Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The oppression of the majority

I wonder what it is about the mere existence of atheists that is so terrifying to some Christians.

Now, right up front, I want to emphasize that I'm not talking about all Christians, here.  I have friends who are devout Christians, and friends who are members of various other faiths, and mostly we all get along pretty well.  But it seems to me that there is a growing number of Christians, mostly of the evangelical stripe, who are threatened by people like me -- atheists/rationalists/secular humanists who won't just shut up and let the dominant majority religion run things, as it has for the last thousand years.

This all comes up because of two news stories from last week.  In one, Anthony Foxx, mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, declared May 2 not only to be a "National Day of Prayer," but a "National Day of Reason," stating that "it is the duty and responsibility of every citizen to promote the development and application of reason."   Seems an innocent enough statement, right?

Nope.  The backlash was immediate and vitriolic.  Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women of America, blasted Foxx's move as anti-religious in general and anti-Christian in particular, ending a screed on Fox News with the quote, "You know the Age of Enlightenment and Reason gave way to moral relativism.  And moral relativism is what led us all the way down the dark path to the Holocaust."

Then, there was the story that appeared in Breitbart News that claimed that Christians in the military were in danger of being court martialled if they "shared their faith."  The whole thing apparently started with a demand by Mikey Weinstein, of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, that commanding officers enforce the long-standing no-proselytizing rule, explained as follows by Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen:
Service members can share their faith (evangelize), but must not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others of any faith or no faith to one's beliefs (proselytization).  If a service member harasses another member on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, or disability, then the commander takes action based on the gravity of the occurrence.  Likewise, when religious harassment complaints are reported, commanders take action based on the gravity of the occurrence on a case-by-case basis.
Breitbart, and later Fox News, interpreted this as a "Christian cleansing of the military" by the Obama administration that would lead to the abolition of chaplains, and ultimately to court martial of any Christian in the military.  (Weinstein himself was called an "anti-Christian extremist.")

The story was accompanied by the following photograph, in case the plight of the poor, oppressed Christians didn't yank at your heartstrings enough:


Okay, can we just clarify something, here?  You Christians are still in the majority.  Virtually every position of power in the United States government is held by a self-professed Christian.  You have used your majority status to institute legislation that compels public school students to treat your holy book as if it were science.  You have mandated prayers before governmental meetings, and are determined to try to work prayer back into classrooms.  "In God We Trust" is still on our currency, and "one nation, under God" still in the Pledge of Allegiance.  People are still sworn in with their hand on the bible.

How, again, are you oppressed?

The problem, of course, is that you're unused to being challenged, and you're mistaking having someone push back against your hegemony with being persecuted.  You have been, for centuries, in sole control of everything in the United States and western Europe, with government and religion so deeply entangled that it was often hard to see where one started and the other ended.  But now, what has some Christians spooked is that people like me are becoming more numerous.  A recent poll put the number of atheists and agnostics in the United States at 20% -- a new high -- and put Protestants in the minority for the first time ever, at 48%, although Christians as a whole are still an overwhelming majority, at 76%.  The increase of non-belief, to the point that we're too numerous to subdue into silence, is terrifying to a group that has long held unquestioned dominance in every sphere of American life.  There are more self-professed atheists now than ever before in history, and we're refusing to do what we've always done -- which was to hide.

The ironic thing is how unfounded those fears are.  While atheists, agnostics, rationalists, humanists, secularists, and free-thinkers -- and those who hold to all other gradations of disbelief -- are often vocal in their disavowal of Christian ideas, very few of them have any grudge against Christian people.  The vast majority of the aforementioned nonbelievers think that Christians, and members of other faiths, are free to believe whatever they want, as long as they accord the same right to us.  And that's the critical point, here; we just want the same freedom that you have had for the last thousand years -- to be open about our convictions, without fear of repercussion, and without having to put up with religious folks demanding that we do things their way, or else.

So, to that subset of Christians who desperately want to appear oppressed because you're finally not getting your own way, I'd like to end by saying: no need to be afraid.  We atheists have no intent to do to you what you'd like to do to us.

