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God’s Warriors

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Christiane Amanpour's three part, six hour special report, God's Warriors which aired last week on CNN was a great bit of reporting. I won't presume to "review" the program. I am a bit surprised that no one has seen fit to discuss it here at BC. Suffice it to say that Ms. Amanpour is, in my opinion, one of the best reporters anywhere. She took great pains to be as impartial as possible, revealing her incredulity only briefly in response to some instances of obvious sexism. 

The overarching theme of this omnibus presentation was the advent of religious radicalism now prevalent in all three of the major monotheistic religions of the world – Judaism, Islam, and of course, good old Christianity.

That in itself is not news to most earthlings of the human persuasion who haven't spent the last twenty or so years in the asteroid belt. But the program served to put into perspective to some extent, the history and events which brought each tradition to this dangerous pass.

It is worthy of note that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and, of course, much of the violence being visited upon the planet today is rooted in radical Islam. But it is also important to understand that there are radical Jews and Christians who are equally disposed to doing violence in the name of their god. God's Warriors does an admirable job of articulating that fact.

What ultimately renders any lasting resolution to the conflicts between these religious traditions so remote is the inability or unwillingness of any of them to accommodate the others in compromise. To do so would be forsaking their god. The true believers of each tradition maintain an unswerving faith that theirs is the one and only true path; that all others are deluded, following false gods or being led down the garden path by Beelzebub himself.

I know there are those, especially in the U.S. who believe that the right wing evangelical movement is waning. Certainly, since the last mid-term elections, it would appear that the Christian fundamentalists have lost their momentum. But they are a hearty lot. They have proven to be every bit as steadfast and driven as Osama and his boys. 

Radical Christians are in part driven by the awareness that radical Muslim leaders have made great strides in galvanizing their followers into a fairly monolithic and overtly devout group. The Christians don't want to be caught with their spiritual pants down. They are compelled to mobilize and strengthen their flocks in preparation for the ultimate battle against the supposed heathen Islamist hoards. Many are booking passage to Armageddon as I type. I think a new Holiday Inn Express just opened there. There may be package deals on Expedia or Price Line, maybe an "Apocalypse Special"

What else drives the fundamentalist radicals of these respective faiths? We often hear both leaders and followers of these traditions lament the advent of the secular world and the dissolution of traditional morality, mainly in the west. Much of the western world, and certainly foremost, the U.S. has, in the eyes of many fallen into a miasma of materialism, sexual perversity, drug use and street violence. The fundies of all faiths believe that the only cure is a return to old time religion – a dose of fire and brimstone to force people to sit up and fly right; that failure to do so will ultimately doom us all to eternal damnation. Even a "loving" god can get testy.

Obviously, I think that's all a lot of hooey. While it is certainly true that materialism, mainly in the form of consumerism, pretty much rules the western world – and now more and more of the east as well, as witness China's massive thrust into capitalist ventures, not to mention thoroughly westernized Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Shanghai plus inroads in South Korea – even Thailand and Viet Nam. But is it all bad? I think not.

As I see it, many of the negatives we are witnessing in westernized societies are essentially growing pains. We are dazzled by technology. Computers, IPods, IPhones – all the electronic junk that is being foisted upon us is for many intoxicating in their possibilities. Many years ago, Zelda Fitzgerald was quoted as saying, "We grew up founding our dreams on the infinite promise of American advertising…" That is certainly no less true today.

While, at my rapidly ripening age, I will likely not see an end to this, I do believe that at some point, we may eventually just get over such fascination – that the gizmos and toys will not be so coveted as they are today. Some will shake their heads. Considering the current state of affairs, there is certainly no evidence of any waning in our love affair with "stuff." But who knows? Such change may eventually come to pass.

Of equally serious concern is the apparent deterioration of our sexual mores. Witness the massive offerings of any and all types of pornography, mainly via the internet, but also on the tube, in films, books, magazines, in our music and so on. Sex in our society has become ubiquitous and pervasive which deeply troubles many, not only those of a religious bent. Sex can be debasing and dangerous. It can be used to degrade both women and men. It can be lethal owing to AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Our concomitant fascination with violence simply adds to the complexity of the problem and the misery it causes either in conjunction with sex or not.

But again, I look upon it as a phase – a troubling one, no doubt – but nevertheless, a phase. It is a logical response to hundreds of years of sexual repression. On the whole, western society is mad for sex and violence. In a sense, we want it all. We want to see it, feel it, smell it and taste it. We want to experience the whole gamut of pleasure and pain. We want to wallow in its perversity. Ultimately, though, "civilized" society will get beyond it. It will likely take a while – at least several decades, more likely, a few centuries. But, should man survive, most of the perverse thrill of sex and violence may become passe', perhaps boring.

Humanity will not be doomed to hell for its sins. There is no hell – and certainly no heaven, no afterlife. No god. If we don't nuke ourselves out of existence, if we don't get wasted by an earthly collision with a giant comet, we may one day wake to find that we are well and happy, that we are whole, totally on our own, owing no allegiance to any god or other "higher power."

But in the mean time, anyone disturbed by the growing threat coming from radical fundamentalists of all stripes should be attentive and watchful. It was one thing to wage religious war in the days of swords and spears. It is quite another in an age when some true believer may have his nervous little finger on the nuclear button. The fundies, in their religious zeal, may rush us all to an end we didn't believe would or could happen.

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About Baritone

  • http://www.cheatseekingmissiles.blogspot.com Laer

    Your misunderstanding of religion is overwhelming, so your commentary is meaningless.

    You say the major religions cannot compromise and work together, yet you ignore that Christianity and Judaism, often viciously at each others throats — first the Jews attacking the early Christians, then antisemitic trends in Christianity — is now a thing of the past and the two religions are close and cooperative.

    Within Christianity, we see no wars against sects. The various Protestant sects don’t war with each other; heck, we don’t even war with the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Protestants don’t war with Catholics (Northern Ireland’s troubles are over and were fundamentally political and economic in nature, not religious).

    Islam stands apart; warring within itself (Sunni vs. Shi’ia) and warring against others (Islam against everyone else).

    The fault with God’s Warriors is that it minimized the evil carried out in the name of Islam and falsely attacked Christianity and Judaism by straining to find moral parity between their few and much-condemned terroristic warriors and the many and much-praised Islamic terroristic warriors.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    What Laer said…

  • Dr Dreadful

    Laer, what a complacent crock of shit.

    Christians and Jews are just as capable of fighting each other over “our God can beat up your God” as any other religion, including Islam.

    You don’t offer any substantiation for your assertion that Christians and Jews have buried the hatchet and don’t fight among themselves. You might care to peruse some of the articles and comments of one of our BC contributors, Ruvy in Jerusalem, for a different perspective on that.

    Northern Ireland’s Troubles have been over for about 25 minutes and already you proclaim that peace reigns for evermore on the Emerald Isle. You may be right, but most of us would prefer to maintain some caution on the subject for the time being.

    As for your claim that there is no intra-Christian warring in the world today, you might like to direct your attention to this charming little conflict in Uganda.

    And I’d be delighted to see just a few citations for your fantasy that Islamic terrorists are “much praised” – by Baritone or anyone else who isn’t also an Islamic fanatic.

    Sure, the root of the vast majority of conflicts is economic. Religion is just used as an excuse. The current global “war on terror” is no exception.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Within Christianity, we see no wars against sects. The various Protestant sects don’t war with each other; heck, we don’t even war with the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Protestants don’t war with Catholics

    Laer, what country do you live in? Surely not the US, where sects are constantly feuding and deriding each other in vicious competition for worshippers and the stamp of legitimacy.

    As for the great struggle, it’s not between the religious sects, it’s between western secularism and ALL the fanatics, but particularly the muslims who remain more militant and expansionistic and exclusionary.

    dave

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    Good article!

    I think this same article can be written about any institution or engagement that human beings participate in.

    It could be written about the scientific community, governments, sports organizations, humans in general. Its what we are. We are self consumed, wrong a lot, proud, needy, proud, and all of the things that cause us to have conflict.

    People go to religion for a number of reasons. Many engage in order to feel right; more correct than everyone else. Many go to science for the same reasons. Again, the bottom line is where one’s heart is, regardless of their engagement.

    I wish that you would have left out the part about there not being a god and the rest. Your article sounded so profound and it declared your views about religion quite well. However your declaration sort of made you appear a bit zealous and a bit dogmatic; just as wacky and emotional as those who make all of the proclamations that make us loose respect for them.

    The truth is you don’t have proof for your major proclamation, no matter how certain you may be of your conclusions. You could have kept that part out and we would have gotten your point. Maybe that’s what happens with the people that you disrespect. They say just a little too much.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Zedd, that last bit is a fair point. I don’t know if you’ve seen, however, that Baritone has also posted the article on his own blog, which is much more strongly orientated around his atheist viewpoint – which BC, of course, is not. His argument is much more sound in that context. Perhaps he’d have done well just to reword it ever so slightly for its appearance here. It would have packed more punch.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Laer, it’s not hard to understand the one god cult. The three divergent branches all believe our universe was made by some longterm absentee superbeing and devote far more time than is healthy to worshipping this improbable being.

    Your point about sect conflict was shallow and inaccurate. It not only ignored current events, it also failed to take into account that Islam is the youngest of the three one god cults and is currently going through the same kind of evolution as Christianity and Judaism did long since.

    Ruvy, Ms Amanpour’s series was impressively neutral, fascinating and informative, a real triumph of television journalism reporting.

    Zedd, that’s right, scientists, governments and sports organisations regularly go to war over crucial details like who was the “messiah” and who a mere profit (sic), although I am not sure where the “loans” come in ;-)

    Oh, it’s entirely not the case in my experience that people turn to religion and science for the same reasons, although I can understand why you would like that to be true.

    Similarly, your desire that Baritone had left out the part about the non-existence of this ultimate creator is also as understandable as it is predictable and misguided. It made perfect sense in the context of the article and was not in the least zealous or dogmatic, simply realistic. We are well aware that realism is as much a stretch for you as speeling, lol.

    For your edification, it is not necessary to disprove something that has never been proven in the first place. The onus of proof lies fully and uniquely with those who belief in the entirely unsubstantiated one god cult.

    Doc D, maybe you believe Michael Owen is god, at least for today?

  • Zedd

    Chris,

    That last tid bit in the article did not flow with the rest of its content. Calm down.

    Again.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Zedd, I think it flowed perfectly.

    I am calm.

    Please offer me advice again when you have a) learned to read b) learned to think c) stopped talking to people like they were children…

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    I saw the headline “God’s Warriors” and I thought of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode “Cave Dwellers.”

    I have absolutely nothing more to add.

  • Zedd

    Chris,

    I realize that when you are passionate about a subject matter you revert to being literalistic to a nearly embarrassing extent. Your persistence and your saner moments give you enough credibility to afford you somewhat of an answer. Was that condescending :o)?

    Now here goes….

    Humanity has gone to war for a number of reasons. Well before there was organized religion, humans fought. Whatever tool that will propel one to top dog status, we have used as a battle cry. Whether it is racial superiority (disguised as science a la Hitler and gang), religion, race and science (a la the founders of this great nation), cultural superiority (Brits, Zulus, and a great deal of others, accept it true about Zulus), we fight. We just do. Bin Laden isn’t fighting because of Islam, he is fighting because he doesn’t like the fact that in this time in history, the West is king. Period. He uses his faith because it is the most powerful reference to align himself with.

    Now focus my goonie freind….

    You may notice that with all monarchies and leaders of nations there is a tendency to create ceremonies which involve God directly or the dead. The dead somehow represent a line to eternity or infinity. In your country the monarchy used to claim a Divine placement to their post. Now they just simply place wreaths in the tombs of the departed and make a public spectacle of the event. They marry, and bury themselves at Westminster Abby. That need to be perceived as being linked or favored by the eternal is a power play. Those ceremonies do more to seal their place (in stealing your taxes) than any other address that they could give.

    Chris, religion in such instances is but a tool that humans use like other tools to convince others of their correctness or selected state in order to secure power.

    The fact that science was used to justify racism for hundreds of years doesn’t mean that there is no science or that all scientists are corrupt. Be a big boy about this.

  • Zedd

    Doc,

    I’m watching the Doctor Whooo-eee-ooo marathon. I’ve got to run errands and cant seem to pull myself away.

  • vascodegama

    Laer, you are gibbering. Christian sects don’t war with other Christian sects?? What are you on, dear boy (or girl)?

    Er, three centuries of trouble between Catholics and protestants (notice the lower case p, you pack of heathens :) probably indicates that’s quite wrong. Right up until recently, the IRA and the protestant militias have been blowing the shit out of each other in the name of Christ. (Yes, the IRA is a political organisation … a Catholic political organisation).

    Please, get real.

  • Zedd

    Chris,

    Would you care to correct vascodegama or will you choose the disingenuous route?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I should have realized that the atheists and religion haters here at BC would take Ananpour’s piece of trash and praise it as “neutral and a triumph of journalism.”

    For them it is a battle of pagans – what “secularists” really are and those who believe in G-d.

    I have been sufficiently educated by these idiotic comments to see that the atheistic hellenistic pagans of the west are blind fools who will not see truth until it kills them – literally.

    And the truth WILL kill them.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    I’m not sure I’m ready to get into the fray, but why the hell not.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that I pretty much like all the comments that agree with me, and, well,I’m not too crazy about those that don’t.

    Go figure.

    Laer has been taken to task by a number of you.
    One thing I would add, just so I can slap him (or her) around a bit more is this: It’s true that most christians in the west, at any rate do not openly battle with each other in the streets. And, of course the movement toward ecumenism has been on-going for many years.

    However, many fundies have in recent years been working to put a stop to this: They look upon the less fervent denominations as “liberal” (the word used in all of its pejorative glory) and not of the true faith. They are now taking a stand against ecumenism – no intermingling, no tolerance. As they see it, to do so is a sure path to hot foot territory.

    A few years ago the great old fart His Holiness Pope John Paul II issued a proclamation that pretty much stated the same thing, warning catholics against believing that other faiths were on an equal footing with catholicism. In effect he stated that catholics could be nice with, say protestants, but in the end they were not to be invited into the same sand box.

    Of course, my charge that christians and jews are ready to do physical violence has been supported by others here. It goes without saying that Israeli jews constantly match violence with violence against the Palestinians among others.
    Ruvy and others will deny, but the violence there is essentially over a big rock – a supposed “holy” place. How much blood is that hot dusty wall worth? In all the fucking universe, is one actually to believe that a totally unremarkable bit of stone on this insignificant ball of clay is somehow special to some omnipotent, omniscient being who purportedly created the entire universe?

    The same can be said for all of the supposed “holy” shrines of muslims, or of christians or any other religious traditions for that matter.

    A couple of years ago I visited the bahai temple in Wilmette, Illinois. It’s an impressive place. We walked in and sat in the nave. It was an almost surreal atmosphere there. So quiet. Reverent. We had to move on rather quickly, but I believe I could have stayed there for some time.

    It is a beautiful edifice and a very peaceful place to spend a little time. Bahai’s doubtless look upon it and their other temples as holy places. I don’t.

    I’ve been in Manhattan’s St. John the Divine Cathedral and Vienna’s St. Stephens Dome. They are magnificent, awe inspiring spaces. But holy? No. Hell, I even delivered an issue of Playboy to someone right on the alter at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC many moons ago.

    Again, go figure.

    I also must in the end disagree with you Zedd. There isn’t a fundie of whatever tradition who wouldn’t stand on the highest roof top and shout for all to hear of their faith.

    Why then is it thought “out there” for an atheist to say with the same conviction that there is no god? I understand that we are in a significant minority, but, hey, we’re people too. In fact, if some of the numbers I’ve recently seen are correct, there are more atheists and agnostics in the U.S. than jews and muslims combined. Why should we be expected to be of less conviction or less vocal in our belief?

    No, I cannot prove that god does not exist. But as Christopher so aptly put it “…it is not necessary to disprove something that has never been proven in the first place.”

    The evidence that god does not exist lay mainly in the lack of evidence that he (she,it) does.

    Of course, it is far more difficult to prove a negative. All god need do to erase any doubt is to reveal him (her,it) self in such a way that there could, in fact, be no doubt. Figuring just how to do that shouldn’t be any problem for one who happens to be omniscient, right?

    B-tone

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Ruvy does a fine job of proving some of my points.

    B-tone

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    I stand firmly for the right of atheists and agnostics to speak and believe freely. I am totally against prayer in school. Its silly. I am against the “In God WE trust” on our money. I am against the use of religion in the pledge. The Texas pledge has just included a similar wording as that of the US pledge which is eye rolling. Creationism on the curriculum is just sad unless it is reviewed in literature.

    I get your belief and support your right to believe as you do.

