May 082012
 

I woke up today to find some of my favorite Catholics blogs were going to be going offline. Apparently one or more persistent atheist commenters were making objections that devastated the authors of these blogs.

Joe of the “Blind Faith and No Reason” blog posted:

I use to ask atheists how matter could come out of nothing bringing up “Ex nihilo”, out of nothing nothing comes. Unfortunately an atheist commenter asked me about my own belief in “Why do you believe your mythical being could exist then?” I was stunned by this question. Nobody in the 2,000 year history of the Church had never considered this objection. He then brought up other questions that also nobody in the 2,000 year philosophical history of the Church had ever considered. So glad my atheist commenter finally forced me to take the red pill and to wake up into reality.

I was saddened by this, but was shocked when the next blog I went to had this to say:

I thought my Catholic commenters and myself were making headway responding to an atheist commenter and then the commenter brought up the priestly abuse scandal. We were totally unprepared for this. How could the Church founded by Christ have sinners in it? I then realized my understanding of the magical sacraments was totally flawed. Surely if God existed once I became his fanboy he would rip out my free will allowing me only to do good. I totally see now that it is not the examples of the saints who lived the faith that I should be informed by but by the sinners who didn’t live the faith. Then he brought up other examples of past sins of the Church that must be totally true in every detail since he saw it on the History Channel.

Unbelievably when I next clicked on the “Scriptural Catholic” blog I found this post by Duey Rheims:

As a lay scriptural scholar I thought I knew scripture and my faith rather well. Having read scripture daily for many years, read commentaries, heard the word proclaimed at Mass I thought I had a good understanding. Then an atheist commenter started leaving objections and questions on my comment boxes. I am prepared for most objections, but was not prepared for his asking about “talking snakes and a man living three days inside of a fish”. Wow I had never considered that there were such odd things in the Bible and I must have insulated myself from reality by ignoring this. I use have a fairly nuanced view of scripture knowing that scripture is not like modern history and that there were various literary genres used to impart truth. For example when the Prophet Nathan told King David the story of the Ewe Lamb that was taken by the rich man even though the rich man had plenty of his own, Samuel was telling a story that imparted the truth of what King David was doing by taking Bathsheba in adultery. Then I remembered Balaam’s talking Donkey and now know that the only way to approach scripture is to be a fundamentalist in regard to scriptural interpretation. No nuance or study is required, just read it and what you think it means at first blush or through your own interpretive lens is the right one. All those scholars throughout the ages just totally missed was is obvious to the combo box atheist. He then told me God hated shellfish and I knew my faith was crushed.

OK, this was getting serious. Still I was not prepared for what I found at the “Midwife of Science” blog:

I use to write on the stillbirth of science in every civilization and culture and how the Christian philosophical atmosphere prepared for the growth of science. The late priest and physicist Stanley Jaki wrote extensively about this in his books on science history. “Once more the Christian belief in the Creator allowed a break-through in thinking about nature. Only a truly transcendental Creator could be thought of as being powerful enough to create a nature with autonomous laws without his power over nature being thereby diminished. Once the basic among those laws were formulated science could develop on its own terms.” I use to point out to atheist these facts and the thousands of Catholic scientists throughout the ages. There are of course famous examples such as the Friar Gregor Johann Mendel and Deacon (possibly priest) Nicolaus Copernicus. Or the priest/astronomer/physicist Georges Lemaître who came up with what came to be called the Big Bang Theory. I knew of this and countless examples from my own research and the Catholic Laboratory Podcast. This morning after my usual routine I checked my email and found a comment from an atheist “What about the Galileo affair?” Wow, how did I miss that and its significance? Obviously this one example where Galileo was prosecuted for breaking his word and teaching as fact something not proved with empirical evidence almost two centuries after his death. So what if Galileo was totally wrong for using as proof the tides? So what if he was treated even worse by the scientists of the time and he had rather an abrasive personality. Surely this one example which could have been handled better is proof that the Church hates science and just wish it could go away so we could go back to some dark dank ages kicking it up like the Amish. The fact that the Church had setup Cathedrals as solar observatories and that she still maintains astronomical observatories is just cover for her hatred of empirical science.

