Stalin killed for political reasons

In parrying the accusation that Joseph Stalin is representative of what can be expected when we stop believing that a Canaanite Jew rose from the dead, my father once penned a beautiful response that I have used consistently for the last few years.  Today I will pass it on for others to use, along with some of my other arguments against the guilt-by-association arguments of theists.

It is no mystery that Christianity’s history is saturated with Torquemadas and Urban IIs, people who forfeited compassion because they believed through faith that it was god’s will.  In the spirit of Tu Quoque, religious people will often try to bring the atheist down to their level by pointing out that some of the prominent monsters of the 20th century were, in fact, atheists.  However, they miss an important point: in the cases of people driven to malice by faith, religion was clearly the reason for which they killed.  In the case of the Stalins of the world, was it atheism that drove them to evil?

I say not, for a few reasons.  The first is very simple: people act based on what they do believe, not on what they don’t.  Stalin also did not believe in fairies, but this lack of belief can hardly be assigned blame for any of his actions.  The theist could argue that Stalin believed theists should be killed for XY and Z reasons, but then you’d have to show how a lack of belief in god led reasonably to that conclusion, and I have yet to encounter such an argument.  That argument would have a lot of hurdles to get over, purely because the evidence indicates that Joseph Stalin killed for political gain rather than a hatred of religion.

Stalin was a paranoid who killed millions to consolidate his power. Totalitarianism, not atheism, was the driving force or causal link. Those who claim he was killing because of atheism conveniently ignore facts that show their claim to be bogus.

One of the facts they ignore is that he killed lots of different folks, not just Christians. This makes no sense if atheism is the causal link, but perfect sense if potential political foes is the reason. He killed factions within his own Communist party (anyone not unquestioningly loyal to him, and many hundreds of thousands who were, had to be “weeded out”). He killed Finns, Karelians, Ukrainians, 35,000 military officers shot or imprisoned, almost all of the Bolsheviks who had played prominent roles during the Russian Revolution of 1917, thousands of writers, intellectuals, and artists, 141 American Communists, at least 436,000 people were sentenced to death by NKVD troikas as part of the Kulak (relatively affluent peasants, regardless of religion) operation, and so on. The theists always include the 7 million Ukrainians who died in the famine, but the famine was engineered to break the will of the Ukrainians politically and as a source of revolt, not to wipe out whatever Christians happened to be Ukrainian.

Something those using ‘atheism’ as an excuse are typically unaware of is that the Orthodox Church in Russia was heavily involved in the politics of the time. Anyone who doesn’t recognize the power of the church in politics has only to glance at all of the anti-gay legislation in this country fomented from the pulpit. Quite simply, the Russian Orthodox Church backed the wrong horse politically, and suffered political consequences for it. In short, Stalin didn’t go after them because they were Christians, he went after them because they were a political player. Theists want to pretend that all the various elements of communist totalitarianism were irrelevant to what happened, which is utter nonsense.

Another conveniently ignored fact is that between 1945 and 1959 under Stalin’s leadership the official organization of the church was greatly expanded, although individual members of the clergy were occasionally arrested and exiled. The number of open churches went from about 500 to 25,000. By 1957 about 22,000 Russian Orthodox churches had become active. How is this explicable if Stalin was motivated by some sort of perverted atheistic drive to eliminate religion?

After Nazi Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union in 1941, Joseph Stalin revived the Russian Orthodox Church. On September 4, 1943, Metropolitans Sergius, Alexy and Nikolay had a meeting with Stalin and received a permission to convene a council on September 8, 1943, which elected Sergius Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. This is considered by some violation of the XXX Apostolic canon, as no church hierarchy could be consecrated by secular authorities. A new patriarch was elected, theological schools were opened, and thousands of churches began to function. The Moscow Theological Academy Seminary, which had been closed since 1918, was re-opened.

What this shows is that religion was a political football for Stalin. If atheism, and not totalitarianism, were the driving force, why ever would he have revived the church from 500 units to 22,000 units?

Atheism itself isn’t a principle, cause, philosophy, or belief system which people fight, die, or kill for. Being killed by an atheist is no more being killed in the name of atheism than being killed by a person who doesn’t believe in unicorns in the name of a-unicornism. The simple fact of the matter is that people act upon what the believe: not what the do not believe. The nub is what motivates particular actions: otherwise you may as well blame Stalin’s appreciation for Impressionistic art for his actions. This is how even atheists can join you in saying that Joseph Stalin, even in not believing in god, was acting unreasonably.

Communism (or at least certain forms of it) can be blamed for communist violence; Christianity (or at least certain forms of it) can also be blamed for Christian violence. As a belief system with specific doctrines that were openly held up as justifying or sanctioning violence, religion must be held responsible for the violence committed in its name.

  • Adam

    Time Stamps fixed. Future posts should show as posted based on US Central Time… sorry for not fixing that sooner.

  • Adam

    Well written JT. I wish I had been able to see this weeks ago before Grady tried to say that, "the most massive crimes in history…mass murder, torture, false imprisonment…were committed by ATHEISTS". I'm sure he will yet again chime in on this was and try to show you how you are wrong. I hope he can bring more evidence this time than one writer (Solzhenitsyn) who doesn't even blame atheism for Stalin's actions.

  • http://booleanboycott.blogspot.com Jon Willis

    Great read! I've been engaged in some discussion on this topic with a Mormon on a motorcycle forum (I know, right?). He constantly brings up the Bolshevik revolution and Stalin's attempts to eradicate religion as markers of atheistic cruelty. I've argued against it, but without the background and eloquence here.

  • JT

    Adam,

    Meh, if GRADY posts with good reasons to abandon my position, I'll change my mind. It just seems that given the evidence at hand, he's wrong.

    I suspect GRADY is about done tussling with me though. Sad day.

    Jon Willis,

    I'm flattered, sir. Thank you. Feel free to utilize whatever you like from this entry.

    JT

  • Robbie

    @JT & Adam

    I will be surprised out of my pants if Grady and/or Morrison don't take you up again with non-sensical and irrelevant arguments shortly

    Their rhetoric reminds me of VenomFangX on YouTube (you may want to do a write up on that character one day). For a long time he'd be reciting Hovind's fallacies of creation science on YouTube with such fervor in his eyes that I had a feeling the guy was going to collapse of exhostion one day. Eventually, he got caught by an atheist YouTuber reporting him (the atheist) to YouTube for copyright violations. Hundreds of videos and thousands of posts kept the atheists who were enjoying the intellectual onslaught on VenomFangX busy. I miss VenomFangX.

    Recently, I came across a couple of other folks who are more mature, well read than him yet still using the same teleological or cosmological moral arguments in the Turek-ian and Craig-ian manner.

    This is an example. I think I read this guy's blog before http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTYe_V2hOZ4&fe….

    In my conversations with some religious people I am always awed how theology they hold can be used to justify inequality of people's rights and history/fact denying as Richard Dawkins puts it in "The Greatest Show on Earth" about evolution. Progressive Christians to me is a fresh breath of air, though I have a problem with their moderation and not standing up in large numbers for science, rationalism, human rights and thus serving as a "turtle" on which the proverbial "flat" world of religious dogma is based.

    It makes for interesting conversations. Almost always I come out of them wanting to take a shower, as if I was just in "Dirty Jobs" on the Discovery Channel. Granted, most progressive Christians don't impose their views on others yet when confronted would admit that they would deny equal rights under the law to gays even in face of the equal protection clause and due process as enshrined in the US Constitution and the "pursuit of happiness and liberties" as in the Bill of Rights.

    I find it bewildering. It appears to me that the best way to present the conundrum to them is to agree at first with them on basic definitions/axioms that cannot be changed and shaken and redefined (e.g. marriage has been redefined by cultures, times and even Christians themselves over the millenia, yet they will deny it). Once you have agreement on the basics then you can always go and revert to them if there is a conflict.

    However, "relusion" (delusion+religion) is so often deeply engraved in them that they will most often revert to the same problematic definitions though we just had agreed on them.

    Frustrating, often painful and rather sad.

  • Robbie

    P.S to my post above

    I hit "send" button and did not add to "equal rights under the law" comment that even "moderate/rational Christians" will prevent "rationalism" in political matters (e.g. true and factual separation of church and state; when every politician keeps his/her faith to themselves on political trail and the office or if they don't then don't allow them dictate their political agenda and will stand up to their constituents if they demand religion to be inserted).

    I have to give a credit to John McCain when he stood up for Obama when one of his supporters was talking about Obama cohorting with domestic terrorists and being an Arab (meaning Muslim) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubSTY7pAh-c

    McCain switched it to "decent man" vs. being "not Arab" or "Muslim" – which is fine with me and still proved the point.

    But this is exactly what kind of political behavior I'd expect when dealing with religion in public place.

  • Robbie

    An argument with some "holier than thou" religionists is almost always going into the Godwin's law – invoking Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot. "Targeting" Christians seems to be the theme. It appears that invoking conquest of South/North America in the name of g-o-d coupled with geopolitical (which are apparently the most important) considerations doesn't click very well for those who don't know too much about history and want to deny facts of history.

    I'd differentiate "religionists" vs. "theists" as to me "religionists" is more of a crazy variety of irrationality and dominating with the dogma of religion, not liberal progressive Christians. I know of Christians who I could not call religionists but rational theists (more mainstream) or even deistic Christians (progressive/liberal), so this maybe something else to explore in the freethinking community. I can see amazement in the eyes of Christians when you ask them if they are "Deistic Christian" or "New Ager".

    I think we can capitalize on redefining words like the religious people do and maybe start calling followers of Jesus "Jesusists?" or "Jewish cult of Christianity". Would be interesting to see how this is perceived and accepted if at all? But again, even this can be viewed as "targeting" Christians.

    By the same token, redefining atheism (which doesn't bother me at all) into "freethinking" is more of a "humanistic" way of promoting the concept of critical thinking. I have on occasions puzzled Christians when I said I was a freethinker. Often times they just let it go without asking any follow up question – seems like they accept it as some sort of a "new age religion" or something. Amusing.

    Regardless, "Why Do Atheists Target Christians?" can be worded in a variety of ways, yet the persecution complex that is highly engraved in evangelical/fundamental Christianity almost always wins out. This just came out recently out of American Humanists. Straight to the point. Seems to me that "The God Delusion" by Dawkins should have this as a new chapter in the revised edition.

    - http://www.americanhumanist.org/HNN/details/2010-…

  • Johan

    //Atheism itself isn’t a principle, cause, philosophy, or belief system which people fight, die, or kill for.//

    Atheists miss the point, nothing can soft-sell what Stalin did, or what the Soviet union did, atheistic government or secular ideology can be just as lethal to human life as any religious ideology. The man who said it best was Alexander Schmemann. In his critique of secularism, he remarked, “It is not the immorality of the crimes of man that reveal him as a fallen being; it is his ‘positive ideal’—religious or secular—and his satisfaction with this ideal.”

    The problem for the atheist gets worse, because on atheistic grounds, there is technically nothing "wrong" with what Stalin or the soviet union did, as nature cannot provide a grounding for good and evil. Nature which is nuts and bolts reality for the atheist has no values.

    Johan

  • http://wading-in.net/walkabout Just Al

    Nicely detailed! History is quite often not kind to the assertions of religious folk. It's far easier to find examples where religion led to conflict and strife than those where it led to peace and prosperity.

    But I'm going to take small issue with one statement you made, to wit:

    However, they miss an important point: in the cases of people driven to malice by faith, religion was clearly the reason for which they killed.

    I'm not directly contradicting this as it's stated, but I think we need to be careful here. Many conflicts, ostensibly of a religious nature, were more often engaged in for the same ol' reasons as always: money, power, influence, etc. It's actually very hard to point to any influential leader and definitively say that religion or scripture was their sole motivation, or even prime motivation. One might be able to make a case for some of the crusades and the battles for the "holy land," but even then, those lay in a prime trade hub.

    Now, there's the other side of the coin, in that many of these leaders, wanting to stir the populace in favor of their plans, resorted to religion and its wonderful message of, "Don't Ask, Just Follow," and naturally the idea of a divine authority. In fact, Stalin and "a few others" (fear the wrath of Godwin) utilized the lessons learned from religion to establish their own ideologies to motivate people, as well as exploiting some of the prejudices of the time. In short, if you convince people there's a "greater good," you can get them to do an awful lot.

    This is a message in itself. In such cases, the problem isn't religion per se, but a nasty habit of accepting things uncritically and not examining motivations. Religion exploits this, true enough, but religion is nothing without acceptance. Improving critical thinking skills in the populace, and the acceptance of skepticism, will do more than targeting the excesses of religion, which is what I suspect Jeff Wagg was trying to say (he did a poor job of it.) But when you cast a net of critical thinking, you're mostly going to bring up religion, and that can't be avoided.

  • http://skepticon.org JT Eberhard

    Johan,

    Oh my…

    Your assertions about Stalin's atheism do nothing but assert your conclusion. They do not answer any of the arguments contained within this post.

    What's more, I'm not soft-selling what he did. It was horrible. I am saying that his atheism did not inform it, and I gave reasons for that.

    "because on atheistic grounds, there is technically nothing “wrong” with what Stalin or the soviet union did, as nature cannot provide a grounding for good and evil"

    It can't? We like being happy, our happiness is dependent on our neighbors. I mean, wouldn't it suck to live in a world where people stole, killed, and raped consistently? If that world would suck, what more reason do we need to create moral rules?

    Stalin's actions contributed to human suffering. That's all we need to say he was morally wrong.

    JT

  • JAFisher44

    I am always amused when people tell me that I can't object to evil since I am an atheist. Well, you are wrong Johan. Nature does provide a grounding for good and evil. Our evolution as a social species provides us with a biological imperative to support each other. These imperatives translate into a code of moral behavior.

  • Robbie

    @Johan,

    "Pursuit of happiness and liberties" or "golden rule" or "treat thy neighbor" has been violated by Stalin. It has been known by every culture before Jesus and Confucious. Even animals have their own "golden" rule and hierarchy within their clans that assure survival and grant happiness and liberties to certain members but not all (e.g. pack of wolves) or all or most (highly emotionally and culturally evolved bonobos and humans – well, most of the time)

    Stalin was an a-hole, immoral and evil. So was the Pope when he concealed and protected the many pedophile ministers. So was the Heaven's Gate Cult founder who told his followers to drink coolaid and they'll join god on a space ship behind the tail of a comet a few years back.

