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Feb 11 2013

God is too old to continue at the age of infinity

Well now really, the pope seems to have his theology all in a tangle. He says he’s resigning the pope job because he’s too old for it. How can that be possible? He’s god’s deputy! Why doesn’t god just make him not too old for it? Why doesn’t god just fix whatever age-related problems he has so that he can go on being god’s deputy until his “natural” death (“natural” apart from whatever secular medical interventions take place, of course)?

Pope Benedict XVI is to resign at the end of this month after nearly eight years as the head of the Catholic Church, saying he is too old to continue at the age of 85.

The unexpected development – the first papal resignation in nearly 600 years – surprised governments, Vatican-watchers and even his closest aides.

Because always before until now god made the popes not too old to be pope until they were too dead to be pope.

A Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said that even Pope Benedict’s closest aides did not know what he was planning to do and were left “incredulous”. He added that the decision showed “great courage” and “determination”.

Of course! And if the pope had said he had considered resigning because old but had decided not to, that decision too would have  showed “great courage” and “determination.” Win-win. It’s actually pretty funny when a decision to quit is described as showing great courage and determination. Hmm let’s see – I won’t run a marathon today. That took great courage and determination. Are you impressed?

99 comments

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  1. 1
    dianne

    I won’t run a marathon today. That took great courage and determination. Are you impressed?

    Oh, yeah? Well, I won’t write a blog post today, which takes even more determination!

    I keep thinking that there must be some REALLY big scandal coming up if the Pope has decided to quit rather than dealing with it.

  2. 2
    Argle Bargle

    Quitting shows “great courage”? What’s the courage involved in retiring from a job?

  3. 3
    flippyshark

    It’s as inspiring as Sarah Palin’s courageous decision not to finish out her term as governor of Alaska. I’m still in awe!

  4. 4
    otrame

    He’s just been told he doesn’t have long to live. He wants to control who gets to be the next Pope.. This is actually a good thing, because he will choose someone as bad as he is. The decline of the RCC will continue.

  5. 5
    Jean

    What would have taken courage and determination would have been to resign because of the role he played in hiding all the abuses done by the members of the church. But that would also have required having some morals…

  6. 6
    rnilsson

    So, it took this vice-god-finger to point them in the general direction of incredulity? Why oh why did nobody think of this before (in the last 600 years)? Might it have something or other to do with the incarceration of his aide-de-poop (or whatever, I wish no knowledge of details)?
    For a Kremlologist, the inclusion of words like “great courage” and “determination” in such a prepared statement would rather blatantly suggest their opposite, of course.

  7. 7
    Ed S.

    Is it too cynical to note that the Pope can’t resign “to spend more time with his wife and family?”

  8. 8
    NotAnAtheist

    I wonder what the comments would be if, instead of the pope this was someone like the chairman of the CSI resigning because he didn’t feel like he had enough energy and was too old to head the CSI.

    Or if at some point James Randi felt he was too old to be in a leadership position at the JREF (if he still is now even).

    Or if Richard Dawkins said he was getting to old to attend conferences / write books anymore.

    I don’t think think they would be the same.

  9. 9
    Ophelia Benson

    Well NotAnAtheist that’s just silly. Of course they wouldn’t be the same. None of those people thinks that god can intervene to make people strong or healthy or youthful. They don’t even think god exists.

  10. 10
    jasmyn

    NotAnAtheist, the comments wouldn’t be the same because the jobs aren’t the same. Most jobs don’t come with life long obligations. The pope and supreme court justices are practically the only people that get that sort of job security. Most justices retire due to old age, but a pope hasn’t in centuries. Not to mention, most of us really don’t approve of the pope. If we did, we’d probably be catholic and go to different blogs.

  11. 11
    Christoph Burschka

    Just a hunch, but that might be related to the fact that none of those people lead organizations that systematically shielded child rapists from justice.

  12. 12
    picklefactory

    If Randi resigned from the JREF or Dawkins from the RDF, the comments would probably be more like, “Well, it wasn’t 100% positive, but I appreciate his contributions to our little shared adventure.”

    The Pope, on the other hand, is a vile human being, and will almost certainly help select another such to succeed him.

  13. 13
    NotAnAtheist


    NotAnAtheist, the comments wouldn’t be the same because the jobs aren’t the same. Most jobs don’t come with life long obligations. The pope and supreme court justices are practically the only people that get that sort of job security. Most justices retire due to old age, but a pope hasn’t in centuries.

    Your point is?

    If a liberal supreme court justice resigned.. would the comments be the same? Of course not.


    Not to mention, most of us really don’t approve of the pope.

    Well that’s obvious, and is probably the main driver behind most of the comments here. It just doesn’t square with the whole “open-minded”, “objective” skeptic idea. At least to me.

    Just my opinion, but if someone was truly objective, and truly “open-minded” they wouldn’t change what they would say simply because they didn’t like one person over another.

    Just my opinion.

  14. 14
    NotAnAtheist


    Of course they wouldn’t be the same. None of those people thinks that god can intervene to make people strong or healthy or youthful.

    I’m curious if you have any actual evidence that the Pope thinks that God not only can, but will intervene to make him “strong, or healthy or youthful”.

    If he thought that God would do that, and resigned, that would be one thing, but I’m not going to hold my breath that you have any actual evidence of that.

  15. 15
    picklefactory

    You opinion is misinformed. Open-minded and/or skeptical does not mean “never makes value judgments”.

    I have evaluated the evidence, and it points towards the conclusion that the Joseph Ratzinger is a horrible person.

  16. 16
    Ophelia Benson

    Oh, NotAnAtheist, at least be honest. Of course the pope thinks god can intervene to make him strong. I didn’t say he thinks god will, but he certainly officially thinks god can. The evidence for that is all over his work. You can find it on the Vatican’s website.

    I say he “officially” thinks that because for all I know he’s a secret atheist. But officially, vocationally, as his job, speaking as the pope, yes of course he thinks that.

  17. 17
    NotAnAtheist


    You opinion is misinformed. Open-minded and/or skeptical does not mean “never makes value judgments”.


    I have evaluated the evidence, and it points towards the conclusion that the Joseph Ratzinger is a horrible person.

    I see. I’d be curious if you could elaborate on that. How do you get from some evidences that you have that Ratzinger is a “horrible” (and by that I presume you mean immoral) person.

    Hopefully you use nothing but evidence and reason.

  18. 18
    Ophelia Benson

    And this isn’t about liking and disliking, either. It’s about the papal office, and the church, and the official creed of both.

    Be honest.

  19. 19
    NotAnAtheist


    Oh, NotAnAtheist, at least be honest. Of course the pope thinks god can intervene to make him strong.

    Oh, no doubt. Can is not the same word as will though. I had spelled that out in my previous post.

    I asked for evidence that the Pope believes God “will” do something, not simply that he “can”.

    I’m not going to hold my breath though.

  20. 20
    Pierce R. Butler

    … the first papal resignation in nearly 600 years …

    The pension plan may need some updating, but if payments have been put into the fund and no US financiers allowed to get at it, the payouts are probably quite nice.