As the day progresses I see more an more of the devastation of the Catholic blogosphere as Catholic blogs go dark. Now as for myself you don’t have to worry. Like any solid Catholic I am totally immune to reasonable arguments by atheists. The Pope told me atheists are mistaken so I just depend on the argument by authority without messing my mind up with want pesky reason. If God wanted me to mess around with reason he wouldn’t have given me faith.

  97 Responses to “Atheist Commenters Devastate Catholic Blogosphere”

  1. >I have to wonder as well, why is Salvage doing here?

    I find theism fascinating.

  2. >I used to watch back when cartoons were still funny.

    When did cartoons stop being funny?

  3. >. He understands the faith and takes it seriously.

    Then he clearly doesn’t understand it. The only thing serious about religion is people’s rights to it. Everything else is deeply silly.

  4. >there’s no such thing as magic.

    sounds like a statement of fact, please provide evidence to back this up.

  5. This is a joke right? Someone trying to make a point? If this blogger is trying his hand at reverse psychology apologetics he should stop. It’s bad taste.

  6. > >there’s no such thing as magic.

    > sounds like a statement of fact,

    That’s because it is.

    >please provide evidence to back this up.

    Um… you thought Harry Potter was a documentary?

  7. salvage, for the sake of clarification to those who are watching this exchange, what do you mean by “magic” and what does it have to do with the Catholic Faith?

  8. Salvage, if you are right and there is no God or goddess or deity of any right, than what right to religion is there? It’s like saying you have a right to hunt unicorns, or believe in Santa; under your logic anyone who believed in such things would be shut up as insane, and rightfully so. Am I right in saying you equate Faith with magic? Also, do you get anything out of this site besides amusement? Seems to me there’s some good debates brewing. Or are you above all that?
    For the record, you strike me as a woman, read your zings concerning abortion. Don’t answer this.

  9. >Salvage, if you are right and there is no God or goddess or deity of any right, than what right to religion is there?

    Freedom of speech and thought of course, that’s a human right.

    > It’s like saying you have a right to hunt unicorns, or believe in Santa;

    Correct!

    >under your logic anyone who believed in such things would be shut up as insane, and rightfully so.

    No, not under mine or anyone’s logic, that’s crazy. People who believe in gods aren’t insane, in fact one argument for why we have religion is that it keeps people sane or at least sedated. It’s a rather cruel thing to be give a limited lifespan with an instinct to stay alive forever so we convince ourselves there is more otherwise despair could set in. It’s an inoculation against nihilism essentially.

    It also served to keep societies together and was useful for uniting them to common purpose be it build a pyramid so your king can become a god or a temple on a mountain so the gods could hear you or in a deep cave so Muslims won’t come and smash your stuff like the early Hindus did in India.

    Religion is very useful stuff, I doubt we would have been as successful as we are without it.

    Building churches pushed architecture and art to many limits and beyond.

    Fear of an angry god is quite the motivator.

    >Am I right in saying you equate Faith with magic?

    No, faith is real in the sense that people can have it and for good reasons, it’s when they have it in magic that there is a problem.

    >Also, do you get anything out of this site besides amusement? Seems to me there’s some good debates brewing. Or are you above all that?

    Well the problem is that theism and atheism’s debate is pointless, it’s all been said, there hasn’t been any breakthroughs in god stuff in about 10,000 years.

    And it’s not amusement, it’s fascination and if you think that condescending well just remember you worship a god that is going to torture me forever and ever for not thinking like you so there’s offence enough to go around.

    >For the record, you strike me as a woman, read your zings concerning abortion. Don’t answer this.

    No, I am a straight male but I do enjoy shopping for stupidly expensive shoes so perhaps that’s where you’re picking up the vibe.

  10. @salvage

    Let’s get ready to rumble!

    1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
    2. The universe began to exist.
    3. Therefore, the univese has a cause.

    No supernatural assumptions in any of the first 2 premises per your request, that logically lead to an airtight conclusion. What say ye, salvage?

  11. 1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

    And you know this how? And does this apply to your god?

