Georgia Gov: Let the Poor Die »« Seagal Thinks Obama Should Be Impeached

Alamo Victims Get Half a Billion Dollars

Seven women who were raped and abused by evangelist Tony Alamo for years were awarded more than half a billion dollars by a judge in Arkansas after Alamo Ministries didn’t even bother responding to the lawsuit they filed against the now-notorious preacher.

Miller County Circuit Judge Kirk Johnson entered a default judgment this week against Twenty First Century Holiness Tabernacle Church, an arm of Alamo Ministries, after the group, based in southwestern Arkansas, failed to respond to the civil suit. Johnson awarded the women a total of $525 million in actual and punitive damages.

In the judgment, Johnson wrote that Twenty First Century Holiness Tabernacle Church acted “willfully and maliciously” in causing the plaintiffs’ damages.

David Carter, who represents the women, said he’s very satisfied with the court’s judgment.

“It serves as notice that you cannot facilitate or enable abuse without answering for your responsibility in court,” he told The Associated Press.

The actual damages awarded to each woman range from $10 million to $29 million. The court also gave each plaintiff punitive damages worth double the amount of actual damage. Those range from $20 million to $58 million.

Alamo himself is in prison for 175 years for raping young girls involved in his ministry. The court will begin seizing property to pay off this award.

Comments

  1. daved says

    I can’t be the only person who saw this headline and thought it had something to do with a very belated lawsuit involving that fort in Texas.

  2. karmacat says

    I had the same thought. I hope this decision sends a message to similar institutions that they better clean up their act or get sued into oblivion.

  3. Alverant says

    I bet there are already cries of “not a real christian” from apologists. I hope the victims get their awards quickly with minimal fuss from the church.

  4. dingojack says

    @ 1 & 2 – This train of thought?

    Alverant – “I hope the victims get their awards quickly with minimal fuss from the church.”
    So do I, but what do you think the likelihood of that happening is? Any bets they conveniently declare themselves ‘bankrupt’ whilst quietly moving the cash off shore?
    Dingo

  5. bmiller says

    How can this “church” still even exist given that the founding minister is in prison for the rest of his life? THAT is what astonishes me.

    Because none of these fundie mega ministries are really based on any kind of institutional structure or history or doctrine. they are all about the Big Man Behind the Pulpit and his TROO AND ONLY version of Christianity.

    Astonishing.

  6. says

    I bet there are already cries of “not a real christian” from apologists.

    I hear you. It is a shame that some of us follow the model of Paul who excommunicated the man sleeping with his step-mother in the Corinthian church. But that was then and this is now–all Christians should, by now, realize that atheists get to decide who is an authentic Christian. We have to abandon the quaint idea of a circle or orthodoxy, or next thing you know we’ll be talking of “dictionary Christians” and” Christianity+”. And know that we should follow the atheists’ model that the more despicable a self-identified Christian’s behavior is, the more trust we should place that his claim of faith is genuine. It’s only fair and reasonable.

  7. dingojack says

    Shorter Heddle – ‘No True Christian’.
    Nice to see you proving the prediction true.
    Dingo

  8. busterggi says

    Cowboy #1: What’s your name?
    Pee-wee: I can’t remember.
    Cowboy #2: Where are you from?
    Pee-wee: I can’t remember.
    Cowboy #1: Can you remember anything?
    Pee-wee: I remember… the Alamo

  9. says

    DJ,

    I Nice to see you proving the prediction true.

    My pleasure, I’m glad backing such bold a prediction: “a Christian is gonna judge another’s claim of genuine faith based on the claimants’ documented behavior of serial juvenile rape” makes you feel superior. I mean–going out on such a limb like that–that takes incredible intellect–although no quite as much as the hair-trigger “No True Scotsman” rebuttal. That’s always a brilliant comeback, especially when nobody could see it coming! Well played, worthy adversary!

