods

            “The Christian explanation for the diversity of religions is that the natural link between God and humanity was severed by the Fall (in whatever sense that is to be understood). Monotheism degenerated into various forms of polytheism, in which were memories of the original: some more accurate than others.”

            This isn’t history; this is mythology.

          • The Explorer

            It was more an explanation of the diversity of religions than the history of Christianity.

            Your statement may be true, but as it stands it is simply an unsubstantiated assertion. To take it seriously I’d need:

            Your credentials for making such a judgement.

            Some evidence.

          • The cultures of ignorant uneducated bronze-age goat herders, no doubt.

          • But it was you who said they are all fictional, I was wondering how you know this.

          • Nogods

            I asked you to tell me what ones you think are real?

          • Again, you made the assertion (all are fictional), a sweeping one in my view, it is up to you to substantiate it.

          • Nogods

            You let me know what ones you think are real, and then, by the act of simple subtraction, I will know what ones we agree are fictional. Then we will take it from there.

          • So you cannot substantiate the claim that all are fictional.

          • Nogods

            I have no evidence that any of them are real. You really got me.

          • I suspect you fall into the category of those for whom no evidence would be sufficient. Anyone who is arrogant enough to assert all religions are fictional and believes he can inductively prove so and is foolish enough to assert the imminent death of religious belief despite all evidence to the contrary clearly has not the objective critical faculties necessary to assess evidence. His prejudice is great that he will not believe even if one one rose from the dead.

          • sarky

            Prove it!

          • That’s just it, isn’t it. No evidence would be sufficient.

          • sarky

            Cop out. The truth is the evidence just doesn’t exist. If it did we would all be Christians.

          • You are not making enough allowance for the deceitfulness of the human heart. Christ is rejected not because the evidence is lacking but because men love darkness rather than light and do so because their deeds are evil. In Christ, our hearts are exposed and this is unpalatable.

          • sarky

            Again, cop out. Christ ‘is’ rejected because of lack of evidence. If there was evidence, men would turn from darkness.

          • The fact there are millions of Christians (folks who’ve turned from darkness to light) proves therefore there is evidence.

          • sarky

            And the evil deeds???

          • Luminya

            Anecdotal evidence is not evidence.

          • David Cromie

            Millions of people believing a lie does not show anything other than that there are a large number of superstitious, ignoramuses in the world.

          • rationalobservations?

            It proves only the effectiveness of 1600 years of the systematic creation of myths and legends of a god-man named “Jesus” that started with codex bibles produced in the 4th century ( decades after the establishment of the 4th century Roman religion they called “christianity”)and the brutality of christian regimes that slaughtered all who refused to obey them.

          • Not according to sarky. He says if there were evidence men would turn from darkness to light. I simply pointed out that millions have.

          • rationalobservations?

            The whole population of Egypt once sang tribute to the great god Amun Ra – the bringer of life and lived with their “real” gods in an intimate and daily basis.

            Almost he whole of the population of the Greek and Roman Empires worshiped the “real” gods and goddesses until christianity was brutally imposed upon the world in the 4th century.

            There are many thousands of gods, goddesses and god-men that were dreamed up by men but, like yours, have never manifested in the here and now at any time in history.

            Christians are often baffled as to how atheists could deny the existence of their god, “Yahweh” and their god-man “Jesus”. They shouldn’t be as christians deny thousands of the very same gods that atheists deny. Atheists just deny one more god and one more god-man than christians.

            Some of my favorite imaginary gods are Amun Ra, Zeus, Quetzlecotle, Ganesh and Hanuman, Pratibhanapratisamvit, Buddhist goddess of context analysis, Acat, Mayan god of tattoo artists. and Tsa’qamae, north american god of salmon migration. All gods are imaginary.

            There is a direct comparison between the 99.99r of the gods christians deny and the gods atheists deny. We’re not so different, after all. Let us celebrate our vast agreement on the non-existence of many thousands of gods!

            However: Can you tell me more about your god “Yahweh” and your god-man “Jesus” through actual evidence and authentic, authenticated, verified and verifiable 1st century originated historical texts, artifacts and archaeological evidence and without reference to any of the many diverse and different, confused and contradictory christian books of myths, legends and propaganda called “bibles” that started to appear in the late 4th century?

          • ‘All gods are imaginary.’ Now there’s a non-verifiable statement if ever I heard one. It seems to be one of these wild ‘belief’ assertions that atheists on this thread are prone making. You must belong to the same cabal.

          • rationalobservations?

            All gods are dreamed up by men and none of them have ever verifiably been detected or observed in the here and now at any time in the history of our recently evolved species of ape.

            There is no difference between the undetectable and the non-existent.

            I must thank you for making me smile with your ironic connection of “wild beliefs” connected with atheism. We are signalled by the tendency to believe in nothing connected with the supernatural and the paranormal – “wild” or otherwise.

            Non-belief is not another form of belief just as ticking the not religious box in polls and surveys (as most folk in the developed world do these days) does not indicate membership of a non-existent “not religious” religion.

            You do present some very odd and unsupported assumptions, John.

          • The assertion ‘there is no God’ is a faith statement; it is a belief. It is certainly not a verified fact.

          • rationalobservations?

            I don’t assert “there is no god” but “there are no gods”. There are many thousands of assorted gods, goddesses, god-men/messiahs and other imaginary super-spooks that appear in human authored fiction and the imagination of the indoctrinated – but never in the real world.

            Present reasons for, and evidence of, any of the thousands of gods?

          • Ah, so you are not an atheist. My apologies. You accept there may well be a God. How do you know he is not one of the ‘assorted gods’ you mention. Have you thoroughly examined them all?

          • rationalobservations?

            I dismiss the possible existence of all the many thousands of imaginary gods. I am happy to be classified as an “atheist “(non-theist) or “non-believer”, “godless person” or any other indication that I have researched religion and found it to be nothing but childish superstition.

            Now perhaps you could address the request rather than make unsupported and ridiculous assumptions?

            Present reasons for, and evidence of, any of the thousands of apparently imaginary and undetectable “gods”?

          • I I simply don’t believe that you have (re)searched the religions of the world so exhaustively and thoroughly as to be qualified to dogmatically insist that they are all false.

            Einstein was of the view that such was the harmony of the universe this testified to a God overseeing it. But you know better.

          • rationalobservations?

            As usual, your indoctrination preserves you from the scepticism your religion deserves while refusing to accept the truthful statements of those of us who have searched and researched for much of our lives. Your refusal to accept plain facts is your problem.

            Your reference to the lifelong atheist Albert Einstein made me laugh.

            “It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere…. Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”

            — Albert Einstein, “Religion and Science,” New York Times Magazine, 9 November 1930

            “The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

            — Albert Einstein, in a letter responding to philosopher Eric Gutkind

            Strange is our situation here on Earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men — above all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness depends.

            — Albert Einstein, quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief, p. 241

            “I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own — a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms.”

            — Albert Einstein, “Religion and Science,” New York Times Magazine, 9 November 1930

            I hope that your underdeveloped but perhaps latent scepticism has been stirred by my evidence supported information and I hope that you WON’T take my word for anything in the way that you have accepted the written and spoken word of lies about the fake deities and self serving religion that appears to hold you in thrall.

            Investigate first/oldest/original EVIDENCE and ignore the accretion of 1600 years of lies and propaganda that started when the Roman religion they called “christrianity” was cobbled together in the 4th century shortly BEFORE the oldest/first NT bibles were written only to be constantly altered, amended, added to and deleted from for centuries through to the 20th century published most recent versions.

          • You take the words out of my mouth: ‘As usual, your indoctrination preserves you from the scepticism your religion (atheism) deserves while refusing to accept the truthful statements of those of us who have searched and researched for much of our lives. Your refusal to accept plain facts is your problem.’

            With the half-baked grasp atheists often have you mistake Einstein’s rejection of a personal God for a rejection of any kind of God..

            ‘ I am not an atheist, and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist.”

            “Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is of the same kind as the intolerance of the religious fanatics and comes from the same source.”

            “There is harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognise, yet there are people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me to support such views.”

            Max Jammer: Einstein and Religion

          • rationalobservations?

            Like many of us atheists – Albert Einstein accepted Spinoza’s non-supernatural non-magical “god”. The name of that “god” is spelled N-A-T-U-R-E.

            Ever the “diplomat” and living in a world in a world and at a time when the members of one religion (the christianity of the 3rd Reich) was undertaking a genocidal crusade against those of the rejected religion of Einsteins cultural background – he wrote and spoke many ambiguous lines.
            It is worth noting that atheists are still cruelly persecuted in America and are being murdered in lands that remain under totalitarian religious tyranny.

            “I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.”

            — Albert Einstein, following his wife’s advice in responding to Rabbi Herbert Goldstein of the International Synagogue in New York, who had sent Einstein a cablegram bluntly demanding “Do you believe in God?” Quoted from and citation notes derived from Victor J Stenger, Has Science Found God? (draft: 2001), chapter 3.

            I am most willing and eager to “accept” evidence supported facts, John.

            If you have any evidence supported facts that support the existence of any of the many thousands of “gods”, “goddesses” and/or “god-men/messiahs” – please present the evidence?

          • Atheism hasn’t a good track record on tolerance. C20 atheistic regimes killed more than religion did in all the previous centuries.

            He did indeed believe in Spinoza’s God. But again you are mistaken. Spinoza did not equate God with nature.

            Spinoza, “The view of certain people that I identify God with nature is quite mistaken.”

            Correspondence of Spinoza letter 73

            I of course, believe in the Christian God. I believe there is more than sufficient evidence to promote faith but I recognise you will not accept it. It will seem foolishness to you not because it is but because you are too wise in your own conceit. It is a great pity. I can only urge you to read the gospels and view Christ. The question is whether he is trustworthy or not. You must respond for yourself. And yes I know, you don’t trust the gospel records etc, etc, etc.

          • rationalobservations?

            Regimes led by tyrants and dictators were responsible for the mass murder of those who, challenged their leadership opposed them or held a different faith from them.

            Millions were murdered in the name of soviet or cino communism, and the 10th christian crusade undertaken by the 3rd Reich was undertaken by crusaders with similar objective to those very first crusaders who casually slaughtered more than 20,000 innocent Jews on there way to attempt genocide in the middle east.

            None committed mass murder exclusively in the name of non-belief while millions have been slaughtered in the name of imaginary gods, prophets and god-men/messiahs.

            History is a land none of us will ever visit and it is today’s demographics and 60+ years of peace in Europe that may be of more relevance (the only relevance).

            Your Spinoza quote appears to be fiction.

          • Ah, the key word is ‘exclusively’ for to be sure to stamp out religion was part of all atheistic communist agenda. To have the audacity to describe the 3rd Reich as a Christian crusade and in the same breath seek to distance atheism from communistic pogroms is breathtaking and reveals your fatally flawed grasp of reality.

            Quotation is not fiction.

          • rationalobservations?

            The leader of the 3rd Reich proclaimed his christianity throughout his career and within his speeches and written words.

            “And the founder of Christianity made no secret indeed of his estimation of the Jewish people. When He found it necessary, He drove those enemies of the human race out of the Temple of God; because then, as always, they used religion as a means of advancing their commercial interests. But at that time Christ was nailed to the Cross for his attitude towards the Jews; whereas our modern Christians enter into party politics and when elections are being held they debase themselves to beg for Jewish votes. They even enter into political intrigues with the atheistic Jewish parties against the interests of their own Christian nation.”

            – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 11

            The greatest mind of the 20th century recognised the similarity of communism to a religion.

            “One strength of the Communist system … is that it has some of the characteristics of a religion and inspires the emotions of a religion.”

            — Albert Einstein, Out Of My Later Years (1950)

            The example of the countless millions of the “godless” who form the majority in the developed world now demonstrates that no one needs to believe in imaginary “gods” to be peaceful and altruistic members of society.

            Of course: We are no longer reduced to whispering our message on the wind or in the waters since we no longer get red hot spikes driven through our tongues and burned to death for revealing the lies in bibles (like poor old Giordano Bruno) or threatened with brutal torture before being imprisoned for the rest of his life like Galileo Galilei – the world is being purged of all barbaric superstitions and the good news of atheism spreads like wildfire.

            “The World’s Newest Major Religion: No Religion”

            Full story here:
            http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/160422-atheism-agnostic-secular-nones-rising-religion/

            Also see the attendance figures of the “major” religions and the PEW and other contemporary survey results.

            Where have you been hiding away since 1950?

          • I I think you will find that even in the western world belief in a god is still predominant. However, continue to believe your myths, that is your prerogative.

          • rationalobservations?

            The trend and statistical data from all recent polls, surveys and census returns appears to contradict your wishful thinking.

            However, continue to believe your myths, that is your prerogative.

            You once again demonstrate that you have no evidence supported facts to offer, John-boy.

            Not a single one….

            If any of the many thousands of gods dreamed up by men existed in reality, there would be no need for faith and we would all know those gods to be natural detectable phenomena. There is no practical or discernable difference between the undetectable and the non-existence however.

            You refer exclusively to myths and legends written by men between the 4th century and the 2ist century.

            Your nonsense remains revealed.

            Your bunkum remains debunked.

            Your myths remain busted.

            Please try not to get so impotently furious concerning those facts.

          • The Explorer

            Not necessarily. There is evidence that smoking is harmful. People can see photos of damaged lungs. Yet, despite the evidence, some people still smoke. Evidence, of itself, need not manifest a change.

          • Luminya

            No, the problem is that you are unwilling to provide Any proof. Come on the clock is ticking. Hop to it.

          • David Cromie

            Where is the ‘evidence’ you refer to?

          • Nogods

            Religious superstitions are rooted in faith. That means there is no scientific support for such beliefs in the natural world. So it is pointless to look for it and dishonest to claim you have found it.

            Isn’t it weird how most Christians believe that their god listens to them and answers their prayers? For many, this is compelling evidence that their god must be real. So if their god heals them in response to prayer, why do Christians have the same life expectancy as everyone else (all other things being equal)? The simple math says that your god does nothing, and certainly isn’t healing people of anything. Do you think it is because he is fictional just like all the other gods you already know are not real?

            It is sad that you think the bible is a science textbook. You are the reason Christianity has lost 8% of its members in the US in the past 7 years. Todays generation isn’t into stupid.

            Isn’t it odd to think that there are an infinite variety of things the christian god could do that would immediately and unequivocally convince everyone, including me, of his existence. Yet, he chooses to not do any of them. Do you think it is because he is identical to all the other gods we now regard as mythology?

          • ‘Religious superstitions are rooted in faith. That means there is no scientific support for such beliefs in the natural world. So it is pointless to look for it and dishonest to claim you have found it’

            This statement is muddled, begs the question, and is illogical at so many levels. Faith, you seem to be saying, is based on no evidence and thus irrational. This is not the nature of Christian faith. It is based on evidence. To be sure, it is not ‘scientific evidence’ that is it cannot be proved by the scientific method. Since the scientific method did not exist at the time of Christ it cannot be used to either prove or disprove anything about him.

            However, there are many things we are sure about that we have not proved by the scientific method (hypothesis, observation, experiment and data collection, conclusion)band indeed cannot prove by such a method. Your Moral values are one example.

            That is not to say that the discoveries of science do not support faith. They do. Every fascinating example of beauty, order and design science reveals further proves to me the existence of an amazing Creator. Such a conclusion is for me a no-brainer. It is not ‘scientific proof’ but it is proof nevertheless. If you wait for scientific proof you will never find God for as I have said the scientific method doesn’t seek to address the question. Again, it examines how the watch functions but it does not and cannot ask or answer the question of whether there is a watchmaker.

          • Nogods

            I can see that you are confused about a lot of things. Let me continue to educate you.

            “This statement is muddled”

            It’s perfect clear.

            “begs the question”

            You are using this phrase in the wrong context. It denotes a circular argument – of which I haven’t made.

            “and is illogical at so many levels.”

            Wrong. And I will show you why.

            “Faith, you seem to be saying, is based on no evidence and thus irrational.”

            Correct. Faith, by definition, is always blind. There is no such thing as evidence based faith.

            We are discussing three possible belief systems:

            1. Blind Faith – this is believing something is true without any evidence of any kind supporting the belief. Without a doubt, wishful thinking accurately captures this type of belief. To express this mathematically, it would look like this:

            BLIND FAITH = nothing

            2. Blind Faith Plus Something – next we have blind faith plus something else. This something else can only be evidence. This is your position.

            Mathematically, it would look as follows:

            Blind faith plus something = blind faith + evidence

            This can be restated as follows:

            Blind faith plus something = nothing + evidence

            Blind faith plus something = evidence

            So blind faith plus something is really just a claim supported by empiricism.

            3. Empiricism = evidence

            This is the position of science. But if Blind faith plus something = evidence, and Empiricism = evidence, than blind faith plus something = empiricism. If that is true, blind faith plus something attempts to make scientific claims. But science resoundingly rejects your supernatural claims.

            “This is not the nature of Christian faith.”

            Yes it is. It is exactly the definition stated in that infallible book of yours called the bible: “Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

            “It is based on evidence. To be sure, it is not ‘scientific evidence’ that is it cannot be proved by the scientific method.”

            There is only one kind of evidence. Your evidence is just nonexistent. There is NO evidence for a heaven, a hell, miracles, angels, Devils, spirits, talking snakes, Adam and Eve, The story of Noah, burning bushes that talk, talking donkeys, stone tablets, spirits, and all the other ideas core to your 1st century superstitious belief.

            “Since the scientific method did not exist at the time of Christ it cannot be used to either prove or disprove anything about him.”

            Your comment is insane. You are claiming the we can know nothing about the past. An obvious ridiculous assertion.

            “However, there are many things we are sure about that we have not proved by the scientific method (hypothesis, observation, experiment and data collection, conclusion)band indeed cannot prove by such a method.”

            At the core of the scientific method is logic and reason. You don’t need to utilize the scientific method to figure out truth. The scientific method isn’t used to reconstruct history or study fossils.

            “Your Moral values are one example.”

            Non sequitur.

            “That is not to say that the discoveries of science do not support faith. They do. Every fascinating example of beauty, order and design science reveals further proves to me the existence of an amazing Creator.”

            You are drawing irrational conclusions from subjects you are completely ignorant of. That is a form of quote mining which is just a covert form of dishonesty.

            “Such a conclusion is for me a no-brainer. It is not ‘scientific proof’ but it is proof nevertheless.”

            There are thousands of gods you could think were real. Your god is identical to all the other gods that you already know are not real.

            “If you wait for scientific proof you will never find God for as I have said the scientific method doesn’t seek to address the question.”

            To the extent religion makes scientific claims, science will always have a position. And if history is any indication of the future outcome, science will ALWAYS prevail with a scientific explanation. There has NEVER been an instance in which a scientific explanation was subsequently replaced with supernatural explanation. But there are thousands of instances in which supernatural explanations were replaced with scientific explanations.

            “Again, it examines how the watch functions but it does not and cannot ask or answer the question of whether there is a watchmaker.”

            Your comment is wrong and incredibly naive. Tens of thousands of scientists are working hard to figure out how the universe works.

          • Pastorbob666

            Faith… believing in something nobody in their right mind would believe!

          • Luminya

            Wow, a work of art, that was beautiful 🙂

          • Luminya

            Come on, better arguments, Nogods is wiping the floor with you. No wonder the number of “nones” is rising. I am hearing crickets here.

          • Luminya

            You obviously cannot provide any proof at all that any gods exist.

          • David Cromie

            Where is your irrefutable evidence that your favourite supposed sky fairy is real?

          • bluedog

            He’s four billion years old and the first dog ate his birth-certificate.

          • bluedog

            Now you are avoiding the question.

          • Pastorbob666

            You make the affirmative assertion that your deity is real so the onus is on you to provide proof. I don’t have to prove a negative.

          • bluedog

            Easy. Christ is the Son of God and walked on earth in a well documented life. Of course, you will say that isn’t true and it isn’t true because you don’t believe it. Only things you believe are true, no?

          • Pastorbob666

            Where is your documentation….??

          • bluedog

            The four gospels. Of course, you will trot out the hackneyed line that these books are just a repetition of the goat-herders myths that allow fools to believe in the Big Sky Fairy. But where is there anything that refutes the life of Christ? You need to remember, although based on your comments about Egypt this is well outside your knowledge and comprehension, that Judea and the Kingdom of Galilee where Christ lived and taught were within the Roman Empire. Pontius Pilate was a Roman official, of that there is no doubt. Christianity grew within the Roman Empire, the hegemonial power of the time. Christ himself talks of Caesar, the ancients were in no doubt of the veracity of Christ’s existence.

          • Pastorbob666

            The consensus of many biblical historians put the dating of the earliest Gospel, that of Mark, at sometime after 70 C.E., and the last Gospel, John after 90 C.E. [Pagels, 1995; Helms]. This would make it some 40 years after the alleged crucifixion of Jesus that we have any Gospel writings that mention him! Elaine Pagels writes that “the
            first Christian gospel was probably written during the last year of the war, or the year it ended. Where it was written and by whom we do not know; the work is anonymous, although tradition attributes it to Mark…” [Pagels, 1995]

            Understand that the stories themselves cannot serve as examples of eyewitness accounts since they came as products of the minds of the unknown authors, and not from the characters themselves. The Gospels describe narrative stories, written almost virtually in the third person. People who wish to portray themselves as eyewitnesses will write in the first person, not in the third person. Moreover, many of the passages attributed to Jesus could only have come from the invention of its authors. For example, many of the statements of Jesus claim to have come from him while allegedly alone. If so, who heard him? It becomes even more marked when the evangelists report about what Jesus thought. To whom did Jesus confide his thoughts? Clearly, the Gospels employ techniques that fictional writers use. In any case the Gospels can only serve, at best, as hearsay, and at worst, as fictional, mythological, or falsified stories.

            One need not refer to scholars to determine the lack of evidence for authorship. As an experiment, imagine the Gospels without their titles. See if you can find out from the texts who wrote them; try to find their names.

          • David Cromie

            Where are the contemporaneous records from the 1st cent. CE which document the life, times and doings of a god-man named JC?

          • bluedog

            Demanding 1st century documentation that meets 21st century evidentiary standards manifests a complete lack of understanding.

          • bluedog

            If you mean documents from the Egyptian State Records Office detailing visa applications by Jews fleeing from Herod, there are none.

            It may surprise you, but establishing 21st century evidentiary standards for 1st century AD events is virtually impossible. And this cuts both ways. The veracity of your group’s sources for your own claims (cf Pastor Bob) is just as hard to substantiate. So if we are all reduced to a lower standard of evidentiary integrity, where does that leave us? The ancients were happy enough with word of mouth and the synoptic gospels. St John does come later and was written in Greek rather than spoken in Aramaic. The life of St Helena is important in the early Church and takes us tantalising close to Christ’s life and death: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helena_(empress)

            But you know this and will dismiss it as not good enough. Your loss.

          • Pastorbob666

            There were no jews in Egypt during the alleged time of Jebus. The town of Nazareth did not exist in Jebus’ time.

            Nazareth is not mentioned even once in the entire Old Testament. The Book of Joshua (19.10,16) – in what it claims is the process of settlement by the tribe of Zebulon in the area – records twelve towns and six villages and yet omits any ‘Nazareth’ from its list.

            The Talmud, although it names 63 Galilean towns, knows nothing of Nazareth, nor does early rabbinic literature.

            St. Paul knows nothing of ‘Nazareth’. Rabbi Solly’s epistles (real and fake) mention Jesus 221 times, Nazareth not at all.

            No ancient historian or geographer mentions Nazareth. It
            is first noted at the beginning of the 4th century.

          • Pubcrawler

            “There were no jews in Egypt during the alleged time of Jebus.”

            Was Philo not a Jew? The translators of LXX? There was a sizeable Jewish community in Alexandria (that’s the one in Egypt) from the Ptolemaic period onwards. They’re even mentioned in Wikipedia:

            “The history of the Alexandrian Jews dates from the foundation of the city by Alexander the Great, 332 BCE, at which they were present. They were numerous from the very outset, forming a notable portion of the city’s population under Alexander’s successors. The Ptolemies assigned them a separate section, two of the five districts of the city, to enable them to keep their laws pure of indigenous cultic influences. The Alexandrian Jews enjoyed a greater degree of political independence than elsewhere.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Egypt

          • bluedog

            ‘There were no jews in Egypt during the alleged time of Jebus.’ Really? Are you sure? Please provide documentary evidence at the standard demanded by Avuncular Tom.

          • Of the 1000s of gods proposed by man, which ones are not fictional?

          • You miss the point. On what authority is the claim made that all are fictional. That was the assertion and I wonder how this is known.

          • Which ones have proven to NOT be fictional?

            Be specific, and show your evidence.

          • The Explorer

            What evidence would you require?

          • What do you have?

          • The Explorer

            I wasn’t proposing to supply evidence. I was asking what evidence you would require. I could ask that question legitimately as an atheist.

          • Luminya

            Any plain old evidence will do. Provide proof.

          • The Explorer

            Different disciplines rely on different kinds of evidence. Science can draw on experiment, philosophy on inductive and deductive reasoning, history on written records and inference, law on reasonable doubt. Proving love , or that the Battle of Marathon happened, is not the same as proving the composition of water.

            The kind of proof you require will probably only be forthcoming when you die. If there’s no God, you won’t know it. If there is, you can take ip up with God for not providing the right sort of evidence.

          • Luminya

            So no proof, ok then.

          • The Explorer

            No conclusive proof, which is not the same thing. In any case, those setting out to prove something , whether it’s the identity of Jack the Ripper or that it’s Germany’s destiny to rule the world, generally take a book to do so. What would a couple of blog paragraphs be worth?

          • Luminya

            The burden of proof lies with you. You are the one making the claim. Step up to the plate, the clock is ticking.

          • David Cromie

            Do you know of any of the ‘gods’ listed as being real. or possibly so?

          • David, assuming you’ve read some of my other comments and the threads related you’ll know I believe Jesus to be the incarnation of the one true God. Since I am convinced that he is who he claims to be I need not consider any of the other contenders; he has declared them all charlatans.

            If, however, I had no such belief and was committed to no other exclusive God, then without an inductive study of all who claim to be God I do not see how I could assert all to be false. Science, certainly neither makes nor can make such a pronouncement as my previous dialogue partner seemed to imagine.

            Let me say, however, I have no intention in getting involved in further debate.

          • len

            You left out the gods of Atheism Darwin , Dawkins etc

          • Nogods

            Sorry, no one worships them or regards their statements as infallible, and they can’t perform any magic.