    I personally am annoyed with religiosity. I get reverence for the Divine. I even get ritual. I didn’t use to get it when I was young but now I really get it. Having been raised non denominational, I wasn’t exposed to ritual in my youth and thought it to be ridiculous but I now get it. However I see how it can be a distraction in many instances.

    I believe that belief is personal. Organized religion tends to distract from ones own personal journey. While it has good qualities, it is now more of a nuisance and an obligatory practice in order for one to prove their faith.

    I don’t think that one’s faith in the divine causes wars. I think it is the human nature, our need to be top dog that makes wars an inevitability. Again, religion is just a tool for some to justify their greed for power and control.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zedd,

    I fully agree with you. Well, not so much about ritual and the divine. But otherwise, yeah, we’re more or less on the same page.

    Most wars and other human conflicts are brought on by greed and/or lust for power. It’s always been that way. But it’s very difficult for a king, queen or warlord or whoever to get the people behind him or her for the sake of making that king, queen or warlord richer or more powerful. In so many cases, it has and continues to be religious differences that are brought to the fore – the stricken match that provides the flame for war. As noted above, it’s sometimes race, or nationalism that fosters the necessary hatred and zeal to come to blows. Sometimes its all those things.

    I’m not sure about the science thing, though. Hitler’s rise to power came via many sources, but racial hatred was at its core, at least with respect to what it took to get the masses motivated. They did use some pseudo-science to “prove” the inferiority of jews and other so called “mongrel” races, but science, per se was not what they were about.

    Again, though, I don’t apologize or shrink away from my position against the existence of god. In times past, I could have expected to be burnt at the stake for making such a pronouncement. Atheists have been kept silent for far too long. Just as with other segments of society, we are, for the most part not nut jobs or some kind of wierdos.

    If you take a moment to check out my blog site you will see along the left margin an “Atheists Blogroll.” There are literally hundreds of blogs that are in whole or in part dedicated to atheism or agnosticism. I’ve no doubt that there are exponentially greater numbers of blogs dedicated to some god or other. But the number of sites noted on the blogroll is rather astounding.

    You might also check out another site, A Complicated Salvation. -http://acomplicatedsalvationreborn.wordpress.com/ It is a very well written site by a Canadian woman mostly concerned with the trauma she and her family experienced upon becoming disillusioned with and then leaving, first the church, and then religious belief altogether. Her blog name is Zoe, and she is a good, intelligent and sincere person attempting to relate the pain and difficulties she faced. It’s a good read.

    B-tone

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I haven’t proven any of your points, Baritone.

    MY big beef with Christine Ananpour’s trash is not that she points out the dangers of “G-d’s Warriors” but that she distorts Jews in Israel who believe firmly in messianic Redemption into something that we are not. But CNN has been doing that for a long time now. She only fits in with the mold.

    I’m not interested in blowing you to bits. More to the point, I’m not interested in pushing my philosophy down your throat. For as long as Man is allowed to retain free will, you can believe whatever the hell you please and I will not be bothered one bit – so long as you keep your fingers off of my country, and my destiny.

    What I AM telling you, and I’m telling you this with certainty, is that at some point soon, G-d will show up and fulfill His prophecies. Whether YOU believe that or not is irrelevant to me. Either you will see and be so scared by what you see that you’ll shit your pants and believe – or you’ll die. Either way, it doesn’t make a difference to me, though I personally prefer that you shit your pants in fear and recognize Truth before it kills you.

    What I say here goes for you and for all the other non-believers reading this. I’m not interested in convincing you of anything. I do not seek your deaths. I certainly do not seek your conversion. Judaism itself will change into something else – the Religion of the Children of Israel – before all this is over.

    But that is not an issue here. The issue is this. At some point in the relatively near future, the only way you will even live is by recognizing and practicing the Seven Laws of Noah. That choice will be yours.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Zedd, I would respond to your #11 but I realise that even though you use my name, in your own mind you’re talking simplistic nonsense to a bunch of infants. If I were you, I’d just stick to parenting. If your swimming ability is of the same calibre as this, please don’t ever leave the shallow end ‘cos you’re gonna drown!

    #15 Ruvy, you just love making these pompous mystical statements, don’t you? I reckon without your dodgy faith your ego would collapse. As usual, long on attitude, short on substance, which is par for the course for the rationally challenged.

    #20 And there you go again, long on the pompous attitude and nothing to say. Ruvy, I’ve known you online a long time now and, when you’re not talking about cults or politics you seem like a great bloke. Unfortunately you spend nearly all your time here talking about cults and politics.

    I’d love it if you could actually put a specific date on all this mystical malarkey though. That way we could then get you to shut up about it until the glorious day arrives. Then, we could also show you what a load of mystical mantra you’ve swallowed.

    You’re not going to do that of course because, just like every other mad prophecer, it would then be so easy to disprove the theory and no faithist wants their con exposed.

    C’mon, I dare you, put a date on this “relatively near future” of yours and then shut up about it ’til then. Rest assured, I won’t forget that date.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “And there you go again, long on the pompous attitude and nothing to say. Ruvy, I’ve known you online a long time now and, when you’re not talking about cults or politics you seem like a great bloke. Unfortunately you spend nearly all your time here talking about cults and politics.

    I’d love it if you could actually put a specific date on all this mystical malarkey though. That way we could then get you to shut up about it until the glorious day arrives. Then, we could also show you what a load of mystical mantra you’ve swallowed.

    You’re not going to do that of course because, just like every other mad prophecer, it would then be so easy to disprove the theory and no faithist wants their con exposed.”

    Chris,

    You might want to look up the word “prophecer” – I know it’s supposed to be a take-off on “professor”, but I am no academic. The title “mad prophecer”, if it belongs to anyone commenting on this board, belongs to DR. David Nalle, or DR. Marthe Raymond.

    Now, as for the rest of your comments. I cannot tell you what I do not know. I can tell you what I do know. The changes I outline in comment #20 will all be done and over with, according to Talmudic scholars, by either 5786 or 5790. This means that it will be all over by the Christian years 2026 – 2030.

    No, I’m not going to shut up about it, either. I’m not going to keep quiet about the story of the millennium, (that is the Jewish millennium, not the Christian one, the one that began in the year 5001 [autumn 1239], and that will end in the year 6000 [summer 2238]) the Redemption of Mankind. I’ll let you guys concentrate on which firm is swallowing which brand new internet product, which sexual disease Paris Hilton has contracted, or which player Manchester United will drop. I have bigger fish to fry…

  • Zedd

    Chris,

    Its unfortunate that you would intimate that parenting is an inferior engagement; one which doesn’t require much intellect. More personal disclosure? TMA Chris. Its getting a bit uncomfortable.

    I do also regret to say that it would be a struggle for me to remain on the shallow end. Never fear however I may toss you my kid’s floaty, on loan for a small profit, so you can hang out with us big kids on the DEEP end.

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    I hope that you didn’t read into my comments that I thought your statements required an apology. That would be odd of me.

    You have submitted other articles and your views are clear. You have articulated your position much in the same way as a participant on threads as well. There was no surprise in the statements that you made nor were the statements revolutionary. I however just noted that that outburst at he end of your article didn’t match the tone of the otherwise well written piece.

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    You must read the notes of early explorers. They used science as a justification for the subjugation of people around the world. They would utilize formulations to determine intellect and civility, measuring skulls and off course using their make up as the standard. Thomas Jefferson’s intellectualizing about slaves was an attempt to give scientific explanation for the abuse of that population. Social Darwinism was used to justify why the haves had (power). Today many, including many on this blog actually buy the rubbish which is The Bell Curve. Many espouse the notion that intellect (not education mind you) is correlated with social status, because of bad science.

  • bliffle

    Zedd,

    I found your reference to early explorers utterly mystifying. From whence do you speak?

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Ruvy, I’m well aware you’re no academic, you don’t display enough respect for facts over fancy for that, but the word prophecer was carefully chosen for its obvious meaning. There was a joke there too, but unless you’re a Reggae fan you wouldn’t have got it!

    So, somewhere between 19 and 23 years from now, this whole religion of yours is going to be shown as the biggest and longest con of all time or as the real deal. I really hope both of us live that long!

    Zedd, if your powers of inference were half as good as you think they are, you would understand me better.

    Judging solely by your commenting on this site, the only thing that is big about you is not your intellect but your ego. I’ve rarely come across someone who writes so much to express so little.

    Mind you, I have noticed you’re really trying hard not to make so many blatant spelling mistakes at the moment. Thank you for that at least.

  • Zedd

    Chris,

    You should know more than anyone that my comments are partly tongue and cheek. I do apologies if I have portrayed anything other than that.

    Yes the views that I reflect are what I believe or understand however the teases are just that, I take yours to be the same, else I wouldn’t volunteeringly participate on this site. I mean really, you called me a giddy goon. I’m gonna use that one. It’s my poke from now on.

    I enjoy your pick on’s. I think they are funny most of the time.

    Now here’s that floaty…. (four dots, yeah boiy!!!!)

    Now……

    I would venture to say that Ruvy’s got me beat on the writing so much, blah blah blah….

    I would venture that if you thought that I was male you would not see my comments to be so condescending. You would think that I may know what I was talking about or I would simply anger you.

    Chris, you and I don’t quite speak the same language. I see a lot of similarities between you and Dave. Surprisingly, you both are editors (minute details).

    You seem to like ideas to fit into nice little categories. While your affiliations are different, you seem to miss what is off of the path that is familiar to yourself. However Dave seems to get simplicity, you have a disrespect for it. I could be wrong.

    As many times as you have insulted me, lectured me, approved of my words or corrected me on a topic that I was aware of but just making a wise crack about, I never once squeaked that you are arrogant, or preachy or breaking the rules. I just laugh and move on.

    Toughen up buddy. I’m sorry that you miss my point most of the time. But don’t attempt to make me feel deficient because of it. It could just be you who lacks in some way. Not calling you thick by the way.

    Now does that semi groveling suite your White male sensibility? Are you now prepared to engage like a big boy?

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Oh fuck! I wrote too soon. The illiterate Zedd is back and in full flow.

    It’s “tongue in cheek”, though I admit your way sounds smuttier; you may “do apologies” although it sounds more like you do drugs; you can’t “volunteeringly participate”, not unless you’re an editor at least; and, skipping over a whole bunch of equally inane nonsense, it doesn’t “suite” me at all.

    I really do think you’re a bit dim and best left talking to children. Personally, I’m done with you.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    I look forward eagerly to BC’s own Ms. Malaprop’s next discourse.

    Aisle bed ids knot two bee mist!

  • troll

    you guys aren’t what would be called ‘pineapples of politeness’

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    But you are, troll, you are!

  • Zedd

    Chris,

    I wonder if it is BC’s policy that the comments editor would be making fun of the commenter’s spelling errors, and INTENTIONAL word, phrase and grammatical license taking.

    I understand that this is an area that you feel most confident in, however being the giddy sort, I give myself liberty to speak liberally, especially in such a venue. For those who don’t have confidence in their ability to reason or debate, it may be important to write in a conversational forum as if they are writing an essay. They’ve got something to prove, perhaps. I am fully aware of the “literary liberties” that I take. A person with your mind would not appreciate them. I am having fun. Not trying to prove how capable I am. I am confident in my capabilities thus I don’t feel the need to prove anything. Obviously that is not the case for you. I have explained that over and over again. You understand exactly what I am saying. THAT makes it pitiful that you would veer from the discussion at hand to correct conversational speech. I don’t revere the English language. I comfortable in understanding that language snobbishness was designed to exclude those of your class (I presume) from fully engaging and having power. You seem to have bought into the entire concept of your being common or inferior and are obsessed, it would seem, about how smart or good enough you seem to be by the pattern of letters on this page. I don’t have that problem. Keep it. Don’t try to pass it on. I challenge you to think. Simply think and convey a sharp argument. Forget about dots and whatever else you hide under to deflect the fact that you feel insecure about your smarts.

    Your obsession with minutia reveals your insecurity about conversing intelligently about matters of substance.

    Next time before you, THE EDITOR, make a huge deal about a spelling error intended or not, if it is mine KNOW that I DON’T CARE. Also KNOW that it’s your language, I speak it quite well, but I don’t revere it. Its YOU who does. Also know that your easy “distract-ability” only reveals your tiny mind. I’ve let you go on and on for months smiling politely at your minuteness without saying anything about it. You are telling more about yourself than you realize. Let it go.

    Now whenever you are ready do have a real discussion, I here.

    Again, you probably will find a error or two in this post. Let it go. The point is that you understand EXACTLY what it is that I am conveying to you. I have communicated to you perfectly. Now try and focus will you?

    I’m at home relaxing. I will take liberty. Get over it.

    Huuuuuug again. You silly goon.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    *Blood pours from ears, spittle from mouth and strange brown liquid from rectum. Falls twitching spastically to ground and loses consciousness*

  • Catey

    Comment # 20 – Ruvy –

    What would a gentile do about the law concerning eating blood? I don’t eat blood per se, but my steak can be bloody before I slap that baby on the grill. :)

    As for the rest of the Laws of Noah, I observe them because they were given by God, and I will at last answer to Him.

    However, I will go to the Father only by my faith in Jesus Christ.

  • Zedd

    Sorry Chris.

    Can we be buds again?

    I spelled correctly….?!

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Catey,

    To the best of my knowledge, the law forbidding you to consume the blood of the animal is not necessarily part of the Noahide Laws, though it would only seem common sense that it would be. But google up the Noahide Laws to find out. I make no pretension to expertise. It may well be that they are included somehow.

    These are the laws as I understand them.

    1. You need to recognize the exisxtence of one G-d.
    2. You need to bless G-d.
    3. You need to avoid spilling blood. (maybe the rule is within here)
    4. You need to avoid sexual immorality.
    5. You are not allowed to cut off the limb of a living animal and eat it while the animal still lives – this is interpreted to mean you need to treat animals humanely.
    6. Do not steal.
    7. Institute courts of law to enforce these rules.

    A more authoritative source can be found here or here

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zedd,

    What I find odd is that you characterized my statements concerning the non-existence of god as “an outburst.”

    In a way that reinforces what I said above. Would you have considered it an outburst if someone included a “parise the lord” or a “thank god” in a post? Perhaps if it was totally out of context. But in normal conversation references to god are common. Some people can barely utter a phrase without giving a verbal nod to god.

    I felt that my tying up the piece with my position on god was within the natural evolution of the piece. I certainly did not do it for shock value.

    As you noted, most of the regulars here know my position regarding god and religion. And it is stated rather clearly in my profile. It never occured to me that reiterating it in the article would seem to some too great a leap.

    B-tone

  • No Dhimmi

    Amanpour’s show was quite good and, as you say, as impartial as is possible.

    Check out this scary site: The Truth About Islam

  • SABU NINAN

    We can not change history, but we should learn from history. We should learn from crussades, armenian genocide and holocaust and so on.Most of theese wars had a religious component in it. We should seperate religion from politics.Only a secular, democratic, free society can avoid these kind of wars. Sharia courts in muslim countries should not be for all and it should be at mosque level on a voluntary base because it is so unfair to non muslims.Dhimmitude, sharia rule and jiihad could cause conflict with civilizations.

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    I really enjoyed your article. My statement about the last part was just a side note.

    Silly as it is to go on with this however BC is rather quiet tonight… I would not write a paper on religion then start shouting hallelujah, praise his name at the end of it. It would be odd don’t you think? Funny as heck though. We all enjoy a good meltdown. I wouldn’t write a thoughtful paper on the upcoming elections, the issues at hand and the challenges of each of the candidates and then end it with a rousing scream about how Washington is full of scum. I’m just sayin’. (Chris no cow births today please, I meant to spell it that way).

    But I enjoyed your article.

  • troll

    (re #32 – I offer up a bona fide Mrs Malapro and what do I get back – ? attitude

    pearls before swine I tell ya)

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Thank you, Zedd.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    I suppose I should respond to Ruvy after his invective response to all this. I just don’t know what to say. It’s obvious that he doesn’t care. He said so.

    I won’t try to be glib. There is something about the tone of his response, his conviction. It’s frightening – moreso because I know he is not alone. There are many others who feel and believe just as he does.

    He is so certain of his sight. Yet, so too are millions of others, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and on and on. They are, most of them, inflicted with tunnel vision. There is only one truth. Ruvy may not want to blow me to bits. I don’t know that he, personally is of a violent nature. Actually, from some of his previous posts and comments, I’d say not. But there are many in his part of the world who are in fact ready and willing to do violence.

    In the end it doesn’t matter to what god they have pledged fealty – not to the rest of us at any rate. It doesn’t matter if the fellow firing the machine gun is a Jew, or the woman detonating the bomb she’s wearing is a Muslim, or if the guy launching a smart bomb from a remote location has an eagle, its talons gripping a flaming cross tatooed on his chest. The results are the same.

    The delusions of all these people may bring about the destruction of all of us – deluded or not.