27 comments:

  1. "... a "Christian cleansing of the military" by the Obama administration ..."

    http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/1dnkmd/my_atheist_father_served_in_the_army_during/

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  2. "The vast majority of the aforementioned nonbelievers think that Christians, and members of other faiths, are free to believe whatever they want, as long as they accord the same right to us."

    Therein lies one big fat hairy problem. We atheists think about freedom of thought. Many religious people fundamentally don't actually believe that, not for themselves, nor for anyone else. They don't believe it and they don't practice it. They judge and brainwash and cajole OBEDIENCE within their groups, will not accept questions or doubts unless they are contained within special limits, and answered with correct answers.

    "... we just want the same freedom that you have been accorded for the last thousand years ..."

    They don't exercise freedom, because FREEDOM TO OBEY is not freedom, it's the exact opposite, and that's all they allow themselves. A strict religious person is not free to express themselves without repercussion, and their entire culture is specifically composed of putting up with (other) religious folks demanding things be done the right way, or else (you even go to hell they say, and so forth).

    Religious people will not offer freedom they don't understand, practice, or believe in. We must simply take it, by direct force of unencumbered free action, and by force of resistance, rebellion or revolution, should religious bigotry stand in our way as free people.

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  3. I would so love to make a bet with one of these Fox Christian types: we'll get two people to run for state legislature in each state. Just one race per state, that is. They will have virtually the same platform, but one will profess atheism, while the other will ostentatiously attend Sunday Mass at St. Douchebag. You wanna bet who's gonna win? Hint: no vocal atheist has a snowball's chance in hell of being elected in this stupid and superstitious country.

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    1. The person that says there is no God is a fool. Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord. These are the values that created the greatest experiment called America. Look the profanity you use. Atheists, liberals talk about tolerance, listen to yours, none.

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    3. 911 Family A bit late to the party but a person who says there is no God is an atheist - not a "fool." He could be described as a genius, a dolt, perfectly mundane, a dreamer, and also a fool, among other things. When it comes to the framers, their beliefs and practices were diverse and not entirely consistent throughout their lives. If it is one thing about which they did agree it was that religion is a private matter in which the state has no business meddling. Translation: the state will neither promote nor condemn any particular religion, or observers thereof to assemble, practice their rituals, etc. It will also not force others to ascribe to the observances of a tyrannical majority. How does one infer that our secular, constitutional republic is an experiment "whose God is the Lord?" Just because our currency is imprinted with "In God we trust" and we pledge allegiance stating "one nation, under God" does not mean these things invalidate the first amendment. Painting members of a group with one brush, such as "atheists, liberals" and labelling them as having one overarching characteristic such as intolerance is in its very nature, well, intolerant and very myopic. By the way, I am not an atheist, but also not a Christian, although I do think some of the tenets of the Christian bible are lovely, particularly those that prescribe tolerance, compassion, "judging not," etc. My partner of 31 years by the way IS an atheist! Quel horreur! To wholesale cast an entire group with whom you disagree as "fools" is not very Christian at all, if one truly observes the alleged teachings of the alleged Jesus Christ. I would support your right to believe and practice as you wish even though I don't agree with you, and I am a moderate but by conservative Christian standards have been characterized a "libtard," "demoncrat" and other pejorative and inaccurate terms simply because I disagreed in a respectful and "no name calling" manner, citing the first amendment and its protections for ALL with respect to religious beliefs or absence thereof. I'd suggest a survey read about the founders of the U.S. and learn about their personal beliefs, and pay particular attention to the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Cornell has an excellent online legal resource for both law students, lawyers, and lay people alike with in depth analyses by scholars of various points of view. Use it. And learn the definitions of words like "atheist" and "fool" as they are not synonymous and using them so only makes the author of such comments, well, not an atheist, but a..........if you get my drift.

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  4. I am a devout Catholic who would like to clarify a bit of church teaching. While a big part of the church's mission is to evangelize, the means by which this ought to be done is coercion. We believe in freedom of thought. No one is to blindly follow the church's teaching. Pope JP II published an encyclical talking about "faith and reason." Unfortunately there are many Christians who don't use reason and blindly obey their religion. It is my personal opinion that they are not much better off than the atheist who reasons through what he believes.