    Was Bill Clinton immoral when he was getting a BJ from Monica? Not to me, but to Hillary, yes he was. Was he immoral to Monica? Don't think so. It's not my place to judge his personal sins as an atheist myself. Would I prefer that Bill would just admit it and moved on without any impeachment trials spectacle? – sure, why not.

    Do atheists in America try to deny anyone "pursuit of happiness and liberties"? – i.e. don't have standards for evil/good? Sorry, this logic doesn't compute – find me a Christian in America who cannot believe what they believe or go out on a corner of a street and preach? The problem is when they start pushing their "idea" of happiness on others. Liberties of free speech (universal principle in the US) of these Christians quickly are turned around into liberties to harass those who hold other liberties and happiness different from them.

    Nothing is wrong with Stalin? Yikes… As an atheist, it doesn't take to be a rocket scientist to tell you you are missing the mark. Whatever you are smoking, I want that.

    Of course, atheism has no values… Neither does "not" collecting stamps. Dogmas (progressive or conservative) have values, there are conservative atheists, and progressive theists.

    Logic works, bitches :o ) – don't take it personally, take is in love and spirit of Jesus Christ. After all, he used cuss words too.

  • http://skepticon.org JT Eberhard

    GRADY,

    I'm trying really hard to be patient, but you keep making claims and then not defending them. You also keep not responding to previous arguments. This forces me to cut and paste.

    Please respond to…

    If you have facts that counter my arguments, please present them. Your last response did nothing to address my arguments. You cite Solzhenitsyn, but if he has facts in his work that counters my points, use them. I’m not going to go read a three volume set, I’m busy. Solzhenitsyn should work on getting his position into collegiate history books, so people like me can learn it rather than the myriad of facts I listed above.

    And as for atheism informing peoples' actions, you said that atheism was useless a force for good. I agreed and explained why, and also explained why the conclusion you advanced also negated your point.

    "And atheism is meaningless as a force for good – you’re spot on. So is a-unicornism and a-leprechaunism, but it doesn’t make them wrong. People don’t organize or act based on what they don’t believe, but rather on what they do believe. So while your assertion about atheism not being a force for good is correct, it also means that atheism cannot be a source for malice. So…thanks?"

    You didn't respond to any of it. You just came back here and re-asserted your conclusion without defending it. That's not a good way to have a conversation. The terrible irony here is that you accuse us of making diversions.

    Do you really think you're representing your faith well in doing this?

    JT

  • http://skepticon.org JT Eberhard

    GRADY,

    "Practioners of atheistically based philosophies killed 100 Million People in teh 20th century alone. MANY times the number killed in allt the so called religous conflicts in history."

    What is an atheist philosophy? The word 'atheism' implies one thing: that somebody does not believe in god. Are there also a-unicornist and a-smurfist philosophies?

    Also, what you call 'smearing' we call vocally disagreeing. Your beliefs are ridiculous (which is likely why you've elected not to defend them, despite Adam and I practically begging you to do so). They deserve to be criticized. If you're unhappy with us 'smearing' them, then defend them instead of showing a stalwart unwillingness to do so.

    JT

  • Adam

    @ Grady: I care if people are atheists or not… because RELIGION DOES affect their actions – too many in a negative way for me to ignore. I am a moral person. Therefore, I can't just sit back and watch religious dogma and oppressive superiority take over. It's going down with or without me – I'm just helping speed it along.

  • Adam

    @ Grady: First of all, the American Atheists' NON TRACTS called "What Jesus has revealed to Mankind" (and are blank inside).. hilarious!

    Secondly, I started this website to help believers who were on the fence and new atheist who need more info to feel secure in what they found to be the truth. I HAVE NEVER trolled a Christian site or tried to shut a Christian's free speech down… EVER. YOU and Morrison came on here with that presumed intention but met people who aren't afraid to debate you (and, frankly, have a little more knowledge and logical reasoning than you do). The atheist billboards are an extension of free speech and are completely justified where religious views are shoved down our throats left and right.

  • Adam

    If you like to listen to things instead of read them… well, you probably didn't make it this far. But, if you did, here is Sam Harris explaining this in his own way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA6LmZ3joUI

  • Robbie

    @Adam

    I think that what you call "trolling" (which I wholeheartedly agree they are doing) is a "natural" and "rational" response by theists in the evolutionary sense. Just like a rat cornered with nowhere to go, ideas will have to be defended, no matter what the cost or abandoned, absorbed and discarded. These can be "rational" ideas or "irrational".

    The problem theists have is "situationalism" of each particular event. When you have "absolute" morality (superiority) vs. "rationality" and "golden rule" (aka Jesus' treat thy neighbor) take over, you get dogmatic a-holes like Stalin, Hitler, the Pope.

    One can even argue that Obama declared "absolute" morality of "compromise" during the tax debate last week, but then the "comback kid" comes back with the START Treaty and "Don't Ask Don't Tell".

    Go figure these moral relativists! Seems like it works? – for everyone as a compromise.

  • Kevin Pettay

    @GRADY

    "Practioners of atheistically based philosophies killed 100 Million People in teh 20th century alone. "

    Burden of proof?

    • Adam

      @ Kevin: He'll just say Stalin, Lenin, Marx, Hitler… blah blah blah. But, he can't back it up with anything. So, I think I will make my own BOLD claim with no evidence… here I go:

      "People who ate food and had penises killed 100 Million People in the 20th century alone. ”It's true. I'm pretty sure those evil men Grady talks about both ate food and had a penis between their legs. Now, I can't prove that those things caused their actions, but, since I don't like food or penises, I will just say they did.

      Grady… do you see the logic fail now? Probably not.

  • Robbie

    @Adam,

    Adam, I sent you an e-mail as you asked, don' know if you got it or not. What up? Let's talk by e-mail.

  • Johan

    @JT

    //It can’t? We like being happy, our happiness is dependent on our neighbors. I mean, wouldn’t it suck to live in a world where people stole, killed, and raped consistently?//

    JT, any person will kill for ideological reasons if this person is convinced of what he believes is true, be these on religious or secular grounds, atheists here are as guilty as theists.

    Wouldn't it suck if people killed you because they firmly believed they were doing natural selection a favor by getting rid of inferior races?

    The problem is, on atheistic grounds, we cannot judge what Stalin did, because nature has no values. Stalin is no more wrong than you are. You might say that he has violated some moral standard, but a moral standard devised by other humans? who sets these standards? any why would anyone be bound be them? If nature is all there is, then Stalin in neither right nor wrong.

    Richard Dawkins writes:

    “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.”

    • Adam

      @ Johan: But, people choose to be good to each other in order to function in a society. There are still small groups of people around the planet that have no religion and they don't go around killing or raping one another because that would be counterproductive. Remember, atheism ISN'T ideological, in the sense that it expresses no dogma or specific morality. Religion does. There isn't evidence out there than an atheist has committed mass murder simply because they thought "they were doing natural selection a favor by getting rid of inferior races". NOT BELIEVING IN GOD does not lend you to share a certain moral code… but it also doesn't mean atheists are without morals. I have been an atheists for many years now and am just as moral (or more so) than when I was a believer.

      Christians commit acts of immorality… they just believe someone forgives them of their sins when they talk to him. Atheist commit acts of a non-moral nature – it's called being human. But, religion DOES cause action – often times, horrific and tragic actions based on a belief of divine superiority. That's never a good thing.

  • Johan

    @Adam

    You write:

    //But, people choose to be good to each other in order to function in a society. There are still small groups of people around the planet that have no religion and they don’t go around killing or raping one another because that would be counterproductive.//

    The problem is, there is no such a thing as "good" if we have to start to take atheism and it's implications seriously. People may behave in certain ways even atheists, but this is only because they have fooled themselves into thinking that nature somehow provides an objective basis for morality.

    //Christians commit acts of immorality… they just believe someone forgives them of their sins when they talk to him//

    Christianity predicts that Christians will be immoral, as Christianity teaches that all humans are sinners, believers and non-believers alike. Christianity on the other hand might make someone think twice before killing another when this person realizes that human life is sacred(because man intentionally created by God in His image), and that what a person does another another, he is guilty of doing that onto his God also.

    • Adam

      @ Johan: There is a basis for “good” without implying religion. Hammurabi’s code existed before the Ten Commandments. There were plenty of accepted moral standards for a civilized society to embrace without needing to fear a babysitter in the sky. Why is it then that god’s big 10 didn’t include genocide, rape, slavery, and child molestation? Why did he waste the first four on himself? I’ve still never heard a Christian answer this.

      I don’t kill people because I don’t want to cause human suffering and I would also most likely go to jail, taking away my freedom, which I greatly value. It’s not a shocker that “Christianity predicts that Christians will be immoral”… humans, as you state, will “sin” whether they have god or not – so god is just a scare tactic – a reward v.s. punishment system for after you die. GOD isn’t the end all be all of morality. Christians don’t own the moral high ground.

  • Robbie

    @Adam

    Just resent you my previous e-mail at atheismresource@gmail.com. Check your spam folder.

    • Adam

      G-mail doesn't have a SPAM folder. You can find me on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/AdamBrown1981 and send a note so I know who you are. Can't seem to get your e-mail. I see you are local and wanted to touch bases with you.

  • Adam

    Thinking about how "moral" god is, made me find this image and laugh a little: http://i.imgur.com/lvv6h.png Please explain and justify these contradictions from a moral and just god… there's only 9, shouldn't take a devout believer long.

  • Robbie

    @Adam

    Yes, I am local here in Kansas City. I just e-mailed you from my yahoo address. The original e-mail I sent to you came from another ISP.

    P.S. I have gmail too and Spam folder in Gmail is right under "Drafts" and above "Trash" I sent myself an e-mail fro and it ended up in gmail spam. You may need to go to "more" tab in gmail on the left side and activate it or activate "spam" folder in settings.

  • Adam

    @ Grady: Ok, and your analysis of Dialectical Materialism is what? It isn't an "atheistic philosophy". It isn't anti-religion or anti-god. If you want to claim that it is, then I can say the same about capitalism – which also makes no religious claims. A Christian can believe in Dialectical Materialism just as well as an atheist. The Wiki-link you gave says nothing about their views on god leading to their embracing Dialectical Materialism. They just didn't like the history of the class system and thought it hurt society. They just went about implementing change in a bad way.

    Lewontin writes (from your source by the way), "Dialectical materialism is not, and never has been, a programmatic method for solving particular physical problems. Rather, a dialectical analysis provides an overview and a set of warning signs against particular forms of dogmatism and narrowness of thought[ie. religion]. It tells us, "Remember that history may leave an important trace. Remember that being and becoming are dual aspects of nature. Remember that conditions change and that the conditions necessary to the initiation of some process may be destroyed by the process itself. Remember to pay attention to real objects in time and space and not lose them in utterly idealized abstractions. Remember that qualitative effects of context and interaction may be lost when phenomena are isolated". And above all else, "Remember that all the other caveats are only reminders and warning signs whose application to different circumstances of the real world is contingent." [emphasis added]

    Try again…

    And please stop assuming ALL atheists are the same. That's like me saying you molest children since loads of Catholic Priests and other ministers believe in your god and they molest children. That's ridiculous. You still can't show how NOT BELIEVING IN GOD has led to more deaths than BELIEVING IN GOD!

  • Robbie

    @Johan & @JT

    "All the same, you’re not arguing with Dawkins, you’re arguing with me. You, GRADY, and Morrison all seem to think that taking swipes at other atheists equates to arguing with me. It’s very odd."

    Beautiful, JT.

    The same goes for arguing "not with Jesus" but with "Christians" individually on one on one basis. Jesus is not here to defend himself. He never had anything written left for us. All we have is accounts, hearsay, second and third hand passons.

    It is more rational and reasonable to deal with Christians today than with one Jew 2,000 years ago.

  • http://skepticon.org JT Eberhard

    GRADY,

    That's not a response. It doesn't respond to any of my points in this post. It's just a reassertion of your conclusion.

    Surely you're not as dense as you're acting.

    JT

  • Adam

    You can see more arguments from a theist on this topic in the comments section of this article: (http://www.atheismresource.com/2010/atheist-dont-commit-as-much-crime-as-the-religious-do)

    REPOSTED:

    People throughout history have committed acts of evil – believers and non-believers. But, the evidence for Christians committing acts of violence BECAUSE of their devotion to god is overwhelming in the face of a two examples (Lenin and Marx) hurting people because of their lack of belief in god.

    The crusades, the inquisition, the Salem With Trials, the Holocaust, the Ku Klux Klan, 9/11 attacks, and so many other examples are due solely to a belief in a god and a belief that their actions were divinely inspired… you can’t deny that. That’s the point of this whole argument. [GRADY'S] first post said, “the most massive crimes in history…mass murder, torture, false imprisonment…were committed by ATHEISTS”…

    THAT’S SIMPLY NOT TRUE. The examples I gave you a link to (here it is again: http://www.atheismresource.com/2010/the-harms-of-… gives so many examples to show that the most massive crimes in history…mass murder, torture, false imprisonment…were committed by GOD FEARING THEISTS!

  • Robbie

    @Grady

    Below are examples of religious campaigns by religious people against religious people. Who was anti-religious and against which religion/denomination and most importantly – WHICH GOD WAS ON WHOSE SIDE?

    Please, don't tell me it was OK for Christians to go and fight Christians based on religious principles they shared? Or Christians fighting Muslims though they worship the same god – IT IS A FACT THAT THEY SHARE THE SAME GOD, don't you agree?

    The Muslim conquests, the French Wars of Religion, the Crusades, and the Reconquista are frequently cited historical examples, especially in History Books.

    Religious designations are sometimes used as shorthand for cultural and historical differences between combatants, giving the often misleading impression that the conflict is primarily about religious differences. For example, there is a common perception of The Troubles in Northern Ireland as a religious conflict, as one side (Nationalists) was predominantly composed of Catholics and the other (Unionists) of Protestants. However, the more fundamental cause is the attachment of Northern Ireland to either the Republic of Ireland or the United Kingdom and while religion played a role as a cultural marker, the conflict was in fact ethnic or nationalistic rather than religious in nature.[1] Since the native Irish were mostly Catholic and the later British-sponsored immigrants were mainly Protestant, the terms become shorthand for the two cultures, but it is inaccurate to describe the conflict as a religious one.[1]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_war

  • Johan

    @Adam, you write:

    "Hammurabi’s code existed before the Ten Commandments."