    Ruvy is so inured in his faith, just as any number of other Jews, Muslims and Christians are, that he can’t fathom any other possibilities.
    His admonitions are so similar to those I’ve encountered from evangelical Christians – absolute certainty of his salvation and equal conviction concerning the tragic end of all who don’t find and follow the right path.

    The terminology varies, but Ruvy is, nevertheless a Raptile. He absolutely believes that the final atonement is at hand. Sadly, the same assertions have been made for centuries and, even sadder, will likely go on for centuries more. Each generation of true believers becomes so egotistical that they believe the “Judgement” is going to take place during their life time. Someone always finds a way to interpret “prophecies” so that they are convinced that it’s all going to happen on their watch.

    When “the end of days” does not take place as predicted, I presume all the erstwhile doomsday adherents must then scramble to find a reason why we are all still here drawing breath. Perhaps some wise up. Some probably lose all hope and go jump off a bridge, while others, the true die hards, just regroup and adjust their interpretations to fit a new paradigm, and go at it again. There will always be a fresh crop of newbies, the wide eyed, the uninitiated who will fall in line, divest themselves of their worldly goods and wait for god’s spaceship or gaggle of winged angels or by whatever conveyance that will scoop them up to eternal bliss.

    Good luck with that.

    B-tone

  • Irene Wagner

    I’m a wuvver not a writer! How to answer all this?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Irene,

    If you really want to answer Baritone, reread comment #20 first – carefully. I can’t answer now. Work calls…

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    And faced with words more compelling than those written in outdated old books, the faithists bail…

  • Ruvy in Jerualem

    Baritone,

    I never did figure out “Raptile”. My 20 pound, 2,000 page Websters New Twentieth Century Dictionary (Unabridged) went from “rapter,” an obsolete word for rapist, to “raptor,” a hunting bird…. Maybe it’s one of them new crqpdoodle words, like “faithist.”

    But I did figure out what you mean by “invective”. Evidently, to you, invective is when a person who believes in G-d opens his mouth. Whatever comes out, by definition, is “invective”….

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Long on spluttering and sarcasm, short on any actual intelligent response…

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “Long on spluttering and sarcasm, short on any actual intelligent response….”

    As I said in comment #20,

    MY big beef with Christiane Ananpour’s trash is not that she points out the dangers of “G-d’s Warriors” but that she distorts Jews in Israel who believe firmly in messianic Redemption into something that we are not. But CNN has been doing that for a long time now. She only fits in with the mold.

    While this article from CAMERA does not represent ALL my objections to CNN’s trash and its distortions of Israel and Jews, it is a fairly good start.

    So shut up and read.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Oh yeah,

    And if you want invective, I’ll send it to your private e-mails, so that Christopher Rose cannot edit it out, and you know just how nasty invective can get – and what it really contains…

  • Arch Conservative

    It seems as if everyone wants to equate the troubles of modern christianity with the troubles of modern islam and suggest that the levels of violence expressed by the fundamentalists of each faith are comparable.

    Never have I seen such ignorance and stupidity….

    Oh wait..yes I have……I’ve been hanging around BC for quite some time now.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    A “Raptile” (aka a Raptarian – both my own coinage,) for the uninitiated are those mainly christian uh, crapdoodles (for lack of a better word) who ascribe to the scenario depicted in LaHaye and Jenkins’ Left Behind series of, well, crapdoodle books wherein the true followers of jesus will suddenly and without prior notice be swept up to heaven leaving behind all of the rest of us heathens who will then be left to endure Satan’s wrath and yada, yada, yada…

    Perhaps Ruvy believes that Amanpour got it right in her depiction of muslims and christians, but presented only “trash” when it came to jews – the one and only “put upon” and misunderstood people of the world.

    Israel is an anomaly in this world. Had the Holacaust not occured and/or were the Israelis people of color, few in the world would notice their plight. Had they ever been able to establish their country in the first place, owing to the situation in the middle east and its vast and hotly sought after oil deposits, Israel would likely have been very short lived and now be but a tiny blip in the history books.

    I know the above is an ugly charge, but given what has been allowed to happen in Rwanda, the Sudan and other countries over the years, I don’t believe it to be a stretch.

    I would also say to Ruvy that what you believe is also irrelevant to me. You can believe that god incarnate is actually a Pez dispenser with the characature of Papa Smurf atop. I don’t really give a rat’s ass. But between radical zionist jews, and nutball muslims and christians, you could well send yourselves and most of the rest of us down in flames in defence of your faith and your “holy” land.

    “Believer’s” pursuit of an imaginary god’s redemption is ludicrous and in this nuclear age presents the prospect of total annihilation.

    B-tone

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Ruvy, why don’t you expand on the bald statement that Ms Amanpour distorts what messianic Jews are about by explaining where, in your view, she goes wrong and what the reality, as you see it, really is.

    Simply making the statement you did, even by effectively shouting by putting part of your comment in bold doesn’t really get you. or us, anywhere.

    Furthermore, as I’ve told you before, linking to material off site and putting the rude imperative “read” isn’t very attractive. Make your own case.

    I’ll do you the favour of ignoring your #51 and its threatening tone but I’ll thank you not to do that again. Please. I know you just do that because you still can’t come up with an intelligent response to Baritone’s #14

    Arch Conservative: Talking of intelligent responses, you do have another choice; you could just like, you know, tuck your oh so well thought out opinions in your pocket and fuck off… But we know you love it here really, you just can’t quite bring your self to step out of the closet of stupid. But one day, one day…

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    I, for one, wait fruitlessly for the believers to present one shred of evidence for the truths they shout about.

    All we ever get is, “it is written”, “it was prophesied”, “scripture says,” “God said to___”, and “you’ll be sorry some day.”

    Imagination, interpretation, wishful thinking.

    Not evidence, not rational knowledge, not logic, not facts.

    Do you buy, based on advertising claims alone? Do you vote based on facts, or fantasies? Do you want empirical knowledge from the doctor, or is faith alone good enough?

    Do you require evidence or proof for anything in life, or are sincere beliefs, strong feelings, and accepting an arbitrary authority for everything good enough?

    I would prefer living in an Age of Enlightenment to being trapped in the Middle Ages, myself.

  • http://planetjapan.org Doug DeLong

    “G-d’s Warriors”

    Ruvy,

    Just for my own edification, what’s with the missing “O” in God? I’m guessing that you do it because you think the word is so sacred that it can’t even be printed, kind of like Muslims get peeved if you print an image of Muhammed. But, you know, when you write it like that, it kind of makes “God” look like a 4-letter word. Well, a 3-letter 4-letter word, anyway.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    As Ruvy and others have pointed out, “proving” the existence of God is a rather meaningless exercise. You either have faith that he exists or you don’t.

    That said, the most compelling attempt at a proof for the existence of a Supreme Being/Creator is the one posited by St Thomas Aquinas. In basic terms, St Thomas reasoned that because every thing and event in the universe has a cause, if you extrapolate far enough back you must eventually arrive at a Prime Cause – i.e. God.

    The fundamental weakness of this argument, though, is that it assumes there indeed is a Prime Cause. It also does not answer the question of what caused God.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    Dr. D:

    I understand that faith is central to religious belief. I have no problem with that.

    But then to present that faith as if it is literal proven fact and argue that it is, therefore, unquestionable truth–which many in all religious traditions do constantly–is illogical, irrational, and false…isn’t it?

  • MAOZ

    Doug #56 re looking like a 3-letter 4-letter word: Yes, I noticed that myself years ago. That’s part of the reason why I’ve come to prefer using ^ rather than – . Another reason being that my preferred option suggests looking up (metaphorically at least).

  • Dr Dreadful

    To outside observers, definitely.

    Although millions of words have been written attempting to prove the contrary – by those for whom, in their hearts, there is no doubt. From an internal perspective, having absolute faith trumps any possible proof.

    Where things start to get unpleasant is when such people fail to appreciate that others may not view the universe in the same way they do.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Well, Baritone, now we know what a “raptile” is. That is the kind of thing you can use arguing with (or against) Christians. This kind of stuff just doesn’t apply to Jews. In truth, your arguments against religion seem mostly directed against Christianity. Jews seem to get nary a mention. If you don’t give a rat’s ass what I believe, know that the feeling is mutual.

    I do not necessarily think that Ananpour got it right with either Moslems or Christians in her show, but I leave it to them to do the arguing for their own cause. It ain’t my problem.

    “Israel is an anomaly in this world.”

    This is the first intelligent thing I have seen you write on the subject. You are right – far more than you know. We Jews are not supposed to be alive at all, and this country is not supposed to even exist. We, like the Hittites and the Alans, should be extinct by now, lost in history’s garbage pail along with all the other little nobodies who have disappeared.

    But we aren’t. We Jews have outlasted all of our persecutors from ancient times – the Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, the genocidal Romans…. And for all the efforts of you goyim to kill us, gas chambers included, we have still managed to survive.

    Our state has survived not on your generosity, but on our guts and determination. Our terrorists drove the British from this land, kicked the scum out, and I’m damned proud of that. Israel is a stinking little third world country – but we have nuclear weapons, the best health system in the entire Middle East, the healthiest and best fed people in the entire Middle East, the second largest number of startups in the world, one of highest levels of home computer ownership. Our research leaves a lot of you eating our dust. This, all with the burden of a traitorous government that works to kill morale; a brain drain due to the government’s policies; a criminal class (the government) – well supported by the mafia that calls itself the US government – that burdens us with policies that will kill us.

    Some blip.

    It’s the anomalies in nature or history that should get your attention. Why are they there? What do they have to teach you?

    Pay attention, Baritone. You might even learn something….

    And with G-d’s help and guidance, you may be privileged to see the day when the People of Israel are indeed G-d’s Warriors.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    Sorry, I don’t understand why God needs warriors.

    Nations do, yes;gods, no.

    Doesn’t that imply that:

    1. God wants to use some of us to get rid of others of us;

    2. We can figure out which is which on our own and,

    3. If he does want some of us gone, he can’t or doesn’t want to do it for himself, but wants his children to be responsible for the killing, in his name and for his glory.

    I’m very uneasy when the slaughtering starts in God’s name. Hasn’t history taught us that’s not a real good idea?

  • Irene Wagner

    #47 were you talking to me, Christopher Rose?
    I wasn’t bailing, and haven’t bailed. My GOODNESS, consider the length, which speaks to at least an ATTEMPT at thoroughness, of my typical comment, when I’m asked a SPECIFIC question about the words of Jesus.

    It has been made ABUNDANTLY clear to me that atheists such as the one writing this article, or the producers of “God’s Warriors” believe that people of faith are to have laid at their feet the blame for most of the world’s evil. I’m thoroughly convinced that this is what they believe about me. What’s there to argue about?

    Besides, if because I identify with the name Christian, I’m to be put in the same class as psychopaths like Joseph Kony of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army, what POSSIBLE chance is there for me to be taken seriously in this discussion?

    I’m not going to disabuse any atheist of his low opinion of me by mere words. Actions and attitudes speak louder. I see a glimmer of kindness once in awhile at BC, but by and large, the opportunities to demonstrate it in ways that won’t be misconstrued as condescending are scarce.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Ruvy,

    You say: “It’s the anomalies in nature or history that should get your attention. Why are they there? What do they have to teach you?”

    You could ask yourself: What is it about Jews which has fomented so much hatred and persecution throughout history? Could it be your arrogance and presumption?

    I’m sure you will take that in the assumption that I am anti-semetic. But in truth, I’m an equal opportunity opponent of religion. In my eyes jews are no better nor no worse than muslims or christians. You all mold your lives around a mythical, supposedly all powerful god who is either going to raise you up to eternal salvation or comdemn you to eternal hell. No matter what label you put on it. No matter how deeply complex your liturgy may be. It is all crap. Idiotic, wasteful crap.

    Faith is NOT a virtue. It is, rather, irrational. It is one thing to have faith that the sun will rise in the morning. We have substantial proof that it will continue to do so. It is one thing to have faith in another human being. That faith may or may not be rewarded, but at least one can make reasonably rational judgements regarding another person’s trustworthiness. And yet, hundreds of millions of people through their faith put their very lives and the lives of their loved ones, their neighbors, their countrymen in the hands of a mythical being for which there is absolutely no evidence supporting its existence.

    Lee,

    I have asked a similar question to yours: If god is omnipotent, why does he need us puny, insignificant little humans to do battle on his behalf? Presumably, with a blink of his lordly eye he could do away with everything and everyone.
    The only possible answer is that god is an asshole playing a very cruel game. With a god like that, who needs the devil? Humans can and often do maintain a higher level of ethics and honor than any god who commands his followers to commit mass murder in his name.

    But that begs the point. The point being that there is no such god. There are only us humans inventing gods and other equally specious reasons to wage war against our fellow humans.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    It IS condescending to think that only one’s views, efforts, beliefs, and values can contain, constitute, and communicate kindness.

    No one has called Irene evil or a psychopath;those are strawmen she set up so she can swat them.

    I know and respect many devout Christians and Jews. They’re definitely not responsible for most of the world’s evil. They’re good people, and want the best for their families and society.

    Most of them, however, think for themselves, indulge in independent scholarship, read, and ask questions.

    What good is any faith that doesn’t?

  • Irene Wagner

    Whatever your faith may be, Lee Richards, I hope that its value is enhanced by independent thought and scholarship, the practice of reading widely and thoughtfully, the maintenance of a healthy skepticism, as well as an openness to the ideas of others, and the continued kindness, fairness and respect with which you’ve treated me each time you’ve addressed me in BC.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    And, in the spirit of the Golden Rule, I wish the same for you, Irene.

  • Irene Wagner

    Re: #64 Baritone. I was going to hold my peace until I read that comment. I’m afraid for you, Baritone. You are insulting not just my God, but YOURS, and with such VILE language–the One who gave you eyes and sight and things to see, ears to hear music, lungs to breathe the air he made.

    I am STUNNED to hear of the disdain you have for things you know nothing about. The battles for God (I speak of spiritual battles of prayer and discourse and efforts against evils like poverty and disease ) engaged in by “us puny humans” are to shame powerful rebellious beings in realms you can’t even imagine, beings who are perhaps pulling YOUR strings even now.

    Daniel 10:13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

    and

    Ephesians 6: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of his world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    Be careful, Baritone. Do be careful. You have less to fear from all the zany fundamentalist armies of the world than you do from your own Creator. He doesn’t owe you a thing, remember that. And yet, in his mercy, he made provision to cover the sin of your insolent, ungrateful, persistent REFUSAL to acknowledge the Source of any of the blessings you might have in your life. It’s COINCIDENCE, it’s COINCIDENCE, it’s COINCIDENCE, you say. What parent, other than God, could endure patiently that kind of pigheadedness, day after day, and yet continue to pour out His blessing?

    I’d start exploring God right now if I were you. Ruvy’s, Zedd’s, Baronious’, STM’s…Better you should get a sense of the Divine in a faith different from my own than remain in the UTTERLY graceless state you now inhabit.

    Don’t cry me your blues, either. I’ve known quadriplegics with more of a sense of gratitude to and respect for God than you have.

  • Irene Wagner

    If you still do, Lee Richards, then thanks much.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    And the lunacy is revealed for all to see…

  • Irene Wagner

    Oh, I didn’t mean to make you feel left out, Christopher Rose. You may replace your name for Bari-tone’s in comment #68.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Irene,

    I appreciate your concern for my mortal soul. I don’t share your concern, but nevertheless, I appreciate it. The fact is, I don’t believe I have a soul.

    I have been writing of my atheism for nearly 2 years now. I know others have been doing so much longer, and probably to better effect. But I have, especially in recent weeks, taken my game, as it were, to another level.

    I am told by christians and others that in their opinion, I am going to hell. Now, from a christian’s viewpoint that’s as bad as it gets.

    If your god is disturbed by my language, he can certainly do whatever he deems fit. I doubt that he needs you or anyone else to defend his honor.

    To reiterate: Your god is omniscient. He knows all. That means he knows where I’m destined to spend eternity. That means that it’s a done deal, does it not? I am predestined to my eternal fate. It matters not what I say, what I feel, what I write or what I do. My fate is already written in stone.

    I didn’t use the language above haphazardly. I figured it would have some shock value. That’s the world we live in today. It’s all about shocking people. I’m not a particular fan of it, but perhaps some of us non-believers need to “shock” some people out of their complacency about religion.

    It is obvious that you are a true believer. Everything in your life flows through your faith and whenever you feel the need to make a point, you do it by quoting the bible. I won’t go into my opinion of the bible, except to say that it is not a part of my life.

    I don’t “cry” my blues. I am not on the pity pot. I am not angry – at least not at god. I simply don’t believe in god. I owe nothing to any god.

    I prefer to face life rationally without any dependence on some etherial phantom.

    B-tone

  • http://www.gatheringstorm.townhall.com Dan Hennessy

    Dear Baritone, et al,

    To consider Christiane Amanpour’s opinion piece on CNN “a great bit of reporting” is absurd. What it amounted to was yet another slick, highly deceptive, production piece of liberal political propaganda by a mainstream news media outlet.

