Open thread on AETV #832: Indoctrination »« World History Text Mentions Islam—Florida’s Christian Right Shits Itself

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  1. tosspotovich says

    I haven’t seen the episode yet but I hope someone alluded to the Douglas Adams reference:
    “Oolon Colluphid’s trilogy of philosophical blockbusters Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God’s Greatest Mistakes and Who is this God Person Anyway?”

  2. says

    Concerning the caller who visits death row inmates, she could just explain to them how their beliefs get them off the hook. That could be comforting to them. For a christian inmate, for example, she could say something like:

    “I don’t personally share your beliefs, but you can take comfort knowing that the bible says that you are saved according to your faith, not your deeds on earth.”

    Basically it allows her to remind them of the comforting lie offered by their faith without personally endorsing those beliefs.

    Just an idea.

  3. John Kruger says

    There are some comforting atheist messages that might be conveyed. There is no hell or retribution, so being dead will be about as unpleasant as not yet being born was.

    Not really sure why the state would do anything more than allow people to meet with whatever type of counselor the condemned might want, religious or otherwise. I would not want the caller to out themselves against their wishes, but I am very curious how one gets into the position of comforting those who are going to be executed without a specific request from the said condemned. Heck, if they want solace from a Catholic priest, get them one, not a secular poser. If prisoners want religious solace and one is uncomfortable giving it, just get them someone else who is not.

  4. fredericksparks says

    I hope Derek from Philadelphia checks the blog. First, I’d like the recommend Black Skeptics (http://freethoughtblogs.com/blackskeptics) right here at FTB. Also, though I am not specifically aware of a black skeptic/atheist group in Philadelphia, there are FB groups that may allow Derek to connect to other blakc atheists, including Black Atheists and Black Nonbelievers. These are closed FB groups, so posts and comments can only be seen by group members

  5. Karl says

    I think you are missing an important part of the Adam and Eve story. Adam and Eve never disobeyed God, never ate that fruit, until GOD LET THE SERPENT IN. Since they were apparently immortal, they may have resided for millions, billions of years in that garden with no sin. Just Adam, Eve, and God. Could have been billions of years, maybe just a few minutes. But it is crystal clear that Adam and Eve didn’t fall into temptation on their own. Even though God had made it tempting. Pleasing to the eye. Good for food. Not to mention the whole wisdom thing. God had to let the serpent tempt them beyond what they could resist. That is one, sick, twisted Deity.

  6. says

    As frustrating as it is to deal with literalists, it’s the folks that believe it’s true but must be “interpreted correctly” that are the slipperiest. That means anything they want can be treated as something other than what it says and there’s not really any point arguing past that point. The Adam and Eve story 1) never happened and 2) is horrible fiction. But to me the best critique of this tale is a satirical one. Excuse me if you’ve seen it but it never fails to make me laugh:

    (probably not safe for work)

  7. rocket says

    john , i like your open mindedess . hard to find these days . whatever gets one thru the night . whatever works for each person .

  8. rocket says

    karl –the trouble with that kind of view is that it the same problem that the fundamentialists have. in other words –the Garden story is an ALLEGORY . it is not literal . anytime one reads masterpeice Literature ( in this case the Bible ) ..one must ask the right questions .
    these questions are these :
    1. what is the writer REALLY trying to say?
    2. what are the nuances reading between the lines?
    3. does it inspire my life ?

    the rest is a fundie waste of time …lack of real critical thinking . dont matter weather one is secualar or relgiuos . same intolerance and ignorance of literature.

    the God of the Bible — Aristotle’s work on Greek Tragedy can be applied here. As we read it , it is not to ask ”what is the motive of the main character …but what will he do next? same goes for everyone in the Bible . you stated that this God was one sick twisted Deity . according to what standard? this sounds like moralizing to me . if you want moralizing and Ethcis read about Socrates. if you want mystery , dark forboding , paradox , etc. you pick up the Bible .

  9. Corwyn says

    “the Garden story is an ALLEGORY”

    Ok, fine. What does it mean *as allegory*? Why is the god character anymore sympathetic or intelligent if you take it as allegory rather than fact. If it is allegory there is even less reason to take it at all seriously. There are plenty of much more inspiring stories out there, why even bother with that one?

    Or is saying it is allegory, just a way of distancing oneself from the uncomfortableness of its contradictions without relinquishing one’s faith.

  10. L.Long says

    God NEVER made any mistakes!!!!
    They need to STOP putting the blame for the phuckedUp buyBull onto someone that DON’T even exists!
    As everyone knows the Pan-Galactic, Trans-dimensional being that started it all was just a simple scientist who POPPED the subatomic bubble that exploded into the her & now. He can’t help it if a bunch of ego-centric megalomaniacs need to feel like the universe must have some purpose for them and then they screw it all up for themselves. Its not the being’s fault! The poor being gets the blame for every little thing.

  11. jacobfromlost says

    Rocket: karl –the trouble with that kind of view is that it the same problem that the fundamentialists have. in other words –the Garden story is an ALLEGORY . it is not literal .

    Me: It’s not really allegory either. What, pray tell, is it allegorical TO? The authors who wrote the story didn’t know what was literally true. They were making things up to explain things they didn’t understand. The bible in this context is a myth, and Genesis is a creation myth just like any other. It isn’t allegorical to anything (unless you want to argue it is allegorical to their limited understanding of the natural world, but that would entail an even more egregious problem in that the myths would be “allegorical” to near abject ignorance).

    Rocket: anytime one reads masterpeice Literature ( in this case the Bible ) ..one must ask the right questions .

    Me: I wouldn’t say the bible is “masterpiece literature”. It is influential, sure, on history, literature, and culture. It is passable myth in places, and a lot of nonsense in the rest. But “masterpiece literature”? You put it next to real masterpieces and it just withers.

    Rocket: these questions are these :
    1. what is the writer REALLY trying to say?
    2. what are the nuances reading between the lines?
    3. does it inspire my life ?

    Me: Did you just learn this in English class? lol When would you know if the author just wasn’t very good, and wasn’t really trying to say much of anything (or may have been mentally ill, mistaken, or just delusional)? You see, you can ask these questions of even terrible literature and myth. And if you keep asking yourself what the author was “REALLY” trying to say, you will twist your brain in knots in order for that terrible literature to make sense. Once you study myth and literature across the board, you see patterns. Once you know what those patterns are and how they apply to the human experience, THEN you can assess whether the literature or myth are good or bad–but not before. If you try to assess it before you know what the patterns of human experience are, you will see every piece of garbage in the same light as truly great literature.

    Rocket: the rest is a fundie waste of time …lack of real critical thinking . dont matter weather one is secualar or relgiuos . same intolerance and ignorance of literature.

    Me: I have no ignorance of literature.

    Rocket: the God of the Bible — Aristotle’s work on Greek Tragedy can be applied here.

    Me: In what sense?

    Rocket: As we read it , it is not to ask ”what is the motive of the main character …but what will he do next? same goes for everyone in the Bible .

    Me: Sometimes you can do this in the bible, but much of the time the narrative makes very little sense. As Hitchens has said, the bible was the first and worst attempt at literature (he said that tongue-in-cheek as it wasn’t the first).

    Rocket: you stated that this God was one sick twisted Deity . according to what standard?

    me: To a human standard–the only one we have. When a deity character does things that are horrendous, despicable, and immoral, why would you suggest that we just can’t judge that character because it is written in such a way as to be beyond human judgment? The fact remains that it is NOT written that way, and cannot be. Any literary character can be judged quite easily by any reader, by any standard. Most sane humans use sane, reasonable standards to make such judgments. To dismiss sane, reasonable standards is insane and unreasonable (by definition).

    Rocket: this sounds like moralizing to me . if you want moralizing and Ethcis read about Socrates.

    Me: Socrates never wrote anything. Neither did Jesus, Buddha, nor Muhammad. And what is wrong with moralizing? Especially in relation to a literary character?

    You: if you want mystery , dark forboding , paradox , etc. you pick up the Bible .

    Me: Have you read the bible? There is less paradox in it than mindless contradiction, less mystery in it than just confused prose, and less “dark foreboding” than simple masochism.

    It’s just not a good book.

  12. jacobfromlost says

    “As frustrating as it is to deal with literalists, it’s the folks that believe it’s true but must be “interpreted correctly” that are the slipperiest. ”

    It’s the old, “Whatever you see, that’s evidence for whatever I say.”

