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MacArthur: How Can Atheists Be Thankful?

John MacArthur, president of The Master’s College and Seminary and host of his own radio show, writes an idiotic and insipid column in the Moonie Times where he wonders how atheists could possibly celebrate Thanksgiving if they don’t believe in God.

Thankfulness is one of the distinguishing traits of the human spirit. We sense the need to say thanks, and we realize we ought to be more grateful than we are. We furthermore perceive that we are indebted to (and accountable to) a higher power than ourselves — the God who made us. According to Scripture, everyone has this knowledge, including those who refuse to honor God or thank Him.

Ingratitude is dishonorable by anyone’s reckoning, but to be willfully ungrateful toward the Creator is to deny an essential aspect of our own humanity. The shame of such ingratitude is inscribed on the human conscience, and even the most dogmatic atheists are not immune from the knowledge that they ought to give thanks to God. Try as they might to suppress or deny the impulse, “what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them,” according to Romans 1:19.

Gee, a book written by people who believe in God says that everyone knows there is a God even if they don’t know it? Well that’s a terribly compelling argument. Why didn’t I think of that? Of course, “scripture” contains lots of stupid claims like this.

One atheist has practically made a hobby of writing articles to explain why atheists feel the need to be thankful and to answer the question of whom they might thank. His best answer? He says atheists can be grateful to farmers for the food we eat, to doctors for the health we enjoy, to engineers for the advantages of modern technology, to city workers for keeping our environment clean and orderly — and so on.

Here’s the problem with that: Tipping the waitress or tipping one’s hat to sanitation workers doesn’t even come close to resolving the problem of whom Mr. Dawkins should thank when he looks at the stars, stands at the edge of the Grand Canyon, or studies the world of countless wonders his microscope reveals in a single drop of pond water.

No one. Gratitude is only meaningful to those with a capacity for understanding it, meaning those with brains that allow such abstract thought. It would be absurd to express gratitude to a tree, since they can’t understand it anyway; the same holds for deities, since existence if a prerequisite to understanding.

After all, the starting point for atheistic materialism is the equation nobody times nothing equals everything. What could possibly be more irrational?

Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick. That isn’t a straw man, it’s an entire straw universe.

On some level, atheists themselves surely realize this. Proof of their internal angst is seen in the fact that so many of them are not content merely to disbelieve. They are militant in their opposition to God. They hate the very thought of God and would love to have every mention of Him removed from public discourse — as if that would somehow remove the burden of their own ingratitude and relieve the pangs of a guilty conscience.

But as Scripture says, it is the ultimate folly to try to suppress our own innate sense of obligation to our Maker. “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” says Psalm 14:1. In short, to deny God is to debase one’s own mind and dehumanize the whole person.

I’ll take amateur and moronic armchair psychology for $1000, Alex.

Comments

  1. says

    My standard response to such tripe: Which god, and why that one out of the dozens in current use?

    I have also been known respond to evangelists by evangelizing Asatru, Buddhism or Flying Spaghetti Monsterism. It is so much fun, watching theists’ heads pop when confronted with their assumption of exclusive priviledge.

  2. raven says

    They are militant in their opposition to God.

    This is false.

    We atheists get along really well with the gods. Couldn’t be better. They have been so quiet for centuries that it is almost like…they don’t exist.

    We do have huge problems with their followers like MacAurthur though.

    I’m sure MacArthur hates Tlaloc, Odin, Zeus, Ahura Mazda, and the Easter Bunny. He hasn’t thanked them in ages for anything.

  3. raven says

    “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” says Psalm 14:1.

    The wise and brave say it out loud. And often.

    Cthulhu, the guy must have spend days collecting every cliche known to the religionists.

  4. says

    Hey, I have a lot to be thankful for.

    I’m thankful I was born in the US, and not some shithole country.

    I’m thankful I was born in a time in this country when people placed a high value on public education, and were willing to actually pay something called “taxes” in order to fund my first-rate education.