    Below is the feedback I gave CNN on the subject… “for your reading pleasure.”

    “God’s Jewish Warriors,” hosted by Christiane Amanpour, is a one of the most grossly distorted programs I’ve ever observed in the mainstream media. It is false in its basic premise, established in the opening scene in which Jewish (and Christian) religious fervency is equated
    with that of Muslims heard endorsing “martyrdom,” or suicide-murder.
    There is, of course, no counterpart among Jews and Christians to the violent jihadist Muslim campaigns underway across the globe, either in the numbers of perpetrators engaged or the magnitude of death and destruction wrought.
    As a Holocaust educator, I find your distortions morally repulsive, not unlike presenting German civilian casualties by the Allied forces during WWII as the moral equivalent of Nazi genocide. Not to mention your decision to include the testimony of someone as unreliable as Jimmy Carter, which transformed Ms. Amanpour’s program from a work of “journalism” to a work of anti-Jewish/anti-Israeli “propaganda.” For instance, Jimmy Carter, was not soundly “criticized” for criticizing Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, he was soundly “criticized” for purveying multiple false statements about Israel and the Palestinians in his book, ‘Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid.’
    The same kind of empirical error that has been pointed out in Jimmy Carter’s book can also be found in Ms. Amanpour’s report for instance, when she states about the Temple Mount: “It was from here, according to Muslim scripture, that the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven around the year 630. But Hebrew scripture puts the ancient Jewish Temple in the same location, destroyed by the Romans in the year 70. For the next 1,900 years, even the last remnant of the Temple known as the Wailing Wall, or the Western Wall, was lost to the Jews.”
    For the record, Muslim scripture never refers to Jerusalem, it refers to Mohammed ascending to heaven from the “farthest mosque,” which could not have been on the Temple Mount, since the mosque there wasn’t built until well after the death of Mohammed.
    In the future, please consider doing the morally correct thing and disclaim your intention to present journalism to your watching public, and be honest in declaring the truth about such programming as being in support of your news agency’s editorial opinion/agenda.

    Sincerely,

    Daniel A. Hennessy

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    Yes, Dan, but how do you really feel?

    Only a hotheaded extremist could call Amanpour a propagandist or Jimmy Carter anti-Jewish. Temper your rhetoric, and you might start to make more sense.

  • Irene Wagner

    That means that it’s a done deal, does it not?

    No, Baritone. It’s not a done deal. I have no idea whether you will continue to walk down the road you are on, or will turn to your Creator God, and to your Redeemer, his Son Jesus.

    God is so merciful, you could call out to him on your deathbed, and he would still hear you. I hope you don’t wait that long, though.

    You say you’ve taken your assault on God to a new level, to shake believers out of their complacency.

    Well, you shook me out of my complacency, and you must expect, at this “new level” to shake other believers out of theirs, but not in the way you’ve expected. The stronger your attack on God is, the stronger their defense of God will be, not for God’s sake, Baritone, but for yours, and for the sakes of people being deceived by your words.

  • Clavos

    “…will turn to your Creator God, and to your Redeemer, his Son Jesus.”

    Kinda leaves all religious believers except those who follow the Jewish hippie out in the cold, doesn’t it?

  • Zedd

    Doc,

    The notion of “The Prime Mover” is a bit different than the “Prime Cause”. Cause infers that there is purpose and purpose could be construed to be in the minds of men. However the physical act of motion is physical and outside of our desire for it to be there. So if you trace everything back, there must be a Prime Mover. That which made what happened, happen, I think is how the argument goes.

    Also, there is the idea that there is greatness and beyond that greatness there is even more greatness. God is “That Which None Greater Can Be Conceived of”. The question would be how one defines greatness. Then one may say, if you can define it, it isn’t that great. The later conclusion would be that we can not define Him for we have no real knowledge of such greatness because of our finite state. To go back to your original statement, we can not even prove He exists because of our “limitedness”. But we know that there is something that is greater than great.

    Now some say that that exercise would extend infinitely; that there is no end to that discovery or that it would be circular or even cone shaped and then we’d have to address Poincare’s Conjecture and so on and so on.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Dan, as with Ruvy, is bordering on hysteria. One cannot possibly criticize Jews or Israel without the immediate charge of anti-semitism. As I stated above, they would have us all believe the Israelis are the most “put upon” and mis-understood people in the world. Poor them.

    While I certainly do not support Palestinian violence, the Israelis are no less guilty. You are fighting over dust. I don’t give a rats ass about who was there first; whose, temple or mosque was built first. You are no different than two toddlers fighting over the same toy. All the crap about it being “sacred” or “holy” ground is meaningless.

    Of course, Ms. Amanpour’s report was considered “trash” by jews because she didn’t gush in empathy and praise in total support of the Israeli cause. Instead, she attempted to illustrate that there are in fact two sides, or in this case, actually at least three sides to this story.

    As I’ve noted elsewhere, and as is delineated more thoroughly in Chris Hitchen’s book God is NOT Great, all three of the major monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam originated in the same part of the world out of pretty much the same culture. Their holy books contain much of the same material. All have had periods in their history wherein slaughter was the name of the game. All in their god’s name.

    While the Muslims, the relative new kids on the block, are currently on a “lets kill all the infidels” roll, the same kind of violence has been waged in the name of Judaism and Christianity. Their holy books are filled with wrathful mass murder. So, kiss my grits! It is your right wing agenda and dogged belief in a ridiculous myth which have brought us to the brink of annihilation.

    Thank you SO much!

    B-tone

  • Clavos

    “So if you trace everything back, there must be a Prime Mover. That which made what happened, happen, I think is how the argument goes.”

    Not if the universe is infinite.

  • Zedd

    Lee,

    The revelation of God to man is not by our request per se. He chooses to reveal Himself to whom he chooses. You may stand on the highest mountain and scream out your desire to know Him, but if He has not choosen to reveal Himself to you, you will never see Him.

    How tiny would He be to jump to our own whims, especially for our own folly. If He is who He is, why would He feel the need to reveal Himself to you merely because you say it should be?

    Now…

    What if he has made Himself known to you and you have missed it because of your own expectation of what He would have to be in order to be God to you. For if He matched what you know or expect, He wouldn’t be Him now would he?

    The reason that He cant be defined is because He is not one thing. The reason that He is personal, is because he comes to us in specific ways TO us alone.

    Hence all people can say is that He knows the whole of you and loves you completely. The rest is the rest.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zedd,

    I would say that if the question goes on in a never ending “who created the creator who created the creator of the creator who….” then what’s the point? To what end could we hope to achieve?
    Why even deal with it? If, through our living and learning, something that could be called god is revealed to us, let’s deal with it then. If god is so egotistical and petty, that he would bring eternal misery down on us simply because we didn’t acknowledge him adequately, then what kind of a god is that? Certainly not one who “loves” mankind.

    And Irene,

    Explain to me just how, if god is omniscient, that our fate is NOT a “done deal.” Make that clear to all of us, because any other conclusion makes absolutely no sense. Either god knows all, or he doesn’t. If something I say or do during my brief little life makes him change his mind concerning my eternal fate, then he didn’t know all did he? He would have to have had second thoughts, no? If he knew what I was going to say or do and where I’m headed in the great beyond, then it necessarily follows that its a “done deal.” Fess up woman! You’ve got some “splainin” to do.

    B-tone

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zedd,

    Are you suggesting that this great omnipotent god might go to the trouble to reveal himself to someone and that someone wouldn’t notice?

    Give me a break!

    “Naw, man. I didn’t see no god. I was text messaging my main squeeze. I got priorities, man.”
    (I know, “main squeeze” is dated, but I didn’t want to be overly offensive by using “bitch” or “ho” or some such, given how much I’ve apparently upset Irene.)

    You are much deeper into this god thing than I gathered from your earlier posts. That’s too bad. You are lost to rational discussion on the matter.

    B-tone

  • Clavos

    “What if he has made Himself known to you and you have missed it because of your own expectation of what He would have to be in order to be God to you. For if He matched what you know or expect, He wouldn’t be Him now would he?”

    Reminiscent of a dog chasing his tail….

  • Dr Dreadful

    Then, of course, there is Douglas Adams’ delicious take on this in The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy when he introduces the creature called the Babel fish, which because of its ability to translate any form of language is so incredibly useful that it could not possibly have evolved by chance…

    Let me see if I can remember it – I know Hitch-Hiker pretty much word for word:

    “The argument goes something like this:
    ‘I refuse to prove that I exist,’ says God, ‘for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.’
    ‘Ah,’ says Man, ‘but the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It proves you exist, and therefore, by your own argument, you don’t.’
    ‘Oh dear,’ says God, ‘I hadn’t thought of that,’ and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
    ‘Oh, that was easy,’ says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets run over on the next zebra crossing*.”

    * Zebra crossing = crosswalk – in Britain, marked with black and white stripes painted on roadway.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Baritone,

    I rarely ever use the term “anti-Semite” to describe anybody. I prefer terms like “Jew-hater” or “Jew-hatred,” based on the original German “judenhass.” “Anti-Semite” was a term used by an Austrian Jew-hater who wanted to give himself and his hateful ideology some intellectual respectability. He founded the “Anti-Semite Party” to run in Viennese municipal elections.

    I don’t give my enemies any honor they don’t deserve. Repsect, yes – honor, no.

    It is evident from your words here and your writings elsewhere that you are not a Jew-hater. I too, am very picky with my words and nowhere on this site – not in all 6,000 comments or so – will you have seen me call you a Jew-hater. You, and Christopher Rose, are militant atheists living in a largely allegedly Christian society.

    There is a huge body of Jewish literature asking or attempting to deal with “why do the goyim hate us so?” It is called “the apologia.” Persecution hurts and long before I was born, Jews cried out about it, asking why.

    Non-Jews rarely ever gave an honest answer, but they did give them, and the truth is that Jews, for the most part, do not want to hear them.

    These then, are the reasons.

    1. Jews have developed, over time, particularly in Europe, and most particularly in Eastern Europe, a culture of petty thievery, swindling and lying. While among non-Jews, Jews will behave, out of raw fear of a pogrom, among their own, they are arrogant, mean nasty, vicious and brazen. This is the every day culture in Israel today – that’s how I know about it. Kike culture. I have become educated in a hateful ugliness that I never thought I would learn in my middle years. Non-Jews who did not have this in their own culture were disgusted by this. I didn’t have it in the culture I lived in in Minnesota – I too am disgusted by it…

    But by and large, Jews do not want to hear this; they shut it out (watch how other Jews condemn me for telling uncomfortable truths, Baritone). And I’ll be very honest with you. As a child, my father tried to warn me about this and I shut it out, too.

    German Jews, more prosperous than their eastern European brothers most assuredly did not want to be associated with this, particularly after Napoleon closed the ghettos and let the Jews out. This resulted in a hatred of eastern European Jews by German Jews that resulted ultimately with the power base of German Jews in America, the “Reform” Jews, doing everything they could to keep out the Jewish refugees from Nazi-occupied Poland and Nazi occupied eastern Europe. There is a lot of Jewish blood on the hands of the leaders of the Reform Jews in America. Notice, though, I did not say “innocent” blood.

    2. Jews have been powerless and everybody hates someone who is powerless. Since the Romans destroyed the kingdom of Judea, and initiated a program of killing off Jews here that lasted centuries, Jews have usually been powerless. And, once Christianity took over the Roman Empire, in addition to hating Jews for being powerless, Jews were hated for refusing to change over to the “new world order” in accepting the “king of the Jews” who died, according to the Christians, by the treachery of the Jews.

    The standard position of the Jew, in relation to the Christian over the centuries, has been the supplicant asking for kindness, the weak begging from the strong. For Jews to tell Christians, “fuck you”, “go to hell”, “drop dead”, “touch me and I’ll kill you,” etc. is very scary for Jews in exile. It’s even scarier in a Moslem society, where killing a threatening infidel is no big deal. The standard line in Cairene anti-Jewish or anti-Israel riots is “al yahúd klabná!!” – the Jews are our dogs. Moslems have no trouble shooting dogs…

    So, imagine how revolutionary the ideas of the martyred Rabbi Meir Kahane, may G-d avenge his blood, were to me when I was a young man. Kahane’s answer to non-Jews was precisely what scared the shit out of the Jewish establishment in America.

    -His answer? The problem of Jew hatred is not a Jewish problem at all. The problem of Jew-hatred is the problem of the Jew-hater. It is up to us Jews to educate him in this. If “educating” the Jew-hater not to attempt to actualize his hatred (beating or killing up Jews or vandalizing Jewish institutions) required breaking his skull, or his neck or his back, nu – that is the price of learning. This means that the Jew walks with a straight back, no longer begging for aid, or help or pity or sympathy. And if you go over the 6,000 or so comments of mine since I’ve been part of Blog Critics, as well as ALL of my articles, you will see that theme running like a silver thread.

    The only way the Jew can deal with the Jew-hater is to “educate” him not to attempt to actualize his hatred. Killing the Jew-hater in the process is only an issue of self-defense. After two thousand years, we’ve taken enough shit from you goyim. The thief of Jewish souls, the proselytizer, is the same, if not worse than the Jew-hater, and deserves the same education – and fate – particularly in the Land of Israel.

    You may not care about these answers, Baritone – but you have gotten them. And they are not pretty, either. But it is the cold unvarnished truth…

  • Clavos

    LOL, Doc.

    Hate to admit I haven’t read the book (though I am aware of it), but you just inspired me to.

  • Dr Dreadful

    You definitely must, Clav. Not only is it hilarious, Adams’ irreverent humanistic outlook is truly inspiring. Which is a really neat trick considering that all the actual humans (except two) get killed off at the beginning of the book…

  • troll

    Ruvy – why the diaspora and the bent back – ?

    do you think that what you call the kike culture that has evolved is ‘pleasing in Hashem’s sight’…who are you to declare the banishment over – ?

    perhaps – by straightening your back and taking on the task of ‘educating’ jew haters you have moved away from your position of supplicant before your deity as well as before the goyim

    where is the righteousness in that – ?

    …just wondering

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    troll,

    The diaspora and the bent back are punishments for idolatry, immorality, cursing G-d and for needless hatred. I didn’t declare the banishment of Jews over. Who am I? Evidently G-d did; the State of Israel and the success it has had up to now is the proof of that.

    The kike culture that evolved in Eastern Europe – a culture of cheating, lying, swindling and needless hatred – was not a pleasing aroma to Hashem; it was the likely reason for the holocaust of Jews – but according to Rabbi Kahane, z”l, hi”d, the actions of the Nazis were excessive against the Jews, just like the actions of the Egyptians were excessive against the ancient Hebrews – and Germany and Europe will be judged as was Egypt. They have not paid yet – they were merely defeated in war.

    Egypt was destroyed – Europe will be destroyed.

    The era of Jewish supplication to the goyim is not quite over yet – witness the behavior of the Israeli government, which is willing to excise Judea and Samaria and redivide Jerusalem under American pressure; and of the big shot American Jews who squirm with discomfort over the issue of the Turkish genocide of the Armenians in 1915-16. They are afraid to antagonize the Turks or the Turkish government for the sake of the Jews who still live in Turkey, and for the sake of the so-called “alliance” between Turkey and Israel. They are afraid to admit to the truth – even ninety years after the fact. Cowardice and spinelessness still characterizes the diaspora Jew.

    And finally – the hard part to write – the kike culture that exists here virtually guarantees that G-d’s judgment of us here will be severe and difficult. Many of us here will die – the seemingly innocent, as well as the clearly guilty.

    But the straight backed Jew who is not afraid of the persecutor and who is willing to kill him, is the outrider of the future.

  • troll

    *I didn’t declare the banishment of Jews over. Who am I? Evidently G-d did; the State of Israel and the success it has had up to now is the proof of that.*

    in your own writings you have described how the State of Israel is far from the religiously just Kingdom that your book predicts will someday be home for the jews

    yet you call for jews to return ‘home’ now

    your faith in your ability to read tea leaves and your deity’s will is impressive – almost diabolical…get thee behind me

  • Irene Wagner

    #76 Clavos, but does it really leave every other kind of believer out in the cold? The righteous Jews who died before Jesus was born are in Heaven. What about the pre-Christian God-fearing people in other nations, and those who have never heard of his name today? God takes notice of those who love God even if they haven’t heard of Jesus. Look at the example of Cornelius in the book of Acts chapter 10. Christians are told to bear witness to Jesus, but that isn’t the ONLY way God has of getting the word out. But once you’ve heard and understood Jesus Christ’s invitation to you, the ball is in your court.

    By the way, God does know who will spend eternity with him, but I don’t, and Baritone, well, I assume Baritone has surprised himself once or twice in the last few decades.