    Except in this case it would probably be, “Whatever you read it the bible means whatever I say it means.”

    You can read it right there in black and white, and they will simply deny it or twist it or drag out some frightened and beaten apology so it means “whatever I say”.

  13. says

    Regarding the lack of black atheists: Atheism is generally a result of the forces of education and wealth. If you are highly educated and/or moderately well off, there is a natural tendency to pull away from institutions you don’t need (ie: the church).

    Despite all their achievements, black people are still comparatively lower income and under-educated. These are conditions where religion thrives.

  14. Monocle Smile says

    I actually find that most atheists who self-identify as such know and understand the Bible quite well, which is part of why we’re atheists.

  15. edmond says

    The trouble with using these 3 standards on the Bible, is that it is NOT “masterpiece literature”. You can use these standards on the classics of Dickens, Shakespeare, or… King (lol), because these are novels with plots and narratives, and beginnings and endings which give us insights into the characters and events in the stories. But the Bible is just a collection of the folklore of ancient fishermen and shepherds. There ISN’T anything that any writer is “really” trying to say. There AREN’T any nuances between any of the lines. You’re not going to find subtext in what the serpent does (other than what you decide to see for yourself, which is what billions of people decide to do anyway). Adam and Eve and Moses and Job don’t ACTUALLY have life lessons to teach us that we can apply to practical lives, other than the lessons on the agendas of the popes and kings who compiled these stories. Allegoricalism just gives the Bible WAY too much credit.

  16. says

    But, once you accept the story as allegory, I find it hard to escape the conclusion that the point is how big of an asshole god is. I mean, he lies to the humans about the effect of eating of the tree and he does nothing to prevent the snake from tempting them. Once they’ve eaten, he then kicks them out of the garden, condemning them to a fate of pain and death. What a jackass!

    If the story is an allegory, then it fits best with gnostic ideas: Yahweh is an ignorant fool, creating a world of unnecessary suffering. We need the true savior to bring us out of the prison of material existence. I.e. the god of the OT is not the same as Jesus.

    I have a hard time seeing how to accept that story as an allegory and still retain orthodox Christianity.

  17. says

    That’s because it would be a conflict of interest if one is well educated and then chooses to believe in something as ridiculous talking snakes or someone coming back to life again after being dead for more then a day. It is an irony that I just happen to know someone who has a PhD, is black and is also a Christian. Talk about having a double standard.

    One does not need to be well educated to know the truth, they just need to be more objective, open-minded and reasonable. Experience has taught me much more then any school or textbook could ever do. Common sense is something that is at the disposal of just about everyone.

  18. rocket says

    Corwyn, to treat it as literal is distancing one from its uncomfortableness . the allegorical is where the real stabbing comes in . it cuts deep . Th Garden story hits to the heart of man;’s hubris of pride–namely self autonomy and choosing knowledge ( what he thinks is good and evil ) over the tree of life ( the prescence of the divine ) .

    It is this autonomy and thinking we know good from evil that all our problems in history comes from . all this ”approximate almosts” keep us away from an eternal consciuosness , and expressing divine love in the here and now. the fundamentlaist mindest –be it religuos or secular hates this message becuase they are into moralizing ( eating from the wrong tree ) instead of love .

    becuase of this ..there is every reason to take it dead seriuos . if you are not inspired by it thats cool . but i am . i am not into proving or disproving anything . i am inspired cause i know what knowledge if not in the right hands can do — lets use the atomic bomb as one good example.

    as far as contradictions — there are none . there are ”apparent contradictions ”. this is what is known as paradox. that which appears to contradict itself but does not . linear fundie thinkers hate paradox .

  19. rocket says

    Jasper , wrong queston . that is the fundie mindset. asking weather it is true is irrelevant . it only matters as to its effectiveness of inspiring the individual encountering it .

    the nature of critical thinking comes down to what is the writer REALLY trying to say …..not just what appears on the page. in other words ; to be a critical free thinker , one must not be lazy . one must be a hard thinker . Literature does not demand to be proven , it demands of us deeper questions as to what it means to be human , and how does any text give us insight into that question .

    it is a pity that American culture either for the most part worships the Bible , or distains it . both miss the point . and what follows ios shallowness , and fake culture wars that have nothing to do with learning anything of depth .

  20. rocket says

    Jacob , i have spent 39 years studying the Bible .

    1. what i consider masterpeice Lit : The Bible , Homer , Greek Tragedy’s , the tragedys of Shakespeare, Dante’s ”Commedia”, Milton, Beckett , fromthe 4 ages of Lit : Theocratic, Aristocratic , Democratic, and Chaoltic , i would have to say , and Harold Bloom in his ”The Western Canon ” agrees with this ..that the Bible is a literary powerhouse akin to Homer ‘s work .

    2. Moralizing . got no time for it . i see it as being very destructive . i have seen Hitchens debate , and have read every book he ever wriote. and for all his briliance and being a critic of the Bible he was a hypocrite in his cramming down peoples throat support for the Iraq war. so much for moralizing . Oscar Wilde said ”morals are somthing we invent to use on people we dont like ”. so true .

    3. our evaluation of right and worng comes out of our finite skull . i dont trust it . sorry chap . i am a skeptic .

    4. When i refer to Socrates , i talking about Plato and Zenophon’s account of him . i got no knock on it . but i seperate the Shpere of Ethics from the Sphere of Transcedence . i dont se the Bible as moral book . this shocks alot of people when i say that. some Christians say that one cannot be moral without the Bible . i dont buy that . One cant be moral with it . i am aChristian practioner who has no interest in morals . i have an intersest in what love requires. All the best.

  21. says

    It is this autonomy and thinking we know good from evil that all our problems in history comes from . all this ”approximate almosts” keep us away from an eternal consciuosness ,

    So we should, what? Just sit around and not do anything? The introduction of unsubstantiated supernatural spooks doesn’t really solve anything.

    Also, it’s pretty easy to “keep us away from eternal consciousness” if such a thing is ludicrous/nonexistent.

    the fundamentlaist mindest –be it religuos or secular hates this message becuase they are into moralizing ( eating from the wrong tree ) instead of love .

    I “hate the message” if it’s leading people to do despicable things, which is pretty easy when a world view is based on faith. Outside of that, the problem is that the message is undemonstrated, unevidenced, unsupported, unrealistic and unreasonable.

    . i am not into proving or disproving anything

    I actually care whether what I believe is actually true. I typically find that those who don’t, have massive problems with their beliefs being accurate.

    this is what is known as paradox. that which appears to contradict itself but does not . linear fundie thinkers hate paradox .

    No, that’s not a paradox. A paradox is something that IS self-contradictory… not something that “only seems like a self-contradiction”. You’ve got it backwards.

    I’m fine with considering myself “fundamentalist” towards the basic of standardized epistemology. My problem isn’t with “fundamentalism”, but rather that they’re wrong, or are making unsupported and undemonstrated claims.

    My problem with contradictions, whether paradoxes or not, is that they indicate error. I dislike error.

  22. rocket says

    edmond –their is lots of nuances. let us tek for one those that surrounded the life of christ. they each represent something in us .
    judas represents betrayel
    peter -cowardice
    paul -legalism to liberty
    caphias -envy ( see Dante’s ”Inferno ”on that one )
    pilate –final decision to accpt ot reject christ
    the list goes on and on and on and on …. all of these characters have something that is i us in its latency , and or acted upon .

    Look at Jesus body language in Mark’s gospel . wow ! Mark knows how to economize words .
    there is so much that a blog cant even have room to cover.

    the trouble as i see it is that it is not taught AS literature . people are either brainwashed by it , and have a fake faith , or they react to it and haver spite toward it . i wouldnever raise a child to force that child to go to church . that is crazy ! see what America has become . no real dialogue on this book .

  23. rocket says

    Lyke –points well made. there was a movement in the 2nd century by Marcion to show the the God of the O.T. is not the God of Christ . He lost. So we are kind of stuck in an old paradigm .

  24. rocket says

    Monocle , my Atheist freinds , most of them are very very intellegent , but they were raised in some kind of Christofascist home , so alot of their reactions are emotional . This can be a problem when it comes to real critical thinking .

