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Apr 29 2012

Christianity is bullshit, and I’m not apologizing for saying that

Religious bigots are furious with Dan Savage yet again. This time their rage is inspired by a speech Dan gave at the National High School Journalism Conference, where he points out the “bullshit” in the Bible and a trickle of Christians get up and walk out of his talk. Watch the video for a wonderful speech and the poor butthurt Christians leaving (in a single file line that starts in unison…smells like a planned walk-out to me):

Here’s a transcript of the speech for those of you who can’t watch the video:

“People often point out that they can’t help it. They can’t help with the anti-gay bullyings because it says right there in Leviticus, it says right there in Timothy, it says right there in Romans that being gay is wrong.  We can learn to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about gay people the same way we have learned to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation. We ignore bullshit in the Bible about all sorts of things.

The Bible is a radically pro-slavery document. Slave owners waved Bibles over their heads during the Civil War and justified it. The shortest book in the New Testament is a letter from Paul to a Christian slave owner about owning his Christian slave. And Paul doesn’t say Christians don’t own people. Paul talks about how Christians own people. We ignore what the Bible said about slavery because the Bible  got slavery wrong. Sam Harris in Letter to a Christian Nation points out that the Bible got the easiest moral question that humanity has ever faced wrong: slavery.

What are the odds that the Bible got something as complicated as human sexuality wrong? 100%. The Bible says that if your daughter’s not a virgin on her wedding night – that a woman isn’t a virgin on her wedding night, that she shall be dragged to her father’s doorstep and stoned to death. Callista Gingrich lives. And there is no effort to amend state constitutions to make it legal to stone women to death on their wedding night if they’re not virgins. At least not yet. We don’t know where the GOP is going these days. People are dying because people can’t clear this one last hurdle. They can’t get past this one last thing in the Bible about homosexuality.

One thing I want to talk about is – ha, so you can tell the Bible guys in the hall that they can come back in because I’m done beating up the Bible. It’s funny that someone who’s on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible, how pansy-assed some people react to being pushed back. I apologize if I hurt anyone’s feelings but I have the right to defend myself, and to point out the hypocrisy of people who justify anti-gay bigotry by pointing to the Bible and insisting that we must live by the code of Leviticus on this one issue and no other.”

I transcribed that speech so I’m sure you know exactly what Dan Savage said… because right-wing lunatics seem to have listened to an entirely different speech. Focus on the Family was the first time chime in, opportunistically on their bigoted anti-Day of Silence event:

“Using profanity to deride the Bible—and then mocking the Christian students after they left the room—is obviously a form of bullying and name-calling. This illustrates perfectly what we’ve been saying all along: Too many times in the name of “tolerance,” Christian students find their faith being openly mocked and belittled in educational environments. Incidents like this one stand in stark contrast to the principles we’ve continually espoused on our Web sites, truetolerance.org and dayofdialogue.com, which call for a free exchange of ideas and respect for different viewpoints, including those that are faith-based and socially conservative.”

You see, it’s exactly the same. On one hand, we have someone pointing out that certain ideas of an oppressive majority group are wrong. On the other hand, we have that oppressive majority group bullying children until they commit suicide because those children have a biological trait that the oppressive majority finds abhorrent because their invisible sky daddy told them so in a really old book. And Focus on the Family is pro-dialogue because they’re allowed to talk about their beliefs, but you have to shut up about yours.

Duh.

It’s not just Focus on the Family: the various conservative fundies have chimed in with the typical “Help, help, us poor Christians are being oppressed and bullied! Waaaah!” The concept of Christians being persecuted in the US is laughable, but I’m not laughing. Why? Because Christians who scream “persecution!” are doing it to silence dissent. It even worked on Savage, who apologized for calling the walk-out “pansy-assed” (which it was) and explained that he wasn’t calling Christianity bullshit:

“I didn’t call anyone’s religion bullshit. I did say that there is bullshit—”untrue words or ideas“—in the Bible. That is being spun as an attack on Christianity. Which is bullshhh… which is untrue. I was not attacking the faith in which I was raised. I was attacking the argument that gay people must be discriminated against—and anti-bullying programs that address anti-gay bullying should be blocked (or exceptions should be made for bullying “motivated by faith”)—because it says right there in the Bible that being gay is wrong. Yet the same people who make that claim choose to ignore what the Bible has to say about a great deal else. I did not attack Christianity. I attacked hypocrisy. My remarks can only be read as an attack on all Christians if you believe that all Christians are hypocrites. Which I don’t believe.”

Sure, not all Christians are hypocrites. We have the Westboro Baptist Church, Ken Ham, and other Biblical literalists as perfect examples of unhypocritical Christians. But they’re still wrong. They’re still following a bullshit book and a bullshit religion. And despite the whining of Focus on the Family, Christians deserve to have their faith mocked and belittled, because it is an idea worthy of only mockery and belittlement.

And I’m not just talking about the Phelps of the world. I mean the moderate and liberal version of Christianity too. Because it all boils down to believing in ludicrous superstition you have no evidence for, and much evidence against. That sort of thinking wouldn’t be tolerated or respected in our society if it weren’t for the unfairly special status religion holds. We can use “bullshit” to describe ideas like astrology, reptilian conspiracies, alien abductions, Big Foot… but God is off limits, despite being equally ridiculous.

That’s why Christian groups cry foul when someone points out flaws in their religion. It’s not their emotions that are so fragile: It’s their faith. Because Christianity, like all religions, simply cannot stand up to questioning. It’s why so many parts of the Bible actively denounce questioning faith. It’s why Christians have to run out of talks and make press releases about persecution. Because Christianity crumbles in the face of history, biology, and analytical thinking. Silencing dissent is the only way for Christianity to survive.

And I don’t want a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, anti-science, and simply false idea like Christianity to survive.

Now, am I going to be violent toward Christians? Am I going to enact laws banning Christianity? Am I going to run around burning churches? Of course not. I’m going to be a radical evangelical atheist by writing blog posts for whoever cares to read them, and by giving talks for whoever cares to attend. I’m going to destroy religion through convincing arguments that people have to understand on their own time, not through guilt or social ostracization or threats of eternal damnation (the tactics of religious evangelicals).

That’s why Christians want to shut up people like me and Dan – because they know our tactics work.

153 comments

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  1. 1
    Epistaxis

    That’s it, I’m walking out of your blog.

  2. 2
    Joé McKen

    It’s been a surprisingly long time since I’ve such a rant about this kind of persecutionist bullshit. Christians don’t have to be bad people to espouse all kinds of rotten beliefs, and it’s time they learned learn the distinction – and realize that any argument on the matter leaves them standing in manure.

    Keep rocking, Jen.

  3. 3
    Joé McKen

    You will be sorely missed, I’m sure.

  4. 4
    Joé McKen

    … Please disregard that. My sarcasm meter’s in the shop today.

  5. 5
    Rey Fox

    Jeez, I wish the National High School Journalism Conference had this caliber of speaker when I went in 1997. And if the speaker had dissed on Christianity, well, that would have made my awkward high school day.

  6. 6
    Statistician

    That’s why Christians want to shut up people like me and Dan – because they know our tactics work.

    I don’t want to shut either of you up. You are both noxious mediocrities and you, in particular, are a Dunning-Kruger exemplar who amply demonstrates that “New Atheism” appeals to the low IQ set. I loved how you mindlessly parroted PZ Myers’ criticism of a study that demonstrates the benefits of circumcision when he a) does not understand the difference between a randomized trial and an observational/epidemiological study, b) does not know that ethics requires that a study be halted when equipoise is lost, and c) had not even read the study he was commenting on or any of the other circumcision studies.

    Those who can do. Those who can’t are “New Atheists.”

  7. 7
    blondeintokyo

    Talk about a mindless response. You don’t even try to explain why you disagree with Jen, and instead bring up an entirely different issue? If you can refute even one point she made, then do it.

  8. 8
    Mike de Fleuriot

    What a silly bunt is Statistician. You do not deserve to have your points attacked, you do deserve to be ad hominem’ed because of what you are, a silly bunt. And your mother dresses you funny as well.