    I’m thankful that I’ve been able to use that education to pay my mortgage, feed the family, BUY HEALTH INSURANCE, and all the rest with a little left over for the past XX years.

    I’m thankful that I’ve been lucky enough to not get a chronic disease, and have been able to manage the consequences of middle-aging fairly benignly.

    I’m thankful my parents are still alive and that I could buy them a house near me so I can watch over them in their latter years.

    I’m thankful I have a life full of good friends and family. Joy aplenty.

    Not one bit of that has anything to do with Chthulu, or Zeus, or Brahma, or Yahweh, or baby Jesus. It’s all luck of the draw. For me, the lottery wheel has been kind. I don’t need to posit an invisible friend in order to be thankful.

  5. says

    Well, as an atheist myself, I know that there are two things that I am incapable of: 1) dividing by zero. 2) feeling human emotion. It would make me sad if I were capable of feeling sadness.

  6. LightningRose says

    I’m thankful that science and reason has preserved me from a lifetime of ignorance and superstition.

    Then again, where would the world be today without ignorance and superstition?

  7. Reginald Selkirk says

    Kevin #4: I’m thankful I was born in the US, and not some shithole country.

    Tempting, but I’ll leave that one for someone else.

  8. reality says

    “On some level, atheists themselves surely realize this. Proof of their internal angst is seen in the fact that so many of them are not content merely to disbelieve. They are militant in their opposition to God. They hate the very thought of God and would love to have every mention of Him removed from public discourse — as if that would somehow remove the burden of their own ingratitude and relieve the pangs of a guilty conscience.”

    Of course, we have proof of a universe, but not of gOd. We can claim that we know that the universe exists without having to claim how (or even if) it came into existence; it is possible that, as in some variations of the Cyclic Model of the Universe, the current universe is one of a series of universes that have come and gone, and that the membranes that form the framework upon which the universe rests either formed spontaneously (as is theoretically possible) or always existed. It could even be argued that since time is a part of the structure of the membrane, the concept of “before” the membrane is nonsensical.

    We don’t have to claim to know how the universe formed to know that it formed. However, we do have to be logically consistent; if all things require a creator, then the creator required a creator, and if not all things require a creator, then the universe may not have required a creator. We also cannot argue, as theists love to argue, that if we don’t have an explanation for something, therefore god.

    With that said, let’s turn the above quote back on the original author:

    On some level the theist surely realizes this; that there is no gOd in the gaps of human knowledge, that “I don’t know” somehow should mean “I do know.”. Proof of their internal angst is seen in the fact that many of them are not content merely to believe. They are militant in their insistence upon gOd. They hate the very though of no god and would love to have gOd mentioned in every form of public discourse – as though that would somehow remove the burden of their own irrationality and relieve the pangs of their never-ending cognitive dissonance.

    Of course, I don’t believe that the above paragraph is accurate; many theists do think that “I don’t know” equals “I do know.” Those that do fight to convert the non-believer and thrust gOd into every aspect of public life do so for a variety of reasons. But I use the above to demonstrate the illogical nature of the claim; if a logical formulation is true, it is universally true. If atheists fighting to separate church and state is proof that they know that they are wrong, then theists fighting to put their religion into every aspect of government is proof that they know that they are wrong. Since both can’t be true, the formulation is wrong.

  9. Chiroptera says

    They hate the very thought of God and would love to have every mention of Him removed from public discourse….

    Wow. That’s some serious projection going on.

    And in the same vein, I could accuse the Christofascists’ demand that God and Jesus be inserted in the public discourse at every opportunity to be a sign of their own doubts and insecurity over their own beliefs.

  10. thisisaturingtest says

    They hate the very thought of God and blah blah blah

    This is like the far-right chant that “Muslims hate us for our freedoms!” I guess, in order to successfully “other” a group to give your own an elevated status, it’s necessary first to assume that the hate started with them, because you have something that they want. It’s kind of a binary process; they skip right over assumptions of envy or longing or anything in between, to the basic idea that they must hate you for what you love.

