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The hilarious self-importance of Brannon Howse

In recent days, we’ve dealt with headier topics here (though no less incorrect) than one usually gets when responding to religious claims of one sort or another. But it’s been a long time since we’ve let our hair down, so to speak, and just smacked around some village idiots. So, in the spirit of mean-spirited fun, let us observe the recent inanities from Brannon Howse.

Howse is the big cheese over at the beyond-right-wing house of delusion known as the Christian Worldview Network. I get their e-newsletters, and trust me, a more delirious exercise in concatenated crazy you will not find outside Arkham Asylum. It’s Christianity stripped down to its ugliest, basest form: ignorance, fear, and paranoia ooze from its every pixel.

Recently, Howse wrapped up a nationwide church tour performing what he called “Code Blue Rallies,” in which he and a group of guest speakers basically got up behind a pulpit to display their tenuous grasp of reality in living color for all to see. The usual wackalunacy was trotted out: young-earth creationism, liberal bashing, you name it. If it’s on the McDonald’s menu of fundagelical stupidity, Howse served it up and super-sized it at his rallies.

One of these, at Birchman Baptist Church in Fort Worth (Howse skipped that liberal cesspit Austin), was attended by newspaper columnist Bud Kennedy, who wrote a mildly snarky and generally bemused piece on the surreal experience for the Star-Telegram.

Howse’s response to this was to go into full-on Christian persecution mode, whining on the radio show Crosstalk about how Kennedy’s little column was an especially egregious example of the “liberal media and their attempt to characterize and marginalize Christians.” Howse is mindful of the fact the Christian Worldview Network audience is made up of the sort of knuckleheads who move their lips when they read, and to whom the very word “liberal” is like Tard Kryptonite. So all he has to do is throw the L-word out, and he knows his audience’s reactionary prejudices will do the rest. Later, naturally, he decries the way the “liberal media” unfairly tries to portray Christians as fringe kooks by “taking their words out of context” and using buzzwords to play on anti-Christian prejudices. Gee, hypocrisy from a fundie? What will they think of next?

The comedy begins even before you play the radio show. In the CWN’s e-newsletter plugging this episode, Howse claims that Kennedy “slipped into” the rally — you know, like a commie spy or something. What he doesn’t mention is the fact these rallies were open to the public free of charge. Now, who needs to “slip into” a free, public, widely advertised event? I suspect Kennedy just, you know, walked through the frackin’ front door of the church like every other rube who went to that stupid thing. But Howse needs to give the impression Kennedy is a shady guy in general, so as to shore up his listeners’ fear of teh libruls. It may seem a trivially funny little detail, but when you consider how Howse spends his show taking almost every word of Kennedy’s column apart looking for distortions to be indignant over, it really underscores what a two-faced little prat Howse is, y’know?

Now keep something in mind: Kennedy’s article takes all of a minute and a half to read. Howse, in response, whines and snivels for a full 20 minutes on his radio show about how horribly Kennedy trashed him, and then he takes calls. (By the way, if you ever entertained the idea that fundamentalists can’t possibly be as stupid as they seem, you need to listen to a Christian radio show. Nowhere else will you hear scientific illiteracy and anti-intellectualism paraded as proudly, except perhaps at a “Code Blue Rally”.)

Kennedy certainly wasn’t kind, but the piece was hardly the vitriolic trashing Howse wants us to think it is. (Really, Brannon, if you want “mean-spirited”, hang out here for a week. We’ll put some piss in your peaches and cream, and no mistake!) Mostly, it was just making fun. Furthermore, Kennedy does not, anywhere in the article, “go after” Birchman or its pastor, Bob Pearle, for sponsoring the event, as Howse claims. Indeed, Kennedy quotes Pearle as being rather surprised at the contents of Howse’s presentation, and trying to distance himself from some of its dumber content. Howse puts Pearle on the show as a phone-in guest so that Pearle can backpedal from some of his statements to Kennedy as quoted in the article.

What follows is a hilarious back-and-forth in which Howse and Pearle essentially give each other emergency hugs to reassure themselves both of their victimhood and the fact that these evil liberal newspapers that keep “blindsiding” them and “bashing Christians” are doomed. They gloat a bit about how the Star-Telegram is facing cutbacks and losing sales. It’s a claim not confirmed, of course, but assuming it’s entirely true, I’d suspect the reason for the paper’s recent hard times is less due to their supposed Christian-bashing (just how many editorials in the last year, I wonder, were explicitly designed to mock religion?) than to the same economic crises plaguing, oh, the entire globe. A legacy bequeathed us, by the way, by a conservative Christian president and his policies.

Moreover, what’s funny about Howse’s whinefest is the way Howse implies that anyone criticizing him is criticizing all Christians and all Christianity. He, Howse, is Christianity, he seems to want us to think. Howse turns anal-retention into an art form as he deconstructs Kennedy’s trifling little column sentence-by-sentence, pouncing on even the tiniest point as an example of Kennedy’s sinister Christian-hating ways. Of the passage where Kennedy notes, “Howse has also openly criticized California Pastor Rick Warren,” Howse huffs and puffs in practiced indignation. Did I say a word about Rick Warren that whole evening? he pointedly demands. Maybe not, Brannon, but Kennedy didn’t specify that, only that you have attacked Warren before. (Not something I’d disagree with, but your brand of freeze-dried heat-and-serve moronity is no better.) I know, I get your e-newsletters, and I’ve seen the anti-Warren headlines.