  21. 21
    NotAnAtheist


    And this isn’t about liking and disliking, either. It’s about the papal office, and the church, and the official creed of both.

    I see. So the fact that the Pope is viewed as a “horrible” person by most people here.. that has nothing to do with it. Your comments are 100% based on evidence and reason. No emotions at all. Just pure intellect.

    Come on. Be honest.

  22. 22
    Ophelia Benson

    You do realize that we’re not all one person, right? I said what I said, not what someone else said.

  23. 23
    Ophelia Benson

    And @ 19 – as I said, I never claimed that the pope thinks god will. On the other hand, I do think there is something to explain if god will not. They never do explain that. They make excuses for it, but they don’t explain it.

  24. 24
    NotAnAtheist


    You do realize that we’re not all one person, right?

    Indeed. But you all (supposedly) are these open minded / free thinkers who use nothing but evidence and reasoning to come to your conclusions.

    If two people use nothing but evidence and reasoning.. and they start from the same premises (as I’d say most people here do) … shouldn’t they come to the same conclusion?

  25. 25
    NotAnAtheist


    On the other hand, I do think there is something to explain if god will not. They never do explain that. They make excuses for it, but they don’t explain it.

    How do you tell the difference between an “excuse” and an “explanation”.

  26. 26
    Ophelia Benson

    Really? Can you find any evidence that I’ve ever claimed to use nothing but evidence and reasoning to come to my conclusions?

    Try for instance reading the series of posts on Daniel Kahneman’s book.

  27. 27
    Ophelia Benson

    How do you tell the difference between an “excuse” and an “explanation”.

    Sense of smell.

  28. 28
    picklefactory

    Apparently I must have claimed that I was a Vulcan at some point and then had a neurological incident and forgot about it.

    Anyway, I think the Reasonable Doubts guys have done a better job than I would do at explaining why the Pope is a horrible person.

  29. 29
    NotAnAtheist


    Really? Can you find any evidence that I’ve ever claimed to use nothing but evidence and reasoning to come to my conclusions?

    You’ve probably never explicitly claimed it, no.

    Which is fine. Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps you don’t use evidence and reasoning (and nothing else) all the time to come to your conclusions. That’s fine if you’re not always being a skeptic. In fact, that’s probably good.

    I am curious though. If you don’t restrict yourself to nothing but evidence and reasoning… what else do you utilize? I mean, beyond your sense of smell of course.

  30. 30
    NotAnAtheist

    To specify one thing:

    I am not trying to argue that the Pope is not a horrible person. I am not trying to argue that he is a horrible person. He may very well be, or he may not be. I simply don’t know.

  31. 31
    Worldtraveller

    At least he outlasted Palin.

    :D

  32. 32
    Ophelia Benson

    Oh, just read the damn blog, NotAn. If you have no clue about me then look around; don’t ask me a bunch of stupid questions instead.

  33. 33
    Didaktylos

    Now maybe somebody can persuade Liz Mountbatten-Windsor to do the same

  34. 34
    NotAnAtheist


    Oh, just read the damn blog, NotAn.

    I do read your blog.


    If you have no clue about me then look around; don’t ask me a bunch of stupid questions instead.

    Asking what processes and means one uses to come to a conclusion is a stupid question? Well.. ok.

  35. 35
    Ophelia Benson

    After a string of obviously provocative (as opposed to serious or thoughtful) questions? Yes, of course it is. You can’t do both. You can’t first pick a fight and then expect to be taken seriously the instant you decide you’re being serious.

  36. 36
    Ophelia Benson

    @ 33 – bite your tongue!! Remember who comes next. [shudder]

  37. 37
    NotAnAtheist


    After a string of obviously provocative (as opposed to serious or thoughtful) questions?

    What qualifies as a “serious” or “thoughtful” question to you?

  38. 38
    NotAnAtheist

    If you can point out where I’m “picking a fight” that would be appreciated.

    Certainly was never my intention.

    If me pointing out what I saw as an inconsistency rubbed people the wrong way though.. that is interesting.

    At least, to me.

  39. 39
    Don Quijote

    @NotAnAtheist

    You don’t know if Ratzinger is a horrible person or not? Read up some stuff about him and come back to let us know.

  40. 40
    picklefactory

    @1: I keep thinking that there must be some REALLY big scandal coming up if the Pope has decided to quit rather than dealing with it.

    Several of my acquaintances have said this. I am wondering what the pope could have realistically done that’s worse than what we know he’s actually done (and, natch, had some dreadful Catholic bigot spring out of the woodwork to defend and self-justify and and obfuscate and misdirect).

  41. 41
    Josh, Official Spokesgay

    You’re flat-out trolling, notanatheist. And you’re annoying. Everyone can see right through your prim act. If you want to provoke the monkeys find a lower-rate venue.

  42. 42
    NotAnAtheist

    You don’t know if Ratzinger is a horrible person or not?

    How do you define horrible?

  43. 43
    Josh, Official Spokesgay

    How do you define wet? How do you define pain? How do you define buttercream frosting?

    We know you’re JAQ’ing off. Do you?

  44. 44
    NotAnAtheist


    You’re flat-out trolling, notanatheist. And you’re annoying.

    I’m definitely annoying to atheists, that’s true.

    Pointing out a skeptic’s inconsistency is the quickest way I’ve found to annoy them.

    Which is understandable. I’m sometimes annoyed when people point out when I’m being inconsistent. I do try to learn from my mistakes though, and continue on.

  45. 45
    NotAnAtheist


    How do you define wet? How do you define pain? How do you define buttercream frosting?

    I usually start with the dictionary. After that I check other sources if necessary.

    Perhaps you just use your sense of smell?

  46. 46
    Ophelia Benson

    You didn’t point out any inconsistency, you buffoon. You thought you had, but you hadn’t.

  47. 47
    Ophelia Benson

    Ok, that’s enough.

  48. 48
    NotAnAtheist

    Going to ban me then?

  49. 49
    Ophelia Benson

    NotAn, if you really want to comment here, you’ll have to stop trolling.

    And don’t try to claim you’re not trolling. You just said you were, in comment 44.

  50. 50
    Ophelia Benson

    Not necessarily. If you stop trolling, I’ll let you comment.

  51. 51
    Ophelia Benson

    Cool. First you admit trolling, then you admit you were angling for being banned. Goodness what an asshole.

  52. 52
    picklefactory

    Now that that’s over with, I can’t *wait* to see what Eric MacDonald says about this. I imagine it will be bracing.

  53. 53
    rnilsson

    Vell, even though ze line vas too long and his barb vas not so scharpf, ze sinker vas werry deep.

  54. 54
    NotAnAtheist

    I guess you did ban me. Rather a fast decision. Two minutes from “If you stop trolling I’ll let you comment” to “You’re banned.”

    Very.. tolerant of you.

  55. 55
    Forbidden Snowflake

    But you all (supposedly) are these open minded / free thinkers who use nothing but evidence and reasoning to come to your conclusions.