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    1. No offense, but reason and religion are mutually exclusive concepts by definition. Sincerely embracing one effectively strips you of the other.

      Religion, certainly Catholicism, requires strict adherence to an ostensibly fixed belief system.
      Reason, certainly atheism, requires strict rejection of any and all fixed beliefs.

      Religion requires trusting others for the truth.
      Reason requires determining the truth for oneself, through skeptical inquiry.

      Religion is based on unprovable myth, and supported by speculation.
      Reason is based on provable facts, and supported by logical deduction.

      Religion provides predetermined conclusions, and avoids subsequent challenges.
      Reason seeks only natural conclusions, and always challenges everything.

      Religion requires keeping the faith, despite external influences.
      Reason is always open to change, and eagerly assimilates new data as it comes to light.

      Religion requires belief in the supernatural.
      Reason requires observable, objective reality, and is corrupted by all else.

      You think you're somehow different from certain other believers because you feel they lack some reasoning that you possess, while you fail to grasp that genuine, logical reasoning fundamentally destroys religion, as a natural part of the process. From a non-believer's point of view, your beliefs are effectively identical to all other believers of all religions, sects, cults, etc.. They are all magical beliefs, which means they lack reason.

      Don't get me wrong, like everyone, you're absolutely free and righteous to believe whatever you wish, but don't think - or pretend - that religious beliefs and logical reasoning are compatible, or that they can coexist without some schizoid-class cognitive dissonance. They just don't fit together.

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    2. The term religion can and does inspire a variety of responses, some of which are negative in nature. The mere mention of the term triggers varying opinions. Some opinions are oppositional to religious ones and many are based on personal bias. Rather than basing those opinions from a rational that may be able to link these mutually exclusive elements within the boundaries of a new paradigm, bias becomes the springboard of many opinions. Bias though creates blind-spots in the application of reason concerning the possible existence of a supreme entity that prevents wiping that bias from the equation. Oppositional opinions, for instance, is bent on disproving the beliefs espoused in religion and this results in sacrificing something vary valuable in the process. The achievement of developing a greater truth from the debate is lost to the bias which rules the opinions. A greater truth that may actually disprove both the mutually exclusive claims that stem from opposition as well as the beliefs that stem from religion.



      Like it or not, deny it if you choose, but the fact is that religion is the creation of man. I say this not to stir controversy or raise ire within the reader, rather I say this because it is true. All scriptures are written by men. Despite claims that lack substantial proof that scriptures are the product of divine inspiration, there is substantial proof that men wrote scriptures and this fact is undeniable in light of the evidence to support this claim. Divine inspiration ultimately becomes just the excuse by which men justify the creation of their religion rather than serving as a foundation to truth. Dogmas within other non scriptural religions too are the product of development by a collective consciousness that share a common direction in bias. Over generations the collective forges a belief that defines the dogma. Men are the creators of their religions, but this fact does not nullify, or disqualify the possibility that a supreme entity exists. Men, as creators of religion, testifies more to the inaccuracies manifested within collective bias and autotelism rather than it testifies to the non-existence of a supreme entity because of the inaccuracies of the religions creators. Religion therefore is the result of errors within its formulation as affected by the bias of collectives that create it.



      Reason is not mutually exclusive to any positional opinion, rather it is inclusive of all despite any positional opinion. Reason exists as a common application within the mind of beings. The only claim to exclusivity lies in the accuracy achieved in the application of reasoning to define a provable truth within the outcomes of beliefs espoused. Reason can produce faulty beliefs within religion as well as within the beliefs of oppositional opinions to religion in general. The reasoning may be faulty but that does not exclude religion from the use of reason to achieve its beliefs. It just means that whatever religion lacks, truth is not ever not achievable as it concerns religion because of faulty reasoning.