But mainly, all one can say in response to Howse’s show is, “Dude, get over yourself.” In Howse’s mind, even the slightest criticism equates to intimidation and a desire to silence. If even the tiniest and most insignificant little column like this can get your knickers in a twist, and become the kind of thing you need to blow up into some kind of pretend national scandal, claiming that it’s an attempt to “silence and intimidate” Christians everywhere when all it does is poke fun at your stupid rally, then frankly, you have serious self-importance issues to deal with. Again, the strains of Todd Rundgren’s “God Said” come back to me: “Just get over, get over, get over, get over yourself…”

Howse, who won’t be satisfied until blood is spilled, apparently (and that’s exactly the kind of metaphor his little mind would take 100% literally), gave his listeners both Kennedy’s email and his editors’. I’ll give them to you too, so you can drop them a line. Kennedy, to tell him thanks for the laughs, and to keep it up. And the editors’, so you can tell him how good you think Kennedy is.

[email protected]
Publisher Gary Wortel: [email protected]
Executive editor Jim Witt: [email protected]
Editorial director Paul Harral: [email protected]

Comments

  1. says

    The little creationist advertisement interrupting the broadcast is so frigging funny I can’t believe its not satire. Squirrels running across the road and getting hit by cars is claimed as a trait of evolution. And doesn’t creationism make so much more sense. So God making squirrels run across roads to their death is far more sensible. Truly classic.

  2. says

    Oh, yeah, Howse’s show-length rant was a centerpiece of The Day When All the Fundies Made Fools of Themselves for My Entertainment. I kept laughing out loud while listening to him.I haven’t listened to the next show, in which he apparently continues the tirade.And yeah, I dropped Kennedy a line saying that his column sounds like stuff Howse could very plausibly have said, and got a nice “thank you” in response.If even the tiniest and most insignificant little column like this can get your knickers in a twist, and become the kind of thing you need to blow up into some kind of pretend national scandal, [...] then frankly, you have serious self-importance issues to deal with.Speaking of which, BillDo has released the 2008 Report on Anti-Catholic Effrontery or something like that, which includes a special section on PZ throwing some bread in the trash.

  3. says

    I love your work, and your tv show. Please keep it up, its about time atheists had some good representation. Now all we need is some damn good lobbyists to finally seperate church and state. Keep doubting!!

  4. says

    >ignorance, fear, and paranoia ooze from its every pixel.I get the newsletter as well. And I'm generally stunned at how much fear–not just in this group, but many Christian groups–pervades their thinking. For people who claim to have found peace and happiness and truth…I mean, I just have trouble seeing how prevading, scathing "fear" fits into that scenario of "perfect peace"…?I have seen the fear in a fundie. They have a concept of forgiveness, but it's intertwined with a concept that god is unyeilding and demands perfection. I will never forget seeing a dying fundamentalist woman I knew, who was a saint by anyone's standards, confiding in me that she was worried that she wouldn't be deemed worthy or good enough. At the time I was a believer and I said that if she couldn't get into heaven, none of the rest of us could, either. But I don't know how helpful that was for her.What if I didn't interpret some relevant passage right? What if Jesus expected something I didn't clue into? What if I wasn't as right with god as I thought I was? After all–look at all those "wrong" Christians…? What if _I'm_ a wrong Christian?This is one of those things inside fundies that you will rarely hear expressed–doubts about whether or not they're doing everything god expects them to do to get them into heaven.I remember one woman, an ex-JW, now Baptist, who will say she doesn't know what a person needs to do to be saved. I had asked her if gays were going to heaven–she said it was up to god, and she couldn't judge. But obviously, she seems compelled to attend church and pray and engage in other such ritual behavior. Why? And if you think there is a "saved" and "unsaved" state–and you're aren't sure what it takes to know you're "saved"–and despite all you could possibly do to be 'good enough' you never can be–and it's just sort of up to god's mercy and discretion–which is pretty damn fickle as described in the holy texts…How can you _not_ be living in fear?

  5. says

    tracieh, would you agree that this is partly a manifestation of low self-esteem, reinforced by generations of physical and mental abuse? I understand it’s rampant in the evangelical world.God becomes a projection of the abusive parent – and you can never be good enough. The gist of fundie theology is that he’ll grudgingly spare you from eternal damnation – but he’s really none too happy about it.

  6. says

    tracieh:By an amusing coincidence, the next message in my mailbox after your comment about fundies and fear was Brannon Howse’s newsletter, which included a link to an article by Chuck Missler called Driving Away Fear.(And just to save everyone some reading, it doesn’t seem worth reading. It just boils down to “don’t be afraid. Have faith in God.”)