          • len

            Darwin created a faith based system which atheists subscribe to and is taught as’ fact.’…

          • Nogods

            Lol. What could I show you that would convince you that evolution is real?

          • Luminya

            Excuse me?? Science is a methodology only. Darwin only discussed evolution which you are welcome to refute. Please submit your peer reviewed papers to the universities.

          • David Cromie

            Evolution is scientifically based, and ‘faith’ does not enter into it, any more than it is a component of the Laws of Motion.

          • Anton

            Or the Roman Emperors who claimed to be divine? Of the Japanese ones until Macarthur forced one to broadcast a denial?

          • Luminya

            What the hell are you going on about? Do you expect anyone to believe that an atheist worships Darwin and Dawkins? That is completely ridiculous and you sound so uneducated.

          • bluedog

            These gods ceased to be worshipped because the societies that worshipped them failed and were dispersed and in some way became extinct. The extinction of a human society does not invalidate the possibility of the deity.

          • Nogods

            That is a completely false statement and reflects your poor understanding of history.

          • bluedog

            Desperately weak assertion. If your position wasn’t dependent on a cut and paste from some source you don’t know much about you would provide details of the fate of your pantheon. Suffice to say that the recognisable names in your list, such as those from Rome, Greece and the Norse gods, were all replaced by Christianity. If God does not exist, why did you not include Yahweh, Allah and the Holy Trinity in your list? Or are you unconvinced by your own diatribe?

          • Nogods

            I don’t have time to teach you early Roman history. But you can go learn it yourself. I recommend several courses offered on iTunes-u.

            Read the list better. They are there.

          • CliveM

            You don’t know do you.

          • Nogods

            I do. But you obviously don’t. Tell me a little about the competing Christian protoorthodoxies that existed during the first three centuries and why an orthodoxy finally evolved in the 4th century.

          • CliveM

            No, no, you educate us, after all you claim to know.

            You’ve had plenty of time now to cut and paste a response from Google.

          • bluedog

            Now you’re showing off, or at least trying to sound intelligent and well read. You may find that most of His Grace’s communicants are extremely well informed about the early Church and more than capable of discussing the various heresies.

          • Pastorbob666

            Ra is no longer worshiped, yet Egyptian society still exists….

          • bluedog

            Where to begin? Of course there is still a population on the very fertile Nile delta that answers to the name of Egyptian. But is it the same as the society in early antiquity that worshipped Ra? No it is not. Do a little research and you will find that Egypt has gone through a number of iterations in the past 3000 years. Cleopatra, for example, was an ethnic Greek and as such she would have looked to the Greek pantheon.

          • Luminya

            Nogods has provided you with a comprehensive list of gods to choose from. I would suggest you select carefully because if you make a mistake and pick the wrong one it is off to the fiery lake for you!!

          • Pastorbob666

            Because there is zero evidence they exist!

        • carl jacobs

          I choose to reject ancient superstitious beliefs.

          The fool has said in his heart “There is no God.” You are of course free to declare your nature to the world. But when you do so, at least make sure you are consistent. Don’t speak of good and evil. Don’t speak of right and wrong. Don’t speak of truth and falsehood. Speak of power. For that is the only language spoken in your dead universe.

          Don’t steal from God things you cannot create on your own. Have the courage of your convictions.

          • Nogods

            “The fool has said in his heart “There is no God.””

            Just remember, there are thousands of gods you could choose to worship. But you reject them all but one. So in a sense, we are very much alike – we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. So do you think you are a fool for rejecting all the other gods?

            Why do you think the bible is true? Because it says it is true?

            “You are of course free to declare your nature to the world. But when you do so, at least make sure you are consistent.”

            I have been. But I know you won’t be.

            “Don’t speak of good and evil. Don’t speak of right and wrong. Don’t speak of truth and falsehood. Speak of power. For that is the only language spoken in your dead universe.”

            You mean the power of the church? The power of brainwashing young children into believing absurd ideas? The power of manipulating people with hollow threats of eternal damnation?

            “Don’t steal from God things you cannot create on your own.”

            There are thousands of gods you could think were real. What one are you talking about?

            “Have the courage of your convictions.”

            Isn’t it weird how gods never write books – men do. Why is it that the supposed all-powerful creators of everything, can’t write? Jesus didn’t write the bible – men did. Allah didn’t write the Quran – men did. And Zeus never wrote any of his holy books either – men did. So why can’t gods write anything without the help of men? They also never talk. They are all mutes. Why is it that the supposed all-powerful creator of everything, can’t talk? They need people just like you to talk on their behalf. Do you think it is because they are ALL fictional?

          • carl jacobs

            That’s fine. Discard them all. Just tell me what you will replace them with, thoroughly post-modern finite limited creature. The epistemological crisis you face is one of authority. To whit, you don’t have any.

            Admit you know nothing of good and evil because good and evil are meaningless concepts in your worldview. Admit they are simply disguised words for the desires of the powerful.

            As I said, have the courage of your convictions and be consistent.

          • len

            Stephen Hawkins was there at the point of Creation?

          • Were you there during Noah’s flood?

            LOL!

          • Anton

            Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

          • You mean when your god created a bastard clone of himself, then allowed himself to be tortured and killed, so he could forgive humans for having an original sin that he created in the first place?

          • Anton

            Sometimes it causes me to tremble.

          • Luminya

            Now you are quoting a hymn. We are not stupid.

          • Anton

            Of course I am!

          • Anton

            It’s high time someone asked Hawking who created the laws of physics.

          • The “laws” of physics are simply observable natural phenomena.

            Who created your imaginary “god” ?

          • Anton

            I am a research physicist and there is no reason why the laws of physics should be so elegant but that they were created so. I was an atheist physicist before that and this was the one question I never answered.

            As for who created the Creator, the question is based – perhaps without your realising it – on the premise of time, that the Creator must supposedly have been created earlier than the time at which he created our universe. Yet time itself is a created thing. Ever since Einstein’s field equations of general relativity were applied to the universe as a whole, it has been understood that time itself had a beginning, in the Big Bang. Here, the theology of creation and modern science accord with each other.

            Asking what happened before the Big Bang (and in particular how the Creator came to be) is like asking what is north of the North Pole. Mathematically speaking, the analogy is quite a close one.

          • “I am a research physicist and there is no reason why the laws of physics should be so elegant but that they were created so”

            Utter nonsense.

            “As for who created the Creator, the question is based – perhaps without your realising it – on the premise of time, that the Creator must supposedly have been created earlier than the time at which he created our universe. Yet time itself is a created thing.”

            Time and Space are part and parcel.

            No need for your imaginary and unnecessary “creator” to explain either.

            “time itself had a beginning, in the Big Bang. Here, the theology of creation and modern science accord with each other.”

            Nonsense. There is no accord with Science and Superstitious Imbecilities.

          • Anton

            All you have actually said is “I disagree.” Why do you disagree?

            Yes, Einstein showed that space began in the Big Bang. That is easier to understand than that time did, but both are true; and the interrelation between time and space that Einstein also discovered, in his special theory of relativity (in 1905, a decade earlier), makes it easier to understand that both did.

          • None of your rambling about Einstein does anything to show, prove or even logically require a “god”.

            Nothing.

          • Anton

            You have yet to address the elegance of the laws of physics, as freely admitted by all physicists whether theist or atheist – Why elegant? What’s your answer?

          • What “elegance” ?

            And how does the perceived “elegance” of observed phenomena require a “god”?

            You’re yammering in meaningless platitudes.

          • Anton

            Every physicist will tell you that the laws of physics have a beauty to them. Criticising that which you don’t understand doesn’t make you look good, and any physicist, whether theist or atheist, will tell you of that beauty. The best physicist whom I know personally happens to be an atheist and will ardently affirm this.

          • “Every physicist will tell you that the laws of physics have a beauty to them. ”

            Which has nothing to do with your preposterous conjecture of “god”

          • Anton

            WHY then are they beautiful?

          • Why then, is the sky blue?

          • Anton

            Less red light gets though, due to scattering by air molecules. Now try answering my question.

          • Define “beautiful” in an objective scientific manner.

          • Anton

            When you do the same for women, I’ll do that for mathematical formulae that describe how physical objects interact.

          • So you’re using a meaningless subjective platitude as an adjective to create some mystical conflation for your imaginary “god” creature?

          • Anton

            So you think that there is no such thing as beauty in any context?

          • Utterly irrelevant to any argument for or against some hypothetical “god” creature.

          • Anton

            No, I am asking you why the laws of physics are beautiful, as attested by all physicists whether secular or theist.

          • You fabricate meaningless absurd nonsense.

            Please provide proof the “ALL physicists” declare the laws of physics to be “beautiful”.

            Show your work.

          • Anton

            If you found one who disagrees among tens of thousands worldwide, would you consider that you had ‘won’ this exchange?

          • You falsely fabricated the absurd assertion about “ALL physicists”, just like you fabricate nonsense about your ridiculous “god” creature.

            You’ve got nothing but lies and false assertions.

          • Anton

            If you found one physicist who disagrees among tens of thousands worldwide, would you consider that you had ‘won’ this exchange?

          • Why did you lie, repeatedly?

          • Anton

            When did you stop beating your wife?

          • You lied, multiple times, with your absurdly false assertion about “ALL Physicists” believing that the laws of physics are “beautiful”.

            Your credibility = Zero

          • Anton

            It wasn’t a lie because it wasn’t deliberate, and it was a statement of the sort “Everybody in England wanted to Army to get back safely from Dunkirk in May/June 1940” which is probably untrue because there would have been a few dozen German spies in England, but is still an acceptable statement. If you think that’s an acceptable statement, you must think mine is too; if you think it isn’t, I’m not interested in disputing with you, and am content for readers to form their own opinions. The point is the consensus among physicists, atheist and theist, that the laws of physics are beautiful. Why should they be so?

          • It was an abject lie from you, a pathetic fabrication.

            So typical of the dishonesty of religious imbeciles.

          • CliveM

            Anton

            He’s clearly not interested in discourse. You are completely wasting your time here.

          • Pastorbob666

            You deliberately accused him of beating his wife…. Your jebus is gonna burn you for that!

          • Anton

            Don’t play dumb; you know exactly what I meant. I don’t even know he has a wife. I don’t even know he’s a he!

          • CliveM

            You may be giving him too much credit.

          • Pastorbob666

            Doesn’t your gawd and jebus teach you not to lie about your neighbor? Yet you accuse someone you don’t know of “beating their wife”

          • Pastorbob666

            Strawman!

          • CliveM

            Anton he just wants to be rude and show off. Frankly he has no interest in what others have to say. He’s only interested in his own voice.

          • Anton

            If so then I’m happy to show him up.

          • CliveM

            Anton

            For you it’ll be a bit of an open goal! Don’t be to hard on them.

          • Anton

            I’m a kind soul…

          • CliveM

            Really……………..!

          • Pastorbob666

            You can see how stupid xtians are by reading their posts… Don’t be TOO hard on them, not “to hard.”

          • Pastorbob666

            Didn’t your jeezus teach you not to judge others? You must be a faux christian!

          • CliveM

            Who’s judging? I’m giving an analysis.

          • Pastorbob666

            Your “analysis” is judgmental. All you xtian hypocrites like to play word games.

          • CliveM

            I think you are under some misapprehension that I give a monkeys fart for what you think. Let me clear things up, I don’t. Indeed I’m not yet convinced you do think.
            Have a nice day,

          • Pastorbob666

            Yet, you still reply!

          • CliveM

            Which Just goes to show you understand neither the meaning or context of my statement.

          • David Cromie

            I see no connection between the ‘beauty’ of the universal laws of physics and a supposed, supernatural, creator sky fairy. Please explain. While you are at it, please give the irrefutable evidence for the existence of any supposed supernatural entity.

          • Anton

            Ask the question in non-insulting terms and I shall gladly respond in kind.

          • Luminya

            It was just a question and it sure as hell was not insulting. Get to the proof! Hop hop!! I am hearing crickets here.

          • Anton

            Talking to a Christian about sky fairies isn’t meant as an insult?

            Ask the question in non-insulting terms and I shall gladly respond in kind.

          • David Cromie

            I have asked you for information, in what way is that insulting? I suspect that you either cannot answer, or are unwilling to do so.

          • Anton

            I consider that you need a lesson in the etiquette of dialogue. If you rephrase the question with identical content but in language not wantonly designed to irritate me then I shall gladly reply.

          • P.J.

            quantum physics actually does provide information that does indicate the complexity of the unseen forces in the universe that spiritual people refer to in different ways. rather than use the term supernatural, it is quite natural and in line with science to view the universe from the perspective of one entity (the dense matter that existed before it exploded with the big bang to create the universe) that is now the universe and a part of everything in it. the energy (holy spirit) that is in the universe is never reduced or increased, it just transforms in the ever expanding universe. humanity is the pinnacle of evolution as far as we know, with the unique capacity for freedom of choice and will beyond our biology- mind over matter. everything is infused with the holy spirit, every culture has always recognized presence, strength and importance of the unseen forces. spiritual understanding has been a defining part of every single human culture since the dawn of man- there is truth to many of the beliefs in many faiths, just maybe the language and understanding is worded differently. when people pray, meditate etc there are real observable results- again the wording or way of looking at it is just different, I think. I feel connected to a higher power and to my fellow man and believe as Jesus said that we are all one and the same. The Creator, The Children and the Holy Spirit- it fits with what science has uncovered about the universe in my opinion- just different language and a way of looking at it in my opinion.

          • Pastorbob666

            That’s the xtian way….. oooops! Must be gawd’s plan!

          • CliveM

            Congratulations, you are living proof that absolute certainty and absolute stupidity go together.

            You also leaped the chasm from mildly tedious too utterly boring in record time.

          • So you’ve got NOTHING to prove or support your absurdly unfounded conjecture that any “god” created the universe, or was even necessary to create the universe.

            Big Bang Didn’t Need God, Stephen Hawking Says

            http://www.space.com/20710-stephen-hawking-god-big-bang.html

            .

          • CliveM

            “Big Bang Didn’t Need God, Stephen Hawking Says”

            And?

          • Your pathetic little “god of the gaps” just got kicked to the gutter.

          • CliveM

            “God of the gaps ”

            Fortunately I don’t know this God, clearly one of yours.

          • Pastorbob666

            “Fortunately I don’t know this God, clearly one of yours.”

            Nope…he’s your deity… any time science doesn’t have an answer for something, you fill in the gaps with your deity… “Gawd didit”

          • Pastorbob666

            So when you cannot give a logical answer, you just attack the messenger… classy!

          • CliveM

            Why thank you. I do try.

          • Luminya

            Yes riiight, attack the poster, what a great argument. Come on, I haven’t got all day. Provide your proof already!

          • CliveM

            Well I can see where your boy gets his stupidity from, clearly its genetic. Did you read the post I was responding to? Clear evidence of your parenting skills.
            Go, I’m not asking you to stay.

          • Luminya

            Hahaha, Nogods is not my son, although I would be proud of him if he was. He is wiping the floor with you guys. Come on bring on your evidence, get cracking.

          • CliveM

            Which just goes to show you still haven’t read the post I was responding to.

          • The Explorer

            Yes, he’s awesome. Golly gee, none of those things he’s mentioned would ever have occurred to me without his help. I am hereby converted back to atheism, and will do my best from this time forth to live an ungodly, unrighteous and unsober life.

          • CliveM

            The whole discussion reminds me of the Dufflepuds in the Dawn Treader.

          • Pubcrawler

            *prays for Explorer the Apostate*

          • The Explorer

            Your prayer was efficacious. The effect of Nogods’ dazzling brilliance was short lived.

          • Pastorbob666

            And all you have are personal attacks when you cannot back up your foolishness with cold hard facts/evidence. How christian of you.

          • Pastorbob666

            Here’s a good way to look at it:

            Many Christians look at our universe, and especially life on planet
            Earth, and come to the conclusion that what we see is “irreducible
            complexity.” In the Christian view, the complexity of our universe and
            life on earth requires an intelligent creator to bring everything into
            existence. A Christian might say:

            “Look at how amazing and complex life is. Look at how intricate the human eye is, and the human brain. There is no way that the human eye and the human brain arose spontaneously from the mud. In the same way that a watch cannot appear without a watchmaker, there is no way that all this complexity arose without an intelligent creator.”

            So, we have a question that demands an answer:

            Did the complexity of life arise spontaneously, or did it require a creator?

            Christians believe that a creator is essential. Scientists believe that the idea of a “creator” is pure mythology, and that the complexity arose
            through natural processes like evolution. Who is right?

            You can actually answer this question yourself with a little logic. Here are the two options:

            The complexity of life and the universe did arise completely spontaneously and without any intelligence. Nature created all the
            complexity we see today.

            An intelligent creator created all of the complexity that we see today because complexity requires intelligence to create it.

            The advantage of the first option is that it is self-contained. The
            complexity arose spontaneously. No other explanation is required.

            The problem with the second option is that it immediately creates an
            impossibility. If complexity cannot arise without intelligence, then we
            immediately must ask, “Who created the intelligent creator?” The creator
            could not spring into existence if complexity requires intelligence.
            Therefore, God is impossible.

            In other words, by applying logic, we can prove that God is imaginary.

          • William Lewis

            Great Scot! You’ve just proven the impossibility of God! You should publish. The whole world needs to know.

          • CliveM

            Now don’t be cruel, he did a lovely job cutting and pasting.

          • Pastorbob666

            Have anything that disputes anything I put out there?

            Didn’t think so!

          • William Lewis

            Really?

            “The creator could not spring into existence if complexity requires intelligence.

            But if God is eternal then your whole premise crumbles to dust. And there was I thinking you had the whole impossibility of God thing all wrapped up. What a chump I am.

          • Nogods

            “That’s fine. Discard them all. Just tell me what you will replace them with, thoroughly post-modern finite limited creature.”

            I am sure we can agree that decisions rooted in the real world will almost always be better than decisions rooted in a fantasy world.

            “The epistemological crisis you face is one of authority. To whit, you don’t have any.”

            Neither do you. You just like pretending that you do.

            “Admit you know nothing of good and evil because good and evil are meaningless concepts in your worldview. Admit they are simply disguised words for the desires of the powerful. As I said, have the courage of your convictions and be consistent.”

            The idea of an objective moral code handed down by a god is a ridiculous idea and I have no idea why you would make it. Here is why:

            First, there are thousands of gods you could think were real, and all have competing ideas of morality. So what god should we designate as the model to establish the objective standard? As and example, your god thinks that it is morally just to murder disobedient children and people that work on the Sabbath. The gods of the Hindus find this idea sadistic. In fact, most of the 4.5 billion people that don’t think that your god is real, are opposed to most of your god’s ethics.

            ISIS also believes in a god and his objective morals. Should we follow these ethics? Because if you think that is a good idea, muslims have made it easy for us to follow their god’s ethics. They have already turned their god’s objective moral vision into written law – it is called sharia law.

            A christian version of sharia law would be no different than the muslim sharia law that exists currently. The muslim god thinks it is just wonderful to murder nonbelievers, which includes christians. But your god also believes the same thing. (Deuteronomy 13:6-9 “If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying: Let us go and worship other gods (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other, or gods of other religions), do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people.” Deuteronomy 17:3-5 “And he should go and worship other gods and bow down to them or to the sun or the moon or all the army of the heavens, …..and you must stone such one with stones and such one must die.” 2 Chronicles 15:13 “All who would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman.”)

            The only difference between you and ISIS however is that ISIS actually takes their religion seriously and follows that objective standard – unlike most Christians. Thankfully, most Christians moderate that objective standard with contemporary ethics. If they didn’t, Christians would be no different than Muslim extremists.

            Second, the text of the bible is inherently vague which precludes a universal interpretation and the establishment of an objective standard. The Bible is a collection of contradictory myths and folk tales, mixed in with a little history, originally written in an obscure and now dead language, translated differently over a hundred different times just in English, reinterpreted, modified and amended on numerous occasions over a period spanning at least 5,000 years. Nonetheless, the text is regarded as the written manifestation of your gods ethics. Due to its hopeless ambiguity, it is and has been subject to endless debate regarding its interpretations. (Unfortunately, your god never speaks and thus, your god does nothing to clarify the ambiguity. Oddly that is a problem all gods suffer from. Zeus and Thor never speak either. They always need people to interpret their words and speak on their behalf, just like your god.) As a consequence, there has been an endless parade of interpretations of the Bible with more than one hundred different translations of the bible producing over 40,000 different Christian denominations, each with their own unique interpretation of the Bible. The subjective determinations made as part of the unending translation and interpretation process obviously turns any objective standard into a subjective standard.

            Third, believing that a god is real and that he (or she) sets an objective standard of morality does nothing to help a believer distinguish right from wrong. As an example, most federal prisoners are Christian. Christians believe that their god is real and that he provides an objective moral standard (just as you argue). Yet, even under these misapprehensions, christians still commit the most crimes, with a crime rate that closely tracks their representation in the general population.

            Here are the Federal Bureau of Prisons statistics on religious affiliations of inmates. The following are total number of inmates per religion category:

            Response Number %
            —————————- ——–
            Catholic 29267 39.164%
            Protestant 26162 35.008%
            Muslim 5435 7.273%
            American Indian 2408 3.222%
            Nation 1734 2.320%
            Rasta 1485 1.987%
            Jewish 1325 1.773%
            Church of Christ 1303 1.744%
            Pentecostal 1093 1.463%
            Moorish 1066 1.426%
            Buddhist 882 1.180%
            Jehovah Witness 665 0.890%
            Adventist 621 0.831%
            Orthodox 375 0.502%
            Mormon 298 0.399%
            Scientology 190 0.254%
            Atheist 156 0.209%

            Fourth, if you don’t know the difference between right and wrong before you pick up the bible, you are going to find nothing but endless celebrations of cruelty within the pages. The Christian god sanctions or commits the most sadistic crimes imaginable. These include the following: murdering everyone on earth but one family, by drowning them. Demanding the stoning to death of woman who are not virgins on their wedding night. Sanctioning genocide, ethnic cleansing, religious cleansing, and the occasional human sacrifice. Fortunately, most Christians now completely ignore most of the “moral” lessons set out in the old testament. But the new testament is not much better. If there is one thing we are certain of, it is that slavery is morally wrong. Yet, both the old and the new testaments strongly supports slavery; it is never rejected, not even by Jesus.

            Fifth, most Christians have never read the bible. Most of the world’s population has never read the bible. So our morality cannot come from a book that most people have never read.

            Sixth, your gods morality conflicts with our ideas of freedom and values protected by the Constitution. As an example, only 2.5 of the 10 commandments are actually law in the US. The only place the other 7.5 are enforced are in Muslim countries that practice sharia law – like Iraq and Afghanistan. And to think, Christians proclaim the 10 commandments as model laws to live by. Let’s just hope that theocratic fascism never takes root in this country.

            Seventh, Christians have no sense of morality as they follow a sadistic dictator but lack the cognitive skills to recognize that. You can be the most upstanding citizen on the planet, donate all your time and money to helping the sick, hungry, poor; never lie, cheat, or steal; and harbor an honest belief that the Christian god is exactly like all the other gods we commonly refer to as mythology, and Christians believe their god will burn you in hell forever. Regardless of this insane and barbaric consequence for simply exercising rational thought, christians endorse and wholeheartedly support such a barbaric and disproportionate punishment for an honest and rational belief. Unfortunately, Christians are so immersed in their doomsday cult that they fail to see this. In many ways, jesus is no different than Hitler: Hitler murdered all those that didn’t believe in him. But he took good care of his friends. And just like Hitler, Christians believe that Jesus will murder all those that don’t believe in him. And they also believe he will take care of his friends. So if you are a sane and rational person who would never follow Hitler, why would you follow Jesus? Fortunately, the Christian god is just like all the other gods that we regard as mythology. Your god is identical to all those other gods you already know are not real. You just need to add one more to your list – yours.

          • William Lewis

            “Christians have no sense of morality as they follow a sadistic dictator but lack the cognitive skills to recognize that. You can be the most upstanding citizen on the planet, donate all your time and money to helping the sick, hungry, poor; never lie, cheat, or steal;…”

            Your definition of the most upstanding citizen on the planet is extremely close to the morality defined by the Christian God. And yet you say that those who follow this God have no sense of morality. I wonder if you can spot any logical dissonance in this?

          • Nogods

            You omitted the second half of the sentence, which contains the punch line. Go read it to understand its logical consistency.

          • William Lewis

            You misunderstand. I am not saying that you can’t hold Christian morals and be an atheist, which was the point of the rest of your sentence. I am saying that you can’t hold Christian morals (which cohere with your definition of the most upstanding citizen on the planet) and then say that Christians have no sense of morality. That is illogical.

          • Nogods

            You completely misunderstood the message of the paragraph. You omitted the most important parts of the paragraph.

            “Christians have no sense of morality as they follow a sadistic dictator but lack the cognitive skills to recognize that.”

            “and harbor an honest belief that the Christian god is exactly like all the other gods we commonly refer to as mythology, and Christians believe their god will burn you in hell forever. Regardless of this insane and barbaric consequence for simply exercising rational thought, christians endorse and wholeheartedly support such a barbaric and disproportionate punishment for an honest and rational belief. Unfortunately, Christians are so immersed in their doomsday cult that they fail to see this.”

          • William Lewis

            “You completely misunderstood the message of the paragraph. You omitted the most important parts of the paragraph.”

            I haven’t even mentioned the message of the paragraph. I am talking about your logically incoherent first sentence.

          • Nogods

            Let me explain it to you this way: Imagine you are sitting in a restaurant having lunch with a good friend. Your good friend begins to tell you that a little later in the day, an old friend he “loves” and has a “relationship” with is going to walk through the front door of the restaurant. That old friend is then going to shoot in the face, most of the people that are sitting at the tables next to you. Your good friend then goes on to tell you how he and his old friend are then going to go on a wonderful trip together to celebrate.

            Most reasonable people would be absolutely horrified by such a psychotic revelation. You would think your good friend was suffering from some kind of schizophrenic episode and required immediate psychiatric treatment. The first moment you got, you would dial 911 and do whatever you could to stop the massacre from unfolding. But this IS THE CHRISTIAN NARRATIVE! Society just casually dismisses this completely psychotic idea even though this is what CHRISTIANS REALLY BELIEVE! They have rationalized genocide – a completely insane and corrupt moral vision. And when you think murdering about 4.5 BILLION PEOPLE (the number of non believers) is nothing unusual, you have taken the first step toward turning such a sadistic and detached concept into reality.