  11. Synfandel says

    John MacArthur needs to grok the distinction between feeling grateful and feeling fortunate.

    I am grateful to people who have done things for me, such as family, friends, colleagues, and those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

    I feel fortunate for things that simply are, with no person directly responsible, such as my general health and the relatively prosperous time and place in which I live—which, incidentally, Kevin (#4) probably considers “some shithole country” because it’s not the United States of America.

  12. steve oberski says

    Proof of their internal angst is seen in the fact that so many of them are not content merely to disbelieve. They are militant in their opposition to God.

    Using that “logic” leads to the inescapable conclusion that faithheads who proselytize are driven by an internal angst, and only by having their sky daddy forced into every aspect of life can they deal with the fact that they don’t actually believe their own tripe.

  13. raven says

    Then again, where would the world be today without ignorance and superstition?

    We would be terraforming Mars and sending probes to the nearest stars.

  14. steve oberski says

    @Kevin

    They’re not all shitholes, and by any number of metrics the US is pretty far down the scale for quality of life for developed/1st world nations.

    I happen to live in a country where you don’t have to buy health insurance so if you’re not fortunate enough to avoid a chronic disease you don’t have to worry about losing your job, home and savings.

  15. greg1466 says

    Talk about fractally wrong. I’d say he’s already debunked himself in the first 11 words since I don’t think thankfulness is a uniquely human emotion.

  16. jba55 says

    To defend Kevin@4, I didn’t read that as “all other countries are shitholes”, but as “it could be much worse than to be born in the US”. For example: Uganda. Just because someone says other countries are worse than America doesn’t mean they’re saying all other countries are. I could of course be wrong, but the comment doesn’t, to me at least, read like a promotion of American exceptionalism.

  17. Synfandel says

    I could of course be wrong, but the comment doesn’t, to me at least, read like a promotion of American exceptionalism.

    I didn’t read it as a promotion of American exceptionalism. I read it as an expression of American arrogance.

  18. Thorne says

    I have to agree with jba55: Kevin stating that the US is NOT a shithole country doesn’t mean that everywhere else is. Just that SOMEwhere else is. I’m sure he would make the same claim if he were living in the UK, Canada, France or dozens of other countries.

  19. jba55 says

    18: “I read it as an expression of American arrogance.”

    Ah, I see. That makes it much less presumptuous and rude, thanks for clearing that up.

  20. baal says

    They hate the very thought of God

    Actually, I mostly hate when folks like MacArthur tell me how I’m a subhuman not capable of emotions like thanks. I don’t hate the supernatural; I also don’t hate voids or the word ‘null’. Shadows don’t scare me? I mean things that aren’t don’t do much (though I’d rather skip experiencing a vacuum).

  21. says

    ” “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” says Psalm 14:1.”
    The xianists love to use this verse against atheists. It has several interpretations. It does not say that everyone who says, “There is no god.” is a fool.
    But they also never quote the rest of the psalm. Here it is:
    1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no god.”
    All are corrupt and commit abominable acts;
    there is none who does any good.
    2. The lord looks down from heaven upon is all,
    to see if there is anyone who is wise,
    if there is one who seeks after god.
    2. Every one is proved faithless.’
    all alike have turned bad.
    There is none who does good; no, not one.
    It goes on in a similar ven for four more verses. It is a condemnation of everyone, not just atheists.
    Funny how they never quote things from the bible that calls what they do is sin.

  22. schweinhundt says

    I find the idea of creationists using GPS infinitely more head-scratching ironic than nontheists giving thanks.

  23. andysci says

    I love it when theists say things like “proof of their internal angst”. And by “I love it” I really mean that very few things infuriate me more than being told what I’m thinking, what I’m feeling, or what I believe. I have FAR less angst now than I ever did when I still considered myself a Christian. I no longer live in fear of eternal punishment for missteps on earth. I no longer have to grapple with the internal inconsistencies of the faith. I no longer have to try to ignore the gross hypocrisy of many of the “faithful”.