  10. says

    Any bets they conveniently declare themselves ‘bankrupt’ whilst quietly moving the cash off shore?

    They almost certainly did that when the suit was filed. It’s why they didn’t bother to pay for a lawyer to show up for trial.

  11. colnago80 says

    Re dingojack @ #7

    Hey, that’s just the blog’s resident physics professor and math department chairman breaking out his no true Scotsman shtick.

  12. dingojack says

    Pointing out the ‘logic’ in your idiotic ‘arguments’ is what I do (not for gain or pleasure, simply to see you dig deeper in the hope of coming up with – well – more idiocy as it turns out).
    No need to thank me. Your (many, self-evident) deficiencies are yours alone.
    Dingo
    ——–
    PS: you might wanna re-read #3. Who wrote it I wonder? Hmmmmm…..

  13. says

    DJ,

    PS: you might wanna re-read #3. Who wrote it I wonder? Hmmmmm…..

    Just a wild guess, someone named Alverant? Did you think I thought you wrote it? No, my reply to you was mocking your immediate “No True Scotsman” rebuttal. In fact, I could have made just a bold of a prediction as Alverant–a prediction that gave you so much pleasure, at #6, by “predicting” that DJ and SLC1 (in some order) would (erroneously*) make the charge–the latter only if he could take time off from advocating the use of nuclear weapons.

    —————
    * Erroneously because it is not intended as a blunt instrument to be used thusly: If X says he is Y, then anyone who says different is guilty of this fallacy. As a trivial example, if I say: “I am an atheist but I believe in God” it would not be an example of the “No True Scotsman” fallacy to say “You are not a true atheist.” It would be an example of the fallacy to say “No true atheist is a libertarian.”

  14. Pierce R. Butler says

    Whaddya mean, not a true Christian?

    Judged by behavioral standards, Tony A is more Catholic than the Pope!

  15. says

    Pierce R. Butler,

    judged by behavioral standards, Tony A is more Catholic than the Pope!

    Actually jokes* or criticism don’t press my buttons. But was does (on such a gloomy day) is “boldly” predicting that some Christians will question the authenticity of someone’s conversion, as if it is completely unreasonable to judge as they are instructed to judge. (And it doesn’t seem to bother the predictor that his clever prediction is just as predictable if not more so–I doubt Ed makes many posts about Christians behaving badly where someone doesn’t rush to make Alverant’s prediction.)

    On this narrow matter–the question of whether it is ever reasonable to say: No I will not regard him as an authentic Christian, the only sensible atheist I ever read is Jason Rosenhouse, who argued that if someone one says “I am a Christian; I believe Elvis is Christ” that such a person is not a True Christian. He also has argued, IIRC, that it makes little sense to call someone like Bishop Spong, who denies the deity if not the historicty of Jesus, a Christian. So many atheists think it is a substantive point to predict that the authenticity of a person’s faith might be questioned, and another set think that the immediate low-brow charge of “No True Scotsman” is meaningful and debate ending.

    —-
    *Although the first rule of comedy, as it was explained to me, is that you must let the easy ones go by.

  16. colnago80 says

    Re Heddle @ #15

    He also has argued, IIRC, that it makes little sense to call someone like Bishop Spong, who denies the deity if not the historicty of Jesus, a Christian.

    Oh, but Michael Heath steadfastly proclaims that Spong is a true Christian, just like Thomas Jefferson.

  17. Alverant says

    Heddle, you don’t get to decide who is and isn’t christian. Alamo said he was and who are you to say otherwise? Just because Alamo did some bad things doesn’t make him unchristian. There’s a big difference between the examples you gave and Alamo. Alamo ran a christian church and claimed to be christian. That makes him christian. Raping women doesn’t change that fact no matter how much you want it to.

  18. Michael Heath says

    heddle writes:

    But that was then and this is now–all Christians should, by now, realize that atheists get to decide who is an authentic Christian.