    2. The universe began to exist.

    Maybe. From what we can tell some 13-14.5 billion years ago a singularity began to expand from the smallest thing possible to what we now enjoy. What it was before that moment no one knows, why it began to expand is also a mystery. One theory suggests that it just keeps expanding from near nothing to everything over and over again. M theory suggests an infinite numbers of “membranes”that on occasion touch and that triggers the “big bang”. Stephen Hawking’s latest “The Grand Design” corals them all up into a fascinating read.

    3. Therefore, the univese has a cause.

    Sure, that’s a plausible theory and in three years we’re going to have a new telescope in orbit with instruments so sensitive they may be able to look even further back in time then ever before and we might be able to “see” that cause.

    But whatever it is, it’s not a god.

    See that’s the pattern of theism, to observe but not understand natural phenomenon and declare it divine be it the sun rising, the changing of the seasons or the earth shaking. The ultimate goal to somehow control it through bargains and appeasement.

    It’s anthropology 101.

  12. @salvage

    Let’s take this one step at a time.

    Concerning premise #1:

    I know this is true or at least more plausible than its negation, as we all do, because of our common everday life experiences. We don’t see things just popping into existence out of thin air….that is a notion that is worse than “magic”. Also, in order for you to reject this premise, you must either accept that material things just pop into existence without a cause or accept that the negation of this premise is more plausible, which is really the same thing.

    Also, this proof is attempting to show a rational basis for a supernatural origin of the material univerese…not the existence of an immaterial God, per se….so please just stick to the premises.

    With that said, it is time for you to either accept premise #1 or reject it by demonstrating that its negation is more plausible. Go for it!

  13. >We don’t see things just popping into existence out of thin air….

    Actually we do, on a quantum level. Hawkings covers this in his latest book; bits of anti-matter pop into existence all the time, the problem is the very instant it does it’s destroyed by its matter counterpart.

    >that is a notion that is worse than “magic”.

    Nope, see part of the delusion of magic is the ritual, like the whole cracker turning into Jesus thing.

    >Also, in order for you to reject this premise, you must either accept that material things just pop into existence without a cause

    And this is just more “because we exist there MUST be a god that’d caused it, therefore it’s my god!” and as I’ve explained if you insist that gods are real then you must accept that ALL gods are real.

    Are all gods real or just yours?

    >Also, this proof is

    This isn’t proof, it’s you insisting that things no one knows are known to you. You do not know how the universe started or what it started from, no one does. You think you know because your religion tells you but that story does not fit the physical evidence in any significant way and contradicts it in important ways.

    >attempting to show a rational basis for a supernatural origin of the material univerese…not the existence of an immaterial God, per se….so please just stick to the premises.

    Ah the Intelligent Design shuffle, I love this one, it goes like this:
    Step one: The universe exists.

    Step two: Something had to make it, something powerful and intelligent.

    Step three: Hey! In my religion the god is this powerful intelligent being who made the universe! Mystery solved!

    So no, I am sticking to the subject by making what you are talking about crystal clear. Like all theists you pick and choose whatever bits suit your god beliefs and ignore anything that contradicts it.

    Like how I keep asking about the other gods and y’all take no notice of it.

    >With that said, it is time for you to either accept premise #1 or reject it by demonstrating that its negation is more plausible. Go for it!

    Once again, no one knows the answers to that and it’s hysterical how smug you are thinking that you do.

    The “cause” may have been a quantum misfire, it may have been the collion of matter and anti-matter, it may have always been an expanding universe. It could have something to do with all the missing gravity and pocket universes. It could be dark matter or dark energy, it could be something we have yet to discover or even imagine.

    What it isn’t is a Bronze Age god with a bizarre obsession with foreskins. One thing that Christianity never gets proper credit for is ignoring that bit of lunacy.

  14. @salvage

    How does the appearance of a temporary particle of anti-matter refute premise 1? There must be some quantum variation of a material reality or temporal event that produced it…i.e. a cause proceeds the effect. If what you say is indeed true, that “things” come merely pop into existence from “nothing”, then how is that consistent with materialistic atheism, which says that all there is, was, and ever will be is material reality?

  15. >How does the appearance of a temporary particle of anti-matter refute premise 1

    It doesn’t, I refute your premise because the answer is unknown.