    I think “thankful” is the wrong word for atheists (or at least for me), though. It implies a target, or a person to thank. While there are plenty of people that I can (and do) thank, in a more general sense, I prefer the word “appreciate”. That’s kind of what I grew up with – the holiday was less about giving thanks to God and more about appreciating what we had. “Thanksgiving” just flows a little better than “appreciationsgiving”.

    I’ve read the word “thanks” too many times. Thanks. Thanks? Thanks… it’s starting to sound weird and I’m wondering if it’s even a real word now.

  24. says

    billdaniels,

    But they also never quote the rest of the psalm [14].

    Are you mad? Christians use the rest of the psalm 14 all the time. It is part of the proof text for the depravity of man (aka original sin). It is part of the proof text that we are too corrupt to save ourselves and need a savior. It is one of the most commonly quoted passages in the OT. I have heard it quoted more often (way more often) than the 23rd Psalm. Paul quotes it in Romans. I have heard There is none who does good; no, not one more than I have heard John 3:16.

    Arguing that you know some damning scripture that we conveniently ignore is never a winner–and in this case it is downright insane. You couldn’t have picked a worse example.

  25. rork says

    We know it is illogical, but I and my hunting friends do apologize and give thanks to the dead deer and nature before we cut the deer open. We flatter them, explain that it’s good for the land and other deer, and make promises to defend the land (I usually promise to do volunteer stewardship work), and use their meat and other parts carefully. We thank chickens, turkeys and lambs too. Makes little sense, but maybe more sense than thanking god. We realize we are performing a ritual for ourselves, and each other, especially any youngsters, who we hope learn respect for the green world. I’d rather not give it up, but I’ll consider it, cause it is a bit contrived.

  26. says

    the problem of whom Mr. Dawkins should thank when he looks at the stars, stands at the edge of the Grand Canyon, or studies the world of countless wonders his microscope reveals in a single drop of pond water.

    This is magical thinking at its finest. Our brains are wired to work in certain ways–attributing agency to causality, for example–and we also tend to think of our conceptions and reality corresponding. But the religious/magical/superstitious mindset gets the direction wrong: ideally it should be our conceptions which are made to conform to reality. They go the other way: their brains are programmed to seek agency so of course there must be an agent.

    It’s taking the brain’s pre-wired, evolved mapping as an unquestioned given. This is the way that I think; that is the way that reality is–so ridiculous when put into words, so compelling if it remains subconscious.

  27. calladus says

    Romans 1:18-32 is called the “Condemnation of the Unrightious”, and it is used not only to insist that we poor atheists DO actually know God exists, but that we deny him out of a love of sin.

    It is also the New Testament section most quoted to condemn homosexuality, including lesbians since it seems to be the only place in the bible that directly singles out female on female “unnatural relations”.

    When ever anyone quotes part of Romans I to me, I make sure to quote back the entirety of Romans, and then I start asking them questions.

    “Do you believe that I’m a murderer? A gossip? That I’m incapable of keeping a promise or a contract? Do you honestly believe that I eagerly slander others, or that I’m filled with malice and envy?”

    If they answer “Yes”, then the conversation is over – people who have that poor of an opinion of me are not worth my time.

    If they answer “No”, then perhaps we have something we can discuss civilly, without resorting to pre-programmed quotations.

  28. eric says

    The Thanksgiving how-to:

    1. Invite friends and family over (or go to them).
    2. Cook a big meal. Eat. Enjoy.
    3. Reflect on how your family, friends, and other people have contributed to/made possible most if not all of the positive things in your life. Thank the present and the absent for being the shoulders on which you stand.
    3. Digest in the company of friends.

    See? No God needed.

  29. Randomfactor says

    And Romans 1:1-32 are trumped by verse 33–which is so damning to their case that they had to hide its meaning by moving it.