    Atheists seem to be one of a few subsets of the population capable of reading and understanding Christian standards set forth in the Bible, and then compare that to reprehensible behavior by those who not only self-identify as Christians, but flourish in the Christian community. Theologically conservative Christians predominately seem incapable of credible calls on this matter. For example, they’re pointing to Reagan as a great Christian while claiming that Obama is not a Christian, when in fact Obama meets nearly all the standards of Christianity while Reagan didn’t even try.

    I think the attributes that identify who is and who is not a Christian must vary given varying contextual settings. Let the Calvinists claim Mormons aren’t true Christians and the pre-Vatican Catholics claim the same of most protestants; it’s really irrelevant in the public square. It is a worthy debate from a public square perspective, outside the theological debates. In this case I have no idea if Mr. Alamo if one can make an arguable assertion he’s either a Christian or not a Christian since I don’t know his history. I do know that criminal behavior reveals nothing in regards to whether someone is a Christian or not a Christian.

  19. colnago80 says

    Re Alverant @ #18

    Don’t you know that Heddle is the self appointed arbiter of who is and who is not a Christian?

  20. says

    Alverant,

    Alamo ran a christian church and claimed to be christian. That makes him christian.

    Sure, since you say so with such certainty that settles it. Now we are taught that it is someone who professes Christ, makes an (imperfect) attempt to emulate him, and bears fruit, and gives evidence of imperfect but increasing sanctification, as opposed to regaling oneself in a fully committed sinful lifestyle. But your definition that you, as an outsider, impose on us, i.e., “whoever claims to be, is”, why that’s so much better, isn’t it? I mean why should Christians have a say in “who is a Christian?”

    Alamo said he was and who are you to say otherwise?

    Someone who has read the whole teaching of excommunication found in the New Testament. It is quite clear that while (true) we cannot see into anyone’s heart to see if they are a true believer or not, we are to judge and, those who come up short, we are to regard them (right or wrong) as as unbelievers (as “Gentiles and tax collectors”, as it is put in Matt 18) . Not for sins (even rape–you jackass, I didn’t claim he couldn’t be a Christian because he committed a rape–nice, cheap diversion attempt) but for a continuing history–a lifelong commitment to a lifestyle embracing sin, in this case the sexual abuse of children.

    No, we cannot even offer the inconvenient possibility that maybe, just maybe, he co-opted the trappings of Christianity to create a following that he could exploit for financial gain and sexual gratification. No, it must be “he said he is a Christian therefore he is.” And to suggest otherwise: “No True Scotsman!, No True Scotsman!”

    Just stupid.

  21. Michael Heath says

    heddle writes:

    And know that we should follow the atheists’ model that the more despicable a self-identified Christian’s behavior is, the more trust we should place that his claim of faith is genuine. It’s only fair and reasonable.

    I nominate this as strawman of 2014 (to date).

    As I stated earlier, plenty of atheists are capable of understanding the professed standards of Christianity and determining who closely meets those standards and who does not. It’s not in any way a difficult task. For example, nominally few contemporaneous U.S. Christians could reasonably argue that Jimmy Carter, Rick Warren, JFK, MLK Jr., or Billy Graham are not ‘true Christians’.

    No, the aspect you continue to ignore or avoid is that there are many millions of U.S. Christians, people who are not accused of not being ‘true Christians’, who behave in reprehensible ways. These are Christians and they lie to their kids. They seek to indoctrinate their children rather than educate them, and they hide inconvenient facts from their children. These Christians, again many millions of them, support politicians who feed and exploit their determined ignorance, their bigotry, their fear. They support policies that directly oppose or obstruct edicts demanded of them, edicts emphasized by their supposed god in the NT, while they do Kubaki theater within their churches and communities falsely claiming they’re carrying those very edicts out (feeding the poor in a manner that doesn’t even approach the ability of the government to feed the poor – where they oppose the latter.)

    And we atheists merely point out the obvious, these reprehensible people are not only Christians, but Christians in good standing within their faith community.