    The problem of morality for atheism is this, if atheism is true, then nature is all there is, nature has no values and as such can provide no grounding for good and evil.

    This has nothing to do with commandments being written down, this has to do with the fact that atheism has no objective reference.

    //Why did he waste the first four on himself? I’ve still never heard a Christian answer this.//

    You are acting as if the God of Christianity has violated some moral standard, but let's suppose God existed for a second, how on earth can atheists think this God would not be good? For God to be evil, he would need to violate some moral standard, but a standard from where? a standard devised by whom? by you?

  • Johan

    //Sure, nature doesn’t, but human beings do. We’re a social species hard-wired for compassion (with a few exceptions, but we all realize how dangerous they are). Surely this is more obvious than you’re acting like…//

    Oh believe me, I think it's very obvious that there is good and evil, but not for one second do I think this has anything to do with evolution "tricking or fooling us", I think it has to do with the fact that atheism is false.

    //you just believe these moral prescriptions were discerned by god, not humans. But there’s no evidence for god, and humans are perfectly capable of figuring out that some behavior makes us happier than others//

    What I believe at the end of the day is irrelevant, the point is, without an objective reference, an objective basis, morality is nothing but an illusion. The atheist philosopher of ethics Joel Marks, has made peace with this. Richard Dawkins has made peace with this.

    Michael Ruse and E. O. Wilson write “[Morality] is illusory inasmuch as it persuades us that it has an objective reference.”

  • http://skepticon.org JT Eberhard

    GRADY,

    I'm cutting and pasting because I've already answered the arguments you're making. You then dance around in triumph as though it's my fault I have to keep parrying the same statements from you. Surely you can't be proud of this.

    As for the wiki link, didn't you say wikipedia was unreliable when I used it? Isn't that a double standard?

    Anyway, here was my answer, relevant part bolded.

    Another conveniently ignored fact is that between 1945 and 1959 under Stalin’s leadership the official organization of the church was greatly expanded, although individual members of the clergy were occasionally arrested and exiled. The number of open churches went from about 500 to 25,000. By 1957 about 22,000 Russian Orthodox churches had become active. How is this explicable if Stalin was motivated by some sort of perverted atheistic drive to eliminate religion?

    After Nazi Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union in 1941, Joseph Stalin revived the Russian Orthodox Church. On September 4, 1943, Metropolitans Sergius, Alexy and Nikolay had a meeting with Stalin and received a permission to convene a council on September 8, 1943, which elected Sergius Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. This is considered by some violation of the XXX Apostolic canon, as no church hierarchy could be consecrated by secular authorities. A new patriarch was elected, theological schools were opened, and thousands of churches began to function. The Moscow Theological Academy Seminary, which had been closed since 1918, was re-opened.

    What this shows is that religion was a political football for Stalin. If atheism, and not totalitarianism, were the driving force, why ever would he have revived the church from 500 units to 22,000 units? How can you possibly explain this if atheism were the driving force behind any of his purges? This is probably why the sentence in the wikipedia entry you linked which says Stalin intended to disseminate atheism lacks a source.

    And you've answered my arguments? Where? When? By telling me to read a three volume set (after Adam pointed out that he never said what you said he said)? I told you that if there were relevant facts in the book you read that contradict my arguments to list them. You have not done so.

    You have also said you would provide evidence for god's existence. You tried the argument from design and I hammered you on it. There have been no subsequent attempts.

    JT

  • Robbie

    @Johan

    “Oh believe me, I think it’s very obvious that there is good and evil, but not for one second do I think this has anything to do with evolution “tricking or fooling us”, I think it has to do with the fact that atheism is false.”

    Evolution tricks us and fools us? Please, provide a source of this revelation. Evolution shapes us, it's a fact. Our brains are product of "being tricked and fooled and TESTED BY TRIAL AND ERROR" by the natural world. If you don't understand the basics of natural selection, let's start with the most obvious – spend 1 week alone in African savanna and I'd like to see if you'd have an argument with a lion about its atheism.

    If your emotional response (read "moral" compass of surviving) will trick or fail you in that case, may your god have mercy on you. Perhaps you can also win Darwin's award for ending your genetic lineage.

  • Robbie

    @Johan

    “without an objective reference, an objective basis, morality is nothing but an illusion”

    "I love you, you love me, we are happy family" – Barney, the Purple Dinosaur.

    There, here is your objective reality. No frigging Jesus, God is needed. Please, tell me why can't we just use Barney as our moral guide?

    Don't you think there were other Barnies before the Jews, Jesus, Zeus, Ra, Mythras, Apollo, etc. Don't you think that before other barnies there were ghosts, deities, fear of losing or death, pleasure of learning or birth, new things discovered and others lost, sunsets and sundowns witnessed, bellies full and empty, escaping lions and killing them in retaliation, sneaking around with your neighbors wife and someone then helping the perpetrator escape a fire.

    When is it going to dawn on some religious people "there is nothing new under the sun" when it comes to religion?

    When it comes to rationality, only the past 100-2,500 years (excluding Jesus) have brought us critical thinking outside the superstition.

    I don't know how difficult it is to have a "general view" of the world – SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE COMING UP TO EVERY CHRISTIAN AND YELLING IN THEIR FACE – GOD DOESN'T WANT YOU TO BE STUPID, though he says that intelligence is not good.

  • http://skepticon.org JT Eberhard

    GRADY,

    I don't mind wikipedia. I was just pointing out the oddness of your behavior.

    My points about Stalin expanding the church still stand, unexplained by you.

    You then link to an article that explicitly says that the opposition to religion was part of a particular Communist set up. …ok?

    Do you think Communism is a good idea? If not, why do you present Lenin as though he's a representative of reason?

    And were you going to get around to providing that evidence for god you said you would?

    JT

  • http://skepticon.org JT Eberhard

    Johan,

    “JT, any person will kill for ideological reasons if this person is convinced of what he believes is true”

    That’s just silly. I believe grass is green, how does this lead logically to killing?

    “Wouldn’t it suck if people killed you because they firmly believed they were doing natural selection a favor by getting rid of inferior races?”

    Yeah, it would suck. It would also be unreasonable and contributing to greater human suffering on the whole. Do you think otherwise?

    “The problem is, on atheistic grounds, we cannot judge what Stalin did, because nature has no values”

    Sure, nature doesn’t, but human beings do. We’re a social species hard-wired for compassion (with a few exceptions, but we all realize how dangerous they are). Surely this is more obvious than you’re acting like…

    “You might say that he has violated some moral standard, but a moral standard devised by other humans?”

    Yup, to coincide with what human beings want – i.e., happiness and to not spend their days worrying. It benefits the individual to behave in certain ways (you must believe this, because you believe it…you just believe these moral prescriptions were discerned by god, not humans. But there’s no evidence for god, and humans are perfectly capable of figuring out that some behavior makes us happier than others)

    “who sets these standards?”

    Humans. Same way we discuss which pain killer works best.

    “any why would anyone be bound be them?”

    Desire for personal happiness, which makes us worry about exclusion from society.

    “If nature is all there is, then Stalin in neither right nor wrong.”

    Horseshit.

    “Richard Dawkins writes: “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.””

    He’s right, which makes you wonder how anybody can believe in a loving god. All the same, while the universe is pitiless (hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.), human beings, unlike nature, do have pity and compassion. It’s why we squirm at the sight of blood and why children born blind still smile when happy.

    All the same, you’re not arguing with Dawkins, you’re arguing with me. You, GRADY, and Morrison all seem to think that taking swipes at other atheists equates to arguing with me. It’s very odd.

    JT

  • Robbie

    http://i.imgur.com/lvv6h.png ?????????????

    This is just too sad. No wonder as an atheist you are going to hell. I’ll see you there.

  • Robbie

    @Adam

    Spam folder maybe “hidden” by gmail. Go to Settings>Labels>Show Spam folder.

  • Robbie

    @Adam &@Grady

    Adam, we don’t know if Grady is Catholic or even a Christian though he has indicated in a round about way he is and dancing and prancing around it. Though it doesn’t matter as your point was generalizations and extrapolating based on limited information about someone; makes sense.

    Grady, I asked you if you were Christian (what denomination), deist, pantheist or some sort of a new ager Christian. Who the hell are you? Let us know so it gives us better perspective and how to understand where you are coming from.

    I tell you I am an atheist with an agnostic underpinning, but I am not a Christian or a theist or spiritualist or believer in any universal force, intelligence or dark force.

    Scoobie Doo, where are you?

  • http://skepticon.org JT Eberhard

    Johan,

    “Oh believe me, I think it’s very obvious that there is good and evil, but not for one second do I think this has anything to do with evolution “tricking or fooling us”, I think it has to do with the fact that atheism is false.”

    This argument could be given weight by you providing any evidence that god exists. Go.

    I don’t recall saying evolution was tricking or fooling us. I do recall saying that people want to be happy, our happiness is dependent on others (psychology has confirmed this, and I’m perfectly willing to go further if you don’t accept this point), and there are certain behaviors that are more conducive to happiness than others. This seems rather transpicuous to me.

    “What I believe at the end of the day is irrelevant”

    You certainly arguing as though what you believe is correct. Telling me you treat your beliefs as irrelevant is not a very good sign for your arguments.

    “without an objective reference, an objective basis, morality is nothing but an illusion”

    You don’t think there’s at least part of an objective basis for what makes humans happier? You think stabbing ones self in the foot is just as effective as eating chocolate? That eating feces is equally irrelevant to the production of happiness than exercise?

    “The atheist philosopher of ethics Joel Marks, has made peace with this. Richard Dawkins has made peace with this.”

    I know that’s bullshit as far as Dawkins is concerned. He has been on the news countless times defending a naturalistic morality. You are simply wrong.

    All the same, as I said before, you’re arguing with me, not anybody else. Please respond to my arguments and what I say.

    Speaking of which, for all dropped arguments on your point (that believing anything is sufficient to produce murderous actions, for instance), that you concede those points?

    JT

  • Johan

    @JT

    //This argument could be given weight by you providing any evidence that god exists. Go//

    Moving goal posts? When did I say I can "prove" God? And why would I need to be able to "prove" God's existence in order to make my belief or conclusion of God rational? I believe many things, I understand I cannot prove in the strict sense of the word. I not only believe in God, I also believe the past is real, I believe my cognitive faculties are reliable.

    The atheist philosopher Raymond Tallis agrees that this argument is one of the bad arguments for atheism, he writes:

    "This is a bad reason for atheism because no-one can agree what would count as evidence. Miracles, scriptures, the testimony of priests and prophets etc, can all be contested on empirical grounds: but for some people the fact that we communicate intelligibly with one another, or that the world is ordered, or even that there is something rather than nothing, is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that there is a Creator who not only made the world but also made it habitable by and intelligible to us. Therefore the appeal to evidence, or lack of it, will always be inconclusive."

    //I know that’s bullshit as far as Dawkins is concerned//

    Dawkins says it in his own words "no good no evil"

    //Speaking of which, for all dropped arguments on your point (that believing anything is sufficient to produce murderous actions, for instance//

    People kill, be these for religious reasons or for secular reasons, this cannot be blamed solely on religion and this behavior by itself does nothing to prove the falseness of religion. But religion can be good, if Stalin believed humans were intentionally created by God in his image, chances are, he might not have killed all these people. Maybe atheism had nothing to do with ordering the execution of the priests, but atheism did nothing to stop these acts.

  • Johan

    @Robbie

    //Evolution tricks us and fools us? Please, provide a source of this revelation.//

    “[morality is]an illusion fobbed off by our genes to get us to cooperate.”–Michael Ruse and E. O. Wilson

    //Our brains are product of “being tricked and fooled and TESTED BY TRIAL AND ERROR” by the natural world//

    Why would it matter to natural selection that our beliefs are true? Our beliefs are invisible to natural selection, natural selection is interested in adaptive behavior, the beliefs coupled with these behaviors can be true or false, this is irrelevant. This would make no difference, natural selection is happy as long as I run away from a tiger when I see one. The reason why I run away from the tiger is for natural selection irrelevant, be this because I like to give tigers a big hug and I think the best way to hug a tiger is to run away from it, or because I really want to be eaten by a tiger, but I am never happy with the tiger I see so I always run away to look for a better prospect when I happen to see a tiger.

  • http://skepticon.org JT Eberhard

    GRADY,

    Let me make it easy on you: how does not believing in god lead logically to any of Lenin’s conclusions? If it doesn’t, how can you say he killed because he didn’t believe in god?

    Take a Torquemada as a comparison. His logic was simple: if eternal suffering can be avoided by forcing people to accept Jesus by any means, then he was saving people through torture.

    Do you see the difference?

    JT

  • Robbie

    @Johan

    //[morality is]an illusion fobbed off by our genes to get us to cooperate.”–Michael Ruse and E. O. Wilson //

    Great, thanks for the quote – WHICH CLEARLY SHOWS what is meant – *****genetically based**** principles that lead to formation of the brain (which is for shorthand is omitted in this sentence of course) which responds to the world. I came across this quote in Daniel Dennet's book "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" – another evolutionary proponent.

    THERE IS NO PURPOSE OF PARTICIPATION OF EVOLUTION – THOUGH ITS ACTIVE, I view evolution as a river that goes wherever it can depending on the gravity, materials it's flowing through and carving. These parameters determine where it goes, river cannot chose not to go. Same with evolution. Evolution is a "multi part process", not a single "actor".

    The above metaphor is used to demonstrate "the process" to cut through selfish "memes" – if you read further paragraphs by Ruse and Wilson You cannot control the speed of genes coding for proteins, you cannot control (i.e. have purpose) of how organs develop with your mind (at least telepathically, only with chemicals) but in the natural world this is not possible.

    So, the way I read you "illusion" (perception of our brains" – RESPONSE/MISINTERPRETATION OF THE BRAIN) and "evolution/natural selection" (WILLFULLY AND PURPOSEFULLY TRICKING US) are the same?

    You stated and "meant" (I am sure) to imply that evolutionists state that EVOLUTION PURPOSEFULLY TRICKS US.

    I'll take it as a "metaphor" but there is not a single biologist (unless you are a Discovery Institute fellow) who'll tell you that some "meaning/purpose" is assigned to the dark fur of a pocket desert mouse that lives on dark lava rocks vs. those living a few hundred feet on sand.