    >i.e. a cause proceeds the effect.

    Maybe. We don’t know.

    >If what you say is indeed true, that “things” come merely pop into existence from “nothing”,

    Not “things” antimatter and not from nothing but from the quantum level maelstrom.

    >then how is that consistent with materialistic atheism,

    There’s no such thing as “materialistic atheism” there is materialism (the belief that everything is material) and atheism (the belief that there are no such things as gods).

    Now materialism does say that all there is, was, and ever will be is material reality and that’s a perfectly reasonable way to think. Quantum theory doesn’t dispute this, it digs into the material fabric of reality to try and figure out what makes it.

    And it’s not likely to be your goofy god who claims to have done it all in a week.

    I know you don’t want to bring your theism into this discussion of your theism but it can’t be helped.

  16. @salvage

    If antimatter is not a refutation of premise #1, then why did you use it as one?

    “I refute your answer premise because the answer is unknown”…is that the best you can do? Do you realize how incredibly weak you sound? Are you really saying that the general concept of cause and effect can not be or is not already known? What a joke!

    Last question, given how incredibly inept you are at even fashioning the most basic arguments for your atheism other than to be against whatever we theists are for and engage in some drive by ad hominem attacks against the Eucharist, why should anyone take you seriously? For crying out loud, you can’t even be a consistent atheist, since you have to constantly interject theism into any discussion even when it isn’t germane to the question at hand! Maybe you should stick to shoe shopping.

  17. >If antimatter is not a refutation of premise #1, then why did you use it as one?

    I didn’t, it’s just one of the theories kicking around. Why don’t you read up about it?

    >“I refute your answer premise because the answer is unknown”…is that the best you can do?

    On the subject of the origins of the universe that’s currently they best anyone can do.

    >Do you realize how incredibly weak you sound? Are you really saying that the general concept of cause and effect can not be or is not already known?

    No, the general concept of cause and effect is known, it’s this whole “first cause” business that isn’t known. What is weak is thinking that a Bronze Age tribe of desert savages has any special insight.

    >What a joke!

    Ha! Ha! Yes! My admitting that we don’t know the origins of the universe is a joke when the answer of your god is so obvious!

    >Last question, given how incredibly inept you are at even fashioning the most basic arguments for your atheism

    Well I’m not sure why you say “my” atheism, it’s not, it’s just atheism and it makes no argument, it refutes a claim based on the complete lack of evidence for gods.

    > other than to be against whatever we theists are for

    If you theists are only “for” your god being real than yes, but certainly not “whatever”.

    >and engage in some drive by ad hominem attacks against the Eucharist, why should anyone take you seriously?

    Ah, that’s so cute! Angry because I don’t think you eat your god every Sunday. Do you know the origins of that ritual? It’s not Jewish it’s very old Roman so it would be odd for kosher Jesus to have participated or even started it.

    Jews held onto their customs and even had the grudging respect of the Romans for doing so. Romans were pretty multicultural that way. so if you’re trying to get them to follow your new religion it would expedite adoption if you included some familiar elements.

    You think myths and magic are real so that should tell you how seriously I take you.

    >For crying out loud, you can’t even be a consistent atheist, since you have to constantly interject theism into any discussion even when it isn’t germane to the question at hand!

    You don’t think your god created the universe?

    >Maybe you should stick to shoe shopping.

    Theists, you get so snippy when someone won’t even start to play along with your delusions.

    No one knows how the universe started, we only know that the “big bang” was certainly a part of it, what was there before, what kicked it in gear are still big huge gaps which I know you want to stuff your god into but alas gods not being real makes that problematic.

  18. @salvage

    If “no one knows how the universe started”, then how can you be so sure that God didn’t start it? How can you categorically deny His existence?

    You apply a double standard to us theists that you don’t apply to atheism. Namely, that it is OK for atheists to presuppose a philosophical or metaphysical initial condition (i.e. no such thing as God or the supernatural), but preclude a theist from presupposing that a immaterial, universal, supernatural mind is a possible explanation for the existence of reality. Not only are you a consummate hypocrite, you are pathetically narrow minded. At least as a theist, I am willing to entertain the notion that materialism and atheism is a possible explanation of reality and the universe. Who would have thunk it…a Traditional Catholic is more open minded than a secular atheist?