  30. baal says

    @ heddle – We get the “atheists havea fool’s heart” line thrown at us with some regularity by the xtians to show that god thinks we are fools. In this usage, the context is shorn off. The importance of the context is that it shows the verse snippet wielding xtian is a fool for not getting the point of the section.

    Your experience is not as an atheist and does not disprove our experience.

  31. says

    “Muslims hate us for our freedoms!”

    Unfortunately for us, the KKKristianists do, too.

    “We know it is illogical, but I and my hunting friends do apologize and give thanks to the dead deer and nature before we cut the deer open. We flatter them, explain that it’s good for the land and other deer,…”

    I really don’t have anything against hunters/hunting as long as it’s done responsibly. But, if you’re going to say things like that, the deer that you’re saying them to should be sick, old or, well, ratty lookin’. Most guys I know who hunt will pass up yearlings and beat up deer to go for an 8 pointer or a big ass doe. I actually would like to see a system where one had to “harvest” such an animal before getting permission to kill a healthy animal in its prime. No offense, just my take.

  32. naturalcynic says

    When I look at the stars, I give thanks to the ubiquitous [but weak] godd Gravity.
    When I look at the Grand Canyon, I give thanks to the [nearly foreverlasting] godd Soilerosion.
    When I look at the life in a drop of water, I give thanks to [the extinct] godd Last Common Ancestor.

  33. LightningRose says

    “It is part of the proof text that we are too corrupt to save ourselves and need a savior.”

    Speak for yourself, clown.

  34. says

    LightningRose #39,

    Are you that stupid? Really that’s your response–“speak for yourself, clown.” That’s all you got? You actually took the time to write that out, and got some satisfaction from the process?

    What an utter embarrassment for a human being.

  35. StevoR says

    It would be absurd to express gratitude to a tree, since they can’t understand it anyway;

    Depends what form that expression of gratitude takes. I’ve just finished expressing my gratitude – & hope for their well-being and continued growth, shade and beauty – to my planets by watering them!

    @31. calladus : What if they say they don’t know or they don’t know you well enough to tell? Or that you might be, say, a gossip but you’re NOT a murderer?

    @11.thisisaturingtest says:

    They hate the very thought of God and blah blah blah

    This is like the far-right chant that “Muslims hate us for our freedoms!”

    Except the latter statement about Muslims contains at least a strong element of truth in it. Whole other topic – but still.

  36. Michael Heath says

    heddle writes:

    It is part of the proof text that we are too corrupt to save ourselves and need a savior.

    I’m not disagreeing with your argument from which I quotemine this sentence. Instead I have a major problem with the people describing the Christian god as a savior.

    If I’m a shopkeeper and a mobster tells me I’ll be giving giving him what he wants or he’ll kill me and my family using some torturous method, the mobster’s not my savior if I submit. Instead that mobster’s an evil person where enlightenment standards has us seeking justice to reign down on the mobster; and if he convinces us at some point he’s reformed, our grace by getting his punishment shortened.

    If we compare this mobster’s evil to the Christian god, we can’t quantify the difference in evil done between the two. The Christian god’s evil approaches infinity given his promise to punish some with unimaginable suffering for eternity.

    I understand you were merely describing what the Bible says, but I think we’re morally obligated to always point out the evil of that which is described when this topic of “savior” is brought up. That such descriptions given the implications that surround the context of its use in the Bible is not merely morally repugnant, but so evil we can’t quantify the volume.

    This moral obligation is one I’ve failed to uphold repeatedly, including this past Thanksgiving dinner when I passively listened to witnessing which celebrated this supposed savior for “saving” them – from the terror this very savior supposedly promises to reign down on, “the others”.

  37. Rodney Nelson says

    It is part of the proof text that we are too corrupt to save ourselves and need a savior.

    Speak for yourself, clown.

    If you think you’re so corrupt you need a magical sky pixie to “save” you then your self-esteem must be incredibly low. Sure, I’ve got my faults. When I’ve hurt other people I get their forgiveness, not some mythical god who exists solely between your ears.