  • Irene Wagner

    troll, Forgive my arrogant blasphemy, in advance, but isn’t the OPPOSITE of “Replacement Theology” described in Romans 11:26-31? And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes, but as touching the election they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

    Climb up to that pineapple of compassion, troll!

  • Irene Wagner

    And Ruvy, you should lighten up a bit, too. If someone comes up to you on the street talking about Jesus, and you don’t want to hear him, why not just walk away, or tell him you aren’t interested? You told me once you’d be interested in reading what I had to say if I had a blog, and what gave you the impression that I’d go for more than 3 paragraphs without referring to My Friend JC? Why be so afraid of us? I’m not afraid of you. I think Judaism is interesting.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Irene,

    I have apparently become the top bad guy here. I would suggest to you that as your god is apparently the ultimate egoist, simply my assertions that he doesn’t exist earned me my walking papers to hell. My potty mouthed outbursts are irrelevant as regards my eternal rewards.

    I am a bit puzzled, though about your comment above: “I assume Baritone has surprised himself once or twice in the last few decades.” Just how may I have “surprised” myself?

    Also, I have yet to see your response to my earlier questions regarding the reconciliation of god’s supposed omniscience and predestination. Any thoughts?

    B-tone

  • Clavos

    “Also, I have yet to see your response to my earlier questions regarding the reconciliation of god’s supposed omniscience and predestination. Any thoughts?”

    Yeah, that’s one of the big ones for me, too. The catholic priests couldn’t give me an answer that satisfied me on that one, either.

    Some mumbo-jumbo about free will; but it didn’t account for the paradox between omniscience and their insistence there is no predestination.

  • Irene Wagner

    Baritone – What, am I yer Ask It Basket Handmaiden? But lo, I notice Clavos has obviated my scrolling clear up to the top to see the question about predestination.

    How have you surprised yourself? Baritone, I will weave the answer to that in my answer (=stab at) your omniscience/predestination question.

    In case time constraints prevent me from answering TONIGHT as thoroughly as I’d like, I will make like Socrates and give you a few questions to get your brains ready.

    All set?

  • troll

    Irene – funny that you should bring up Romans 11: 26 – 31 coming as it does right before one of my favorite bits of Paul’s sophistry: Romans 11: 32 *For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.*

    what a load of twisted crap

    …and whatever one’s view of supersessionism it has no relevance in my conversation with Ruvy for whom the NT is not gospel

  • Zedd

    Doc,

    I LOVE Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. Didn’t they try to remake the series or movie a few years ago?

    I was addicted to the series in my early 20’s (highly closeted super geek). I’m excited just reading your post.

  • Irene Wagner

    OK here are those questions, Baritone and Clavos. I worked hard on these, and I want you to work hard to answer them. I will post them in 3 parts, so as not to jam the comment facility.

    Troll: Do I look like a Pope? You need to wait in line if you want an answer from this Protestant. Better yet, let Zedd give it a whirl.

  • Irene Wagner

    Baritone and Clavos

    1. When did time start?

    2. Assuming God exists, did He exist before time?

    3. Or did time start when God started?
    God, by definition, is the First Cause, and if God exists and is the First Cause, then he started himself, which means…he didn’t HAVE a start. He always was. (Stephen Hawking doesn’t have any trouble believing that the Universe didn’t have a beginning.) So the answer to question 3 is obviously No. The answer is, No. And thus the answer to question 2 is yes. And thus the answer to question 1 is “God was before time was.”

    4. Have you ever heard a physicist propose that when you reached the end of the physical universe, you had actually reached the BEGINNING of the physical universe, too?

  • troll

    …I didn’t ask a question Irene – so no pressure

  • Irene Wagner

    5. Do you think the boundaries of time might share some of the same properties as the boundaries of the physical universe?

    6. As a person who does NOT believe in God right now–the default belief is Evolution, am I correct?–do you believe that you truly are the initiator of any of your own thoughts and actions? Are they not the result of long-ago random events that caused chain reactions, the chain reactions combining to create new chain reactions that resulted in the activation of certain of your neural networks to produce what you call your own thoughts and actions? Has Baritone ever made plans to do something in the future, or said, I will NEVER do such and so, and then ended up doing it? Is it because Baritone changed his mind, or did random processes change his mind for him?

    7. (Assuming there is a God) do you think the advent of your birth, and indeed your very being, come as rather a surprise to God?

    8. Read 2 Peter 3:9 (remember 2 Peter, NOT 1 Peter). Is this consistent with the belief that God would predestine anyone to hell?

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Why would anyone who doesn’t believe in god care enough about those questions to answer them?

    Dave

  • Irene Wagner

    9. (Assuming there is a God) which came first, God’s foreknowledge of you, or his predestination? (Read Ephesians 1:4-6.)

    10. Is predestination necessarily an assignment by God to an eternal destiny in Heaven or in Hell? or might it mean predestination to something else? Read Ephesians 2:10. In light of the Scriptures you read in questions 8 and 9 is it possible that God gave EVERYONE gifts and abilities and resources and conscience–advantages that we could choose to disregard–to do foreordained good works?

    11. Reread, and think about, your answers to questions 1 through 10. Now, please read Romans 8: 28 -39. Then reread your answers to questions 7 through 10 again. Can you express in your own words Romans chapter 8 verses 28 through 30?

    Thankyou, and God bless you.

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    Why even deal with it? If, through our living and learning, something that could be called god is revealed to us, let’s deal with it then.

    Yes, that is the point. Those who come to know Him “deal” with him and those who don’t, don’t deal with him.

    Now as to what the point is, if He does exist, that would be our reality. Not knowing what our reality, and purpose is my be sufficient but knowing it changes one’s outlook.

    If god is so egotistical and petty, that he would bring eternal misery down on us simply because we didn’t acknowledge him adequately, then what kind of a god is that? Certainly not one who “loves” mankind.

    I missed how we reached the conclusion that He is egotistical. That would imply that we understand His intent. If we knew His intent then He wouldn’t be God. He would possess human characteristics.

    I always go back to the toddler who wants to go into the middle of the street to play. While he may kick and scream when you scoop him up and put him back on safer ground, you remain steadfast in your decision to keep him off the road. While he may be angry and feel mistreated, and disregarded, your knowledge makes his desire unthinkable.

    We can not understand God’s ways because we are not God. We don’t have a capability nor the vantage point to assess or judge what He does. We are tiny, much like the toddler to us.

    Now, as to your assumption that your lack of belief renders you to be much more rational, I’d say, you haven’t responded adequately to the arguments for the existence of God. You’ve basically attributed characteristics that you have made up to God and then said that because of those made up characteristics, he couldn’t exist.

    That is not lucid. Try again and THEN you can call me irrational once you’ve made a good argument. I’ll warn you though, the greatest philosophers through time have let this one go :o) So you’ve got your work cut out.

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    It seems to me that you are saying that God is not God because He doesn’t do things the way you think they SHOULD be done.

    Now would he be God if he did?

  • Dr Dreadful

    Zedd,

    Yes, a big-screen version came out a couple of years ago. I didn’t think much of it, which was sad, because it’s the only version of the story I haven’t liked.

    Besides the Hitch-Hiker canon, I’d also recommend Adams’s Dirk Gently books, which are slightly more cerebral than Hitch-Hiker but have the same one-step-sideways-from-reality take on life.

  • Zedd

    Irene,

    I don’t know anything about Catholicism.

    I was raised non-denominational but take by faith to be a personal thing.

  • Irene Wagner

    Dave, that was just plain cutting and uncalled for. Baritone asked me in #95, and Clavos expressed interest in the answer, too, in #96. I think YOU should answer them, too Dave Nalle. It’ll be fun.

    Well that about does it. I actually think further commentary from me on the omniscience/predestination matter would be superfluous. It’s best when people think for themselves. So have fun with those questions.

  • Zedd

    Doc,

    Thanks I will look for them.

  • Irene Wagner

    Ah, Zedd, I see. Well, I know practically nothing about Dr. Who. There’s room for everybody in a discussion about God, isn’t there!

  • bliffle

    Gods Warriors can talk a person to death, can’t they?

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    On the omniscience and predestination…

    The starting point is that He loves us. Just as you love your kids no matter how your children behave, do or don’t do, you are simply enthralled by them.

    Simply because He knows our fate it doesn’t mean that He still doesn’t love us individually. Our fate is determined by our choices and He is aware of the choices that we will make.

    Now as to the cruelty of eternal rewards or their opposite…. Some say that it’s not about punishment per se but about getting it or not getting it. Those who will experience the grace are those who have come to understand why we are here and what this (existence) is about. Those who won’t are those who never got it and never chose to pursue those answers and so they never get them (the rewards or answers).

  • Zedd

    Troll,

    Romans 11: 32 *For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.*

    It does sound wacky doesn’t it.

    Now think again in terms of your children. If you raise them in a more liberal way and give them the right to question you, make mistakes and just be themselves, your love for them is revealed more so than if you rule them with an iron hand, not allowing them to have independent decisions whatsoever. Even though your stringent rules and military rule would be in place because you are trying to protect them and you love them, giving them leeway demonstrates your love to them more.

    Unlike other animals, we don’t operate on instinct only. We do what we want. We don’t do perfect. It is in this imperfect state that we see God’s grace.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Zedd, it doesn’t work. Chris has admonished Clavos for trying the same thing. I’m afraid we’re all going to have to wait until Spain wakes up and Señor Rose can fix it.

    Until then, let’s all enjoy being slanty.

  • Dr Dreadful

    In future how ’bout you leave it to Ruvy to forget to close tags. He’s the resident BC specialist at it!

  • Irene Wagner

    Aroint thee italics. Begone!

    Baritone, Clavos (and Dave Nalle): if I catch you cheating and looking at Zedd’s (very thoughtful) paper on Omniscience and Predestination BEFORE you’ve tried to answer questions 1 through 11, you’re in big trouble.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “And Ruvy, you should lighten up a bit, too. If someone comes up to you on the street talking about Jesus, and you don’t want to hear him, why not just walk away, or tell him you aren’t interested?”

    Proselytizers are a pesky lot, almost as bad as vacuum cleaner salesmen. In America, I have to tolerate their right to bother me – American concepts of religious freedom also embrace Christian liberty, that is to say, the right of Christian denominations to hustle their religion to non-believers.

    That’s not true here. HERE, we regard “missionérim” as a cursed lot, to be avoided at all costs…. They are disgusting at best, and a reminder of Christian persecution, at worst.

    I would read your blog, if you had one. And on your blog, I would expect to find liberal references to Jesus – it would be unreasonable to expect otherwise.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    And Irene,

    As for “lightening up,” Baritone asked a rather nasty, but legitimate, question. And he got an answer which, I think, surprised him.

    Troll pursued the point – and I gave him my perspective on it all. It ain’t pleasant, but those who run away from history tend to suffer terribly when history catches up with them. This applies to Jews who delude themselves over how nice they are as well as to people like Chris Rose, who would prefer to leave the “dusty old tomes” to gather dust and move on to the “bright new world” ahead…

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Dave, that was just plain cutting and uncalled for. Baritone asked me in #95, and Clavos expressed interest in the answer, too, in #96. I think YOU should answer them, too Dave Nalle. It’ll be fun.

    I believe you have my answer in #104.

    And I don’t have a Texas accent. It’s not required in Austin.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    It DOES work, Chris notwithstanding. What we CAN’T do is go back and correct it (italics, bold, whatever was left open) at the point where it started, but you CAN stop ‘em down the line, as I just did.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Er, no you didn’t, Clavos. I’m still reading this with my head tilted to one side.

  • Clavos

    You need to lay off the single malt this late, Doc.

  • Clavos

    G’night, Doc.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Don’t make me e-mail you a screenshot, Florida man. In the interest of scientific inquiry, I also tried closing the tag on my computer. Didn’t work. Still looking at the Leaning Tower of Words.

    ‘Morning, Chris. Sorry about all the tidying up you’ve got to do, but he won’t listen…

    :-D

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    I fixed it. The error was also one which some browsers might read as an italics closing tag while others don’t. End of mystery.

    Dave

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Clavos, it may stop what you see, but it doesn’t clear the error. I have to do that myself. So again, please stop giving me more work to do…

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Oh, and I would have responded to Irene and Zedd but all of their comments and questions made absolutely no sense at all.

    The best I can come up with is “Huh?”

  • Zedd

    Christophe,

    Err, that’s big of you to admit that.

    Re: The best I can come up with is “Huh?”

    Huuuuuug! tee he he he.

    Get it? Christophe, errr?

    BTW are you my buddy again?

  • bliffle

    Irene doesn’t help her case by being so condescending and haughty. Why should anyone do what she demands?

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    By the sophistication of your little joke, I can only assume you’ve been hanging out with your intellectual equals in the kindergarden again, Zedd.

    Bliffle, ‘cos she’ll set that big nasty god of hers on you!

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “I would have responded to Irene and Zedd but all of their comments and questions made absolutely no sense at all.

    The best I can come up with is ‘Huh?'”

    Let’s help you out. Googling up Drishkitone leads to an Indian blogger who put in his site the comments of Deepak Chopra on Einstein as his lead piece (so far).

    Taken from Chopra’s comments:

    Determinists are generally pessimistic, but Einstein was not. He was constantly fascinated by a level of creation just out of reach that contained unlimited wonder. In his 1930 credo, “What I Believe,” we find this sentence: “To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly, this is religiousness.” Statements like these open the way for a broad, tolerant view of the spiritual quest. In that regard, Einstein outshines the rigidity of current scientific skeptics, who throw out a personal God but leave a vacuous sterility in his place.

    The emboldened text characterizes how I view you militant atheists at Blogcritics Magazine.

    If you get to the website – it starts with http://www.dishkitone.com, you can follow where Desh, the blogger, and I, have explored…

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Ruvy, I don’t know why one would want to google “drishkitone” or what it is but to answer your somewhat odd observation:-

    I am not in any way a militant atheist. Religion as you conceive of it is only a part of my life when participating on Blogcritics. In the rest of my life it is entirely absent.

    Additionally, I am not a determinist and do not and have never ruled out spirituality, so your entire point is redundant.

    All you seem to have explored is an exercise in futility, oh wait, that’s what a religion is! That and a utterly useless distraction from any genuine spirituality.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “I don’t know why one would want to google “drishkitone” or what it is but to answer your somewhat odd observation:-“

    For someone who seems so talented and intelligent, you have such a puerile imagination. A pity. You are not the only one to wonder about the universe. This Indian blogger does as well, and brings to the table considerable knowledge to back up his views and ruminations.

    But I do not want to break the bubble of your intellectual isolation….

    Irene,

    A simple thought to give you a royal headache.

    G-d is that Entity which encompasses ALL probability.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    And again the faithists get snippy when they run out of anything interesting or relevant to say.

    It is simply pathetic of you to assume (of course you’re a faithist so actual thinking doesn’t come easy for you) that my thinking is puerile because I haven’t heard of some Indian blogger.

    You’re the one that is existing in a bubble, one that is simplistically defined by the narrow limits of your tired old faith.

    Thank fuck we only have to endure this dreck for another twenty years. Assuming we both live that long, will you recant all this drivel then or weakly come up with some tragic rationalisiation to explain away the non-event?

  • Nancy

    Sorry to get in on this one so late, but I’ve been away a bit. Also it took me awhile to read it all.

    Baritone & Chris raise a very good question, that I have as well: if, as Irene & Ruvy assert, God is all-powerful, then why does he need any mere humans to do battle on his behalf? Why would he want to? As Baritone says, all he has to do is flick less than half an eyelash, & the offender is GONE, baby: zero, nada, nothing, history. Believers never see the stupidity & heresy of their own behavior & assertions. IF God is all-powerful, then you are usurping his perogatives in taking on his cause as your own. Ah – didn’t he say himself, “vengence is mine”? So … the sorts of threats & snorts Irene has issued against Baritone & Chris are a bit over-stepping the bounds, no? If God is offended, why isn’t HE saying so?

    I’ve heard all the religious responses, I think. Let’s see which one Irene or Ruvy et al come up with. As for threats about ‘you’d better start getting religion or you’re gonna be sorry when HE gets here…’ yah, yah, yah. I’m impressed. Whenever Believers are up against the wall, they can never come up with anything better than to fall back on threats about something they can’t possibly know or prove, namely possible future divine retribution. After all, they themselves may be unpleasantly surprised, come the Last Coming, yes? Wasn’t it also said, “many will say ‘Lord, Lord’, but I will say ‘I do not know ye’ “?

  • Nancy

    Hey, Chris – this has happened before: remember the Millerites? And the Millenialists? You’d think people would learn, but apparently every generation needs to learn again, personally.