            Be for you write another word, Tell me what would happen if Jesus returned today. Be sure to included how all the non believers end up in a lake of fire and what role an all-powerful god plays in getting them there.

          • William Lewis

            God is the source of life. He is life. Without him you have no life. You can choose life if you want. He will honour your decisions.

          • Nogods

            Gods are fictional creations of men used to explain a world they don’t understand or to subjugate others.

            I don’t have your god and my life is wonderful. About 4.5 BILLION people don’t think your god is real and they seem to manage just fine.

            Why would a supposedly all-knowing god need ME to make a decision? Please, at least be logically coherent.

          • William Lewis

            “Why would a supposedly all-knowing god need ME to make a decision?”

            He doesn’t need you to do anything.

          • Nogods

            That isn’t what you just said: “You can choose life if you want. He will honour your decisions.”

            So according to you, I must FIRST make a decision. And once I make a decision, your god will honor my decision. In order for your god to honor my decision, I must first make a decision. So in fact, your god does need me.

          • William Lewis

            He has no need of you to do anything but He leaves you to decide.

          • Nogods

            More logical incoherence.

          • Pastorbob666

            Willie is delusional!

          • William Lewis

            How so?

          • Pastorbob666

            There are literally thousands of religions being practiced today. Here are 20 of the most popular, along with an estimate of the number of followers:

            Christianity: 2.1 billion

            Islam: 1.3 billion

            Hinduism: 900 million

            Chinese traditional religion: 394 million

            Buddhism: 376 million

            African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million

            Sikhism: 23 million

            Juche: 19 million

            Spiritism: 15 million

            Judaism: 14 million

            Baha’i: 7 million

            Jainism: 4.2 million

            Shinto: 4 million

            Cao Dai: 4 million

            Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million

            Tenrikyo: 2 million

            Neo-Paganism: 1 million

            Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand

            Rastafarianism: 600 thousand

            Scientology: 500 thousand

            If you believe in God, you have chosen to reject Allah, Vishnu, Budda, Waheguru and all of the thousands of other gods that other people worship today. It is quite likely that you rejected these other gods without ever looking into their religions or reading their books. You simply absorbed the dominant faith in your home or in the society you grew up in.

            In the same way, the followers of all these other religions have chosen to reject God. You think their gods are imaginary, and they think your God is imaginary.

            In other words, each religious person on earth today arbitrarily rejects thousands of gods as imaginary, many of which he/she has never even heard of, and arbitrarily chooses to “believe” in one of them.

            The following quote from Stephen F. Roberts sums up the situation very nicely:

            “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

            A rational person rejects all human gods equally, because all of them are equally imaginary. How do we know that they are imaginary? Simply imagine that one of them is real. If one of these thousands of gods were actually real, then his followers would be experiencing real, undeniable benefits. These benefits would be obvious to everyone. The
            followers of a true god would pray, and their prayers would be answered.The followers of a true god would therefore live longer, have fewer diseases, have lots more money, etc. There would be thousands of statistical markers surrounding the followers of a true god.

            Everyone would notice all of these benefits, and they would gravitate toward this true god. And thus, over the course of several centuries, everyone would be aligned on the one true god. All the other false gods would have fallen by the wayside long ago, and there would be only one religion under the one true god.

            When we look at our world today, we see nothing like that. There are two billion Christians AND there are more than one billion Muslims, and their religions are mutually exclusive. There are thousands of other religions. When you analyze any of them, they all show a remarkable similarity — there is zero evidence that any of these gods exist. That is how we know that they are all imaginary.

          • Nogods

            Great comment!

          • bluedog

            You left out Wagyu, Santa Gertrudis and Brahman. Buddhism is not a religion, it’s a way of life as the Buddha is not a god.

          • William Lewis

            ” If one of these thousands of gods were actually real, then his followers would be experiencing real, undeniable benefits. These benefits would be obvious to everyone.”

            That is bald assertion for which you have no evidence.

          • Pastorbob666

            Your bible is the evidence. It says you get eternal life if you (figuratively) lick your gawd’s boots!

          • Luminya

            Damned well said, keep it up, you and Nogods are wiping the floor with these brainwashed dummies. If you don’t convince them it doesn’t matter. There are plenty of young folk who read these comments online and they realize these religious wackos have no sound arguments.

          • William Lewis

            Your comments are certainly informative, Luminya. I’m sure any young folk will be able to draw their own conclusions.

          • sarky

            The source of life…..including little worms that burrow into children’s eyes.

          • William Lewis

            God temporarily allows evil but will ultimately right all wrongs.

          • sarky

            Utter tripe.

          • William Lewis

            Really? It seems fairly orthodox to me.

          • Pastorbob666

            So how come he hasn’t resurrected all of pour brave troops who were killed in the Iraq war?

          • William Lewis

            Non sequitur.

          • Pastorbob666

            My parent’s DNA was the source of my life…. I have a nice, godless life. Christians, OTOH worship a mass murdering monster!

          • Pubcrawler

            Bits of your parents’ DNA describe in what form your life is realised. They are not the source of it.

          • Pastorbob666

            Sperm contains DNA… Egg contains DNA, hence, my parents’ DNA created the unique me.

          • Pubcrawler

            Necessary but not sufficient. Have you read much Aristotle?

          • William Lewis

            DNA contains the information to build and maintain your material being. What is the original source of this information?

          • Luminya

            Or you can choose the lake of fire…some choice. Abusive psychotic religion.

          • William Lewis

            The choice is life or death. According to you the choice is death or death.

          • Luminya

            False dichotomy there.

          • William Lewis

            What choice do you have then?

          • carl jacobs

            Are you new to this who concept of debate? You write scads of words critiquing my position, not one syllable of which I care about. You don’t like religion. Hooray! When you get done with your off-point pontifications could you perhaps just maybe (I’d it wouldn’t be too difficult) answer the question.

          • CliveM

            I think his mother has set him to his room.

          • Nogods

            Thank you for admitting that you wish to continue to wallow in your willful ignorance. Such are the ways of the religious.

          • carl jacobs

            No, I knew you couldn’t give an answer. You are too busy listening to yourself. Not that anyone else is.

          • CliveM

            A saving grace in all this (from my PoV) is he appears to be one of yours ie American:0)

          • carl jacobs

            I’d be willing to bet they were a couple of college sophomores looking to express their intellectual superiority.

          • CliveM

            Well I’m certainly willing to concede they have exhibited their intellectual capability.

          • CliveM

            What is a college sophomore?

          • Pubcrawler

            2nd year undergraduate.

          • carl jacobs

            A second-year student at university. Aged approximately 19. He’s taken one philosophy course and thinks he knows the mysteries of the universe.

          • Brits among the Least Religious in the World

            UK comes 59th in poll of 65 countries after only 30% of population say they have a faith

            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3036133/Brits-religious-world-UK-comes-59th-poll-65-countries-30-population-say-faith.html

            Keep wanking, you daft limey.

          • CliveM

            LOL is that the best you can do.

            Using naughty words doesn’t make you any less tedious.

          • Nogods

            Tell me more about that “objective” morality of yours! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

          • Pastorbob666

            Carl must be talking about mr. jeezus’ morality…

            Simply take a moment to think about the following statement:

            “Hello, my name is Jesus. I love you deeply. I have loved you since you were conceived in the womb and I will love you for all eternity. I died for you on the cross because I love you so much. I long to have a loving personal relationship with you. I will answer all of your prayers through my love. But if you do not get down on your knees and worship me, and if you do not EAT MY BODY and DRINK MY BLOOD, then I WILL INCINERATE YOU WITH UNIMAGINABLY TORTUOUS PAIN IN THE FIRES OF HELL FOR ALL ETERNITY BWAH HA HA HA HA HA!”

            Yes, this is the central message of Christianity. See John 6:53-54 and Mark 16:16.

            Think about this message. We have a being who, according to the Standard Model of God, embodies love. Yet, if you do not get down on your knees and worship him, you will be physically tortured for all eternity.

            What sort of love is that?

            The utter silliness and contradiction of Jesus’ core message should make it obvious to you: God is imaginary.

          • carl jacobs

            Perhaps next semester you can take courses in reading comprehension and basic logic. And it would be helpful if you would have one of your TAs tell you what “epistemological” means before you venture back.

          • CliveM

            We seem to have an absolute rash of Yankee atheists today. Is this your fault!!!!

          • carl jacobs

            It’s generally a safe idea to blame Jack.

          • CliveM

            You’re probably right.

          • They’re not following Happy Jack as he’s been banned from the American sites he once visited.

          • carl jacobs

            How do you know they were American?

          • It’s obvious.

          • carl jacobs

            In other words, you are applying a crass British stereotype of dubious validity.

          • Pubcrawler

            Much can be gleaned via their disqus profiles. One is Canadian.

          • Wrong side of the bed today, Carl. From their posing profiles it’s clear they frequent American sites. Circumstantial admittedly, but reading the comments – and the spelling – will provide coroboration. However, Jack can’t be bothered investing energy in the exercise.

          • carl jacobs

            No, Jack. I apologize if you took that as harsh. It wasn’t intended to be. 🙂

          • jonnybeeski

            Where were you banned, HJ? Some folks were asking about your whereabouts at NCR.

          • NCR and Crux …. For being an orthodox Catholic.

          • Nogods

            “Objective morality” handed down by your god – HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Let me know if I can teach you anything more about that. Because your COMPLETE SILENCE on the matter unequivocally demonstrates that I schooled you hard. 😉

          • carl jacobs

            [Blink blink]

            It would be hard for you to “school” me when:

            1. I didn’t read 10% of what you wrote but only skimmed it to see if you answered my questions.

            2. You didn’t actually address anything I said.

            I don’t otherwise care two [insert obvious plural expression here] about your opinions on religion. I know how I address atheists. I won’t play your game.

            Only a fool or a child makes a post claming victory like this. You say you aren’t a fool. That only leaves the option of child. In which case you would need to grow up before you would be of any concern to me. Try back later after you become a functional adult.

          • Nogods

            “It would be hard for you to “school” me when:
            1. I didn’t read 10% of what you wrote but only skimmed it to see if you answered my questions.”

            You are an embarrassment. Not reading something is a great way to not learn something! Nice job! You have found the secret to preserving your willful ignorance!

            “2. You didn’t actually address anything I said.”

            How would you know? You just ADMITTED that you didn’t read it! (Face palm goes here.)

            “I don’t otherwise care two [insert obvious plural expression here] about your opinions on religion. I know how I address atheists. I won’t play your game.”

            Ignoring reality doesn’t change reality. It just makes you look foolish.

            “Only a fool or a child makes a post claming victory like this.”

            Only a fool engages in a discussion but REFUSES to even read or understand the opposing party’s position, and then, claims that their own willful ignorance constitutes a lack of argument or evidence presented by the opposing party! Great job!

            “You say you aren’t a fool. That only leaves the option of child. In which case you would need to grow up before you would be of any concern to me. Try back later after you become a functional adult.”

            Back to the ad hominems! But if you can’t challenge the argument, all you have left is to attack the author! Brilliant!

            Go read my opposition to your ridculous objective morality argument. Hopefully you will have second thoughts next time you think about rolling out that tripe. It may prevent you from coming off as an ignorant fool who is only parroting what he heard at the Sunday service without actually every thinking the argument thorough.

          • carl jacobs

            It’s called a “skill”. Perhaps when you have lived long enough, you will develop some of them. I don’t need to read with comprehension to figure out what you aren’t talking about. When I realized you were just posting polemics that did not interest me, I started scannng through nouns and verbs to see if you would address what I said. Which to recap was two things:

            1. Be consistent. Don’t talk about good and evil. Talk about power.

            2. If you reject point 1 above, then cite your binding authority.

            I knew you wouldn’t admit the first point, and I knew you couldn’t answer the second.

            And don’t blame me for pointing out your childish behavior. You came on this blog for no other reason than that possessed by a boy who wants to throw stones at a stray cat. If you present yourself as a child, you will be treated as a child.

            Oh and about this …

            Go read my opposition to your ridculous objective morality argument.

            … See, that illustrates the point about your lack of reading comprehension. I didn’t make that argument to you. Anywhere. At all. In fact I didn’t mount a defense of anything I believed. Anywhere. At all. I inquired only after your position. Which you steadfastly refused to defend.

            Now go play with your toy trucks.

          • Nogods

            I see that I may have greatly overestimated you analytical skills. Apparently you didn’t understand that you were making an objective morality claim when you asserted that, “The epistemological crisis you face is one of authority. To whit, you don’t have any. Admit you know nothing of good and evil because good and evil are meaningless concepts in your worldview.” Lol. Interestingly, a half a dozen comments later, you only NOW claim that was not your argument! In addition to your poor analytical skills, you are a poor communicator. But I guess that when you admit that you, “don’t read with comprehension….” your mental frailties and profound ignorance are understandable. Time to wheel you and your 1st century superstitious beliefs back to your room. It’s best to change your bedpan and drink that warm cup of milk before nap time.

          • carl jacobs

            I didn’t invent the phrase “epistemological crisis”. You don’t need to come to someone like me to hear it spoken. Just go into any Humanities dept. They know what I am talking about. And they won’t be making any arguments from a Christian perspective. The governing moral authority in the West was the Christian Church. It has been delegitimized and dethroned. So what moral agent replaced it? Who now has the ability to invest actions with binding moral content? What governs the question “How should we then live?” Nothing. No one. That’s the crisis. That isn’t an argument for objective morality. It’s a statement of fact. There is no governing moral authority in the West right now. Its current behavioral norms depend upon cultural inertia. Do you have any appreciation for how fast unhinged cultural norms can change?

            Now you can respond by saying “We shouldn’t call it a crisis. We should admit that is just the way things are.” But that is just a tacit admission that there is neither good nor evil but only power. Who becomes the agent capable of investing actions with moral content? The powerful. There isn’t anyone else. Just don’t say that around Human Rights lawyers who are trying to bootstrap universal principles of human behavior. They might ask you why the Hutus were wrong to kill 800,000 people in Rwanda in 1994. And you won’t have an authoritatve answer. That is the essence of the crisis. Many can give an answer but none can give an answer with an authority that doesn’t proceed from the barrel of a gun.

            You could also assert that there is another authority to invest actions with moral content. And that authority would be … You can’t say. Because your worldview precludes the existence of such an authority.

            Exactly so. And that is what I asked you for – an admission that Nietzsche was right after all, or the cite of a binding authority. Door A or Door B. You choose.

          • Pastorbob666

            What replaced it (the xtian church?) In the US, that would be the Constitution, the supreme law of the land.

          • Pastorbob666

            So, if you are not listening, how come you are still answering?

          • Pastorbob666

            “Are you new to this who concept of debate”

            Another example of xtian stupidity…. Try forming a cohesive question and maybe it will be answered…..

          • bluedog

            ‘Try forming a cohesive question’.

            Is English your second language? With immense respect, you probably meant to say ‘coherent’.

          • Pastorbob666

            My authority is the constitution. No deity needed!

          • Pastorbob666

            “Admit you know nothing of good and evil because good and evil are meaningless concepts in your worldview.”

            I don’t need an ancient book written by primitive goat herders to tell me the difference between good and evil.

            For example…
            Charlie Manson – evil
            The US constitution: Good
            Stealing: Bad
            Helping the poor: Good

          • carl jacobs

            That’s hilarious. Now. Give me an authority for your judgments.

          • CliveM

            Out of curiosity why is the American constitution a good? That at least must be open to some sort of challenge ie right to beer arms.

          • carl jacobs

            Because he says so. That would be the point. And it also explains why he won’t respond to my question.

          • CliveM

            He won’t respond to any question.

          • carl jacobs

            “Beer arms”?

          • CliveM

            Sigh! How that got there. Now amended.

          • Findaráto

            So that’s why I always feel so ill at ease in the US!

            It isn’t the disconnect between the glossy, sleek Hollywood image and the obese ugliness of 9/10ths of the population. It’s the fact that I always prefer long sleeves.

            Let Americans bare their arms. I’ll keep mine covered.

          • CliveM

            Oops thanks

          • Pastorbob666

            Because it (along with the Declaration of Independence) got us out from under the thumb of the crappy King George! The Constitution gave us rights you clowns could only dream of in those days.

          • Nogods

            There is that objective morality claim again that you aren’t making. Lol

          • carl jacobs

            When your culture is organized around certain propositions – like (say) human equality – and the people in that culture don’t know why they believe those propositions anymore, you have a problem. That’s not an assertion of objective morality. It’s a recognition of fact.

            Anyways. It’s interesting to see the lengths to which you will go just to avoid saying out loud the logical implication of what you believe.

          • The Explorer

            Squeaky Fromme thought Manson was okay. What makes you right and her wrong?

            How about Robin Hood robbing the rich to pay the poor? Was stealing in those circumstances bad? Socialism wouldn’t say so. It does the same itself, and calls it wealth redistribution.

          • Pastorbob666

            Squeaky Fromme murdered a few people…… That makes her wrong and me right, as I have murdered no one.

            Robin Hood…. a myth…….

          • The Explorer

            Robin Hood may be a myth, but the Robin Hood principle isn’t. Unfortunately, under Socialism it tends to become robbing the rich to pay the bureaucrats.

            You and I would agree that murdering people is wrong, but our reasons for thinking so would differ.

            Why is murdering people wrong, according to your system?

          • Pastorbob666

            “Just tell me what you will replace them with,”

            Who says you need to replace them with anything?

          • Meepestos

            Using that old Psalm 14:1? An obsolete folly attempt by a biased group to point out and study the depravity of mankind based on superstition and by stereotyping people that show no respect or reverence to a god. Why use a verse that arrogantly implies that the “fool” is an impious person who has no perception of ethical or religious truth? That verse goes on to list some other characteristics of the irreligious/impious: “They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; / there is no one who does good.” Though perhaps made with good intentions, this limited and unworldly view of a verse is arrogant and judgemental (and not unique) made during the time of Christianity in its infancy from a person or group ignorant (due to the lack of research or perhaps willfully ignorant) of the fact that during this time, a person that would reject the idea of God could have a great perception of ethical or “religious” truth and be just as moral or even more moral than a Christian, Jew, or Pagan.

      • Luminya

        Atheists certainly don’t want anything to do with your death cult.

        • William Lewis

          OK. Thanks for popping in.

          • Pubcrawler

            I’m sure it’s been an enriching experience for one and all. Maybe they’ll wander over to Mundabor next.

        • The Explorer

          You contradict that by visiting a religious blog.

          • Luminya

            I never even read the stupid article. I follow Nogods posts which are fascinating. Love how he can destroy you guys with a few great statements.

          • The Explorer

            I didn’t say by reading the article; I said by visiting a religious blog. But fair enough, if you’re following Nogods I suppose you have to go where he leads.

          • bluedog

            ‘Love how he can destroy you guys with a few great statements.’

            At least that proves you don’t understand what we say.

          • The Explorer

            You call the article stupid without having read it. Does that mean:

            1. You rely on ignorance to form your opinions?

            2. You rely on the opinions of others?

    • The Explorer

      The Marxist experiment moved forward unhindered by the dogmatic and irrational beliefs of ancient superstitious cultures. A hundred million corpses testified to the fact.

      • Nogods

        Yes, it moved forward with the dogmatic and irrational beliefs of Marxism.

        • The Explorer

          A process that Marx said was scientific. Obviously, Marxists believed in the system, or they wouldn’t have undertaken it. But belief is not necessarily religious. Evolutionists, after all, believe in evolution.

          • Nogods

            Dogmatic and irrational beliefs are obviously not confined to religion. And I never made that claim.

            As for evolution, and your apparent rejection of it, when did Christianity become so anti-science and the religion of stupid?

          • The Explorer

            You mentioned the death of religion, and you referred specifically to ancient superstitious cultures. The clear inference was that freed of ancient religious beliefs, civilisation could move forward. I agreed with you. Marxism was not religious, and it was modern. And it moved forward over a hundred million corpses.

            Are you suggesting we must abandon belief in everything to advance? Isn’t that a belief in itself? Two, in fact. Belief about the desirability of advancement, and belief in the method of doing so.

            I said nothing about my own views in regard to evolution. I merely cited evolution as an example of something people believe in without being religious. There is thus no necessary link between belief and religion.

          • Pastorbob666

            Belief and disbelief in any deities are not the same. Religion requires belief… atheism does not.

          • The Explorer

            You are responding to a point I didn’t make. Dialectical materialism involves belief in a particular view of history. Marx believed he had discovered the principle that underpins everything.

          • Christianity is not anti-science it is anti-scientism.

          • Nogods

            Scientism is word invented by the religious in an effort to legitimize their anti-science position.

            I will show you how:
            There are many religious claims science has disproven. Here are a few:

            1. As the story goes, god reincarnated himself as Jesus so that he could “sacrifice” himself, to himself, as a means of forgiving the sins of Adam and Eve. Yet, science is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that Adam and Eve were not the first humans and there is no evidence or reason to believe they ever existed. So the entire story of jesus is built upon this false premiss. If you don’t believe in the genesis story, and the entire story of Jesus is built upon that story, why would you believe the Jesus story?

            2. Modern science is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that the universe was not created as recounted in the story of genesis.

            3. Modern science is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN the whole story of the great exodus never happened.

            4. Most Christians believe that their god listens to them and answers their prayers. This is commonly claimed as “evidence” of their god. So if their god heals them in response to prayer, why do Christians have the same life expectancy as everyone else? Modern science has never documented a SINGLE instance in which someone has been healed by prayer or by the magic of a god.

            5. Modern science is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that life has evolved over time and was not created in its present forms.

            6. Science is absolutely certain that the soul is purely a fictional construct.

            Isn’t it interesting to think that there have been thousands of early questions about our universe that were once explained as “the work of god”. But as we became more educated and learned more about our world, those supernatural answers were replaced with real world answers. The interesting part of this however, is that during this time, NONE of those early questions were actually found to be the work of a god; “God” has NEVER turned out to actually be a correct answer to any question – EVER.

            The god of the bible is no different then the thousands of other gods we now classify as mythology. It really is that simple.

          • CliveM

            Do you think putting things in capital letters makes them more true?

            You’re clearly not a scientist if you insist on using the term ‘absolute certainty ‘. It’s not one sciences would use.

            Now explain what you mean by “science knows with absolute certainty ” and who or what is this homogeneous entity you are talking about.

          • Nogods

            “Do you think putting things in capital letters makes them more true?”

            I do it to assist those with poor reading comprehension skills. How is it working?

            “You’re clearly not a scientist if you insist on using the term ‘absolute certainty ‘. It’s not one sciences would use.”

            Science is always provisional. And you are right, the moon might actually be made of cheese. But I think we can safely say that science is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that it is not.

            “Now explain what you mean by “science knows with absolute certainty ” and who or what is this homogeneous entity you are talking about.

            Of the 6 points I raise, please tell me what ones you think are wrong?

          • CliveM

            I think that must be the fourth or fifth question you’ve decided not to answer.

            I wonder why.

            “I do it to assist those with poor reading comprehension skills. How is it working?”

            Did you learn that today at school?

          • Pubcrawler

            It’s such playground stuff, isn’t it?

          • CliveM

            It is indeed. Really any serious atheist must be seriously embarrassed by this.

            Still they’ll be sent to bed soon.

          • Nogods

            You are seriously mistaken if you think that any serious atheist would be seriously embarrassed. Seriously.

          • Luminya

            They are the future and they will not be going to bed soon. You are the dinosaurs with old superstitions and our young people are not buying into it. You have made no sound arguments for your god. Come on, get to it. We want to hear your proof.

          • Nogods

            “I think that must be the fourth or fifth question you’ve decided not to answer.

            I wonder why.”

            I wonder if it might have to do with the fact that the question is implied in the comments that I have made.

            “I do it to assist those with poor reading comprehension skills. How is it working?”

            Did you learn that today at school?”

            No, I have been assisting those with poor reading comprehension skills for years.

          • CliveM

            “I wonder if it might have to do with the fact that the question is implied in the comments that I have made.”

            Like most of what you say, that makes no sense. Perhaps you should work on your own comprehension skills.

          • Luminya

            Again, not a cogent argument.

          • CliveM

            Look it’s really touching that you are here to cheer on your off Spring, but really the lack of comprehension you and your sprogs are showing is massively depressing.

            Please re-read what I’ve written and if you able to understand it, you’ll should see how irrelevant your comment is.

          • Luminya

            Again, I am hearing crickets, come on you can do better than that.

          • CliveM

            Well don’t let me keep you.

          • Luminya

            It is you that is not supplying the proof that is being requested of you. Come on, this is the internet, you need to step up your game. Young folk read this stuff and they want proof and you are not making a good case for your god because your arguments are weak (more like nonexistent)

          • Luminya

            Well then where is your proof that all this nonsense actually took place,hmm? That is right, complain about his capital letters because you do not have a leg to stand on.

          • O dear.

            Science cannot be absolutely certain that Adam and Eve were not the first humans based on the absence of proof that they existed. That is by any reckoning illogical. At best science can say we have no proof they did exist. They cannot be certain they didn’t exist. Science makes no claim to omniscience.

            Neither is science qualified to insist that the Genesis account is wrong. It simply does not have the necessary knowledge. It is true that atheistic evolution is the dominant thesis of science re origins but it is still not the only one. Further, in terms of macro-evolution it remains a theory and not a fact. It assumes God did not create a mature creation. It assumes uniformitarianism in history. Evolution struggles with the embarrassing lack of evidence for so many of the evolutionary ‘jumps’. Evolution within a species is one thing but evolution from one species into another suffers from an embarrassing lack of evidence.

            How can science be absolutely sure that the soul is a fictional construct? The most it can affirm is it has found no evidence (physical???) for a soul. Science deals only with the physical universe. It is simply about mechanics, how things work. It observes phenomena. It can no more prove (in Scientific terms) that the soul exists or does not exist anymore than it can prove that God exists or does not exist. Science can tell us to some degree how the watch works but it cannot tell us whether there is a watchmaker or not. Science deals purely with physics, the existence of a watchmaker or otherwise is metaphysical.

            Frankly, your comment about prayer is risible.

            I don’t wish to be too hard on you for your sweeping assertions and rocky logic suggest you are still young. I hope you will ok more thoughtfully at Christ before rejecting him.

          • Nogods

            “Science cannot be absolutely certain that Adam and Eve were not the first humans based on the absence of proof that they existed.”