    Besides, I’ve never understood the Christian idea of redemption. God splits off a part of himself to be a sacrifice to himself because he’s unhappy with humanity. But Jesus didn’t actually die. He spent an unpleasant afternoon hanging around on Calvary and then a day and a half later (not three days like you innumerate Christians claim) he’s all better again. He didn’t stay dead, so what’s the sacrifice? Plus Jesus even knew it would happen that way. Nope, completely silly story that doesn’t play the way you Christians like to say it does.

  38. steve oberski says

    @LightningRose

    Speak for yourself, clown.

    That’s the first thing I thought of as well, but heddle is a clown who grovels to an invisible monster that lives in the sky, is a vile excuse for a human being that excuses biblical genocide, is basically a bronze age atavistic throwback that would throw away centuries of hard won enlightenment increase in human well being because he’s afraid of the dark and dying.

    I would be hard pressed to think of anyone who is less qualified to judge the worth of another human being in this neck of the woods.

  39. says

    Rodney Nelson,

    But Jesus didn’t actually die. He spent an unpleasant afternoon hanging around on Calvary and then a day and a half later (not three days like you innumerate Christians claim.

    We say three days because we know how biblical Hebrews counted days–as partial rather than full. So, for example, they reckoned part of Friday, Saturday and part of Sunday as three days, you ignorant ass. This is well-known and something we teach Sunday school students in about, oh, third grade.

    Like you innumerate Christians.

    Huh. I have a Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics, am a professional physicist and the chair of a university math department. I’m may be wrong in everything I believe about religion, but I’m willing to gamble that my math skills are stronger than yours. Want to put your bold innumeracy claim to a test? Or are you all bluster?

  40. dingojack says

    Heddle – Let’s see:
    Say 11:42 Fri, 1 April, 33ce* to 06:00 Sun, 3 April, 33ce**
    that’s 12.3 hours on Friday + 24 hours on Saturday + 6 hours on Sunday = 42.3 hours, or 1.7625 days. (NB: this is quite an overestimate).

    But (<) 1.7625 days is equal to 3 days because the ancients said so, and we believe so, ’cause the Bible says so.

    Nope no innumeracy there.

    Dingo
    —–
    * solar culmination (a fairly generous guess)
    ** about 40 minutes after dawn

  41. says

    Geez DJ you can be dense at times. It is three days because that is how they would have described in in 1st century Palestine. It is because culturally the time period you laid out would have been called “three days.” It is an anachronistic but culturally faithful phrasing. Or do you really think that over two millennia no Christian actually did the oh-so numerically intense calculation you just performed? Or they did and realized to their horror, “oh noes, it is less than 72 hours–and all along we’ve been calling it three days–oh we’re in deep shit if someone really smart comes along and performs the analysis–but we’re probably safe because we have covered our tracks. After all they’d have dig really deep in the bible to discover that we claim he was crucified on the first and rose on the third day!”

  42. dingojack says

    shorter Heddle: ‘… and for my next trick I’ll show that pi equals 3’!*
    Dingo
    —–
    * I’ve come across a plethora of christians who can’t count (ie that think <42.3 hours is 72 hours, literally), if you can’t do the (simple) maths I’d call it innumeracy, how about you?
    But since you’ve never seen snow, I’m sure, it simply couldn’t possibly exist.

  43. Nepenthe says

    What an utter embarrassment for a human being.

    Don’t mind hir. Zie’s just a worthless faggot for the hellfire like most of the rest of the humans your god created.

  44. Ichthyic says

    Ed thanks noone for the elements of our universe that sometimes inspire awe.

    that’s fine, I understand that, but for me, I thank the people that taught me WHY these things are indeed awesome.

    Before Carl Sagan, the stars for me were interesting points of light. Now I have a much greater understanding of just how immense and complex our cosmos really is.