    So I disagree atheists can’t parse out the Christians that other Christians don’t have a problem referencing as emblematic Christians, while also being capable of noting that millions of Christians exist who violate their own holy dogma. That in fact, this is an attribute of very large groups of Christians here in the U.S. Again, it’s conservative Christians who have trouble working through this.

  22. Alverant says

    Heddle, what makes you think you were taught correctly? Your bible says that women who are raped are to be put to death so I guess that makes you non-christian for not demanding they be stoned. Nothing you said makes Alamo unchristian. Your definition fails because you conveniently exclude anyone who is an embarrassment to your religion. Mine is better because it sets objective standards. If you can’t see into Alamo’s heart, how do you know he wasn’t trying to imperfectly emulate a redeemer? After all god is also a sexual abuser of children.

  23. says

    Michael Heath,

    For example, they’re pointing to Reagan as a great Christian while claiming that Obama is not a Christian, when in fact Obama meets nearly all the standards of Christianity while Reagan didn’t even try.

    I am a conservative Christian* and I have never claimed that Reagan was a Christian. As for Obama, you must be thinking of the atheist Jerry Coyne–he is one who comes to mind when I think of people calling Obama a liar in regards to the President’s claim of faith.

    I do know that criminal behavior reveals nothing in regards to whether someone is a Christian or not a Christian.

    This is true and I didn’t claim otherwise. The claim is that we are to regard someone who has a lifestyle committed to sinful behavior as a non-believer.

    Atheists seem to be one of a few subsets of the population capable of reading and understanding Christian standards set forth in the Bible,

    *barf* Yeah when I read atheists over and over say things like “They don’t even know that they aren’t supposed to eat shellfish or wear blended fibers” why, I am totally convinced that they are experts on Christianity.

    ———-
    * Yes I am aware that I don’t count, that I am an outlier, that I don’t speak for all Christians even though I think I do, etc., etc., etc.

  24. cjcolucci says

    I was brought up to believe that there was such a thing as a bad Christian. Doesn’t mean he isn’t a Christian, except metaphorically. And if there’s some appropriate ecclesiastical authority empowered to throw bad Christians out of the club, the bad Christian can become a non-Christian — unless he finds another club that will take him or sets up his own.

  25. says

    Alverant,

    Heddle, what makes you think you were taught correctly?

    That is irrelevant. Whether or not I was taught correctly it is reasonable for me to judge whether or not I think someone should be regarded as a genuine Christian. You (or other Christians for that matter) can claim my circle or orthodoxy is too big (I’m a liberal) or too small (I’m a fundie), but it is not unreasonable (as your prediction in #3 suggests) for me to have one. See, I think Mohammed was a false profit. For that reason, it is perfectly reasonable for Muslims to regard me as an infidel without being asked “what gives you the right?”

    Your bible says that women who are raped are to be put to death so I guess that makes you non-christian for not demanding they be stoned.

    Oh, noes. How could I have not foreseen such a response? (I more or less predicted it in #24.) But you win. I confess, the bible also tells us to sacrifice animals for atonement and, god forgive me, I don’t. But you are an expert, so I am sure you are aware of this and are prepared to argue “I guess that makes you non-christian for not sacrificing animals. “

  26. says

    Michael Heath,

    As I stated earlier, plenty of atheists are capable of understanding the professed standards of Christianity and determining who closely meets those standards and who does not.

    And as I said, since we are repeating ourselves, as evidenced by Alvarant’s “Your bible says that women who are raped are to be put to death so I guess that makes you non-christian for not demanding they be stoned”, you aren’t, as a group, very good at it.