    Open minded / freethinking people are only permitted to have evidence and reasoning? They aren’t allowed to have values? That’s odd, since open-mindedness and free thought are values of their own right, or so I thought.
    Better luck next time, NotAnAtheist.

  56. 56
    Ophelia Benson

    NotAn. No. You’re not banned. For the third time: if you stop trolling, I’ll let you comment. If you manage to comment without trolling, I will allow that comment to appear. If not, not. That’s not banning.

  57. 57
    freemage

    NotAnAtheist: It’s very simple. You are correct–if someone were retiring from CSI or any other secular activist organization, we wouldn’t be making the same mocking comments. The reason for this is that we wouldn’t have the same bullshit to mock. To-wit: the notion that resigning is somehow an act of “great courage and determination” in the first place.

    If the Pope-fluffers had simply said, “Given the international scandal regarding priestly sex abuse (and more to the point, the Church’s aggressive and periodically illegal campaign to cover up the abuse), and in particular the increasingly sharp questions regarding the Pope’s role, in his prior post, in orchestrating or at least encouraging that cover-up, it is probably in the best interests of the Church for him to step aside now, and we are grateful to him for putting the organization’s needs above his own,” that would be a different story.

    Instead, they are making the very act of attempting to flee and let someone else deal with his mess out to be some sort of great moral decision. Thus, we mock. We mock his hypocrisy, his vulgarity, and the genuine obscenity that his career has been.

    Now do you get it?

  58. 58
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Anthony McCarthy, is that you?

  59. 59
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    NotAnAtheist, “open-minded” doesn’t mean holding the flaps of your brain open and shaking the contents out all over the floor.

    IMHO it’s pretty objective to despise a child-abuse enabler who also has contributed greatly to the oppression of women and GLBT people worldwide. An act of pure intellect, if you will.

    Josh:

    How do you define wet?

    The state of NotAnAtheist’s underpants after getting done with this thread.

  60. 60
    NotAnAtheist


    NotAn. No. You’re not banned. For the third time: if you stop trolling, I’ll let you comment. If you manage to comment without trolling, I will allow that comment to appear. If not, not. That’s not banning.

    True. Ok.


    Open minded / freethinking people are only permitted to have evidence and reasoning? They aren’t allowed to have values?

    I did not say that freethinkers are only permitted to have evidence and reasoning, I said use. You are allowed to have values.. but I would think if your values were not based on evidence and reasoning then that’s a sign of inconsistency.


    Instead, they are making the very act of attempting to flee and let someone else deal with his mess out to be some sort of great moral decision.

    You view the Pope’s resignation as an “attempt to flee”. Who are you to know his actual motivations for doing something? Do you have any actual evidence that the reason he retired was not, as he said, but because he’s “attempting to flee”? Or is that just a scenario that you particularly happen to like?


    The state of NotAnAtheist’s underpants after getting done with this thread.

    Sorry, they’re quite dry. Nor am I “done” with this thread.

  61. 61
    Forbidden Snowflake

    but I would think if your values were not based on evidence and reasoning then that’s a sign of inconsistency.

    What do you mean by “values based on evidence and reasoning”? Evidence and reasoning should be used to determine the right course of action given our values, but please explain how values can be based on them, and how it’s supposedly inconsistent to mock the pope’s move.

    Do you have any actual evidence that the reason he retired was not, as he said, but because he’s “attempting to flee”?

    It’s not unreasonable to guess that, since he is the first pope in centuries to quit, the reason for quitting is probably something that isn’t equally true for almost every other pope (such as: wants to participate in selecting his successor, is old and decrepit, etc.). Maybe wrong, but not unreasonable.

  62. 62
    NotAnAtheist

    What do you mean by “values based on evidence and reasoning”? Evidence and reasoning should be used to determine the right course of action given our values, but please explain how values can be based on them, and how it’s supposedly inconsistent to mock the pope’s move.

    Frankly, I don’t know how one bases values or morality on evidence and reasoning. My understanding of skepticism is that if something isn’t based on evidence, or a rational argument, it should not be believed. After all, this is the primary argument atheists make against religion isn’t it? “There just isn’t any evidence.”

    Perhaps my understanding of skepticism is wrong. Perhaps skepticism is really “We reject religious claims because of a perceived lack of evidence, but we accept other values even without evidence because…”

    If you hold certain values to be true, but you acknowledge that you don’t hold them as true because of some evidence or reasoning, yet you also think that one should not believe in religious claims because of a supposed lack of evidence or reasoning.. I’m curious how that’s not massively inconsistent.

    As for the inconsistency in mocking the pope, I’ve already said that. If other people retired from their jobs, even a job that had a life long position you would not automatically assume it was due to a scandal. The only reason you do it with the pope, is because he is the leader of a religion, and (most likely) you hate religion.


    It’s not unreasonable to guess that, since he is the first pope in centuries to quit, the reason for quitting is probably something that isn’t equally true for almost every other pope (such as: wants to participate in selecting his successor, is old and decrepit, etc.). Maybe wrong, but not unreasonable.

    True. Immediately jumping from that to the idea that the pope is a coward who just can’t deal with a scandal, and that he’s a hypocrite because somehow he should believe that God will magically make him younger is to me, unreasonable. As well as being theologically wrong.

  63. 63
    Forbidden Snowflake

    My understanding of skepticism is that if something isn’t based on evidence, or a rational argument, it should not be believed. After all, this is the primary argument atheists make against religion isn’t it? “There just isn’t any evidence.”

    The idea of skepticism is that claims about how the world is shouldn’t be believed without evidence. That means, claims about facts. Values are not the same as facts. There is no kind of evidence with which one can objectively prove that truth is better than lies or that lack of suffering is better than suffering, because there is no single objective metric for “better”. It is reasonable to accept the axiom “not suffering is better than suffering” as your core value and derive other values (such as, “freedom is good”, “violence is bad”, etc.) from it, but there is no way to prove that suffering is bad to a person who does not believe it.
    It’s important to understand that “X is” and “X is good” are two different types of claims that are differently addressed by philosophy.

  64. 64
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Am I the only one imagining a future global crisis of faith, which will force the cardinals to ask Ratzinger to return to the job and guide the new pope in his struggle, to which Ratzinger will mumble “I am too old for this shit” but eventually comply?

  65. 65
    Marcus Ranum

    My understanding of skepticism is that if something isn’t based on evidence, or a rational argument, it should not be believed.

    More precisely, we should withold judgement regarding claims of fact or knowledge that are not supported.

    The ancient skeptics such as Epicurus were careful to point out that claiming something is not true can be just as dogmatic as claiming something to be true. That’s how philosophy wound up with the Pyrhhonian skeptics, who prefaced anything that might appear to be a claim of fact or knowledge with a mini-disclaimer rendering it merely a matter of personal interpretation. “It appears to me now that…” or “It seems to me that…” were typical Pyrhhonian skeptical beginnings to a sentence. Skeptics also have always focused on apparent contradictions – a statement of knowledge or fact that appears to be easily contradicted by another statement of knowledge or fact is generally deemed to be worth discarding.