    Before Richard Dawkins and Stephen Gould, evolution was just a fuzzy notion of change to me, but their explanations uncovered a wonderous and amazing interactivity I never dreamed of.

    so, to those who so patiently work to explain what it is we are really looking at, and why it is so fucking cool, i say… Thanks.

    Thanks to the teachers, for without them we would ALL be in the dark.

  45. Ichthyic says

    “oh noes, it is less than 72 hours–

    Oh noes, insects have more than 4 legs.

    Oh noes, you can’t really get striped offspring by breeding in front of striped sticks.

    Oh noes, post-hoc ergo propter hoc!

    Heddle, you’re amusing.

    annoying, almost always wrong, completely insular.

    but amusing.

  46. Crudely Wrott says

    An eloquent answer to the question is provided by Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC’s Last Word program that aired last night. A simple comparison between Pat Robertson and Ricky Gervais, with a bit or BillO thrown in, asking the simple question, “Who is more Christ-like?”.

    I heartily recommend the following link for a bit of honesty and clarity.

    http://tv.msnbc.com/2012/11/26/happy-atheist-ricky-gervais-rewrites-pat-robertson/

    Having lost my own mother two years ago next week, right in the middle of the holiday season, Gervais’s words ring loud and true.

  47. matty1 says

    Tipping the waitress or tipping one’s hat to sanitation workers doesn’t even come close to resolving the problem of whom Mr. Dawkins should thank when he looks at the stars, stands at the edge of the Grand Canyon, or studies the world of countless wonders his microscope reveals in a single drop of pond water.

    Is the emotion one feels at those things gratitude, it doesn’t feel the same to me?

    Next I’m going to duck right into the punch and defend Heddle. Saying ‘on the third day’ is a perfectly understandable way of talking about the story and doesn’t require reading as ‘after three full days had passed’. If I said something occurred ‘in the second week of November’ would you say I was wrong because it was on the Monday of that week so only one full week had passed?

  48. dingojack says

    Matty – I’ll re-post it with emphasis to improve your understanding:
    “I’ve come across a plethora of christians who can’t count (ie that think <42.3 hours is 72 hours, literally), if you can’t do the (simple) maths I’d call it innumeracy, how about you?”

    There, that wasn’t so hard now was it?

    Dingo
    —–
    * Note Heddle’s characterisation of adding and subtracting some numbers:
    “… the oh-so numerically intense calculation you just performed?”

  49. says

    This holiday season, I’m thankful for heddle. Heddle’s witnessing of his Christian faith by acting like a raging shithead brings me immense comfort and happiness. You see, from time to time, I think “maybe those Christians aren’t all bad. Maybe their little stories make them feel better, and if it makes them try to be nicer people, what’s the harm?” Then along comes heddle, who has a PhD in something-or-other and is chair of a department and soforth, who predictably turns into a seething asshole after one or two posts. With all the credentials he has accumulated, Jesus still can’t make heddle into a likeable person, or even a persuasive person. So, thank you heddle, for reminding me to avoid Christianity like The Clap. You are a gift to militant secular humanism, and you should never change.

  50. eric says

    Gotta go with heddle on the counting thing. IIRC, not just the ancient Hebrews but the whole Roman empire counted both first and last elements in an interval – overcounting it by one, under our conventions. Its just silly to argue that because they did that, they were innumerate.

    But having said that, Baal @36 is right; heddle’s argument that christians (at least the ones he knows) don’t misunderstand or quotemine psalm 14 to attack atheists is not a good reply at all. Its just the ‘no true Scotsman’ argument. People like John MacArthur have just as much right to call their beliefs christian as heddle does. None of them have a “TrueInterpretation Sense-o-Matic.” One can’t negate the fact that christians attack atheists with such scriptures merely by saying that, in your theological opinion, such attackers are misinterpreting scripture. They’re still christian and they’re still doing it.

  51. says

    I’m wondering how conservative Christians can be thankful. When you consider yourselves the Chosen of an omnipotent deity and have an infinite sense of entitlement, who would you possibly give genuine thanks to? It’s just an exercise in reaffirming your status as the elect and making sure that everyone else knows about it.