  7. says

    None of you truly understand anything about Fundamental Christianity. You are latching on the word Fundamental and using it like a club. It only means we believe the basics about Christianity. Lombardi was a fundamental Football coach. Now having said that, within Fundamental Christianity there are wide and varied beliefs. For example-not all Fundamentals agree on “speaking in tongues”, nor do we agree on creation. But don’t assume all Fundamental hristians are Stupid–DJ Kennedy had like 12 earned Doctorates, then you have others like Ravi Zacharias, and more famously CS Lewis–incredible intellectual giants.Dr. Andrew J. Hammack

  8. says

    "Intellectual giants". Please. To my knowledge, most of Kennedy's degrees were honorary, and from Christian universities at that. Zacharias is a hack. And Lewis – he was an English Lit professor who took up apologetics as a sideline, giving public talks to working class Brits. His arguments are simplistic and easily refuted, and in any case, it's beyond ridiculous that you people have adopted him posthumously as one of your own. He was a Christian; I'm not even sure he'd qualify today as "conservative", let alone a fundamentalist. He wouldn't have given you the time of day.And I don't give a rat's ass about the different flavors of your subculture; you all think we're going to hell. That is all I need to know. As far as I am concerned, in adopting that belief you've separated yourself from the rest of the human family, and you've done it for the most appallingly selfish of reasons – so that you can have the security blanket of belief for the few brief decades you're alive.I assume this is you: http://www.fbcwr.com/templates/System/details.asp?id=36111&PID=484199. Looks as though we have another Jim Bob Duggar, ladies and gentlemen.

  9. says

    I keep hearing people refer to CS Lewis as if he were some sort of apologetics genius. And yet, every time I read him, his arguments are full of holes and don’t stand up to scrutiny.Why is that?

  10. says

    I keep hearing people refer to CS Lewis as if he were some sort of apologetics genius. And yet, every time I read him, his arguments are full of holes and don’t stand up to scrutiny.Why is that?It’s very simple – anyone who tells them what they want to hear is right. Anyone who tells them what they don’t want to hear is wrong.

  11. says

    Cipher,Please define fundamentalist for me. By our definition Lewis most definately was, Kennedy earned most of his degrees and so what if they came from Christian colleges, and Zacharias a hack? please, have you even bothered to listen to any of his debates with philosophy profs? And as far as the comment about who we approve of, well that obviously goes both ways now doesn’t it? And yes, I have 12 children but will never match the Duggers–don’t have the biological time–no multiple births for us and I assume started later. And yes, we do believe that anyone who doen’t accept Christ as their Savior will suffer the consequences of their choice. Did I miss anything? If so, respond and I will reply–I am not scared, intimidated, nor cowed by liberals or athiests–it’s easy to tell someone what you don’t believe in. After all, I don’t believe in little green men from Mars!

  12. says

    And yes, we do believe that anyone who doen’t accept Christ as their Savior will suffer the consequences of their choice. Fuck you, you miserable excuse for a human being. Go thump a Bible.

  13. says

    Andrew:anyone who doen’t accept Christ as their Savior will suffer the consequences of their choice.I find it interesting that you wrote “suffer the consequences” rather than “burn in Hell”. The way it comes across is that you think we’ll be tortured for ever and ever, but you don’t want to say that, presumably because your basic humanity and compassion prevents you from wishing that on anyone.So to take a page from Jeff Dee, are you okay with God throwing people in hell to be tortured forever, without even the relief of death? If God said he was building a new universe, and asked you your opinion on whether that universe should have a hell, what would you say?

  14. says

    And could you accept little green men as your savior, if people kept telling you their favorite book was condemning you to hell for not doing so? Of course not, because that would be ridiculous, right? :P

  15. Martin says

    Settle down, Cipher. He’s the one who has to live with those appalling beliefs, not you. Consider yourself lucky.Having read DJ Kennedy’s attempt at apologetics Skeptics Answered, I must say that his multiple degrees, however many he had, did not render him capable of delivering a sound defense of his faith, let alone an honest one, as he opens the book with an absurd attempt to redefine the very word skepticism in such a way as to make it friendlier to theistic belief. Here’s part of an unfinished critique if the book I’ve begun.Speaking for myself, I’ve not been impressed by the people Christianity trots out as “intellectual giants.” And any God who would make you suffer “consequences” (read “eternal torture”) for not worshiping him to his satisfaction is evil by definition, full stop.

  16. says

    Wow, nobody bothered telling me what their def. of fundamentleism is? Wonder why? Now how many of you Atheists are up to my challenge–Are you really atheists? Want to find out? Let me know!

  17. says

    I really don’t have a problem with God keeping His Word in the matter, especially after, at His expense, provided a way for all men to escape Hell, accept His gift of sacrifice on your behalf, and that’s it. Now come on is it really this difficult. As Jesus asked Paul–“How long are you going to fight the ox-goads.