  9. 9
    Natasha

    While there are many resins to despise Dan Savage, like his trans mysoginy and bi-phobia, this defiantly isn’t one of them. The bible is bullshit and most certainly is NOT a manual on how to live your life.

    I am damn sick and tired of christians calling ‘persecution’ every time some one questions their precious bible. They’re idea of dialogue is berating you with threats of hell until you agree to live your life the way they want you to. Fuck’m all.

  10. 10
    uzza

    He must be right, lookit alla them big words he used.

  11. 11
    machintelligence

    Perhaps he should have issued a Rush Limbaugh style notpology.
    Something along the lines of: I’m sorry that I referred to you as pansy-assed, what I meant to say was that you were lilly-livered cowards.

  12. 12
    evilDoug

    Since this was still on my clipboard from using it chez Mano …

    but, but, but bullying helps them to mature

    I think I shall never tire of drawing attention to this post that Ophelia did a little while ago.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/04/bullying-is-healthy/

    (emphasis mine)

    Liberty Counsel Director of Cultural Affairs Matt Barber said there is “no evidence” that LGBT people face either discrimination or violence, and Robert Newman of the California Christian Coalition said that bullying is “part of the maturational process,” adding, “I hardly think that bullying is a real issue in schools.” Fox News host Steve Doocy even hosted a segment called “Bullying: Crisis or Panic?” in which he asked if bullying is an “exaggerated epidemic.”

    Do read Ophelia’s full post.

    Coincidently, I saw a Youtube video, just today, of an ad in support of Prop. 8, wherein someone was moaning that calling them bigots and intolerant was bullying. I guess he just doesn’t understand that being bullied is good for him.

    ~~~
    I’m beginning to think that the “can’t see reflection in a mirror” is more useful for identifying a significant subset of christians than it is for vampires

  13. 13
    evilDoug

    ” which call for a free exchange of ideas and respect for different viewpoints”

    But I hold the viewpoints of Focus on the Family in complete and utter contempt. That foul group has worked very very hard to forfeit even the most minute vestige of respect. The only thing I am prepared to exchange with them is a view of my middle finger.

  14. 14
    mnb0

    Thanks for the transcription. Even in my native language I prefer reading to listening.

    “a woman isn’t a virgin on her wedding night, that she shall be dragged to her father’s doorstep and stoned to death.”
    Does anybody know where I can find this quote? Stuff like this makes the Bible my favourite anti-christian book. Though I would like a larger collection from the four Gospels, to debunk Jesus the Hero (also called the perfect embodiment of agapè).

    Of course Savage’s apology was misplaced. All that stuff is the problem of christians, not of us atheists. Those who left just admitted they prefer head-in-the-sand politics. And now I have to apologize to the ostrich.

  15. 15
    cadrpear

    Why doesn’t “respect for different viewpoints” extend to the viewpoint that the Bible is bullshit?

    Answer: it’s only legitimately a viewpoint if FotF et al agree with it. If not, it’s bullying and name-calling.

  16. 16
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Deuteronomy 22:13-21

  17. 17
    mcbender

    This is a powerful post, Jen; thank you. I’m glad to see you’re back on form after your recent dearth of posts.

  18. 18
    Godlesspanther

    “Christianity is bullshit, and I’m not apologizing for saying that”

    Bravo!! What a wonderful title for an article. I want billboards, t-shirts, posters, bumper stickers, and a banner hanging from the back of an airplane saying exactly that.

    I thought that Dan Savage’s compromise what a let-down. Say it loud and proud Christianity is bullshit! I totally agree — religion should be mocked because that is the one and purpose that it serves — an object of ridicule. Religion begs to be mocked — no, religion DEMANDS to be mocked.

    If you’re not making fun of god — you’re not doing it right.

  19. 19
    Godlesspanther

    You have to give him a break on that last point. His mom does dress him funny — true. But take into consideration that she’s blind so it’s not really her fault.

  20. 20
    Utakata

    “Using profanity to deride the Bible—and then mocking the Christian students after they left the room—is obviously a form of bullying and name-calling.”

    …like encouraging parents to beat and scold their children isn’t?

  21. 21
    Nathair

    Does anybody know where I can find this quote?

    Deuteronomy 22:20-21

    But if this charge is true, that the girl was not found a virgin, then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death because she has committed an act of folly in Israel by playing the harlot in her father’s house; thus you shall purge the evil from among you.

    (That’s the NASB flavoured evil.)

  22. 22
    Nathair

    and… too slow!

  23. 23
    Nathair

    Tu quoque is not a legitimate defense.

    Fortunately the charge of bullying is bullshit (and the “charge” of name-calling is infantile) so no actual defense (or apology) was required.

  24. 24
    smhlle

    My favorite part of Leviticus is the part about not blending two kinds of fibers in one’s garments. Can’t wait ’til God hits up the mall and starts smiting all the righteous but selective sinners.

  25. 25
    Danboy87

    Years from now, the people in this video will look no different than the people we heard about in our history classes that were race hate mongers in our country in the 1960′s. They’ll look no different than those who would walk out on people stating the truth about how wrong segregation of race in this country was in the 1960′s.

    Hopefully we will all look back at these type of videos in the future and just be in shock over how this country even had issues with homosexuality.

  26. 26
    Vene

    If it makes you feel better, schools are getting resegregated.
    A few links.

  27. 27
    Utakata

    I’m not sure I entirely buy the tu quoque business, since the evidence suggests the inconsistency in their claim is true. But I do agree that their bullying claim was also bullshit, since at no time did Dan go out of his way to harass or intimidate his opponents. They left, and he made mention of it politely. End of story.

  28. 28
    Russell

    I like the Old Testament chapter that tells a jealous husband to bring his wife to the priest, who will perform a trial by ordeal, giving her a bitter potion, that will not harm her if innocent, but will shrivel her womb and leave her barren if she is guilty.

  29. 29
    blondeintokyo

    I disagree that Dan is biphobic. I’m bi and have never felt he is prejudiced towards bisexuals in any way. I agree with most, if not all, he’s said on the topic. In particular, I enjoyed his last podcast where he had a guest on to specifically discuss bisexual issues. As an aside, I also don’t think he’s transphobic, but I know that some trans people have criticiszed him. I’d be interested in discussing this more, if it’s not too far off-topic.

  30. 30
    blondeintokyo

    I’m disappointed he apologized, but I understand why he did. First, if he wants to keep getting invited to speak at schools and be given the chance to educate these kids, then he has to be careful of the language he uses (no profanity) as well as the tone he takes regarding religion. Secondly, he’s not a professional atheist, so it’s not his job to debunk religion. That’s OUR job. :)

    Besides that, he didn’t back off saying that there is bullshit IN the Bible, which was his main point in the first place.

  31. 31
    Dalillama

    He’s gotten a lot better about bisexuality lately. Most of the biphobic reputation is based on comments he made a number of years ago, most of which he has since repudiated. I can’t blame the folks who aren’t aware of it because they stopped reading back then, though. I can’t recall anything he’s said about trans issues offhand, so I don’t know about his degree of cissexism.

  32. 32
    Mr.Kosta

    Good riddance.

    And don’t let the door hit you on the butt on your way out.

  33. 33
    Charly

    “New Atheism” appeals to the low IQ set.

    Citation. Fucking. Needed.

    Seriously. If you make claim like this, give some data to support it. Pulling assertion out of your ass does not make your ad-hominem argument valid, but it makes you look extremely idiotic.

  34. 34
    KarlVonMox

    A thousand times yes, Jen. I loved this post. I am tired of these horrible, weak, untrue religious memes getting preferential treatment in the public square and being used to justify oppression, discrimination, anti-intellectualism, and general stupidity. None of us should apologize for stating the truth about religion.

    None of their claims are true. It is BULLSHIT.

  35. 35
    BecomingJulie

    Oh, come on. Look at the ages of those kids. Are you seriously telling me that there is even one person in that group who has never heard the word “shit” before at some stage?

    It’s a word. Get over it.

  36. 36
    Carlie

    They hear a lot worse language than that on the bus every day, I can guarantee it. In fact, they’re even the ones saying it.

  37. 37
    MarkNS

    Yes! Excellent post. I especially like your comment:

    “I mean the moderate and liberal version of Christianity too.”