  27. freehand says

    Atheism of course is not a system of values. Humanism however is, and I think most of the atheists posting here would be humanist. Heddle, I believe it would be true to say that no humanists are fascists. But would it be true to say that no humanists are hypocrites, nor ever violate their stated and possibly sincere beliefs? One cannot publicly lay claim to contradictory sets of beliefs, but one can fail to be as good as we would like to be (and one often does, doesn’t one?).
    .
    One assertion that we often hear is that Christianity makes a person a better person, but I for one see no evidence for that. If you want to claim that people who aren’t better aren’t Christian, then you can claim that obviously Christians are better. This is valid, but not true – I dispute the premiss. I certainly accept the possibility that a particular individual at the top of the money chain is a callous and self-aware manipulator who is not a Christian, but I would want to see some evidence for it.
    .
    You surely don’t do science this way, do you – throw out any data that doesn’t fit your desired model?

  28. freehand says

    Heddle: And as I said, since we are repeating ourselves, as evidenced by Alvarant’s “Your bible says that women who are raped are to be put to death so I guess that makes you non-christian for not demanding they be stoned”, you aren’t, as a group, very good at it.
    .
    Sadly, I agree we should be better at this. The bible, however, does place the burden on the woman to establish that she was raped, or it is assumed that she was committing adultery – if she was within city limits. Something about the possibility that she could have screamed for help. Rather ignores the threat of a knife to her throat, but I suppose the standard was that she would rather die than be raped.
    .
    If she were outside the city limits (i.e. too far to hear), it was the default assumption that she was indeed raped. More enlightened than many women are treated today, in certain cultures and families.
    .
    The “punishment” for a man raping a non-married woman was marrying her. This may have been used at times for two young lovers to get around her father’s preferences. But it also would have been a way for a man to simply acquire a wife that he wanted, and her preferences were irrelevant. So not really up to 21st century Western standards here.

  29. says

    freehand,

    One assertion that we often hear is that Christianity makes a person a better person, but I for one see no evidence for that.

    I do. I have seen it a many times. I have seen people become better after they joined the church. I could bore you to death with anecdotes. Now I would never claim that it is the only way a person becomes better. I am sure that there are many things a person can do and many groups, secular and religious, they can join to help them be a better person (using that in a working definition sense that I think we can all intuit.)

    If you want to claim that people who aren’t better aren’t Christian,

    I don’t know what that means as written. That they never, ever get better? That is the very basis on which we are to judge–if over a fraction of a lifetime (years) you see no fruit, no sign of sanctification, no change, and especially if they double-down on a sinful lifestyle–then you are to regard them as unbelievers.

    I certainly accept the possibility that a particular individual at the top of the money chain is a callous and self-aware manipulator who is not a Christian, but I would want to see some evidence for it.

    How about the fact that he continued, until caught, year after year, to be a callous and self-aware manipulator who sexually abused children. I take that as evidence.

    You surely don’t do science this way, do you – throw out any data that doesn’t fit your desired model?

    I surely don’t.

  30. Alverant says

    Whether or not I was taught correctly it is reasonable for me to judge whether or not I think someone should be regarded as a genuine Christian.

    The same is true for the rest of us. It is reasonable for me to judge that someone who runs a christian church is christian. And that’s the unavoidable failure of your argument. The fact Alamo continued to do the same disgusting thing year after year only means he believe his god forgave him year after year.

    A person can be a callous and self-aware manipulator and still be christian. All the snarkiness you generate can’t change that fact.

  31. colnago80 says

    Re Heddle @ #24

    As for Obama, you must be thinking of the atheist Jerry Coyne–he is one who comes to mind when I think of people calling Obama a liar in regards to the President’s claim of faith.

    Gee, I didn’t realize that Prof. Coyne was a mind reader. Must be something in the water there in Chicago. And by the way, Ronnie the rat professed to be a born again Christian, just like James Earl Carter, during the 1980 campaign.

  32. imthegenieicandoanything says

    Cheese! “heddle” is alive????

    I thought I read he’s auto-asphyxiated looking at gay Xian snuff porn. Something involving a kitchen baster.

    No, I swear! I read it in the World Net Daily, I think!

    ***

    Please, just ban him.