    Modern skepticism fuses the scientific method with ancient skeptical tropes, leaving a combined epistemological system that is remarkably powerful despite its lack of claims of absolute knowledge. So, when we encounter something like the Theory of Evolution in a skeptical/scientific framework, we would observe that it has survived a tremendous number of challenges and, that it has, argues that it continues to look better and better all the time. This is because, using skepticism and the scientific method, a contradictory result (that in turn withstands skeptical challenge) would show the theory to be wrong. Under the scientific/skeptical method, things are generally never shown to be “right” but rather to have survived being shown to be wrong for a conclusively long time. That’s how we say Newton got gravity right given what he had to work with at the time, and so did Einstein – not that “Einstein showed Newton was wrong.”

  66. 66
    NotAnAtheist


    It’s important to understand that “X is” and “X is good” are two different types of claims that are differently addressed by philosophy.

    To that I agree, but its surprising to find a skeptic who thinks that values cannot be arrived at via evidence and reason. What do you think a value is then, beyond a mere opinion (since I believe you differentiate between the two).


    More precisely, we should withold judgement regarding claims of fact or knowledge that are not supported.

    How does one tell if something is “not supported”?

    Skeptics also have always focused on apparent contradictions – a statement of knowledge or fact that appears to be easily contradicted by another statement of knowledge or fact is generally deemed to be worth discarding.

    True. The problem is the idea of “apparent” contradictions. To you, many of those apparent contradictions (I would think) are actual. To someone else, they may only be apparent contradictions.


    So, when we encounter something like the Theory of Evolution in a skeptical/scientific framework, we would observe that it has survived a tremendous number of challenges and, that it has, argues that it continues to look better and better all the time. This is because, using skepticism and the scientific method, a contradictory result (that in turn withstands skeptical challenge) would show the theory to be wrong. Under the scientific/skeptical method, things are generally never shown to be “right” but rather to have survived being shown to be wrong for a conclusively long time.

    What about claims that have not yet survived a “number of challenges”? What should be done with those claims?

    Also, who determines whether a claim has “survived” a challenge and who does not? To you, I would think that Christianity, or other religions have not survived many challenges (if any). To an evangelical apologist, Christianity has survived all challenges put in front of it.

  67. 67
    Forbidden Snowflake

    To that I agree, but its surprising to find a skeptic who thinks that values cannot be arrived at via evidence and reason. What do you think a value is then, beyond a mere opinion (since I believe you differentiate between the two).

    I think values cannot be arrived at without evidence and reason, however, evidence and reason are insufficient on their own. Evidence and reason are sufficient to determine what is, but not to determine what should be.
    And values are beliefs about what should be, and about what is important.

    To you, I would think that Christianity, or other religions have not survived many challenges (if any). To an evangelical apologist, Christianity has survived all challenges put in front of it.

    That is not an irresolvable difference. It’s the result of different epistemologies and different standards of proof, things which can be discussed and corrected via reasoning.

  68. 68
    NotAnAtheist

    It’s the result of different epistemologies and different standards of proof, things which can be discussed and corrected via reasoning.

    Corrected? How does one “correct” a different standard of proof? Or a different epistemology?

  69. 69
    Raging Bee

    If a liberal supreme court justice resigned.. would the comments be the same? Of course not.

    Can anyone think of a liberal Supreme Court justice whose track record was as wretched as Ratzinger’s? Of course not. So there’s a perfectly valid reason why our comments in that instance would not be the same. Different events cause different reactions.

    Any other willfully stupid questions? Wait, don’t answer that…

  70. 70
    Raging Bee

    My understanding of skepticism is that if something isn’t based on evidence, or a rational argument, it should not be believed.

    Okay…so what have any of us said that wasn’t based on evidence?

  71. 71
    Raging Bee

    I am not trying to argue that the Pope is not a horrible person. I am not trying to argue that he is a horrible person. He may very well be, or he may not be. I simply don’t know.

    He’s been Pope since 2005, and Grand Inquisitor before that, and you’re still that ignorant about him? That says a lot about your intelligence, and your priorities.

  72. 72
    NotAnAtheist


    He’s been Pope since 2005, and Grand Inquisitor before that, and you’re still that ignorant about him?

    Did I say I was “ignorant” about him? Or did I say that I wasn’t sure he was a “horrible” person or not?

    If you think he’s a horrible person, why not lay out your evidence, that :

    A: I should hold to your definition of what a horrible person is.
    B: Based on what your definition of a horrible person is, the Pope is a horrible person.

    Have you ever considered that we might have different ideas of what it means to be a “horrible person”?

  73. 73
    SallyStrange

    Did I say I was “ignorant” about him? Or did I say that I wasn’t sure he was a “horrible” person or not?

    Lack of ignorance about the Pope would naturally lead to the conclusion that Ratzinger is a terrible person. If you know anything about him, you know he’s horrible, unless you don’t consider the following to be horrible things:

    -needlessly increasing the number of AIDS infections by lying and claiming that condoms don’t work, and by claiming that condoms are “sinful”
    -promoting discrimination against gays and lesbians around the world by claiming that their marriages constitute a threat to civilization
    -fighting against reproductive equality for women, thus ensuring that more women will die needlessly because they cannot access safe, legal abortions

    The list goes on. If you’re not sure whether the Pope is a horrible person, there are only three options:

    1. You don’t know anything about him.

    2. You are fine and dandy with promoting discrimination, inequality, and needless suffering and deaths.

    3. You think the Pope’s efforts to fight poverty and climate change balance out his promotion of discrimination and opposition to equality and so he’s not “horrible” exactly but maybe morally neutral.

    I think it’s clear that people here who despise him know about the horrible things he’s done, and aren’t down with the idea that doing nice things balances out doing horrible things. There’s the evidence, you little wanker.

  74. 74
    NotAnAtheist

    Whenever you’re ready to deal with me without insults or invectives I’ll be around. Until then, enjoy riding your high horse.

    I do find it interesting that with atheists/skeptics.. who are supposed to be so open-minded, forgiving and tolerant, there are some things that apparently.. there’s no forgiveness for.

    Once you are ever against gay marriage, or against abortion or any other liberal sacred issue, apparently, you are automatically labeled a “horrible person”, and nothing else you do in life ever matters. You are forever labeled, judged, and sentenced. So forgiving you atheists are.

    (For the record, I am pro gay marriage, pro-condom use and while not exactly falling into the “all abortions for any reason are absolutely ok” camp I think most atheists are in, I do not want to see abortions made illegal and they should be easily available. The difference is, I don’t think you are a “horrible person” for being against any one of the above.)

    I await the insults and invectives of the other readers here.

    (Also, this is a bit of a snarky post, so if its not actually allowed, I understand.)

  75. 75
    SallyStrange

    Who said atheists were supposed to be open-minded and forgiving and tolerant? From my observations, content of beliefs about supernatural phenomena has very little correlation with character traits such as niceness, morality, generosity, kindness, etc. Would that it were otherwise, but it’s not.