  25. says

    Derek didn’t know how to explain it but maybe I can–the slave mentality still exists. When I was in predominatly black schools I saw an anti-acheivement kind of mentality that seemed to be a left over from the slave days. I was regarded as something of house negro simply because I studied Voltaire. I also heard “Why do you sound so white…?” whenever I opened my mouth. On the flipside fellow blacks cleave to Religion when it is not even our own faith but was used as a tool to control us: Dusty explains it best here:

  26. says

    Francis Collins is religious and he mapped the human gene, yet he appears to lack common sense by your definition. As a black female, I can tell you that poverty and lack of education is certianly a part of it, but Christainity plays a huge role in American life, so much so that even great minds of all shapes and colors partake of it. I mean, come on, dumb reaosns Collins became a Christina after he saw a three forked water fall that reminded him of the Holy Trinity. SMH. Far too many black ppl play th e role of the house negro–making it ahead of others and keeping fellow blacks down to keep position out of fear of loisng it. They maintain a religious cover because it is more trusted and respectable to the majority. It also replaces an identity black folks lost by losing our culture. Once atheism starts to become a viable choice you will see more ppl of all races and faiths leaving the shackles of slavery behind.

  27. says

    Jasper , wrong queston . that is the fundie mindset. asking weather it is true is irrelevant . it only matters as to its effectiveness of inspiring the individual encountering it .

    Well, it’s nice to know your world view is the complete opposite to mine. You’re currently using a computer to comment on a site, that’s built on hundreds of years of people asking whether things are true or not.

    If you don’t care what’s true, I don’t know that communication of basic concepts is possible anymore.

    the nature of critical thinking comes down to what is the writer REALLY trying to say …..not just what appears on the page.

    No, no it’s not. Critical thinking is a process of determining whether assertion/claims are true… that thing you think is so unimportant. Critical thinking is about one’s own mental processes, and isn’t about what’s going on in the head of the other person.

    What you’re talking about is a literary analysis.

    to be a critical free thinker , one must not be lazy . one must be a hard thinker .

    What is the point of being a “hard thinker” is the goal is not to figure out what’s true? I can think reeeeeealy hard about aspects of the Lord of the Rings, figuring out the motivations of Saron… and if I find that entertaining, fine… but I’d rather put my brain to work on real-life relevant things.

    I can very hard at trying to move the Atlantic ocean with a fork, but it would ultimately be a pointless effort. Simply “thinking” is insufficient.

    Literature does not demand to be proven ,

    You’re right. That’s what I’m demanding, as being on of the single most critical aspects to thinking/investigating reality.

    it demands of us deeper questions as to what it means to be human ,

    What makes you think it “means anything to be human”? The position assumes there’s such a thing.

    Literature can also demand that I consider the proxniferlintons of prostastinators, but if what it’s demanding from me is gibberish and fantasy, it’s a colossal waste of time.

    it is a pity that American culture either for the most part worships the Bible , or distains it . both miss the point . and what follows ios shallowness , and fake culture wars that have nothing to do with learning anything of depth .

    Fantasy that’s unrelated to what’s true in reality is not “depth”.

    You’re fine to hold that opinion… meanwhile, I’ll continue to fight to devastation of faith-based thinking of superstitious irrational theocrats as they merrily drag human society in the Dark Ages Part 2… you know, things that matter.

  28. says

    HUGE God mistakes:

    1) God FORGOT to declare the shedding of another human’s blood as an official sin (violation of Divine Will) until AFTER the Flood, in Genesis 9:5-6.

    That means the pre-Flood World existed as an anarchist’s paradise, where “Might Made Right” (and it explains why Cain and Lamech got off with only a warning and confiscation of their ‘green thumbs’, plus actually being PROTECTED from retaliation by being given the “Mark of Cain”, with God promising to protect murders).

    2) As hinted at during the program, Eve didn’t possess wisdom BEFORE eating of the fruit that promised to bestow wisdom to anyone that ate it, and Eve saw it as “desirous to eat” FOR granting wisdom (Genesis 3:6). That implies the first pair were created as LACKING in wisdom, so were they actually “perfect”, as Christians claim (which is not mentioned in the account, but is a later addition to the account thanks to rampant Christian eisegesis)?

    So if she LACKED wisdom (needed to fuel moral decision-making), how did Eve possess the capability to understand that violating God’s rule was not wise, if she LACKED wisdom?

    It’s called the “paradox of Adam and Eve”, and I’ve written of it on my blog:

    http://awgue.weebly.com/the-paradox-of-adam-and-eve-and-how-the-new-world-translation-fruitlessly-attempts-to-keep-it-hidden.html

    3) Christians often say, “God didn’t want to create robots, so He gave Adam and Eve free will”.

    Problem is, God stated ONE law: “thou shalt not eat of the fruit”! Hence the ONE rule they broke wasn’t even under the domain of their free-will, but WAS a violation of Divine Will: any thinking Christian SHOULD know that Divine Will trumps man’s exercise of free will, as God doesn’t give permission to mankind to break his laws, so the statement above is moot.

    In fact, the way for God not to create robots who HAVE to do his will is to NOT express Divine Will, aka keeping his mouth shut! I know: that would be no fun….

    Adam

  29. jacobfromlost says

    Rocket: Jacob , i have spent 39 years studying the Bible .

    me: Maybe it’s time to study something else?

    Rocket: 1. what i consider masterpeice Lit : The Bible , Homer , Greek Tragedy’s , the tragedys of Shakespeare, Dante’s ”Commedia”, Milton, Beckett , fromthe 4 ages of Lit : Theocratic, Aristocratic , Democratic, and Chaoltic , i would have to say , and Harold Bloom in his ”The Western Canon ” agrees with this ..that the Bible is a literary powerhouse akin to Homer ‘s work .

    Me: Why? You list things, but explain nothing. Why is it a “powerhouse”? Again, it has historical and cultural influence, but that doesn’t make it a masterpiece. What are the criteria you are using to judge it a masterpiece? (I would agree the bible is canon for historical and cultural reasons. That doesn’t make it a masterpiece. It makes it canon. There is a difference.)

    Rocket: 2. Moralizing . got no time for it . i see it as being very destructive . i have seen Hitchens debate , and have read every book he ever wriote. and for all his briliance and being a critic of the Bible he was a hypocrite in his cramming down peoples throat support for the Iraq war.

    Me: Red herring. Hitchens’ point about the bible is not negated by your dislike of his support of the Iraq war. The two things have nothing to do with each other.

    Rocket: so much for moralizing . Oscar Wilde said ”morals are somthing we invent to use on people we dont like ”. so true .

    Me: That’s if you take “moralizing” only in a negative context, but we make moral judgments all the time–and should. Your counterargument doesn’t connect to anything previously.

    Rocket: 3. our evaluation of right and worng comes out of our finite skull . i dont trust it . sorry chap . i am a skeptic .

    Me: That’s not what skeptic means. Moreover, you can’t escape your finite skull. Distrusting an evaluation of right and wrong because it comes out of your “finite skull” therefore CANNOT BE TRUSTED EITHER. You can’t even be a skeptic because THAT comes out of your finite skull too! See the problem now? Even your idea of an infinity (or an infinite god) comes out of your finite skull.

    Rocket: 4. When i refer to Socrates , i talking about Plato and Zenophon’s account of him .

    Me: No kidding?

    You: i got no knock on it . but i seperate the Shpere of Ethics from the Sphere of Transcedence . i dont se the Bible as moral book . this shocks alot of people when i say that. some Christians say that one cannot be moral without the Bible . i dont buy that . One cant be moral with it . i am aChristian practioner who has no interest in morals . i have an intersest in what love requires. All the best.

    Me: You make a lot of assertions but offer no support for them. I’m not sure Socrates would approve.

  30. jacobfromlost says

    I mostly agree with Jasper, but the worth of literature/myth is not in whether the events of the story are literally true or not, but in exercising our ability to analyze character, motive, complex events, etc, without putting ourselves in any actual danger (or waiting for novel situations to occur and then trying to wing our way through it without ever having grappled mentally/emotionally with the issues before). Good literature and myth allows us to “play” with the big ideas of our existence in a way that may (or may not) prepare us for significant problems to come. Since we never really know the nature of the problems to come, we let our imaginations run wild and grapple with anything that seems like it might happen (those are usually the very stories that grab our imaginations).