    These “liberal” or “mainstream” Christians are enablers of the more dangerous fundies in that they claim that interpreting a 2000 year old book is a valid method of determining morality. This is exactly the same “reasoning” the fundies use…they even use the same book…they just interpret it differently. Both groups have an equally (in)valid claim to the moral high ground.

  38. 38
    Kimi

    Jen why don’t you moderate comments on your blog? Most of these comments are mindles rants from people who shouldn’t be here in the first place.

    You should make people to justify why should their oppinion be allowed at YOUR channel of voice.

  39. 39
    ltft

    “Watch the video for a wonderful speech and the poor butthurt Christians leaving”

    Um… I’m not up on what the kids are saying, but butthurt? The bullshit bit I’m fine with, but the pansy-assed and butthurt bits… not sure about those.

  40. 40
    Zuche

    If we’re going to use the argument that anything we hear every day is acceptable, then domestic abuse is just fine. These same kids are aware such things happen.

    When you use words known to make some people stop listening to you, you make it known that you don’t wish to communicate with them. Why should an audience respect anyone that speaks to them in such an immature fashion?

  41. 41
    Zuche

    There’s a lot of jealousy and desperation in this entry. You may have learned too much from what you’re trying to fight.

  42. 42
    Wes

    Both you and Jen make a mistake when you lump all versions of liberal Christianity in with the literalists. Christianity is not homogenous in beliefs, and many liberal churches are respective of scholarship and science, knowing and teaching that the Bible is a human book reflecting the opinions of the age in which it was written. They cheerfully use the uplifting parts and discard the rest. Some hardly use the Bible at all.
    In addition, these churches tend to be very active in social justice issues, welcoming all races and LGBT men and women as congregants and ministers. For these rational practices they are hated by the fundamentalists as traitors.
    For many of the issues of the day, especially the teaching of science and marriage equality, these folks are our allies. To dismiss them as superstition-addled co-conspirators with the fundies is a factual and strategic error.

  43. 43
    keelychaisson

    BRAVO.

    Dan and you are both fucking AWESOME.

    I understand why Dan apologized–he has a lot of Christian listeners that he is reaching and whose minds he has a shot at changing, so screaming that their faith is bullshit in their faces is probably counter-productive. That said, I hope that apology tasted as rotten in his mouth as it would in mine.

  44. 44
    OgreMkV

    One thing to keep in mind when bringing up all these Old Testament concepts that shows the Bible is absolutely bullshit…

    A common reply by the religious (who have absolutely no idea what their religion actually says) is that “Jesus created a new covenant and the OT stuff no longer applies”.

    There are several responses.

    The best is this: Mat 5:17-20 “Don’t think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I didn’t come to destroy, but to fulfill. For most certainly, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not even one smallest letter or one tiny pen stroke shall in any way pass away from the law, until all things are accomplished. Whoever, therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and teach others to do so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever shall do and teach them shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, there is no way you will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”

    So, even in the NT, the OT rules are supported. So, the hypocrites cannot use that as an excuse…

    I believe there’s a place where Jesus also says he does replace the old covenant, but I’m too lazy to go dig it up.

  45. 45
    Eric RoM

    Thank you. The ratcheting effect of coarse language apologists makes me want to vomit.

    “It’s just a word” “they’ve heard it before” — arguments from assholes.

  46. 46
    noastronomer

    “My remarks can only be read as an attack on all Christians if you believe that all Christians are hypocrites.”

    I read that as a dig at the accusers. It implies that the accusers beleive that all christians are hypocrites.

  47. 47
    karmakin

    Here’s the problem. There’s a lot of people who put a lot of time, effort, energy and money into presenting the image of Christianity as a unified, pretty much monolithic block in certain ways. These are both conservatives AND progressives who do this.

    The reason why these do this, is generally one of self-promotion..we’re the good guys, and don’t you want to be one of the good guys? The problem of course, is that by doing this, they make it socially unacceptable to think that religious people, on what is a primary religious face, can be thought of as the bad guys. Or at least it makes it harder. Which is what you saw in this video.

    Anti-homosexual religious teachings result in bullying. Full stop. This is a FACT. And this is a bad thing. Unfortunately, I don’t think that it can be stopped without making it socially unacceptable for the religious groups to teach this in the first place.

    This is why in terms of bullying, what I support is legislation to force schools to allow counter/sub-culture groups and clubs, to allow marginalized youth to build their own community structures, counteracting a lot of the potential harm of social bullying.

    This in itself seems fairly obvious and harmless. Yet, it is something that religious groups oppose very strongly.

  48. 48
    noastronomer

    Via the Skeptics Annotated Bible, Luke 16:16 says:

    “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.”

    …but then Luke 16:17 immediately contradicts this:

    “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.”

    Yeah, it’s bullshit.

    Mike.

  49. 49
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Anyone else hear the sound to pearls cracking from being gripped so hard?

  50. 50
    Georgia Sam

    Your criticism is right on, Jen. Right-wing Christians are two-faced. Out of one side of their faces they bluster: “We’re the majority and what we say goes! This country was created for our benefit and it belongs to us, so you can either get down on your knees and worship our god in precisely the way we tell you to, or get the hell out!” Out of the other side they whine: “We’re just a poor, persecuted minority, suffering under the cruel whip of oppression! Won’t somebody please protect us from the heathen hoard that is determined to destroy us?” They need to pick one story and stick with it.

  51. 51
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    This sounds great on its face, but have you ever seen what passes as “liberal” Christianity on DailyKos (as one example). “liberal” Christians are just a obsessed with supremacy, exclusion, and bigotry, but you’re not allowed to talk about that, because they’re so *nice* and you don’t want to be disrupting all this interfaith *niceness* do you?

    Except, when an atheist speaks, then suddenly, it’s okay to tell people how evil they are.

    They want to “work together” just as long as their fairy tales are accepted unquestioningly.

  52. 52
    mnb0

    Wes is right. The practical consequences of liberal christianity are completely different from those of fundies.
    Still liberal christianity is bullshit. We atheists have to distinguish useful or even admirable bullshit (the best from Martin Luther King, Mahatma Ghandi) and intolerable bullshit of fundies.

  53. 53
    imnotspecial

    Great post. You go girl!

  54. 54
    hyperdeath

    I had to look that post up. It was from ten months ago. It’s amazing how these embittered little people seem to stockpile resentments.

  55. 55
    snebo154

    I’m not sure why it bothered me so much but the African-American girl walking out near the end, because someone is denigrating a book that espouses slavery and the subjugation of women, puzzled and upset me.

  56. 56
    GordonS

    Christians (most recently the Catholic bishops)are pulling this “Help! Help! I’m being persecuted” routine quite a lot these days. I believe it’s what we call a red herring. Or is it perhaps what Freud called projection?

  57. 57
    Feats of Cats

    Why do I have to be supportive of these people? The fact that they are not actively persecuting gays doesn’t mean they aren’t promoting an anti-critical-thinking message. And that’s dangerous. There are plenty of secular gay orgainizations that are much more deserving of attention and praise.

    Atheists aren’t a monolithic group, either. Some may be willing to look past the idiocy that is theism because they are less harmful than other religious idiots. I, for one, find any group demanding lifelong dedication to an imaginary being for fear of what will happen in an imaginary afterlife to be harmful, whether they’re telling people they are an abomination just for existing or not. Plus misogyny seems to be such a core part of Christianity that I am doubtful the two can really be separated.

  58. 58
    Jeffrey

    I don’t know if Christianity is like this, but we are having the debate in Judaism right now and for the last 100 years or so. The reform and reconstructionist branches say “lets just acknowledge the stuff we have outgrown” the orthodox branches say “we haven’t outgrown anything and that is why the messiah hasn’t shown up” and me in the middle going, “wait there is some weird stuff in there, such as where I am commanded to wipe out a whole family, but I really like the non-bibilcal traditions and liturgy of the more orthodox side” I think the difference between the way my co-religionists have been debating, and the way Savage and walk-outs have been debating, is that until very recently, most Jews have been tolerant and willing to debate tactfully. I am sorry, but while I agree with Savage that we have, as a species, outgrown some of the weirdness and violence in the bible, calling it “Bullshit” is pretty tactless. That is what Pissed me off even though I agree in principle with the idea that some parts of that book should be ignored

  59. 59
    Jeffrey

    course the part that I left out, is figuring out which parts to ignore, from one extreme (like the orthodox in my previous post) to the other (the Atheists). Frankly I don’t have an answer to that part.