    That’s nice that you don’t think being against basic human rights for women and LGBT people makes one a horrible person. I think you’re wrong. That’s a question of values. From over here, your values suck. They give a lot of latitude to bigots and not very much to those who are oppressed by the bigots. But hey, if that’s how you want to play it.

    Your pre-emptive faux victimhood is not amusing.

  76. 76
    And How

    To Quote Not an Atheist

    there’s no forgiveness for.

    Once you are ever against gay marriage, or against abortion or any other liberal sacred issue, apparently, you are automatically labeled a “horrible person”, and nothing else you do in life ever matters. You are forever labeled, judged, and sentenced. So forgiving you atheists are.

    (For the record, I am pro gay marriage, pro-condom use and while not exactly falling into the “all abortions for any reason are absolutely ok” camp I think most atheists are in, I do not want to see abortions made illegal and they should be easily available. The difference is, I don’t think you are a “horrible person” for being against any one of the above.)

    Your support on the pro-gay marriage, pro-condom, making abortions easily available issues is appreciated.

    I have a question for you. How do you handle conversations with those people in your life who are against these basic rights. I am presuming that you know people against these rights that speak openly about it in your presence. By the way, I know people like that as well. I don’t consider most of them “horrible” at their core, just “horribly ignorant”.

    Anyway, my question if you care to answer – Do you sit there in silence when they speak out against these basic rights because you don’t feel they are “horrible” people and are entitled to their opinion?

  77. 77
    And How

    Sorry, Not an Atheist. I did not italicize your entire quote like I had intended.

    Not An Atheist said:

    ……..there’s no forgiveness for.

    Once you are ever against gay marriage, or against abortion or any other liberal sacred issue, apparently, you are automatically labeled a “horrible person”, and nothing else you do in life ever matters. You are forever labeled, judged, and sentenced. So forgiving you atheists are.

    (For the record, I am pro gay marriage, pro-condom use and while not exactly falling into the “all abortions for any reason are absolutely ok” camp I think most atheists are in, I do not want to see abortions made illegal and they should be easily available. The difference is, I don’t think you are a “horrible person” for being against any one of the above.)

    Please see above for questions I have regarding these comments.

  78. 78
    NotAnAtheist


    I have a question for you. How do you handle conversations with those people in your life who are against these basic rights. I am presuming that you know people against these rights that speak openly about it in your presence. By the way, I know people like that as well. I don’t consider most of them “horrible” at their core, just “horribly ignorant”.

    Anyway, my question if you care to answer – Do you sit there in silence when they speak out against these basic rights because you don’t feel they are “horrible” people and are entitled to their opinion?

    It depends.

    With regards to homosexuality, I actually don’t have too many people in my life who are against homosexual marriage. (Or at least, if they are, they are not at all vocal about it.) So I’ve rarely been in that situation. The occaisonal time it has happened I’ve been with other people who jumped into a conversation before I could even open my mouth, and the individual was not that seriously against homosexual marriage.. so the conversation was not that serious really.

    With regards to abortion, most of the time when I’ve had discussions with people on that issue, they have been people who hold to the idea that even at conception a fetus is a “person” or has a “soul”. I find that the only (Christian) theological support for that idea tends to be the one single verse in the Bible (Jeremiah 1:5) and to me, it contradicts some other theological ideas in Christianity (can one have a body/soul unity, when one does not yet have a complete body, Lev 17:14, etc). So I bring up those ideas. (Also, to clarify, while I think early term abortions should be made easily available, I am not for very late term/ partial birth abortions).

    With regards to condoms.. same sort of situation as homosexuality. While I’ve known a few people who were against gay marriage, I’ve not yet known anyone who was actually against condom use. So I have truly never been in that situation. While I do appreciate the idea that one should not promote sexual activity (which, as far as I know tends to be the main argument against condom use / distribution) I don’t think its an either or option.

    I think that covers it.

  79. 79
    NotAnAtheist


    That’s nice that you don’t think being against basic human rights for women and LGBT people makes one a horrible person. I think you’re wrong. That’s a question of values. From over here, your values suck.

    Your opinion is noted.

  80. 80
    And How

    Not An Atheist from Post 45

    How do you define wet? How do you define pain? How do you define buttercream frosting?
    I usually start with the dictionary.

    Not an Atheist from Post 72

    B: Based on what your definition of a horrible person is, the Pope is a horrible person.

    Have you ever considered that we might have different ideas of what it means to be a “horrible person”?

    I was wondering about whether the pope really was a “horrible person” as well. I used your suggestion and looked up definitions in the online Meriam-Websters dictionary.

    1. Horrible means extremely bad.
    2. Extremely in this context means having a high degree or radical
    3. Bad in this context means morally objectionable
    4. Person means human or individual.

    So by definition, the meaning of the phrase “horrible person” is

    A human having radical (or a high degree of) morally objectional views.

    I looked at some (but not all) of the articles in the link on post 28. What I learned was Pope Ratzinger most certainly knew or at the very least should have known about the child abuse going on while he was an Archbishop in Germany. He did nothing to stop this priest, except there was some therapy and a reassignment.

    Also, Pope Ratzinger in his position before he was pope conspired to protect the Church by ordering US archbishops to not report incidents of child abuse to secular authorities. Making it worse, I understand it that this order was in violation of US law in states having mandatory reporting laws requiring clergy to report these cases to secular authorities. These laws apply to school teachers, medical professionals, and social workers as well.

    I learned about his anti-abortion, anti-birth control and homosexuality being “always wrong” positions. And it also seems his position on women having equal opportunity given the make up of his organization are clear.

    In my view, Pope Ratzinger does have raidical and objectionable morals. So, by definition it is fair to refer to him as a “horrible person”. On top of that the papacy papacy claims moral authority and has followers who without question adopt these views.

    The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

  81. 81
    NotAnAtheist


    He did nothing to stop this priest, except there was some therapy and a reassignment.

    If he did nothing.. except.. he actually did something.


    Also, Pope Ratzinger in his position before he was pope conspired to protect the Church by ordering US archbishops to not report incidents of child abuse to secular authorities.

    Indeed. This is an action that he did. Not a moral viewpoint he happens to hold.


    Making it worse, I understand it that this order was in violation of US law in states having mandatory reporting laws requiring clergy to report these cases to secular authorities. These laws apply to school teachers, medical professionals, and social workers as well.

    Again, an action he did, and not a moral viewpoint he happens to hold. If we are going to use the definition you had earlier, we need to know the Pope’s moral viewpoints. Do you have any information that can shed light onto those?


    I learned about his anti-abortion, anti-birth control and homosexuality being “always wrong” positions.

    To you, any reason to be against birth control or homosexuality is morally wrong. That’s fair, but that’s just your opinion. I try to get more information when I can (such as why a person is against the above), but if you want to simply assume things thats your perogative.

    If someone is against homosexuality because they’ve bought into the faulty studies that are so often trumpted by people on the right, is it a moral fault? Or an intellectual one.