  18. says

    Believe it or not Martin, Thank you! I will purchase that book and check his statements out! I will admit if they don’t hold water! Many of us are appalled at weak arguements and poor defense of the faith. But, we play the hand we are dealt, right? I have met and debated my fair share of weak liberals as well through the years, but try not to lump all that way

  19. says

    Martin,I read your criticism of DJK’s book and actually enjoyed most of your writing. Thanks for helping me not buy the book! However, did you cover it all or just the easiest to refute? Just asking. I do agree with you on most points, although what I see from archeology supports the Bible, not the other way around. We can keep this up ad-infinaetum but at the end of the day neither will convince the other. As for the reality of Christianity I can really only point to changed lives as evidence to it’s reality and effectiveness. Unfortunately, we have had our fair share of miscreats and jerks who give us a black eye, but we also (at least we Southern Baptists) are first on the site of a disaster to help provide relief.

  20. Martin says

    Andrew: Well, DJK’s whole book is pretty lousy. What happened is I just started the critique, meaning to go chapter by chapter, and then real life intruded and I never finished. I still might someday.I agree archaeology does lend credence to some of the history in the Bible, though not all. (For instance, we have evidence of the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, but none for the Egyptian Exodus.) I thought The Bible Unearthed was a really good, non-partisan (so to speak) examination of the whole subject of archaeology and the Bible.

  21. says

    “How long are you going to fight the ox-goads.”When there doesn’t appear to be any evidence that they exist? Or at best, are self-imposed? From that point of view, it’s no struggle at all.

  22. says

    Andrew:In addition to what Martin said, there’s also the Spiderman argument: you can pick up an issue or twelve of Spiderman comics, and go to New York and match up a lot of the buildings and landmarks in the comic to real places. But that doesn’t mean that Spiderman is real. Likewise, the fact that archeology confirms a lot of the mundane events in the Bible — kings, wars, cities, and so forth — doesn’t mean that the fantastical stories in it are true.we also (at least we Southern Baptists) are first on the site of a disaster to help provide relief.How do you know? Or do you mean that Southern Baptists are the first people on the spot who advertise their religious affiliation?I ask in part because I just had dinner with an atheist who’s also a regional director for FEMA, a career that he chose so that he could help people in need.

  23. says

    Andrew:That’s nothing. Google shows over 2 million sites dealing with evidence of astrology. And almost 400,000 sites have the phrase “Elvis lives”. There’s a reason why argumentum ad Google is a logical fallacy.But perhaps you’ll be kind enough to read some of the sites you mentioned, and show us some of the evidence for the Exodus. How about an Egyptian census, showing a large Hebrew population? Or a letter from a landowner to the tax authority explaining that his harvest is bad because his workforce buggered off one day. How about a geologic layer showing that the Nile ran blood one day not too long ago? Or mass graves to bury the first-born in every major Egyptian city?How about campfires, cesspits, and garbage dumps showing a Hebrew presence in Egypt and the Sinai peninsula? Got anything like that? Or do you just have references to people talking about the alleged exodus?

  24. says

    How about Hyroglphics in Egyptian pyramids describing Joseph and the Hebrew prescence? Bth the University of Pennsylvania Museum as well as the New York City Museum of Art has extensive evidence of the Exodus from Egyptian archeological digs, any questions? I do find it interesting the Egyptians considered the exodus a great military victory to explain all the slaves just walking out-but hey whatever to save face.because the Red Cross says we are first on site! Our kitchens are on site waiting for their trucks! Director of FEMA–did his job at Katrina didn’t he?–sorry-couldn’t resist

  25. says

    Ed Babinski has already done the legwork.Fundies – over a century of careful, meticulous, painstaking research on fossils, geological strata and DNA isn’t good enough for them. But let someone throw a steering wheel overboard and snap a picture of it – “That’s enough for me; I’m convinced!”

  26. says

    Ok, I will give in on the chariot wheel, but what of the bones as well as the two museums–Now I believe (whoops–bad word, I know) that there is a fair amount of seeing what we want to see going on on both sides of this issue–anyone man or woman enough to meet me in the middle?Now as for my question for you–In the world of knowledge, what percentage of total knowledge do you know? In other words, out of everything that is possible to be known, what percentage do you admit to knowing? please be serious.

  27. says

    Andrew:How about Hyroglphics in Egyptian pyramids describing Joseph and the Hebrew prescence?Yes, that’s the sort of thing I’m talking about. Do such hieroglyphics exist? If so, can you please provide some references?This sort of thing would be of great interest to scholars, so there should be articles about them in historical and archeological peer-reviewed journals. Could you provide references to a few of these, please, so I can look them up at my local university library?Thanks,

  28. says

    Very little, personally. But when there is evidence available, and it’s been widely reviewed and verified (unlike the Red Sea finds), and it tends to support a scientific theory, why throw it out in favor of theories that either cannot be verified at all, or are “supported” by questionable evidence (the sort of hoaxes offered by people like Ron Wyatt, whom even the apologists have debunked repeatedly), and only after you’ve thrown out or ignored all other reasonable explanations?Do you have a non-circular way (ie not referring to your particular favorite religious text) of verifying that your particular interpretation of a supposed supernatural world is correct, given the thousands of alternate (and conflicting) supernatural explanations we could imagine for things in this universe? Given that any number of supernatural explanations *could* be correct but are not verifiable, why is any one of them better than any others? Why not just admit you *don’t* understand a lot of what’s in the universe, hope that someday more or if will be understood the more we study it, and reject (or at least treat skeptically) claims that can’t be verified independently?