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    3. To make your statement that "believing in one" -either religion or reason- "strips you of the the other", is faulty reasoning personified, since reason is by nature, inherent within the formulation of ideas, whether those ideas are right or wrong. Reason cannot depart from the process of formulating those ideas or there would no ideas be possible without an ability to reason. Instead, I suspect that your statement may suffer from the confusion you have between the terms of reason and science rather than reason and religion, since science uses reason to deduct an opposing view that travels parallel to religion in belief. Under this new perspective your argument could be reworded, "believing in one -religion or science- strips you of the other". Even if this were the case and rewording was the solution, and confusion of terms was evident in your argument, the hypothesis derived in your argument -they just don't fit together- is still erroneous. Reason that fails to overcome limitations of the self by attempting to impose those limitations on others is itself a lack in ability to reason deeply enough to overcome the self-imposed limitations which bind you in a fixed belief that you chastise religion for having. Seems hypocritical and unreasonable. You seem resistant to think it is possible that science and religion could possibly fit together. Therein lies the limitations you impose upon yourself and that you try to sell to others. The quest for truth is what forges common ground between these two parallel positions in reason. Whether that truth is ever achieved or not is irrelevant, since claims can be made irrespective of any possession of truth. Where these two fit together and where you can alter your world-view and hopefully overcome self-imposed limitations, is in the acceptance that a possibility exists for a unified truth between these two polars. A truth that dispels personal bias from the equation which keeps the two from converging upon unified facts. Uniting both under an umbrella of reason that introduces a supreme being to one and permits facts to cleanse the other.



      Science employs a strict adherence to the scientific principle to ascertain facts and decipher its truth. However, science does not test for the validity of a supreme being who may actually be responsible for all this stuff. The lack of a subject to test would be the greatest detriment to science in employing its principles, to test for validity of such a being. Therefore science has maintained a bias with which it self-imposes limitations which prevents the possibility that it can produce harmony with its nemesis -religion. Science refuses to look for a subject to test because of the bias it adheres to -that there is no subject- hence science fails to overcome the limitations that continue to separate it from harmonizing a possible truth -that a supreme being might exist. Religion forfeits the scientific principle in favour of revealed truths despite contrasting evidence that challenges religious beliefs with scientific facts. Religion generally holds that the universe is the product of a supreme being. Differing dogmas and interpretations of this supreme being within various religions create separation not only from science but from each other as well. If science could be presented with a testable subject and religion could accept facts and adjust its belief to harmonize with those facts then there is a good chance that a unified belief would merge the two under the umbrella of this new unified truth.





      For the sake of argument I will present science with a possible, testable subject, while presenting religion with facts derived from observation of that subject, facts which tend to obliterate religious dogma with one exception, a supreme being exists. Science can then test for validity and religion can adjust dogma to coincide with a theory that unifies the two under the one umbrella of a possible truth that proceeds from that presentation.

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    4. The subject for test is reality; the present moment; not the reality one might interpret the term to mean. Think not of reality from the bias that is triggered within you as you read that term, rather overcome the bias for a moment to actually consider the possibility, reality as a living being rather than as an illusion of time. View reality as something which is not trivial or mundane, nothing happens outside or separate from reality and that fact screams anything but triviality or mundaneness. View reality as a living entity that relies on nothing else but itself for existence, everything else is dependent on it for existence. Forget about reality and nothing happens, but if reality forgot for one second about us, all things would cease to exist. Yet nothing is ever forgotten by this entity, even those things that we are oblivious to, reality is aware of it. View reality, not as a creation of something else, rather view it as the creator, the supreme being! A creator that hides in plain view that science, religion, or most everyone cannot see, unless this being chooses to permit itself to be seen. It is everywhere at once, from the smallest particle to the hugest galaxy. It is indestructible, nothing can harm this entity. It has no beginning and no end, it is everlasting, with unknown origins and unknown destiny. It has no name and no one can name it; reality is just a term that points to it. God, Creator, or whatever other term one chooses, they are still only terms and it remains unnameable. It can only be grasped experientially and never through logic or reason. It has no form yet every form is contained within it. It can fill any container yet it cannot be contained. It shares rule with no one, yet it permits power to be experienced. There is only one entity like this; reality is not one moment dying and another moment coming into existence, it is the same moment, now and forever, from eternity to eternity. Take away all that exists and this entity will be the only thing that remains. It has no need of books written by men to extol its existence. No need to inspire scriptures to interpret its meaning. It created the universe out of itself. If it can do that with no form then conveying meaning is child’s play and there is no need for prophets to give it validity. Science can now look at this subject, this reality, this living entity, and begin to employ testing to verify reproducible findings. Religion too can begin to verify their observations of this reality with their own religious beliefs to discover for themselves the truth that sits openly before us eternally. Religion can then bring their beliefs into harmony with science, scientific fact and with the truth that is shared through the same source that provides for all within it. Science and religion can fit together, its just a matter of overcoming the limitations we permit our bias' to assert over our inabilities to see greater truths.

