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Dec 02 2012

Silverman Shreds O’Reilly

Dave Silverman of American Atheists went on Bill O’Reilly’s show again and made O’Reilly look like the ridiculous bully that he is. O’Reilly actually claimed that Christianity is not a religion, it’s a philosophy — only the denominations are religions, Christianity itself is not. Staggering stupidity. Silverman did a great job of not just yelling, “Holy shit, you’re a moron. Who did you fuck to get this job?”

54 comments

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  1. 1
    MikeMa

    Not really important who O’Really? fucked to get the job. He keeps it by fucking the nation, polluting the airwaves with stupid.

  2. 2
    Marcus Ranum

    Wow! What a fascist!

  3. 3
    raven

    O’Reilly or his operators have been reading their instruction manual again. Orwell’s 1984.

    War is peace
    Freedom is slavery
    Ignorance is strength

    Christianity is a philosophy

  4. 4
    TxSkeptic

    Oh, ok Bill. Since “christianity” is not a religion then this phrase “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” does not apply and government may pass all sorts of laws prohibiting it, right?

    Of course Bill’s counter would be that government could also respect the establishment of the christian philosophy, but of course, they already have anyway.

    Anyway, I don’t know what O’Reilly is really trying to accomplish here, except maybe a deliberate attempt to recreate the stunned look on Silverman’s face elicited with the infamous tides comment.

  5. 5
    raven

    Anyway, I don’t know what O’Reilly is really trying to accomplish here,

    It’s an atttempt at a Goebbels’ Big Lie.

    And not a very competent one.

    Goebbels isn’t too good a role model anyway. He had a few good years and at the end; he killed his 6 kids, his wife, and committed suicide.

  6. 6
    Gretchen

    Oh, ok Bill. Since “christianity” is not a religion then this phrase “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” does not apply and government may pass all sorts of laws prohibiting it, right?

    When the argument was that Islam isn’t a religion, that’s exactly where it was headed…

  7. 7
    raven

    It’s obvious that thanks to O’Reilly and the fundies, “xianity” and “religion” have gotten a bad reputation.

    So much so that they are now having to lie about it and deny that “xianity” is a “religion”.

    I don’t see that it is going to work.

    How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four, calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.

    They could just drop that New Endarkenment idea. But then again, if they did that, there wouldn’t be much left of US xianity.

  8. 8
    Michael Heath

    It’s important to point out that Bill O’Reilly has long promoted his notion that Christianity is a philosophy and therefore immune to establishment clause limitations of government power. I first heard him express this on his show when I first encountered him in the early-2000s.

    He seems most motivated to express this when people challenge the government unconstitutionally promoting Christianity or where the government is unconstitutionally infringing on the rights of non-Christianists. So it’s just another denial tactic used to avoid or deny inconvenient facts – a conservative Christian attribute.

    Mr. O’Reilly often combines his denialism to an argument from authority, bringing up his graduate degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government as proof we should believe him on his idiotic assertion.

    What I find amusing is that in spite of promoting his false assertion for a decade-plus now, it hasn’t seemed to gain any traction amongst his fellow conservative Christians. Consider how stupid a notion politically convenient to conservative Christians has to be for even them to reject it. What a buffoonish blowhard.

  9. 9
    Nemo

    I’ve never heard it expressed O’Reilly’s way before, but this meme that “Christianity isn’t a religion” is getting quite popular. (Usually it’s followed by “..it’s a relationship with Jesus”, rather than “…it’s a philosophy.”) To me, that only says one thing: Religion is getting a bad name.

  10. 10
    slc1

    Billo the clown: The tide goes in, the tide goes out, you can’t explain it.

    Neil Tyson: Want to bet?

  11. 11
    raven

    (Usually it’s followed by “..it’s a relationship with Jesus”, rather than “…it’s a philosophy.”)

    That doesn’t work either.

    In Trinitarian xianity, jesus = god.

    A personal relationship with jesus is the exact same thing as:

    A personal relationship with god. If that isn’t a religion, then nothing is.

  12. 12
    netamigo

    Silverman should not waste resources even going on a program like this. It is a total clown show with no redeeming value. Why help Reilly promote his idiotic show.