            Thank you for ADMITTING that there is no evidence that Adam and Eve are real! That is a big first step in freeing you of your ancient superstitious beliefs! There is just as much evidence supporting the existence of Harry Potter and Santa’s workshop in the North Pole as there is supporting the idea that Adam and Eve were the first humans or were actually a real couple. Science cannot be absolutely certain that Harry Potter and Santa’s workshop are not real based on the absence of proof that they existed, right?

            “That is by any reckoning illogical.”

            While science is always provisional, there are some things that are so certain, you would have to be dumb not to believe them. Do you think that science will one day discover that the Adam and Eve of the bible were the first humans? Or is that just about as likely as discovering that the moon is actually made of cheese?

            “At best science can say we have no proof they did exist. They cannot be certain they didn’t exist. Science makes no claim to omniscience.”

            It is one of reasonableness. At best science can only say that we have no proof that Harry Potter and Santa’s workshop exists. Science cannot be certain they dont exist. Science makes no claim to omniscience – right?

            “Neither is science qualified to insist that the Genesis account is wrong. It simply does not have the necessary knowledge.”

            Really? Isn’t it odd that science has not discovered a SINGLE unique fact that even suggests that the story is true? How did you become such a brainwashed cult member?

            “It is true that atheistic evolution is the dominant thesis of science re origins but it is still not the only one.”

            Really? What are other ones?

            “Further, in terms of macro-evolution it remains a theory and not a fact. It assumes God did not create a mature creation. It assumes uniformitarianism in history. Evolution struggles with the embarrassing lack of evidence for so many of the evolutionary ‘jumps’. Evolution within a species is one thing but evolution from one species into another suffers from an embarrassing lack of evidence.”

            Well, other then thousands of fossils and DNA.

            Did you know that willful ignorance isn’t a good argument? Here are two videos that you may find interesting. They may answer many of the questions and misunderstandings that you have about evolution:

            http://youtu.be/CW9G2YVtBYc

            http://youtu.be/Jw0MLJJJbqc

            Here is a great website about human evolution from the Smithsonian:

            http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence

            “How can science be absolutely sure that the soul is a fictional construct?”

            How can science be absolutely sure that Santa’s workshop is not real?

            “The most it can affirm is it has found no evidence (physical???) for a soul.”

            How can YOU pretend to know ANYTHING about a soul at the COMPLETE EXCLUSION to your neighbor, who just so happens to be a scientist?

            “Science deals only with the physical universe. It is simply about mechanics, how things work. It observes phenomena. It can no more prove (in Scientific terms) that the soul exists or does not exist anymore than it can prove that God exists or does not exist.”

            There are two worlds you can choose to believe in: the natural world and the supernatural world.

            The Natural World: For something to exist in the natural world, there must be supporting evidence. This supporting evidence must be observable. That means that the phenomena can be detected with the senses such as sight and hearing. In many instances, we use scientific equipment to amplify what we can sense, such as microscopes, telescopes, and sensors. Some things that exist in the natural world are detected indirectly or through inference. This includes such things as black holes, dark energy, dark matter, and atomic particles. Everything that exists in the natural world can be explained by mathematical or scientific processes. Though often the explanations are incomplete, tens-of-thousands of scientists, from every religious, ethnic, and geographic demographic, are diligently working to unravel the mysteries of our existence. Most importantly, all claims and supporting evidence are subject to strict scrutiny and critical analysis. There is no defense that one must blindly “respect my belief”. Those claims that fail to meet a threshold level or reliability are soundly rejected.

            The Supernatural World: Things that exist in the supernatural world are merely ideas, unsupported by any form of evidence or any connection to the natural world. By definition, nothing in the supernatural world has EVER been observed. This includes gods, magic, miracles, witchcraft, telepathy, and all other superstitious beliefs. The moment one claims that a supernatural “belief” is supported by evidence (which only exists in the natural world) that supernatural claim moves from the supernatural world to the natural world, where it is subject to the same scrutiny and critical analysis as all other natural world claims.

            PAY CLOSE ATTENTION HERE. THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART AND I DON’T WANT YOU TO MISS IT: It is a scientific question if one claims that a god has reached his magical hand from his supernatural world into our natural world, which is the only world we inhabit. So if YOU think YOU have experienced your god with YOUR senses, SCIENCE can ALSO experience your god. And science has an army of the smartest, most well trained rational thinkers waiting to TEST your claims using the most sophisticated equipment humankind has EVER invented. And they have NEVER found any evidence to conclude that your god is real. Your god is no different than Zeus or the thousands of other gods you could think were real, but are certain are fictional. It really is that simple.

            Believing in something without evidence is the lifeblood of religions. By your own admission, religion is about faith; it is about believing in something for which there is no evidence. It is merely an idea, completely detached from reality. And if you should claim that your superstitious beliefs are supported by evidence, your claim is subject to the same strict scrutiny that all real world claims are subject to. And thus far, ALL religious superstitions have failed ALL tests of credibility. Your god is identical to all the other gods you choose to not believe in.

            “Science can tell us to some degree how the watch works but it cannot tell us whether there is a watchmaker or not. Science deals purely with physics, the existence of a watchmaker or otherwise is metaphysical.”

            Your ignorance is stunning. MAGIC has never been an answer to ANY question. Please think of an instance in which a scientific answer to a question, was subsequently replaced with a supernatural answer.

            “Frankly, your comment about prayer is risible.”

            Is that why you COMPLETELY ignored it? That says everything.

            “I don’t wish to be too hard on you for your sweeping assertions and rocky logic suggest you are still young. I hope you will ok more thoughtfully at Christ before rejecting him.”

            What a sad dismissive. But expected. You have to keep that willful ignorance alive! The existence of your god depends on it.

          • O dear, o dear.

            Look, I’m not going to continue in a fruitless argument. I will address a couple of your points and then leave you with a conclusion then feel free to have the last word.

            1. I did not admit that there is no evidence Adam and Eve are real. I Was simply showing your own logic was faulty. You argued that a lack of evidence that they existed proves with certainty they did not exist. This is simply illogical. It assumes science has total knowledge which of course it doesn’t. What science knows about human origins and I mean knows rather than guesses seems unsure. At a purely logical level it seems likely to me that a species has common first parents. I think it is not at all unlikely that science will someday be able to prove this.

            2. No. My contrast was not between the natural and the supernatural world but between physics and metaphysics.

            3. I am aware of no fossils etc that provide proof of one species evolving into another. These are conspicuous by their absence.

            4. You place far too much weight on the ability of science. Much of what you present as certainty is conjecture. You forget too the plastic nature of the word science. Mathematics is a pure science where certainties are indeed certainties but biology for example works with much less precision. Then there is the ‘science’ of say psychology or anthropology. And so on.

            5. Your observation on prayer was so embarrassingly juvenile I didn’t think it merited an answer. Christians may find in answered prayers personal assurance that God is real but I know few if any who would point to their answered prayers as a reason why you should believe. Why should temporary healing mean we will not die. That is your logic and not that of the faith.

            Let me tell you the truth of the matter as I see it. Despite your arguing and pseudo-intellectual posturing you know in your heart that God exists. All men do. You do your best to suppress this by rationalistic (not rational) arguments for your heart and conscience tell you that not only does God exist but you fail to live up the standards he requires. Further, you resist the knowledge of God your own heart (and the evidence of what is) impresses on you because you want to live your own way and feel unaccountable. Yet, your heart continues to condemn you and tell you there will be a day of reckoning.

            If you do not have a sense of this then I fear God has given up on you and you are already beyond salvage. I really do hope that is not the case. I hope that you have not such an arrogant smug confidence in yourself and humanity and that your heart and conscience are so seared that you are now invincibly closed to God and to salvation.

            For you need saved. You need rescued. You need saved from yourself, from a destructive world and most of all from God’s judgement. You need Christ. But you can never know him while you consider yourself intellectually superior and place such confidence in human wisdom for he does not reveal himself to people like that.

            He did not come to save the smug and self-satisfied. He did not come to save the self-reliant. He came to save those who feel a need to be saved. He came to save those who know they are sinners and want help. He came to save those who are not wise in their own conceit but are humble and guileless and ready to see him as he is.

            To such he reveals himself. To such his gospel speaks but it is folly to ‘pseuds’. It requires them to believe in a crucified criminal. To believe that his crucifixion and death is actually an atonement for their sin. It asks them to accept and confess their own helplessness and hopelessness. Can you imagine how ridiculous this seemed to the learned Greek, proud Roman and religiously smug Jew. They treated it as you do. They mocked it.

            There are many reasons why I believe the gospel but one is just this, how counter to the human ego and its expectations it is. It will not let us glory in our intellect, or our morality, or our religiosity or anything else. God will not allow himself to be found by human wisdom, through philosophy, or science, or mystical experience. But only through a crucified messiah.

            Yes, he gives us reasons to believe. We are invited to examine Jesus closely. We are invited to observe his character, consider his words, reflect upon his miracles (all signs previously prophecied that Messiah would do). We are invited to see how he fulfils ancient OT prophecies. We are given the evidence of the resurrection, Jesus own prediction it would happen and the witness of many to it. In sum we are presented by the phenomenon that is Jesus. Something, someone beyond invention. Yet someone so utterly fitting. If God is to be like anyone our hearts tell us he is like Jesus.

            Many people of his day and since recognised that he was authenticate. The evidence compelled but they were not compelled. Why? Because they did not want to believe. They rejected him not because they couldn’t believe but because they wouldn’t believe. Their hearts had other agendas that caused them to suppress the truth.

            The question for each of us is whether we will submit to him and his rule or insist on our own autonomy and self determination. The issue of belief will not rest on whether the gospel is credible or not but whether we are willing to face and forsake our sin; the issue is not intellectual but moral.

            I really would like you to come to know Christ, not so that I can win an argument but so I can gain a brother.

            John

          • Nogods

            “Look, I’m not going to continue in a fruitless argument. I will address a couple of your points and then leave you with a conclusion then feel free to have the last word.”

            Come on, don’t be a quitter. If you don’t defend your god, he certainly isn’t going to defend himself. Gods never do. For some odd reason, they are all mutes. And your god is no exception.

            Isn’t it weird how gods never write books either – men do. Why is it that the supposed all-powerful creators of everything, can’t write? Jesus didn’t write the bible – men did. Allah didn’t write the Quran – men did. And Zeus never wrote any of his holy books either – men did. So why can’t gods write anything without the help of men? Do you think it is because they are ALL fictional?

            “1. I did not admit that there is no evidence Adam and Eve are real.”

            Sure you did. Here are your words: “Science cannot be absolutely certain that Adam and Eve were not the first humans based on the absence of proof that they existed.”

            Note your words, ABSENCE OF PROOF THAT THEY EXISTED.” If you think that there is ANY evidence they are anything other than fictional characters, let’s hear about it.

            “I Was simply showing your own logic was faulty. You argued that a lack of evidence that they existed proves with certainty they did not exist. This is simply illogical. It assumes science has total knowledge which of course it doesn’t. What science knows about human origins and I mean knows rather than guesses seems unsure.”

            Please provide ANY evidence that Adam and Eve were real people. And while you are at it, please provide ANY evidence that Santa has a workshop in the North Pole.

            “At a purely logical level it seems likely to me that a species has common first parents. I think it is not at all unlikely that science will someday be able to prove this.”

            (Face palm goes here). Did you never go to school? Really? Your level of complete ignorance about human evolution is staggering.

            Here is a great website about human evolution from the Smithsonian:

            http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence

            LEARN SOMETHING NEW TODAY. Willful ignorance is NEVER a good argument.

            “2. No. My contrast was not between the natural and the supernatural world but between physics and metaphysics.”

            You seem confused. Metaphysics is pseudoscience. It only exists in your mind.

            “3. I am aware of no fossils etc that provide proof of one species evolving into another. These are conspicuous by their absence.”

            You just choose to ignore them. Here they are:
            http://youtu.be/CW9G2YVtBYc

            http://youtu.be/Jw0MLJJJbqc

            Don’t be the ignorant fool.

            “4. You place far too much weight on the ability of science. Much of what you present as certainty is conjecture. You forget too the plastic nature of the word science.”

            You place too much emphasis on magic and wishful thinking. Faith is a fancy word for wishful thinking. It is the absolute lowest standard of evidence as it requires NO evidence. There is just as much evidence supporting the existence of flying purple fairies that orbit the earth as there is supporting the existence of your god. So if it is irrational to believe that purple fairies are real, it is also irrational to think gods are real and to organize your life around them.

            “Mathematics is a pure science where certainties are indeed certainties but biology for example works with much less precision. Then there is the ‘science’ of say psychology or anthropology. And so on.”

            Lol. Physics (which is math) says that gods are unnecessary and don’t exist. So why don’t you believe it?

            “5. Your observation on prayer was so embarrassingly juvenile I didn’t think it merited an answer. Christians may find in answered prayers personal assurance that God is real but I know few if any who would point to their answered prayers as a reason why you should believe. Why should temporary healing mean we will not die. That is your logic and not that of the faith.”

            Once again, you are wrong. So lets try this again. Pay CLOSE ATTENTION HERE. Let me explain what you are missing: So if your god cures anyone of illness, the assumption is that they will continue to live a longer life then if they had not been cured by god. As an example, assume that someone with a particular illness would have died at 20, but due to your god’s intervention, lived to be 21. Now if you average all those that died earlier because god did not perform any miracles, and compared that number to all those in which god did perform miracles, the number for the group in which your god performed miracles should be larger. Unfortunately, it is not. And thus, there is no evidence god performs miracles.

            You are also wrong about what Christians pray for: “A Newsweek poll titled “Is God Listening?” indicated that, the things people pray for include health, safety, jobs, and even success, valid or not. 82% said they ask for health or success for a child or family member when they pray. 82% believed that God does not play favorites in answering prayers. 79% said God answers prayer for healing someone with an incurable disease. 75% asked for strength to overcome personal weakness. 73% answered that prayers for help in finding a job are answered. On the lighter side, 49% believe God does answer prayers to win sporting events. 64% have prayed for financial or career success.”

            “Let me tell you the truth of the matter as I see it.”

            You don’t have the truth; you have a 1st century superstitious belief. Isn’t it interesting to contrast our sources of information: I choose to look for answers from the smartest, most educated segment of our population, who are performing the most cutting-edge research with the most sophisticated and technologically advanced tools humankind has ever created. You, on the other hand, choose to look for answers from a 1st century superstition written by bronze/Iron age nomadic sheep herders, who occupied a remote desert oasis, during the prescientific age, who spent an inordinate amount of time consumed with the measliness of sheep and goats, and who had no knowledge of such simple things as paper or the number zero.

            “Despite your arguing and pseudo-intellectual posturing you know in your heart that God exists.”

            HAHAHAHAHAHA! what “god” you are trying to prove exists, as “god” is merely a pronoun. There are thousands of “gods” you could choose to think were real. And the pronoun “god” encompasses them all. At most it refers to the god of deism. But that isn’t your god. That god doesn’t love you, want to have a relationship with, and it certainly doesn’t reward you with heaven or condemn you to hell. Your god (and I assume you are a Christian) is a very dead 30 year old Jew, who wandered around a remote desert oasis for about two years in almost complete obscurity, wearing sandals and a robe. And that is a very important fact not easily ignored.

            There are thousands of gods one could choose to worship. You choose to worship just one. But your god really isn’t that special or unique. Most of the world doesn’t worship or believe in your god. And when you choose to believe in the supernatural, there are no limits on what is a god and what is not. Look at YouTube and you will see many other people that believe they are prophets of gods or gods with powers to heal, levitate, read minds…. These people and their claims are just as legitimate as your religious superstition – if you believe in the supernatural.

            Here it is again: Prove that your god is the one real one. I will get you started:
            1. My god is real because______. The evidence supporting this claim is as follows ______.
            2. My god is real because______. The evidence supporting this claim is as follows ______.
            3. My god is real because______. The evidence supporting this claim is as follows ______.
            Keep going until you run out of reasons. Then we will talk about your poor reasons and your complete lack of evidence.

            “All men do. You do your best to suppress this by rationalistic (not rational) arguments for your heart and conscience tell you that not only does God exist but you fail to live up the standards he requires.”

            That is the dumbest comment I have read all day. Isn’t it odd that if are born in the US you are probably a Christian. But if you are born in a different country, there is a very good chance you worship a completely different god? But both groups of believers are equally certain that their god is the “right” god. So geography is the most important factor in determining religious certainties. That should make a reasonable person question their “beliefs” don’t you think? Maybe you shouldn’t be so certain of yours.

            “Further, you resist the knowledge of God your own heart (and the evidence of what is) impresses on you because you want to live your own way and feel unaccountable. Yet, your heart continues to condemn you and tell you there will be a day of reckoning.”

            Ahhh, yes, the day your sadistic dictator returns. So when Jesus finally returns to dispense his 1st century barbarism, do you think he is going to go door-to-door and shoot non-believers in the face, or do you think he will really want to get his hands dirty and hack off heads with a dull knife like the Muslims like to do? More importantly, are you going to just sit by and watch the slaughter unfold, maybe enjoy a little popcorn and a cold drink, or do you think you will join in on the religious cleansing?

            Isn’t jesus just like Hitler: Hitler murdered all those that didn’t believe in him. But he took good care of his friends. And just like Hitler, Christians believe that Jesus will murder all those that don’t believe in him. But he will take good care of his friends. So if you are a sane and rational person who would never follow Hitler, why would you follow Jesus?

            So what advice would you give Jesus when he returns as how to most effectively and efficiently murder all the non believers? Stoning people to death is so 1st century don’t you think? I know the Muslims still do it, but it really is not an efficient way to murder a lot of people. It is also pretty messy: blood everywhere – and expensive – you have to pay people to clean that up, not to mention the cost of all the rocks. Maybe Jesus could learn a thing or two from Hitler? Just a thought. Hitler had a system down. I think Jesus is really going to need a system like that as well. What do you think? You know, kind of an assembly-line-gas-chamber-kind-of-thing. There might be some old plans of Hitler’s you could find on the internet. You might want to look that up before Jesus returns and have it ready for his review. I am sure he would appreciate the planning and it really shows initiative on your part.

            “If you do not have a sense of this then I fear God has given up on you and you are already beyond salvage. I really do hope that is not the case. I hope that you have not such an arrogant smug confidence in yourself and humanity and that your heart and conscience are so seared that you are now invincibly closed to God and to salvation.”

            How did you become a brainwashed cult member? What happened to you?

            “For you need saved. You need rescued. You need saved from yourself, from a destructive world and most of all from God’s judgement.”

            Jesus: “I love you and want you to be my friend. And if you don’t, I will torture you for eternity!” What a sadistic dictator your invisible friend is!

            “You need Christ. But you can never know him while you consider yourself intellectually superior and place such confidence in human wisdom for he does not reveal himself to people like that.”

            Your gods magic only works if I think it will work? That is hilarious.

            “He did not come to save the smug and self-satisfied. He did not come to save the self-reliant. He came to save those who feel a need to be saved.”

            Isn’t it weird that he is saving me from himself? How does that even make sense to you!? Good god man, you are completely brainwashed!!!

            “He came to save those who know they are sinners and want help. He came to save those who are not wise in their own conceit but are humble and guileless and ready to see him as he is.”

            What a twisted superstitious belief you have.

            “To such he reveals himself. To such his gospel speaks but it is folly to ‘pseuds’. It requires them to believe in a crucified criminal. To believe that his crucifixion and death is actually an atonement for their sin. It asks them to accept and confess their own helplessness and hopelessness. Can you imagine how ridiculous this seemed to the learned Greek, proud Roman and religiously smug Jew. They treated it as you do. They mocked it.”

            Jesus didn’t die for anyone’s sins. That is just a 1st century superstitious belief. From purely a logical point of view, you can’t hurt an all powerful god. And you certainly can’t kill one. So the whole death/resurrection was just an elaborate theatrical performance to entertain the delusional masses. If you weren’t a brainwashed member of a doomsday cult, this would not be difficult to understand.

            Jesus was not a god; he was just a man. That is why he is STILL dead after 2,000 years. How many more thousands of years have to pass by before you accept the fact that he is STILL dead and will NEVER be returning?

            “Yes, he gives us reasons to believe. We are invited to examine Jesus closely. We are invited to observe his character, consider his words, reflect upon his miracles (all signs previously prophecied that Messiah would do). We are invited to see how he fulfils ancient OT prophecies. We are given the evidence of the resurrection, Jesus own prediction it would happen and the witness of many to it. In sum we are presented by the phenomenon that is Jesus. Something, someone beyond invention. Yet someone so utterly fitting. If God is to be like anyone our hearts tell us he is like Jesus.”

            There are no prophecies in any holy books. The claimed prophecies have either been consistently wrong, are so general they are meaningless, or they were written decades after the actual events occurred. Here is what a real prophecy looks like: “On January 22, 2015, at 2:17p.m., Jesus will descend from the sky and will land by the right foot of the Lincoln memorial.” Unfortunately, there is nothing even remotely close to being a prophesy in your holy book. Only suckers and fools thinks there are. So what one are you?

            The only correct prophecies in the bible are the ones that were written after the events they claim to have prophesied had happened; they didn’t predict the future, they simply recorded the past. A perfect example of this is the book of Daniel. Daniel gets right all the “prophecies” made before 167 bce. But Daniel gets wrong all the prophecies made after that date. That in why there is almost universal agreement among biblical scholars that Daniel was written around 165 bce.

            It’s also not hard to get “prophecies” correct when you’re writing the second half of a book while holding the first half of the book in your hand. The authors of the bible held the Old Testament in their hands while they wrote the New Testament. They knew EXACTLY how all the events were supposed to end. So it wasn’t hard to make the second half of the book align with the first half of the book, especially when you are writing fiction.

            If you think scripture accurately predicts the future, tell me three things that are going to happen this week, or this month, or this year? I am sure your Christian friends have made LISTS of HUNDREDS of events that scripture says will happen over the course of the next hundred years. Show me the lists? And I bet you will NEVER find TWO lists that are the same if such lists existed because THERE ARE NO PROPHECIES IN THE BIBLE.

            “Many people of his day and since recognised that he was authenticate. The evidence compelled but they were not compelled. Why? Because they did not want to believe. They rejected him not because they couldn’t believe but because they wouldn’t believe. Their hearts had other agendas that caused them to suppress the truth.”

            The magical aspects of Christianity are obviously false. Here are simple facts you MUST ADMIT ARE TRUE:

            1. YOU MUST ADMITTED THAT AT LEAST SOME OF THE SUPERNATURAL CLAIMS MADE IN THE BIBLE ARE FALSE. This would include such things as the story of Adam and Eve (science is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that Adam and Eve were not the first humans and there is no evidence or reason to believe they ever existed. So the entire story of jesus is built upon this false premiss.) and noah (there is NO evidence of a world-wide flood let alone one of the proportion or duration as described in the bible.) If this is true, it places into question ALL supernatural claims. And the resurrection of Jesus is really the ONLY claim upon which his divinity is based.

            2. YOU MUST ADMIT THAT THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNTS OF THE RESURRECTION ARE INTERNALLY INCONSISTENT. This again is evidence that the accounts are unreliable. As an example, did Jesus ascended into heaven the day of his claimed resurrection (Luke 24:51), or 40 days later? (Acts 1:3). When Jesus died, did an earthquake open all the graves unleashing a zombie apocalypse (as recounted in Matthew). Why is that fact completely ignored by the other gospels. Was Jesus crucified on the day before Passover (John) or the day after (the other three.) Three gospels give three different versions of the last words of Jesus. Matthew says that Jesus was buried by Joseph of Arimathea. Acts claim that he was buried by Jewish strangers and their rulers. The four gospels conflict in their account of the number of women that came to the tomb Easter morning. Matthew and Mark claim that one woman was at the tomb. Luke and John claim there were two. Matthew claims that the tomb was not open when they got there. The other three say that the tomb was open. There are many more contradictions. And they all can’t be right. But they all can be wrong.

            3. YOU MUST ADMIT THAT THE EARLY ROMANS REGULARLY DEIFIED MERE MORTALS. The early Romans were ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that men could become gods and gods could become men long before the time of Jesus. Early roman gods included Julius Cesar, Caesar Augustus, and Romulus. Almost ALL roman emperors were ultimately declared gods. This supernatural claim was bestowed upon virtually ANYONE who showed some type of special skill or authority. Thus, bestowing this title upon Jesus would be NOTHING unusual.

            And as it turned out, the early Romans were ABSOLUTELY WRONG about all these other gods. But these were the EXACT SAME people that claimed that jesus rose from the dead and proclaimed him a god, just as they had proclaimed many others before and after him. And just as these early Romans were ABSOLUTELY WRONG in their evaluation of the evidence as to the existence of all the other roman gods, they were ABSOLUTELY WRONG in their evaluation of the evidence about your god and his resurrection.

            4. YOU MUST ADMIT THAT THE EARLY ROMANS ERRONEOUSLY BELIEVED IN THE EXISTENCE OF MANY GODS. Romans were ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that Jupiter was a real god. They believed that for a thousand years, even in the face of uncontrovertibly evidence that their polytheistic beliefs were wrong. But as you must admit, the early Romans were ABSOLUTELY WRONG about all these other gods. But these were the EXACT SAME people that claimed that jesus rose from the dead and was a god. But this is the EXACT same claim they had made about many gods before him. And just as these early Romans were ABSOLUTELY WRONG in their evaluation of the evidence as to the existence of all the other roman gods, they were ABSOLUTELY WRONG in their evaluation of the evidence about your god and his resurrection.

            5. YOU MUST ADMIT THAT THE EARLY ROMANS ATTRIBUTED SUPERNATURAL EXPLANATIONS TO OBVIOUSLY NON SUPERNATURAL EVENTS. At the time jesus arrived, the early Roman culture was awash in erroneous supernatural beliefs. The early Romans attributed supernatural causes to natural events. This was typical of virtually all pre-modern cultures. The cultural acceptance of these beliefs was further reinforced by the government and were just a simple part of every day life. Thus, attributing a supernatural explanation to almost any event was nothing unusual. This would include attributing supernatural explanations to stories related to Jesus.

            6. YOU MUST ADMIT THAT THE STORIES DOCUMENTING THE RESURRECTION WERE NOT MEMORIALIZED UNTIL 30 TO 90 YEARS AFTER THE CLAIMED EVENTS HAPPENED AND INVARIABLY DO NOT ACCURATELY DOCUMENT THE EVENTS. Without a doubt, the oral tradition that perpetuated the stories was embellished and modified as it was passed along. The inconsistencies in the gospels clearly demonstrates this.