  82. 82
    And How

    To Not An Atheist –

    I understand the distinction you are making, but I can’t see why it matters whether it is an intellectual or moral shortcoming. Bigotry is the result.

    My attitude on these matters is a twist on the axiom “Breaking the law because one is ignorant of the law is not an excuse.” I modify that to “Bigotry justified by adopting ignorant tribal, primitive civilizational relgious doctrine is not an excuse. ” Do you put so much pride in “toleranance” that you excuse abusive, immoral behavior?

    Religous books such as the Bible and Q’ran are full of errors and myth. They are mostly a commentary by the author about the political, social, psychological, primitive, tribal, information-defecient, Middle Eastern culture in that particular place at that particular time.

    I’m against using the Bible or Q’ran for the following:

    a) A 21st Century Science Book. (Reason – flat Earth, just to start with the mistakes).

    b) A 21st Century Legal Guide. (Reason – isn’t relevant to technological urban society, condones racism, sexism, cruel punishments)

    c) A 21st Century Ethics Guide. (Reason – condones slavery, racism, sexism – the patriarchial, macho teachings relegating females as second class and not being equal to men in value are beyond obnoxious )

    d) A 21st Century Psychology Guide. (Reason – slave mentality,concept of original sin, mental illness viewed as demon possession)

    e) A 21st Century Political Reference (Reason – extremely tribal, imperialistic, use of slaves,)

    f) A 21st Century Parenting Guide (Reason – condones beating children)

    g) A 21st Century Business Guide (Reason – only crude bartering, no technology at the time, nothing useful)

    h) A 21st Century Medical Guide (nothing useful offered, except maybe some basic cleanlines tips, blindness cured with mud in the eyes and wishful thinking for goodness sakes)

    i) A 21st Century History Book (not even close to accurate, full of mythical stories)

    My prediction is that here in the US, over the next 25 years a politician campaigning for any federal position promotes use of religious books as a basis in which he or she will legislate will be unelectable on a national stage. And that is a good thing.

    I have zero tolerance for bigotry and abuse of any kind (child abuse, no less in this case). If you do not share my “opinion” then simply stated you need to evaluate your ethics. Ratzinger doing nothing and attempting to protect child abusers from the law! That is an outrageous and disgusting act of enabling by a so-called “leader”.

    Obviously, I am not religous myself, but I do value freedom of religion and freedom of speech in expressing ideas and values. I talk unabashedly and without hesitation against fundamentalist religous bigoted ideological influences affecting secular laws. Many equal opprotunity and non-discrimination policies are already US law and the bigotry is becoming more watered down with new generations. But we have a long way to go.

  83. 83
    NotAnAtheist


    I understand the distinction you are making, but I can’t see why it matters whether it is an intellectual or moral shortcoming. Bigotry is the result.

    It is the difference between one being a horrible person, and one doing horrible things.


    Do you put so much pride in “toleranance” that you excuse abusive, immoral behavior?

    No. Where did I say that I did?

    I have zero tolerance for bigotry and abuse of any kind (child abuse, no less in this case).

    How do you define bigotry? I sometimes think that many people who are skeptics / atheists / progressives define bigotry as “Thinking that something someone else is doing may be morally wrong.”


    Ratzinger doing nothing and attempting to protect child abusers from the law! That is an outrageous and disgusting act of enabling by a so-called “leader”.

    I assume you feel exactly the same about Joe Paterno?


    Obviously, I am not religous myself, but I do value freedom of religion and freedom of speech in expressing ideas and values.

    Do you? I find that hard to believe as you seem to be against religious ideas being used for just about anything. What do you mean by “freedom of religion” exactly? Freedom of worship? Freedom of.. what?

  84. 84
    And How

    It is the difference between one being a horrible person, and one doing horrible things.

    Hmmmm. Using your reasoning, what exactly is the differnce between one who is a criminal, and one who commits criminal acts? Or the difference between one who is a baker, and one who bakes bread?

    No. Where did I say that I did?

    See first quote from you above.

    How do you define bigotry?

    Is English your first language?

    I assume you feel exactly the same about Joe Paterno?

    This is something Ratziner was aware of for years. He goes onto to take a a position where it his job to actively protect the church by promoting policies where abusers do not answer to criminal charges.

    Additionally, I’ve never heard Paterno speaking out against women, gays, condoms. Paterno, in his position of a football coach does not claim to be a mouthpiece of a divine being to a billion people.

    All I can figure is that the papacy thinks that 3 foot tall stupid looking cone the pope wears on their head makes this claim of being a moral authority credible somehow.

    What do you mean by “freedom of religion” exactly?

    If you want to live in a nation based and ran by a religion, there are plenty of choices out there. Pick the theocratic nation of your choice and move. I’m betting you won’t like it. :) Everyone I know that is religous (and reasonable) agrees the Constituional provision of church and state should be strictly applied.

    I listed my reasons why I am against relgious texts being used as an authoritative book in the areas above. If you want to respond telling me specifically what religous ideas need to be added to secular laws or thinking in any these areas – I’m listening. But unless you provide concrete example as to what these ideas are I am going to write you off as a blow hard, albeit a harmless one because you can’t defend your positions.

  85. 85
    And How

    Edit: The Constitutional provision that church and state be separate be strictly applied.

  86. 86
    NotAnAtheist


    Is English your first language?

    Yes, however I’ve found most liberals and conservatives tend to have wildly different definitions of what words like “bigotry” mean. Even amongst liberals the what exactly constitutes “bigotry” can differ.

    You obviously have no tolerance for something you define as “bigotry”.. but based on my previous experience “bigotry” to you could mean anything from outright emotional hatred, to simply thinking that certain behaviors are morally wrong.


    Hmmmm. Using your reasoning, what exactly is the differnce between one who is a criminal, and one who commits criminal acts? Or the difference between one who is a baker, and one who bakes bread?

    Is being a criminal or a baker a moral judgement? If someone jaywalks, is he/she a criminal? If someone bakes one loaf of bread, is he/she a baker?


    If you want to live in a nation based and ran by a religion, there are plenty of choices out there. Pick the theocratic nation of your choice and move. I’m betting you won’t like it. Everyone I know that is religous (and reasonable) agrees the Constituional provision of church and state should be strictly applied.

    This is not an answer to the question. You’ve said that you are against religion and religious ideas being used for history, science, ethics, morality, politics, parenting, business, amongst other things. Where do you think religion can be used? Where should it be used? Anywhere? Or should all religion be abolished and some sort of enlightened “rationality” take its place?

    Or by freedom of religion do you really mean “Whatever you do between the four walls of the church is ok, but don’t do anything I have to hear about, much less affect me.”

  87. 87
    NotAnAtheist

    Would you be willing to accept the dictionary definition of “bigotry”?

    1.
    stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.

    2.
    the actions, beliefs, prejudices, etc., of a bigot.

  88. 88
    NotAnAtheist

    Missed this before:


    If you want to respond telling me specifically what religous ideas need to be added to secular laws or thinking in any these areas – I’m listening. But unless you provide concrete example as to what these ideas are I am going to write you off as a blow hard, albeit a harmless one because you can’t defend your positions.