    My best friend read “Left Behind” & called me in a panic urging me to repent & Get Jesus before it was too late & I was stranded here. I read the 1st book, & was utterly torn between the urge to hawk & spit, or laughter. What a bunch of the stupidest phony holy-roller hooey any televangelist ever tried to peddle. Falwell or Oral Roberts couldn’t have done worse. all these Elmer Gantrys do is prey on the superstitions & fears of the credulous…which includes people who nominally at least are supposed to be educated at least thru the 12th grade, but you wouldn’t know it, since they swallow the bait just as eagerly as the most ignorant 3rd-world illiterate, who at least has an excuse.

  • troll

    Irene –

    1. time started when 3 started
    2. no thing existed before 3
    3. no…and don’t you think you should keep your answers to yourself until after the questions so that people will think for themselves – ?
    4. yes
    5. yes
    6.(actually 5 questions here)
    a. no
    b. yes
    c. yes
    d. yes
    e. both
    7. no
    8. yes
    9. neither
    10. (3 questions)
    a. in the sense of the original question – yes
    b. a word can mean what you want it to – so yes (politically speaking)
    c. sure (given the assumption of your god’s existence) but there is no answer to the original conundrum here

    11. the text is straightforward…its implication (in my words) is that your god (again given the basic assumption of this mess) is either limited in knowledge or in power or in good will

    …or more likely – that Paul didn’t have a clue

    so…now what – ?

  • Clavos

    Too much scrolling.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Nancy,

    Yay! – And what you said…

    As “Ahnold” would say: “I’ll be back.” I can’t engage in all this right now as earning a living beckons.

    And, after all, I’ve got all that biblical stuff to read and comprehend; all those questions to ponder and answer. Man! Talk about too much homework. It’s gonna be hard to carry all that stuff around in my backpack.

    B-tone

  • troll

    (I attacked the ass ignment using 2 tabs…much easier than scrolling)

  • Clavos

    Now, why didn’t I think of that???

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Dave,

    As a total non-sequitur – Does Schultz (Sp?) Garten, a German beer garden still exist in Austin? It was, if memory serves near the UT (or is it TU) campus. While serving at Ft. Hood in the mid ’60s, our occasional trips to Austin and Shultz was a wonderful haven away from being an army grunt.

    B-tone

  • Clavos

    1. It didn’t. It’s a continuum; without a beginning or end.

    2. No.

    3. No. (See #1)

    4. Yes.

    5. Neither has boundaries; both are infinite and have no beginning nor end.

    6. troll’s right; 5 questions:
    a. theory, yes; belief, no.
    b. yes
    c. long past events (some random, some not) determine how thoughts form; not the thoughts themselves, which may be determined by very recent events (e.g. touching a hot stove)
    d. yes
    e. both

    7. No

    8. Of course

    9. By the text: predestination (“…he hath chosen…before the foundation of the world…”), but here we run into the dilemma of whether or not one accepts the text as the “word of god.” I do not.

    10. By the text: yes. But, here’s one of the places where, IMO, you run onto the reef: NOW you (and the text) are saying the predestination is selective; that not everything is predestined. This is inconsistent with your god’s omniscience, which by definition, implies every thing is predestined, since he knows how everything will turn out.

    11. No, I can’t. Well, I can but it would involve the inconsistencies mentioned above.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Clavos,

    Yay, to you as well.

    Really, nice work.

    The problem I have with responding to Irene, especially her directives to read scripture is that I believe the bible and all such “holy” works to be irrelevant. They are rife with inconsistencies and contradictions. They depict – especially in the old testament of the christian bible and the corresponding sections of the Talmud and Koran – a wrathful, genocidal god. It does, in fact, come down to an egoistic deity.

    Further, these “holy” texts presume the existence of god, which, of course, I don’t.

    As to Zedd’s arguments, I find it difficult to even know where to begin. I have here and elsewhere submitted what I feel are cogent arguments supporting my position. They are not things “I made up.” They are consistent with any number of admittedly more scholarly works by such as Chris Hitchens, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins who are representative of much of the current thinking. I have also found much the same on a variety of humanist web sites and amongst humanist or secular organizations such as the “Brights” and the “Institute for Humanist Inquiry” among others.

    Most of the arguments presented by either Zedd or Irene are sourced primarily to the bible. The bible is always the fall back source.

    The most specious of both Zedd’s and Irene’s pronouncements are that they “know” of god’s existence – that they know it in their minds and hearts. They obviously “know” no such thing.
    It is all emotional mind manipulation. ( I was going to write “mind farts,” but that would have been unseemly of me.) Many such people claim to have regular conversations with the big guy. That would be headline news, now wouldn’t it?

    Just as an aside, there is a truly idiotic film made back in the 1950s, The Next Voice You Hear with James Whitmore and Nancy Davis (aka Nancy Reagan) in which it is announced via the radio that god is going to address the world at such and such a time. Of course the producers didn’t have the temerity to actually depict god speaking, but the film revolves around one family’s turmoil in anticipation of the astounding event. It is silliness personified.

    Humans are capable of rationalizing and, consequently, believing pretty much any damn thing. Religionists write in circles, citing scripture and making pronouncements that generally make no sense. “God exists because the bible says so. The bible is the inerrant word of god.” That is circular and irrational. It is the ultimate in slick propaganda. BELIEVE, OR GO TO HELL!

    B-tone

  • Irene Wagner

    Nancy — *You* have a best friend who reads the “Left Behind” series, and requires you to sit through book reviews and literary analyses of the same??? My goodness, no WONDER you have to come in here and blow off theological steam occasionally. I’m sitting here laughing.

    Bliffle in #130, the difference between Baritone and you is this: when YOU ask me a question (for example, your “what about death bed conversions?” in the HomoExpect thread) YOU never even acknowledge that you’ve seen the answser I’ve tried to give. Instead, you whiz by and give me the back of your hand the next time you see me in another thread.

    Baritone is different. He asks me a question (as he did around comment 95 or 96) and I try to give an answer, by giving more questions (the pedantic air was tongue in cheek) and well, dang, at least he’s gracious enough to tell me he’ll pack the assignment in his poke and take it home to look it over when he gets more time.

    The rest of you who answered the 11 questions, Clavos, troll, thanks for taking the time. If somebody wants to see how I would have answered these, run the request by Bliffle to make sure it’s OK with him for me to speak up…

    REMF Yes I do and am interested to see that there’s life in the Larry Craig story yet. I see he’s reconsidering his decision to resign.

    Ruvy. When I first got to BC, I had you pegged as a Jew who believed the Mensch could do no wrong. I’ve known plenty of Jews in my life, and they’ve fallen all across the character spectrum, and I mean ALL over. Not long after first making your acquaintance on BC, I understood that you make no secret of your awareness of that spectrum, too. “If everybody hates the Jews so much, why don’t they just go away?” Even the most ardent Jew-hater will have to ask himself that question, and keep scratching his head for a long time. It’s a miracle of preservation. I know I’m going to keep my eye on Israel, and the people who live there. It may be 20 more years, or 20 more centuries. Something wonderful is going to happen there one day, and for all the hatred and failed misinterpretation of “God’s will” (and the misrepresentation of it by the kikeish lot with whom Ruvy is disgusted), that wonderful thing is blossoming even now.

    I do have a blog, though. It’s an Anablog I keep hidden under a pile of books! I can’t be jumping everytime I see my name in BC, or I’d be on the computer morning, noon and night. And now, unless I get a hit from googling “Irene Wagner”+”how did YOU answer those 11 questions, Irene?” I will consider BC a read-only site for awhile, and do my writin’ in “Annie.”

    Chris Nalle Ron Paul 2008!

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    On another thread, I repeatedly asked Irene to respond to specific questions, and to answer biblical contradictions, mistakes, exaggerations, etc.

    Her only reply was that it would waste her time to do so.

    So far, the non-believers are much more thoughtful, responsive, and courteous.

    Irene, if you think by your questions you have proven the existence of a god, now you will need to demonstrate that it is YOUR particular Christian God’s existence(not Zeus or Allah, say)that you have proven.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    As a total non-sequitur – Does Schultz (Sp?) Garten, a German beer garden still exist in Austin? It was, if memory serves near the UT (or is it TU) campus. While serving at Ft. Hood in the mid ’60s, our occasional trips to Austin and Shultz was a wonderful haven away from being an army grunt.

    Schultz’ Beergarden does indeed still exist. Their beer is better than their very limited selection of german food, but it’s a good place to go after a football game at UT. It’s one of the few survivals from the austin of the 60s.

    BTW, did I just see Irene sign her comment ‘Chris Nalle’? What’s up with that? Is she some transgender posting relative of mine? Or perhaps she’s addressing me, having mistaken me for the guitarist of the metal band Torment the Vein.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    Irene – maybe that should be “EX-best-friend”? Except I have extraordinary forebearance for the follie of my friends, so she still is, somehow, religious nutiness aside.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Dave,

    At least back in the ’60s Schultz served very good weinerschnitzel & red cabbage. That along with a good dark beer (does “Dunkel” sound right?) out on their “garten” was truly a treat.

  • Clavos

    “BTW, did I just see Irene sign her comment ‘Chris Nalle’?”

    Heh.

    It DID look that way, but I think it was a comment addressed to you and Chris in the same way she addressed several of us in that comment.

    Note to troll:

    Do you feel (as I do) that we wasted our time?

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    I’m kinda flushed. My arguments are from philosophy. I haven’t been quoting the bible to you exclusively. I did respond to Troll’s question about a single verse that he posted which was from the bible. Clavos and I think YOU also posed questions about what was IN the bible. Off course I would have to explain THE BIBLE’s text to respond. However as to the comments on the existence of God, that was based on some philosophical arguments.

    I REALLY believe that my belief is personal. I am not going to quote scripture to you when you don’t believe it. That is crazy.

    I don’t think fixed ideas are any good. Your ideas are fixed and make you incapable of understanding because you make simple extrapolations that are unrelated OR you create a definition, then base your statements based on that definition. Your fixed notions are just as useless as those of a religious kook wouldn’t you agree? Ignorance is ignorance.

    Now, I was talking Aristotle not King James. Do some study.

    Again, you over simplified because of your prejudice. You assume superior knowledge, so you miss a great deal, just like the religious nuts.

    So may we make a blanket statement that any staunch believer who is not open to testing their ideas is subject to being ignorant and perhaps embarrassingly wrong?

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    Now as for my comment about you making things up….

    You said: I would suggest to you that as your god is apparently the ultimate egoist .

    And then you said…

    Are you suggesting that this great omnipotent god might go to the trouble

    By saying that God has an ego it suggests that YOU attribute human qualities to him and that YOU know why he does what he does. Is God an Egoist? We would have to be comparing him to others like him to measure his ego. If he is supreme, why would he NEED an ego? So let’s start from the point that if his supreme and none could possibly ever be beyond him, he wouldn’t or even couldn’t have an ego.

    That statement isn’t based on anything, just your evaluation (without commentary as to how those conclusions were reached), and you assume that we are supposed to dialogue based on that premise that you made up.

    Does God go through trouble to do anything? Where did anyone suggest that? Where do you see evidence in anyone’s religion espousing that belief? You made that up. That quality wouldn’t belong to THE God would it. It would belong to the cartoon, I assume, that you have made up in your mind, to justify or argue for your beliefs.

    That is what I meant by the statement that you just make up stuff and we are supposed to start a meaningful based on them.

  • Zedd

    Chris,

    I’ll take it that we are Buds?

    My joke was funny. Laugh or I’ll sick my pet theory on you.

    At 40, I wouldn’t mind the kindergarten references, would I? It’s been so long that such statements don’t have an affect. Their cute, I guess. I suppose if I were in my twenties and trying to prove that I’m grown up, it would matter.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    I thought you were trying to prove you were grown up. Alas in vain.

  • Zedd

    Chris,

    No. Did you miss it again? Was that another “huh?” for ya?

    Hug? He he he.

    BTW thanks for fixing my mess with the italics.

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    This is a legit question. I think you think that I am more religiously woozier than I really am….

    I want to get a better understanding of Atheism or Agnosticism.

    When you are alone and evaluating your life, do you ever experience gratitude? Not the standard variety for a specific act. I mean do you ever experience overall thankfulness or state of gratitude?

    I am curious about this.

    Do you feel a sense of purpose or do you asses your life to be an experience to be had, sort of, work hard, play hard then die? If so, why bother. Why deal with difficult situations? Why not just have fun until you can’t anymore. I suppose, why not get high and fly until you die? Is the struggle fun?

    OR

    Is purpose found in perpetuating human civilization on this planet? Do you work, have kids, create, and so on for that purpose? So is your contribution to keeping our species alive and functioning what motivates you to engage?

    Are you mainly happy to be part of the bionetwork?

    Again, this is a serious question. There is not gotcha at the end of it.

    I suppose anyone else who has the same beliefs can answer.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zedd,

    My take on you is that you are not conventionally religious, but that you are nevertheless a believer in a god or in some less well defined “higher power.”

    I am neither.

    You pose a number of questions and make some statements concerning my arguments.

    I am interested first in your assertions that I “make up” my points. Again, I have taken the basic arguments found in any number of other sources. What you are suggesting reminds me of a talk I attended by John Updike. He read one of his poems. Shortly after, an earnest young fellow raised his hand and asked: Was that a real poem, or did you just make it up. Well, of course, the answer to both parts of that question was yes and yes.

    Yes, some of my arguments I have formulated on my own. It’s called thinking, I believe. That I call god an egoist is not that much of a stretch. But doing so is not to suggest that god is in fact an egoist. The suggestion is presented ironically. I have no idea at all of what your construct of god is. I simply have none, and I am perfectly content with that.

    Am I grateful? To whom and for what? Do you believe that one can have no purpose in life without god? Do you imagine that I and others of my ilk are wandering through life aimlessly? You ask “why bother?”

    I don’t question the fact that I am alive. This life is all I have. I could choose, as some have to be a criminal, to be cruel, or worse, to be like Rob Schneider. I could choose to blow my brains out. Obviously some do, even some true believers. Since life is all we have, all we get, most of us choose, regardless of our beliefs to live life as best we can for as long as we can. That, I believe, is the survival instinct.

    I have a family for whom I have provided as best I could, and I have great hopes for my kid’s future. Life can be very good. As far as we know, it beats the alternative. Many true believers live for the next life, looking upon this existence as no more than a trial, a prelude to eternal bliss.

    To me, this life is precious owing to its singularity. Again, as far as we know, its the best thing going. It is up to us to decide to live it well. And who knows, perhaps WE are god. Ever think of that? Maybe it’s you and me, and, god forbid, maybe even Rob. We just haven’t gotten our omnipotent/omniscient proficiency badges.

    Another point regarding my characterization of god. The good old bible says, if memory serves, that man was made in god’s image. Now are we to presume that it is only refering to our “physical” image? Or could we extrapolate that if it looks like a god, if it walks like a god, it must be….

    In the end, I just don’t see the need for god. I understand how the notion evolved. A god answered questions of what we humans couldn’t understand. Early on in our evolutionary journey, we understood virtually nothing. Almost everything was a mystery.

    Look at the answers we have come up with. In barely more than a hundred years we have made huge strides in knowing and understanding ourselves and the universe around us. Are there still unanswered questions? Of course. But who’s to say that we won’t figure it all out? I’m not predicting that we will. But I do think we can.

    I remember reading somewhere that the last thing to be revealed to us will be god. If that be the case, we may be a while. In the mean time, I’m not going to concern myself with it.

    B-tone

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    Thank you for the thoughtful answers. I appreciate you taking the time. I realize that I asked a lot and gave you a lot to respond to.

    I was raised in an Evangelical environment (before they went nuts) and was raised to question things and to know that what I believed about the Divine is far beyond my imagination so what that did was remove a need to be simply religious. In many cases, religiousness is more about the club than the personal growth, expansion of the mind and soul, etc. I am appalled at the prayer in school people. What the heck does that do and what does that have to do with Christianity or anything? If you pray to God in your heart, then what is the need to have everyone pray IN SCHOOL out loud? Silly. I miss the point in teaching the Bible as a text book. Again, the impact of a “relationship” with God is personal and internal. We have churches. If a person whats to study the Bible they can. They can even do it at home. What’s the crazy hype about? On creationism instead of evolution. That is just nuts. Again, I believe that God is huge meaning he devised science. Why wouldn’t he use a mechanical method to create the world (evolution)

    So you believe that we strive out of instinct. Much like the pursuit for alpha dog status, we strive because of an inborn drive that keeps us wanting to live and to progress. But being a thinking person, is that enough for you? If you know that there is no real point or objective to this thing that we call life, we are just all scrambling around, falling in love, breaking up, stressed about reports or meetings, trying to out do the Joneses, experiencing ecstasy and depression, simply for no real reason. Just so we can die and NO ONE remember that we ever existed in a couple of generations?

    You know I always say that I am fortunate that God revealed himself to ME. Had I not received confirmation after confirmation of his presence, I would be more rabid than you about the madness that religion is. However, in my life I have been forced to come to this knowledge and I am so grateful. I know that I sound all drone like to you but I’ve had to resign myself to this conclusion. The strange thing is that I sense that you will come to the same conclusion.