    Now, that you provided a quote I cannot but agree with it – YET POINT OUT YOUR FAILED PREMISE OF "DESIGN" IN THE UNIVERSE AND "PURPOSE".

    There is no "meaning/or purpose" to genes. They by themselves are not producing or perceiving "illusions".

    Genes cause your brain development at a certain age. Your brain (not your genes) process the universe and produce, validate or reject "illusions".

    If you cannot control your own demons caused in your brain caused by your genes designed your god its not my problem. I will keep my demons on the leash myself and kick your god's ass any time.

    By the way, if there is AN EXPERIMENT THAT CAN SHOW BIOLOGICALLY THAT EVOLUTION IS A TRICKSTER LIKE SATAN, I am positive this person will win a Nobel prize.

    Actually, I think Intelligent Design people are working on it. And working. And working.

    Watch that documentary on PBS.org "Intelligent Design On Trial" – it will come to you how "real science" works and not "speculations". Metaphors are used as a shortcut for concepts, unfortunately, religious people have been "memed culturally" by the proverbs and metaphors that religous fables have been fed to them and they cannot see past the facts conveniently packaged for them in the form of "simplistic fables of science".

    Come on, if 50% of Americans don't know that it takes the Earth 1 year to go around the sun, what can we expect when it comes to complex issues of genetics that leads to “[morality is]an illusion fobbed off by our genes to get us to cooperate.”

  • Robbie

    @Johan
    //Why would it matter to natural selection that our beliefs are true? Our beliefs are invisible to natural selection, natural selection is interested in adaptive behavior, the beliefs coupled with these behaviors can be true or false, this is irrelevant. This would make no difference, natural selection is happy as long as I run away from a tiger when I see one. //

    Natural selection is a “process”, not an actor. It cannot be happy or unhappy. Is a burning star “happy” or “unhappy”? It consists of elements that are bound by gravity and are controlled by natural process causing thermo nuclear reaction.

    There is no interest in the star (just like in evolution) in “adaptive” behavior of the star and its evolution through burning and creating heavier elements and then eventally maybe going supernova or becoming a white dwarf or turn into a black hole.

    NATURAL SELECTION IS NOT HAPPY OR UNHAPPY IF YOU RUN AWAY FROM THE TIGER. Just like a rock that you pass by when you run away from the tiger. The rock is not participating in natural selection in this case, though you are as an actor when you are running. You (actor) are part of a play (evolution/natural selection), the play itself is not an actor, the playwright who wrote the play (natural laws of nature) are also not actors, they are just like parts of the star.

    If you can find the playwright who set the play/script in motion – more power to you. Mind you, not a single natural event that can be observed has been attributed to anything remotely connected to a playwright. Even Background Microwave Radiation and all post bang processes determined to be true lead us to one gazillionth of a second to “big bang” HAVE NOTHING PURPOSEFUL IN THEM.

    Now, there are theories/hypothesis that state there are signs that there are other pre-bangs before our Big Bang. Again, no actors, just process.

    Rings in Sky Leave Alternate Visions of Universes http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/14/science/space/14cosmic.html

    It seems to me you are trying to assign “meaning/purpose” to “evolution” and “natural world” in general when there is none and thus prove the point that without meaning there can be no objectives in our every day pleasures and sufferings.

    If you want to look for better prospects when you see a tiger, you are following the process :o ) that your brain has coded in it thorugh the processes of genetic coding that reinforced the memes.

  • http://blog.bremaweb.com/ Brandon

    I like what this guy has to say…

    http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4076

  • Robbie

    @Brandon

    Brian Dunning was in Kansas City a few years ago speaking to the Skeptics groups. The details are a bit fuzzy for me but I remember the room was packed and he had an excellent presentation.

    He briefly touched upon staying away from any religious controversies as a blogger and podcaster as he said it tends to divide people.

    I see that he is drawing a line here too – IF ONLY RELIGIOUS PEOPLE STOP BEING SUCH IRRATIONAL BEINGS – THEIR GOD WOULD BE SO MUCH MORE PLEASED.
    //So I am no longer going to participate in the childish debate of what religion has killed more people in history, because it doesn’t matter. The way I see it, you might as well debate what color underpants are worn by the largest number of killers, and try to draw a causal relationship there as well. Religion does not cause you to kill people, and it certainly doesn’t prevent you from killing people. Let’s stop pretending that it does either.///

  • Adam

    @ Morrison: Call it ad hominem if you want but your last comment makes you sound like a moron. Brains are like fizzing coke bottles? I'd hoped you could do better than that. Your understanding of biology and neuroscience is sophomoric. I'm not sure you are a great example of "intelligent" design.

  • Robbie

    @Morrison

    //And even more amusing is all their talk about “rationality” when they, at the same time, try to tell us that our “minds” are themselves the result of mindless forces.//

    Who is "us?" Who are you talking on behalf of? The Universe? United States? All world? Kansas? Missouri? Kansas City? Platte County? Or Westport zip codes?

    What are you, Morrison? What is your theistic leaning? Are you a Christian (what denomination). Catholic for Mohammad? Jew for Jesus? Deist? Pantheist? Spiritual or mystic Christian? You seem to talk about god in such a round about way that it is the moving target – can you nail yourself on the cross of rationality finally?

    Also, please, provide any "scientific" references (not metaphorical arguments as Johan presented us about evolution having some intent or purpose) where experiments actually showed that our brains are "bubbling" with reactions – do you have a video of that?

    Can you please, provide any peer reviewed publications (you know, the ones that real scientists use?) that support your "mindful" origin of mind (i.e. Intelligent Design)?

    Or we can maybe start with the origins of the immune system that was discussed in details at the Dover PA Kiztmiller trial. Have you watched the documentary on PBS "Intelligent Design on Trial", read any books "Monkey Girl" for instance or maybe watched some videos by Ken Miller, Eugenie Scott and Hume as well as talk by Judge Johns III on it on YouTube?

    I recommend you do. Then when you got enough toys to bring to the playground, please, come and let's duke it out.

    Or we can continue – What are "thoughts" made of that they are bubbling? Or what actually produces them to be precise? What is the process of thought? – surely, your "free thoughts" can come up with the divine answer that warrants a Nobel Prize?

    I am a root beer fan myself.

    ********I look forward to maybe meeting "we" (you and Grady and whoever else) at a meetup in Kansas City. By all means, bring your toys there. I am sure it will be a great talk. I have been busy with life and my toys myself, so I would like to chat with you when you come. Please, announce when you come?

  • Robbie

    @Morrison

    //I always get a kick out of Moral Relativists passing judgment on others and telling them how “wrong” they are!//

    So, If I can demonstrate to you that you are a moral relativist yourself (not just in passing judgments on others and telling them how wrong they are but in a few other instances (e.g. you don't do enough to combat global warming, you waste your time fighting with atheists instead of promoting god's word, your spend too much money on gadgets) would you finally get a kick out of being a "moral relativist" yourself?

    Will you pray to your god about it and stop being one?

    You are priceless, Morrison.

  • Robbie

    @Morrison

    DEEEEEETAILS! DEEEEEETAILS! DEEEEEETAILS!

    I am impressed by your statements. In fact, so much that I'd like to know if there is anyway to confirm what you are saying?

    Again "we" pops us for some reason. I am intrigued and fascinated. Who is "we"?

    How did "we" demolish "his" arguments?

    What arguments in the first place that "we" were handling? That the moon is made out of cheese?

    When was that?

    What meeting?

    Where?

    What was the whole thing all about?

    Who was present there at that meeting? Where there any atheists there or just "we" (i.e. you and yours and you all together) or were there any atheists there?

    Please, clarify.

    I promise you one thing that you got a date! Perhaps, you can impress me and others with your arguments all over again whatever they are. There must be something Earth shattering, I think that Nobel Prize is not going to be enough for the revelations. Please, let me know which meetup you are coming to and when – Grady, you and "we" are intriguing me.

    Hope your arguments will be better than the ones at "Proving the Negative" blog entry that seems like you abandoned after you have been asked repeatedly to demonstrate better arguments (or any) for your position.

    So, when are you planning on coming to a meeting of Kansas City Skeptics or any other meetup? I cannot wait.

  • Robbie

    @Juno,

    Argument about what? Please, clarify. That Morrison/Grady have not provided anything of value to prove their concept of god or some intelligent design on top of the 5,000+ gods and deities? I am sorry if pointing this out is what you don’t find impressive, but such is life. At some point, some people just don’t get it. Hope you do?

    “Tough guy?” – what, are we comparing our balls now? Is this all you got, bitch? I can play the same game.

    “Reverse psychology?” I am trying to figure out who was there at that meeting to confirm “we” (Morrison/Grady bunch) “demolished” whoever with their impeccable debate. Pure and simple. Maybe they’ll reveal at the new meeting who was there to confirm their account?

    If they want to stay from the meetings, nothing I can do about it, god bless their souls. If they want to follow Grady’s insinuations they’d need to start coming to meetings, all I am asking for is to let us know when they are coming to impress us with their brilliant arguments and I’ll do my darnest to be the there.

    Juno, you imply that you have come to some of the meetings where these “know it alls” (atheists and agnostics and also Christians????) were congratulating themselves on their cleverness? You may also know there are a few Christians and also spiritualists who come, just saying.

    They are “clever?” and they are “mistaken”? – by what standards? Your morally relativistic standards? “Mistaken” how? That the moon is not made out of cheese?

    Hold on, just occurred to me that you must be “not” mistaken? Please, by all means, join a discussion with your propositions. Maybe you can revisit the threat on proving the negative and pick up from where Morrison/Grady left and disappeared?

    Juno, what is your theistic leaning? I am curious. Are you a Christian, deist, pantheist, Jew for Jesus, Catholics for Muhammad or a new ager/spiritualist? Let me know so I can understand where you are coming from.

    Have you calculated the “mean or average” age of the people who come to Perkins? If you have been there only once you would not get the full picture of course, so it would take more than one meeting to figure out the age averages – maybe they’ll be “middle aged” after all and not “old”. By the way what is the definition of “old” to you? – just asking. And if they are old to you, do you think you are getting any younger?

    What is your idea of fun evening? Seems like your morally relativistic standards are showing. Nobody is judging your evenings not fun, so don’t you think it’s a bit pretentious of you? We don’t know how you spend your evenings – maybe watching foot fetish videos made by Jets coach of his wife? It is fun for you I am sure if you are into it and nobody is going to be judging you about it, let me assure you.

    Maybe you can set up a group that will be very well attended? I understand there is a group led by an Evangelical Christian (Provocateurs) that is very popular and gets as many people as Skeptics? There is precedent, so let’s see what you can do?

    “Boys?” – are you referring to people posting here or those attending at Perkins? There are quite a few women attending. For all we know Morrison and Grady as well as you Juno and I Robbie can be hermophrodites or trans gender and we don’t really know if any of them are boys or girls. How can we know? What is gender? Is it sexual orientation? How you feel about yourself? Or is it your DNA? You tell me. So, when you set up your meeting, don’t forget to bring a note from your doctor or we can do genetalia check.

    Other than that, I am sure, we’ll enjoy ourselves at the meeting that you’d set up or you’d come to, Juno, or join at Perkins or anywhere else. Positive, we’ll have a good time with Morrison and Grady too if they chose to show up and let everybody know by announcing it.

    Forgive me if I don’t respond much. Gotta be getting ready for celebrating Christmas as an atheist. Lots of things to do. Clean house, buy food, wrap presents, plan out all the visits around town with friends and aquaintances, etc.

    But by all means, put forward your “not mistaken” arguments about the world and the universe.

    I am awaiting and holding my breath.

  • Robbie

    @Grady

    ///But I agree, the atheist’s arguments boil down to the repeated assertion that impersonal, mindless forces can account for everything, and thats just the way it is.///

    So, in contrast your argument boils down to what? – repeated assertion that "personal, mindful forces can account for everything and that's just the way it is? Who or what is behind these forces? Santa Clause.

    How come you abandoned your arguments that "personal, mindful forces" can account for everything in "Proving the Negative" thread http://www.atheismresource.com/2010/on-proving-a-… ? There has been nothing there from you for a while – what, cat got your tongue?

    Your side has been asked many times to show proof or any evidence of that – you failed to defend your position. Again, go make your case on that thread, maybe before you revisit it read previous comments so you don't dig yourself another trap?

    All the while, atheists who in good faith (pun intended) have demonstrated that everything physical (that is observable so far) that is happening in the observable universe doesn't require any mindful or personal forces to operate. Please, provide a SINGLE EXAMPLE of any physical process. On the contrary, let's see if you can demonstrate chemistry and protein folding and DNA coding that requires a mindful and personal ID approach.

    I am even touching "spiritual, mental/moral" issues at this point as this is a separate question, I am dealing with your assertion that "all" existence (thus including material and physical, chemical, electro magnetic, nuclear forces) cannot be explained through non personal processes – WHICH IS CLEARLY FALSIFIABLE AND HAS BEEN DEMONSTRATED MORE THAN ONCE AND IS BEING DEMONSTRATED. THERE IS NO FORMULA FOR GOD ANYWHERE IN ANY EQUATIONS OF MODERN SCIENCE.

    Let's take lunar eclipse? Let's take electricity? Let's take speciation of animals? Let's take thermonuclear reaction? Let's take any physical process known to modern science. There is no intelligence behind it. Unless you can prove it of course.

    The same goes for matter, gravitational interactions and that Christmas tree – ALL MINDLESS PROCESS.

    Just like there is no gnomes directing them, or no tooth fairies, no leprechauns, no Hercules, no Zeus, no Yahweh, no Jesus participation in prayers that we can detect in any meaningful way. If there is "no" meaningful way to determine it – it is either not existent or irrelevant and we'll get to it later.

    Then it will become part of the "physical" world and will be accounted for and will stop being a "miracle" and the assigned to ID or god or tooth fairy attributes will become part of the "natural theory" of explaining, otherwise the anthropic principle of it's here because we are able to figure it out would collapse and your ID/god concept with it.

    //However, some of them seem to think that making Longer and Longer posts will cover up the fact that that is what their arguments amount to.//

    Do you have a problem with me wasting my time when I have it and have desire to post? Nobody is putting a 45 to your head making you read the "longer and longer" posts. You chose to do so, instead you can go and get an extra job or something and donate all your salary to a charity – will that be good enough for your moral relativism?