  33. says

    imthegenieicandoanything,

    Please, just ban him.

    I believe you think you are on Pharyngula, dumbass. That is where people get banned, and that is where people make sophisticated arguments like you did in #33.

    Alverant

    The same is true for the rest of us. It is reasonable for me to judge that someone who runs a christian church is christian. And that’s the unavoidable failure of your argument.

    Um, no, you are missing the boat. I didn’t say (ever) that you had to agree with me. I said it was reasonable for Christians to pass judgment based on a record of a debauched living. If you think starting a church is sufficient evidence for a credible claim of sincere Christianity–overlooking the fact that he repeatedly sexually abused children and women–then by all means you are free to declare Alamo the Greatest. Christian. Evah.

  34. Pierce R. Butler says

    heddle @ # 15 et seq – I think the closest the Babble comes to defining “Christian” is that it applies when two or more gather in the name.

    My personal measure is when anyone calls anyone else “not a true Christian”. Just about all Christians do it, and just about no non-Christians – because we don’t care.

    Btw – Jason Rosenhouse is no true Elvisian!

  35. says

    “then by all means you are free to declare Alamo the Greatest. Christian. Evah.”

    I don’t think anyone here has come close to making a claim of that nature.

    If we look at their claims v their actions then a number of people who claim to be “Christian” are anything but, including both Martin Luther and John Calvin. A better term for the pair of them might be “Jehovans”.

  36. says

    Pierce R. Butler,

    Btw – Jason Rosenhouse is no true Elvisian!

    I’m not sure. I invited him to our university and he came and gave two great talks. One on Creationism, and one on the Monty Hall problem. Having met him in person, he looks like a true Elvisian. At least to me.

    BTW “when two or more gather in his name” is, in fact, related to church discipline and excommunication (Matt 18). It is not a statement that it takes a critical mass (2) Christians to be gathered before Jesus is present. We generally believe he is there even if the are 0 or 1 Christians present.

  37. Michael Heath says

    Me earlier:

    For example, they’re pointing to Reagan as a great Christian while claiming that Obama is not a Christian, when in fact Obama meets nearly all the standards of Christianity while Reagan didn’t even try.

    There can only be One, and it’s heddle:

    I am a conservative Christian* and I have never claimed that Reagan was a Christian. As for Obama, you must be thinking of the atheist Jerry Coyne–he is one who comes to mind when I think of people calling Obama a liar in regards to the President’s claim of faith.

    Please rethink what you wrote here and concede it’s incredibly idiotic on all counts. Please. I don’t want to think you actually believe this is a defensible rebuttal. My perspective is that you’re far smarter than what you write here.

    First of all, I wasn’t referencing you, but instead millions of U.S. conservative Christians perspective both Misters Reagan and Obama. Second, why would I care what one person thinks, whether it be you or Mr. Coyne, when I’m referencing very large populations? Does an outlier of one or a relative handful falsify the observation of the millions as you insinuate here?

  38. Michael Heath says

    freehand writes:

    One assertion that we often hear is that Christianity makes a person a better person, but I for one see no evidence for that.

    I do see Christianity making some better people, e.g., Barack Obama would be exhibit A. Comparative Religion 101 teaches us why and reveals why this attribute of religion isn’t mutually exclusive to other social groups. Conversion events frequently occur in late-adolescence through early-adulthood. They can be a path from immaturity to adulthood. From infantile selfishness to serving others in a purpose greater than ourselves.

    Religion isn’t the only avenue to make this migration, the military can do it, college fraternities, AA, and other social groups that strip you down and then re-build you back up. Some of us don’t need this avenue, including many long-time Christians, we just gradually mature by thinking our way there as we experience life.

  39. Owlmirror says

    @heddle @#21:

    Now we are taught that it is someone who professes Christ, makes an (imperfect) attempt to emulate him, and bears fruit, and gives evidence of imperfect but increasing sanctification, as opposed to regaling oneself in a fully committed sinful lifestyle.