  13. 13
    mikey

    Wow. Can anybody make a good case for NOT loading O’Reilly into a hollow capsule and launching it into the sun?

  14. 14
    Sastra

    Technically speaking, one could make a case that Christianity is indeed a philosophy. The problem with this approach (from O’Reilly’s standpoint) is that Christianity is a particular kind of philosophy: a religious philosophy. Its metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and practical advice are all based on a belief in and worship or attitude towards a god or sacred reality.

    That makes it a RELIGION, Bill.

    It does not make Christianity a secular philosophy which ignores God and deals only with the world. Unless you want to take God OUT of Christianity and play some game of High Theology which pretty much turns everything rationally dodgy into an elaborate metaphor — which you are welcome to do, of course. The common term for this sophisticated form of theological interpretation is “atheism.” So go ahead with that. Knock yourself out.

    O’Reilly’s conflation of “religion” with “sects” looks to me like another dreary tactic in the ongoing dishonest battle to get the existence of God (or the truth of Christianity) casually accepted as an accepted fact, the normal starting assumption of the Reasonable Person. We “recognize” or “acknowledge” God: we don’t need to support it as a conclusion.

    I do think O’Reilly was able to attack Silverman on something he’s vulnerable on: whether “Christmas” itself is a religious or secular holiday. Atheists are actually divided on this one. Unlike calling Christianity “secular,” secularizing Christmas is more dangerous for them than us — and rests on excellent reasons, ranging from pagan origins to the obvious lack of necessary relationship between virtually all of the significant elements of Christmas and the Christian religion. I suspect that, over time, most atheists — including Silverman — will change their mind about granting Christmas to the Christians. If the best argument the religious have is that the WORD contains the name “Christ” — and it IS their best argument — then the attempt to keep the “Christ in Christmas” is going to go down in flames.

    And the atheists will all be toasting marshmallows for our Christmas cocoa. Ho, ho, ho.

  15. 15
    Doc Bill

    Bill-0 is a buffoon and a blowhard to be sure but he has his own show and that’s the difference. He doesn’t have to win an argument or even engage in hoity-toity discourse over a cuppa tea. All he has to do is scream, shout and generate ratings. Simple as that.

    He can say outrageous, stupid things because he has the last word. The tide goes in, the tide goes out, never a miscommunication, proof of God – and next up, Lindsey Lohan visits the No Spin Zone.

    Bill-0 has been saying this and other Bill-0 Dogma for many years, but he seems to be fairly isolated in his wingnuttiness.

  16. 16
    baz1

    Two questions for BOR:

    1 Is islam a religion?
    2 If christianity isn’t a religion shouldn’t it have it’s tax breaks revoked?

    What a twat….

  17. 17
    dingojack

    Dingo’s Rule of thumb – if your position requires the postulation of the existence of god(s) – it’s a religion.
    If christianity isn’t a religion after all, then they owe 200+ years of back taxes, and could face serious fraud charges.
    Dingo

  18. 18
    Dr X

    Linguistic Tells in Narcissism:

    [Mardi} Horowitz says that narcissists rely on a defense he has termed "sliding of meanings." Within the context of narcissism, sliding of meaning refers to defensive remolding of linguistic meaning to preserve the narcissist's primitive sense of perfection. In layman's terms, the narcissist can never admit to being wrong or deficient in any significant way, so he or she plays weaselly word games that destroy logical coherence.

    This defensive maneuver can be maddening for anyone dealing with a narcissist, but the narcissist doesn't slide meanings merely as a device to deceive others. For the narcissist, sliding of meanings is an emotionally necessary and habitual form of self-deception.

    The next question would be: does O’Reilly know that he’s playing games with language or is he bullshitting himself about what he’s doing? If the latter, then this philosophy-religion nonsense would represent a narcissistic defense.

  19. 19
    Chiroptera

    The main problem here is that it is pretty clear what the law considers to be a religion for purposes of the First Amendment, and all the semantic gymnastics isn’t going to change that. And even if the edges of the legal concepts might be fuzzy, Christianity, even the bland, generic Christianity pushed by the school-prayer-brigade, isn’t anywhere near the edges.