  19. >If “no one knows how the universe started”, then how can you be so sure that God didn’t start it?

    I have explained this to you as simple as I can, one more time:

    If “no one knows how the universe started”, then how can you be so sure that Zeus didn’t start it?

    If “no one knows how the universe started”, then how can you be so sure that Odin didn’t start it?

    If “no one knows how the universe started”, then how can you be so sure that Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl didn’t start it?

    You are indulging in the “God of the Gaps” that is you stuff your god into any blanks.

    And if we find out that universe creation is as natural as earthquakes would that change anything for you? Of course not, you’d just stuff your god into another unknown and continue the same line of “thinking”.

    >How can you categorically deny His existence?

    Because there are no such things as gods and your god is just another god, not the oldest and certainly not the most probable.

    Furthermore the source of your god comes from recorded mythology that predates your version by at least 2,000 years. Its origin myth contains no revelation but much that is wildly inaccurate when contrasted with the physical evidence. Nothing your god did made much sense from waging war to the whole sacrificing itself to itself to the disgusting hive of scum and villainy that the modern Vatican is.

    It’s not much better than its predecessors but at least it can’t launch wars anymore.

    See these are all points I’ve made but you refuse to address them, you just keep on acting as if I have no reasons. I wonder, do you not see these words on your screen? Do you see them but unconsciously deny them so they just don’t process?

    So when you combine the whole “It’s a myth” thing with the whole “The Church is clearly not divine” you are left with only one logical conclusion; it’s just another religion no more or less likely to be true than any other.

    See this is one of the things that fascinates me about theists, the literal denial of reality. In all other ways I have no doubt your brain processes information in sensible way but when it comes to anything that could upset your religion something clearly jams up.

    How much of it is on purpose and how much of it is some sort of instinctual-level self-protection is what I wonder.

    >. Namely, that it is OK for atheists to presuppose a philosophical or metaphysical initial

    Once again, atheism refutes a claim, atheism has no onus to prove anything, you’re the one who insists magic is real, you able to prove that? No, stuff written down in the Bible is not proof of anything anymore than a Tom Clancy novel is proof that a Soviet sub captain defected with a stealth submarine in the 80s.

    > Not only are you a consummate hypocrite,

    Ha! Ha! Yes! I am a hypocrite for asking for proof of your claims and not believing them when you don’t produce any.

    So I guess I can add hypocrite to the things you don’t understand.

    >you are pathetically narrow minded.

    True, my mind is pretty closed to myths and magic being true, a burden to be sure.

    >At least as a theist, I am willing to entertain the notion that materialism and atheism is a possible explanation of reality and the universe.

    Atheism doesn’t explain anything about the universe save there are no such things as gods in it or that it was made by one.

    Entertain? Really? How do you do that? Have you ever read any Hawkings or other books from science on the subject?

    >Traditional Catholic is more open minded than a secular atheist?

    Well in the arena of theism of course you would be, obviously.

    You really don’t understand what we are talking about here, that’s probably why you’re getting so frustrated.

  20. (((You really don’t understand what we are talking about here, that’s probably why you’re getting so frustrated.)))

    Folks! I think we better stop for a commercial brake before something really brakes if ya know what “I” mean?
    http://www.splendoroftruth.com/curtjester/2012/05/georgetown-scandal/
    As for the score in this little debate, salvage 50% and ChronicSinner 50% leaving sinner vic as 100% Mark.

    WHAT ARE YA TALKING ABOUT sinner vic? Ya don’t even exist!

    Ha! Ha! Touchy, Touchy NOW! “PROVE IT”! :)

    Peace

  21. I’m confused. I was taught that in natural science matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Am I right or wrong in that assertion?

  22. That’s the current law of this universe but before the big bang what laws were there in whatever it was?

  23. So you are saying that the big bang happened for some reason we don’t know about. Talk about a leap of faith!

  24. BTW: ” Current law of THIS universe.” What other universe is/was there that would have had a law to create something (like a bang) out of nothing.