  29. says

    Andrew:out of everything that is possible to be known, what percentage do you admit to knowing?Ooh, I know this!This is the bit where I say “some small fraction of one percent”, and then you say “so isn’t it possible that God is hiding in the other 99+% percent of all possible knowledge?” and then I point out that you also don’t know more than 1% of everything, and ask “so isn’t it possible that Bigfoot, fairies, Xenu, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster are hiding in the other 99% of all knowledge?” and then, hopefully, you realize that it’s a crap argument.please be serious.No. Silly questions deserve silly answers.

  30. says

    No, not silly! I will admit that it is possible that all those exist somewhere but that is not the point! The point is, that you must (and have, I might point out) admit the possibility of a God and by doing so have shown you are no true athiest-as by definition an athiest says he/she knows in fact there is no God, which I have proven to be an impossible position! You guys really have more faith and depend on more faith than we do!

  31. says

    epe–I have no problem with skeptics–I have no problems with those who question–hey, I question my beliefs all the time! and have changed through the years–I do however have a problem with those who call names, make fun of, and really have no desire to seek truth-no matter who they are! I really have appreciated most all of the discussion on here–ya’ll have made me think and research in ways I haven’t done (to my chagrin) in ages. I dislike the hoaxes and garbage as much or more than you. But I just want someone to agree it goes both ways-we don’t have the monopoly in this area

  32. Martin says

    as by definition an athiest says he/she knows in fact there is no God, which I have proven to be an impossible position! You guys really have more faith and depend on more faith than we do!Andrew, you should have had it pointed out to you by now that this is just about the lamest straw man that Christians trot out, and any repeating of it will likely find you thrown into the moderation “time out” corner. Atheists do not claim to “know in fact” there is no god, unless, of course, that god is defined by its believers in an internally contradictory and logically impossible way. For example, the Christian God is impossible, as it is defined as both omniscient and omnipotent. Not only do those two attributes contradict one another, but omnipotence contradicts itself. Thus no Christian God, QED.However, we don’t deny that anything which could possibly be called a god could possibly exist. A person who says he worships the sun has a “god” I am willing to admit exists, though I would disagree with his belief that the sun has any godlike powers. At the same time, though, being willing to admit that a god could exist does not mean that we aren’t really atheists either. I’m willing to admit unicorns could exist. But without any evidence to support their existence, I continue to disbelieve in unicorns, just as I continue to disbelieve in gods. Does it require tremendous amounts of “faith” for me not to believe in unicorns? Of course not, and hopefully the stupidity of asserting it does is self-evident.Hopefully this has helped to screw your head on straight regarding your misconceptions, and we won’t see a repeat of the above-quoted inanity here.

  33. says

    Actually, it’s pretty silly to use an argument like ‘you guys aren’t really atheists’ when you’re just arguing semantics. What you’re really saying is that we’re not all gnostic atheists; that is, we don’t *know* there is no god. Nobody’s arguing that with you (or at least I assume most are not). Gnosticism isn’t a degree of theism; it’s orthogonal to it. Therefore being an agnostic atheist isn’t a contradiction in terms, it’s a statement of two separate things–knowledge and belief. I don’t *know* there’s no god, but with so little evidence to back it up, what’s the point in believing in one any more than I’d believe in any other supernatural thing? You yourself acknowledged that all those other supernatural things *could* exist. Do you stay up nights hoping you’re not wrong about Allah, unicorns, or the FSM? Does the possible existence of any of them make one single iota of difference as far as how you live your life? Do you have huge amounts of faith in order not to believe in any of them? You’ve just chosen to be an atheist about all but your own chosen god. It’s not a huge leap of faith to go one more; in fact, to me it feels like a more reasonable default.

  34. says

    Andrew:In the future, before you come presenting any apologetic arguments, could you please head over to Iron Chariots and make sure they haven’t been thoroughly shredded already? I’m sure none of us enjoy rehashing PRATTs.BTW, have you had a chance to find references to those hieroglyphics you mentioned? Or did you concede them, along with Ron Wyatt’s chariot wheels?