            7. YOU MUST ADMIT THAT JESUS WAS NOT REGARDED AS A GOD DURING HIS LIFE TIME BUT WAS ONLY ELEVATED TO THAT STATUS DECADES AFTER HIS DEATH. It was not until the 4th century that the roman ruling class defined the supernatural nature of Jesus.

            8. YOU MUST ADMIT THAT THERE ARE NO EXTRA BIBLICAL ACCOUNTS OF THE RESURRECTION THOUGH THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF HIS PERSONA AND THE PENULTIMATE EVENT THAT MADE HIM A GOD. While there are extra biblical accounts referencing Jesus, NONE of them reference ANY supernatural aspects of his life. Though one would suspect that if they were true, they would have been the focus of any extra biblical accounts.

            9. YOU MUST ADMIT THAT CRUCIFIXION WAS COMMON IN THE EARLY ROMAN EMPIRE AND THAT ONLY ONE BODY EVIDENCING DEATH BY CRUCIFIXION HAS EVER BEEN FOUND. Detailed historical records document that during the early Roman Empire, THOUSANDS of people were crucified. And of those THOUSANDS that were crucified, only ONE body has EVER been discovered. If a missing body is evidence of resurrection, then THOUSANDS of other people have also rose from the dead.

            10. YOU MUST ADMIT THAT EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS ARE ONE OF THE MOST UNRELIABLE FORMS OF EVIDENCE. Empirical studies have consistently shown that eye witness accounts, while highly valued, are the most unreliable form of evidence. This is especially true when the claimed events occurred in the prescientific age and involve an uneducated and illiterate population easily swayed by claims of the supernatural. To this day, comparable indigenous populations are easily convinced of all kinds of comparably ridiculous claims. This fact is equally true of highly educated people living today.

            11. YOU MUST ADMIT THAT PEOPLE DIE EVERY DAY HARBORING MISTAKEN BELIEFS. In defense of the resurrection, Christians often ask, why would the disciples of Jesus sacrificed their lives over a belief they knew was false. But that is simply the wrong question to ask. The disciples of Jesus believed Jesus rose from the dead. But their belief was just wrong. So the disciples of Jesus were willing to sacrifice their lives for a MISTAKEN BELIEF. This happens every day. Just ask ISIS members about that. They think they are fighting for a god that you know isn’t real. You also know that there will be no 72 virgins waiting for them. And just like the followers of Jesus, the members of ISIS are willing to die for a mistaken belief.

            “The question for each of us is whether we will submit to him and his rule or insist on our own autonomy and self determination. The issue of belief will not rest on whether the gospel is credible or not but whether we are willing to face and forsake our sin; the issue is not intellectual but moral.”

            You are a sad man. It is like your entire brain just fell out of your head.

            “I really would like you to come to know Christ, not so that I can win an argument but so I can gain a brother.”

            Sorry, I am not into doomsday cults.

          • Luminya

            Holy cow, that was good Nogods! Damn I wish I could express myself as well, I am so envious of you. As I tried to say earlier to the religious poster, you may not convince these old dinosaurs but there are plenty of others who are online who read these posts and they are the ones who are being convinced that the religious just have no good arguments and further more, they sound poorly educated and ridiculous. You, on the other hand have made such great rebuttals, you make them look very bad. That is what everyone sees. Bravo, well done!

          • IanCad

            A lot of time well spent John.
            Thanks.

          • Luminya

            Really?? You think he provided proof for the existence of a god? You are very deluded and you need education as well.

          • Luminya

            Wow, that was bad. Not a single good argument there and a hell of a lot of preaching. You are old though and you have invested a lot of time in your fantasy. This is not about convincing you because you are poorly educated and obviously terrified of the thought that you are wrong. This is actually about who will be reading this. You have not provided proof of the existence of your god and that is exactly what people will see when they read it. Nogods, on the other hand has made a very solid argument for the opposite.

          • Luminya

            Wow…that is not a cogent argument for a god. You need to go back to school because no one and I mean no one has ever been able to prove the theory of evolution wrong and there is plenty of evidence to prove it right. If evolution is correct there is no Adam and Eve. Also there have been scientific studies on prayer and it does not work. Come on, you are going to have to do better than that. Your arguments have only reinforced the fact that you have no proof for your superstitious beliefs.

          • Luminya

            Brilliant answer as usual Nogods. They are dying on the vine here, they just don’t know it. Young folk are reading this stuff and they understand that the xtians just do not have sound arguments.

          • Luminya

            Anti-scientism is a made up word by religious fanatics who are terrified their god might be shown to not exist so they must attack science. Science is just a methodology for arriving at the truth.

          • David Cromie

            It was Engels, nor Marx, who claimed that socialism was ‘scientific’, if I remember correctly.

          • The Explorer

            Marx called his system “scientific socialism”. So did Engels.

          • Anton

            Engels actually seemed to have a heart for the poor, whatever you think of his solution. Everybody should read Condition of the working classes in England even if the final paragraphs of each chapter, about how communism can sort it out, should be ignored. Marx, however, was a mere heartless would-be philosopher.

          • Pastorbob666

            Evolution is a proven scientific fact…no belief is necessary!

          • The Explorer

            You believe it is.

          • Luminya

            No, uneducated one, it has been proven. Go back to school.

          • The Explorer

            Evolution is certainly a plausible and intelligent explanation. Two issues with it.

            1. Bill O’Reilly complimented Dawkins on his explanation of the evolutionary process, but asked if Dawkins could confirm how the process got going in the first place. Dawkins could not, but said science was working on it. That requires double faith: the belief that science will find the answer, and the unproven belief that chance gave rise to life.

            2. The fossil record and how to account for it. Gould’s punctuated equilibrium is a plausible hypothesis, but would not be necessary if the evidence were conclusive.

          • Luminya

            You still have provided no proof for the existence of a god. Just because science does not have all the answers is not good enough. Come on, the clock is ticking and I am hearing crickets.

          • The Explorer

            Who mentioned God? I was saying evolution was plausible but not conclusively proven. That was my view of evolution when I was an atheist: unproven, but the best explanation on the table.

          • William Lewis

            She’s one of those strange atheists who is obsessed with God. Her comments are littered with Him.

          • Pubcrawler

            Balancing that with the teen crush on Nogods is quite a feat.

          • Pastorbob666

            I know it is.

          • The Explorer

            There is good evidence for evolution, but the emergence of life as the result of chance is not proven, and there is ambiguity in the fossil record. That is why faith is required.

          • Pastorbob666

            You are comparing apples and oranges. The origin of life (abiogenesis) and evolution are two different things.
            Recently there has been a remarkable change in the Christian community:

            Many members of the Christian faith are embracing evolution. For example, there is this article:

            At Churches Nationwide, Good Words for Evolution:
            “On the 197th birthday of Charles Darwin, ministers at several hundred churches around the country preached yesterday against recent efforts to undermine the theory of evolution, asserting that the opposition many Christians say exists between science and faith is false. At St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, a small contemporary structure among the pricey homes of north Atlanta, the Rev. Patricia Templeton told the 85 worshipers gathered yesterday, ‘A faith that requires you to close your mind in order to believe is not much of a faith at all….’ At the
            Evanston Mennonite Church, Susan Fisher Miller, 48, an editor and English professor, said, ‘I completely accept and affirm the view of God as creator, but I accommodate evolution within that.'”

            And this letter, signed by more than 10,000 clergy members:

            An Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science:
            “…We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has
            stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children…”

            The interesting thing to understand is that when you accept evolution, what you are automatically doing is rejecting the concept of a soul.

            Here is why: As soon as you accept that evolution is true, you also accept that the creation story in the Bible is false. It is pure mythology. The concept of the “soul”, which comes from the same book, is exactly the same sort of mythology.

            Simply think through the logic. What the theory of evolution says is that every living thing on this planet has evolved through a completely natural process. Every species that we see today is derived from simple, single-cell organisms over the course of hundreds of millions of years.In other words, there was no supernatural creation process for humans as described in the Bible’s book of Genesis.

            As you think about this, what you will realize is that evolved beings have no souls. Human beings are no different from any other animal, insect, plant or bacteria in the way that we have evolved. In the same way that every other living thing on planet Earth is soul-less, humans
            are soul-less. The whole notion of a soul is a figment of human imagination.

            This makes complete sense. The biochemistry of life powers evolution.

            That biochemistry is amazing and complex, but it is nothing more than a set of soul-less chemical reactions. When the chemical reactions cease, you die. There is no “soul” mixed in with the chemicals.

            Where did the first cell come from? Many believers will argue that God magically created the first living cell. This, of course, is silly. The scientific principle that describes the origin of life is called abiogenesis.In the same way that there is no supernatural being involved in evolution, there is no supernatural being involved in abiogenesis. Both the creation of life and the evolution of species are completely natural processes.

            There is no “supreme being” in heaven who reached down to create life on Earth or human beings. Nor is that being answering prayers. There is no soul. There is no everlasting life. Science tells us all of these things with complete clarity. God is imaginary.

            There is no “ambiguity” in the fossil record. There may be gaps, but science does not fill in those gaps with “Gawddidit.” The geological column, including the relative ages of the strata and dominant fossils within various strata, was determined before the theory of evolution.
            No “faith” is required.

          • The Explorer

            Augustine thought Nature self-developmental (ie micro evolution). Kingsley pointed out to Darwin in 1860 that evolution could have been the process used by God. So theistic evolution has long been a Christian option. Been but the troubling question for thinking Victorians was if Darwin had made God unnecessary. In that sense, abiogenesis has never been separable from evolution.

            Of course the geological column preceded the theory of evolution. Evolutionary theorists before Darwin (eg Monboddo) were stymied by timescale. Lyell’s ‘Age of the Earth’ made Darwin’s theory plausible.

            There is a problem with the fossil record. Enough time has elapsed by now to fill the gaps. Why do they remain? Punctuated equilibrium is an intelligent explanation, but would not have been necessary as a solution if there had not been a perceived problem.

          • bluedog

            Pure cut and paste. None of your other posts argue in these terms or contain this level of vocabulary For example, ‘silly’ is not a word that you or any other American would use.

          • Pastorbob666

            Bullshit! You’re silly, your god is silly and your mr. jebus is silly!

          • bluedog

            Greetings, Pastorbob. You don’t disappoint, do you? An innovative and carefully nuanced argument with good points made in a mature fashion, as ever.

    • IanCad

      I have to make the assumption that you have recently left home and are testing your wings.

      • Nogods

        If you can’t attack the argument, all you have left is to attack the author. Nice work.

        • IanCad

          Who lit the match?

          • Nogods

            Who can’t think up a substantive rebuttal?

          • IanCad

            Why waste words? This is a blog format, not a Students’ Union debate.

          • Nogods

            Smart people don’t have trouble reading more than one paragraph.

          • Pubcrawler

            Really smart people quickly work out whether a piece is worth reading beyond the first paragraph.

          • Nogods

            Understanding both sides of the argument always works to your advantage. Give it a try.

          • Anton

            I did. That’s why I’m an adult convert.

          • Nogods

            Tell me a little about the evolution of humans?

          • Anton

            I’m a physicist, not a biologist. You need an evangelical Christian who is also a biologist. To discuss that issue competently, you also need to read and understand Genesis in the Hebrew original.

          • The Explorer

            A lot of them haven”t.

          • Pubcrawler

            Physician, heal thyself.

          • Nogods

            Isn’t praying just like sacrificing a small mammal, or throwing virgins into volcanos – just not as involved?

          • Pubcrawler

            No.

          • Luminya

            Babbling physician heal thyself is not a cogent argument. Come on, step it up. No one is convinced your god exists, no matter how many one sentence statements you make.

          • Pubcrawler

            It isn’t meant to be an argument. Discourse analysis a closed book to you?

          • Pastorbob666

            I understand your myth perfectly…my father was a xtian. He tried to raise me in his religion. I figured out it was bunk around the same time that I figured out Santa was bunk.

          • The Explorer

            Difficult finding a virgin these days.

        • Ivan M

          Bloody hell. This is your avatar now or at least another one, Linus?

          • Nogods

            No

          • Pubcrawler

            Nah. Linus is much less dull.

          • Ivan M

            That Nogods is dull is a reflection of his limitations on this subject. The Linus style is to overcome his lack of argument with a great deal of distracting verbiage. Where he does have something to say he manages a tighter argument. I may well be wrong but the fellow’s discordant music is very distinctive.

          • Nogods

            Isn’t it interesting to think that, over the past 2,000 years, BILLIONS of Christians have believed that Jesus would return during their lifetime. And EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM have gone to their graves COMPLETELY WRONG. And just as they have ALL been COMPLETELY WRONG, so will you. Jesus is STILL dead. And dead people don’t come back to life. Believing that they do is a superstitious belief that has ALWAYS been wrong. Keep pretending that your reality will somehow be different then the BILLIONS of Christians that have come before you. But know that you are just fooling yourself.

          • Ivan M

            It is inevitable that the said billions will meet Jesus Christ at death. They are not far wrong. When one is dead, one’s passage through this life has ended in a generally private Apocalypse.

          • Nogods

            Thinking that there is a passage anywhere other than into the ground is just a silly 1st century superstitious belief that you picked up by reading an ancient book overflowing with all kinds of ridiculous and superstitious ideas.

          • Ivan M

            Wait till you die for a definitive answer.

          • Nogods

            Faith is just wishful thinking. The bible is overflowing with ridiculous and false ideas. I wouldn’t count on this being true.

          • Ivan M

            Some parts of it sounds ridiculous. Some of it is the history of the ancient Hebrews sacralised by the scribes and prophets. The Ariadne’s thread of the history of Salvation remains. For instance, your idea that your views count for something comes from the Jews. They developed the idea that God owes us an explanation no matter how puny we are in this Universe, since He made us in His image.

          • Pastorbob666

            Your jeezus was a jew…. In fact as a born jew, I can say he was a blasphemer. Claiming to be the “son of god/messiah.” Every Jewish person knows that the messiah has not come yet.

          • bluedog

            ‘Every Jewish person knows that the messiah has not come yet.’ Masterly. And Christians believe that Christ is the Messiah who fulfills God’s covenant with the Jewish people. Did you realise this is the difference between Judaism and Christianity?

          • Pastorbob666

            “Did you realise this is the difference between Judaism and Christianity?”

            But of course! Xtian beliefs are not in keeping with Jewish beliefs.

          • Luminya

            Please, if you think threatening an atheist with hell is a great argument, you are hopeless. Provide proof.

          • Pastorbob666

            The only thing xtians will meet at death is the Undertaker! Then, you become worm food!

          • Luminya

            This above statement is your argument for a god?? Sorry that is not cutting it. Do you realize that young folk read this stuff and say to themselves, “damn those xtians sound bad, they can’t come up with a single good point”. My sons always tell me “religion comes to the internet to die”.

      • len

        Iancad , they’ll all be back to school soon.

        • Pastorbob666

          At age 67, I doubt I will do any more school… I already hold several degrees.

      • Luminya

        Step it up boys. This is the internet. You have yet to make a cogent argument convincing atheists there is a god.

        • William Lewis

          “This is the internet.”

          No flies on you!

        • chiefofsinners

          Nobody ever has and nobody ever will. It is the work of the Spirit of God.

          • Luminya

            And therein lies the problem, you have no proof and an atheist simply will not be interested in what you have to say unless you have evidence.

          • chiefofsinners

            Why is that a problem? If you aren’t interested, go to another website.

          • Nogods

            I was looking through a biology book but can’t find a reference to spirits. I was looking through a mythology book however, and found all kinds of information. Are there any peer reviewed scholarly research papers published anywhere that I could learn more about spirits? Where do spirits live? What do they eat? What type of habitat do they prefer? Can we see them with microscopes or telescopes? Who do you think would know more about spirits: a witch doctor from the jungles of Malaysia who has had no contact with western civilization, or the entire science faculty from MIT?

            Scientists study everything. Yet, no scientists study spirits. Do they not study spirits for the same reason they don’t study the powers of Spider-Man or the magic of Santa Claus?

          • chiefofsinners

            Scientists study creation. Christians study the creator.

          • Nogods

            Christians study a 1st century superstition.

          • chiefofsinners

            First century after what?

          • Nogods

            Isn’t it interesting to think that, over the past 2,000 years, BILLIONS of Christians have believed that Jesus would return during their lifetime. And EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM have gone to their graves COMPLETELY WRONG. And just as they have ALL been COMPLETELY WRONG, so will you. Jesus is STILL dead. And dead people don’t come back to life. Believing that they do is a superstitious belief that has ALWAYS been wrong. Keep pretending that your reality will somehow be different then the BILLIONS of Christians that have come before you. But know that you are just fooling yourself.

            How many more years must pass before you will accept the fact that Jesus was just a man who is STILL DEAD and will NEVER be returning?

          • CliveM

            “Isn’t it interesting to think that, over the past 2,000 years, BILLIONS of Christians have believed that Jesus would return during their lifetime.”

            Apart from being repetitive, you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about. You obviously don’t understand the difference between ‘hoped’ and ‘would ‘.

            Elementary really.

          • Nogods

            I know the similarities between “hoped” and “believed” – they are both just wishful thinking. Elementary really, yet, you are still struggling with it.

            2,000 years… STILL very dead.

          • CliveM

            “I know the similarities between “hoped” and “believed”

            When you finished your homework, you can do a bit of additional dictionary practice and work out the difference in meaning of the two words.

          • Nogods

            BILLIONS of Christian…. STILL wrong. Apparently they don’t know the difference. Why don’t you educate them.

          • CliveM

            Nogood, it’s there in black and white. We know of one person who doesn’t, you.

          • Nogods

            How many more thousands of years would need to pass by before you will accept the fact that Jesus was not a god but just and man and is STILL dead?

          • CliveM

            How many thousands of years more do you think I’m going to be around?

            Well when i say ‘think ‘ I’m clearly trying to flatter.

          • Nogods

            And you were just claiming that you knew the definition of “would!” Hilarious!

          • chiefofsinners

            It is clear to anyone reading the New Testament that Jesus could return in their lifetime but will not necessarily do so.
            “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance’. 2 Peter 3:9

          • Nogods

            Isn’t it weird how the invisible and the nonexistent appear so similar.

          • chiefofsinners

            …said the blind man.

          • The Julian calendar

          • chiefofsinners

            So the period from 46 BC to 54 AD?
            Most people use the term ‘first century’ to mean the century following the birth of Jesus Christ. This is because most people do not consider Him to be a mythical figure.

          • “Most people” who still believe in the Superstitious Idiocy of Iron-age Uneducated Middle-east Goat herders re idiots.

          • chiefofsinners

            If all you have are insults then your arguments are bankrupt.

          • No insults, just uncomfortable facts.

    • James60498 .

      That rather depends on where you choose to look on the Internet.

      Yes at the moment the secularist fascists have more influence and more of the impressionable youth look to them because it’s easier to believe that we are the peak of existence

      But there are plenty of scientists around who understand these things far better than you do, who totally disagree with you.

      Look them up for yourself. It won’t take long if you make the effort.

      • Nogods

        Isn’t it interesting that about 95% of the worlds top scientists are atheists. About 65% of ordinary scientists are atheists. (1. Larson and Witham, Leading Scientists Still Reject God, Nature, Vol. 394, No. 6691, p. 313 (1998). 2. Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006),pp. 126,127. 3. Alex Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2011), p. vii. 4. Stephen Jay Gould. 1997. “Nonoverlapping Magisteria.” Natural History (March): 16–)

        • Anton

          How is “top” scientist” defined? In the 1990s about 40% of scientists believed in a personal God (see the scientific journal Nature, 3rd April 1997, vol.386, p.435). This is close to the proportion found in a 1916 survey (referred to in the 1997 study). Why so many? Science points to God, because there is beauty and order in the scientific ‘laws of nature’. Beauty is truth, truth beauty – Keats.

          • Nogods

            Why is the bible true? Because it says it is true!!! A smart person would see a problem with that.

          • Anton

            Where does it say that?

          • Nogods

            You obviously haven’t read your bible. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16

            Why do you think the bible is true? Isn’t it odd that there is NOTHING written in the bible that could not have been written by someone living in the 1st century? Why is that? Why is the bible filled with so much utter nonsense.

          • Anton

            I am familiar with that verse. It does not, of course, state which books are canonical, which is the point.

            “Isn’t it odd that there is NOTHING written in the bible that could not have been written by someone living in the 1st century?”

            Tell me: what would have impressed you, had it been in a 2000-year-old document?

          • chiefofsinners

            Yes there is. The bible says that God sits on the circle of the earth. It says He stretched out the stars. It chooses to say that He removes our sins as far as the East is from the West – which we now know to be an infinite distance – rather than the North from the South, which is only 12000 miles.

          • Nogods

            “He removes our sins as far as the East is from the West – which we now know to be an infinite distance – rather than the North from the South, which is only 12000 miles.”

            What in the world are you talking about? I hope you are kidding.

          • chiefofsinners

            Think about it some more. If you start from any point on the earth and travel North, or South, you will reach the North or South poles in a maximum of 12000 miles. North and South are a finite distance apart. Think through a similar journey going West or East.
            No first century (or earlier) writer could have known that.

          • Nogods

            Hilarious!!! Your comment is the dumbest comment that I have read in months.

            The earth is a sphere. Any two points opposite one another will be approximately 12,500 miles apart. (Face palm goes here.)

          • chiefofsinners

            Which point on the face of the earth is the West pole? Which is the East pole? I had heard reports that many US citizens lacked any knowledge of geography, but had not believed them until now.

          • Nogods

            Oh dear

            A smart person would realize that you just chose a point on a sphere as an endpoint. But I can do that just as easily traveling east or west.

            Think about it some more. If you start from any point on the earth and travel East, or West, you will reach the Prime meridian or the anti meridian in a maximum of 12,500 miles. The prime meridian and anti meridian are a finite distance apart. Think through a similar journey going North or South. No first century (or earlier) writer could have known that.

            If you use a compass to head north, you will end up about 500 km away from the North Pole. You won’t end up at the North Pole.

            I had heard reports that Christians were science-illiterate and lacked any knowledge of geography or anything else science related, and you are further evidence of that.

          • bluedog

            A really, really smart person would be talking about great circle navigation. But you don’t.

          • chiefofsinners

            The Eastern and Western hemispheres are modern inventions, forming an arbitrary division, and were not even thought of when the Psalms were written. The North and South poles are physical places of ‘natural’ origin which have existed as long as the earth.
            Try atracking the other examples I gave you.

          • Nogods

            The North and South poles are physical places of ‘natural’ origin just like any other place on earth which have also existed as long as the earth. Interestingly, the north and South Poles did not exist in the minds of those writing the bible and weren’t known to exist until century’s later. Further, north and south are names derived from Greek mythology and were directions related to stars as the compass was unknown to the Roman Empire until the about the 12th century.

          • chiefofsinners

            The concepts of North and South appear throughout the Old Testament, as do East and West. A psalm written around 1000 BC says that our sins are removed as far as the East is from the West.
            You can travel East or West for ever. You can only travel North or South for a maximum of 12500 miles.

          • Nogods

            Lol. The earth is a sphere. The only thing stopping your travels in any direction is an imaginary end point.

            The north and South Poles appear nowhere in the bible because the bible was written by men who were completely ignorant of anything beyond their very limited sphere of influence.

          • chiefofsinners

            No. If you travel North far enough you reach the North Pole. Once you are at the North Pole, a step in any direction is a move South.

          • Luminya

            More proof that xtians don’t even know their own book.

          • Anton

            If you’d bothered to check my exchange below with Nogods you’d see that that was untrue.

          • chiefofsinners

            Yes, I’m sure you xtheists read it every day.

          • Luminya

            What you don’t realize is that many atheists were raised steeped in fundamentalism and can quote chapter and verse endlessly.

          • chiefofsinners

            And what you seem to have forgotten is that many Christians were raised steeped in atheism.

          • chiefofsinners

            Whence cometh the concept of truth?

          • Nogods

            Not from the bible.

          • chiefofsinners

            The concept of truth underpins and fills the bible. The word is used 380 times with numerous derivatives.
            You have not answered my question about the origin of the concept.

          • Nogods

            The concept of sheep underpins and fills the bible. The word is used over 500 times with numerous derivatives.
            You have not answered my question about the origin of the concept.

          • chiefofsinners

            You did not ask about the origin of the concept of truth, I did.
            Since you are unable to supply an answer, I will give you one.
            Since man can never absolutely prove anything, the concept of knowable absolutes must have come from an external, higher source. This is God. Likewise the desire felt by many for absolute truth comes from God. And, of course, absolute truth is God. It can only be so.
            You all-but worship science because it brings you as close as you think you can get to truth. However there is something better and more true, but it can only be known through faith.

          • Pastorbob666

            Every article in “Nature” is not peer reviewed.

            Since when is Keats a scientist?

          • Anton

            Sorry to hear that. But the point about truth and beauty that Keats was making in that Ode (easily found by googling the quote) is the same as the one I am making about the laws of physics.

        • James60498 .

          Who defines “top scientists”?

          What about Francis Collins? Is he a top scientist?

          • Nogods

            Yes. Did Mr. Collins arrive at his conclusion after completing a rigorous scientific study utilizing the vast array if scientific instruments at his disposal. Or did Mr. Collins arrive at his conclusion after seeing a waterfall while on a hike? If you read his book, you would know his conclusion is the product of a casual hike. And from this, not only did Mr. Collins conclude that the Christian god is the one and only true god, but that all the other supernatural craziness that forms the basis of Christianity is true, such as Jesus being born of a virgin, rising from the dead, and occasionally healing people. So are Mr. Collins’s conclusions reliable or rational? Or is he just another brainwashed and unquestioning follower of an ancient superstitious belief.

          • James60498 .

            I did read his book. And if you are going to accuse everyone who believes in God as being brainwashed then I would rather suggest that it’s you who are brainwashed.

          • Nogods

            What is odd is that, instead of attacking my argument, you attacked me. And that says EVERYTHING about your position.

            Let’s see if you are a brainwashed cult member. Here is a simple test: there are an infinite variety of things the christian god could do that would immediately and unequivocally convince everyone, including me, of his existence. Yet, he chooses to not do any of them. (Do you think it is because he is identical to all the other gods we now regard as mythology?)

            So now let’s see how open your mind is. Tell me what I could show you that would convince you that your god is identical to all the other gods you could choose to worship, but are CERTAIN are not real? Just ONE thing? One small thing? Because their are an INFINITE variety of things you could show me that would instantly and unequivocally convince me that your god is actually real. Brainwashed cult members can never think of anything.

          • William Lewis

            “Tell me what I could show you that would convince you that your god is identical to all the other gods you could choose to worship, but are CERTAIN are not real? Just ONE thing? One small thing?”