  25. >So you are saying that the big bang happened for some reason we don’t know about.

    Based on what we know.

    > Talk about a leap of faith!

    Um, no, no faith required, I ‘m quite certain we don’t know what caused the “big bang”.

    >Current law of THIS universe.” What other universe is/was there that would have had a law to create something (like a bang) out of nothing.

    Don’t know, look if you are really interested in this stuff:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Grand-Design-Stephen-Hawking/dp/0553805371

  26. well its good to know you can accept things without evidence as truth, thats called faith. welcome to the club salvage.

  27. >well its good to know you can accept things without evidence as truth,

    I accept that we don’t know things like how the universe started, I’m not sure that’s called faith, more like sense.

  28. So something out there created this universe out of nothing. You admit you don’t know what but you are positive it CAN’T BE GOD, for no other reason but that YOU say, GOD doesn’t exist.

    You offer Stephen Hawking offer you ‘John C Wright
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_C._Wright_(author)

    short blurb on who he is a staunch atheist who converted first to Christianity and then more specifically to Catholicism.

    and
    http://johncwright.livejournal.com/464253.html
    has among other things, why he stays a Catholic.

  29. Hey guys and gals, we got a few maybe out of salvage so let’s quit while “IT” is a tie cause he and/or she is not a bad guy at least that’s my gut feelings of “IT” but Time will tell.

    Nice debate folks but we should not Hi Jack Jeff’s post any longer! Right? :)

    God Bless,

    I mean “IT” has been fun salvaging what we could! :)

    Peace

  30. Hi, I am agnostic, raised Catholic. I really hope I’m wrong and there’s something there when I die, but I don’t think I will be. I think the point is that there’s simply no evidence for God. I think even Salvage would become a theist if there was significant evidence. But neither him nor I have seen it.

  31. @agnostic: so the fact that you have not seen it (or more accurately, that you do not accept the large amount of evidence presented through the centuries) is enough to conclude that it is not there?
    You know that there is a difference between “I don’t see it” and “it’s not there”, right? Your argument requires as much faith as that of a theist, but in yourself.

  32. >…I’m not sure …

    that’s obvious. a little education does not go a long way…

  33. Roberto, I tried for years to believe. It’s very ostracizing to be in a Catholic community and not be able to believe like the rest of your peers. I’ve heard a lot of “defense of God” arguments, but none of them really seem very….scientific. I’m sorry, but I have no capacity for faith. Not in God and not in myself. I spend a lot of time on self-contemplation and re-examination of ideals. I try very hard to admit when I’m wrong and when I just don’t know the answer. When it comes to God, I do not know the answer. The evidence, or lack thereof, suggests no, but I do not completely give up on the possibility. You claim that there’s a large volume of evidence I’m not accepting, but I don’t see it. Maybe you could enlighten me there? Am I missing something?

  34. Agnostic – don’t sell yourself short. Honestly, I can’t tell you that you’re missing something. However, if you’re willing to just be – you might just experience a miracle. Hmm… I’m not articulating here. My sis is better at that. Many saints had all those doubts – yet they continued to live their lives for other. Be open to the Holy Spirit. Were you baptized? Confirmed? Indelible marks on your soul :-) There are times when I experience God through the joy of children. Other times in the miracle of birth, or the beauty of nature. I tell my confirmation kids not to let science rob them of wonder. God is there – in the wonder. I read that Edith Stein came to believe when she was translating Thomas Aquinas into German….

  35. Agnostic, you say you have hope. Don’t give that up. Live as if God does exist. If you’re right and He does not, you have nothing to lose. If you’re wrong and and he does exist, but you did not live as if He does, you have everything to lose. So, keep your hope up, don’t let it die. I’ll offer the Rosary tonight for you.

  36. > >…I’m not sure …

    that’s obvious. a little education does not go a long way…

    HYUCK! When are Leno’s people going to call you?

    Why don’t you turn that laser beam wit onto my points and questions? Since you’re clearly as clever as a Google employed fox you should be shutting me down by explaining all the stuff that I seem to think makes no sense.