  20. 20
    gopiballava

    Shi’a is a religion, Sunni is a religion. Islam isn’t, therefore, the government can promote Islam. I’m sure he would agree with that.

  21. 21
    dingojack

    “[Mardi] Horowitz says that narcissists rely on a defense he has termed “sliding of meanings.” Within the context of narcissism, sliding of meaning refers to defensive remolding of linguistic meaning to preserve the narcissist’s primitive sense of perfection. In layman’s terms, the narcissist can never admit to being wrong or deficient in any significant way, so he or she plays weaselly word games that destroy logical coherence”.

    ‘Love means never having to say sorry’

    :) Dingo

  22. 22
    Sastra

    @Dr. X:

    Interesting. Sliding different meanings together — whether it be equivocating “deepities” or sloppy category errors — is one of the standard characteristics of supernatural/spiritual/religious habits of thought. So one might then be able to make the case that religion and the religious world view — which I like to characterize as “The Playpen Theory of Reality” — is itself narcissistic. Sounds reasonable.

    The believers aren’t necessarily narcissistic themselves, of course — but they’re working within a system which is.

  23. 23
    Randomfactor

    Would be fun for Silverman to argue in a future appearance that Christianity isn’t a religion and therefore doesn’t deserve protection.

  24. 24
    tbp1

    Astonishing. I couldn’t get past the point where O’Reilly says that it’s a “fact’ that Christianity is a philosophy and not a religion.

    And who can forget his apparent unawareness that it’s actually pretty well understood what makes the tides go in and out?

    I agree with Ed that Silverman showed amazing self-restraint.

    How did this bozo get a national TV show?

  25. 25
    democommie

    Some years ago, the founder of “Penthouse”, Robert Guccione, lamented that despite his publishing “Omni” and doing other non-shaved beaver sortathangs that he was still regarded, by other publishers and literary critics as he “skin mags guy”.

    Bilious O’Liarly finds himself in good company with Bobby G.

  26. 26
    dingojack

    Demo – you mean all that cash I shelled out on Omni magazine was in aid of shaved beavers everywhere?
    Money well spent!
    ;) Dingo

  27. 27
    birgerjohansson

    At this point, readers familiar with the Discworld novels should point O’Reilly towards a copy of “Gods; A Spotter’s Guide”.

  28. 28
    dan4

    O’Reilly has railed against “secularism” for years now on his show…and here he is secuarlizing Christianity!

  29. 29
    Ichthyic

    Wow. Can anybody make a good case for NOT loading O’Reilly into a hollow capsule and launching it into the sun?

    yes.

    Glen Beck should go first.

    Then Rush Limbaugh.

    THEN oreally

    what’s that? You say we can make a capsule that can fit more than one at a time?

    oh well then. No objections.

  30. 30
    Ichthyic

    Would be fun for Silverman to argue in a future appearance that Christianity isn’t a religion and therefore doesn’t deserve protection.

    Bill would simply counter with saying that each SECT is a religion that deserves protection.

    no, you’d have to argue at the level of how a sect becomes defined as a religion to begin with, which really would defeat Bills argument much more quickly.

  31. 31
    anandine

    Sastra @14 he’s vulnerable on: whether “Christmas” itself is a religious or secular holiday

    Secular is winning, but we need to keep up the pressure. We need to completely take Christmas back from the Christians. It is a perfectly good pagan holiday, with neat lights and decorations, and we need something to celebrate around the winter solstice. We could use another name for it (festivus, solstice, saturnalia), but Christmas is the word everybody uses, and using it trivializes Christianity a little. So atheists, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Muslims, everybody in America should celebrate Christmas. (FYI, stores in Mumbai sell lots of Christmas stuff. You want a light-up plastic Santa? They got ‘em.)

  32. 32
    anandine

    Another way of saying it is that “Christmas” is now the American word for potlatch, and everybody participates according to their financial ability.

  33. 33
    Sastra

    In real life, one would want to ask O’Reilly his definition of “religion” — and then compare it to standard definitions. Within the confines of an interview on the O’Reilly show, however, it’s probably wiser NOT to go off on what’s likely to be a time-wasting tangent.