  60. 60
    richardelguru

    Ah! Now I know why they say something like “There are lies, damned lies and Statisticians!”

  61. 61
    richardelguru

    …or should that be ‘liars’?

  62. 62
    snebo154

    If you accept the abandonment of any part of religion because “times have changed” then you either have to believe that at some point “times will stop changing” or you will eventually end up with enough abandonments to reach atheism. Twenty five years ago I decided that it was unlikely that times would stop changing and so far evidence favors this position.

  63. 63
    JM

    It may be the emotion people object to as much as the word. People object to god words, sex words, and bathroom words, but the 10 commandments only banned god words. Lingering Victorianism may account for some of it. What do Eastern societies consider swear or banned words?

  64. 64
    A. Noyd

    Ohhh, so you don’t know how you choose what to keep and what to discard but you somehow know you get to be selective. Well, ain’t that special. Yet, the Bible is supposed to have some sort of authority–the ultimate authority. To put your selectivity into practice, you have to put yourself into a position of authority above the Bible. What’s bullshit is that while you’re passing your own judgment on what’s “weird stuff” and what’s worth keeping, you continue to accept the Bible as though it has this ultimate authority. If you’re always going above it, what is the point of the Bible? How is it relevant to real life? Why not abandon it and rely only on what you’ve been relying on up till now to do your picking and choosing?

  65. 65
    gworroll

    Times can change the circumstances behind a commandment. It could still be valid.

    One thing I saw a lot in my time in paganism was biblical bans on witchcraft. There are some ways to interpret the original Hebrew and Greek that do not apply to witchcraft as practiced in the modern day. The command may well be the eternal truth of God, but it bans something else entirely.

    Slavery is another thing I’ve seen mentioned here and there. The idea being that the labor system referred to as slavery in the Bible does not precisely correspond to modern slavery, and thus might be permissible while modern slavery is not. Of course, I rarely see this one go to the extent of detailing what about Biblical slavery was different enough to make it ok, or proposals for a better word to use in modern translations. But the argument could potentially be viable if that extra information was provided.

    Of course this really doesn’t support religion. It just highlights a fundamental problem with scripture based religion. Languages and cultures change. If we no longer have the cultural or linguistic context to properly understand the scriptures, which the apologists presenting the above arguments are basically saying… How can we possibly rely on them to illustrate spiritual truth?

    This was actually going to disagree with your assertion that full abandonment was the logical conclusion of changing the religion with the times, but I kind of just came to the full abandonment position anyways, just from a somewhat different direction. Didn’t realize when I started typing that my cultural and linguistic context argument(which I’ve had for a while now) would end up relevant.

  66. 66
    LTFT

    “If you’re always going above it, what is the point of the Bible? How is it relevant to real life? Why not abandon it and rely only on what you’ve been relying on up till now to do your picking and choosing?”

    Not condoning it, but there’s an easy answer to the bits quoted above.

    Everything you say that I’ve quoted above could just as easily apply to the US Constitution. We’ve explicitly changed it 27 times, we’ve come fairly close to changing it dozens more, and we’ve re-imagined how we interpret it literally hundreds if not thousands of other times. The relevance of a good portion of the Constitution to real life is negligible at best. We pick and choose what parts of the Constitution to emphasize and we rely on more recently passed laws in our daily lives.

    Despite all that, however, we haven’t come close to tossing out the Constitution. Instead, we’ve keep the Constitution as the framework in which we write and carry out those laws. Why?

    Having a religious book, however neglected or selectively edited, provides a framework for a religious group. And, for good and often bad, it is fantastically effective as an organizational tool.

    Imagine tossing out the Constitution. Hell, don’t imagine, look at any number of countries that have tried to write a Constitution de novo. It’s a painful process and it’s almost always hard to get everyone on the same page. Now imagine tossing out the Bible, writing your own personal text, and trying to get a group of people to agree with you and meet with you once a week and effect whatever social change you want.

    Good luck with that.

  67. 67
    evilDoug

    Tactless? Tactless?! Calling bullshit “bullshit” instead of “bovine feces” somehow counts when that bullshit is being dried, condensed and compacted and used as a weapon to destroy lives? Bring on the the tactlessness! Patrons are requested not to faint in the aisles. Smelling salts can be purchased and clutching pearls rented at the concession in the lobby.

  68. 68
    A. Noyd

    Well, for one, the Constitution fulfills an actual need. There would be a serious cost for abandoning it. Some people may feel they find a use in religion and scripture, but it’s not like scripture or religion provide anything real that can’t be gotten elsewhere.

    Second, the Constitution is not meant to be some unchanging, ultimate authority; it’s just a set of codes that dictate how the government interacts with society and vice versa. We acknowledge that humans are the ones who created and who enforce it. Any authority the Constitution has comes out of our own authority. Agreement to abide by it is what we give in exchange for what we can gain from the social structure it supports.

    If someone wants to take that tack with scripture–to call it a human fabrication with its authority limited to those who agree to abide by it–then fine. But that’s not what people do. That’s not why it upsets believers when others call their scripture bullshit.

    People consider the Bible a special authority–one above any earthly authority. They demand deference from those who don’t agree to abide by its contents. And, all the while, they’re picking and choosing, based on something else, what parts of scripture count. Or they’re out-and-out writing new beliefs into scripture.

    So, no, bringing up the Constitution is not an “easy answer” because it really doesn’t compare.

  69. 69
    imnotspecial

    It’s really quite simple. Gods don’t write books.

  70. 70
    Piscador

    > …smells like a planned walk-out to me

    Did you look at the faces of some of the people walking out? A few of the girls were smiling. Not what I would expect from someone who was deeply offended.

  71. 71
    LTFT

    Hi Noyd,

    To play Devil’s Advocate to your response to my post…

    You say (though I edited, for reasons that should be clear): “…the Constitution is not meant to be some unchanging, ultimate authority; it’s just a set of codes that dictate how the government interacts with society and vice versa… Agreement to abide by it is what we give in exchange for what we can gain from the social structure it supports. If someone wants to take that tack with scripture– with its authority limited to those who agree to abide by it–then fine.”

    If you substituted ‘the Bible’ for ‘the Constitution’ you’d have a statement that a majority of liberal Christians could probably agree with (though yes, I removed the source of the authority bit from your text, and yes, I realize this is not an inconsequential edit). There are definitely those who would not agree… but then your argument becomes with those people, not with the Bible itself.

    You also say, “…it’s not like scripture or religion provide anything real that can’t be gotten elsewhere.”

    Facebook doesn’t provide much that Google+ couldn’t. That doesn’t mean, however, that Google+ provides everything Facebook does. The sense of community, the introduction to that community, yadda yadda. Sure, people could easily replace that, given enough time and foresight. We could replace the Constitution, too, if we really wanted. It doesn’t mean it would be easy or painless.

    One last comment for you, and then to you the last word… you keep mentioning how religious people use the Bible as this ultimate authority. This despite speaking in a thread started by a Jewish individual who obviously does not regard the Bible as the authority or his/her own religious documents as the Ultimate authority. Again, this makes me think your problem is not so much with a document but the people who use that tool to their own ends. There’s an enormous difference there.

  72. 72
    A. Noyd

    To play Devil’s Advocate to your response to my post…

    Not interested in playing that game. I’d rather spend my time having an extended discussion with someone who’s defending a position they actually hold.

    [Y]ou keep mentioning how religious people use the Bible as this ultimate authority. This despite speaking in a thread started by a Jewish individual who obviously does not regard the Bible as the authority or his/her own religious documents as the Ultimate authority.

    Are you quibbling with the use of the word “Bible”? I’ve heard it used plenty to refer to Jewish scripture and assumed that’s what Jeffrey meant when he (or she) was talking about having “outgrown some of the weirdness and violence in the bible.” He doesn’t explicitly say he holds the Bible to be the ultimate authority, but that’s the role of scripture in Jewish religion. He might not be incredibly fussy about it himself, but that’s part of the problem. He still considers it tactless to call the Bible bullshit and says only some parts of it should be ignored, but he also wants to reserve the right for himself to determine which parts those are.