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  5. Going to the Creation Museum is a double edged sword. I hate supporting an edifice to willful ignorance, but the place is just too much fun, especially for an anthropology major. I love to see the bomb sniffing dogs going around like they've had a history of violence to rationalize this level of fear like oh say an Planned Parenthood building. The use of vaguely scientific sounding ideas ranging from genetics, to astronomy, to how big a cubit really is surely entertain. Also, they make a mean pulled pork at the museum cafeteria.

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    1. Yes, Planned Parenthood, the money sucking monster murdering Black babies & minorities. Dr. GROSSnell and his house of horrors. 47 babies found dead, rats, cats, baby parts used as FOOD for cats that keep the rats away. Yes people should fear Planned Parenthood. Speaking of genetics, NO homosexual gene exists, it's a behavior and a CHOICE, just like ABORTION. By the way, be sure it's pork and not baby you are eating. Obama eats dog and horse so one can never now.

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    2. 911 Family,

      It's refreshing to see someone stand up for their beliefs like you have, by openly admitting the reasoning you used to come to the conclusions that...
      - People should fear Planned Parenthood, because of Gosnell's alleged offenses,
      - Being homosexual is just like having an abortion, because no gene for it has been found, and
      - The public might be fed aborted babies disguised as pork, because Obama eats dog and horse.
      Most people would not have the courage to make such politically incorrect statements in public. Well done, and thank you!

      In reply to:
      "911 Family May 5, 2013 at 1:49 PM
      Yes, Planned Parenthood, the money sucking monster murdering Black babies & minorities. Dr. GROSSnell and his house of horrors. 47 babies found dead, rats, cats, baby parts used as FOOD for cats that keep the rats away. Yes people should fear Planned Parenthood. Speaking of genetics, NO homosexual gene exists, it's a behavior and a CHOICE, just like ABORTION. By the way, be sure it's pork and not baby you are eating. Obama eats dog and horse so one can never now."

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    3. To 911 Family:
      Are you implying that they serve baby meat at the cafeteria at the Creation Museum? Or, are you just blathering like the idiot you appear to be without actually reading the comment you are replying to?

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  6. Camille you just nailed it -- although, I suspect, that wasn't your intention: "the means by which [evangelizing] ought to be done is coercion". Better said, it still is coercion.

    Outlawing abortion under any circumstance, currently lobbied for worldwide by the Catholic Church, and put in practice in some places (there have been, no longer than last year, a few cases receiving much media attention), are nothing short of coercing people into following the RCC's rules. The various attempts to influence politicians using threats with excommunication or other canon law punishments is coercion too. The orders addressed to the victims of child molestation, signed by the Pope emeritus Ratzinger (as Prefect of the department once known as the Inquisition), counter-signed by the ex-Pope Wojtyla, and still in effect, is again nothing short of coercion. The interdiction to read any book in Index Librorum Prohibitorum, no longer an interdiction per se but merely "retaining its moral force" (in the words of the same Pope emeritus Ratzinger) is also a form of coercion. Blasphemy laws, until not so long ago still in effect in some Catholic-majority countries, are coercion.

    Each and every time it could do it, the Catholic Church coerced people into obeying its dogmas. It... err... she's still doing it.

    I suggest you inform yourself about what RCC's teachings are and, more importantly, what her actions are! (If you can go beyond the honey concealing the venom in the Vatican's press releases.)