    But if you are reading, MAKE AN ARGUMENT besides "atheists say so, therefore it cannot be falsified and shown otherwise to them based on their presuppositions". I can shoot back at you with the proverbial tea pot around Mars and we are back to square one.

    You were given 10-15 examples of what would convince me about your god/intelligence out there. Adam or JT??? gave you 10-15 of theirs?

    Now, you demand one proof of undirected forces explaining everything – did anyone of us came close to any of these "uber" agnostic demands like you? We are much more practical and less demanding (i.e. humble)

    I will settle just for one – how many plies of toilet paper I used today between 6-9:30 p.m.? How many sets of toilets paper do I use regularly when I go #2. What brand? Soft, strong, ultra soft or ultra strong? And please, don't revisit the "sufficiently apt" Private Investigator Hypothesis that Morrison put forward – we handled it already, so don't beat the dead horse.

    When are you coming to the meetups you stated you maybe coming to? Cannot wait.

    Maybe by then you will tell us if you are a Chrisitan, what denomination, are you a Jew for Jesus? Catholic for Mohammad? Deist? Pantheist? New ager or mystic Christian?

    Scoobie Doo, who are you?

  • Robbie

    @Morrison

    ///Of course, they can’t demonstrate that as to the existence of the universe, life, or objective reason itself. ///

    We are back to square one. How about this – me walking down the street, making a living, going home from work to my family, enjoying life and NOT GOING TO CHURCH not making any claims about any superhero named Jesus.

    I only make claims based on real world and probabilities. Your theistic side makes claims about "certainties".

    I don't need to prove that tooth fairies don't exist to myself and surely not to you. I just have one less tooth fairy to dismiss. I don't even need to disprove it as my presupposition is sound and based on facts.

    Morrison, time for you to go to thread "Proving the Negative" and leave this thread to Stalin.

  • Robbie

    Re: Marx and religion

    There is not a single word in any of Marx' writings about violence against religion or religious people or killing them. He speaks of "abolition and alienation" – basically what has happened already in "socialistic Europe". They came to it through "soft capitalism" vs. Soviet style "communistic utopia". Had USSR gone the path of China and concentrated on economy instead of ideology, the world could be speaking Russian now instead of English as the second language and political structures would be totally different today.

    Jesus, on the other hand speaks through Gospels of killing people and torturing them for "beliefs".

    Marx vs. Jesus? – I'd take Marx anytime.

  • Robbie

    @Morrison
    //You are going to have to establish that I am a moral relativist, first, but, second, as a moral relativist you have no basis to critque my standards.//

    I don’t need my basis or my own standards to prove you a moral relativist. All I need to establish is that “you” can chose to do two different things in two different situations based on “your” unique and single moral precept, not mine. Mine are irrelevant. Yours are important to demonstrate, we are demonstrating that “you” are a moral relativist, not me. Don’t shift the burden on the observer and demonstrator. Kind of the same way as to demonstrate that “1+1=2″ by a Christian scientist or a Hindu, does this make sense?

    Again, I repeat, all I have to demonstrate is that you will do two different things in two different situations based on a “single” moral precept that you hold, not the one I hold.

    I am going to show that “your” morality changes when situation changes and “relationship” of you to the situation changes, thus you are a moral relativist. No matter what your “absolute” moral or theological precepts are you will change your mode of operating. Maybe not all the time, but sometimes, or occasionally, you will and will

    I have some great examples of moral relativism that Christians practice every day and atheists as well.

    I’ll prove it to you when you come to one of the meetups when you will announce it. If you are not coming, I am sure that Grady may come and I’ll prove it to him and then “we” (I mean “you” can exchange notes).

    Merry Christmas, Happy Festivus, Merry Solstice, Have Fun with Saturnalia and Mythra’s Birthday on December 25th!

  • Robbie

    I found these quite interesting photos see below. Also check out

    ********A Council of Russian Orthodox Church Affairs was set up under the Soviet People’s Commissariat of the Soviet Union in 1942 and a Bishop’s Council was held the next year where Patriarch Sergei was elected, the institution of the episcopate was restored, and Orthodox dioceses were set up across Russia. It was a real restoration of Orthodoxy and Christian faith in the Soviet Union, Fr Mikhail said.Fr Mikhail said religious persecution essentially ended at that time.********

    Patriarch Sergei Stagorodsky of Moscow and all the Russias (1867-1944) blessing troops of the Dmitri Donskoi Tank Brigade during the Second Great Patriotic War. (Great Patriotic War is Russian portion of World War II.) – SCROLL DOWN THE PAGE
    http://02varvara.wordpress.com/category/revolutio…

    Also, another photo of civilians with religious regalia marching at the front – see below.

    At the very beginning of the war, the Nazi leaders hoped for help from the Russian Orthodox Church, which, according to their deduction, was alienated from Soviet rule. Clergymen were asked to aid the enemy and do covert sabotge. For doing so, they were promised military decorations and respect, and they were told it would help the Nazis win the war.

    However, the occupiers changed their mind after they failed to get the support of the Russian Orthodox Church. They tried to break the spirit of the Russian people by seizing clergy and executing them. Even such a move failed to stop the clergy from going to the front. It was not only a civil duty, but, also a spiritual and religious duty of all Russians to fight against the enemy and defeat him, said Fr Mikhail Prokopenko, a representative of the Moscow Patriarchate.

    “From the first day, and even from the first hours, the Russian Orthodox Church unambiguously said that it would support the people’s resistance. Metropolitan Sergei Stagorodsky, who was later elected as the head of the Moscow Patriarchate, sent a message to the papacy on the first day of the war and said that a believer could not be on the side of the enemy”.

    The war changed the attitude of the atheist rulers towards the Orthodox Church. ********A Council of Russian Orthodox Church Affairs was set up under the Soviet People’s Commissariat of the Soviet Union in 1942 and a Bishop’s Council was held the next year where Patriarch Sergei was elected, the institution of the episcopate was restored, and Orthodox dioceses were set up across Russia. It was a real restoration of Orthodoxy and Christian faith in the Soviet Union, Fr Mikhail said.Fr Mikhail said religious persecution essentially ended at that time.******** In the wake of this disaster, the war led to the disappearance of atheistic propaganda and godlessness imposed on the people by the commissars. During the war, the churches were filled with people. The church holidays were marked by the involvement of many believers. Prayers for victory were said across the country and parishes gathered money for the defence of the Motherland. Clergy fought in many partisan units.

    To give an instance, a ************photograph showing the partisan commander Sidor Kovpat awarding a priest a military decoration is quite famous.************ Aleksei Simansky, Metropolitan of Leningrad, who later became Patriarch Aleksei I, did not leave the besieged city and was subject to the same danger as the other residents were.

    ************Over a million clergy of various orders of service were killed************** and several hundred holy objects were lost forever. ************The Nazis ruthlessly bombed churches and monasteries.****************

    However, in the opinion of Fr Mikhail, all this sacrifice was necessary. Only true belief, and those holding the true belief, could win the war. The victory of the Russian people in the Great Patriotic War is a bright example that proves this,” he said. http://02varvara.wordpress.com/2008/05/09/

  • Robbie

    Re: Marx’s stand on religion.

    I’ve read up everything on Wikipedia about Marx’s position on religion.

    *******************Nowhere****************** does it state that he was advocating for “violence” against religion and “killing” off religious people.

    He advocated “abolition” and “alienation” of religion. Nothing different from what new age atheists today promote.

    This is also no different as “abolition/alienation” of homeopathic medicine in hospitals.

    Pretty clear and simple. Religion is viewed as a “drug” to keep masses comfortable. Nothing new, nothing of violence is promoted. Pure and simple philosophy.

    It appears that arguments that Marx’ concepts of communism or socialism require “killing off religion and persecuting religious people” is not holding any water.

    Granted Soviets have grabbed on dialectical materialsm and atheism extreme of the Marx’ ideas and ran with it.

    European Socialistic Societies today, on the contrary, completely “ignore, alienate, or just plain don’t give a hoot” about religion. They came to this socialistic society structure through “gentle and humane” capitalism, while USSR was going on the other extreme – more like Taliban/Al Quaida like rule of law using “extreme” version of interpretation of “alienation” and “abolition”

    American “abolitionists” of slavery were involved into a philosophical battle which often left dead people behind. The concept of “abolition” went hand in hand with the Civil War in the US (read extremism of Taliban like Soviet interpretation by Lenin and others of Marx’ philosophical ideals and taking abolition/alienation of religion to its extremes). But who is telling abolitionists in America they were for “killing” non abolitionists? How about abolitionists being killed for what they said? – this happend.

    Just happened to be that abolitionists of slavery were on the right side of history and it worked. Had USSR been more disciplined and controlled its corruption in the party, we maybe looking today at another “communist like” China #2 that would be competing with the world and taking on USA like China is today. The issue of religious and political persecutions in China are “moralistically relatively” relegated to the backburner of the US relationship as the “devil of consumerism, capitalism and policies” dictate that China must be handled very softly and with respect.

    Only irrational people who have “agenda” (often time religious as demonstrated by the religious right) of twisting what Marx has said vs. what has been interpreted and implemented would be clinging to their “guns and religion” (as Obama said) in this respect.

    [Marx] saw religion originating from alienation and aiding the persistence of alienation.[13] He saw religion as supportive as the status quo, in correspondence with his famous saying that religion is opium of the people. This view is however contradicted by the existence of certain religious groups, like the liberation theology.[13][13] Marx saw religion as a source of happiness, though illusory and temporary, or at least a source of comfort.[13] Marx saw religion not as a necessary part of human culture.[13]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theories_of_religion#Karl_Marx

    As such, the crux of his arguments was that humans are best guided by reason. Religion, Marx held, was a significant hindrance to reason, inherently masking the truth and misguiding followers. As we will later see, Marx viewed social alienation as the heart of social inequality. The antithesis to this alienation is freedom. Thus, to propagate freedom means to present individuals with the truth and give them a choice to accept or deny it. In this, “Marx never suggested that religion ought to be prohibited.” (Christiano 126)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociology_of_religion#Karl_Marx

    The common worker is told he or she is a replaceable tool, alienated to the point of extreme discontent. Here, in Marx’s eyes, religion enters. Capitalism utilises our tendency towards religion as a tool or ideological state apparatus to justify this alienation. Christianity teaches that those who gather up riches and power in this life will almost certainly not be rewarded in the next (“it is harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle…”) while those who suffer oppression and poverty in this life, while cultivating their spiritual wealth, will be rewarded in the Kingdom of God. Thus Marx’s famous line – “religion is the opium of the people”, as it soothes them and dulls their senses to the pain of oppression.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociology_of_religion#Karl_Marx

    The quotation, in context, reads as follows (emphasis added):
    Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man—state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion. Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. ***** Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness.***** To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.[1]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_of_the_People

    Jesus (unlike Marx) on the other hand can be heard in the Gospels telling that he’ll torture people and his father too for eternity. Also “Revelation” talks about Jesus killing off people on his own. This is pretty clear.

    Marx is no Jesus. Jesus is no Marx. Marx is pretty clear about what he said. So is Jesus.

    There is no twisting it. People who lie and cheat (especially if they are Christian) deserve to go to their hell.

  • Robbie

    As to the religious persuasion attributable to Engels, Hunt writes:

    “In that sense the latent rationality of Christianity comes to permeate the everyday experience of the modern world— its values are now variously incarnated in the family, civil society, and the state. What Engels particularly embraced in all of this was an idea of modern pantheism (or, rather, pandeism), a merging of divinity with progressing humanity, a happy dialectical synthesis that freed him from the fixed oppositions of the pietist ethos of devout longing and estrangement. “Through Strauss I have now entered on the straight road to Hegelianism. . . . The Hegelian idea of God has already become mine, and thus I am joining the ranks of the ‘modern pantheists”,’ Engels wrote in one of his final letters to the soon-to-be-discarded Graebers.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engels

    Engels was not “anti-theist” or “atheist” but rather “modern pantheist”, also pretty close to “abolitionist/alienatinist” of the mainstream religions as Marx promoted and if you look at Martin Luther’s legacy what did he do? – abolished the intermediary of the Catholic Church (official dogmatic religion and institution) and alienated them, thus causing a quantum leap into “personal” relationship with god vs. mediation by the Catholic Church.

    Either way, Luther is as much revolutionary in his approach to “organized religion/centralized government amalgamation” as Marx in his “abolition/alienation” and Engels as “modern pantheist”.

    Looks like Christianity today is actually turning into “pandeism” as Engels was promoting http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandeism

    However, you slice or dice it, religious dogma seems to be always evolving, changing, reshaping, morphing and there are plenty of people out there who will be willing to offer their own ideas on it.

  • Robbie

    An interesting message by by His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia On the Occasion of the 60th Anniversary
    of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War – EMPHASIS IS MINE

    It was achieved not only by spirited military accomplishments of Commanders and warriors, who took up arms to defend their Motherland, but also due to the exploits of those who, showered by bullets and shells, took the wounded away from the battlefields and nursed them back to health in the frontline and rear hospitals; who, working at factories round-the-clock without days-off, brought the Victory closer with their labour; who worked on the land, scorched by the war, so that to provide warriors, and their wives and children with food. In the days of hardships, having united into one family, ***************casting off national, religious and ideological differences, *************the peoples of our country showed the remarkable unity of the spirit and will.

    [HOWEVER AN INTERESTING REFERENCE TO ANTI-CHRISTIAN NAZIS IS MADE] A strong and cruel enemy, armed by the anti-Christian ideology of Nazism, waged war for world dominance.

    [THE ABOVE REFERENCE TO DIFFERENCES IN RELIGIONS AND IDEOLOGY ARE NICELY WEAVEN INTO THE REFERENCE BELOW TO PROTECTION OF "ALL" WHO FOUGHT - INCLUDING ATHEISTS OF COURSE - BY GOD!]

    The Russian Orthodox Church firmly believed in the coming Victory and from the first day it blessed the Army and all the people to defend their Motherland. Our warriors were guarded not only by the prayers of the wives and mothers, but also by everyday church prayers about the Victory.