    Again, this makes me think your problem is not so much with a document but the people who use that tool to their own ends.

    The problem is the disconnect between people trying to achieve their own ends and them referring to something outside themselves as an authority while not actually treating it that way. To put it in a slightly different context, there are people who defer to physics research in matters of physics. That’s an appropriate and consistent approach, even if they’re doing something horrible like making atomic bombs. But then there are the people who claim to defer to physics research while simply making shit up. (See, if you like, the recent discussions on “quantum consciousness” at Butterflies and Wheels or the ones on near death experiences at Pharyngula.) That’s wrong, even if their intentions are good, like wanting to promote social harmony.

    I don’t think scripture offers anything unique whereas physics research does, but it’s still possible for a religious person to defer to scripture as an authority. They shouldn’t but they also shouldn’t act as if they’re doing so when they’re not. I’d like Jeffrey to own up to the Bible being superfluous or make a case for how it’s not.

  73. 73
    Zuche

    Tactless words do not make an audience faint. They make them hear you speak like an adult in a Peanuts television special.

    Okay, like, tactless words don’t, like, help you, like, get your audience to, like, listen to what you are, like, actually saying, okay? You’ll be lucky if they keep listening just enough to tally the number of times you use an obnoxious word.

    Words like that only sway the weak-minded. Why would you want that following? Why would you want leadership that pursued it?

  74. 74
    Zuche

    Yes, and just look at how they were dressed!

    With that bit of sarcasm out of the way, why shouldn’t a person who has responded correctly to public offense smile? Walking away from people behaving in an obnoxious manner is a great route to a good mood.

    So much for them being the “butthurt” ones. How dare they show no stronger reaction than amusement or annoyance? Dan Savage was saying something important!

    Yes, he was. I’m sure the choir enjoyed every minute of it.

  75. 75
    Daniel Mulvihill

    Actually, Dan Savage’s comment was not an attack on Christianity. It was an attack on people who have no problem ignoring some parts of the Bible (shellfish and killing women for lying about being virgins), but can’t look past the homophobic part. People read into the Bible whatever is convenient for them at the moment. That’s why there are lots of gay Christians, Christian women, African American Christians, liberal Christians, pork-eating Christians, etc.

  76. 76
    BecomingJulie

    No, the argument is not that kids already hear words like that every day; they actually use words like that, and worse, all day every day.

    A fairer comparison with domestic abuse would be a bunch of known wife-beaters getting beaten up themselves.

  77. 77
    BecomingJulie

    Both you and Jen make a mistake when you lump all versions of liberal Christianity in with the literalists. Christianity is not homogenous in beliefs, and many liberal churches are respective of scholarship and science, knowing and teaching that the Bible is a human book reflecting the opinions of the age in which it was written.

    None of which matters; because believing bullshit is harmful, in and of itself. Those who believe falsehoods, no matter how trivial you might think them, are already in a position to act in a fashion justified by those falsehoods.

    In addition, these churches tend to be very active in social justice issues, welcoming all races and LGBT men and women as congregants and ministers. For these rational practices they are hated by the fundamentalists as traitors.
    For many of the issues of the day, especially the teaching of science and marriage equality, these folks are our allies.

    In case you missed it, believing falsehoods is not harmless. Grown-ups with imaginary friends are dangerous, because they are always liable to bad do things purely on the basis of some imaginary property of their imaginary friend.

    People need to be shown, not only that there is nothing wrong with being a secular humanist (i.e., valuing the dignity of real, living human beings over the whims and caprices of some imaginary sky-daddy), but that there is something wrong with being any other sort of “humanist”.

  78. 78
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Concerned tone troll is concerned. Comparing “naughty words” to domestic violence is really douchy, btw, both to people using those words and to victims of DV.

    Also, it’s hilarious to see Eric RoM in this thread, agreeing with you, as he’s a known troll on places like Pandagon who’s not unacquainted with “naughty words.”

  79. 79
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Good grief, yes regarding DailyKos. Some of them might be “liberal” compared with the fundie congregations that surround them in meatspace, but they spout all sorts of privileged shit, and then they whine piteously when some commenters don’t show them deference because they’re kweeeeessstyuuunnnnnnzzz.

  80. 80
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    To add to what you’ve already been told, those “liberal” xtians will typically side with their co-religionists over atheists, because ultimately, for them, it’s not about humanistic values. It’s about jeezus.

  81. 81
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    …and who are you, again?

  82. 82
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Go home and fondle your crystals and meditate on your aura and congratulate yourself for being “positive” and achieving “serenity,” unlike all us “angry” atheists.

  83. 83
    Zengaze

    Lol, best reply award I’ve read all day

  84. 84
    Zengaze

    We as a species are outgrowing religion, but as in any evolution some branches of the family are way behind us.

  85. 85
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Oh, fuck’s sake, more fucking shitty tone trolling from a pearl-clutching tone troll who thinks that everybody is as much of a fucking idiot as they are about the usefulness of profanity.

  86. 86
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Yes, and just look at how they were dressed!

    Wow, you’re comparing criticism of the smiles on the faces of privileged x-stains who walked out of Savage’s speech… to rape victim blaming? And right after comparing Savage’s speech to domestic violence.

    With that kind of moral equivalency, in addition to glossing over the serious consequences of homophobia, you’ve got to be a fundie xtian, am I right?

    With that bit of sarcasm out of the way, why shouldn’t a person who has responded correctly to public offense smile?

    Because not everybody who’s been offended is in the right, moron.

    Walking away from people behaving in an obnoxious manner is a great route to a good mood.

    Then perhaps everybody should walk away from you, you blithering, disingenous assbiscuit.

  87. 87
    Matt Penfold

    And yet, as we see here in the UK the idea that the liberal Christians are really that liberal is laughable.

    Why else would the Church of England be opposed to plans to allow same-sex marriage in the UK ? Those who oppose the move are generally pretty liberal on a number of issues. It is hard to find fault with John Senatmu when it comes to issues of poverty or racism. Yet he is adamant in his opposition to allowing same-sex couples to marry. There is only one reason, and that is religious belief.

    So sorry, your supposed liberal Christians do not seem to actually exist.

  88. 88
    LTFT

    Hi Noyd,

    Only thing I wanted to respond to (I did say, I think, last word to you)- I was partially questioning the use of ‘Bible’ but mostly questioning the idea that it was the OP’s ‘ultimate’ authority. Obviously it wasn’t; he was ignoring which parts to go with. The bible bit was just icing.

    Beyond that, thanks for the chat. Cheers.

  89. 89
    Joey Maloney

    Even though I agree with you completely about Christianity, Jen – and about Islam, Judaism, Jainism, theistic Buddhism, pantheism, panentheism, paganism (neo- and paleo-), druidism, communism, libertarianism, etc. etc. ad infinitum ad nauseum world without end, amen – this is still the source of a fair amount of cognitive dissonance and upset.

    The “problem” is that every Christian I know personally is a great person. Whether that’s despite or because of their faith I don’t know, and it’s really beside the point. And their approach to their faith is not naive; for the most part they are thoughtful people who have spent a long time dissecting Christianity’s founding documents and historical context and have drawn their own conclusions about what’s important and what’s cultural accretion and whatnot. Again, beside the point.

    I think their beliefs are nonsense. OK, people believe all sorts of nonsense that doesn’t make them bad or even stupid people. I can pretty well guaran-damn-tee you that five hundred years from now, ninety percent of what you and I believe about the universe will have been revealed to be nonsense.

    But I also believe, as you do, that their belief system is at base pernicious, destructive of human freedom and happiness, and anti-life in some fundamental way. And yet these people are, again, fine people – in many cases better people than me.

    If nothing else, I don’t wish to be rude to my friends. Beyond that, they are concrete proof that you can be a Christian and still be a good person. If we could figure out how they manage that, maybe we could bottle it or something.

  90. 90
    nooneinparticular

    *jumps out of chair and applauds*

    Well said, Ms McCreight.