  35. says

    First, no I haven't given up on the evidence-just looking for evidence you will accept, second, just because I allow for the possibility doesn't mean I belive they actually exist. Third, Athiest-please define for me. My understanding is A=no thiest=God, am I wrong? Is Webster's wrong? I'm open, I've tried to be concillatory & complementery–you guys are getting nasty, Am I getting under your skin. I mean talking about being moderated out, being called basically stupid, consistently called a "fundie", I have always been told that people resort to name-calling when they know their debating stance to be weak. Ala liberals calling Rush Limbaugh fat when he hasn't been fat in over 5 years-his pictures prove the man lost a tremendous amount of weight but hey when you are going up against the evidence that Reagonomics works you use what you have left–but I am drifting way off subject–Did I miss anything-let me know! Basically for Joseph-It appears he was called Imhotep in hyroglypics Egyptian 2nd in command who lived 110 years married into egyptian priestly family oversaw 7 yrs plenty followed by 7 years famine lowered taxes in egypt in order to increase production as well as about 15 other traits in common–too many to be coincidence Egypt's history doesn't mention multiple 7/7 cycles and Imhotep and Joseph both mean the same in their respective languages. Once again, Thank you for keeping me on my toes–And other than the above challenged discussions, I'm not argueing just for Jehovah–Ya'll are saying no God period. As Adrian Rgers said, you had better be right. Finally how is omniscience and omnipotent contradictory, please explain to your student

  36. says

    As far as Bigfoot, the FSM and unicorns, fairies, and the like couldn’t care less if they exist or not–Allah–well the Muslims are just wrong about Jehovah–Mohammed was misled. Their Father Abraham didn’t worship Allah–not even Mohammed tried to say that! so no not worried about that either. And hey I will look up that website, thanks!

  37. says

    Just looked at that website–and you call my arguements lame, pleaseThe evidence for the universe not being more than 10,000 years old is that we can see stars farthur away–please, not much of a God, who at creation couldn’t create light already in transit. And as far as some of the other so-called contradictions–we do believe in intercessary prayer-we do believe we interact. As His Word says, He chose the foolish things of this world to confound the wise

  38. Martin says

    I have always been told that people resort to name-calling when they know their debating stance to be weak.And sometimes they resort to name calling when the other person deserves it.I actually don’t think you’ve been a bad guy in our experience of Christian commenters, Andrew. But you’ll find few atheist bloggers have much tolerance for Christians turning up and trotting out tired stereotypes and misconceptions about atheists that have been corrected multiple times before. I only ask you to practice a certain baseline of intellectual integrity if you want to talk to us.…please, not much of a God, who at creation couldn’t create light already in transit.And he would need to do this…why? He intends to deceive humanity regarding the age of the universe? To what end? Think about the position you’ve chosen to adopt here, Andrew, and be prepared to defend it, because the other commenters here are going to hammer you on it, and deservedly so. To wit: your only alternative explanation for the scientific evidence regarding the age of the universe is to claim, flatly, that God is lying to us.That is your position, as stated. Are you sure you want it to be? Because you have your work cut out for you to defend it now. Good luck.As His Word says, He chose the foolish things of this world to confound the wiseSo you admit you worship a God you know is a liar and deceiver. That’s odd. Not a terribly good case you’re making for him, or for Christianity, there, Andrew. You’ve backed yourself into an unenviable corner here.

  39. says

    So the alternatives are, we can assume the universe is actually as old as it appears, or that it’s actually on the order of ten thousand years old and that god is lying to us? And your justification for this is that we should ignore the evidence because someone counted back generations in the bible? Forgive me if it seems as if you’re trying to distort the evidence to fit a preconceived notion. Why is physical evidence cause for skepticism, but not the bible itself, or at least the interpretation that leads you to think the universe is ~10,000 years old? ‘Atheist’ definition:Please review this page for a discussion of atheism vs. agnosticism: http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Atheist_vs._agnosticThe online Websters says:http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Atheist‘: one who believes that there is no deity’In other words, a statement of belief, not of absolute knowledge (which would be gnosticism).Imhotep as Joseph: references from peer reviewed journals please. So far it looks like assertion with no backup. cipher has already posted an article that describes the problems with this theory:From http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2008/05/coming-this-fall-exodus-conspiracy-dr.html :’Joseph, son of Jacob, is identical with Imhotep, the architect of the Stepped Pyramid at Saqqara. This identification moves the Third Dynasty a thousand years forward in time from its accepted date.”you had better be right’ is the very tired Pascal’s wager. If you’re proposing a very generic god and claiming it doesn’t really matter which one you pick, what possible reason does anyone have to pick any given one, given that each religion lays out different (and conflicting) requirements for their gods, and very few of them (over the course of history) have mandated hell for nonbelievers or paradise for believers. Although you claim not to be rooting for Jehovah in this argument, why had I ‘better be right’ unless you’re imagining a god that has hell in store for nonbelievers? In other words, if you’re not losing sleep over the alternatives because you think their doctrines are incorrect, why should I do so over Jehovah unless I’ve already got the preconceived notion that the bible is the correct interpretation of the nature of god?

  40. says

    Andrew:My understanding is A=no thiest=God, am I wrong?A theist is someone who thinks there’s one or more gods. Sticking A=no in front of that gives “atheist”, i.e., not someone who thinks there’s one or more gods.we do believe in intercessary prayer-we do believe we interact.Then why are there no properly-conducted scientific studies that show that intercessory prayer has an effect?He chose the foolish things of this world to confound the wiseSo God is a liar?