    [THIS IS REMARKABLE - I NEVER HEARD OF THIS, I WILL DO SOME RESEARCH INTO THIS] Summoned by the Church millions of believers took part in collecting donations for creating the “Dimitry Donskoy” tank unit, and the “Alexander Nevsky” airplane squadron.

    http://www.great-victory1945.ru/patriarch.htm

  • Robbie

    @Grady

    P.S.

    Not only Jesus and Yahweh promote violence and murder and tell their followers to practice it against non believers in them in this world and the after world and also themselves actively participate (even Jesus as he's part of Yahwheh, always has been apparently even in the OT) but ALSO PROMOTED AND PRACTICED VIOLENCE AND KILLING OF PEOPLE OF OTHER RELIGIONS IN THIS WORLD and call on VIOLENCE, KILLING AND MURDER OF PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT RELIGIONS AND FAITHS AS WELL AS NONBELIEVERS unlike Marx.

    Would you like me to provide quotes from OT & NT to you about that?

    Cannot wait to see how Marx promoted violence against religion and religious people – you will find those references, right?

    Waiting and holding my breath!

    Marry Christmas and Happy Festivus!

  • Robbie

    @Grady

    Find me a single quote from Marx about violence against religion/religious people.

    If you cannot find it, please acknowledge your defeat and stop posting about it like you did on “Proving the Negative” thread.

    At best you’ll find Leninism/Stalinism interpretation of the abolition/alienation of religion through class warfare extrapolations.

    THERE IS NOT A SINGLE WORD THAT MARX SAID ABOUT VIOLENCE AGAINST RELIGION. He talked about alienation/abolition through scientific, secular methods. It appears he did not work out the framework of it, but I would not be surprised if it would deal with secular laws of separation of state and church (which were known to him via US example) and rationalization of every day life though sciences and philosophical advances.

    MARX SAID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT VIOLENCE AGAINST RELIGION. How it was interpreted by Lenin and Stalin and others in the Soviet Union, as well as in North Korea and China is another matter.

    Yahwheh and Jesus, on the contrary talk about killing people while they are on this earth and torturing them if they go against their will, also “eternal” torture.

    Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao would be thrilled to have this long of a reach as Jesus would for eternity and eternity is a long time.

    Alienation of religion has taken place in Europe, you can call it abolition if you want to, I don’t care. Abolitionists in the US were acting peacefully to abolish slavery. Granted there were deaths, no question about it, but in general it was peaceful. In the US abolition of religion cannot be taking place by the government due to secular constitution. However, “abolition” and “alienation” of religion is taking place every day in the society by individuals, groups, scientific knowledge, political developments that pit every day Christians in America against irrationality of their beliefs and they have to compartmentalize, just like they have been doing all along.

    American religionists and Jesusists are doing a fine job on their own and polling is showing that alienation of religion is taking place. Abolition/alienation of religion has taken place at National Academy of Sciences, National Science Foundation, Kansas Citizens for Science and also in virtually every public school and college in the country where religion is relegated to courses of history, philosophy and sociology but not physics, chemistry, biology or math.

    I wish I could meet Marx who did not complete his views on religion. I don’t think I need to meet Yahweh or Jesus to know what they thought/will do to those who are against god or don’t believe in him.

    It appears that god will send you to eternal torture for “thought crime.” Marx doesn’t appear to talk about it. His “zealous” preachers (Lenin and Stalin) took his “verses” to extreme. Not Marx himself.

    Of course, I am open to change my mind. With Jesus and Yahwheh it is pretty shut and closed case. Jesus and Yahweh kill you while you alive and torture you, with Marx no. Marx as dialectical materialist views death as the end of it and all your troubles, sins, transgressions over, while Jesus and Yahwh will continue killing and torturing people at Armageddon and well into eternity.

    I say Jesus and Yahwhe don’t deserve consideration and their ideas must be alienated and abolished. Most likely it will happen by people and not governments. European experiment is proving that even with state churches (UK and Sweden, Norway????) it will happen on its own, when people think for themselves.

    Grady, PLEASE, PROVIDE A QUOTE FROM MARX WHERE HE PROMOTES VIOLENCE AGAINST RELIGION.

    Or hold your piece forever.

  • Johan

    //Would you like me to provide quotes from OT & NT to you about that?//

    I would love a quote from the NT showing that Jesus justified murder.

  • Robbie

    @Johan

    The list of Jesus’ words about murders and cruelties that he and his father will perpetrate on sinners, non believers is rather long.

    Do CTRL+F (find) and type “Jesus” and keep hitting “Enter” key. Also try “Christ”.

    You will find many promises of Jesus to murder and torture – by himself and his father’s “final solution”
    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/long.html
    Copy the first one here and let’s talk one by one.

    I am not even talking about tempting Christ – If you tempt Christ (How could you tempt Christ?), you’ll will die from snake bites. 1 Corinthians 10:9

    Revelations is beautiful, but we’ll get to it after we go over at least 10 examples of Jesus promising murder and torture, justifying murder and torture and saying he’ll participate.

    Ready, set, GO!

  • Johan

    @Robbie

    Those who bear bad fruit will be cut down and burned “with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:10, 12

    I’ve read that this verse has lost it’s true meaning, as the Greek word used here for “cut” was not as we understand it, rather in the Greek context this means they who do not bear fruit will be cut until they bear fruit. Just like it’s good for gardeners to cut the twigs and branches to help plants grow.

    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them”

    The meaning of this verse is widely misunderstood, Jesus was not referring to the ten commandments as they were understood at the time, if this was the case, then Jesus was guilty himself of breaking these laws. After discussing the Law and the Prophets, Jesus went on to give six units of teaching, each introduced by the phrase, “You have heard that it was said… But I say to you” (Matthew 5:21-48)

  • Robbie

    @Johan

    Quote #1 – Those who bear bad fruit will be cut down and burned “with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:10, 12

    Excellent!, let's parse it till there is nothing left.

    So, you found apologetics for "cut down" (mistranslation, perhaps, not proper use of words, etc). So, people can be shaped, and reshaped again till they bear fruit or "attempt" to make them bear fruit or at least an attempt is made? Kind of re-education camp in Siberia. OK. I'll accept this as need for "education of reality" whatever it is – through Jesus' eyes or natural world.

    Question #1 for Quote #1.

    What does it mean "bear bad fruit"? Is it being an atheist? Believer in another faith? Agnostic? Or proclaiming himself a messiah? Just dis/belief or actions?

    Question #2 for Quote #1

    Doing things against the god of Israel? Of course, if you are a believe of another god by any definition you are against Yahwhe's will, right? God himself says so on more than one occasion and on more than one occasion your god commands people of different faiths to be killed and does it himself – including INNOCENT BABIES WHO ARE JUST BORN AND HAVE NOT COMMITTED ANY SINS, and innocent animals. Do we agree on that? Surely, there has to be a "rational meaning" behind it?

    Question #3 for Quote #1.

    There is not enough time in any human life to have a 100% success with any human not to bear bad fruit, so this will require reincarnations of multiple times to have a 100% degree of "good fruit" (whatever it is)? There surely will be a certain percentage (a large percent according to Jesus himself – see below by doing CTRL+F) who will not go to heaven. Or is it all a metaphor? Surely, there has to be a "rational meaning" behind it?

    Question #4 for Quote #1.

    Now deal with "burnt with unquenchable fire". What does "burnt" mean? "Burnt" by what? Surely, there has to be a "rational meaning" behind it?

    Question #5 for Quote #1 Does this fire last forever or is it very intense that it will "burn" you and strip away all your sins or "bad fruits" and then what? Surely, there has to be a "rational meaning" behind it?

    Question #6 for Quote #1

    This of course cannot be this a fire that doesn't hurt, right? You know there are chemical fires in natural world today that don't hurt your skin, but this was not known to Jesus or anyone in the ancient world? It is something else. Surely, there has to be a "rational meaning" behind it?

    Question #7 for Quote #1

    Does Jesus say that those who are out of party line (let's stay on Stalin's topic) will be punished eternally, severely and by what means. I have a feeling that there will be some "cosmic" and "spiritual/new age explanation" coming from you.

    I will address other quotes once you handle the questions on Quote #1 I posed here.

    I don't expect you to suffer for Jesus today – after all it's Saturnalia Season and life is just too fun!

    Go!

  • Robbie

    @Johan

    Stay on track and keep you eyes on the ball – Don't waste your time on anything that is not related to "murder, cruelty and torture" of humans in this life and the next or meaning that Jesus is promoting in the New Testament

    #1062 Jesus tells a man who had just lost his father: “Let the dead bury the dead.” 8:21 – morality of Jesus' cult to join him rather than worry about family

    #1063 Jesus sends some devils into a herd of pigs, causing them to run off a cliff and drown in the waters below – sorcery by Jesus, irrelevant to our discussion on "murder, cruelty and torture" of humans in this life and the next or meaning that Jesus is promoting in the New Testament

  • Johan

    @Robbie,

    //Jesus strongly approves of the law and the prophets. He hasn’t the slightest objection to the cruelties of the Old Testament//

    This claim is unwarranted for the reasons explained above.

    As we have seen Jesus could not possibly have referred to the old laws as they were understood, as this would make Jesus himself guilty as he broke these laws himself.

    #1062 Jesus tells a man who had just lost his father: “Let the dead bury the dead.” 8:21

    It might seem that Jesus is being harsh, but Jesus is trying to make the point that true followers of God have to be spiritually based in heaven in order to bring that kingdom living to earth.

    #1063 Jesus sends some devils into a herd of pigs, causing them to run off a cliff and drown in the waters below

    Jesus actually had compassion on demons and granted them their wish. The purpose was to show how people rejected Jesus in spite of the evidence of who he was, after these pigs perished and the people saw how Jesus had healed the demon possessed, the people of the region asked Jesus to leave. This story was to illustrate the irony of contrasts, one would think the demon possessed were the real evil people, when in fact it was the wealthy people of the town who were worse.

  • Johan

    @Robbie,

    We have to reconcile these texts with the person who Jesus was, and Jesus himself said "he who has seen Me has seen the Father reveal himself", and this is the same Jesus who defended a prostitute and ultimately sacrificed his own life for all of us. To think Jesus is also a person who would torture other humans makes no sense, compared to what we have seen Jesus do while he was on earth. We certainly hope God is just, I don't want people to just get away with rape and murder like so many people do in this world, I expect a perfectly good God to judge the wicked, but how God will judge is simply not something we can know, and quite frankly I think is irrelevant.

  • Johan

    @Robbie

    Those who bear bad fruit will be cut down and burned “with unquenchable fire.”

    Forget that I mentioned the whole "trim" thing, for the sake of argument, I will grant that this text is intact with the original Greek text.

    How can anyone who looks at this verse think anything about it should be taken literally? Are we literal fruit? No Can we literally be cut and burned? mmm no

    //What does it mean “bear bad fruit”? Is it being an atheist?//

    Atheism in itself is not a sin, rather what you wish, what you desire, your intention behind an act, this is what determines if something is a sin or not. A person could be an atheist simply because he has been mislead into thinking atheism is true or that is has logical and scientific backing, but just being an atheist by itself is not a sin no.

    //your god commands people of different faiths to be killed and does it himself – including INNOCENT BABIES WHO ARE JUST BORN AND HAVE NOT//

    I thought you said that you had quotes from the NT about Jesus showing that he promoted or justified murder? Is this a little hard to find? This why you jump back to the OT?

    If I look at the verse, I get the idea that we must not to wrong, or else we will be punished. What is so evil about it? How can a perfect God let the wicked get away? Surely God has to judge? I wouldn't expect anything less from a perfect just being.

    //There is not enough time in any human life to have a 100% success with any human not to bear bad fruit//

    No one can live the Christ life, this is because Jesus was God, we are humans, God knows this, and this is the whole point of salvation, we are saved not because we live good lives, rather we are saved by the grace of God.

  • Robbie

    @Grady

    Have you yet found a single quote from Karl Marx where he promotes violence against religion and religious people?

    Johan and I are duking it out about Jesus (founder of Christianity) promoting murder and torture in this life and next, so I am assuming it would be "mandatory" for the founder of communism (Marx) to have something about violence against religion?

    Let's deal with the founder of communism as philosophy/social order? Can you? You can watch Johan and I take up the founder of Christianity from the sandbox where you are.

    I think this is plea #3 or is it #4? Let make it #5 and make it official? So, CAN YOU PLEASE, FIND A SINGLE QUOTE FROM KARL MARX ABOUT VIOLENCE TOWARD RELIGION?

    If I were a moderator of this blog, I'd ban you from posting to threads where you have been demolished, ignored the rational inquiry and otherwise abandoned the thread like in "Proving the Negative". This way you'd be "abolished" and "alienated" where you have been destroyed and we can thread by thread pull out of your mouth the poison teeth of irrationality with the tools of rational torture.

  • Mike

    For the sake of argument, let us assume that every immoral action committed by Stalin was a direct consequence of his atheism. What evidence does this provide for the existence or non-existence of gods?

    The answer: It provides none whatsoever.

    If men used atomic energy for evil purposes would those actions have any bearing on the validity of Einstein's theory of relativity?

    If gravity was used for nefarious ends by men would those actions provide any new information about Newton's laws of gravity?

    It turns out that in both cases the theories have been used directly or indirectly to cause harm to others, yet the answer to both questions is a resounding "no."

  • Robbie

    @Johan

    You are not addressing all aspects of question #1 I asked. Let me take out “atheist” out of it and make it a bit simpler for you.

    Question #1 for Quote #1.
    What does it mean ****“bear bad fruit”?****** Do people “bear fruits?” as trees and bushes do? Of course not, so it’s a metaphor FOR WHAT? Believer in another faith? Agnostic? Or proclaiming himself a messiah of Yawheh as others in Jesus’ time did? What is “bad fruit” – DEFINE IT. Is “bad fruit” ANYTHING YOU WANT TO BE WHAT YOU INTERPRET TO BE NOT GOOD FRUIT? What is “good fruit?”

    Once you have addressed and we worked out Question #1 for Quote #1, we’ll move on to Question #2.

    Have at it with Question #1 for Quote #1!

  • JAFisher44

    "We have to reconcile these texts with the person who Jesus was, and Jesus himself said “he who has seen Me has seen the Father reveal himself”, and this is the same Jesus who defended a prostitute and ultimately sacrificed his own life for all of us. To think Jesus is also a person who would torture other humans makes no sense, compared to what we have seen Jesus do while he was on earth."