    I just don’t think that Rocket knows what he means when he says “hard thinker” and “critical free thinker”. I think he’s just throwing out buzzwords because he’s had plenty of time to support his ideas and hasn’t. I might even agree with him if his definition of either of those fell in a reasonable ballpark of my own, but just doubt he has a clear definition of either.

    Also, I don’t despise the bible. I said it was passable myth in some parts. All I said was that it isn’t a masterpiece, and I explained why. All you did, Rocket, was say that Harold Bloom puts it in the canon with Homer. Ok. That doesn’t explain why its a masterpiece.

  31. Raymond says

    It seems that you are talking about a completely different school of thought than skeptics. The fact is that given a piece of literature, 100 people will likely come up with 100 differently nuanced ways of reading it. Skeptics try to figure out what’s true, so this philosophy has no place in skeptical thinking. How could you possibly hope to figure out what a shepherd was thinking when he wrote a letter thousands of years ago. It is simple projection that you are talking about. It might be entertaining, but it doesn’t really serve a purpose.

  32. rocket says

    dont know to begin with al of this . i have not even had my coffee yet and the salvos are coming at me . but thats cool .
    1. the idea of God coming from ones human skull is Fuerebach’s ”projection theory ”, which Kierkegaard dismantled it in his work ”Philosophical fragments ”.
    2. try reading other books .? i have to sleep in the kitchen becuase i have too many books .
    3. we make moral judgments all the time . you are right . and that IS the problem . what a haughty and destrucvtive species we are. we can rationsilize anything with moral judgements . moralizing is bullshit.
    4.Socrates would not approve because he lives inthe world of Ethics . i dont . All Ethics fall short and devide humans from each other .
    5. what it means to be human ? Nietzche said that human beings are a question mark . i would like to know what the answer is to that question .
    6. the so called free thinking movement coming from the Age of Reason thinksthat if they use the word free thought , that those with a faith proposition are not free thinkers. this is an a prusumption on their part. in the market place of ideas they dont own the idea of free thinking .
    7. Why the Bible is a powerhouse ? if you and i had 12 hours in a room with lots of beer and snacks and caffiene i could give you my views on that. it is sort of tuff to do that on a blog. this is not a dodge. my summation is simply this: it can bring one to such a dark place , that if they are really paying atttention , that dark place turns around an tunrs into light within the reader. but first one has to go thru that dark place. all literature does that. Dante’s Inferno came before his trip with Virgil to Purgatory , and Beatrice leading him thru Paradise.
    another thing — look at the Ulyssius theme in the his trek back home . this set the gold standard for western lit . getting back home even if we dont know where home is . the only exception to that is Goethes Faust as the opposite … taking one away from home. The Bible as a compelation of books is able to drive this theme of getting home very well. that is why making moral issues of it is missing the point . it is all aboput ach individual’s journey .

  33. rocket says

    Alicia , nice to meet someone who is smarter than Francis Collins. one’s own conversion experience or any experience cannot be interpreted by another . dont you think it is a bit pressumptiuos to do this with Collins , or anyone for that fact ?
    that is like playing –dare i say it -God .

  34. ChaosS says

    I’m an atheist and a former Lit Major, so this is really a fascinating conversation you guys are having from that perspective.

    I don’t think “masterpiece” is the word I would use to describe the “Bible as Literature”, but I do think that the Bible is a very “important” book to be familiar with if you want to fully appreciate the greater majority of Western Art because almost everything uses biblical imagery or concepts. A severe rationalist may doubt the value of an understanding of the arts, but it’s something I believe in.

    I’m personally inspired by the stories and characters in the Bible Stories. I’m also inspired by the mythological stories of other cultures; I have a love for stories and epics of all kinds – it’s not rational and I’m okay with that.

    It all comes down to basic mental librarianism (not a real word), just ’cause you know a book is fictional doesn’t mean you throw it in the dumpster – just, make sure it’s in the “fiction” section of your brain.

  35. says

    You know what I find most ironic about this comment? That someone like you would seek to discredit myriads of scientist just as brilliant as Collins, who support ideas you do not agree with because they are Atheists.. If Francis did some grievous thing that made the papers, you’d be saying how we need to forgive him his human frailties, yet, you act as if he is infallible when it comes to his religious experiences. Now, it is not for me to say whether he saw the face of god or not, sure–but I can say it is highly unlikely. Plenty of people claim to have experiences that we later find out were based on false assumptions or misinformation. Others simply outright lie. In some cases, men and women have died unjustly for these mistakes. His conversion does not convince me of shit. I didn’t have the experience and from the outside looking in, it seems stupid as all get out. The fact you may be a believer notwithstanding, I submit that If I told you that Aliens came down from the skies, said that God is not real and that humans should be free to walk their own paths, you wouldn’t care if I were the next Einstein, you’d want proof of my claim. Likewise, you wouldn’t give a ham diggedity about how sure I was about the experience, cause any person with an ounce of intelligence or integrity knows that a subjective experience wouldn’t even be considered as evidence in a murder trial let alone for the existence of the divine or supernatural. Yet, because you are religious, I am supposed to take anything that comes out your damn mouth as fact without question. Hypocrisy at it’s finest.

  36. unfogged says

    I doubt you’ll find many ‘rationalists’ that doubt the value of the arts (although I’m sure they’ll be some major differences on what counts as art). Stories, paintings, music, etc can all be inspirational and can provide possible insights into human nature. If nothing else they provide diversion and entertainment and that in itself has value.

    As for the bible itself, there is no question that it has had a huge impact but it really isn’t all that well written. If that’s the best that divine inspiration can produce then god should definitely not quit his day job.

  37. says

    *raises hand* don’t know if you missed the big fight I had on here with a rationalist _he-who-shall-not-be-named”, who argued against the merits of art, even going so far as to say artist should never be paid. He was of the mindset of many ignorant idiots who 1) don’t understand the physica,l emotional and financial investments of artistic endeavors 2) the fact that most art is created at the behest of someone else and therefore–yeah–pay me and shit. The comment triple irked me and I was rip roaring livid, but not only because he smeared my craft. He also seemed to validate the theist position, that without religions there would be no great art, literature or music, because we godless heathen do not appreciate its needfulness or spiritual nuances. As you said, art is subjective, which is why shy all forms of art should be allowed despite what some folks personal snooty ass interpretations are. Florence thrived because it understood that art and society have a symbiotic relationship. Just because we are atheist doesn’t mean we can’t understand the esoteric or dare I say, spiritual aspects of our natures.

  38. says

    As for the bible itself, there is no question that it has had a huge impact but it really isn’t all that well written

    Indeed. The biblical influence is much more dependent on the thoughts and works inspired by the bible than the bible itself. The bible itself tends to get more credit than it really deserves.

    The bible is necessary as a kind of background, but I don’t think it counts as great literature itself. The stories are simple, the prose not particularly interesting, and large parts of it is given over to complete crap. It has its moments, certainly, but it doesn’t have the consistently high quality that most good writers have and large parts of it could frankly be tossed without any noticeable loss. Indeed, many parts have been tossed and we never did notice; like all the apocryphal books and alternate gospels that didn’t make the cut.

    Its main quality is the fact that it has formed to basis for a lot of cultural ideas and that’s a result of sectarian violence more than literary quality. It’s less about the quality of the writing and more about the fact that certain works and up as broadly known and therefore forming the basis for common metaphors and themes.

  39. edmond says

    I don’t know if any of that counts as “nuances”. The type of subtext you were referring to (what is the writer REALLY trying to say?) needs to actually be PUT there, BY a writer. We don’t even know who the real, original writers WERE for most of the biblical texts. It’s a foregone conclusion that they weren’t writing an ALLEGORY, but they believed they were writing a historical account. However, when an author presents things like nuances and subtexts, he’s doing so in a FICTIONAL framework, where non-existent people, places and events STAND IN for these allegories. They represent concepts and philosophies (betrayal, cowardice, etc, you had a good list) that are intended to provoke thought and realizations. Such subtext CAN’T exist in a historical account. The people in biblical stories, if we are to believe that such stories are true, don’t represent concepts to ponder. They represent themselves. The account is intended to replay the actual events as they happened. Unless these people were deliberatly acting out these concepts, then it’s not a “story” with things to learn. It’s journalism (albeit in an ancient form). You don’t see such nuances in a newspaper article. To presume that subtext and nuance exist, one must take the Bible as fiction. Fiction is where those things exist, because fiction represents something else. Reality, which is what any given biblical author intended to convey, and which any given religious organization will insist is what the Bible is, must be taken at face value. If you find subtext in reality, that’s on you.