    Like why did your god sacrifice itself to itself? What purpose did that serve? Why did it take some 300 years after that alleged act for Christianity to become a noticeable religion via two Roman civil wars? Then after it was spread further wars (was that part of the plan?) but only as far as the armies of the Empire could march. Why were all the peoples of the Americas, the Far East and Pacific Rim and northern Steppes left out?

    That’s what I like about Mormonism, they noticed a gaping hole and filled it, that’s the art of marketing right there.

    Hey, do Mormons go to Hell?

    Or just make another HY-STERI-CAL!! joke and pretend that there are perfectly sensible answers to these questions.

  37. Do you really want to be taken seriously? Really? Because your behavior is about as endearing as a turd in the punch bowl.

    This has no effect on whether what you say is true or not, of course, but certainly you can appreciate that it is very difficult to speak sensibly to a man who hops from here to there with his trousers down.

    No doubt you’re tempted to turn that around on the believers — “you’re the ones with your pants down!” — but if you put aside your tone you may have more success. If your goal is just to get a rise out of us, I for one am not really interested.

  38. @salvage
    For some reason I’m disappointed. Well, go on cutting this site to shreds, seems to be the raison d’etre of the new atheism.

  39. Agnostic: you may want to start by asking yourself what kind of evidence you are looking for. Even scientists first ask what kind of evidence would convince them of the existence or non-existence of a phenomenon. Yet, scientific evidence and methods are good for checking scientific facts, not spiritual ones.
    So, ask yourself: what kind of evidence would make you decide either way? And from whom would you accept it?

  40. Oh, and Agnostic: don’t think that you cannot believe just because you desire more evidence. The famous quote (whose author I forget now) “I believe, Lord, help my unbelief” is a common experience. Keep looking, and do it honestly just as you have done so far.

  41. Mark 9:23-25 :-)

  42. > seems to be the raison d’etre of the new atheism.

    No, there is no “new” atheism, just the same thing it’s always been however there are more atheists now than ever before and the Internet does provide much opportunity to indirectly confront theism and “shred” it, as you say.

    In the old days religion was given a sort of protected status, that is even if you were an atheist or whatever you kept your mouth shut, it was impolite to point out how foolish it all was.

    Seems that taboo is withering, should be interesting to see how far it goes, could be that in another 20 to 40 years all religions will be looked upon the same way we look at Scientology now.

    Barring a natural or other disaster, people flock to gods when things beyond them go bad, it’s a way of asserting a semblance of control over life. It’s an illusion of course but sadly those can be better than nothing.

  43. 23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

    Well a bit of a tired pennywise but not without merit on a personal growth level.

    24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

    In what context?

    >25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

    Wait second, is Jesus performing an exorcism here? Is this the bit were he “cures” people by yelling at demons to live the bodies they’ve invaded?

    You know what would have been more helpful? If Jesus had told them about soap and microbes. Like :

    “Ye, my father had made creatures so small no eye but His could see them yet there they are in the air in the sea and even inside of you. Some of these creatures are a blessing for they aid in your digestion of foods and some of these are a curse causing illness and even early death. I say unto you boil all water before you drink, drink not water found in fouled streams for the creatures are in abundance there.

    I also tell you to take oil and lye and mix them in parts x and y and before you eat before you sleep and when you awake to cleanse the hands and face with this combination and you will be in health.”

    And what’s with curing a few lepers? Why not cure lepersey rather than just a lucky few your god comes across? Wouldn’t that have been a rather neat trick? Suddenly around the year 0 leprosy all but vanishes from the Earth?

    Isn’t it weird that humans have cured more lepers than your god did?

  44. @salvage
    I am posting a link to another site you may find interesting:
    http://www.patheos.com
    If you really are up for debate, want some honest answers instead of this endless sniping, you might find it interesting.

  45. So that would be you have no idea why Jesus didn’t impart any useful life saving medical advise but instead suggested exorcism as a cure-all?

    Well don’t give it any thought.

  46. For those watching: notice how salvage consider as life only biological life, hence cannot consider anything else, let alone see eternal life as more important than some infection. For Christians this life is just a prelude. I know, salvage, this is foolishness. We have know that for a long time.

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