  34. 34
    naturalcynic

    @16, 17, 23: You missed Billl-O’s get out of jail free card. If Christianity is a philosophy, then it could be taxed. However Methodism, Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, etc. are religions, and therefore cannot be taxed.

  35. 35
    frog

    @13 @29

    We daren’t shoot ANY of those guys into the sun, lest their collective density immediately trigger a black hole. Or their infinitely cold hearts simply extinguish the it.

  36. 36
    anubisprime

    Nemo @ 9

    but this meme that “Christianity isn’t a religion” is getting quite popular…. To me, that only says one thing: Religion is getting a bad name.

    Now that is interesting in that it seems the jeebus legions are becoming dimly aware of their image, an image which is not exactly what they were striving for.
    What to do to hide the obvious?…yeah bingo re-package it!

    They tried it with Creationism by morphing it into ‘Intelligent design’
    Then argued that ID was not a religion.
    Dover v Kitzmiller disposed of that stench methinks!
    But now it seems they have finally recognized that the central meme is so damaged and toxic that they must go for a re-brand!

    They do not really learn from their mistakes do they?
    They are so divorced from self view that they think they are being clever.

    ID is a busted flush…even Benny baby has edged away from that precipice, where at one time he fancied it big time, now the religiotards have seemingly convinced themselves that the same tactic will yield a different outcome for jeebus drooling!

    Religion is a toxic brand, they know it, we know it, the frigging pope knows it, but they have no idea how to fix a collapsing house of cards.

    This is just a desperate a ploy to re-frame the nonsense is all.
    Pathetic really, but quite funny.

  37. 37
    Dr X

    Here’s O’Reilly denying that Anders Breivik was a Christian because there’s no evidence that he was a member of a church and “no evidence that he had anything to do with the Christian faith. So it’s a faith,” but not a religion.

  38. 38
    caseyboucher

    Just throwing in my two cents on the imaginary “war on christmas” issue; if some local or state government wants to put up a Christmas tree (or say “merry christmas” instead of “happy holidays”), we should just let them. Bluntly, we have more important battles to fight.

    I say, let Bill and his foxbots have their damned trees. In the meantime, we can focus our resources on protecting public education standards and women’s reproductive rights.

    This is one battle in the culture war that is almost entirely inconsequential.

  39. 39
    Ichthyic

    We daren’t shoot ANY of those guys into the sun, lest their collective density immediately trigger a black hole

    OTOH, the density factor also risks them producing a singularity right here on earth!

    what to do!

  40. 40
    raven

    we should just let them. Bluntly, we have more important battles to fight.

    Why should we? We are winning.

    Of course with a lot of help.

    1. Xians especially O’Reilly and Fox News. They’ve been a huge help. It’s always a nice touch when they vandalize a pagan or atheist display or say “fuck you” when someone wishes them a Happy Holidays. Or just whine a lot and claim to be a persecuted minority of 74% of the country.

    2. The fact that the War on Xmas is imaginary. We are actually fighting the War on the War on Xmas. AFAICT, to most people, Xmas is a secular, year end holiday of gift giving, shopping, and parties.

    3. The retail sector in the USA. A lot of people have fought rampant capitalism. They’ve all lost. BTW, how many more shopping days are there until Xmas? I think it is 23 or so.

    The xians stole Xmas from the pagans. The pagans are stealing it back.

  41. 41
    raven

    BTW, don’t forget the War on Easter.

    It seems a long way off but it will be here before you know it.

    That is another pagan holiday the xians stole. And we are stealing that one back too.

    PS: It must be boring being a xian these days. Normal people have holidays. They have imaginary wars instead.

  42. 42
    Ichthyic

    It must be boring being a xian these days. Normal people have holidays. They have imaginary wars instead.

    don’t you see? that’s just it.

    it IS boring being a xian. hence, the need to invent wars to make life more interesting.

  43. 43
    yoav

    And it only took Billy a day to get from “if you had a winter solstice tree I’ll wouldn’t have a problem” back to his standard MO of going apeshit over people saying happy holidays instead of marry christmas.