    First of all, I have yet to state a position on “which religious ideas need to be add to laws”. I have yet to state many positions… period here. So “writing me off as a blow hard” because I have yet to defend a position I haven’t even stated seems odd.

    Second of all, what do you mean by “religious ideas”? I presume you mean those ideas that are in some religion, but are not in your particular “secular” philosophy right?

  89. 89
    NotAnAtheist

    To elaborate on the above, I don’t have any particular “religious ideas” that I personally think should be added into existing laws. I do think that politicians, and people in general should be allowed to make arguments and propose policy based on moral and religious ideas, and then have the people decide if that’s what they want. You seem against that.

  90. 90
    And How

    Would you be willing to accept the dictionary definition of “bigotry”?

    1.
    stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.

    2.
    the actions, beliefs, prejudices, etc., of a bigot.

    I have already said I believe in freedom of expression. If this is what a bigot is then I am misuing the word. I do not agree on this definition.

    Doesn’t matter to me whether someone agrees with me or not, so long as their belief does not infrigne on my individual rights or the rights of other people or classes of people. I think of a bigot as one who discriminates.

  91. 91
    And How

    Is being a criminal or a baker a moral judgement? If someone jaywalks, is he/she a criminal? If someone bakes one loaf of bread, is he/she a baker?

    You are playing word games here to be a smart ass. Let me clarify this for you.

    Ferns and poision ivy are both plants. I value ferns more in that they are nicer to look at and don’t harm humans.

    My value judgment of the pope is that he is a hypocrite and harmful human being. Therefore he is a horrible person.

    This is not that difficult.

  92. 92
    And How

    First of all, I have yet to state a position on “which religious ideas need to be add to laws”. I have yet to state many positions… period here. So “writing me off as a blow hard” because I have yet to defend a position I haven’t even stated seems odd.

    Agreed. You’ve said a whole lot of nothing as far as your actual beliefs. You have said you are pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, and you imply that you are religous with your title of Not An Atheist.

    You are under no obligation to share your beliefs, but there is also no point in having a discussion with you if it is not on an actual issue.

    The whole thing with clarifying definitions, I’m okay with because you do have to have common understanding of words and be speaking the “same” language to have a productive discourse.

  93. 93
    And How

    what do you mean by “religious ideas”? I presume you mean those ideas that are in some religion, but are not in your particular “secular” philosophy right?

    To elaborate on the above, I don’t have any particular “religious ideas” that I personally think should be added into existing laws. I do think that politicians, and people in general should be allowed to make arguments and propose policy based on moral and religious ideas, and then have the people decide if that’s what they want. You seem against that.

    So, if I am to understand you don’t personally have any suggestions for any “religous ideas” that should be added to existing secular laws. So basically, you got nothing. The reason for my blow hard remark.

    I agree politicians should be allowed to make arguments from religion to argue policy. They can also argue the moral teachings of Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland.

    However, if the moral teachings of any of these fiction books makes its way into actual policy it cannot violate the Constitution. If it does, sorry – it’s out. We also cannot have state sponsored religion per the provision of the separation of Chruch and State. That is the extent of my “secular” philosophy.

    I’d really like an answer from you what these earth shattering religous moral revelations are though, specifically those of the Bible? I’ll guess and you let me know if I’m right. Is it stoning gays? Stoning disobedient children? Subjugating women? Condoning slavery? Condoning genocide?

    Also, Is there anything in the Bible that is relevant to current knowledge of science and other areas listed above?

    I’m trying to be open minded here, but there is just too many objectionable teachings and erroneous information in the Bible for me to accept it as being a good idea for use as any kind of legitimate guidance for any of the subjects listed above. It can be viewed as the starting point from which many modern ideas sprang, but that is about the extent.

  94. 94
    And How

    Edit the post above. This portion was a quote from Not An Atheist.

    To elaborate on the above, I don’t have any particular “religious ideas” that I personally think should be added into existing laws. I do think that politicians, and people in general should be allowed to make arguments and propose policy based on moral and religious ideas, and then have the people decide if that’s what they want. You seem against that.

  95. 95
    And How

    Edit:

    The Bible can be viewed as the book from which many modern ideas sprang.

    The Bible is one of the ancient texts from which we can read commentary about a specific civilization and their customs, norms, laws, as well as their myth beliefs. The Bible is significant to Western cultures because it is the text of Judeo-Christian religion which is the dominant religion of Western cultures. Ideas were evolving, it is not the source from which the ideas sprang.

  96. 96
    NotAnAtheist


    This is not that difficult.

    Many things aren’t difficult if you don’t consider the details. To you (apparently), details are just “word games” to be ignored.


    You have said you are pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, and you imply that you are religous with your title of Not An Atheist.

    That is incorrect. I am not religious. Nor would I consider myself an atheist. Perhaps, at best you could label me an agnostic, though in some senses that is a stretch (I do not think one cannot know, I simply do not).


    You are under no obligation to share your beliefs, but there is also no point in having a discussion with you if it is not on an actual issue.

    I find this interesting because in my experience, when an atheist talks to someone who is religious, he/she seems to think that they (the atheist) need not state any of their beliefs (as atheism to them is just a “lack of believe” and not an actual belief) and that criticizing arguments and beliefs of those who are religious is a legitimate exercise in and of itself, without the atheist stating his/her beliefs as well. You seem to think that I must state my beliefs in order to ask questions about yours, otherwise I am a “blowhard”. Why is that?


    However, if the moral teachings of any of these fiction books makes its way into actual policy it cannot violate the Constitution. If it does, sorry – it’s out.

    How can a “moral teaching” violate the Constitution? You seem to be saying that anything that has any religious support at all cannot be allowed to be in law. Not only can the government not explicitly support any religion (manger scenes on public property, 10 commandments displays, whatever) but if an idea has some religious support, that idea itself is somehow poisonous and cannot be allowed. That’s what you seem to be arguing is necessitated by “church state separation”.

  97. 97
    And How

    You seem to think that I must state my beliefs in order to ask questions about yours, otherwise I am a “blowhard”. Why is that?

    Maybe, because you are a blowhard. Basically you:

    1. Mince words on commonly used terminology and pharasing

    2. And criticize objections and criticisms without explaining your reasoning as to why those criticims and ojections are not valid. In this case it is a) the pope b) using the Bible or any other holy text as an authoritative guide for the above subjects.

    3. You then go onto make accusations for which you have no basis listed A and B below.

    is that those who claim atheism, cannot have a respectful, civil conversation with a religous person.

    The implication is that you have an effective, and superior approach to eradicate this dogmatic thinking that denies others of basic human rights. We are to recognize the “value” in the traditions and contributions of religion. We are to asuume these are reasonable people.

    You’re deluded. The zealots I’m talking about are not reasonable; they are self-serving haters. I don’t recognize value in the personhood of haters, despite their “complex” personalities.