    So, if we are to see subtexts in the Bible, then either the Bible is fiction, with subtexts placed there intentionally by an author so that they represent real-world concepts on a deeper level to be reached by the reader, or it’s a realistic, eye-witness account of magical events, with no hidden meanings or ulterior motives, only unbiased reporting.

    If the argument is that the Bible is BOTH, that it’s a historical record of events which actually had subtext inserted into them by the only being who could possibly do so, then he’s a terrible writer. Slavery, genocide, misogyny, barbarianism, homophobia, xenophobia, incest, war… most of it commanded by or rewarded by this bloodthirsty author. I don’t even think you can label Judas as “betrayal”. What would have happened if he HADN’T? It would’ve been curtains for Christianity. Judas was SET UP to play the ROLE of betrayer. He was just a sap to be used by that vile intergalactic gangster, Jehovah the Hutt.

    As a gay man, what subtext should I get out of the Bible? How will Leviticus 20:13 give me guidance to live my life? Am I to abandon my partner for a life of celibacy? Do I submit us both to stoning squads? Do I help hunt down other gays?

    The book is nothing but a VICIOUS paean to ancient life. It’s a collection of myths. Looking for a consistent line of subtle layers of meaning is futile. You will find whatever you want to find, but it wasn’t PUT there by anyone FOR you to find.

  40. edmond says

    Regarding the caller John, and the conversation about free will. He praises that God created us with free will, but I have to wonder… what would we be like if God had decided NOT to endow us with free will? Would we be robots? Would we be attached to the ground or trees, forced to move along according to outside forces? How would that manifest? It seems that if we are natural creatures with brains, who are able to discern potential outcomes between possible scenarios which have been presented to us, then “free will” is just an artifact of that process. It seems like a non sequitur to call that kind of free will a “gift”. Gifts can be taken away. What would we become if that happened? Is there an animal which might resemble such a creature? Is there an analogy which describes it? What does a LACK of free will look like in an thinking organism? I don’t think it can happen. It’s not at all realistic.

    But I made myself smile when he explained that we have free will because God has free will, and we were created in God’s image. I thought to myself, “God has superpowers too…”

  41. rocket says

    in reply to you from above .

    Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle shows that there is no such thing as absolute objective verification . i never said anything for or against Collins and his Genome project. what i said Alicia is that i did not think that you can interpret anyones deeply personal experience. i found it presumpiuos .thats all. how would you like someone to interpret your experiences that are personal. it is an intrusion . why ? becuase they are personal.

    i have a freind of mine who is very intellegent and is into the whole billy meier thing –UFO’S . it does not interest me . so , i dont waste my time asking people for proof about anything . Quantum has undermined alot that we all thought was true. Being the skpetic that i am , i have not much faith in science or religon . Spirituality inward is another matter entirely .

    i am not a relgiuos person …like you said that i am . you do not know me . maybe you have had a bad experience with religion . is it fair to superimpose that on me ? 3 words sum up me –JESUS AGAINST CHRISTIANITY . your last remark against me was uncalled for . very uncivil . ad hominum attacks should have no place in a discussion . we are not our ideas , we are human .

  42. says

    If god can do the supernatural, then does he or she make supernatural mistakes? I think that people want to have meaning in this life and that they find some purpose that fit their lives best. As an atheist I find that if I can help to change the life of someone else who is less fortunate then that gives my life purpose as well. I see no reason why some superstitious being(s) should be getting any credit. Actions speak louder then prayers and knowledge always trumps faith. As a former Christian and alcoholic facing, accepting and respecting the truth is the only way one can move on with their lives. To save a life is to give one’s self life.

  43. rocket says

    Alicia , touche and right on . as someone who has made aliving my whole life as professional musician i could not agree more. people actually think that art is not all that important. ..or that for a sane society it is optional . let us see them live without it . it is ALL important .

  44. says

    No, I think I CAN make an appraisal of the likelihood of an experience. If someone said they levitated to the moon, I can make a judgment. And my comment wasn’t about , it was about the ludicrious and insulting idea that I should rollover and play dead kissing someone’s ass cause they hold a dumb ass belief.

    And Uhm…hun… you really need to look up what an ad hominem attack IS.

    PS–I iddn’t say I thought you were religious which is why I made the statment, “The fact you may be a believer notwithstanding…” I said the fact that you MAY, not the fact that you WERE. You posed and framed your questions as a believer would, so I framed my responses that way. Talk about respecting others, YOU seem to want to tell ME how I should approach the world and evlauate things. I am not playing god when I form my goddammned opinions about something and should have the rigth to call bullshit on anything that smells that way to me and ESP if I am approached or asked to engage in discussion. Don’t like it then move on to someone you think you can emotionally bully and make feel bad for thinking for herself, cause you ARE NOT going to emotionally bully me with passive aggressive language into silence and complacency.

  45. says

    Well on this issue we have appeared to have found some common ground. Yes–if Science is humanity’s mind, and technology its heart–art is humanities soul.

  46. Raymond says

    @ Alicia

    I am sad that you felt so angered by my arguments before regarding art. I did my best to explain that my particular views on art are purely opinion, and not objective. I am saddened that I have attained the monicker of “he-who-must-not-be-named.” I do have an extremely rational mind, and things like art don’t mean much to me. I have read many of your comments over the past year or so, and should have known that you are very passionate; and that my insensitivity regarding your artistic pursuits would be taken badly. Please accept my deepest apologies for having offended you.

  47. says

    Okay, I am not saying I teared up or anything reading this but *ahem* LOL. Thank you. Very kind and sweet. Sooo, yeah, okay, I get it. I am very passionate in all aspects of what I do. Wish there was a kind of dimmer switch, but shoots, I don’t plan to die, I plan to but spontaneously combust! LOL. In the end you certainly do have the right to your opinion and outlook….I will admit to being a tad butthurt, but only because I have found such a grand kinship amongst my fellow heathen and felt a bit personally attacked. Maybe I took it too personally. *Sigggh* I am also learning to kind of tone it bit and try, try, TRY not to let my fire plumes burst out as much. *Hugs and love brother, hugs and love*…:-)

  48. Monocle Smile says

    Based on your previous comments, it’s pretty clear we’re not talking about the same thing when we use the term “critical thinking.”

  49. says

    Ooo, let me get that boy some salve for that buuuurn! Is it just me or are you also having hard time discerning what side of the fence Rocket is on here?

  50. Sids says

    If you give a child a large cardboard box, it may indeed inspire their lives. They’ll find all sorts of nuances in it.

    The flap represents the eaves, so it’s clearly meant to be a house!
    You can put it on its side so it opens in front, clearly it’s meant to be an oven!
    You can fold it right down and sit on it, clearly it’s meant to be a sled!
    You can put a rope through it and tie it to your dog, clearly it’s meant to be a cart!

    If you let your imagination run away from you, you can find all sorts of hidden subtexts. At what point do you say that perhaps what the ‘author’ of the box was REALLY trying to make was just a box?

  51. says

    Edmond said: It seems like a non sequitur to call that kind of free will a “gift”.

    Xians seem to think of free will as the collection of neurons in the brain that give man the capacity to plan and evaluate alternate courses of actions, when that’s an anachronistic interpretation (AKA more Xian eisegesis).

    As Russell said on the show, the term ‘free will’ is not found anywhere in the Bible, but the Hebrew phrase ‘yetzer hara’ appears in Genesis 8, translated as “evil inclination” (a related phrase is ‘yetzer tov’ refers to the inclination towards good). ‘Yetzer hara’ is not really good or bad per se, as it refers to the basis DRIVES that explain why people get out of bed every morning; it is necessary for life. So per Judaism, It is up to the individual to manage their native impulse to commit sin, by keeping the yetzer hara in check with the yetzer tov.

    But NONE of that applies to Divine Will vs man’s free will, since the limitation is not the CAPACITY of man to formulate a sin, but the AUTHORITY to COMMIT sin; per Xian theology, God doesn’t give ANYONE permission to sin, so the eating of the forbidden fruit wasn’t even an issue of free will, since God’s law meant they didn’t have the authority to do so.