    This is hilarious. Basically you are saying, we "know" Jesus was good, so we have to ignore or re-interpret anything in the bible that suggests otherwise. The bible says Jesus is a person who would torture other humans. No one alive has "seen Jesus do [things] while he was on this earth." We have the stories of the bible and to ignore the bad parts in favor of the good parts is just plain intellectually dishonest.

  • Johan

    //For the sake of argument, let us assume that every immoral action committed by Stalin was a direct consequence of his atheism. What evidence does this provide for the existence or non-existence of gods?//

    That wouldn't prove God's non-existence, but then again, it would refute the purpose of this thread. You are only moving goal posts now.

  • Johan

    I meant to say that wouldn't prove God's existence, it wouldn't prove God's existence.

    @Jafisher

    It's straight forward logic, as Christians, our faith begins with Christ and ends in Christ, it is the Christan faith that God was ultimately expressed in human form as Jesus Christ, therefore the nature of this man is identical to the nature of the God that always existed. Since the Christian God never changes, it would be logically contradictory to say this same God use to be violent and took pleasure in it only to change later on.

    Johan

  • Robbie

    @Johan

    Re: Question #1 to Quote #1 – CLARIFICATION. I asked if "bad fruit" was anything of "other faith/non faith" as related to Judaism/Christianity. Of course, it was just one example.

    I am interested to pin point the definition of "bad fruit" regardless of faith/non faith, because surely even "faithful" can carry the "bad fruit".

    I am interested in the "concept" of "bad fruit" vs. "good fruit" and "how you know it's good or bad".

  • Mike

    @Johan

    That wouldn’t prove God’s non-existence, but then again, it would refute the purpose of this thread. You are only moving goal posts now.

    The goal post has always been in the same location:

    The single assertion of atheism is that there is no evidence for the existence of gods.

    It appears that you have spent most of your comments attempting to define the nature of your particular brand of god, the existence of whom you have yet to provide any evidence. If you bring a baseball bat to the football field you cannot claim that I'm the one who changed the game.

    As for Stalin and Jesus, the commonality appears to be that they were both human, albeit there is much more historical evidence that one of them actually existed.

  • Robbie

    @Mike & Johan

    ///It appears that you have spent most of your comments attempting to define the nature of your particular brand of god, the existence of whom you have yet to provide any evidence. If you bring a baseball bat to the football field you cannot claim that I’m the one who changed the game.///

    However, Johan can claim that he did not hear or get the voicemail that it will be played by softball rules as someone did not get a softball (ball proper) or that the normal crew that played baseball did not show up as they had a vision of Armageddon or something all the while others who showed up for the game did not (both atheists, agnostics and Christians as well as Jews and Muslims) and wanted to play by the same rules.

    The possibilities are endless on how "I came to play according to the same rules" can be twisted at any time and people can be accused of changing the rules or not willing to change them (though they had been previously agreed upon by all parties).

  • Robbie

    @Johan

    Don’t know if you missed my post from yesterday? Let’s finish Question #1 to Quote #1

    I am going to be out of town this Tuesday/Wed till Jan 2nd or 3rd, so I will not be checking the blog regularly if at all till then. This should give you enough time to answers Question #1 to Quote #1.

    We then will proceed to Question #2 to Quote #1 and so on.

    —————————-
    Robbie on December 26th, 2010 1:47 pm

    @Johan

    You are not addressing all aspects of question #1 I asked. Let me take out “atheist” out of it and make it a bit simpler for you.

    Question #1 for Quote #1.
    What does it mean ****“bear bad fruit”?****** Do people “bear fruits?” as trees and bushes do? Of course not, so it’s a metaphor FOR WHAT? Believer in another faith? Agnostic? Or proclaiming himself a messiah of Yawheh as others in Jesus’ time did? What is “bad fruit” – DEFINE IT. Is “bad fruit” ANYTHING YOU WANT TO BE WHAT YOU INTERPRET TO BE NOT GOOD FRUIT? What is “good fruit?”

    Once you have addressed and we worked out Question #1 for Quote #1, we’ll move on to Question #2.

    Have at it with Question #1 for Quote #1!

  • Austin

    I understand the logic behind pointing out Stalin acted for political reasons as opposed to an unrelenting drive to expunge religion, though it seems misguided.

    Whether Stalin's intentions were political or some satanically motivated atheistic plot to rid the world of the believer is irrelevant. Just as those that have killed in the name of a deity does no more to prove or disprove the viability of belief or serve as representative of the believer than would Stalin acting on his non-belief be representative of the non-believer or the viability of non-belief.

    The amount of individuals killed by Stalin, Hitler, Torquemada, Billy Graham, Osama Bin Laden, Richard Dawkins, etc. is also irrelevant. Human beings will commit atrocities and engage in horrific acts, and if the fundamental logic is based on a random universe as opposed to a plan or influence by some deity, then we only need to look at probability. Since most people believe in a deity in some form or another, it would stand to reason one would be able to find more instances of atrocities committed by those with belief than without.

    Hence, this is strictly a numbers game predicated upon the simple fact most believe in a deity (say 80% – 90%), so there should be countless more examples of those with belief committing horrific acts. The order of magnitude of these acts would be random, dependent upon the efficiency of killing, the population under control, the intelligence of the slaughterer and the slaughterees, the ability to flee or formulate a coup, etc.

    But, from the comments, what I find fascinating is the idea morality must come from a deity. There are some very simple problems with this assertion. First, one must be able to understand the nature of the deity, i.e. the rules of the game. So, using the bible as our example, killing is forbidden, but god commands Abraham to kill Isaac, and as long as god is talking, we are supposed to listen (how the story ends is inconsequential). Beyond this, (and I do not need to rehash old examples), god does a great job breaking this commandment. So, by this fruit, I do not know killing is forbidden, except some bearded tribesmen said so on a tablet he brought down from a mountain.

    If we assume god does exist, then we would have to define the moral code. I have a friend that compared the mind of god to the our minds and our minds to that of an earth worm. Most believers would shake their head in agreement. If this is so, then it is fruitless to even speak of god's will, or what god wants. What is god's definition of love, compassion, trust? Surely godly trust, humility, is different from our human concept (thus, the problem of evil). And even if it is written down in a sacred book, we can only understand it with human understanding. Therefore, if god is so much greater than us, there is no ability to talk about god. As soon as we define what god is, we define what it is not, limiting the infinite. (This besides the fact that omniscience and omnipotence are incompatible, which throws a bit of a monkey wrench into the concept of an all-__________ being.)

    The burden of proof then is not just to prove god, but to prove that your concept of god is the correct one when compared to all others and you have the understanding of what god considers moral and immoral and the ability to develop a construct that resolves any disputes. I suppose all believers have a direct line to god, regardless of religion.

    And this leads to moral relativism, whether religious or not. I have already written a diatribe, though I am attempting to be concise. Still, if the act is not the objective standard, but the intention or circumstance bringing forth the act, then morality (right & wrong) is always relative. How many Christians (or Americans for that matter), would hail the individuals responsible for 911 as noble heroes and men of honor? We talk of innocent life being taken, we call these men terrorists, and why, because of the act or the motivation behind the act? When does a terrorist become a freedom fighter? These individuals look at America as an evil oppressor forcing their will on the rest of the world. And the innocent victims are they really so innocent? We vote as a populace election after election for politicians that continually increase our defense budget and support the occupation of foreign lands. But for those that would like to tell me the reasons why, I understand them. My argument is not a political one, but a philosophical one. When someone's motivations are in line with our own, they can be heroes, when they are not, they can be terrorists. This of course is not a one to one (not all theists believe it is okay to blow up an abortion clinic or believe in capital punishment), but the point being, morality is in the eye of the beholder, and I could give numerous examples, but will leave those to follow ups I suppose. If the act is not the objective standard, but the intention and motivation behind the act, who determines this? How does one prove one's motivation? Does not the motivation of men feeling oppressed, fighting against a superior enemy with a complicit populace not count as heroic if the foundation of the belief is diametrically opposed to ours? Was it okay to drop nuclear bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima?

    I do not cheat on my wife. Not because I believe it is a sin, or fear of getting caught, but because I love my wife and would not want her to engage in a sexual encounter with another man, even without my knowledge. I gave her a commitment and my word. The world is what we make it and I would prefer to live in a world where virtues are upheld by mutual respect for other human beings, not the wrath of a childish despot in the sky.

    Books have been written about all of these topics, and I could compose another. Fortunately, I will not.

    I will say this, atheism is responsible for countless deaths. Cruel, malicious deaths caused by very nefarious individuals indeed. In fact, I have a veritable serial killer living in with me. I love her dearly, but she is a sick individual. She kills for the sake of killing, the thrill of the hunt. And I know she does not believe in god, has never been to church, and most certainly has never read the bible. Still, she is a faithful a loving companion and it would break my heart if she were to ever fall victim to her own hobby by someone else that shares her moribund affinity for death. Of course, she is my JRT, and the amount of birds, squirrels, and rabbits she kills would make even the most infamous killers in history blush. She kills them for pleasure and sport, leaving them to rot, sometimes on the back porch. Please pray for her, she knows not what she does. Of course, it seems completely logically to blame her atheism.

  • Robbie

    @Austin,

    Atheist Serial killers living in millions of American families! This is just a great thought provocative essay, man! It would be an interesting thought experiment to see if religious people understand they were atheists when they were born and still are, except for the belief in 3 gods (or 1) that they still adhere to.

    Every time when I try to raise this issue, most of them cannot wrap their brain around the concept.

    Sad, sad, very sad. I wonder how come they did not end up on the Santa's "naughty list"?

  • Johan

    @Mike

    //The single assertion of atheism is that there is no evidence for the existence of gods.//

    The atheist philosopher Raymond Tallis admits that the appeal to evidence is one of the bad arguments for atheism, he explains:

    “This is a bad reason for atheism because no-one can agree what would count as evidence. Miracles, scriptures, the testimony of priests and prophets etc, can all be contested on empirical grounds: but for some people the fact that we communicate intelligibly with one another, or that the world is ordered, or even that there is something rather than nothing, is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that there is a Creator who not only made the world but also made it habitable by and intelligible to us. Therefore the appeal to evidence, or lack of it, will always be inconclusive.”

  • Robbie

    @Johan

    [EDIT>>> Remarkably, independently of my approach of handling one thing at a time, there was a post "My Requirements to Talking about God" on this blog. I recommend you read it, understand it and also review the flow chart that someone developed. This will keep things clear and in perspective for you]

    —————————

    @Johan

    Don’t know if you missed my post from yesterday? Let’s finish Question #1 to Quote #1

    I am going to be out of town this Tuesday/Wed till Jan 2nd or 3rd, so I will not be checking the blog regularly if at all till then. This should give you enough time to answers Question #1 to Quote #1. We then will proceed to Question #2 to Quote #1 and so on.

    —————————-

    Robbie on December 26th, 2010 1:47 pm

    @Johan

    You are not addressing all aspects of question #1 I asked. Let me take out “atheist” out of it and make it a bit simpler for you.

    Question #1 for Quote #1.

    What does it mean ****“bear bad fruit”?****** Do people “bear fruits?” as trees and bushes do? Of course not, so it’s a metaphor FOR WHAT? Believer in another faith? Agnostic? Or proclaiming himself a messiah of Yawheh as others in Jesus’ time did? What is “bad fruit” – DEFINE IT. Is “bad fruit” ANYTHING YOU WANT TO BE WHAT YOU INTERPRET TO BE NOT GOOD FRUIT? What is “good fruit?”

    Once you have addressed and we worked out Question #1 for Quote #1, we’ll move on to Question #2.

    Have at it with Question #1 for Quote #1!

    # Robbie on December 27th, 2010 8:40 am

    @Johan

    Re: Question #1 to Quote #1 – CLARIFICATION. I asked if “bad fruit” was anything of “other faith/non faith” as related to Judaism/Christianity. Of course, it was just one example.

    I am interested to pin point the definition of “bad fruit” regardless of faith/non faith, because surely even “faithful” can carry the “bad fruit”.

    I am interested in the “concept” of “bad fruit” vs. “good fruit” and “how you know it’s good or bad”.

  • Johan

    //I am interested in the “concept” of “bad fruit” vs. “good fruit” and “how you know it’s good or bad”.//

    Bad fruit means sin, we should not sin, and one can believe Jesus is God but one is not necessarily saved, as the Bible says "faith without works is dead"(after all the demons also believe in Jesus' existence).

    To believe in Jesus means we have to obey him also, belief in itself is clearly not enough, to "believe" in Jesus means to obey his commands, and when we do just that, we bear good fruit, because we do well unto others.

    Johan

    • Adam

      @ Johan: Good to know you follow every single command of god… does this include the OT commands of stoning those that work on the Sabbath? Just curious. And, when you sin, do you ask for forgiveness and NEVER do it again?

  • Johan

    //@ Johan: Good to know you follow every single command of god… does this include the OT commands of stoning those that work on the Sabbath?//

    I am a Christian, that is, I believe Jesus was God expressed in human form, and I take the commandments of Jesus above anything else, including when Jesus said "it is said, but I say unto you" referring to the law of the OT and what Jesus commanded us to do.

    For me, Jesus takes priority over anything that was said anywhere else at any time and place. Jesus not the OT is forms the foundations of my Christian faith.

    • Adam

      @ Johan: Romans 1 :29-32 “Those filled with unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, hate for god, despite, proud, boasters, inventions of evil things, disobedience to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, unnatural affection, implacable or unmerciful nature: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death”.

      So, are you guilty of any of those things (debate, disobedience, lying, unnatural affection, etc.) ? I bet you are. It's in the New Testament. I know… "for the wages of sin is death but the gift of god is eternal life" blah blah blah. Let's see, basically everything is a sin – sins send you to hell – but you can avoid hell by rooting for the Jesus team. Sounds like a good marketing strategy… everyone has a problem and we are the only ones that can fix it. Religious monopoly – BRILLIANT!

  • Mike

    @Johan

    The atheist philosopher Raymond Tallis admits that the appeal to evidence is one of the bad arguments for atheism, he explains:

    I assume you are referring to Tallis' opinion piece in Philosophy Now, hardly a definitive source.

    If you read the rest of the article, he seems to claim that his reason for atheism is that it makes him happy. You might as well make the same claim about your beliefs and leave it at that. In the absence of evidence as a basis for proof I fail to see how we can have a rational discussion about anything.