    You also complain that “athiests” show an unwillingness to forgive. Again, on what basis are you coming up with that crap? I’m perfectly willing to accept a reforemd hater as my friend. Still a hater, no thanks.

    We all have our own personality and style. You handle the situation with these zealots your way; and I’ll handle it my way. Your method will do nothing. And you know exactly what kind of religous wack jog I’m talking about.

    You seem to be saying that anything that has any religious support at all cannot be allowed to be in law.

    No, I’m not. Laws in large part are rules to establish cultural morals, ethics, attitudes and norms.

    How can a “moral teaching” violate the Constitution?

    Moral teachings don’t violate the Constitution. It provides for freedom of religion. Citizens can teach or think any kind of stupid shit they want.

    I said laws passed by those of a certain moral mindset which violate the Constituion cannot be considered. I also pointed out the Constitution provides for separation of church and state.

    We have laws on the books right now that are in violation of the Constitution. The reason is that the fundamentalist religous type influence on the population is weakening slowly but surely. We don’t need these primitive, unfair social norms and mystical thinking in order to behave ourselves. Sooner or later, those laws will be repealed or overturned.

  98. 98
    NotAnAtheist


    3. You then go onto make accusations for which you have no basis listed A and B below.

    is that those who claim atheism, cannot have a respectful, civil conversation with a religous person.


    I’m curious where exactly I said this. It’s possible. Rare, sure, but definitively possible. I’ve even seen it happen once or twice.


    The implication is that you have an effective, and superior approach to eradicate this dogmatic thinking that denies others of basic human rights.

    I have never said this.

    Also, do you have a list of these “basic human rights”? From where do these rights come from do you think? Government? Society? Where?


    You’re deluded.

    I’m not the one making up things that other people have said.


    You also complain that “athiests” show an unwillingness to forgive. Again, on what basis are you coming up with that crap? I’m perfectly willing to accept a reforemd hater as my friend. Still a hater, no thanks.

    You’ve just provided more evidence. Anyone who is at all against the idea of homosexual marriage(for whatever the reason) to you is a “hater” and you are unable to accept them and apparently according to you they aren’t even “persons”. (At least you find no value in their “personhood”.) You seem utterly unwilling to consider why they might have different beliefs than you, the mere fact that they do is enough for you to label them and cast them aside.


    Your method will do nothing.

    You may be right. It might not “do” anything. It’s a lot easier and probably feels a lot better to marginalize people because of what they believe. It probably makes you feel very very superior to all those ignorant “hateful” religious believers out there because in your mind, you know the “truth” and you are the moral one, while they are the immoral “haters”. It’s probably very reassuring to think that you fight on the side of truth and justice and that everyone who is on the otherside, no matter the reason, is an ignorant hater.


    Moral teachings don’t violate the Constitution. It provides for freedom of religion. Citizens can teach or think any kind of stupid shit they want.

    I said laws passed by those of a certain moral mindset which violate the Constituion cannot be considered. I also pointed out the Constitution provides for separation of church and state.

    Yes, and you’ve also never explained what to you, that means. If the only thing “separation of church and state” means to you is “laws passed by those of a certain moral mindset can’t violate the Consitution”, then why even have the term? If a law violates the constitution then we hardly need to know if its a “religion” based law or not.

    If “separation of church and state” means more to you than just that, then what does it mean? You’ve never actually answered that. Just thrown up a lot of angry words and insults. What specifically is a “violation of church and state”?


    We have laws on the books right now that are in violation of the Constitution.

    Interesting that it’s only now that we are realizing it. I guess before today’s modern “enlightened” era, nobody knew what the Constitution said.


    The reason is that the fundamentalist religous type influence on the population is weakening slowly but surely. We don’t need these primitive, unfair social norms and mystical thinking in order to behave ourselves.

    Ah yes. Once all those pesky religious / mystical thoughts are done away with and everyone is “rational” then everything will be All Right(tm).

    Because obviously, when a bunch of skeptics get together they always are the most moral, upright, and just people ever.

    Anyway, once the insults start flying from the atheists I figure the conversation is over. So, its been fun. Feel free to answer my questions if you want, or hurl more insults if you want. I may or may not read them.

  99. 99
    And How

    Also, do you have a list of these “basic human rights”? From where do these rights come from do you think? Government? Society? Where?

    Are we having the same conversation? We’ve been discussing the influence of religion in perpetuating anti-women, anti-gay laws and social norms. We’ve also been discussing the Catholic church role in hiding child abusers. It’s both government and society.

    There are anti-women, anti-gay people who are non-believers as well. However, they aren’t as organized nor are they using an ancient “holy” text to develop their attitudes. It is much easier to have a conversation with someone who is not using an ultimate authoritative guide to make up their minds. These books need to be read in historical context; fundamentalist do not do that.

    Beyond those problems here in the US, there are big problems with religous political thugs as well. But again, there is political thuggery without religon as well. There are personality cults such as the chairman himself – Mao and Kim Jong il. Religion doesn’t play a big role there.

    Point being, I am very aware that not all problems are caused by relgion. I am aware of religion’s role in history and current thinking. However, many, many problems are fueled by fundamentalist religions which refuse to reform their traditions because of their “holy” books. This effects basic human rights. If you wish to excuse and /or deny religions role in denying these rights, go ahead. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stick their head in the sand.

    You seem utterly unwilling to consider why they might have different beliefs than you, the mere fact that they do is enough for you to label them and cast them aside.

    Really, you mean like the way these haters condemn the rest of mankind to everlasting fire because all the “sinners” of the world do not share their belief that we should be living according to the customs and norms of Bronze age shepherds and primitive culture. You are incorrect that I do not understand how they come to adopt these beiefs as well. They are indoctrinated and that happens in different ways with different people. Some people are “victims” of religion and it is not that I have no compassion, but I’m going to deal with the situation where greater harm is being done.

    Someone who wants to deny someone else the right to marry because of their sexual orientation, personal autonomy over medical decisions, or discriminates and views women as second class citizens is hateful and therefore a hater. Ultimately, noone gets a pass. These are major character flaws. Those who discriminate and abuse deserve to be marginalized and their religous teachings used to justify these beliefs deserve to be marginilized as well. The line about pershonhood was a little strong, but I stand by what I’m saying here. I am not referring to Unitarians, cultural Christians, red letter text Christians and those of religous beliefs who are not literalists.

    Laws can only do so much to change social norms. There is already a strong counter-culture movement in the US to water down the effects of these fundamental religous teachings. It’s working, but it will take time.

    Because obviously, when a bunch of skeptics get together they always are the most moral, upright, and just people ever.

    Anyway, once the insults start flying from the atheists I figure the conversation is over. So, its been fun. Feel free to answer my questions if you want, or hurl more insults if you want. I may or may not read them.

    I can’t account for the morals of skeptics. I am not a member and don’t even really know what that term means. And the conversation is “over” because you have said nothing to defend the type of people you know I’m referring to. This is just a bunch of nit-picking over words and you trying to show how “tolerant” and superior you are. That is the way it appears to me anyway.

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