  91. 91
    snebo154

    I have done exactly the same thing while arguing/discussing things on FtB threads. It always cheers me up when I realize that I am not too set in my ways to adapt when given a valid reason to rethink my opinions. If my comment encouraged you to do just that then with your permission I will take that as a huge compliment. Thank you.

  92. 92
    SallyStrange

    Shorter Statistician:

    1. You’re dumb

    2. So is PZ Myers.

    QED

  93. 93
    SallyStrange

    Comparing domestic violence to cussing is bullshit. Feel free to fuck off if this language offends you.

  94. 94
    snebo154

    This is semantics but I think it is a valid and important point. You say that you can be Christian and still be a good person. Can you? It is written that Christ said (paraphrasing) “I am not here to overthrow the old laws but to enforce them”. So can someone who “follows the word of Christ” including the condoning of slavery and the executions by stoning of homosexuals actually be a good person. Or are you saying that “Real Christians” only follow the teachings of Christ that are currently acceptable in your particular voting area? You seemed to have missed the point made by, well, pretty much everybody here. If you are saying that “Real Christians” are those that only follow the parts of the bible that secular humanists agree with, then I think that you and your “Real Christian” friends need to ask yourselves if there is any real need for Christianity beyond keeping busy on Sunday morning.

  95. 95
    SallyStrange

    Whether that’s despite or because of their faith I don’t know, and it’s really beside the point.

    Your friends don’t own slaves or stone women to death for adultery, right? Then I think it’s pretty safe to say their goodness is entirely unrelated to their Christianity. This is pretty easy. Look at the moral code in the Bible. How closely does it correspond to the moral code of people you consider “good”? Not too closely, eh?

    It’s not beside the point at all. Christians claim that being a Christian gives you a superior moral code to follow and can transform your life such that you really do become better than before.

    It’s complete bullshit. People are good because they are good, not because the read one book or another.

    In addition, your friends, though well-meaning, by suspending their capacity for critical reasoning when it comes to their religion, have left themselves vulnerable to doing evil things in the name of their religion.

  96. 96
    Joey Maloney

    No, I’m saying that friends of mine who identify themselves as Christians are good people, and I am conflicted between calling them out on the negative aspects of their belief system versus hurting their feelings.

    I guess I could’ve just said that instead of all the woolgathering.

    But “who identify themselves” is kind of the key there. You’re not a Christian, I’m not a Christian, Christianity is a creedal religion so you and I don’t get to define who is and isn’t one. Sometimes this reads as a No True Scotsman turned inside out (and think about what a mess THAT would make) – “you can’t be a Christian because you don’t believe X or Y assholeish thing in the Bible.” Well, yeah, you can. One of my self-identified Christian friends doesn’t even believe in the divinity of Jesus, exactly. Which I think means she might be not exactly a Christian but again, I don’t get to say.

    The other bit that I think is important is that there’s nothing unique about Christians’ (or religious people in general) ability to suspend critical reasoning. In the first place, everyone does that about something or other. Someone who claims to be completely rational is a fool, or lying, or kidding themself. In the second, it’s not even the correct formulation, necessarily. It’s not that they’re suspending reason; it’s that they’re operating from premises that I think are (a) wrong and (b) untestable. As opposed to you and I, who operate from premises that (a) correct and (b) untestable.

  97. 97
    Corey

    Statistician is evidently spending a lot of time around freethoughtblogs trying very hard to sound articulate and intelligent by name-dropping philosophers and abusing out-of-context jargon in order to insult and belittle atheists who dare write about being atheists or religious BS. This is a desperate push back against “aggressive atheism,” which only seems aggressive because people like him cling so tightly to their faith that they feel literally assaulted when someone points out anything that contradicts it. Facts and common sense insult these people. They feel insulted, and yet all they do is insult and harm other people– and they do it on the basis of “personal faith,” and not demonstrable facts. And they do a lot less of it now than they ever have simply because their religion has lost its authority because of the rise of non-religious science and technology– the very things they hate the most. Go figure. Bunch of neutered zoo lions– they were mighty once, and now they just lay around waiting for extinction…

  98. 98
    Sandiseattle

    I guess my question is: when is there not some bigot who’s upset with dan savage? I love his column, most weeks.

  99. 99
    leonpeyre

    Using profanity to deride the Bible—and then mocking the Christian students after they left the room—is obviously a form of bullying and name-calling argumentation that hurts our dainty ears. This illustrates perfectly what we’ve been saying all along: Too many times Occasionally, in the name of “tolerance,” Christian students find their faith being openly mocked and belittled in educational environments challenged for a change, and they don’t like it one bit. Incidents like this one stand in stark contrast to the principles we’ve continually espoused railed against on our Web sites, the ironically named truetolerance.org and dayofdialogue.com, which call for a free exchange of ideas and respect for different our viewpoints, including meaning those that are faith-based and socially conservative.

    Fixed that for you, Focus on the Family Patriarchy.

  100. 100
    A. R

    Joey, you need to watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ao_PdmERD_U. (Apologies to those who take issue with Maher for his sexism and woo, but this is too relevant not to post.)

  101. 101
    left0ver1under

    Calling religion “bullshit” and equating anti-gay attitudes to slavery is not going to incite people to commit violence.

    Calling people “evil”, “sinful” and “anti-god” will incite – and has incited – people to commit violence.

    The religious have taken the silly and strange notion that they get to tell others how to live according to the book o’ blood, but somehow they are exempt from the book’s rules.

  102. 102
    left0ver1under

    I forgot to say that I love his line, “Callista Gingrich lives”.

    But that could also apply to someone like Katy Perry, the daughter of a pastor (Leviticus 21:9).

  103. 103
    Patricia Kayden

    Excellent comment. People pick and choose what they want to believe in the Bible all the time. There is no way that anyone can take the Bible word-for-word. Seems like Muslims need to do the same with the Koran.

  104. 104
    Pierce R. Butler

    I had never seen a picture of Dan Savage before, but now I have to wonder whether he was separated at birth from this guy.

  105. 105
    'Tis Himself

    Concern troll is concerned.

  106. 106
    'Tis Himself

    Okay, like, tactless words don’t, like, help you, like, get your audience to, like, listen to what you are, like, actually saying, okay?

    Your evidence for this is what? Your opinion? Your personal dislike of naughty words? Your inability to hear anything because your head is rammed up your ass?

  107. 107
    evilDoug

    Why, Miss Daisy, such unladylike language. You do set my heart aflutter.

    I’m always amused and somewhat baffled by the trolls that don’t want atheists to say anything, then offer advice on how to say things and make points. It ranks right up there in frequency with the assertions about our lack of adequate philosophy and our unsophisticated theology.

    I quite like the John Ralston Saul quotation that Perry Bulwer posted on Camels With Hammers (and which I note you noted), which I am swiping and posting here:

    “An obsession with polite or correct public language is a sign that communication is in decline. It means that the process and exercise of power have replaced debate as a public value.

    “The citizen’s job is to be rude — to pierce the comfort of professional intercourse by boorish expressions of DOUBT. Politics, philosophy, writing, the arts — none of these, and certainly not science and economics, can serve the common weal if they are swathed in politeness. In everything which affects public affairs, breeding is for fools.”

    John Ralston Saul, The Doubters Companion, p. 237

  108. 108
    Other Point-of-View

    I’m not going to address Dan Savage’s unnecessary browbeating, and the blatant and rampant misconeptions and outright lies regarding what the Bible says. It’s not important.

    What is is this; Dan Savage completely misunderstand the Bible, like many who oppose it, but he COMPLETELY right in calling bullshit on Christians who say “They can’t help bullying”.

    “You’re not God, and therefore it’s not your job or your place to judge or browbeat others” is a central tenet of Christianity. Christians who ignore that are guilty of a far FAR more heinous crime than any gay person.

    Savage was right to call them out on it.

  109. 109
    Yahzi

    Wrong.

    The Constitution contains instructions on how to change the Constitution. Changing it was intended, from the beginning.

    The Bible is the exact opposite: it contains only instructions on not changing the Bible.

    See the difference?