  41. says

    Andrew:Basically for Joseph-It appears he was called Imhotep in hyroglypics Egyptian 2nd in command who lived 110 years married into egyptian priestly family oversaw 7 yrs plenty followed by 7 years famine lowered taxes in egypt in order to increase production as well as about 15 other traits in common–too many to be coincidenceYou’ll want to be careful with these sorts of comparisons. For one thing, there are an awful lot of common points the story of Noah’s ark and a similar episode in the Gilgamesh epic, as well as others that predate Genesis.Secondly, I was able, without too much trouble, to find a number of similarities between Star Wars and Lord of the Rings:1. Young naive hero discovers the world outside his rural home (Luke/Frodo).2. Hero is an orphan (Luke/Frodo).3. Wise old mentor with magic powers (Obi-Wan/Gandalf).4. … that he uses sparingly.5. … and is much more powerful than the hero ever suspected.6. The rogue with a suspicious past who joins the heroes (Han/Strider).7. Faceless enemy (Darth Vader/Sauron).8. The enemy’s power concentrated in one spot (Death Star/Ring).9. The hero defeats the enemy in a solitary mission against great odds (raid on Death Star/Cracks of Doom).10. To defeat the enemy, the good guys have to enter the enemy’s stronghold (Death Star/Mordor).11. … with the help of his loyal sidekick (R2-D2/Sam).12. Wise mentor dies battling the enemy (Obi-Wan and Vader/Gandalf in Moria)13. … so that his companions might escape.14. The enemy pursues the heroes to take something back from them (Death Star plans/Ring).15. The heroes journey to an intermediate point to find out what to do with the artifact (taking plans to Alderaan/meeting in Rivendell).16. Sexual tension between the rogue character and a princess (Han+Leia/Aragorn+Eowyn).17. The heroes start out as a small band led by the wise magician, before joining up with a larger army (Luke, Obi-Wan et al.+Rebel Alliance/Fellowship of the Ring+Alliance of Gondor and Rohan).18. The rogue saves the day at the end with a well-timed appearance on the field of battle (Han flying out of the sun/Aragorn bringing the army of the dead).So the fact that two stories have similarities does not mean that either one of them is true. The existence of Romeo and Juliet does not mean that the events in West Side Story took place.What would be more impressive is if you could find some evidence that the Joseph/Imhotep story actually took place. Archeologists have been able to learn a lot about ancient people’s diet by examining the contents of septic dumps, so it might be possible to find evidence of seven fat years followed by seven lean years. Feces can also be carbon-dated, giving an absolute date when they were produced.Historical stories can also be given absolute dates: if a story says that in the 6th year of Bob the Pharaoh’s reign, there was a solar eclipse, astronomers can figure out when that happened, and archeologists can use that to date any story that has “in the nth year of Bob the Pharaoh’s reign”. So you want the Imhotep story to be dated from before the seven fat years.Ya’ll are saying no God period. As Adrian Rgers said, you had better be right.Ah, yes, the threats. Sooner or later, in every conversation like this one, the theist eventually resorts to thinly-veiled threats.Finally how is omniscience and omnipotent contradictory, please explain to your studentPresumably God’s omniscience includes knowledge of the future. Let’s say, then, that he knows with 100% certainty that he’ll have corn flakes for breakfast tomorrow. That means that there is 0% chance that he’ll have a muffin. Or, more generally, God is incapable of doing anything other than the things he already knows that he’ll do.liberals calling Rush Limbaugh fat when he hasn’t been fat in over 5 yearsUm… what planet are you living on?evidence that Reagonomics worksReaganomics works? And there’s evidence for this? When did this happen? Why didn’t anyone tell me?

  42. says

    I’m outta here! Ya’ll are living in the land of delusion and I can’t help! You asked for hyroglyphics, I gave, you wouldn’t accept! Now you even question the unquestionable largest peacetime expansion of the GDP in history! Dear God, sorry!, even Bill Clinton knew it worked as he benefited from it. JFK used it in his administration, but Reagan got stuck with the name–you want to grow the economy–lower taxes, more government revenue from expanded economy–ECONOMICS 101

  43. says

    You gave unreferenced assertions of interpretations of hieroglyphs which were already pointed out to be problematic at best, and vague references to ‘museums’ as if the fact that they have Egyptian collections means they are all proclaiming they have literal proof that Joseph existed (which would not be a huge stretch, even if it turned out to be true) and therefore God parted the Red Sea (which is a pretty big stretch).Worse, you seem to think that if there were evidence of the existence of people or places mentioned in the bible, that means that the supernatural events depicted are all literally true as well. It’s like reading the Iliad and thinking that, because Schliemann found Troy, the Greek gods must have existed and participated in the events that caused its destruction; or reading the Odyssey and thinking a shipwreck found in a certain strait in the Mediterranean must have meant Scylla or Charybdis caused it; as if there were not any more likely explanations. Given the great amount of time, we will never know exactly how certain events played out, but given two explanations, one that involves supernatural explanations and one that involves natural ones, I’ll take the natural ones. ‘Goddidit’ is a cop-out for people who aren’t comfortable with not knowing exactly everything about the universe right now. Again, why the skepticism about scientific conclusions, but not about biblical ones?