    You know, as for the idea that we are god, geeeez… All I can picture is George Bush and I just cant buy that. THAT would surely be depressing.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    At least back in the ’60s Schultz served very good weinerschnitzel & red cabbage. That along with a good dark beer (does “Dunkel” sound right?) out on their “garten” was truly a treat.

    The ‘garten’ is still there, but the last time I went the only German thing left on the menu aside from some of the standard beers was a rather weak bratwurst and sauerkraut plate.

    Dave

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Dave,

    That’s too bad. I guess things never stay the same. I remember that we were at Schultz just a day or two after the Whitman shootings. That was one wild deal.

    B-tone

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zedd,

    The DESIRE that there be a god to give meaning to life does not make it a reality. I wish my gut was smaller than my chest. Alas…

    You say that god “revealed” himself to you. Just how did these revelations play out? I know that many true believers claim to have witnessed miracles. It’s troubling that only believers have witnessed these miracles. You will be hard pressed to find any agnostics or atheists who have witnessed what they would characterize as a miracle. I would equate a god “revealing” himself to you or anyone with a miracle.

    Certainly, life presents its challenges. Look at the hundreds of millions of people through the ages who have lived absolutely abject, and by most any standard, horrible lives. They had and have little or nothing for which to thank any god. Most keep on taking the next breath, the next step, owing to their instinct for survival.

    I expect you will say that most such people retain a belief in some god. That faith figures into the equation, but, ultimately when it comes down to whether one lives or dies, it is that instinct to survive that kicks in.

    Whether we find a point to life is up to us as individuals. The “point” that believers cling to is the afterlife. I find life here and now rewarding in just being conscious and aware. I love my wife, my kids. I am amazed by things I discover every day. I love to garden. I have nearly 50 basil plants that I started from seed last January. My wife and I supply basil and other herbs to a local Italian restaurant. We have become friends with the chef who is a master at his craft. We love much of the results of his artistry. Eating really good food is a great experience. We spent part of Monday afternoon in a museum. Great stuff. It’s the here and now we should behold. Life is just a thing to be lived as best we can and celebrate it from beginning to end. There is absolutely no evidence of their being anything beyond. Look at the way people torture themselves in this life in the belief that to do so will win them grace in the beyond. What foolishness.

    B-tone

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “Dan, as is Ruvy, is bordering on hysteria.”

    I ran across an interesting article describing the reaction of major American Jewish organizations to G-d’s Jewish Warriors. If execs at CNN regretfully tell the tramp Ananpour to peddle her anti-Israel and Jew hating shit somewhere else because Jewish owned advertisers pull their ads from CNN and starts costing the pricks a fortune, that’s no skin off my ass. It’s called the free market…

    Gee, Baritone, aren’t those Jews haughty and arrogant, to think that they have the right to try to influence objective reporting? Someone should stick them in an oven or something and get rid of them, no?

    Of course, making a big stink over G-d’s Jewish Warriors will hopefully distract people from their own cowardice (that of the American Jewish organizations, that is) in being honest about Turks killing off Armenians 90 years ago. That may be the underlying motive for the big campaign against CNN…

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Baritone, thanks for writing your #158. I loved its integrity, very uplifting.

    Zedd, you are mired in subjectivity and make no sense about anything. Ever!

    Ruvy, you are bordering on hysteria. Go get on with your life and check back in twenty. All WILL be revealed and you aren’t going to like it!

  • Nancy

    I can understand (I think) Zedd’s POV to a degree, because I also want/wish there were a God who really was caring, forgiving, etc. Alas, from what I’ve seen of Life, such as it is, I’m not too sure there is such a being. There are too many anomalies, questions, & problems concerning such a persona’s behaviors & policies as bourne out by His/Her/Its possible actions or lack thereof, in this world; and entirely too much insistance on the part of Believers that all of it be taken “on faith” – which is garbage, IMO. Faith is nothing more than willing self-delusion & wishful thinking. I believe, therefore it is.

    Meanwhile, I am quite sure & certain – again, as bourne out by their words, policies, & actions – that the various Organized Religions of the world are nothing more than organized crime syndicates, for the express purposes of enriching & aggrandizing their leaderships, & perpetuating their power bases – the RC church being the oldest, largest, & primest example of this BS, with the other christian denominations & most of Islam following close behind. I might make an exception for the Dalai Lama & some of the less extremist forms of Buddhism, the Quakers, and a very few others, but not many.

    So, Irene, Zedd, et al need to differentiate whether they’re defending religion per se, OR a specific organized religion. Some commenters are clearly RC boosters. I can’t tell what Irene is defending, except that it’s some form of virulent Pauline-based, apochryphal christianity. Can’t tell what exactly Zedd believes in that regard, either.

    Gotta say for myself I have a sneaking hope/subliminal & deeply-entrenched (in childhood) belief that is probably more akin to superstition, that there is such a benign & caring Being, but gotta say that from appearances, He/She/It has a helluva way of showing it. As for such stuff as JC actually BEING God – that’s the biggest spin ever perpetuated, by anybody, in an obvious attempt to one-up other deities current at the time. Given his Judaic background, I doubt very much that JC himself EVER said anything about being God, or being the Son of God, or any such thing; he would have regarded that sort of thing as blasphemy, as do the jews & muslims today. And I doubt Muhammad was much of a messenger: the Qu’ran is ‘way too flawed by aimless ranting against non-supporters, christians, & jews, & other pointless diatribes, to have come from a superior intelligence. It also contains a good deal of misinformation on those religions, as well as condoning such tenuous & anti-social activities as kidnapping, banditry, slavery, vengence, murder, & war, which it then tries to attribute to a benevolent deity (?!)

    My view is, religion in general is fine – as long as you keep it under wraps & keep it to yourself. The minute anyone tries to codify it, organize it, or spread it, it becomes anathema, a sham, & a shame.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Nancy,

    You’ve put together a pretty good take on this discussion. While I believe that anyone even privately harboring a belief in some type of supreme being is wasteful nonsense, I agree with you that as long as one keeps it personal, it is then that person’s business.

    Organized religion essentially takes superstition and attempts to legitimize it. Concomitently, a religious organization necessarily becomes political. As any sect or congregation grows, so too does its political power. Humans come together in a number of ways to influence the direction a society takes on any number of issues. The heinous nature of religious organizations – especially those having government sponsorship and support – demand fealty and subjugation to the tenets of that organization, and such demands are given the weight of the law of the land. That was the nature of medieval and renaissance Europe under the yoke of Catholicism, and is now in force in so called Islamic states. Frankly, I am not sure just what influence the Jewish religious order has over the state of Israel.

    As I have noted in other posts here at BC and on my blog, there are many, mainly evangelical protestants whose goal it is to establish an American Christian theocracy, making biblical law the law of the land, in effect trashing our constitution in favor of supposed god’s law.

    Given the terrible abuses for which such church/state governments have been responsible over the years, and those which apparently prevail in many of the current Islamic states, such a prospect is not a happy one. Pompous, self-righteous church leaders rail about how they must “take back” this country for Jesus. The truth is Jesus never had it. That is an imaginary construct in the power hungry minds of christian evangelicals. For people who claim that only the eternal after-life in heaven is of significance, they seem to have an inordinant preoccupation with wielding power here on earth. These are god’s Christian warriors.

    You will note that for the most part Jesus and god are no longer depicted as gentle, loving deities. No more images of the “J” man standing amongst a heard of sheep with a tender smile and a hand gently touching the arm of a shepherd. Now he is often depicted with hair and robes blowing in the wind,standing before a background of storm and fire, a machine gun in each hand, crossed ammo belts over his shoulders, a glint in his baby blues and a rather crazed smile amidst his stubbled cheeks and chin. Jesus as a kick-ass mo fo. Kinda makes a fellow tear up, you know what I mean?

    B-tone

  • Nancy

    Well, the blonde, blue-eyed image gags me, too. I doubt VERY much he was blonde & blue-eyed, & tall & slim w/immaculate blue & white garments & dainty little sandals & a manicured beard & silky hair…especially being as he was of long-standing semitic descent. He probably was very dark, short, stocky, somewhat gnarled & calloused, w/a big honker, lots of body hair, lots of long, greasy black head hair & beard, & none too clean by modern standards. The bible do say he would not be a man of beauty, after all, & he WAS a carpenter, or said to be at any rate. A working stiff & peasant, y’know. Ugh. Ick. I’d rather see a picture of the reality than that gawd-awful Victorian blonde travesty.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    I think it’d be great if he looked like, say, Danny DeVito, only less handsome, or better yet, how about Sidney Poitier, or Bette Midler?

    B-tone

  • Nancy

    I dunno if it’s possible to be LESS attractive than Danny DeVito…? Sid & Bette are too good looking, IMO. Sorry. Of course, as far as I (or anybody) knows, he may have looked like Ah-nuld, but its bloody unlikely.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    I was just trying to think of any image that would upset the fundies – a short, stocky, unattractive guy as you described like DeVito, or a great looking black man or a blousey, middle aged Jewish woman. Any would be fine.

    B-tone

  • Irene Wagner
  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    I should hope that those who God has made himself known to would be the ones to believe.

    HOW would someone be an agnostic if God revealed himself to him? That is impossible isn’t it.

    Again, you have me confused with something different. I have not experienced a miracle per se. Without you experiencing what I have, you wont understand.

    I would have to say that it should stand that you will know when you know. Until then, don’t worry about it, like you’ve said.

    It may also serve you well to simply say, I don’t KNOW about there being or not being a God. Being a person who values open mindedness, that would be appropriate wouldn’t it.

  • Zedd

    Nancy,

    This may be a bit off topic, however..

    Its been a challenge to replicate the affects of placebo. Scientists are working on capturing the triggering mechanisms for a healing that is based on belief.

    What is thought is that the healing occurs because the naturally present elements (which we possess in our bodies to heal us) are triggered and the person heals. What is interesting is that it is thought that we have all of the necessary “tools” to heal in our bodies however science has not found a way to tap into the triggers that release those natural “meds” that already exist within.

    Placebo works because of faith. It works mechanically but the triggers are psychological or emotional or spiritual.

    Your comment on the faith thing sort of brought that to mind.

    Don’t missunderstand and assume that I am talking about faith healing, I’m not. I was just making a commentary on the notion of faith and science.

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    Certainly, life presents its challenges. Look at the hundreds of millions of people through the ages who have lived absolutely abject, and by most any standard, horrible lives. They had and have little or nothing for which to thank any god.

    Are we talking money or material stuff here? If we are, we are on very different pages. I am talking about ones inner spirit. I am talking about the person, their thought life, their take on being. I am not speaking about circumstance. God reveals himself to the inner person, in ways that speak to that person’s essence. He may use material things or situations to declare His presence but what he speaks to is the deeper part of man. Unfortunately it is not always about physical things. I wish it was.

    While I’m almost certain that what I have stated makes absolutely no sense to you, I had to make that major clarification. The reason that I keep stating that the revelation of God to man is personal, is because that is how He would have to be if he was the true God. He would know the individual’s inner self, their minute essence and speak to that directly, to the extent that nothing else could possibly make that impact but a supreme being.

    I hope that one day you will understand what I am talking about.

    Thanks for the dialog.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zedd,

    You misunderstood me a bit. I did not say, or at least mean to say that god’s revealing himself to you was a miracle per se. I did equate it with one, however. Also, the miracles I refered to as regards believers and non-believers were not meant to be construed as a revelation of god specifically, but rather things like miracle cures of supposedly terminally ill people, or others being touched by an evangelist and suddenly being able to get up out of their wheel chairs, etc. – those kinds of supposed “miracles.”

    No, I would not expect an atheist or agnostic to claim that god had revealed himself to any of them. But, I would be curious to know if any former non-believers changed their mind when they concluded that god had, in fact, revealed himself to them. I suppose there are a few.

    I don’t think I’ve ever claimed to “know” that there is no god. I am, of course, pretty confident about my position and I live my life by that supposition. I accept it as true.

    There is, however, no shortage of those who claim to “know” that god does exist.

    I’m still feeling a bit short changed, though as regards your descriptions of god’s revelations to you. I certainly don’t need to know specifics, especially if you feel it’s too personal, but some kind of general recounting of one such event would be of interest.

    B-tone

  • Catey

    Speaking of imagery….

    One day out of the blue, I “saw” figures in shadow, the only things distinguishable being their flowing robes around their sandaled feet. They appeared over a hill as if coming into a town, and I sensed fear at the approach of these figures.. Jesus of Nazareth, Peter, James, and John.

    It sounds juvenile to actually put what I saw in my minds eye down into words, but it was very powerful to me personally. It wasn’t a vision or even religious experience, just a quick snapshot out of time that conveyed the fear of evil in the presence of the Holy One.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zedd again,

    I just read your last comment.

    No, I was not refering simply to material things. I’m refering to people who have led lives filled with brutality, lives of desperation, living in constant fear, and, yes living in physical depravation. These are things that not only attack the body, but the mind and heart as well.

    I doubt that there are many of us who visit here have ever had such an experience except maybe in brief incidents, myself included.

    But we do see such people who occasionally rise up out of seemingly hopeless circumstances and keep on truckin’, as it were. Some will claim that god brought them through, but many will just claim that they refused to quit simply because they wanted to live another day.

    B-tone

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    But, I would be curious to know if any former non-believers changed their mind when they concluded that god had, in fact, revealed himself to them. I suppose there are a few.

    That is what conversion is. Millions have experienced that “phenomenon?”.

    My apologies that I cant be specific enough for you. I know you feel short changes and I would too if I were you. If I could explain God’s revelation, to you, then spiritual belief would be an intellectual conclusion and its not. Religious faith would be science and it is not, at least in as far as what we understand about he universe. Perhaps in a billion years we will have a greater understanding of science and matters of the Divine will be proved to be correlated with physical manifestations, who knows. Or maybe we will discover that spiritual matters ARE physical and exist at a level that we haven’t been able to quantify before. Who knows….

    I suppose that is why the phrase that you quoted exists. Perhaps the last knowledge will be God.

    As for your comments on the oppressed of the world. You forget where I am from…

    I have known such people and the testimony that I have heard over and over again is that their relationship with God WAS the liberating force in their lives. Was it an opiate, perhaps, but it was what brought them comfort.

    Its difficult, especially in modern society to focus on the spirit, the inner man, its hard NOT focus on the emotional, and physical man. At an age when Hollywood endings are EXPECTED and not getting one at the end of every day is the cause for depression, it is difficult to imagine a time when man didn’t have such expectations. It is difficult to even concieve that the only people who could even voice things the way that you have would be a few nobility and even they, with less expectation of “comfort” than we have.

    To make my point more vivid…. If you can imagine the Neanderthal and how they engaged. One probably got pushed rather rudely or knocked down a few times during the day. No visit to a shrink, nothing. Even though they had established forms of “etiquette”, I’m sure, the weaker ones got messed over more, the more influential ones took the spoil most of the time. They probably got their feelings hurt and some felt dispair but they also took it that it was just life as a Neanderthal. Skip a “few” generations and we have developed more elabrate social structures, as we should. We have also created alternate realities where we don’t believe that our lives are really our lives. Many of us walk around believing that our experiences shouldn’t be occuring and that a better life belongs to us. Regardless of our status, we believe that we SHOULD experience better. Shrinks have done a number on us and off course cenema has too.

    Now going back to our discussion.

    The point about distiguishing the benefits of Gods revelation vs God fixing someones physical or emotional circumstance is, if my soul has a deep longing and that longing is filled by God, then my soul is fed and is at rest, regardless of my circumstance.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zedd,

    I didn’t “forget” from whence you came. I’m a relative newby to BC. I don’t know your story.

    What you are describing, though as regards your revelations I see as a construct in your mind. You accept it, and it apparently works for you, which is good as far as that goes.

    However, that does not in any way confirm the existence of god. It illustrates the manner in which you have convinced yourself that god is out there watching over you.

    I think you are very sincere and do truly believe of what you speak. But your notion of god is so etherial that no one can refute your position. There is nothing on which to hang an argument. Your god is dust in the wind. Any notion of god, especially that of a truly personal god is, in my mind, preposterous. If this god is so unimaginably manifest, it requires a rather large ego to believe that this wondrous power is even slightly aware of any one person’s existence, let alone their day to day, moment to moment lives.

    Your rejoinder has been that, well, I, and others of my ilk are just not able to comprehend. And, maddeningly, you suggest that one day I, too, will
    have a great revelation that will make me see the error of my ways, as if I am simply an uninformed child who just hasn’t opened his eyes to see.

    My oldest brother was a fundamentalist minister. Anytime we got into such discussions, he would nearly always cut it short with the same kind of statement: “You don’t believe now, but one day the light will enter your heart, and you will step over.” or some such.