    Hm.

    Would you say that this is a proper minimal definition of “Christian”?

  40. says

    Michael Heath,

    Please rethink what you wrote here and concede it’s incredibly idiotic on all counts. Please. I don’t want to think you actually believe this is a defensible rebuttal. My perspective is that you’re far smarter than what you write here.

    No I’ll pass. I am not smarter than what I write here. By the way I didn’t present it as a rebuttal but rather to point out that you are, once again, stereotyping. And neglecting that there are probably many atheists who also do not think that Obama is a Christian, who think that he was end-justifies-the-means pandering. There was, in my opinion, a lot of “wink-wink-nod-nod, sure he’s a Christian” sentiment in 2008. Coyne, to his credit, was simply more honest than most. In my opinion.

    Owlmirror,

    It is a proper (I think) behavioral minimum. I think there is, normatively, also a doctrinal minimum–I don’t know exactly what it is. Something like the Nicene creed.

    On the other hand, as a Calvinist, I think there are exceptions. People who have been converted and made presentable before God (justified) who have not even heard the gospel. In fact, I have a suspicion that missionaries do not precipitate a conversion as much as they facilitate putting a conversion into context. That is, I think when they arrive on the field they meet (at least some) Christians who have never heard of Christ.

  41. says

    How about the fact that he continued, until caught, year after year, to be a callous and self-aware manipulator who sexually abused children. I take that as evidence.

    I really don’t seem to be able to wrap my tiny little atheistic brain around the concept that this fact (which I do not dispute) negates Alamo’s religious affiliation. I guess I’ll just continue to sit here in awe of the ginormous theistic intellects which pontificate from on high.

  42. Owlmirror says

    @ heddle: I’ll have to ponder that a bit more.

    Another definitional question: Since I recently read your self-labeling as a “creationist”, I do have to wonder if you agree with those more usually called creationists (including by themselves) on any other point about science, other than believing that the universe is a creation.

    Given that “creationist” was created by a group of fundamentalist Christians as a label to distinguish themselves from other people (including, presumably, theists who believe that the universe is a creation, but that science does not find evidence of this), are you sure that labeling yourself as a creationist is appropriate?

  43. leonardschneider says

    So what’s Alamo gonna do, go back to putting out those dumbass-looking airbrushed denim jackets? Those of you in your forties probably remember those hideous things. (For those younger, I’ll simply say: it was an ’80s thing. Be glad you missed it.)

  44. says

    Owlmirror, #43

    Well people do attach qualifiers like young earth to creationist–so if that implies that there is a generic term then I might be whatever the generic term signifies. I understand your point, however, that simply saying “creationist” might send the wrong message. Still my point stands, that at some level all theists are creationists.

    At any rate If I recall the thread to which you refer I was asked “are you a creationist?” by someone who was trolling. It is best not to be nuanced under such circumstances.

  45. Michael Heath says

    heddle writes:

    I didn’t present it as a rebuttal but rather to point out that you are, once again, stereotyping.

    Denying or avoiding the attributes of many millions of people who have an enormous impact on public policy by pointing to a mere handful that don’t share that quality; in what reality is that a compelling rebuttal?

    I’ve never encountered anyone who consistently denies or avoids the attributes of conservative Christians, and their impact on public policy, to the degree you do.

  46. says

    Well, we have RINO’s and DINO’s. I guess that the tent is big enough for CINO’s or–as I always refer to those bigoted, homophobic, hucksterizing, hypocritc, lying-for-JESUS, mysognistic, sanctimonious, wilfully indignorant pieces-of-shit–KKKristians.

    I think that the real problem with sorting out the players is that there’s some sort of Theologicalist Schroedinger’s Cat thing going on. We can only know whether a self-professed christian is a Christian–or a KKKristian–after they’ve lived an exemplary life or turned out to be a shitheel of monumental proportions. It reminds me a bit of politics, another arena–as Michael Heath and others have noted–where LOTSA self-proclaimed christians turn out to be pullin’ a Jimmy Swaggart, hangin’ on to that JESUS getouttajailfree card until they get caught with their key to the gates of heaven in the wrong lock. NoI’msane?