    (And as I pointed out above, there’s a MAJOR FLAW in the story, since God comes off as the neglectful custodian of his own Garden, violating all modern expectations of exercising responsible custodianship over His creations by leaving the harmful fruit where the foolish humans (who LACKED wisdom, since he MADE them that way) could create problems for themselves and all subsequent offspring. God is more like the sadistic guy who sticks razor blades in apples and candy to hand out to kids on Halloween.)

    Dave

  52. says

    hate is hate jaspers . dont matter if one says they have faith or unbelief.

    Yes, hate is hate. Rocks are rocks. Trains are trains…. but not all hate is created equal.

    It is right and just to hate the parents who, multiple times, erroneously believed in the power of prayer and faith healing, instead of taking their children to the damn hospital to get normal treatments for common ailments, and instead stood by and watched their children slowly painfully die.

    These people also didn’t care about what was actually true, and didn’t think that finding out what was actually true was important.

    Sometimes, hate is correct.

  53. Raymond says

    @ Rocket

    In addressing point 1, I must disagree with you. Having read both Fuerebach and Kierkegaard, I cannot understand how you could possibly think that Kierkegaard had any point more substantial than typical modern day apologetics. His entire argument revolved around presuppositions and blatantly ignoring viable alternatives. I find it rather dishonest. In contrast, I think Fuerebach made some rather good points. As he has been extremely influential in philosophy and psychology, it seems many professionals agree with me. You will have to do much better than that if you wish to dismiss valid alternatives to the possibility of invisible, all powerful beings.

  54. chris lowe says

    Religious art throughout the millennia has been fabulous. I wouldn’t want to live in a world without it. It is more to the fact, however, that these creative people were living in a religious world. The soup they swam in has more to say about their perspective and inspiration than their creativity and talent. The gradual rise in secularism (not fast enough IMO) has done nothing to slow down the creative juices of artists world wide, and is a far more powerful beacon to humanity than how many invisible friends you have or how many cars you have in your driveway.
    The Parthenon is an unrivalled architectural masterpiece but how many remember the oracle cult that had it built or subscribe to their beliefs?

  55. Scallywag says

    You could even consider asking the prison chaplain for advice. He might simply try to convert you, of course, but if he isn’t a complete jerk he may well have some insight which can help you to help your visitees with less discomfort.

  56. says

    Thank you. I always “hate” these types of anaologies–like when a Christain claims I am being bigoted after I blast them for saying “Fags go to hell,” Uhmm…really? It’s this weird projection/shadow game steeped in false equivalency that apologists love to dish out and the sheeple lap up like its ambrosia.

  57. says

    Was it Hitchens or Dawkins who pointed out that we don’t know what Michaengelo would have painted on the Sistene Chapel had we lived in a more secular world???

  58. says

    Alicia said-
    Was it Hitchens or Dawkins who pointed out that we don’t know what Michaengelo would have painted on the Sistene Chapel had we lived in a more secular world???

    Perhaps every arsonist’s fantasy of the warm glow of a thatched cottage, just after they threw a Molotov Cocktail in the living room, ALA Kinkade?

    Or maybe a mural of a passing pod of whales, ALA Wyland?

    :)

    Dave

  59. jacobfromlost says

    1) No. (If you think yes, support your opinion.)
    2) I therefore don’t understand your simplistic views.
    3) If we can agree that anything is valuable, then we also agree that moralizing (judging things right or wrong) is definitely not bullshit.
    4) No. Socrates wouldn’t agree with asserting things with no support because he used the Socratic Method. Why do you think Socrates would object to asserting baseless claims because of ethics? What does that have to do with supporting your claims?
    5) Why do you keep asserting what others said, and not supporting your own views?
    6) Again, you assert a list of things and don’t support them with anything at all. Why do you keep doing this?
    7) I don’t drink. I may see a problem with your views if you established them all while drunk. You are dodging (by dodging and then claiming you are not dodging).

    “it can bring one to such a dark place , that if they are really paying atttention , that dark place turns around an tunrs into light within the reader.”

    No, it just doesn’t.

    “this set the gold standard for western lit .”

    You are confused. Archetypes do not stem from the bible. Archetypes stem from humanity, from which the bible took them also.

    See, lol:

  60. jacobfromlost says

    Rocket,

    When I asked you what “real critical thinking” is, that wasn’t rhetorical.

    What do you think it is? And why haven’t you yet responded to such a basic question?

  61. spacejunkie says

    Re Heisenburg’s Uncertainty Principle – your definition seems straight out of Chopra. It has nothing to do with verification or limits of knowledge or objectivity. It only refers to the limit of measurement of canonically conjugate pairs of properties of subatomic particles. I don’t think it helps you with your argument.

  62. chris lowe says

    Christopher Hitchens once quipped, “If you get rid of religion YOU HAVE NO CHOICE but to have free will.” LOL

  63. chris lowe says

    Alicia, according to the book “The Agony and the Ecstasy”, Michaelangelo wanted nothing to do with with the Sistine Chapel. But as they say, a contract is a contract, and the guy had to pay his bills. He tried to fob off as much of the work as he could to apprentices, but he had to correct so much of what they did he wound up doing the lion’s share himself. All as an arthritic octogenarian. He never considered himself a painter (frescoist) and much preferred sculpting.

  64. mond says

    “nice to meet someone who is smarter than Francis Collins”

    This a a very disingenuous thing to say, Rocket.
    Alicia did not make that claim,
    She simply pointed out that Francis Collins may be wrong in his interpretation of an event based on his confirmation bias due to previously held knowledge and beliefs.

    All humans are subject to these types of errors and pointing one out is not a claim of superior smartness.

  65. says

    In what moral system is it acceptable to set up a situation in which failure is inevitable and then punish their entire species for all eternity based on one rather innocuous choice?

  66. says

    Are there really fewer African American atheists? Or are African Americans under greater social pressure to continue to at least pay lip service to religion even if they don’t really believe?

    I often find a huge disconnect between what people say they believe and what they obvious do. For example, many people will tell you that their deity can see and know everything they do (or even think). But if that is true why do they seem more concerned about what other people find out they are doing than concerned with the eternal punishment for what they do even if no one else finds out about it? There is a serious disconnect between their words and their actions. People say they believe things when obviously they do not. To be fair, most of the time they have never given those beliefs any serious thought.

  67. says

    People who lean towardsesoteric spiritual concepts tend to borrow heavily from paradoxes and scientific principles to prop them up–sadly, it is transparent–well–to critical thinkers at least.

  68. says

    You make an excellent point. When I was in the church I rarely found one person who followed the tenents thereof. They partied, they had sex. Drank and or did drugs some of them. Only to wind up in church praying for forgiveness for being back slidden. I dated a preacher’s son who used to joke that if you wanted to get mad laid, you needed to join a church. Here in GA, which has a HUGE black christian population, there is a large amount of teen pregnancy among the devout. People murmur about unsaved sister so-and-so doing this or that thing, when practically EVERYONE in the church is doing it. Even the super Christian older ladies in the big Sunday-go-to-meetin’ hats had tawdry pasts. Heck, though I was clutch a rosary devout at the time, even I fell unto tempation when I met this Prince look alike, guitar playing artist type who much like myself was ostracized in the black community for being different. We had sex (I had been so called pure up until that point for a number of years). I felt bad enuff to confess it–and The Pastor ratted me out to the entire congregation that Sunday, telling me to come forward and be cleansed of my sin. Then there is as I mentioned, the under achievement mentality. When it was learned I tested rather high IQ wise for my age group–I was taunted as an oreo and wannabe. Sad. We are the elephants no longer in need of being chained. Devoid of history, we cling to he only thing we got left from our past–religion. Correction. Our slave master’s religion. SMDH. Self flagellation at it’s finest.

  69. says

    Yeah, that’s a great point from Hitchens whcih makes the point succinctly (which unfortunately means it’s going to be lost on most Xians, as well, lol!). However, thanks for adding it to the mix; I’ve never heard it before.

    ALTHOUGH, it’s not completely correct: it still overlooks that our actions are limited by a little thing called secular LAWS, all the more reason a God hypothesis is unnecessary, being a redundant vestigial organ from our past.