    That is consistent with the tiresome statement, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” To me and other non-believers, that is an insult as it suggests that we would lose our skepticism the moment our asses were in jeapordy, that the moment a bullet grazed our helmet, or a shell exploded nearby that we would immediately abandon our convictions and grovel before a new found god for salvation.

    I know you don’t mean anything as an insult, but in my experience such statements have been made by people with a knowing and rather condescending smile. It is for me, a blood boiler.

    People who claim that god got them through a period of trial are simply misinformed. Their belief in god may have helped them cope. But if they managed to survive, they did so either through their own efforts or, perhaps more often by the luck of the draw.

    I always wince when someone who just, say saved someone from a burning house when questioned about it say that god was responsible, not them. I know that is often said as it is generally expected of them in order to be adequately humble. But god had nothing to do with it. It was simply someone who responded well to a critical situation. I’m not suggesting that they should stand up and claim great hero status and expect great rewards. But the false humility is almost as maddening.

    I suppose I am digressing a bit too far. Suffice it to say that you are apparently content with your belief. That’s fine. But each of us believes that the other just doesn’t “get it.”

    I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

    B-tone

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    Perhaps when they are saying that God is responsible, they are saying that they didn’t know which turn to take while in the burning structure, they couldn’t see or that they were disoriented and ended up finding the person and finding their way out of the building, not knowing what they were doing or where they were going and are sort of bemused as to how it all happened.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zedd,

    What you say might be, but I never understood it in that way. To me, though, it comes down to not so much false, but as unnecessary modesty.

    B-tone

  • Irene Wagner

    Catey, Your recounting of that experience was encouraging to me.

    Richard Dawkins is recommending that atheists who have taken their antireligious convictions to, as Baritone describes it, the “next level,” have the right and duty to step in and interfere when religious folk try to instruct their children in aspects of their faith which are “untrue.” The link I posted to quotes Dawkins expressing this.

    What were men and women “fighting for freedom” in the US army trying to protect? I doubt that this was the scenario they had in mind.

    With every religion-hating atheist Dawkins pumps up with this vision, with every viewer of the “God’s Warrior,” who, in sorry ignorance of twentieth century history, is taught to believe that believers are the cause of the world’s violence, there will be more and more hatred of believers.

    Not all atheists will become Communists a la Chairman Mao’s executors of the 1968 Cultural Revolution, or “Uncle Joe Stalin’s” eastern European and Russian purges. It seems to be the intent of Dawkins and the producers of “God’s Warriors,” that some of them will. The end will justify the means. A number of them will be convinced that by eradicating belief in God, even by violence, there will finally be peace and harmony on this earth.

    But there is a Power more powerful coming down the mountain… Thankyou, Catey. I will miss you, too.

  • duane

    Irene: Not all atheists will become Communists….

    Ya think?

  • duane

    Baritone, #179, very nice. You’ve correctly identified one of the ploys of the faithful.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Irene,

    I would remind you of some history. It’s only been the last couple of hundred years or so, and that only in certain parts of the world, that atheists haven’t been burnt at the stake or drawn and quartered in what the powers that be would have had you believe was being done only to save their mortal souls. With such “love” one doesn’t need any enemies.

    With respect to Dawkins and the rest, what you characterize as “hatred” is not as you think. While Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, etal certainly dislike religion per se and find great fault with many of the more dubious religious leaders, they certainly do not “hate” christians or jews or even muslims, nor do I. Virtually all of my family, friends, colleagues, etc. are christians. I don’t hate them. I’m sure Dawkins and the rest have religious friends and family.

    My primary concern is with a # of evangelicals in the U.S who are bent on instituting a theocratic American government. It is their intent that the Constitution as we know it will be significantly altered or trashed altogether in favor of enforcing “biblical law” as they interpret it. That is in effect a license to abuse power.

    B-tone

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    I am also HIGHLY concerned about those same Evangelicals.

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    I forgot to respond to a part of your last statement to me.

    I was not making my statement in a condescending way. You want to understand what I am talking about so that you can discuss it with confidence. I was saying that I believe that one day you will understand it.

    Being raised in a Christian environment (more so than most people), I never bought the magical and emotional explanations for things. I like Nancy wanted to believe but just couldn’t buy what was being offered to me as THE truth. I was graced with a revelation from God which answered MY questions about who I am in Him. Again yes I’m being vague. But the reason that I said that I believe that you will get to understand who He is for yourself, is because of my personal experiences. I am a person who remains curious, who doesn’t buy something because people just say it is so without a logical reason. I don’t buy the psychology trends of the week (massive molestations and repressed memories, exponential ADD, wide spread bipolar, inborn static sexual preference or a NEED for therapy do deal with life’s challenges that have taken place since the conception of our species). I don’t buy into White Supremacy. It’s in every part of our society, world over. The assumption that European-ism is best or superior or right is ridiculous. It just is and that is all. I don’t buy political absolutes so I am not a member of any one party. I certainly don’t believe that Capitalism is superior or should be a standard by which we judge goodness of efficiency for that matter. I believe in solutions that match the problem. I believe in change, love and good solutions.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zedd,

    It’s fairly obvious that neither of us is going to change the other’s position regarding god. Should I ever experience that “revelation” I’ll let you know.

    I’m fairly certain that in the eyes of most christian evangelicals, you are not on track for the paradise express. You would be described as a loathsome liberal. Of course, from my point of view, that’s a good thing.

    You are apparently searching and open to new ideas and ideals. That,too, is a good thing.

    I don’t consider myself obdurate, nor stupid. Should such a revelation come to me, I would certainly be open to it. But whatever it’s nature, it would have to be definitive and pretty unmistakable. Some vague tingling of my senses or some kind of a hunch would not do it.

    Of course, I don’t anticipate such an event. I am pretty certain of my site. I don’t feel sad, or diminished by it. I’m quite happy with where I am.

    B-tone

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    I submitted a short piece in the “Culture” section of BC regarding the passing of Luciano Pavarotti. Apparently, that’s not the type of “culture” most readers here at BC have an interest in. Not a singe comment. I thought about posting it in the “Music” section but all I found there was stuff about head banging, rap and other genres that don’t have much to say to this old fart. So, I opted for Culture. I suppose if Luciano had fathered a child by Anna Nicole Smith or Paris Hilton, or been caught with his pants down in the backseat of Britney Spears’ car when she was stopped for speeding, I suppose there might have been some interest. But, alas, no.

    Should any of you “politicos” have an interest or curiosity, check out my article and click on the “U-Tube” link. It’s good stuff.

    B-tone

  • Irene Wagner

    I saw Luciano Pavarotti in concert, once, and I never will forget it. People around me had tears rolling down their cheeks. I wonder what it was like for him in the final months, when that once magnificent voice was losing its power? Maybe somewhere on another plane, he’s singing again? Even YOU, I’ll bet, Baritone, would like to imagine that this is so…I look forward to reading the Pavarotti article after I finish my comment here. A comment made before the article read–not the first time that’s happened at BC.

    ***
    Duane, the last time I omitted the silly disclaimer about not all atheists becoming Communists, you raised a snark, too. I can’t win with you.
    ***

    Baritone, I want to tell you about a coincidence. This morning, I was mulling over the information you supplied in your last comment to me, about its only being the last couple of centuries that atheists haven’t been burned at stake in order to “save their souls.” Questions I had included: what AntiGod would be worth being drawn and quartered for? If life is truly all one has, then why would not the typical atheist make the bogus confession of faith made by the torturer, most of the “believers” in the kingdom, and more than likely, the sovereign who ordered the execution?
    How were the atheists identified, so as to be brought into the hands of the executioner? Christians considered it an honor to die so. Would there have been so very many atheists who considered it an honor to die for atheism as well, who would identify as atheists even if they knew it would mean death? I don’t deny that atheists would be willing to die for their country, but that’s a death for something the atheist believes in, not for something the atheist doesn’t believe in.
    ***

    The answer may be in the definition of “atheist.”
    I had a few minutes to wait for my family in the church library this morning, and I pulled a book off the shelf about the Early Church Fathers. After a few pages were turned, what phrase should appear but “Away with the Atheists!”

    Here is the context: “On February 26, 156, the day of [Polycarp’s] martyrdom in Smyrna, the procunsul pleaded with him to recant and to “swear by the fortune of Caesar” (Encyclical Letter,ix, ANF, I, 41) and join with an infuriated mob of both Jews and Gentiles in the mad cry, “Away with the Atheists!” When offered his freedom by blaspheming Christ, Polycarp courageously replied: “Eighty and six years have I served him, and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my king and Saviour? (ibid)”

    The first miracle many a nonbeliever has witnessed is the manner in which such a man as Polycarp died.
    ***

    I’m glad that atheists are not being murdered for their lack of faith any more, at least not in ostensibly Christian countries–militant Islam is an equal opportunity executioner for Christians, atheists and Jews, as well as the “wrong kind” of Muslims. I can’t vouch for the depth of spirituality of “Christian” torturers and executioners. I identify with the believers who headed for remote places with their communities (for example, the one founded by Menno–his spiritual descendants are Christian Mennonites) to avoid being drafted into the service of “Christian” leaders who would require them to murder in the name of their Saviour. These believers were branded as heretics, and were also executioners’ fodder if they were caught.

    Not surprisingly, there have been more Christian Martyrdoms in the last century than in all the 19 centuries before. Source for this data is the Voice of the Martyrs, a world-wide advocacy organization for Christians imprisoned–some awaiting death sentences–for their faith. Militant Islam is one cause for the high numbers of Christian martyrs in the last century, but Islam militants have been in power in earlier centuries as well. Highly significant is the fact that materialistic atheism—in for example, the USSR, Eastern Bloc countries, Vietnam, North Korea and Red China–which eschewed any association with a god, even a pagan god, didn’t have significant power before the 20th century. (There was the eighteenth century Reign of Terror in France, but that was mercifully short.)

    This Baritone, is why I find such popular TV shows as “God’s Warriors,” and Richard Dawkins’ suggestion to “reconsider” the rights of believing parents particularly troubling, and my hope for you Baritone, the one hope for you that I can be sure of, given the information about yourself that you have shared with us, is that as a lover of freedom, you at one point will be troubled by them as well.

  • duane

    Irene, you saying something like, “Not all atheists will become Communists” is like me saying something like, “Not all believers will become suicide bombers,” or “Not all believers cheat on their spouses.”

    As I’ve said before (or at least implied), I don’t see that worldly moral and political issues have a thing to do with the metaphysical questions associated with the existence of God. Your “communist” remark is just an example of you over-simplifying human nature, viz., atheists tend to oppose democratic government.

    …the last time I omitted the silly disclaimer about not all atheists becoming Communists, you raised a snark, too.

    I believe that #183 is the first commie-based snark I’ve raised, but it’s a mute point.

    I’m glad that atheists are not being murdered for their lack of faith any more.

    Yeah, me too. I’m glad that atheists are not being murdered for having the guts for holding to what appears to be self-evident to them.

    By the way, good job arguing with all these atheists. We haven’t had anyone around here with your persistence for a long while.

    Carry on.

  • Irene Wagner

    It’s not a moot point and certainly NOT a mute one, Duane. I’m a persistent loudmouth with a good memory: the Communist-atheistic snark to which I refer is in the HomoExpectus thread.

    I’m sure both of us have seen the scenario played out hundreds of times online:

    1. Christians have a bloody history VS.
    2. Not all Christians were violent, besides what about the Communists? VS.
    3. *AS THE WRATH OF THE GODLESS SWOOPS DOWN* ARE YOU SUGGESTING THAT ALL ATHEISTS BECOME COMMUNISTS AND THAT NONE OF THEM HAVE ANY INDEPENDENT MORAL COMPASS. VS.
    4. No, I… VS.
    5. Yes, you were VS.
    (later that thread, or that week, or both)
    6. Christian: now, not all atheists become Communists, but the ones like Richard Dawkins who suggest taking children away from believing parents seem to have a lot in common in terms of methodology. VS.
    7. Atheist *slinking around the “taking children away from believing parents” issue for the fourth time this week*: Huh? Did you hear that? She said that not all atheists become Communists. Well, duh. Typical faithist scheme…

    So Duane, the two of us won’t be having that PARTICULAR argument, the one above, anymore, yes? ==raises eyebrows and smiles hopefully==

  • Irene Wagner

    Another one of my favorite exchanges:

    Atheist: HA! So you’re a Christian! Explain the Spanish Inquisition if you’re so peaceful!

    Christian2:….*Exchange about Communism and Atheism, described above, frequently ensues.*

    Christian2…so you see, the Bible gives strict injunctions to Christians against that sort of behaviour. That’s why not all Christians, or even Catholics, are in the same class as El Torquemada.

    Atheist: Ummm, so NOW BIBLE Christian, explain the paradox of omniscience and predestination with human liberty…or what happens to people who have never heard of Jesus…or what about people who live selfish lives and come to Jesus on their death beds…

    Christian2: Well I’ll give it a shot. Here goes.
    ….

    Atheists: Well what do you KNOW, she used the BIBLE! WE don’t believe the Bible. The Bible is a crock o’ crap. Here’s a LINK that PROVES it! You’re trying to convince us not to be Atheists by quoting the BIBLE?

    Christian2: Well no, you had some misconceptions about what Christians believed about certain subjects, and YOU ASKED ME for an explanation of what Christians believe. Doesn’t it make sense for me to quote the Bible to describe the belief of Christians, who for all their diversity, have a working agreement as to what constitutes orthodoxy–through referring to the Bible and its historic interpretations?

    whoEVAH: It’s crazy to quote the Bible in a discussion about God. Only what Richard Dawkins says is taken seriously around here.

    Christian2: *puts head on desk and pounds, then goes to talk about Ron Paul on a thread no Democrat would bother with*

    “We didn’t start the fire
    But when we are gone
    Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on…”
    (Billy Joel)

  • Clavos

    @ 192, 193:

    You’re nothing if not interesting to read, Irene.

    Have to give you that. Good sense of humor, too.

    Props.

    Clavos The Unbeliever.

  • Catey

    Thank you for bringing Polycarp to our attention Irene.

    I, too, enjoy reading your steadfast faith :)

  • duane

    No, Irene, I don’t want to argue about who is more violet than whom. Violets are not the primary concern, if you ask me.

    And who is this Dawkins character you speak of? Some authority figure who issues marching orders to those mindless antitheistic sheep? Hmmph. I suggest you address him if you have issues with him. I don’t see anyone here trying to make his points.

    ——

    Last Saturday night, I got married,
    Me and my wife settled down
    Now me and my wife are parted,
    I’m gonna take another stroll downtown

    Sometimes I live in the country,
    Sometimes I live in town
    Sometimes I take a great notion,
    To jump into the river and drown

    I love Irene, God knows I do,
    I’ll love her till the seas run dry
    But if Irene should turn me down,
    I’d take the morphine and die

    Stop rambling, stop your gambling,
    Stop staying out late at night
    Go home to your wife and your family,
    Stay there by your fireside bright

    — Leadbelly

  • Irene Wagner

    The ol’ man is coming in from his gardening any minute Duane. Point taken. ;)

    *curtseys to Clavos and Catey *

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Irene,

    It’s late, I’m taking stuff to clear out my innards for an upcoming colonoscopy, and I have to jump and run abruptly from time to time. So this comment might turn out a bit hurky jerky.

    Above you said, I don’t deny that atheists would be willing to die for their country, but that’s a death for something the atheist believes in, not for something the atheist doesn’t believe in.

    I think that is really wrong headed of you. What such a person would be willing to die for is his or her convictions.

    And as has been mentioned, the Inquisition is perhaps the most heinous example of mass killing for god, but there have been many others throughout civilized history. A number of them are depicted in the bible. And I should add that I have read from more than one source that the rationale for killing anyone believed to be a heretic in what were often barbarous ways was as I noted above. Those who ordered such killings claimed that the extreme manner in which heretics were put to death was that by forcing them to suffer great agony, it would expiate their souls and force out satan. Of course, it was all a load of crap, but who was going to question the inquisitor?

    Irene, you are obviously sincere and very well versed in the bible and the related history and literature. But that does not go one step in proving the existence of god. Even if the examples of Stalinist Russia and the other communist regimes of the world stood as evidence of the moral bankruptcy of atheists, which I firmly do NOT believe, that still would not further support the notion of god’s existence.

    Zedd, yourself and others I have encountered usually refer to some profound, personal revelation that solidified your belief. But, and as I stated above to Zedd, it is such an event or series of events through which believers convince themselves of their acceptance of god. Again, though, this fails to serve as any kind of proof.

    I don’t believe that faith – especially faith in god – is a virture. Such faith has sent us down the garden path repeatedly to all kinds of horrors. I look upon most evangelists as the equivalent of snake oil salesmen. Most of them stand before their growing congregations and sell their parishoners a bill of goods and then laugh all the way to the bank. They are purveyers of a fraud, for the purpose of fattening their pocket books and/or for their own personal aggrandizement.

    I digress.

    B-tone