            That’s easy. Show me the bones or grave of Jesus of Nazareth and you will make an agnostic again.

            “Brainwashed cult members can never think of anything.”

            Yay! I’m not a brainwashed cult member! Go me!

          • Luminya

            Sigh…smh…there are no bones and no grave because he probably didn’t exist. That is not proof of your god. Come on, this is the internet. You are going to have to do better than that.

          • William Lewis

            Sigh etc. If you had actually read the thread and, in particular, what I was actually replying to (I even put it in italics at the top of my comment) you would see that this was not about providing proof of my God but about satisfying nogods’ criteria for open mindedness! Something which we are all obligated to do with flying colours.

          • CliveM

            Be careful I think it’s his mother.

          • William Lewis

            Yes. He’s probably still in bed.

          • Luminya

            Attacking Nogods personally is not a convincing argument for your god. You are going to have to do better. Do you not have an evidence at all?

          • chiefofsinners

            Yes of course, it is fine for no goods to dish out allegations of brainwashing, but to return the compliment is not allowed. You carry on making up your own rules, I know it’s what you like.
            To those who choose not to believe, there will never be any convincing arguments.

          • Luminya

            I don’t know, you have provided exactly zero convincing arguments.

          • chiefofsinners

            I repeat: to those who choose not to believe, there will never be any convincing arguments, not in this life. But faith is the evidence of things hoped for and the substance of things not seen.

          • Nogods

            And just as you admit, faith is a fancy word for wishful thinking. It is the absolute lowest standard of evidence as it requires NO evidence. There is just as much evidence supporting the existence of flying purple fairies that orbit the earth as there is supporting the existence of your god. So if it is irrational to believe that purple fairies are real, it is also irrational to think gods are real and to organize your life around them.

            You believe in your 1st century superstition because of faith. That means you will not find any scientific support for your superstitious beliefs in the natural world. So it is pointless to look for it and dishonest to claim you have found it.

          • chiefofsinners

            There are several differences between God and purple fairies. The key one is that many millions of people have found that God can be known by faith. So far as I am aware, no-one claims to have found knowledge of purple fairies by faith. Nor does a faith in fairies inspire countless acts of love, compassion and self-sacrifice every day. Nor does it provide anyone with comfort or meaning in life. Nor an authority for morality, or an explanation of the origin of the universe and the purpose of existence. Nor does it lift anyone’s burden of guilt.

          • Nogods

            You are mistaken. You obviously don’t have enough faith in purple fairies. Absolute truth can only be achieved through absolute faith. And you lack that. You have to believe in purple fairies and they will reveal themselves to you and your life will be beautiful. But if you don’t believe in them and be their friend, when you die, they will torture you for eternity. The choice is yours. Choose wisely.

          • chiefofsinners

            Faith is not either partial or absolute.
            Effective faith can be as small as a mustard seed.
            Because the outcome does not depend on the size of the faith but on the power of the one in whom the faith is placed.

          • Nogods

            Faith comes in one flavor – wishful thinking.

            You have only faith not only in the power but also its quantity. Which means your entire belief is just more wishful thinking.

            “Effective faith” is a logical bankrupt idea. You can hope for something as much as you like, but that has no bearing on the veracity of the thing hoped for. Believing something is true will never make it true, no matter how hard you believe.

          • chiefofsinners

            You are writing gibberish, presumably because you feel you should answer but have nothing to say.

          • Nogods

            Focus on the arguments – not me.

          • chiefofsinners

            That being the point. I have focused on what you wrote and it is unintelligible.

          • Nogods

            Tell me what your god does that Zeus doesn’t do? Let’s start with a list comparing Zeus with Jesus.

            1. Jesus doesn’t heal people. Zeus doesn’t heal people.
            2. Jesus doesn’t prevent bad things from happening to good people. Zeus doesn’t prevent bad things from happening to good people.
            3. Jesus doesn’t stop priests from raping young boys. Zeus doesn’t stop priests from raping young boys.
            4. Jesus doesn’t stop anyone from having an abortion. Zeus doesn’t stop anyone from having an abortion.
            5. Jesus never defends his ethics himself but relies upon his followers to speak on his behalf. Zeus never defends his ethics himself but relies upon his followers to speak on his behalf.
            6. Jesus never makes TV appearances to clarify his book. Zeus never makes TV appearances to clarify his books.
            7. Jesus never writes anything. Zeus never writes anything.
            8. Jesus is invisible. Zeus is invisible.
            9. There is no clear and objective evidence supporting the claim that Jesus was magical. There is no clear and objective evidence supporting the claim that Zeus was magical.
            10. The existence of a magical Jesus is only documented in an ancient book. The existence of a magical Zeus is only documented in ancient books.
            11. There are a million things Jesus could do that would immediately convince everyone that he is real, but he does none of them. There are a million things Zeus could do that would immediately convince everyone that he is real, but he does none of them.
            12. Jesus doesn’t stop Christians from having their heads lopped off by Muslim extremists. Zeus doesn’t stop Christians from having their heads lopped off by Muslim extremists.
            13. Jesus doesn’t feed starving children. Zeus doesn’t feed starving children.
            14. The followers of Jesus don’t think that he does anything himself but claim that he has to “work through” people. The followers of Zeus don’t think that he does anything himself but claim that he has to “work through” people.

            So what do you think your god actually does?

          • chiefofsinners

            I refer you to my previous answer.

          • Pastorbob666

            Children ARE brainwashed from the time they are very young.. The parents take them to church to learn their religion. At birth, we are all brainwashed into the religion of our parents. Especially the weak minded children. In my case, I was exposed to christianity and judaism by my parents. But none of it rang true by the time I was around seven years old and realized that I was being fed a bunch of non kosher baloney!.

          • chiefofsinners

            Or are you?

          • Nogods

            Let’s take a test to see who is the closed minded cult member:

            There are an infinite variety of things the christian god could do that would immediately and unequivocally convince everyone, including me, of his existence. Yet, he chooses to not do any of them. (Do you think it is because he is identical to all the other gods we now regard as mythology?)

            So now let’s see how open your mind is. Tell me what I could show you that would convince you that your god is identical to all the other gods you could choose to worship, but are CERTAIN are not real? Just ONE thing? One small thing? Because their are an INFINITE variety of things you could show me that would instantly and unequivocally convince me that your god is actually real. Brainwashed cult members can never think of anything.

          • Pastorbob666

            Maybe mr. Gawd could take over all TV stations around the world and appear on a TV special. He could perform some miracles right in front of some scientists. This wouldn’t be hard for an omnipotent, omniscient being.

          • chiefofsinners

            You are simply describing the difference between the Christian position that absolute truth is knowable and your position that it is not. Then you label the Christian position with the perjorative term ‘closed mind’.
            However…
            If (and it won’t happen) some other ‘God’ could forgive me, make my spirit alive and satisfy my longing for meaning and purpose, while being entirely good, right and loving, then that would be a start.

          • Nogods

            Your “absolute truth” is based on “faith” – which is just wishful thinking. A smart person would see a problem with that.

            Since gods are fictional, you have stated a requirement you know is impossible to satisfy. That is the same as stating no requirement at all. And that is the definition of brainwashed – just as I said. I hate always being right.

          • chiefofsinners

            A smart person will understand that they can never prove anything for certain and therefore absolute truth is only knowable by faith.

          • Nogods

            I have faith purple fairies orbit the earth.

            A smart person would see the problems with your insanely ridiculous beliefs.

          • Luminya

            And this is your one example. Good gracious, that is pathetic.

          • Pastorbob666

            That’s all xtian hypocrites have…personal attacks!

          • Albert

            Einstein wasn’t an atheist, and neither was Darwin.

          • James60498 .

            There are plenty of others too. Some you may not have heard their names but you would certainly have heard of what they have done.

            Of course for someone to be thought of as “leading” in the UK they really need to get on the BBC. And how likely are the BBC to make a fuss of the fact that a major scientist is a Christian?

            Just thought I would give them one major living working name. After that it became clear that they were only here to be abusive so didn’t bother.

          • Albert

            I agree, being abusive is the key thing. Their purpose is to assure themselves of their superiority. The trouble is, as one who has been posting down here for years, they’re not very good at it – even for atheists.

          • Pastorbob666

            So why keep coming back to get “abused.?”

          • Pubcrawler

            “And how likely are the BBC to make a fuss of the fact that a major scientist is a Christian?”

            Or Jewish. Muslim, on the other hand…

        • Albert

          Since science is about physics and God is about metaphysics, scientists are no more qualified, as scientists, to talk about philosophy of religion, than they are to talk about music theory. Moreover, there was a study recently that showed that that most of these scientists became atheists in adolescence and for non-scientific (or perhaps philosophically illiterate) reasons.

          • Nogods

            There are many religious claims science has disproven. Here are a few:

            1. As the story goes, god reincarnated himself as Jesus so that he could “sacrifice” himself, to himself, as a means of forgiving the sins of Adam and Eve. Yet, science is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that Adam and Eve were not the first humans and there is no evidence or reason to believe they ever existed. So the entire story of jesus is built upon this false premiss. If you don’t believe in the genesis story, and the entire story of Jesus is built upon that story, why would you believe the Jesus story?

            2. Modern science is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that the universe was not created as recounted in the story of genesis.

            3. Modern science is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN the whole story of the great exodus never happened.

            4. Most Christians believe that their god listens to them and answers their prayers. This is commonly claimed as “evidence” of their god. So if their god heals them in response to prayer, why do Christians have the same life expectancy as everyone else? Modern science has never documented a SINGLE instance in which someone has been healed by prayer or by the magic of a god.

            5. Modern science is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that life has evolved over time and was not created in its present forms.

            6. Science is absolutely certain that the soul is purely a fictional construct.

            Isn’t it interesting to think that there have been thousands of early questions about our universe that were once explained as “the work of god”. But as we became more educated and learned more about our world, those supernatural answers were replaced with real world answers. The interesting part of this however, is that during this time, NONE of those early questions were actually found to be the work of a god; “God” has NEVER turned out to actually be a correct answer to any question – EVER.

            The god of the bible is no different then the thousands of other gods we now classify as mythology. It really is that simple.

            And FYI – Every study ever conducted concludes that most of these brainwashed believers became believers in adolescence because an authority figure claimed that an ancient superstitious story was true – obviously a non-scientific or philosophical reason.

          • Albert

            There’s so much wrong with this post that it is difficult to know where to begin.

            In order for your points to count against Christianity, you need them to be both correct and significant. But not one of your points is both correct and significant. Therefore, your point do not count against Christianity.

            Secondly, the issue here is not Christianity, but whether science is the reason why some scientists are atheists – that was what you were originally discussing. Now Christianity could be entirely false, but science would not be the right discipline to do metaphysics and so science is not a good reason to be an atheist.

            So from this, all you’ve demonstrated is (i) You don’t know much about Christianity and (ii) you don’t think logically

            Nevertheless, you are quite prepared, publicly to disdain Christianity as irrational. Now that really is irrational.

            Well done, Nogods. Do keep writing, you make the task of showing atheists to be irrational and ignorant, so much easier.

          • Nogods

            Isn’t it interesting how, instead of attacking my arguments, you simply dismiss them and then attack me? And that says everything about you and your untenable position. Keep up the willful ignorance. The existence of your god depends upon it.

          • chiefofsinners

            Your arguments ignore the fact that unbelief and irreligion have always existed and been significant sources of dispute, throughout human history. Modern levels of unbelief are no greater than when Jesus was crucified or Noah’s family survived the flood.

          • Nogods

            Noah!?? For the love of god man, did you not go to a real school!?

            In the story of Noah, the Jewish/Christian god murdered everyone but one family because he believed humans had become evil. (Not that all-knowing of a god if this came as a surprise to him. And not that all-powerful if he lacked the ability to create a perfect population. And not that smart if he couldn’t figure out how to even create such a perfect population. But I digress.). So this god decided to MURDER EVERYONE (including pregnant woman, children, the elderly, and harmless animals for some illogical reason) so he could start over. Yet, on the NEXT PAGE, the world is once again repopulated with evil people. Is this god just dumb? Or incompetent? Or just fictional – like all the other gods one could choose to think were real?

          • William Lewis

            Have you ever managed to hold a discussion on a particular subject that involved more than one (your) exchange of views? You skim over your bald assertions and then divert as soon as anyone tries to get you to elaborate. It’s all a bit superficial really.

          • Nogods

            Focus on my comments – not on me.

          • William Lewis

            I am focusing on how you conduct a discussion.

          • Nogods

            Evidence please….

          • William Lewis

            You side tracked chiefofsinners’ point about unbelief in the time of Noah by going on a rant about Noah.

          • Nogods

            Because his belief in Noah shows poor judgment, extreme gullibility, complete lack of analytical skills, willful ignorance, and outright stupidity – all of which weigh against his credibility.

          • William Lewis

            That was the sidetrack to the point he was making. Good grief are you able to follow any line of reasoning at all?

          • Nogods

            Noah! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

          • Pastorbob666

            I address this to the xtian hypocrites on this thread.

            There is one part of the story of Noah’s Ark that deserves special recognition. It shows us something about God that is quite unsettling to any intelligent person who takes the time to consider his actions. That special section is this:

            God senselessly murdered millions of humans and billions of animals in the flood How do we know it was senseless? Because “God” is supposed to be “all-knowing” and “all-powerful.” If God were to exist, God would know what was coming when he created Adam and Eve. Therefore, God knew he would be murdering millions of people.

            This realization leads to an obvious question: Why didn’t God simply speed up Jesus’ arrival to avoid the atrocity that is the flood? Or why didn’t God program Adam and Eve when he created them to completely circumvent the need for such a horrendous atrocity?

            You may have never considered this question, but it is exquisitely important. Because the flood is an atrocity of the highest order. It is mass murder on a global scale.

            The idea that Christians would accept a mass-murderer as their object of worship shows us something about Christians, does it not? Think about it – By (supposedly) murdering nearly every human on the planet, the Christian God is far more heinous than Hitler. No “loving” and “perfect” being can also be a mass-murderer bent of global genocide. Yet Christians willfully worship him. Why?

            If you are a Christian, I would ask you to simply look inside yourself today. Why would you accept a mass murderer into your life?

            And Noah’s flood is not the only place where God displays these horrific tendencies toward mindless slaughter. Here are several other examples.

            In the book of Exodus chapter 12 verse 28, God writes about one of his early massacres:

            So the people of Israel did just as the LORD had commanded through Moses and Aaron. And at midnight the LORD killed all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn son of the captive in the dungeon. Even the
            firstborn of their livestock were killed. Pharaoh and his officials and all the people of Egypt woke up during the night, and loud wailing was heard throughout the land of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died.

            Here the death of the children is directly at the hand of God.

            In Isaiah chapter 13, God paints this word picture:

            Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes. For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon, and no amount of silver or gold will buy them off. The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows. They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will
            show no compassion for the children.

            Is this the imprint of a “loving” God?

            In Jeremiah chapter 49, verse 20, God paints a similar picture:

            Therefore hear the plan which the LORD has made against Edom and the purposes which he has formed against the inhabitants of Teman: Even the little ones of the flock shall be dragged away; surely their fold shall be appalled at their fate. At the sound of their fall the earth shall tremble; the sound of their cry shall be heard at the Red Sea.

            In Hosea chapter 13, God paints a similar picture:

            Samaria shall bear her guilt, because she has rebelled against her God; they shall fall by the sword, their little ones shall be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women ripped open.

            In Numbers chapter 31, god paints a similar picture:

            Moses said to them, “Have you let all the women live? Behold, these caused the people of Israel, by the counsel of Balaam, to act treacherously against the LORD in the matter of Pe’or, and so the plague came among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore, kill every male
            among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

            Here Moses, acting as an agent of God, specifies that thousands of male babies and children be killed, as well as thousands of women. The Bible states in verse 35 that the captured women numbered “thirty-two thousand persons in all, women who had not known man by lying with him.” This
            was not a small attack. Tens of thousands men, women and children were massacred.

            In Deuteronomy Chapter 3 we find this:

            Next we turned and went up along the road toward Bashan, and Og king of Bashan with his whole army marched out to meet us in battle at Edrei. The LORD said to me, “Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon.” So the LORD our God also gave into our hands Og king of Bashan and all his army. We struck them down, leaving no survivors. At that time we took all his cities. There was not one of the sixty cities that we did not take from them—the whole region of Argob, Og’s kingdom in Bashan. All these cities were fortified with high walls and with gates and bars,
            and there were also a great many unwalled villages. We completely destroyed them, as we had done with Sihon king of Heshbon, destroying every city—men, women and children. But all the livestock and the plunder from their cities we carried off for ourselves.

            They massacred all the men, women and children in 60 cities at God’s request.

            Even in the “New Testament” we find the same sort of thing. In the book of Matthew, chapter 2, mixed into the Christmas story, the Bible describes an amazing massacre of thousands of babies:

            And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they
            should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring
            thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by
            Jeremiah the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

            Think about the thousands of families who were affected by this massacre. The Bible describes their suffering: they wept and could not be comforted. Of course they could not be comforted. If you are a parent, you know exactly how distraught you would feel if an agent of the government came to your door one morning and slaughtered your
            children.

            Why would God do this? Why would you want anything to do with such a murderous, horrific being? What can we say about people who would want to believe in such a being? Why would any normal, intelligent, ethical human being “worship” such a heinous, demented and despicable “god” as this?

            It is impossible for a “perfect” and “loving” being to also be heinous, demented and despicable. As an intelligent person, you should be able to see that.

          • William Lewis

            “I address this to the xtian hypocrites on this thread.”

            That’s a fabulous opening sentence. Out of interest, how many Christians do you think will read the rest of your comment? You are special, pasterbob.

          • William Lewis

            That’s a bit manic. Are you OK?

          • chiefofsinners

            The point is not about whether Noah literally existed as described in the bible. The point is that high levels of irreligion and unbelief are testified to in ancient writings.

          • Nogods

            The first century was awash in superstitious beliefs. To claim that there were “high levels” of unbelief is just more of your wishful thinking.

            And claiming that the story of Noah is true is complete insanity.

          • chiefofsinners

            The proliferation of immoral behaviour throughout history is evidence enough that vast swathes of humanity have either not believed in God, or have not sufficiently feared Him to behave exactly as they please.
            If you don’t believe me, read some history.

          • Nogods

            Or they were just following your gods rules. He commands you to murder disobedient children, people that work on the sabbath, those that worship other gods, non virgins… And about a thousand other acts that only a sadistic psychopath would commit.

          • chiefofsinners

            He does not command me to do any of these things. He commands us to repent.

          • Nogods

            I am glad that you don’t follow those silly laws any more. Only a sadistic psychopath would make such laws to begin with.

          • chiefofsinners

            I do not follow them because God has never commanded me to do so. Neither did He command anyone else to do so. You have entirely distorted the laws of Moses, the first of which is to love God and love your neighbour as yourself.

          • Nogods

            The wages of sin is death. And working on the sabbath is sin.

            Where in the bible does it command Christians to hate gay people and to discriminate against them?

          • chiefofsinners

            Working on the sabbath is not sin. Jesus did it.
            I love gay people. The bible commands me to. They might do all sorts of wrong things, like me, but that doesn’t stop me loving them.

          • Albert

            Isn’t it interesting how, instead of attacking my arguments, you simply dismiss them and then attack me?

            That simply isn’t true, as anyone can see. The position you were proposing to do with atheism. But actually all you did was to raise some points which you think are against Christianity. I provided an argument to point out that these points do no in fact count against theism, and therefore, do not establish anything at all about the rationality of atheism. Far from simply dismissing your arguments, with a single argument I undermined all your arguments.

            As a bonus, I also pointed out that your points have not been shown to count against Christianity. Let’s just take one, from the top, as an example:

            1. As the story goes, god reincarnated himself as Jesus so that he could “sacrifice” himself, to himself, as a means of forgiving the sins of Adam and Eve. Yet, science is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that Adam and Eve were not the first humans and there is no evidence or reason to believe they ever existed. So the entire story of jesus is built upon this false premiss. If you don’t believe in the genesis story, and the entire story of Jesus is built upon that story, why would you believe the Jesus story?

            In the words of Richard Dawkins, “That’s an argument?”

            As the story goes, god reincarnated himself as Jesus

            No he didn’t. You don’t even know what words mean.

            so that he could “sacrifice” himself, to himself, as a means of forgiving the sins of Adam and Eve.

            Actually, you should have said so that he could “sacrifice” himself, to himself, as a means of forgiving the sins of the world. Since you have artificially narrowed the scope of forgiveness, everything that follows is moot.

            Yet, science is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that Adam and Eve were not the first humans and there is no evidence or reason to believe they ever existed.

            If you mean that Christianity rests on there being a first couple who whose names were “Adam and Eve” then you’re just wrong. If on the other hand you mean that we did not have any first ancestors then I’d like to see the evidence of that.

            So the entire story of jesus is built upon this false premiss.

            This is now a conclusion built on several errors of fact. Therefore, it isn’t true.

            If you don’t believe in the genesis story, and the entire story of Jesus is built upon that story, why would you believe the Jesus story?

            That’s like saying “Because I don’t believe that every book in a library is describing real historical events, therefore, I cannot believe any book in the library is describing real historical events.” If you really think that, please provide your reasoning.

            To conclude: in my previous post I provided an argument which undercut all your arguments as arguments for the rationality of atheism (or the irrationality of theism). I also pointed out that your points did not count against Christianity. I have now answered one of your “arguments” line by line, pointing our the basic errors of understanding (there are at least four), any one of which is fatal to your argument against Christianity. But even if you did defeat Christianity, you still wouldn’t have defended atheism.

            Therefore, I am entitled to stand by my previous comment.

          • Nogods

            Oh dear….

            Prove that your imaginary metaphysical world exists. Go.

          • Albert

            What do you mean by proof, and what is the standard or kind of proof that you will accept?

          • Pastorbob666

            showing atheists to be irrational and ignorant, so much easier.

            Aside from that, what is logical about believing in

            a Great Flood – Never happened

            A talking snake -Impossible, since snakes don’t have vocal chords

            A person coming back to life after being dead three days

            Moses parting the Red Sea – No evidence it ever happened. Historically, there were no Jews in Bronze Age
            Egypt (the setting of Exodus and, long before that, of the pyramids’
            erection), because there were no Jews at all until the rise of the kingdom of Judah in the Iron Age.

          • Nogods

            There are two worlds you can choose to believe in: the natural world and the supernatural world.

            The Natural World: For something to exist in the natural world, there must be supporting evidence. This supporting evidence must be observable. That means that the phenomena can be detected with the senses such as sight and hearing. In many instances, we use scientific equipment to amplify what we can sense, such as microscopes, telescopes, and sensors. Some things that exist in the natural world are detected indirectly or through inference. This includes such things as black holes, dark energy, dark matter, and atomic particles. Everything that exists in the natural world can be explained by mathematical or scientific processes. Though often the explanations are incomplete, tens-of-thousands of scientists, from every religious, ethnic, and geographic demographic, are diligently working to unravel the mysteries of our existence. Most importantly, all claims and supporting evidence are subject to strict scrutiny and critical analysis. There is no defense that one must blindly “respect my belief”. Those claims that fail to meet a threshold level or reliability are soundly rejected.

            The Supernatural World: Things that exist in the supernatural world are merely ideas, unsupported by any form of evidence or any connection to the natural world. By definition, nothing in the supernatural world has EVER been observed. This includes gods, magic, miracles, witchcraft, telepathy, and all other superstitious beliefs. The moment one claims that a supernatural “belief” is supported by evidence (which only exists in the natural world) that supernatural claim moves from the supernatural world to the natural world, where it is subject to the same scrutiny and critical analysis as all other natural world claims.

            PAY CLOSE ATTENTION HERE. THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART AND I DON’T WANT YOU TO MISS IT: It is a scientific question if one claims that a god has reached his magical hand from his supernatural world into our natural world, which is the only world we inhabit. So if YOU think YOU have experienced your god with YOUR senses, SCIENCE can ALSO experience your god. And science has an army of the smartest, most well trained rational thinkers waiting to TEST your claims using the most sophisticated equipment humankind has EVER invented. And they have NEVER found any evidence to conclude that your god is real. Your god is no different than Zeus or the thousands of other gods you could think were real, but are certain are fictional. It really is that simple.

            Believing in something without evidence is the lifeblood of religions. By your own admission, religion is about faith; it is about believing in something for which there is no evidence. It is merely an idea, completely detached from reality. And if you should claim that your superstitious beliefs are supported by evidence, your claim is subject to the same strict scrutiny that all real world claims are subject to. And thus far, ALL religious superstitions have failed ALL tests of credibility. Your god is identical to all the other gods you choose to not believe in.

            There are thousands of gods one could choose to worship. You choose to worship just one. But your god really isn’t that special or unique. Most of the world doesn’t worship or believe in your god. And when you choose to believe in the supernatural, there are no limits on what is a god and what is not. Look at YouTube and you will see many other people that believe they are prophets of gods or gods with powers to heal, levitate, read minds…. These people and their claims are just as legitimate as your religious superstition – if you believe in the supernatural.

            You believe in your 1st century superstition because of faith. That means you will not find any scientific support for your superstitious beliefs in the natural world. So it is pointless to look for it and dishonest to claim you have found it.

          • chiefofsinners

            Dear no goods, there is not a choice between believing in the natural and spiritual worlds. Both exist.

          • Nogods

            Prove it.

          • William Lewis

            What proof do you require to show that the supernatural exists?

          • Nogods

            What evidence do you have?

          • William Lewis

            You didn’t ask for evidence. You asked for proof.

            What proof do you require to show that the supernatural exist?

          • Nogods

            Proof and evidence are synonyms. Call it what you will. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. But I suspect you have none. Let’s hear about it. Stop stalling.

          • William Lewis

            So whenever you ask for proof of something you are really just asking for some evidence? Is that right? Only it’s a rather, um, unusual definition.

            BTW I’m not stalling. I’m simply refusing your attempts to impose the parameters of the discussion.

          • Nogods

            proof
            pro͞of/
            noun
            1.
            evidence or argument establishing or helping to establish a fact or the truth of a statement.
            “you will be asked to give proof of your identity”
            synonyms: evidence, verification, corroboration, authentication, confirmation, certification, documentation, validation, attestation, substantiation
            “proof of ownership”

            Note the FIRST WORD – EVIDENCE. Note the first synonym – EVIDENCE.

            The stalling continues….