  44. 44
    Hugo

    As others have already said, religious terminology has become tainted. I’ve been aware of this for a while now. Robert Price even mentioned a book in an episode of The Bible Geek (can’t remember what book) where the author gives a list of quotes from leaders of different religions all saying what amounts to the same thing: “My religion is not a religion, it is a relationship/philosophy/whatever-else-I-have-to-say-to-avoid-the-word-religion “. Religion, faith, creationism: it has all gotten a bad reputation that they need to disassociate from.

    Where the inferiority of religious terms becomes most obvious is in the fact that this never occurs in the opposite direction. Whereas you constantly hear evolutionists dismiss I.D. as just “religion disguised as science”, you will NEVER hear an evolutionist dismiss it by saying: “Why, Intelligent Design can’t be taught in public schools because it’s just science!”, or an atheist dismiss Christianity by saying: “Oh, you just believe in Jesus because you have evidence and reason, LOL!”

    It’s because concepts like religion and faith are obviously inferior (even to them, although unconsciously) that the religious avoid them like the plague, and instead wrap themselves in the trappings of science, evidence, reason and logic. This is how you end up with “Creation SCIENCE”, Josh McDowell’s “EVIDENCE that deserves a verdict”, William Lane Craig’s podcast “REASONABLE Faith” (an oxymoron), and varied LOGICAL proofs for the existence of God.

    I would be interested to know if any authors or bloggers have tackled this particular topic in detail before. Links or recommendations would be appreciated.

  45. 45
    Ichthyic

    And it only took Billy a day to get from “if you had a winter solstice tree I’ll wouldn’t have a problem” back to his standard MO of going apeshit over people saying happy holidays instead of marry christmas.

    actually, less than that, since he was lying right to Silverman’s face and never left his original position.

    Silverman could have called him on it, but that would have just let billy run off on yet another tangent where he could waste all of Silverman’s time talking about Billy’s favorite subject… Billy.

  46. 46
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @13.mikey :

    Wow. Can anybody make a good case for NOT loading O’Reilly into a hollow capsule and launching it into the sun?

    Waste of a rocket and a space probe that could carry useful instruments to study and give us a better understanding of our Sun that’s one good reason why.

    I’d suggest that if anyone is priviledged enough to get a one way trip to our daytime star it should be a terminally ill solar physicist who is still fit enough to fly and enjoy the journey – and to report back with human perspectives that machinery could miss.

  47. 47
    Ichthyic

    Waste of a rocket and a space probe that could carry useful instruments to study and give us a better understanding of our Sun that’s one good reason why.

    well, I think Bill can write, we could give him a keyboard and have him record what he sees before he incinerates. He and the terminally ill solar physicist could swap notes!

  48. 48
    Ichthyic

    OTOH, I suppose that would be considered torture for the poor physicist.

    forget I mentioned it.

  49. 49
    billyeager

    Jesus Fictional Christ, I only made it halfway through that clip. Dave Silverman deserves a fucking medal for not simply slamming his hand down on the desk and yelling profanities at Billy-boy for his appallingly dishonest weasel-words.

    Bravo Dave, you are a better man than I.

  50. 50
    ashleymoore

    Christianity is Schrodingers religion. It is a religion when observed by a tax accountant and a philosophy when observed by a constitutional lawyer.

  51. 51
    this

    hasn’t seemed to gain any traction amongst his fellow conservative Christians. Consider how stupid a notion politically convenient to conservative Christians has to be for even them to reject it.
    I think this is the hard-xian sequence of thought that explains why:
    (Our) god is everything.
    (Our) christianity is everything.
    (Our) religion is above all in law.
    Therefore, (our) religion cannot be merely “philosophy”.

    Hard-xians cannot contemplate anything else, including whether there would be power advantage to proposing O’Reilly’s god-demeaning, god-denigrating subterfuge.

    Similarly, “atheism is a religion” is DOA (an abortion) amongst hard-xians.

  52. 52
  53. 53
    Moggie

    frog:

    We daren’t shoot ANY of those guys into the sun, lest their collective density immediately trigger a black hole. Or their infinitely cold hearts simply extinguish the it.

    Ok, leave O’Reilly until last, so that he can see what effect that has on the tides.

  54. 54
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @47. Ichthyic :

    I don’t think the hypothetical terminally ill solar physicist would fancy the company somehow! Bit harsh on xer I reckon!

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