    PS Alicia, I saw a comment you made in another thread, and recommend reading, “The Color of Christ: A Story of Race and Religion in America” by Edward Blum. He’s a historian who traces how the iconography of Jesus evolved as an element of control, esp how images of Jesus quickly adopted a blonde-haired anglo look. I checked it out as a free audio book via local library (using an iOS app called overdrive to listen to it on an iPhone).

    Dave

  70. says

    Which goes to show what a hypocrite this god really is. It’s perfectly okay for this god to tempt others, but it’s consider to be a sin to tempt him. I think Adam, Eve as with everyone and ever thing else were all framed.

  71. says

    It would appear that Rocket is too conflicted to know what side of the fence they are on. Some people find comfort in staddling the fence instead of just picking a side. They can’t make that distinction between the two.

  72. says

    I too have experience something similar when my hypocritical step-mother pointed me out as being an alcoholic to the entire congregation and how I needed to change my evil ways. It’s just that I had enough discrestion to keep to myself as to how she had an affair in the past with my father the preacher when he was still married to my mom.

    I enjoy the diversity of the atheist community and I’m glad that I share something in common with you Alicia.

  73. says

    Whoa–you’re a good man–the tempation would have been great to bust that sister out. Come to think of it, I had shit on Pastor too, but refrained as well…lol. Funny, when faced with the choice to do reciprocal harm, those of our inclination do not. What does that say for the temperment of most atheists ( I am sure there are crazy, petty atheist too as we are human, but I do find that by and large, despite our angry monikers, that we ATTEMPT to be fair minded and reasonable as a group–do we always succeed? Weeelll…lol.

    And thank you. I ran into a YT black theist who somewhat threatened me by saying “Oh, what a shame you have aligned yourself with those godless, white racists–and you left your picture up. That is stupid–most have the good sense to not show thier faces. Why you could lose your job or something…”

    I laughed in her general direction, told her I worked for myself and related the wonderful welcome I have had, how TAE even did an outreach for AA’s and reminded her that, as far as the south has been concerned, or that I knew of, I have never heard of a big white church reaching out to the black community in such a manner, especially as of late with all the Obama hate.

  74. says

    I still lhave no idea on which side of the fence he has chosen–I think, like many new ager religionists, that he has chosen to straddle it.

  75. mond says

    Does sound very new agey.
    The conventional religious beliefs go out the window to be replaced by some personalised buffet of supernatural/spiritual beliefs that feel good and seem to make sense to them as long as it not examined too closely.

  76. ajronmejden says

    I know it’s kinda late for that because the latest episode is already up, but I’ve got a friendly advice for Don: if you want to quote something, and the quote includes words you can’t pronounce, at least make an effort and read the text once or twice before going on air. Especially if it’s one of the most awesome quotes from Dawkins, and especially if you KNOW you have trouble reading those words (because I heard you quote the same passage from God Delusion some 1-2 years ago and you were stuttering just as much). In all honesty, Don, it was incredibly painful to watch you desperately try to read those few lines. You sounded like a foreigner trying to read an English text during his 4th English lesson at school. Not to mention that the whole message and effect of the words you were trying to read was completely lost. And this wouldn’t have happened if you had spent even 15 minutes preparing for the episode. Otherwise, it was an enjoyable show. Best wishes for you and all the crew. Thanks for being out there for us. Cheers,

  77. says

    It would appear that this YT black theist can’t tolerate a black atheist, which is unfortunate because someone like this misses out on the beauty of diversity. My marriage is inter-racial and I have met a few bigots who are just to ignorant to realize that not everthing conforms to their approval. The most ironic part of my life is that even my wife is a Christian which goes to show that love really is a strange thing.

  78. says

    Wow–really? You would allow a few seconds of the display of a human flaw to ruin an ENTIRE SHOW? He stumbled over his words–and? I didn’t let it bother me at all–barely noted it in fact, as I am not that anal. In a perfect world people would behave flawlessly and perfectly at all times but such is not the case even with professional news shows on CBS and NBC. Dude, it’s a public acces show run by volunteers. There is no guarantee that even with 15 minutes of study he would have uttered the words to your approval. The show is not a study in liquistics and I am sorry, I love Dawkins but not with so much Theistic reverence to chew someobdy out for stumbling over one of his quotes. It’s folks like you who make the claims that atheism is a religion seem valid.

  79. says

    Yeah, it’s kind of a hanger issue in my eyes, as mentioning it borders on tone trolling (i.e. insulting the delivery and not the content).

    HOWEVER, I tend to agree that style DOES matter, eg if an amateur musician is publicly performing a piece written by a famous composer which contains a passage which he KNOWS is tricky to pull off, he’d want to at least rehearse the tricky part beforehand. For all we know, maybe Don did this but he’s dyslexic: I don’t know, and frankly it’s no one’s business if he is.

    Of course, it’s all the more important not to screw up when the very theme of the show was “God’s Mistakes” (calling the God character on the carpet for HIS mistakes).

    Dave

  80. says

    I can concecde to that point, but it truly irks me when folks quibble over such insignifgant things. I have seen my all time favorite band HIM in concert numerous times. At one show, they actually flubbed a chorus and for a second it was loud mish mash of noise. I didn’t walk out on the basis they should have performed perfectly cause they were pros. They were on a world wide tour. Mistakes happen. I still thought the entire concert was solid in spite of this. Besides, the show was about god’s mistakes–not humans. We are SUPPOSED to be falliable–gods are not.

    So, I am not saying delivery isn’t important, just that miskates can and do occur even the best of us, cause we are human. If he did this 90 percent of the time THEN I would say oration was not his strong suit…

  81. says

    I wasn’t speaking in absolutes. There are going to be exceptions. But GENERALLY speaking, atheism is a function of education and wealth.

  82. Mr. Bobcat says

    The mistakes the Bible makes are too numerous to mention. The video “Bible Baby Mommas” is a good cartoon about just a few of these.

  83. ajronmejden says

    Excuse me, girl, but maybe before replying to a comment in that indignant, pointlessly aggressive, CAPSLOCKED style, you should first read it with, I don’t know, understanding?

    ‘Wow–really? You would allow a few seconds of the display of a human flaw to ruin an ENTIRE SHOW?’ – that’s you.

    ‘Otherwise, it was an enjoyable show’ – that’s me.

    See any discrepancies here?

    ‘I didn’t let it bother me at all–barely noted it in fact, as I am not that anal.’

    Good for you. And that information about your sexual preferences was really not that necessary.

    ‘Dude, it’s a public acces show run by volunteers. There is no guarantee that even with 15 minutes of study he would have uttered the words to your approval.’

    It might not. But it wouldn’t matter. The issue I had was that Don stumbled on almost every word. Not just one or two of them. I pointed that out. Maybe he’ll be better-prepared next time.

    ‘The show is not a study in liquistics and I am sorry, I love Dawkins but not with so much Theistic reverence to chew someobdy out for stumbling over one of his quotes. It’s folks like you who make the claims that atheism is a religion seem valid.’

    With that last bit you just went full retard. Never go full retard.

    @ Dave Peres

    Dave, you’ve nailed it with your second parahraph.Bravo! This is exactly what I was trying to say. And no, I’m not a troll. I’m actually a long-time fan of the show, who thinks that some constructive criticism might help make the show even better because the mere fact that it’s run by volunteers does not, in my opinion, mean that we can’t expect them to meet certain standards.

    Take care,

  84. says

    “the mere fact that it’s run by volunteers does not, in my opinion, mean that we can’t expect them to meet certain standards.”

    Yes, but also understand the limitations of such a show. I don’t expect an amateur guitarist to give a full on light show that a million dollar act would have. There are limitations to public access–and yes, I get they should be professional and expect this as well with the CAVEAT that they are not trained in broadcasting. To that end, I am not going to give them shit for every little misstep. I have seen professional bands with years of experience flub over long known song lyrics or lose measure in the middle of a tune–I don’t believe that reflects on their professionalism, but rather speaks to the fact they are human.

    You want them to out perform even professionals who screw up on occasion??

    Heck, look online and I am certain you will locate plenty of reels filled with doozies from news channels like CNN, MSNBC, FOX, CBS, ABC because the thing about live broadcasting is that it’s–well–live.