  110. 110
    Raging Bee

    Wes, I really want to agree with you, since both of my parents are/were the kind of decent moderate Christians you describe. But here’s the problem: when was the last time all you so-called moderates formed a united front and PUBLICLY attacked the extremists as dead wrong on doctrinal grounds? When was the last time you were willing to risk a major scism by publicly campaigning against the extreme, irrational and bigoted interpretations of your Bible? When was the last time all those moderate churches put out official statements saying that the extremists were WRONG about God’s will and NOT entitled to pretend they’re representing God’s will or doing God’s work?

  111. 111
    Raging Bee

    Well, FWIW, not all black Christian churches supported Dr. King or the Civil Rights Movement in general. I remember reading about Dr. King publicly complaining about inertia, spinelessness and outright resistance from black as well as white churches. Crommunist and/or Blackskeptics probably have more on that — attacking and debunking the myth of “The Civil Rights Movement, brought to you by the Black Church.”

  112. 112
    Raging Bee

    Okay, why don’t you click on the “Earn a Bible Degree!” ad at the top of this page and see if they can help you prove us wrong?

  113. 113
    Raging Bee

    I’m not going to address Dan Savage’s unnecessary browbeating, and the blatant and rampant misconeptions and outright lies regarding what the Bible says. It’s not important.

    Really? Lies and misconceptions about a book that’s important to over a billion people aren’t important? Do you really believe that, or are you just trying to diss us without having to defend your arguments?

  114. 114
    jws1

    Read “misconceptions” as “shit I like to white-out of the bible.”

  115. 115
    cswella

    Christians who ignore that are guilty of a far FAR more heinous crime than any gay person.

    Love the insinuation that being gay is a crime at all.

  116. 116
    Raging Bee

    That’s a religious relic I’d pay for — a Vial of the True White-Out.

  117. 117
    Craig

    “[...] Christian groups cry foul when someone points out flaws in their religion. It’s not their emotions that are so fragile: It’s their faith. Because Christianity, like all religions, simply cannot stand up to questioning. It’s why so many parts of the Bible actively denounce questioning faith. It’s why Christians have to run out of talks and make press releases about persecution. Because Christianity crumbles in the face of history, biology, and analytical thinking. Silencing dissent is the only way for Christianity to survive.”

    This. I will be retaining this quote for future use because it does such an amazing job at summing up the whole “persecution” nonsense.

    It reminds me of a quote by Dan Barker when he said: “Faith is a cop-out. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can’t be taken on its own merits.”

    So yes – it is the actual faith that is fragile, not emotion. Very well said.

  118. 118
    Christopher Petroni

    I agree with the sentiment, but I don’t think the analogy works. No “branch” of the “tree” is “behind” any other (unless, I suppose, it’s extinct.)

  119. 119
    Other Point-of-View

    Let me rephrase, regardless of your stance on being gay, being a hypocrite, being a bully, and trying to use the Bible of all things to justify both is a savagery that pretty much anyone would be repulsed by.

  120. 120
    cswella

    Let me rephrase, regardless of your stance on being gay, being a hypocrite, being a bully, and trying to use the Bible of all things to justify both is a savagery that pretty much anyone would be repulsed by.

    Using the bible to justify any of those stances doesn’t repulse me in the least, especially when the bible is the source of much of the bigotry.

    What’s your interpretation on the passages that these other christians use to justify bigotry? And do you have any evidence that what you think it means is a better assessment than what they think it means? How is your interpretation more justified than what Dan Savage thinks?

    “You’re not God, and therefore it’s not your job or your place to judge or browbeat others” is a central tenet of Christianity.

    And this may be part of the problem from your end. If you can’t criticize people’s opinions, then how do you create the divide between what you call ‘christianity’ and what they call ‘christianity’? If God doesn’t give you the right to express your opinion on a subject, then you can’t even judge the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church.

  121. 121
    Other Point-of-View

    Cswella, I won’t lie to you and pretend I know everything about what the Bible says. And I won’t pretend that much of I what I believe it says is gut instinct.

    But hypocrisy is wrong. Considering the utter disdain Christ himself had for them, I don’t think I’m off on that one.

    And yes I have opinions. But see, I’m far more concerned with trying to live my life and making my peace with my creator, I can’t expend that kind of energy on policing everyone else. Besides, it never fails that those who do the most bullying usually have the most heinous shit in their closet.

    And besides…IT DOESN’T WORK! Barking on people and browbeating them will only make them want to punch you in the face. Jesus never pulled that crap. He walked up to people, put a hand on their shoulder and said, “Hey, if you ever change your mind give me a call. I love you either way.” I’m trying, little by little to follow that example.

  122. 122
    JSC_ltd

    He did apologize for saying “pansy-assed.” After clarifying that he meant that the walk-out was pansy-assed, not the people doing it. And he said he should have used a different term, because pansies are some of his favorite people.

  123. 123
    Tigger_the_Wing

    Other Point-of-View,

    “Barking on people and browbeating them will only make them want to punch you in the face. Jesus never pulled that crap. He walked up to people, put a hand on their shoulder and said, “Hey, if you ever change your mind give me a call. I love you either way.” I’m trying, little by little to follow that example.”

    That quote you imagine Jesus saying? That came from your imagination, not the gospels. That makes you a better person than Jesus. He wasn’t the kind and gentle person of folklore and tradition.

    You should try actually reading the bible sometime – just the new testament would do – and see what it actually says, instead of relying on soundbites and sermons fed to you by people who don’t actually want you to think for yourself.

  124. 124
    Tigger_the_Wing

    I agree. Very well said indeed.

  125. 125
    Mark

    Jen, I read your work occasionally with great pleasure. I enjoyed the post about Christian bullshit very much. I envy your drive and determination. I wish I had it in the same measure. If anything, I would go farther than you. I’m starting to think that freedom of choice on the matter of religious abuse–how you raise your kids, how you subvert the political system, how you claim exemption from reasonable laws–should not be respected by our political system, and that we should strictly enforce upon religion the same system of compliance that we demand from any private club. That is, no sacrificing chickens or goats, no denying medical treatment to children, no raping teenage girls in the name of marriage, etc. I’m not a fan of Stalin, but at least he repressed the Russian Orthodox church.

  126. 126
    augustpamplona

    There’s a form at the National Organization for Marriage set up to e-mail the president & your representative. I think it would be good to make use of it. I would suggest a rewording it to show support for Dan Savage. It’s at http://goo.gl/rZAFW

    I reworded mine as follows (I added a sexual orientation category):

    Support Dan Savage against unfair, false demagogic accusations

    I see that Savage’s “It Gets Better” campaign is prominently recognized on the White House website as a model for anti-bullying programs across the nation. I am grateful for the White House’s emphasis on creating a safe and civil school environment for children of all ethnic, social and religious backgrounds and sexual orientations as this is a goal that we all can share.

    This is why I was appalled at the obviously politically motivated accusations of anti-Christian bullying made against him mostly by conservative news outlets with regard to his recent speech at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention. No fair reading can construe his speech as an attack on Christianity or as “bullying” of Christian students.

    It is clear that certain parties are intentionally distorting the import of his speech for political gain to demagogically fabricate a controversy where none exists.

    I urge you to publicly support Dan Savage, making it clear that your administration stands on principle supporting Dan Savage and does not kowtow to pressures related to this politically motivated attack.

  127. 127
    This Is A Turing Test

    Jen: “That sort of thinking wouldn’t be tolerated or respected in our society if it weren’t for the unfairly special status religion holds.”