          • William Lewis

            Great. So what kind of evidence do you require for the existence of the supernatural? Only you have been rather focussed on scientific evidence throughout this thread and yet I think that you also understand that science has nothing to say about the supernatural.

          • Nogods

            STILL stalling….

            There is only one kind of evidence. Go read the definition I just gave you to learn about it. And you are STILL refusing to give it up. And science has a lot to say about supernatural claims and the evidence claimed to support them.

          • William Lewis

            So according to your definition of proof and its synonyms you will accept corroboration, confirmation, documentation, attestation and substantiation as proof of the supernatural?

          • Nogods

            All of that is indeed evidence. If you have it, let’s hear about it. Then we will talk about its quantity and its quality.

          • William Lewis

            This is good. You are actually starting to answer my original question. Well done.

          • Nogods

            And still nothing.

          • William Lewis

            That’s not an answer.

          • Nogods

            I can see that you have no evidence – just as I said. I hate always being right.

          • William Lewis

            Yes. It must be trying. Surrounded by all these ignoramuses.

            Still no answer I see.

            Anyway off to church now. Back later x Toodles

          • Nogods

            Isn’t praying just like sacrificing a small mammal, or throwing virgins into volcanos – just not as involved?

          • William Lewis

            You’re repeating yourself and the answer is still no.

          • Nogods

            Isn’t it weird how most Christians believe that their god listens to them and answers their prayers? For many, this is compelling evidence that their god must be real. So if their god heals them in response to prayer, why do Christians have the same life expectancy as everyone else (all other things being equal)? The simple math says that your god does nothing, and certainly isn’t healing people of anything. Do you think it is because he is fictional just like all the other gods you already know are not real?

          • William Lewis

            All very interesting I’m sure but where are we on extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence?

          • Nogods

            Nowhere – still.

          • William Lewis

            So can you elaborate on your claim?

          • Nogods

            What happened to your “evidence?” Lol

          • William Lewis

            Naughty, naughty! Trying the old switcheroo yet again! Let’s recall the original question that you responded to and which you now seem to be wriggling to avoid. The question is about what kind of evidence you require to show that the supernatural exists. Remember? So, you have asserted that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence but you have yet to justify this. Please proceed.

          • David Cromie

            What can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence. Hence extraordinary claims, such as the reality of a supernatural sky fairy creator, requires extraordinary evidence if it is to be believed.

          • William Lewis

            Your second sentence does not follow from your first sentence. So your “hence” does not work and your second sentence is just a repeat of the original assertion.

            In any case your first sentence is equally baseless in this case because an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

            So not only is your comment a non sequitur but your premise does not work.

            Nice try though and the sky fairy thing is cute.

          • alexinfinite

            He appears to have the concept reversed

          • William Lewis

            But wait…we have this:

            “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

            That’s not really true is it?

          • Nogods

            FYI – you prove something by supporting your position with evidence.

          • How about ANY at all?

          • Pastorbob666

            Maybe they have a picture of a ghost.

            Illi beanie chili beanie.. the spirits are about to speak!

          • chiefofsinners

            The point at issue is whether I can prove that the binary choice with which you began your comment is the only choice which exists. It is so obvious as to need no proof.

          • Nogods

            I can see basic logic isn’t your strength.

          • Pastorbob666

            Proof?????

          • Albert

            This is terribly confused.

            By definition, nothing in the supernatural world has EVER been observed.

            What you mean is, it hasn’t been observed in the natural world. But that’s only an objection if we know that metaphysical naturalism is true. But whether metaphysical naturalism is true is the point at issue. So your position is question begging.

            It is a scientific question if one claims that a god has reached his magical hand from his supernatural world into our natural world, which is the only world we inhabit.

            No it isn’t, because that would require science to look outside the natural world to identify the agency. But science is defined by the limits of the natural world – it deals with physics. Therefore, this is not a scientific question.

            And they have NEVER found any evidence to conclude that your god is real.

            Obviously not. It’s a philosophical question, not a scientific one.

            Your god is no different than Zeus or the thousands of other gods you could think were real, but are certain are fictional. It really is that simple.

            This is so bad, that I couldn’t make it up. Zeus, if he were real, would be an occupant of the universe – he lived on the top of Mount Olympus. The God of classical theism is not an occupant of the universe, but rather is the cause of the universe. That’s why you don’t find him here, and why his absence from the physical, scientific evidence, is irrelevant to the question of where he exists. Your argument is about as convincing as Yuri Gagarin, who was alleged to have said once he was in space “There’s no sign of God up here.” Who on earth thought that God would be found in a space above the clouds? And since he isn’t expected to be found there, the fact that he isn’t found there, tells us nothing at all about whether or not he exists. The naive ignorance of atheists is amazing.

            That means you will not find any scientific support for your superstitious beliefs in the natural world.

            I don’t have superstitious beliefs about the natural world. I have scientific beliefs about the natural world. Where you and I differ, I suggest is that whereas I think the natural world (or mutliverse, if such exists) has a cause, you hold that it is capable of existing without a cause. What evidence do you have for that?

          • Nogods

            Oh dear.

            Thank you for admitting that “metaphysical naturalism” only exists in your imagination – and that the existence of your god is a “philosophical question.” Isn’t it interesting how philophosy has NEVER proved the existence of anything?

            You state that science cannot look outside the natural world (which is obviously a true statement because there is no other world besides the natural world) but then you infer, THAT YOU CAN LOOK OUTSIDE THE NATURAL WORLD! Let’s hear about it? Tell me about your special powers superman?

            There are over a hundred other gods of creation that live outside the natural world just like your god. What ones do you think are real?

            What caused your god. And please don’t embarrass yourself with special pleading. Because if you can make up special rules, so can I.

          • Albert

            Thank you for admitting that “metaphysical naturalism” only exists in your imagination

            I never said that. And by definition, it does not exist in my imagination.

            and that the existence of your god is a “philosophical question.” Isn’t it interesting how philophosy has NEVER proved the existence of anything?

            Whether you like it or not, the question of God is a philosophical question. That’s why the question of God is taught in philosophy departments in universities. You can go to science departments in any country in the world, you will not find people doing scientific tests for God. This is because everyone who understands science and God, knows God is a philosophical question, not a scientific one. Now if the question of God is not a scientific question, but a philosophical question, and if, as you claim here, philosophy is not able to resolve the question, then any metaphysical claim including atheism cannot be resolved. So you have undercut your own position. You could still believe atheism is true, but only as a kind of faith position. But since you have poured scorn on faith, you are necessarily not able to be both rational and an atheist.

            You state that science cannot look outside the natural world (which is obviously a true statement because there is no other world besides the natural world

            In which case, “there is no other world besides the natural world” is not a scientific claim, but a philosophical claim. But you’ve just claimed that philosophy cannot resolve things. Therefore, the truth or otherwise of this claim here cannot be known. In which case, on your terms, which exclude faith, you are irrational to believe there is no other world besides the natural world.

            but then you infer, THAT YOU CAN LOOK OUTSIDE THE NATURAL WORLD!

            Please quote the part of my post where I have inferred that.

            There are over a hundred other gods of creation that live outside the natural world just like your god. What ones do you think are real?

            Again all that tells me is that you have not done any philosophy of religion to speak of. If you had done so, you would be aware of the reasons to think that even if there are many gods, there could only be one ultimate God. This is the God of classical theism that I believe in.

            What caused your god. And please don’t embarrass yourself with special pleading. Because if you can make up special rules, so can I.

            Look, save yourself the trouble. Don’t argue philosophy of religion if all you have read is stuff like Dawkins. God, if he exists, if a being who exists necessarily, that is to say, he has no beginning, no change, and no contingency in himself. Therefore, the question of what caused God is entirely meaningless, since cause can only apply to beings that are contingent. A being that exists necessarily cannot be caused.

            Now you’ve failed to answer the question I asked you:

            Where you and I differ, I suggest is that whereas I think the natural world (or multiverse, if such exists) has a cause, you hold that it is capable of existing without a cause. What evidence do you have for that?

            Why have you not answered that question? Would it because you have no scientific evidence for your answer?

            You haven’t a clue about the issues here. That’s evident to every person reading this who has at least an elementary grasp of the issues.

          • Pastorbob666

            How about if the scientist is also a musician?

          • Albert

            Then it is his expertise as a musician, not as a scientist that would make his judgement worth hearing. That’s why I said:

            scientists are no more qualified, as scientists, to talk about philosophy of religion, than they are to talk about music theory.

            As a culture, we need to grow out of this idea that because some is good at making scientific judgements that therefore they are good at making judgements about everything. It’s irrational and terribly needy.

          • Pastorbob666

            Music (theory and performance) is science. Everything about music is math based.

          • Albert

            So because someone is good at maths, therefore they are good a music theory? Or because someone happens to be good at evolutionary biology, therefore, they will be able to teach me music theory?

            Seriously?

            For a start, music theory involves a kind of language or code. Unless one knows that code or language, you cannot do music theory no matter how good you are at maths or finding evolutionary pathways. Moreover, it isn’t all reducible to maths. Consider the rules against parallel fifths or doubling the third in a major chord. These aren’t thing you will find in the fossil record or be able to deduce from Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems.

        • chiefofsinners

          Ah yes, Dawkins says so, so it must be true. We’ll all accept that, for what higher authority can there be? He is like a…er, God.

          • Nogods

            A lot of other people have conducted surveys. But you can continue to ignore those.

          • chiefofsinners

            I know a well respected biologist, not a Christian (yet), who says privately that evolution cannot be true. He also says that if he ever dared voice his concerns then his career would be finished.

          • Nogods

            Thanks for the laugh. When you think evolution is a massive criminal conspiracy perpetrated by millions of hard working scientists from every county in the world, from every socioeconomic classification, race, and religion, you can be certain that you are wrong.

            The way to become a superstar in science is to prove everyone wrong. But thanks for the laugh!

          • chiefofsinners

            Think through the implication of my comment for the surveys which you quote.

      • Luminya

        That is incorrect and you know it. Most of the world’s top scientists are atheist. There are a few lesser “scientists” who believe but they are not the ones at the forefront making new discoveries and posting new research.

        • Pubcrawler

          Nobel lareate Professor Sir John Gurdon.

          • Luminya

            Don’t be ridiculous, he says there is no proof.

          • Pubcrawler

            He’s not an atheist, though. All you know of him is what you find on Wiki. I’m acquainted with the man himself.

          • Luminya

            Matt. 18:3

          • Pubcrawler

            Not even tangential.

          • CliveM

            You’re wasting your time, you’re communicating with someone who already knows everything.

          • Pubcrawler

            I know… Just filling an idle hour.

          • William Lewis

            Pro 26:12

          • Luminya

            And he is the only one you can name? I stand by my statement “most”.

          • Pubcrawler

            He’s just one I happen to know, that is all. And is a Nobel laureate, not a ‘lesser scientist’.

          • chiefofsinners

            John Lennox, Stuart Burgess, Andy Mackintosh to name the three I know best. These are professors in the UK sense, not the US sense, of mathematics, design and thermodynamics, and all Christians.
            Or you might read Stephen Hawkin’s Brief History of Time.
            Most scientists are not atheists.

          • Luminya

            That is completely false, you need more education. The guys you mentioned are not at the forefront of their fields.

          • bluedog

            Must be time for you to impress us with your own Hall of Fame. Don’t hold back!

          • chiefofsinners

            In the UK professors are at the forefront of their fields. John is professor at one of the world’s leading universities. Stuart designed the solar array on the international space station.
            You’re right about Hawking, though. No-one’s ever heard of him.

          • Pastorbob666

            Never heard of Hawking? You knuckledraggers are still in the dark ages. Try Googling. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Hawking

            He’s from your country, the UK. A popular film was made about him.

          • Pubcrawler
          • CliveM

            It’ll be all those degrees he says he has. To learned to understand sarcasm and irony.

            Snort!

          • chiefofsinners

            Google ‘irony’.

          • William Lewis

            I love pasterbob.

          • Pastorbob666

            I’m still not letting you fellate me! I don’t swing that way!

          • chiefofsinners

            Four people have now up voted Pastorbob’s inability to grasp irony! Love them all.

          • Pubcrawler

            He’s so special.

    • Dreadnaught

      So prepare to celebrate the death of religion… A strange conclusion considering the prominence in our lives of a resurgent Islam; on that issue alone I hope you are correct.

    • dannybhoy

      Religion is the motivating force in the daily lives of billions of people across the globe. There are no signs of that changing any time soon.
      We could argue that the enduring nature of religious faith is down to one generation conforming to the values of another; but human beings seem to need a faith that helps them in their daily lives.
      Are they all deluded, emotionally and mentally crippled?
      Certainly some religions are basically out of kilter with what we know of the physical world and provide no rational basis for the sciences, exploration and understanding of the natural world. We could then argue that many such people live their lives in a dichotomy, happy to accept the fruits of scientific discovery even though that same science rejects and is at odds with their religious beliefs.

    • The Explorer

      As Dredders says below, Islam is a nasty fly in the ointment. Otherwise it’s all hunky dory, splice the topsail, overboard with the ship’s cat and yo ho for the Spanish Main.

      • Nogods

        Ancient superstitious beliefs are never a good thing.

        • The Explorer

          Love your neighbour as yourself is a bad thing? It arises from loving the God who made your neighbour.

          • Nogods

            That is a universal axiom that predates christanity by a few thousand years.

            And your thinks it is okay to murder disobedient children and non Christians. What a loving god.

          • The Explorer

            “Ancient superstitious beliefs are never a good thing”. I took you to be saying that all ancient belief are superstitious. The axiom to which you refer was along the lines of “Do not do to others what you would not want done to yourself.” Christ turned it into a positive.

            All the ancient cultures that acknowledged the axiom engaged in murder.

          • chiefofsinners

            It predates Christianity, but not the Christian God. Ten Commandments, Exodus 20.
            Another is “thou shalt not kill”

          • Nogods

            It predates the Jewish god by a few thousand years.

            Isn’t it interesting how many Christians regard the Ten Commandments as god’s law which should be followed? But oddly, only 2.5 of the 10 commandments are actually law in the US. The other 7.5 would violate the constitution and the American ideals of freedom if they were memorialized as law. The only place the other 7.5 are enforced are in Muslim countries that practice sharia law – like Iraq and Afghanistan. And to think, Christians proclaim the 10 commandments as model laws to live by. Let’s just hope that the Christian Taliban is never successful in their effort to institute Christian sharia law in the U.S.

          • chiefofsinners

            Nothing predates the Jewish God by a few thousand years. In the beginning, God.
            Your comment implies that you believe people should steal, covet, commit adultery, lie and fail to love their neighbours. You seem offended that Christians proclaim these as moral laws to live by. Imagine a society without them.

          • Nogods

            So you are a young earth creationist! And I thought you were just crazy. But you are a special type of crazy!

          • chiefofsinners

            Believing in an eternal God is not remotely the same thing as being a young earth creationist.

          • Roberta

            As if Christians don’t steal, covet, commit adultery, lie and kill, and fail to love thy neighbors. They do all of these in abundance so it’s easy to imagine a society without the 10 Commandments. We have it right now. Add rape to the list and child abuse.

        • Rhoda

          As you think ancient superstitious beliefs are never a good thing it seems fair to assume you would claim to be an atheist; so why are you using an avatar which is the usual “comic” and easily recognized depiction of “the god of this age” i.e. Satan or the devil?

          • Nogods

            Lol. The devil is fictional. (Face palm goes here.)

          • chiefofsinners

            Your avatar is fictional is it? Why choose it then? Perhaps because your comments are pure fiction?

          • Nogods

            The way your mind works is amazing.

            Faith is a fancy word for wishful thinking. It is the absolute lowest standard of evidence as it requires NO evidence. There is just as much evidence supporting the existence of flying purple fairies that orbit the earth as there is supporting the existence of your god. So if it is irrational to believe that purple fairies are real, it is also irrational to think gods are real and to organize your life around them.

          • chiefofsinners

            My mind is not amazing; but God who made it, He is truly amazing. Do not be surprised if you cannot understand His thoughts.

          • Nogods

            He is just as amazing as Viracocha.

            Let’s play a little game. You tell me all the reasons why the universe was not created by the god, Viracocha. And then I will repeat all those exact same answers back to you in an effort to explain to you why your god didn’t create the universe either.

          • chiefofsinners

            Let’s play this game. You tell me how the universe arose without a God.

          • Nogods

            Did you know that the god-of-the-gaps argument has NEVER been right?

            Please think of an instance where we had a perfectly good answer rooted in science that was subsequently replaced with one rooted in religion and faith?

            Now reverse the request and see if you can add up the thousands of instances in which “god did it” was replaced by an answer rooted in science.

          • chiefofsinners

            You are more than happy to highlight the gaps you perceive in Christianity, but you are unwilling to address the gaps in atheism.

          • Nogods

            Atheism isn’t a positive position. It has no burden to prove anything. It therefore cannot have gaps.

            “God” has ALWAYS been an incorrect answer to EVERY question it has answered.

          • … has ATTEMPTED to answer.

          • Bill Boko Shabob

            36,594 posts you have been on the computer quite allot – I put you in the unhealthy OCD category have a nice screen life

          • Clueless newbie says what ??

          • chiefofsinners

            Atheism has no burden to prove anything?
            How convenient. Just as well, because you can’t.
            Leaving only one option.,.
            5 letters. Begins with F. Ends with AITH.

          • David Cromie

            The gaps in atheism, which are….?

          • chiefofsinners

            Read the thread. Clearly, on the context, the lack of an explanation as to how the universe arose.

          • Big Bang Didn’t Need God, Stephen Hawking Says

            http://www.space.com/20710-stephen-hawking-god-big-bang.html

            Now tell us how your “god” arose without a creator.

            Be specific, and show your work.

          • chiefofsinners

            What was before the Big Bang?

          • What was before your “god” ?

          • chiefofsinners

            God is eternal.

          • The universe is eternal.

          • chiefofsinners

            Thank you for sharing your belief. Please do not claim to only accept things which you can prove.

          • So you got NOTHING to support your superstitious nonsense.

            Typical.

          • The Explorer

            What’s your take on the Second Law of Thermodynamcs?

          • Will make for a rather cold and desolate final state, eh?

          • The Explorer

            Does it have a bearing on the eternity of the Universe?

          • Would it have a bearing on the eternity of any proposed “god” creature?

          • The Explorer

            Who said anything about God? You said the Universe is eternal. So did Nineteenth-Century materialism. How does the Second Law of Thermodynmaics correlate with this?

          • “Who said anything about God? You said the Universe is eternal.”

            Read the discussion thread.

            Cheifofsinners made the unsupported assertion that his “god is eternal” (a special pleading / exemption) and therefore didn’t have to comply with the rules of physics or logic.

            My response was to make a simpler special pleading eliminating his conjectured “god” and applying his special pleading to the universe as a whole.

            Current evidence and theory point to a beginning of time-space (the “big bang”) so it would not be “eternal” in the past, but may be “eternal” into the future.

            https://www.technologyreview.com/s/427722/mathematics-of-eternity-prove-the-universe-must-have-had-a-beginning/

          • The Explorer

            Thank you.

          • There are some scientists positing that the Universe might in fact be “eternal” (no beginning) into the past also

            http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/big-bang-not-start-quantum-theory-suggests-universe-has-existed-forever-1487517

            .

          • David Cromie

            Since it will be trillions of years before the Second Law of Thermodynamics is fulfilled, none of us will be around to make any comment on the outcome.

          • Rhoda

            You didn’t answer the question.
            If the devil is as fictional as you obviously think the Christian god is, why use a depiction of the devil as your avatar. You are being inconsistent by using the blog name “no gods” and then an avatar which depicts a god (in the sense of someone/thing who is worshiped by people however deluded you think they are)

          • Nogods

            I don’t understand this, your name is rhonda, why use a depiction of nothing as your avatar? You are being inconsistent by using the blog name “Rhonda” and then an avatar which depicts nothing.

          • Pastorbob666

            Your Mr. Satan is imaginary! Isn’t that special, church lady?

          • Rhoda

            We disagree.

        • chiefofsinners

          The only thing more absurd are modern pseudo-science based beliefs.

          • Nogods

            Isn’t it interesting how science doesn’t claim to have all the answers, but YOU do? Tens-of-thousands of the world’s smartest scientists are diligently working to figure out where the universe came from and how life evolves, but YOU have it ALL figured out. You KNOW all the answers. And you are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN you are right. All those math equations and research that Richard Feynman, Einstein, or Stephen Hawking have struggled with are meaningless to you; all the hard work being done at the worlds top universities is a complete waste of time and money. Because YOU already know the answers to the questions these brilliant minds have been searching for. What is even more amazing is that you didn’t even have to waste all that time going to school, studying, and actually getting a real education! You found all the answers to the world’s most challenging questions in ONE BOOK which was written in the 1st century! And to top it off, you didn’t even have to read that ONE BOOK. You just let other people tell you what was written in the first chapter – when you were a child nonetheless! That was good enough for you, and now you are CERTAIN you are right! You are amazing! A rational person would see a problem with this. To you, it makes perfect sense.

          • William Lewis

            How do you know so much about chiefofsinners? It’s uncanny.

          • Nogods

            I have read his comments. It’s elementary.

          • William Lewis

            You the man!

          • Nogods

            You’re still stalling.

          • William Lewis

            This is a different sub thread

          • Nogods

            And you are still stalling. Please teach me about your fantasy world and the evidence you have supporting its existence.

          • William Lewis

            why?

          • Nogods

            I am interested. And you are still stalling.

            This must be your 10th opportunity to present that evidence you claimed you had. Still nothing.

          • William Lewis

            You seem a bit confused. Elsewhere we are discussing what kind of evidence you require for the supernatural. Where as here you want me to teach you about Christianity and the evidence supporting it. These are not the same questions. Stop being so superficial.

          • Nogods

            Pathetic.

          • William Lewis

            How so?

          • Nogods

            Still stalling. The sadness continues.

          • William Lewis

            This is a different sub thread! Answer the question!

          • Nogods

            Who cares. You are just embarrassing yourself with your claims of evidence, only to repeatedly come back empty handed.

            On the brighter side, I am glad I was able to teach you the proper definition of “proof” and it’s relationship to evidence.

          • William Lewis

            I care.

          • Nogods

            Still nothing….

          • William Lewis

            You are stalling. Answer the question.

          • Nogods

            Still waiting for that evidence proving the supernatural real….

          • CliveM

            He also seems to not understand the difference between why and how

          • William Lewis

            It’s a bit sad really. So much opinion and so little understanding.

          • CliveM

            Inevitable effect of getting all your opinions second hand from the Internet.

          • Pastorbob666

            The way you get your religion second hand? From an ancient book written by uneducated men who thought the earth was flat! You get your religion from hearsay.

          • CliveM

            Plagiarist.

          • Pastorbob666

            You can read him like a book!

          • chiefofsinners

            They’re ever so clever, these atheists. He has two degrees, you know. One of them is Bachelor of knowing everything about everyone across 3000 miles of ocean, from the University of Numpty.

          • William Lewis

            Impressive!

          • CliveM

            One of them doesn’t seem to be limited to a mere two degrees. Or at least that’s the implication of his statement.

            I am in awe! Snort.

          • chiefofsinners

            You put your trust in the words and thoughts of man. I put my trust in the words of God. It does make perfect sense.

          • Nogods

            Isn’t it weird how gods never write books – men do. Why is it that the supposed all-powerful creators of everything, can’t write? Jesus didn’t write the bible – men did. Allah didn’t write the Quran – men did. And Zeus never wrote any of his holy books either – men did. So why can’t gods write anything without the help of men? They also never talk. They are all mutes. Why is it that the supposed all-powerful creator of everything, can’t talk? They need people just like you to talk on their behalf. Do you think it is because they are ALL fictional?

            Isn’t it interesting to contrast our sources of information: I choose to look for answers from the smartest, most educated segment of our population, who are performing the most cutting-edge research with the most sophisticated and technologically advanced tools humankind has ever created. You, on the other hand, choose to look for answers from a 1st century superstition written by bronze/Iron age nomadic sheep herders, who occupied a remote desert oasis, during the prescientific age, who spent an inordinate amount of time consumed with the measliness of sheep and goats, and who had no knowledge of such simple things as paper or the number zero.

          • Pubcrawler

            You’ve pasted all that already. You might at least try to vary your wording a bit: it’ll help give the impression that you’re capable of independent and spontaneous thought tailored to the context, and not a plagiarist.

          • Nogods

            I guess I could rewrite it all again slightly differently, but that would be pretty dumb now, wouldn’t it. And copying yourself isn’t plagiarism. (Face palm)

          • Pubcrawler

            Or you could write something fresh and to the point. For all I know you’ve just got a set of glib comments and screeds from somewhere that you lift from whenever you think they might be relevant.

            “(Face palm)”

            Yeah, very mature. I’m done with you. God bless.

          • Roberta

            Notice you didn’t respond to what Nogods actually said. He pointed out that gods never write the books, men do. Men write the holy books claiming the god or gods told them what to write. You apparently, are so gullible you believe these con men. “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

          • Pubcrawler

            I didn’t respond to the point because it was trite. As that also seems to be what you peddle, I won’t be responding to you hereafter either.

          • William Lewis

            You need to acquaint yourself with the difference between ‘can’t’ and ‘won’t’ and your second paragraph is a false dichotomy.

          • chiefofsinners

            You are like a beetle following the biggest beetle because it has the best ball of dung.

          • Nogods

            And your god is a deaf mute that can’t write, just like ALL the other gods we now regard as mythology.

          • Stupid Illiterate God !!

          • chiefofsinners

            Pray that the Spirit of God will give you understanding.

          • Nogods

            If prayers worked, millions of children wouldn’t starve to death every year.

          • … or perhaps his god merely hates innocent children and loves to watch them suffer and die.

          • chiefofsinners

            If prayers didn’t work, things would be a lot worse.

          • David Cromie

            So says the chief of dung beetles, so I suppose we should pay attention. When did you last have a cogent thought about any subject, which could be loosely described as the result of your own, unmediated, brain power and innate intelligence? I suspect this will be a novel idea for you, that intelligence, plus a good education, does not require any supposed supernatural input to perform the feat of arriving at a viable conclusion, based on verifiable facts.

          • chiefofsinners

            Ah, insults. How they adorn your philosophy.

          • Roberta

            You’re putting your trust in the words of some ignorant desert dwellers who thought the earth was flat and believed you could put all the animals on earth in one boat. There are no invisible, magical beings.