    Constructive criticism is fine, but I get so sick and tired of people expecting 100 percent absolute constant perfection or NBC caliber broadcasting in a scenario where they don’t even own the equipment they use. I am sure if you did tons of shows, even with rehearsal, you’d flub once or twice and I doubt you’d like being taken to task for it if you were giving your all.

    If dude was always stumbling over his words like 90 percent of time then sure, give him shit but I don’t think it happens often enough to say it is a “thing”…

    As for your comment regarding the show beg ruined, I will admit to misreading it as “It ruined the show for you” but I still think the critique was a tad bit unfair as I think the gang largely does a great job and I applaud them for it, missteps and all.

    You have the right to that opinion of course, but I personally think it lacks empathy towards the hardships of running a show like this, that they ain’t getting paid for. I have performed in front of folks and I know 101 things can throw one off ones game–with the BEST of intentions. You get to sit back and enjoy–they do the ones doing the heavy lifting.

  85. Narf (the abdicator) says

    Dude, professional broadcasters have verbal glitches all the time. You’re criticizing a bunch of volunteers for not living up to a standard that professionals don’t meet?

    And you’re not helping yourself by using both diminutive, sexist language and throwing around the word retard, even if it is a quote, in the same response. You come off as an asshole when you say stuff like that, and people tend to disregard your opinion.

  86. says

    Thank you for quite succinctly underscoring the point I was trying to make. As a former performer, people simply don’t understand how such critiques can at times be very dispiriting, and in particular when you are giving of time that could be spent elsewhere…

  87. ajronmejden says

    This time my reply will be short because I think that, as far as this conversation goes, you’re almost in a different universe and I don’t feel like explaining it all to you. So here’s just an example of how you tend to misunderstand and/or disregard what I’ve written so far:

    ‘but I still think the critique was a tad bit unfair as I think the gang largely does a great job and I applaud them for it, missteps and all’ – again, that’s you.

    ‘Otherwise, it was an enjoyable show. Best wishes for you and all the crew. Thanks for being out there for us.’

    That’s me. And also, in the same reply:

    ‘I’m actually a long-time fan of the show (…)’

    So I also think ‘the gang largely does a great job’ and readily admitted it in my first post. You just didn’t want to notice it.

    Anyway, thanks for this conversation, my post was meant for Don. If he heeds my advice, great. If he doesn’t, it’ll be fine too.

  88. ajronmejden says

    ‘Dude, professional broadcasters have verbal glitches all the time. You’re criticizing a bunch of volunteers for not living up to a standard that professionals don’t meet?’

    Do you also have problems with understanding what I wrote? No, I’m not criticizing a bunch of volunteers, I’m criticizing one particular volunteer for what he did in one particular situation. And no, not for a verbal glitch, but for a roughly minute-long series of mistakes he made while reading a text he had the same problems with while reading it some time before.

    Also, if we were to live by your standards, we shouldn’t criticize the AE crew for anything whatsoever as they’re not professionals and we know that even professionals make mistakes. Yeah, makes sense…

    ‘And you’re not helping yourself by using both diminutive, sexist language and throwing around the word retard, even if it is a quote, in the same response. You come off as an asshole when you say stuff like that, and people tend to disregard your opinion.’

    Sexist? Excuse me, are you high? Do you even know what the word means? Here, let me help you:

    Sexism:

    1. prejudice or discrimination based on sex; especially: discrimination against women
    2. behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex

    Clearly, I have not exhibited any prejudice towards Alicia, and haven’t discriminated against her, based on sex. I also haven’t fostered stereotypes of social roles based on sex. If you think otherwise, you’re oversensitive and/or deluded.

    As for ‘diminutive’, I called her a ‘girl’ because she elected to call me ‘dude’ first thus, one-sidedly, making this conversation a bit more informal. Besides, she is a girl, is she not? I didn’t call her a ‘little girl’, a ‘stupid girl’ and I didn’t use any other demeaning adjective. Besides, don’t you think that it’s kinda strange for you to feel offended when she doesn’t?

    And finally, if it’s people like you who will disregard my opinions then I’m more than fine with it. Not to metion the fact that my original post was directed at Don.

    Have a nice day,

  89. says

    Besides, she is a girl, is she not?

    No, she’s a woman. “Dude” is not a similarly infantilizing term, so that comparison is off-base. Furthermore, men are not usually treated as inferior or have their opinions disregarded as less serious and important, based on their gender. This happens regularly with women, so even calling you “boy” wouldn’t have the same effect as calling a woman “girl” (excepting possible race implications, which is another kettle of fish).

    It’s not about formal or informal. It’s a bad habit with potential negative consequences for those you talk to; people who have to face far more shit in a single week than you do all year.

    Besides, don’t you think that it’s kinda strange for you to feel offended when she doesn’t?

    You know she doesn’t? All I know is that she hasn’t specifically called you out on it. Sometimes people just don’t criticize something because they can’t be bothered having that discussion for the third time that day.

    Seems to me this is starting to get all dug in and unproductive, so how about a time-out, for everyone involved?

  90. says

    Alicia, looks like Don broke the first Atheists covenant. All Radical Atheists understand this covenant. ajronmejden is just pointing that out “Thou shall not mis·quote Dawkins”

    HAHAHAHA

  91. says

    I too will make this post short. I did notice what you said regards to being a fan, which is why I wondered why you made such a big deal over such an insignifigant, excusable thing, going so far as to say his flub was “embarrassing” and wasting space pointing it out. Ciao.

  92. says

    The post was directed at Don but you placed it in a public forum–if you wanted Don only to respond you could have insulted him via PM—public comments may be replied to by the, you know, Public.

  93. Narf (the abdicator) says

    Ajron, try boy, instead of dude, and you’ve got something closer to a parallel. And yes, your usage of the diminutive fit both definitions that you listed, for sexism. If you’re unable to see it, I don’t have the energy to explain it to you.

    And did you really just try to shift the argument to my usage of plurality, as if it’s more reasonable to hold one volunteer to a standard that professionals don’t meet, compared to holding a whole team of volunteers to that standard? What’s wrong with you?

  94. ajronmejden says

    Reading all that stuff you (and by ‘you’ I mean you, Alicia and LykeX) wrote kinda makes me want to cry on the inside. Seriously, you accuse me of making a big deal of this issue when it’s you who ganged up on me for expressing (in a civil, non-abusive way) my opinion about the show. ‘Thou shall not misquote Dawkins’? Really? You think that was my point? Judging by what has been going on here I think a more fitting commandment would be ‘Thou shall not criticize the AW crew’. Or else, you’ll get verbally gangraped by the offended fanboys. Realx, people, seriously.

    And about that sexist thing, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I assume these boards are moderated and I’m sure that if I had really used a sexist language, my posts would have been edited and/or I would have received a warning or something.

    Anyway, that will be it for me as far as this issue is concerned.

    Cheers,

  95. says

    Seriously, you accuse me of making a big deal of this issue when it’s you who ganged up on me for expressing (in a civil, non-abusive way) my opinion about the show.

    Because one thing is valid to “make a big deal” over, and other is not. This is a basic false equivocation.

    Judging by what has been going on here I think a more fitting commandment would be ‘Thou shall not criticize the AW crew’. Or else, you’ll get verbally gangraped by the offended fanboys. Realx, people, seriously.

    You’re severely glossing over the content, ignoring the influence of importance of the topics on the conversation.

    And about that sexist thing, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I assume these boards are moderated and I’m sure that if I had really used a sexist language, my posts would have been edited and/or I would have received a warning or something.

    They don’t operate that way. Generally speaking, they only ban/warn people when they’re being excessive… otherwise, they give people enough rope to hang themselves.

  96. Lord Narf says

    Yeah, you usually have to be rather over the top, for a prolonged span of comments, before anyone will ban you or remove your posts. Of course anyone who begins their presence on the board with something ridiculous or intentionally insulting isn’t going to last very long, but if you’re at all established, you get a bit of leeway, and others are allowed to rip you apart. The mods are generally pretty hands-off, except in extreme cases.

    I didn’t even feel that strongly about your comments, Ajron, until you began with the diminutive crap. I think you’re completely wrong, but I wasn’t going to get involved.

    So Don stumbled a bit and pronounced a few things wrong. So what? He stumbles a bit in his talks, at the beginnings of the shows, sometimes. It happens. I think it’s nothing important enough to try to address as a major issue of the show, as you seem to think it is.

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