  52. slc1 says

    Re eric @ #57

    Don’t you know, Prof. Heddle is the self appointed arbiter of who is and who is not a “true” Christian.

  53. a miasma of incandescent plasma says

    the equation nobody times nothing equals everything

    He forgot to divide by wishful-thinking and then add the square root of the ground of being.

  54. says

    joedelaney,

    So, thank you heddle, for reminding me to avoid Christianity like The Clap. You are a gift to militant secular humanism, and you should never change.

    You’re welcome. And likewise–when I get some tiresome variant of “I might consider Christianity if it weren’t for people like you” or “I used to be a Christian until I meant people someone like you” I am thankful that when not on the internet I spend most of my time with honest and trustworthy students, colleagues and fellow Christians. So thank you.

  55. says

    Christians use the rest of the psalm 14 all the time. It is part of the proof text for the depravity of man (aka original sin). It is part of the proof text that we are too corrupt to save ourselves and need a savior. It is one of the most commonly quoted passages in the OT. I have heard it quoted more often (way more often) than the 23rd Psalm. Paul quotes it in Romans. I have heard There is none who does good; no, not one more than I have heard John 3:16.

    So the entire psalm is pure horseshit intended to keep decent people from feeling worthy of anything, not just the one sentence. Nice of you to clear that up.

  56. says

    We say three days because we know how biblical Hebrews counted days–as partial rather than full.

    So it’s the innumerate Hebrews’ fault, not the innumerate Christians’ fault. Thanks for clearing up that oh-so-centrally-important part of the Ressurrection story. (Why couldn’t recent translators have changed the English wording to be a little more accurate?)

  57. says

    Raging Bee,

    So it’s the innumerate Hebrews’ fault, not the innumerate Christians’ fault.

    No, it is cultural difference. Is that hard to grasp? They would have said three days because they called such intervals three days.

  58. steve oberski says

    @heddle

    when I get some tiresome variant …

    Tiresome because you hear it so often or tiresome because in your heart you know it’s true ?

    So is your time on the intertubes some sort of self imposed community service, dare I say proselytizing ?

    I didn’t think that the “elect” were into conversion. I love that whole “elect” shtick by the way, it’s certainly one of the more amusing ways to square the circle of an omniscient and omnipotent sky daddy.

    My condolences to your students and colleagues, the xtians probably deserve your company.

  59. says

    steve oberski,

    I didn’t think that the “elect” were into conversion. I love that whole “elect” shtick by the way

    Admitting your complete ignorance about one of a subject’s fundamentals and then following immediately with the fact that you “love” the subject always inspires confidence that you know what you are talking about.

  60. steve oberski says

    @heddle

    I have great gaps in my knowledge of Norse and Celtic mythology but that wouldn’t stop me from mocking someone who injects those beliefs into the marketplace of ideas.

    Your holy book shows every sign of being cobbled together by ignorant humans for ignorant humans and I’ll give it no more special treatment than I would any other mythology.

    I’m quite sure you reject the tenets of Islam without having bothered to inform yourself on 1400 years of Muslim scholarship so it’s somewhat hypocritical of you to take me to task for not understanding the fundamentals of your cult. Especially when your sect is one of 40,000 or so variants all claiming to have exclusive access to the truth when about the only thing they share in common is the sure knowledge that every other one is wrong and damned to hell.

    So yes, I don’t know which end you break your egg on, I’m ignorant of the intricacies of the Big-Endian versus Little-Endian dialectic, the important thing to know is that your irrational and non-evidence based belief system is one of the most divisive and destructive forces known to human kind.

    So take your fundamentals, fold them into a many pointed object, and stick them up your fundament.

  61. LightningRose says

    Heddle – “What an utter embarrassment for a human being.”

    Speak for yourself, clown.

    Now go away or I shall mock you again.

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