          • David Cromie

            Just one important correction – the so-called ‘bible’ as we know it today derives from the earliest known attempt at creating a ‘bible’, the Codex Sinaiticus, dating to the 4th cent. CE. Try comparing the two, and you will be in for a shock!

          • CliveM

            “Isn’t it interesting how science doesn’t claim to have all the answers, but YOU do? ”

            Isn’t it interesting how you have to start your argument with a lie.

            Firstly, Science isn’t asking the same questions as Christianity and,

            Secondly, no Christian claims to know everything. If you had engaged brain before making up your straw man you would understand why. I’ll leave you to work it out. It’ll be a useful little excercise for you.

          • Pastorbob666

            Yup! Like creationism!

          • chiefofsinners

            Like believing in the power of crystals. Or Scientology. Or ‘Christian Science’ (neither Christian nor scientific). Or multiple universes in which infinite versions of us live infinite numbers of lives. Or any of the thousand-times-a-day that newspapers popularise the wildest musings of scientists and present them as fact, so that Mr and Mrs Average can be dazzled into believing there is no God.

          • Pastorbob666

            People’s misunderstanding about the nature of atheism can sometimes be traced to a misunderstanding about the nature of disbelief.

            Comprehensive dictionaries generally define atheism as the “disbelief in or denial of the existence of gods,” and atheists commonly refer to atheism as simply not believing in any gods — but is not believing something the same as denying it?

            Certainly disbelief and denial aren’t considered the same in the dictionaries, otherwise they wouldn’t need to list both. In the Oxford English Dictionary, for example, the
            primary definition of “disbelieve” is simply “not believe” and the secondary definition is “reject belief in.” Both of these meanings are distinct from “deny,” which is not listed. Both of these also match the definition used for “weak atheism,” which is to lack belief in the existence of any gods.

            Logically speaking, mere disbelief in the truth of a proposition cannot be treated as equivalent to the belief that the proposition is false and that the opposite is true.

            If you make a claim and I disbelieve it, I am not necessarily saying that your claim is false. I may not understand it well enough to say one way or the other. Or I may lack enough information to test your claim. Or I may simply not care enough to think about it.

            All of these are, of course, possible reactions of an
            atheist to theistic claims. The atheist may not understand what the theist means by “god” or by certain characteristics of the god (omnipotence, omniscience,
            etc.). The atheist may not have enough information to determine whether the claim is credible. Or, perhaps, the atheist may find the claim so incredible that it simply isn’t worth thinking about more deeply.

            Consider the following analogy: if I tell you that I visited Canada last week, would you believe me? Certainly visiting Canada is common and unremarkable, so there is no reason to think that my statement is inaccurate. However, you also have no reason to think it is true — so, although you may accept me at my word, you may just as
            easily accept my claim as plausible but then not give it further thought because it just isn’t important.

            This describes the most basic level of disbelief: you don’t actively believe my claim, but you don’t deny it either. Many atheists take this position with respect to theistic claims when those claims are too vague or incoherent to
            adequately evaluate. Obviously such claims don’t merit rational belief, but there simply isn’t enough substance to say anything more about them.

            We can also go a bit further by modifying my claim to state that I crawled from my house to Canada. Again, such a feat is certainly possible — but on the other hand, it also isn’t very likely. Why would anyone do such a thing? While you might step right up to assert that my claim is false, a more likely position would be to “reject belief in” my claim pending further evidence and support. You aren’t actively believing it (because it seems implausible) but you aren’t denying it either (because it’s not impossible).

            This is a narrower form of disbelief which is also a common atheistic reaction to theistic claims. In these cases, the claims are coherent and understandable, but there is a lack of substantive support — for example, actual evidence to back the claims up. Because the evidence to warrant rational belief is lacking, the atheist does not adopt the belief — but the atheist also does not
            necessarily deny the claim due to a similar lack of contrary evidence. The reaction, then, is to simply “reject belief in” the claim because the theist offers no good reasons to believe.

            As we can see, not only are disbelief and denial different things, but there are different levels to disbelief, just as there are to belief. If you are interested in learning in what sense a particular atheist “disbelieves” in a god, you will have to ask. Different atheists disbelieve in different ways
            and for different reasons.

          • chiefofsinners

            What are your reasons? Why are you so obsessed with belief when you have none?

          • Pubcrawler

            Psst! I think it’s just a copy and paste job. Best not to question him too closely on its content.

          • Pastorbob666

            I have some beliefs…just not the same drivel you believe….

          • chiefofsinners

            What drivel do you believe?
            Please post words rather than links. Following links can cause virus trouble.

          • Pastorbob666

            I don’t believe in drivel. I believe in music…I believe in love!

          • Pastorbob666

            You will never get a virus from you tube!

          • Pubcrawler

            “Certainly disbelief and denial aren’t considered the same in the dictionaries, otherwise they wouldn’t need to list both”

            Where did you study lexicography?

          • Pastorbob666

            Where did you study rational thinking?

    • Pubcrawler

      “The digital/information age has ushered in the unlimited and immediate access to reliable information.”

      Not to mention an awful lot of ill-informed or deliberately misleading bollocks.

      • CliveM

        One could argue the majority of it.

        • Pubcrawler

          Sturgeon’s Law

          (No, not that Sturgeon.)

          • CliveM

            No but it could also apply to what she says!

          • Pubcrawler

            That would be an underestimate.

      • Nogods

        “Not to mention an awful lot of ill-informed or deliberately misleading bollocks.”

        I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, religions are entitled to equal access as well.

        • Asemodeus

          The Internet has made the dunning-Krueger effect worse.

          People who are stupid are too stupid to know how stupid they are. Something that gets magnified when said stupid people only consume media and information that confirms rather than rejects their stupidity. Something the Internet has made very easy to do.

          • Nogods

            I think that is true to a degree. Those with the most closed minds have moved even further inward. But the moderates are starting to see the light. And that is why almost a third of the US population now Identifies their religious affiliation as “none.”

          • Asemodeus

            The problem with that is all it takes to make people more authoritarian is another crisis event. It’s why Republicans have been trying to destabilize the world and crash the econony.

          • chiefofsinners

            Why come to a British website to hold a discussion about US politics and religion? I had heard that some Americans were totally self centred, but hadn’t previously seen the evidence.

          • Roberta

            I would argue that the Democrats have done the same. Both parties have been absolute scheisse.

          • chiefofsinners

            Are you clever enough to know how stupid you are?

          • Asemodeus

            I have two degrees in civil engineering. A better question to ask is how humiliated are you right now?

          • Pubcrawler

            “I have two degrees in civil engineering.”

            And? If we were discussing, say, the design for a flyover that might count for something. Outside that field … *shrug*

          • William Lewis

            Nice one. Must tell Carl.

          • carl jacobs

            AAAGH! ITS A VERB! GET IT AWAY! GET IT AWAY!

          • chiefofsinners

            That’s a ‘no’ then. We are all stupid, it’s just that some of us realise it.

          • The Explorer

            Are you basing your name on the Book of Tobit? If so, the demon in there is Asmodeus.

          • Asemodeus

            When I got my first computer in 2005 I needed a moniker that was unique enough so that nobody else was even using it. I ended up with this, not knowing the historical context.

            So irony.

          • The Explorer

            Thanks for the explanation. I was once cast as Asmodeus in a play called ‘Tobias and the Angel’. Hence my interest.

      • Roberta

        When you say ill-informed or deliberately misleading bollocks, you are referring to all religions.

        • Pubcrawler

          I am referring to the generality of the internet.

    • preacher

      Hey, didn’t they make a film about you guys ? – Dumb & Dumber ! ROFL!!.

      • Nogods

        What a smart thing to write.

        • preacher

          I’m glad you agree, no sense of humour or irony eh ?, sad !.

      • Luminya

        You have no sound arguments so you must resort to insults. Who is the dumb one here?

    • chiefofsinners

      People like you said the same things when the printing press was invented, and with every communication innovation since. Yet there are more Christians worldwide today than there have ever been.

      • Nogods

        Christianity lost 8% of its membership in the US in the past 7 years. You do the math. It only shows growth in third world and developing countries. You got to get them young and dumb.

        http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/

        http://newscenter.sdsu.edu/sdsu_newscenter/news_story.aspx?sid=76091

        • chiefofsinners

          You might take a look at the Pisa tests, which, while imperfect, are the best comparison we have of educational standards between countries.
          The latest study is for 2012. The top 6 regions and countries are: Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Macau. All places where Christianity is growing. The UK manages 20th place and the US 28th place.

          • Nogods

            In general, poorest, least educated, and worst countries, are the most religious.

            In general, the wealthiest, most educated, and most desirable countries, are the least educated.

            http://www.wingia.com/web/files/news/14/file/14.pdf

            Today’s theology is tomorrow’s mythology. Never forget that.

          • bluedog

            ‘In general, the wealthiest, most educated, and most desirable countries, are the least educated.’

            Outstanding! Don’t touch a thing, Nogods, just leave it there for all to see.

            [FACE PALM GOES HERE]

            Hey, Luminya, I really smashed that one out of the park. Look at the caps too.

            Whaddya think?

          • Nogods

            Wow, you found a typo. You’re a genius.

          • bluedog

            Thanks.

          • CliveM

            Don’t let it go to your head.

          • bluedog

            No Sir. Time to leave the thread.

          • CliveM

            Good idea.

          • Pubcrawler

            Indeed.

          • William Lewis

            You NAILED it.

          • chiefofsinners

            In general you are not addressing the evidence, just re-stating your position.

            But never forget… God loves you.

          • Nogods

            Your god loves me – but if I don’t love him back, he will cast me into a lake of fire to burn for eternity. That only makes sense to a brainwashed cult member.

          • … or a misantropic sociopath

          • The Explorer

            Not in your case.

          • chiefofsinners

            God is loving, but also holy and just. You have every opportunity to avoid everlasting separation, but if you will not acknowledge God’s authority then you cannot live forever in His presence.

          • Nogods

            What an insane superstitious belief you have.

          • chiefofsinners

            I’m not interested in trading insults. If you have a point, make it.

          • David Cromie

            I think you mean striving to get a good ‘education’ in the modern world is having a positive effect on the populations of the countries cited. Christianity has had the opposite effect since it was first introduced.

          • chiefofsinners

            I know what I mean, thank you: The evidence contradicts the statement made by nogods.

      • Roberta

        And even if that were true, there are more Christians than has ever been, doesn’t mean they aren’t believing in nonsense (as is everyone who is religious.)

  • len

    We seem to have an influx of atheists all come to deny the existence of God(of the Bible of course ) whom they don`t believe in .
    And atheists call Christians illogical?

    • pobjoy

      ‘Atheists’ have more logic than they care to admit. But they should perhaps look where they are going.

      Henry did not consider himself a thief, because he did not consider Ecclesia Anglicana to be anything but a fraudulent caricature of the real church, that he feared. He simply considered that the uppity Vatican had to be put in its proper, original place, under the thumb of civil power. The monarchies of France and England had been treating the Vatican this way ever since it began to conceive of itself as replacement for civil governments in Europe, and announced transubstantiation and clerical celibacy. These were subversive dogmas that encroached on monarchical power, to give social and political control to the Vatican. The root ‘theological’ cause of the Reformation was transubstantiation, a political issue; the consequent untrammeled arrogance of clerics and religious was the practical cause, giving rise to scandalisation of all classes of people.

      For the tyrant Henry, who died believing in the full social control of priests, the Vatican had been the creation and tool of the Roman Empire, a police state, and his own empire stood in legitimate stead of Rome, in his own realm. The CoE was conceived and constituted quite differently, as part of the true worldwide church. The irony is that Henry would have executed his one and only son, with many thousands more, for the comparatively democratic ideas they expressed.

      The Bergoglio following can sue the Crown for loss of real estate when it can prove, in court, that Jesus meant Simon Barjona when he said ‘and on this Rock’. And it’s not foolish enough to try that.

      Until then, it is the Bergoglio following that can be sued, on the same grounds, and for its very last cent, quite irrespective of abuse findings. And by any who consider themselves to be its victims.

  • William Lewis

    Interesting that a post on Michael Nazir-Ali’s book has attracted so much, um, attention.

    • bluedog

      They would have been stalking the site for sometime before launching their cut and paste offensive. Judging from the upticks there’s only three of them. Team leader is clearly Nogods who does have some limited capacity to develop an argument. Pastorbob doesn’t seem to go much beyond boorish insults and then there’s the team mouse, Meepestos who prefers to stick to silent support through uptick.They’ll probably get bored soon and retreat into a model of posting bitter one-liners like sarky.

      • CliveM

        You forgot Donkey!

        • bluedog

          OMG how dreadful. How could I have slipped up so badly? Sorry, Donkers, no offence meant and none taken I hope. Poor Donkey trails along behind the team leader Nogods, a sort of secularist spear-carrier to the chief spear-chucker. Tiring and thankless work, one imagines.

          • CliveM

            A fulsome and sincere apology. I’m sure he’ll take it in the manner in which it was intended.

            It must be hard being the person everyone forgets.

          • William Lewis

            He’s probably muling his eyes out right now.

          • Pubcrawler

            I’m afraid that pun is too beyond the pale for an uptick

          • William Lewis

            Yes. It was a bit asinine.

          • carl jacobs

            A noble effort but … Fail!

      • Pubcrawler

        A new friend has turned up to fawn over Nogods. Closet bromance going on there, I think.

        • CliveM

          Nope it’s his mum.

          • Pubcrawler

            Nah, it’s some kid who wants to carry his books to school.

          • CliveM

            I need to re-look but she has mentioned about having children.

          • Pubcrawler

            Gymslip mum

          • Luminya

            I do indeed have children but they are grown up men and they are not Nogods.

          • CliveM

            “My sons always tell me “religion comes to the internet to die”.

            Cut and paste from a comment to Ivan.

          • Pubcrawler

            Reliable because?

        • James60498 .

          You can see why though.

          Nogods is SO much better at writing nonsense than the others are.

          Not sure it’s a bromance as much as another worshipper.

          • Pubcrawler

            Do you think it’s their college assignment for the weekend?

          • James60498 .

            I don’t know.

            Childish. Incredibly Juvenile in their form of attack and language and their ability to write off anyone who doesn’t conform to their precise view. Certainly.

            But I don’t think that most young people obsess quite like this over something that they don’t like or aren’t interested in. They would certainly criticise something they don’t like but then move on. They prefer to obsess over what they like.
            Maybe I am wrong. Perhaps that’s just those I know.

            Demonic Possession possibly. That’s a thought. Perhaps it’s their demons that are in training.

          • Pubcrawler

            Screwtape will be so disappointed.

        • Luminya

          Very funny haha. Would be better if you could provide proof for your claims. And I do not know this Nogods personally nor am I his mother (although I would be proud of him, as he has consistently wiped the floor with all of you, it has been a treat to read)

          • carl jacobs

            Are you people still around? Don’t you have a Dungeons & Dragons game to be playing?

          • Luminya

            Fishing to find out my age? Sorry, not from the era of D&D.

          • carl jacobs

            Heh. If you don’t want to be considered a child, then you ought not take up residence with children.

    • CliveM

      Pity they didn’t actually respond to a point in the post.

      • carl jacobs

        They weren’t here for the post. They were here to throw stones and to preen. We were cheap entertainment.

        • CliveM

          The preening seems the most important part.

          • Pubcrawler

            Well, they have their reward already.

          • CliveM

            You mean the ‘Mrs Robinson’ type groups?

          • carl jacobs

            One of them is back, Clive. Do you suppose if we are real still, and don’t make a sound that they won’t notice us and will go away?

          • CliveM

            I don’t know but he does appear to be repeating himself.

          • CliveM

            I say one thing about his, he is living up to stereotype. He has no sense of irony :0)

          • carl jacobs

            Well, you have to be patient. When you’re 19 you still haven’t lived long enough to know anything. So you trust to books. And you start to think “Wow! I’m the only one who has ever read books. I’m so smart!” They grow out of it. Usually. Those that don’t become tenured faculty.

  • carl jacobs

    The Good, the Right, the True – these are all inherently objective concepts because they must be independent of the observer. If truth is relative to the observer, then two observers can observe the same event and produce mutually exclusive “truths.” Yet something cannot be both “true” and “not true” at the same time. What remains is not truth but the relative authority (read ‘power’) of the observers to impose their respective understandings.

    An atheist is loathe to admit this, so he will play this little game. Out of one side of his mouth, he will deny the existence of objective truth and morality. Out of the other side of his mouth, he will treat moral categories is If they had objective content. You saw this on the thread if you were paying attention to the atheist tag team. They weren’t quite coordinated.

    Nogods made so many denials of objective truth, I leave the tedium of investigation to the reader. I am more interested in a comment by pastorbob666.

    I don’t need an ancient book written by primitive goat herders to tell me the difference between good and evil.
    For example…
    Charlie Manson – evil
    The US constitution: Good
    Stealing: Bad
    Helping the poor: Good

    Notice how pb666_treats the category of good and evil. He does not reference it to himself. He treats it as an external category. Right and wrong is something that can be known. It’s obvious why he does this. If he said “I think right and wrong are X,Y, and Z” the obvious response is “Who the f___ are you?” If he follows the atheist line, that objective truth doesn’t exist, then he underwrites the charge that atheism produces moral antinomianism. He knows he has no authority. He refuses to publicly affirm the primacy of power in determination of moral norms. So he just treats his conceptions of good, right, and true like objective categories, and winks at the difference. In fact, pb666’s entire argument in the above post presumed a pre-existing consensus. He was trusting that the reader would already agree so that he wouldn’t have to address origins. And that is how atheists steal moral concepts.

    • Pastorbob666

      Who “stole” anything? Do you disagree with my examples, which I dumbed down for xtians, and if so, why?

      • bluedog

        You don’t begin to understand Carl’s post, do you? Try reading it again. And again. Then you may be able to answer your own questions. Don’t be embarrassed to give yourself plenty of time, you need it.

        • Pubcrawler

          This current batch are breathtakingly obtuse, don’t you think?

          • bluedog

            Yes, very enjoyably so. There’s a certain provincial chippiness about them, which is such fun.

            One can almost develop a bit of a theme. We’ve got the wise old soixante-huitard academic, a sort of Donald Sutherland type, grown out of jeans and Afghan jackets to acquire respectability with a pipe and tweeds, but still true to the beliefs of his youth. Then there’s the ageing intellectual groupie, whose first class honours may have been awarded for who knows what achievement. Still, the prowess of Nogods with the caps lock seems to have re-awakened a certain girlish adoration, destined alas to remain unrequited, it appears. The possibilities of being an intellectual Cougar will have to stay frustratingly unexplored, such are the limitations of cyber-space. One never realised Vancouver was such a hothouse.

            But my favourite remains PastorBob. Every serve can be returned with an effortless base line smash. It’s 40-0 in straight sets.

          • Pubcrawler

            Ah yes, he’s quite special.

          • chiefofsinners

            I have been wondering whether they are actually Christians, pretending to be atheists and deliberately giving us the most obvious opportunities.
            Something like match-fixing in tennis.

          • bluedog

            Well this should be the 1000th post on this thread.

            Congratulations, Your Grace!

          • chiefofsinners

            Glad to see that you have joined me in believing in a literal millennium, brother bluedog.

          • William Lewis

            Impressed with the quantity. Not sure about the quality though.

          • Albert

            That would explain a great deal. We’re used to atheists down here, but these guys are so bad that I think they must be real. No one would make them up as bad as they are, for fear of not being believed!

          • Pubcrawler

            Another of Nogods’ groupies has turned up. Goodie…

          • CliveM

            From the look of the likeness on her avatar, I don’t rate her chances.

          • Pubcrawler

            LOL!

    • johnb1945

      One small point is that you cannot deny objective absolute truth or morality without contradicting yourself. The statement “There is no absolute morality” is a statement of absolute moral value (for example).

      Therefore the only rational conclusion to be reached is that objective truth and morality do exist.

      Some more sophisticated atheists do realise this. They then claim that a rationalistic, atheistic approach alone is the “best way” to get to, or at least close to, these absolute truths and values.

      This is not necessarily dishonest, secular humanists are quite consistent in claiming this.

      It’s preposterous, however. Absolutely ridiculous to suggest that our very subjective abilities to rationalise and reason (not to mention knowledge) could produce truth.

      They then adopt the statistical approach, which is that he consensus view must be correct, if not the consensus of some experts.

      In the end, we replace God with panels of experts. People who could not even predict the credit crisis or tell George Bush that invading Iraq was a bad idea.

      Fantastic!

  • The Explorer

    Longest thread I’ve known in all the time I’ve been visiting Cranmer.

  • The Explorer

    Now that Roberta has turned up, I make it eight: Nogods, Pastorbob666, Luminya, Asemodeus, Donkey Hotay, Meepestos, Roberta, and David Cromie. Now they just all need to squeeze into one body and we can refer to them as Legion.

    Ps: Apologies if I spelled any names wrong there, or left anybody out, but it’s been a long thread.

  • The Explorer

    Legion has gained a new member. Rationalobservation? has joined the fray.

    • Pubcrawler

      There’s nothing quite so impressive as turning up once a skirmish has finished and the combatants have moved on, is there?

      Still, so long as they stay in this quarantine area, let them do the internet equivalent of shouting at pigeons in the park to their hearts’ content.

      • rationalobservations?

        I have been doing battle against superstition and for reason, freedom, peace and secular democracy for decades. It appears you don’t get around the www too much, my friend.

        • Pubcrawler

          And? My comment still stands. So our paths have not crossed before. Just like billions of others.

          • rationalobservations?

            You may consider this backwater discussion is finished. Those who continue to engage in argument obviously do not.
            Either way. You have sufficient interest to continue to engage even though you appear to have nothing relevant to add.
            Best wishes to you and yours and maybe you will develop something interesting to add to other discussions…

          • Pubcrawler

            *shrug*

            I don’t cast pearls before swine. Below-the-line chunter is generally nugatory, a diversion, sound and fury. As the poet wrote: in vento et rapida scribere oportet aqua. Ponder that.

            God bless.

          • rationalobservations?

            Why do you resort to such things then??

            Of course: We are no longer reduced to whispering our message on the wind or in the waters since we no longer get red hot spikes driven through our tongues and burned to death for revealing the lies in bibles (like poor old Giordano Bruno) or threatened with brutal torture before being imprisoned for the rest of his life like Galileo Galilei – the world is being purged of all barbaric superstitions and the good news of atheism spreads like wildfire.

            “The World’s Newest Major Religion: No Religion”

            Full story here:
            http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/160422-atheism-agnostic-secular-nones-rising-religion/

            Also see the attendance figures of the “major” religions and the PEW and other contemporary survey results.

            Where have you been hiding away since 1950?

        • The Explorer

          If you’ve been battling superstition for decades, how come superstition is still around? You can’t have had much impact.

          • rationalobservations?

            On the contrary. The activities spreading good news of peaceful, rational, democratic and egalitarian atheism has been remarkably successful during the past few decades.

            Those active within any cult, sect or business of religion number fewer than 6% of population in Europe and fewer than 17% in the USA. Still rapidly dwindling in both places.

            Religion is dying out in the developed world while the developing world still has a way to go in catching up.

            “The World’s Newest Major Religion: No Religion”

            Full story here:
            http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/160422-atheism-agnostic-secular-nones-rising-religion/

            Also see the attendance figures of the “major” religions and the PEW and other contemporary survey results.

            Where have you been since 1950?

          • The Explorer

            Looked at the figures for the growth of Islam recently?

          • rationalobservations?

            Yes. It’s encouraging that so many are seeking to escape from that form of religious totalitarianism to lands were secular democracy and freedom now prevail. The battle of the developed world against religious tyranny and totalitarianism continues and must be won in lands less fortunate and less advanced than ours.

            Of course: We are no longer reduced to whispering our message since we no longer get red hot spikes driven through our tongues and burned to death for revealing the lies in bibles (like poor old Giordano Bruno) nor do we get threatened with brutal torture before being imprisoned for the rest of his life like Galileo Galilei – the world is being purged of all barbaric superstitions and the good news of atheism spreads like wildfire.

            “The World’s Newest Major Religion: No Religion”

            Full story here:

            http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/160422-atheism-agnostic-secular-nones-rising-religion/

            Also see the attendance figures of the “major” religions and the PEW and other contemporary survey results.

          • The Explorer

            The question is whether it’s secularism or Islam that is replacing the void left by the decline of Christianity. Islam is on track to become the world’s largest religion.
            Within a generation there will be more Muslims than Jews in the United States. The UK had 400 000 Muslims in1980 but the number is doubling every decade and is now up to 3-2 million. Muhammad is the most common name for male new borns in Britain and Holland. 8% of France is now Muslim. In a generation, it will be 16%. Malmo is on track to be the first Muslim-majority Swedish city. It has become the rape capital of Europe (women who do not dress with Muslim modesty are fair game) and will soon be Jew free. Amsterdam is now 23% Muslim and marked by gay flight. Switzerland has banned any new minarets to try and preserve its traditional skyline, but elsewhere in Europe, mosques are burgeoning.
            Secular Europe, in short, is becoming Islamic far faster than Islam is becoming secularised.

          • rationalobservations?

            There is no “void” left by the ever more rapid decline of all cults, sects and businesses of christianity.

            The “Arab Spring” indicated the resistance of the millennial generation to the totalitarian tyranny of theocracy and wish to join the rest of us under free, secular democracy.

            Primitive superstitions and the lack of education are the nesting place of totalitarianism and the tyranny and lies of all religions.

            Education blossoms all across the world and even the most undeveloped societies are beginning to gain access to news and information of a better life through secularism and democracy.

            There are no “christians” or “muslims” or “jews”, etc et al. There are only members of our recently evolved species of ape who have been indoctrinated into ignorance and superstition or have shrugged off that indoctrination. The most rapidly growing cohort of humanity have already shrugged off and/or rejected the anti-humanitarian dogma of death cult religions – or are at some stage in the process of doing so.

            The alternative to christian domination is not islamic domination. The alternative to tyranny and ignorance is democracy and secularism.

          • The Explorer

            With that definition of the Arab Spring, further discussion is pointless. Keep an eye on Sweden over the next five years, though: it’s a good indicator of the future.

          • rationalobservations?

            You show wisdom in cutting and running – if not elsewhere.

          • The Explorer

            Heard the saying “flogging a dead horse”?

          • rationalobservations?

            Oh yes.
            Why do you keep on doing it?

    • rationalobservations?

      Welcome to my rapidly growing fan base, explorer.
      Sorry I missed the beginning of this little discussion.

      • The Explorer

        Salutations to you, too.