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  7. The basic point of this article is that even though you (Christians) hold ALL the power in our society, you STILL feel the need to wear this FALSE pretense of the victim. In doing so, you shame yourselves deeply, and frequently speak the exact opposite of well-known reality.

    "911 Family" is a perfect example of this.

    Re: "These are the values that created the experiment called America."
    - This is completely false, but you repeat this Fox News talking point as though it could somehow justify any group's complete and arbitrary control over and permeation of a society, which it wouldn't, even if it were true, which it isn't.
    - The Constitution clearly states the exact opposite. America's system of government was intentionally and specifically constructed to avoid the very thing that you currently have, and seek to keep - religiously influenced control.

    Re: "Atheists, liberals talk about tolerance, listen to yours, none."
    - Tolerance of what do you speak? Tolerance of your bigoted hatred for gays and non-believers? Tolerance for the genocide, torture, rape and other inhuman horrors condoned in the book you use to justify your hate? How about tolerance for our taxes being used to promote your religion? Of course we're not tolerant of those things; nobody should be. Yet you falsely equate our intolerance of those patently evil ideas, to your intolerance for the human and civil rights of others, like LBGTs, Atheists, and so many throughout time. Indeed, human history is a terrifying saga of shameful Christian intolerance.

    If the use and promotion of "reason" in society offends you, then you are - by the very definition of the word - "unreasonable", i.e., you are without reason.
    - Definition of "reason":
    - a: (1) : the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways : intelligence
    (2) : proper exercise of the mind
    (3) : sanity
    - b: the sum of the intellectual powers
    - It makes perfect sense for Christians to be offended by reason; it's the antithesis of faith, and contradicts your entire belief system.

    It's not that your beliefs are simply different than ours. It's that you lie as a means to unfairly attack anyone who dares to suggest limits to your unjust, strangle-hold on OUR society... oh, and also that your beliefs are patently hateful, and objectively, morally, and factually wrong.

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  8. Thank you, 911 family, for offering your judgement. It's always nice to have someone around who can stand in judgement of others. Keep up the good work.

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  9. christians don't have a problem with atheist. christians have a problem with people going to hell. christians warn people and advise them to be saved out of love (granted there are some that are very hateful but they don't listen to God, they use God as a means to do what is in their hearts, which is to hate ) . If u don't want to be saved and send yourself to hell afterward, that is your problem. But we have a duty to tell others of the cost of sin. The bible offends people who are adamant in their negative ways of life. If your choice is to die that way so be it, But who are you to keep the word of God from being sent to those who actually want to be saved and have never heard it ? Often people say, well if God exists then why doesn't he prove he exists by doing so and so and letting my eyes witness it ? If you know anything of biblical history.. God allowed the jews to see touch and smell who he was, even at the time of exodus with pillars of fire and clouds... they themselves saw God and all he did and even then those that saw turned right around and worshiped a golden idol (which resulted in a division and death to those individuals). God knows that even if he shows himself to us its not enough (which really speaks volumes of the people). I know personally that he reveals himself to those that would actually accept him, and not to those who seeing still deny him and is actually a form of mercy to those people by not showing himself.. He loves you that much even though you hate him so, he still has mercy ... You say God is cruel and supports slavery and genocide ( just the fact that he is God is enough to justify his reasons) and yet so do you (but you have no right to ). Simply by not forgiving debts owed to you. The whole system of Government is a form of slavery and still you support that. you support genocide and famines by supporting wars which you call "JUST" and even by not helping to feed those that are hungry while you toss away food like garbage. Soon you will be supporting the hatred, incarceration and deaths of thousands of christians who will die for their faith brought upon by your type of intolerance.. you say you hate what "christians" do and yet you yourselves aren't any different. But you will support it because it benefits your sinful life and your perverted thoughts. Nobody is perfect and that is the point to the need of repentance and Gods love through Christ. But don't worry! SOON you will be filled with joy that you no longer have to listen to those pesky, annoying "self righteous" christians....But be warned there is something much worst to come. Even at the end God doesn't direct his anger at you but at the devil who took you, it just so happens that you decided to throw yourself in that same path and suffer with him.
    we at least know what is coming perhaps not perfectly as of yet, but do you ?


    begin hate speech and intolerances and roll your eyes while you still think nothing will happen...I know i did...
    \/ \/ \/

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    1. I, as an athiest have no more concern for your hell than I have for the boogey man. I'm more concerned for the very real consequences of homophobia and intolerance.The lack of reason and logic is abhorant to me and the decline of religion is to be welcomed with open arms and open minds!