    It’s that last bit, about the special status of Christianity in the US, that I want to comment on, because I think that is important, that is the problem. Folks feel entitled by their Christianity to begin with; and when those “entitled” people feel even further empowered by some mythical “Christian Nation” bullshit, it gets worse for those who don’t get to (or want to) share that distinction. A few months age, when Michele Bachmann was still (more or less) in the running for her party’s Presidential nomination, she did a “town-hall” thing in Iowa, where a young girl asked her why gays shouldn’t have equal rights, in such civil matters as marriage, with everybody else. Bachmann’s response was to the effect that, gay marriage being against the law, what gay folks were asking for here was “special” rights, and that is not allowed in America. My reaction (after thinking, “wait, isn’t Iowa actually one of the few states where gay marriage is legal?”) was astonishment at the complete lack of self-awareness and hypocrisy (the two are the same, I guess) in someone who thinks that gays are demanding “special” status for their group- but herself thinks that her group has “special” status just by virtue of being that group. Michele doesn’t want equal rights for Christians, in relation to other religions (or none)- she openly wants special rights for them, in defiance of the Constitution she professes to revere (which doesn’t mention them at all, except to both protect them from persecution, and deny them any special status, on the basis of that group identity alone). Gay people are asking only for equal treatment, guaranteed by the Constitution for all citizens, on the basis of being individuals covered by that guarantee. Christians like Bachmann are demanding a special status, as a group, expressly denied by that same Constitution- and, with that special status, the implied right to define others’ rights and status. This is what I think is dangerous about Christianity (any religion really), whether it’s “liberal and moderate” or “conservative and reactionary”- exactly this sense of political entitlement (apart from the irrationality, which is a more empirical objection).

  128. 128
    Anonymous

    It must feel so empty… Living with so much hate. :/

  129. 129
    This Is A Turing Test

    Anonymous says: “It must feel so empty… Living with so much hate. :/”
    ??? Who was that directed to? There’s a few different ways that comment could be read.

  130. 130
    Josh

    what’s your honest on this?

  131. 131
    August Pamplona

    I think it’s pretty weak. Dr. Oakley shifted his goal posts. Most of the video addresses the straw man of only one thing being taken seriously in Leviticus (which Savage never claimed to be the case).

    Savage’s point, which Dr. Oakley is earnestly evading, is that there are a lot of things in the Bible which Christians do not follow. At no time does Savage say that everything about Leviticus is bullshit (a position ably demolished by Dr. Oakley to confuse the issue). Savage instead points out that there’s a lot of bullshit there (a lot is not the same thing as everything).

    He also makes points about slavery which are rather weak. He tries to excuse slavery in the Bible might because it was not exactly the same as antebellum slavery in the US. He also excuses the Bible on account how you would not have wanted believers at the time to make too many waves. You are still having a situation where a man can sell his daughters and one human can own another. I do not believe that Dr. Oakley thinks that this is OK therefore Dr. Oakley is ignoring the Bible on this issue.

  132. 132
    Emily

    Jen, what do you make of the fact that some of the more militant atheists’ (who do not, by the way, represent everyone who does not believe in God) assertion that religion damages children when actual studies, like that you cited on spanking from Pediatrics, appear to suggest the opposite?

  133. 133
    Emily

    Sorry, let me rephrase: what do you make of the notion promoted by some militant atheists that religion hurts children when scientific studies, like the one on spanking in Pediatrics, suggest the very opposite?

  134. 134
    believerinIsoysxristosiossotir

    Reading this boggles the minds on how people can mock and change the bibles words around to suit themselves or to find an excuse to interrogate it and make it look wrong. There are many versions out there by heretics its true, however the main foundation of Christs true words may be difficult for someone, but if you don’t follow, Don’t expect heavens gates open. If your capable of hurting someone and not even acknowleging it, Christ has no door open for you. YOu must forgive to be forgiven!!!!!

    Everything in here is in chaos. God is watching every word you say. If you cause blindness to believers and block disbelivers in trying to find the truth to the faith you will be responsible for it. Watch your words carefully anti christians for you will cast in the lake of fire and can never escape it. Christians are taught to forgive and apologize when they have to no matter how much it hurts, but they don’t have to hold on to you as a friend however if you hurt them. We can only pray for them. Satan stay away!!!!! God is powerful and only he has the right to take my soul and any good honest soul and rise them to heaven.

  135. 135
    believerinIsoysxristosiossotir

    Remember dear Christians, If another individual whether christian or not does not want to apologize, forgive and walk away and do not allow that person to hound you, when your nice and do what is right, that is when the devil wants to challenge you. Block all emails and phones. I did when i separated from someone recently. I called verizon and had her numbers, texts blocked and with my mac I blocked her email. I do get an email, but I reply and send and she gets it in red, meaning it was not read and never opened. This is frustration to her. This is frustration to the devil. He moans in losing the battle :D

  136. 136
    Linda

    Remember dear Christians, If another individual whether christian or not does not want to apologize, forgive and walk away and do not allow that person to hound you, when your nice and do what is right, that is when the devil wants to challenge you. Block all emails and phones. I did when i separated from someone recently. I called verizon and had her numbers, texts blocked and with my mac I blocked her email. I do get an email, but I reply and send and she gets it in red, meaning it was not read and never opened. This is frustration to her. This is frustration to the devil. He moans in losing the battle :D

  137. 137
    Linda

    sorry guys it wouldn’t let me post something, said I repeating it, but did not see blog so I played someone else to get message across. yikes but now its double oh well.

  138. 138
    Vanessa

    I agree somewhat with your opening comment that “Christianity is BS.” The only way that I would change it is that I would put North American Christianity. North American Christians are watered down and comfortable in the society that they contend with, making them inefficiant and dispised. Christians who stand for what they believe, in countries where it is illegal to be a Christian, sign their death warrent as soon as they choose to follow Jesus. That is something to respect no matter what you believe. And if your going to quote the Bible, do it in the context it was written, because there are alot of people here flinging out verses that are taken grossly out of the context.

  139. 139
    teenage dream video

    // Go to the preferences and uncheck the option to automatically log you on or when you sign in, uncheck the “remember me” option.

  140. 140
    d

    I appreciate your thoughts and comments…. To be clear then, please tell us what is right and wrong and how you know it? Not trying to be a pain here, but if I am reading correctly, you are suggesting that Christians have a narrow viewpoint and are wrong for not being open minded and having an absolute, but you are using yourself as an absolute for what is right and wrong? Just wanting to be clear…. And, like any book, you may want to read the whole thing and work to understand it before judging each chapter or sentence on its own accord without understanding the context of the day/culture… It is a history book of God’s story, the good and the bad, not everything pleased God… just like we are not all proud of everything the United States has done, but at the end of the day, I hope (unlike our current presidente) we are proud to be Americans and don’t need to apologize to the world for who we are…. thanks for your open and honest dialogue of where you are at in processing life. I apologize for others who may have criticized you in the past and if anything I said above is offensive, it was just meant to provoke thought…

  141. 141
    xerxes

    anus is not a sexual organ, it’s an excretory one.

  142. 142
    CK

    Be careful what you call bullshit on, when you are not aware of what you really do not know.

  143. 143
    August Pamplona

    http://www.jesusandmo.net/2012/07/18/read/

  144. 144
    dajew killa

    Ermahgurd, people stop being virgins and party! No one gives a fuck about the bible, n if they do, let em believe in the bullshit. Not out problem

  145. 145
    dajew killa

    Dude, did you know…that um…I chopped off a pair of lamb titties and Satan told me when I die I’ll get to drag your soul to the armpits of hell?

  146. 146
    Imachristian

    No, you’re bullshit

  147. 147
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    LOL wow what cutting wit!

    When you’re ready to grow up and stop believing in silly fairy tales, come back.

  148. 148
    timothyguy

    Only problem with this article is bigfoot is real as are alien abductions and aliens and ghosts and lots of things you skeptically Morin’s ignore the evidence for.

  149. 149
    timothyguy

    Blame all those misspelled words on my kindle.

  150. 150
    thisisallyouneed

    Well, I am an atheist, and I am on the far right as long as the “far right” stands for personal responsibility and personal liberty (I want my money and my guns etc etc) maybe that’s libertarian, if so, then fuck you.
    But, homosexuality is a biological aberration as it is in direct conflict with the propagation of our species. So gay is as unnatural as cancer and should be treated as such. In any event fuck the nutjobs who staged the walk out and fuck the douche on stage. Thank you.

  151. 151
    thisisallyouneed

    Oh, and one more thing, FUCK YOU.

  152. 152
    flocker247

    nah witchcraft and all of the greek mythology garbage is bullshit. fuck witchcraft and everyone who practices it. fake wanna bees weak cowards. put a spell on that you morons. I am the ” Flocker ” I am all knowing all seeing all powerful. Beware!

  153. 153
    flocker247

    o ya i forgot. all you cheese cracks, Shut the fuck up! You got no right to speak! Be silent, or feel my rath ya cheese cracks!

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