  44. says

    Andrew:You asked for hyroglyphics, I gaveActually, no: you claimed that such hieroglyphics (note spelling) exist at the U. Penn. museum and NYC Museum of Art, but you didn’t give any kind of reference that can be easily followed.We (skeptics) aren’t going to accept your claims just based on your say-so. This isn’t personal; we don’t (or try not to) accept anyone’s claims just on their say-so. So when you make a controversial claim, we expect you to back it up with evidence. This is the equivalent to showing your work in math homework: an invitation to people to make sure that your claims are founded in reality, and that your sources and premises support your conclusions.What are we suppoed to do with the vague “references” you gave? Scour the U. Penn. holdings ourselves, looking for anything that might match the description you gave?A good reference is one that points to the relevant information as precisely as possible, one that can be checked with a minimum of effort. For journals, this should include the volume, issue, and page numbers. On the web, you can provide URLs (I notice that you haven’t provided a single URL in any of your comments here; maybe you didn’t know that this is possible, even though several other people have done so. Now you know).Yes, this is more work, but it’s amazing how much more persuasive one’s argument becomes when one refers to supporting evidence.

  45. says

    Hey, I’m not the one questioning here. The museums I mentioned all are secular or governmental-not christian, so if they claim to have proof, which they do, I would think you would be more likely to believe. I only gave what you asked for. I never claimed that the existence of Joseph proves the parting of the Red sea—two distant and unrelated parts of the Bible. I have heard some skeptics say the parting of the red sea could be explained by a weather phenom in the Med. I don’t have a problem with that as I believe God works through natural laws and occurances. Besides, if nothing else, ya’ll have proved two Scripture verses to be true!

  46. says

    And as far as my skepticism–science has been proven wrong time and time again while the Bible has never been proven wrong even once!

  47. says

    “so if they claim to have proof, which they do,”You haven’t even provided one reference to show that they’re making this claim. All we have is your assertion that they have done so. “I would think you would be more likely to believe.”Believe what? Your unreferenced claims that some secular museums have said this?”I only gave what you asked for.”Actually, you haven’t provided *anything* so far as I can tell, other than hearsay. “I never claimed that the existence of Joseph proves the parting of the Red sea—two distant and unrelated parts of the Bible. “You’re the one that attempted to connect the dots back from ‘God drowning Pharoh’s army’ back to Exodus back to Jews being in Egypt at all. So are you admitting there is no evidence at all that supports the supernatural aspects of the stories? “I have heard some skeptics say the parting of the red sea could be explained by a weather phenom in the Med. I don’t have a problem with that as I believe God works through natural laws and occurances.”If you have natural explanations for these things, why the need to overlay a supernatural explanation? Do you require Jehovah throwing thunderbolts every time there’s a storm? Angels holding you to the floor? “Besides, if nothing else, ya’ll have proved two Scripture verses to be true!”Actually, nobody has proved *anything* at this point. The supposition that Imhotep was Joseph was entirely unsupported by you, and the Red Sea story was badly supported (and unsupported so far as linking it to the biblical account). The argument I was making was that *even if* such things were proved (which they don’t seem to be), it does not support a supernatural explanation for any of those events. “And as far as my skepticism–science has been proven wrong time and time again while the Bible has never been proven wrong even once!”There are too many instances of inconsistencies, errors, and outright lies to even go into in a blog comment.Even where it hasn’t been proven wrong, where is the evidence that the supernatural events depicted *did* happen? Or if they occurred in a natural fashion as you suggest, that they had anything at all to do with the christian god?

  48. says

    Andrew:I’m not the one questioning here.I think that may be part of the problem. I find that questioning stuff leads to believing fewer things that aren’t true. YMMV.if they claim to have proof, which they doCould you please provide some evidence of this?the Bible has never been proven wrong even once!Would you care to produce a four-legged grasshopper or a bat that’s also a bird? Perhaps you can point to someone who has moved a mountain through faith or explain why there are earthquakes, diseases, poverty, and Marilyn Manson albums when all it takes is two people praying to prevent that sort of thing. Perhaps you can give us the geographical coordinates of that mountain from which all the kingdoms of the world can be seen.But perhaps that’s not what you meant. Perhaps you were in a hurry and wrote “the Bible has never been proven wrong even once” when you meant to say something that isn’t laughably wrong. Would you like to have another go at it?

  49. says

    Not to get back to the original topic or anything, but I wanted to share this excerpt from Howse’s description of today’s show:Topic Ten: Guest: Dr. Judith Reisman speaks out on the politically incorrect truth about the homosexual Nazis that killed Christians, Jews and blacks. The Gay mafia wants to re-write history and make themselves out to be the victims when they were the victimizers. Dr. Reisman is a member of the International Committee on Holocaust Truth and she will set the record straight. Even the military channel recently reported that Hitlers body guards were known homosexuals who showed off their boyfriends pictures to each other. Learn the truth behind the Night of the Long Knives. Can we expect the radical homosexuals in America to be involved in the increasing persecution of Christians as they were in Germany?

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