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  10. In a way I disagree John Stalk...
    ... that religion and reason are opposites...

    I believe that reason is a product of God awareness (albeit perhaps not a product of religion in the extremely Orthodox sense ...I do agree that orthodox and dogmatic religion has often corrupted man's reason).

    But one has to differentiate between Orthodox religion then and a love for the creator and his creation.To be fair to those individuals (members of a religion or not) like myself who ,although not following any Orthodox religion ,still feel a sense of love and awe when seeing beautiful works of creation.

    I feel that when in a such a state of awe one's powers of reason are heightened as one feels how insignificant one is in relation to His creation.

    I reserve the right to feel this way at any time that inspiration 'strikes' and do not need to be told that believing in God is unreasonable or against reason.

    Humble rejoicing in the Creator (God) has been a true source of inspiration and a mainstay of many unknown and great philosophers,poets,artists and scientists.

    Just felt the need to defend my own viewpoint ...should you be implying that believing in the creator being is no longer fashionable/permissible!!!

    May much needed reason pervade all our minds here at this time on earth...
    Dave

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  11. You all seem to judge Jesus by Christians, who are human. Would you want to be judged only by how your children turned out, at one point in time, which may be when they have misbehaved?
    The proof will come when we die. If I'm right, I'm all set, as I have accepted Jesus as my savior and I'll be with Him in heaven, but most of you are in deep trouble (in hell). If I'm wrong, then we're all the same, nowhere. Many have closed their minds.....and will be sorry that they didn't search a little deeper. "More Than a Carpenter" is a good book.
    One more thing: We have a very nice neighbor who is a retired professor at SU. He has two sons, nice fellas. One of them dumped his wife and took up with his secretary (He's an attorney.), not what parents like to hear, considering the grandchildren. Our neighbor said said recently that his greatest regret in this life is that he never took his boys to church, so that they could make a choice of believing in God or not. This was a shocking statement from this man, who never had any interest in God in the 40 years I have known him. When one does not know what the choices are, ALL of them, there is no real choice Most of you who have commented seem like you don't know what the choices are. Maybe YOU are the ones with the closed minds. If you haven't read the bible you really do not know what you are against. Best wishes to you all.

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  12. What Americans almost never understand is that the Founding Fathers were mostly Deists, that is they believed in a non-involved God-entity. They were mostly NOT Christians at all - look it up - you are deluded if you think this country was 'based on the Christianity of the Founding Fathers' !!!!!!

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  13. I believe (not to disagree with Veronica) that more than half of the major founding fathers were free-masons of sorts.This would mean that they should recognize 'the great architect'.So at least they should have had some connection to conscience and the source of all intelligence ,perhaps, and they would therefore have made intelligent decisions (which they seem to have done in many instances).Just my five cents worth from distant South Africa.
    Dave

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  14. Bottom line: if you want your blog to get instant hits, make a post about religion in the US. Or gay people. Or even better, a combo. :P

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  15. I used to be an agnostic because of the evil in the world; after looking closer to the facts I have come to realize that the problem isn't God, but rather man's corruption of what God mad originally good, including the teachings of Jesus the Messiah, who was so kind that he gave up his own life in the stead of the evildoer who turns from his evil.

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  16. So are we simply here to go from birth, school, work and on to death? Or are we here for some PURPOSE. If so, then how can we scientifically discover our purpose? If there is nothing 'Spiritual' about us, does that make us a lost cause just living until our physical beings die and rot away? If so, why are we here? What is the use? Science experiments by Martian Aliens? lol

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