    It's worth noting that Tallis' argument makes it equally likely that the Smurfs or Zeus are responsible for whatever it is that compels your beliefs.

  • Mike

    @Morrison

    I have already established, …

    Not in this thread. Can you provide a link to a journal article? Stating a conclusion is not sufficient to establish truth.

    Your claim might might carry some weight if those assumptions were not based on evidence, an accurate depiction of faith.

    My personal assumptions are based on a review of evidence. Those assumptions are subject to change in light of more compelling evidence. I do not invent explanations for problems I don't understand and will admit mistakes when proven wrong.

  • Mike

    @Adam

    It appears that lying and debate were removed in the New International Version. He may be alright depending on which translation his god considers to be canonical.

  • Adam

    @ Grady: You really need to stop saying that "our personal assumptions are that existence, life, mind and reason are the product of mindless forces". No one here ever said that other than you and Morrison. JT wrote, "the universe produces order all by itself via mindless forces acting on inanimate objects". So, if you post this lie again, I will delete it. Saying the universe produces order all by itself via mindless forces acting on inanimate objects is just explaining that the forces of gravity, magnetism, nuclear forces, etc. act without a god behind them to keep the universe expanding, the planetary bodies spinning, and the forces of the universe in check. This NEVER states that the mind and reason are MINDLESS. Quite the contrary. Once human beings (and other living things) developed brains, they were able to interact and change things around them. Getting out of bed, eating, me typing this to you… etc. are all MINDFUL things. They aren't by chance. But, they also aren't by "god" either. They are the actions of a very advanced, evolved brain. Your evolved brain seems to hold onto religion as did the advanced brains that created religion.

    You say, "Stating your conclusion is not sufficient to establish its truth"… but that's all you've done in these comments, over and over again. So, please, FOR THE LAST TIME, provide some evidence for your conclusions or leave this site. And, for the sake for the religion you claim which preaches "thou shalt not lie", stop lying about what people say on here – I haven't made a strawman argument against you, but that seems to be your repeated tactic against us. Sad.

  • Mike

    @GRADY

    Mike, if your personal assumptions are that existence, life, mind and reason are the product of mindless forces, you have not based them on demonstrably repeatable evidence.

    I never made this statement, this is your conclusion.

    I made the following statement:

    There is insufficient evidence to support the existence of gods.

    It may very well be true that atheism was the official doctrine of the Soviet Union. I'll leave that one to the historians. Soviets could have eaten Christian babies and it would have no bearing on the argument at hand.

    Here's an interesting thought exercise:

    Romans persecuted and executed Christians. After the Roman empire fell it eventually became what we now know as Italy. The Vatican, which is the headquarters of Catholicism, is located in Italy. Catholicism is the largest Christian denomination worldwide (1.2 billion followers).

    In the middle ages Christians fought many battles to recapture what they considered to be their holy land in the middle east (there were also other reasons as well). Many Muslims were displace, persecuted, and murdered. The Muslim faith had approximately 1.6. billion followers worldwide in 2009.

    It would appear that we have examples of theists murdering theists as well (you can read about both topics on Wikipedia or at your local library if you so desire). Do any of these three histories (including the Soviets) provide any evidence for or against the existence of gods?

    The short answer: no (feel free to provide evidence to the contrary)

    Let me spell it out in case you aren't reading between the lines: The Soviet/Stalin argument has no bearing on the question of the existence of gods.

  • JJG

    The next question is, "Why did Stalin have those particular 'political reasons'?"

    Ans the answer, of course, is because as an atheist, he replaced God with his own sense of meaning: to accumulate power.

    • Don

      Ohhh, and there are no religious people that crave power. Answer debunked.

  • jackson

    I agree if he was a militant atheist, then why would he open 25,000 churches and encourage revival

  • Pingback: Quora

  • Pingback: Quora

  • Pingback: Quora

  • Emily

    Interesting.
    I’m rather disposed towards thinking that what a person believes affects their ethics, which affect their decision-making, which affects their actions and essentially every aspect of their lives. If, as is perfectly defensible in the atheist worldview, a person believes that human life is essentially as worthy of existence as the grass on his lawn, it would be perfectly understandable if he then went on to kill those people for his own advancement. Stalin was not directly motivated by his beliefs, but they were what morally allowed him to commit mass murder. Agnosticism, with its ambivalence towards the existence of God, is not a religion. Atheism, the clear assertion of the nonexistence of God, does make certain truths claims about the universe. There are differences of opinion between atheists- but there are equally differences between those within any religion. Christian violence cannot be justified within the assertions of the Christian religion, a religion that supports peaceful and charitable behaviour towards others today. The politics of the church are irrelevant to the claims of the religion itself.
    While Christianity makes many different truth claims (Jesus existed, was the son of God, etc.), atheism makes only one: that there is no God. The nonexistence of any kind of God, afterlife or absolute lawgiver logically leads to the absence of any kind of absolute morality.
    Atheists cannot logically or consistently claim the existence of good or evil and as such cannot condemn Stalin’s actions. He killed those people because he thought it was not evil, not reprehensible- it is as much as consequence of his religion as charity is a consequence of Christianity.

    • LeftSidePositive

      Emily, that is some of the most ridiculous, circularly-reasoned, strawman claptrap I have ever read.

      Firstly, cite ANYWHERE in the atheist literature–written by actual atheists, not Christian bigots falsely categorizing atheism–that human life is worth no more than grass. If in the HIGHLY UNLIKELY event you find anything, you will have had to sift through and selectively ignore a LOT of people admiring human consciousness, understanding and empathizing with our fellow human beings’ ability to feel pleasure and pain just like we do in our own minds, respect that these subjective experiences of pleasure, pain, and thought are meaningful and valuable, the necessity of fairness and trust in human interactions based on rational thinking and fact-based understanding of benefits and harms to one’s fellow human beings, and respect for the only life we’ve got and our need to make it just, dignified, and long for ourselves and our fellow human beings.

      Moreover, I strongly recommend that you actually look at your religion’s founding texts and its frequent encouragement of violence and death on non-believers. Then, I suggest you take your “my-religion-is-peaceful-and-therefore-you-can’t-criticize-any-of-the-atrocities-committed-specifically-in-its-name-because-I-say-so-lalalalala” and recognize it for the blatant hypocrisy and wishful thinking it is.

      I would also encourage you to develop some critical thinking and realize that “absolute morality” is nothing short of religious-justifying nonsense. Your god’s “absolute morality” supports the execution of gays, adulteresses, blasphemers, Sabbath-breakers, etc., etc. Meanwhile, it is perfectly happy condoning slavery, child-sacrifice, subjugation of women, acts of terrorism, and more. Now, if you do the reflexive “but my religion is GOOD!1!!eleventy!!11″ argument like most self-important apologists, you’ll say that you don’t interpret those passages literally anymore…to which I say, then what does that tell you about the validity of “absolute morality” that you’ve claimed for yourself?

      Furthermore, you are utterly and pathetically wrong about the slur that “atheists cannot logically or consistently claim the existence of good or evil.” Provide some evidence for this bigoted claim, please. In fact, atheists are perfectly able to attribute goodness to actions and philosophies that maximize human benefit, broadly defined as encouraging cooperation, enhancing human lifespans, treating others with respect, alleviating suffering, being honest, enforcing fair and just social and political institutions, and so on–all of these can be more than adequately validated by our experience here on Earth and our ability to empathize with others. We don’t need a Magic Jesus Sky Friend to bribe us into realizing that kindness and honesty help others and ourselves. Evil is pretty simply defined as things that cause human suffering, broadly defined as shortening human lives, causing people to endure pain, thwarting human beings’ innate need to make decisions about their own bodies and goals, undermining the trust inherent to a cooperative society, demeaning human dignity, perpetuating unfairness and inequality–again, all of these may be more than adequately validated by our understanding of what we and other people go through when these bad things are done, without needing some supernatural arbiter.

      In conclusion, your entire premise is based on shocking ignorance and a self-congratulatory worldview that has no understanding of the ethics and philosophies of others.

      • Goldstein Fan

        “Elimination of the weak and defective, the first principle our our philosophy. And we should help them to do it.”

        From “The Anti Christ”, sec. 2, by Nietzsche, one of the most influential atheists of the past two centuries.

        • EvolutionKills

          Fortunately atheists are not bound by dogma to accept what Nietzsche said as ‘reveled wisdom’ or ‘divine truth’. We are allowed to evaluate what he said and did, and we can embrace or reject it on a case by case basis. If Nietzsche was in support of eugenics (as that quote sounds like, but I do not know), then I would disagree with him. But even so that does not invalidate his reasons for being an atheist or diminish his critique of faith and religion.

          This might be a new concept for you, but for many atheist one of the most cherished concepts for us is ‘free thought’. This may be a hard idea to grasp if you’re used to having all of your answers handed to you, but we cherish thinking for ourselves and coming to our own conclusions.

      • AntiAtheist

        “We must leave behind the idea of the sanctity of the human life”
        Trosky

        • AntiAtheist

          Oh i forgot to mention that was said during a debate about murdering dissidents

          • EvolutionKills

            Did belief in the ‘sanctity of life’ stop the Lutheran and Catholic members of the German Nazi party and Wehrmacht from committing genocide? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

            So I’ll take your one socialist intellectual, quoted out of context, who just happens to be an atheist; over the entirety of Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’.

            And don’t even start with that ‘Hitler was an atheist’ claptrap. Regardless of his personal views (and he claimed to be a christian and called on God and Jesus repeatedly in public speeches), the crux of the matter is still that the vast majority of those who actually carried out the Holocaust were ‘good’ German Lutherans and Catholics.

  • Max

    The most widely accepted figure is around 20 million,60 million deaths,100 million deaths,200 million deaths,…..says capitalist propaganda.
    Holodomor?There was a famine, but no Holodomor.Holodomor was not done by Stalin, the KGB or Communists – it was a natural disaster which affected many regions and countries. What the media, history books and university lecturers neglect to tell us is the shameful role of the Kulaks in the famine. Yet, this role was central to the manufacturing of a famine. Let us take the words of the Trotskyite academic Isaac Deutscher, “They (Kulaks) slaughtered their cattle, smashed implements and burned crops….18 million horses had been slaughtered. So were 30 million large cattle, about 45% of the total, and nearly 100 million, or two thirds of sheep and goats. Vast tracts of land were left untilled.” This evidence shows us that the famine was indeed manufactured by human agency, but not by Stalin or the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. No, It was the Kulaks who manufactured a famine. Motivated by cold, ruthless, self interest these counterrevolutionaries, wreckers and saboteurs wreaked havoc on their compatriots, bringing disaster and death down upon the people.Also, the Ukrainians tried to starve the whole country by destroying the grain crop. It is true that there was a Civil War going on in the Ukraine at the time over collectivization. They set it on fire and left it to rot in the fields. In addition, a lot was being diverted to the black market. This is why the state went in and grabbed the crop.With the opening of the Soviet archives, tens of thousands of pages have been diligently sifted through. Nowhere, not even a footnote on a single page, is there any mention of any orders given for a man-made famine in the Ukraine.The 7 million figure was invented after World War 2 by Ukrainian nationalists, many of whom had fought with the Nazis and killed many Jews by participating in the Holocaust. The 7 million figure was invented by these people to be higher than the 6 million Jews killed by Hitler in the Holocaust. In other words, Stalin was worse than Hitler, and Hitler was right to go to war against Judeo-Bolshevism….The “Ukrainian Genocide” myth is seemingly ingrained in the genetic material of people in the U.S. and the West.A lie told often enough becomes truth. http://www.northstarcompass.org/nsc0903/amholomor.htm

  • raymond

    “people act based on what they do believe, not on what they don’t. ” Indeed a great repetitious way of defending your view, but flawed and unconvincing none the less. Religion is were most of you would like to keep the conversation, but the issue stays at the level of world views, and here Atheism, or pure naturalism is indeed a world view. World Views do effect how one sees and operates, and a ground up view of human life, devalues it at worsted, and places on it merely a utilitarian concept at best, here your cake with few words … eat it.

    • EvolutionKills

      And you’ve missed the entire fucking point…

      Atheism is a ‘lack of belief in gods’, that’s all it is. If atheism is a world view, then it is one without any guiding principles or motivation. Atheists can’t claim motivation from gods, but they can still get the rest of their world view form any number of other sources and ideas. Whether driven by compassion or avarice, science or selfishness, knowledge or ignorance; it’s not so different from options the faithful have. It’s just that you’ll never find an atheist using gods.

      Still, funny how you would label the naturalistic world view as one so callous of human life. I’ve never seen that ever proposed by someone claiming to be a naturalist, only by ignorant theists. For many naturalists, the view is that this world is all we know and have. So they try to cultivate empathy and cherish the short lives we do have, because they don’t believe in an after life. Compare this to the widely held theistic view that we’re all terrible sinners, and that this life is merely a testing ground for the next life after death? How many people have died because pious men were comfortable killing everyone and ‘letting god sort them out’? Which of the two world views more highly values our lives here on earth, and the lives of our fellow creatures?

      Yeah, it sure as hell isn’t your run-of-the-mill theist ‘world view’. So you can take your cake and shove it.

  • AntiAtheist

    Communist did kill in the name of atheism: demolishing churches and the killing of priests in Russia, China, Spain, Mexico, Nicaragua etc. didnt had any political reason beyond demolishing religion and dechristianization of the societies it targeted in order to spread their bullshit sistem of beliefs (see a pattern here its very similar to any religious war isnt it?). Since its beginning communism made atheism a very important, a core part of its ideological package. I think it can be said that killing in the name of communism is killing in the name of atheism

    • Guest

      Google: American nuns tortured Nicaragua. Explain.

    • Don

      Now you are just making up your own history. All communist countries still allowed religions, just not the ones that promoted the opposing political view. If the communists were trying to wipe out the religion and the people that believed in it they would have asked every resident of their country what religion or not that they were, if they claimed a religion they would have killed them on the spot. This has never happened. Also, I’m not communist but I am atheist and none of the atheists I know or communicate with are communists.

    • EvolutionKills

      The irony of a follower of a religion denigrating other’s for their “bullshit sistem [sic] of beliefs” is entirely lost on you, isn’t it?

  • Pingback: New name for atheists - Page 2

  • Pingback: Stalin killed for political reasons | The Atheist

  • Cristero

    No true scotsman fallacy?