  47. says

    Democommie #47,

    Of course nobody is denying that Christians can do bad things. And nobody is denying that it is impossible to tell whether anyone, even those closest to us (even my wife for me, or me for her) is genuine in their faith. My point here is very limited: that we, as Christians, cannot–no matter how judiciously– judge (perhaps incorrectly) others to be fake–and to treat them as such, without a hair trigger (and erroneously used) “No True Scotsman” charge. To that I say: bullocks. If a person (such as Alamo) lives a life committed to heinous sin in stark, continuous, unrepentant rebellion to what I see as the minimal standards then I will regard him as a nonbeliever. I will say without any hesitation that in my opinion he is not a true Christian. I will also say that I might be wrong. Others may have different standards (mine are quite liberal)– others may regard me as apostate–I don’t care. But we are called to judge (with great checks and balances and patience and restraint) and I will not shy away from doing so. If Alamo showed up at my church, I’d toss him out on his ass.

  48. says

    @4*:

    Yeah, I know that about you (it took a lot of flamethrowing to figure it out) just as I know that Colnago80 isn’t hellbent on actually exterminating most people in the mideast and just as I know that Michael Heath isn’t a blind, uncritical hero of St. Ronnie of teh Raygunz. There are a number of other regular commenters here that I agree with on about 90% of the issues and disagree, sometimes quite disagreeably, on the rest*. Still, I like to check the calibration from time to time. {;>)

    * There have been times when mistakes were made and I had improper information and I’m sorry if anyone’s such a sissymary that they were offended by my remarks**!

    ** Well, okay, except for dan4 and that dripping excresence that is the commentariot at the Slymepit.

  49. cjcolucci says

    This has to be one of the silliest and most pointless arguments ever. Lots of people profess Christianity and misbehave in ways inconsistent with just about any notion of proper Christian behavior. Many Christians will say that such a person is “not a Christian” or “not a true Christian.” By this they do not mean that the miscreant has become, say, a Jew or a Jain or an atheist. Nor do they mean that he does not call himself, or even regard himself as, a Christian. So what does it mean? The possibilities seem to be:

    1. In my best human judgment, , the Christian God, who alone knows who is a “true” Christian, would not regard someone who behaves this way as such.

    2. In churches that have ecclesiastical authorities empowered to make such decisions, he would get his ass booted out of those churches.

    3. In churches that have ecclesiatical authorities empowered to make such decisions, he would not be allowed to join those churches.

    4. He’s a really bad guy who falls so spectacuarly short of any notion of proper Christian behavior that he can’t possibly be serious in calling himself a Christian unless he is deluded.

    5. Whether he’s serious or not, he’s so bad at being a Christian that we go metaphorically beyond calling him a bad Christian to saying he’s no Christian at all.

    None of these possibilities seems problematic to me. What, then, is this argument about?

  50. Owlmirror says

    heddle @45:

    I kinda figured, in my own ad-hoc way, that “creationst”, as it is usually used, means “science denialist” or “someone who thinks that religious dogma is science”. Those who add “young earth” just emphasize that they deny more science/want more dogma declared as science.

    So you might say “I believe that the universe was created, but I don’t think that that religious dogma is science, nor do I deny any findings of science”.

    Unless I misunderstand your position, of course.

    Did you see the Nye-Ham debate?

  51. busterggi says

    heddle, “But we are called to judge (with great checks and balances and patience and restraint) and I will not shy away from doing so. If Alamo showed up at my church, I’d toss him out on his ass.”

    Matthew 7:1
    Judge not, that ye be not judged.

    Luke 6:37
    Judge not, and ye shall not be judged.

    Romans 2:1
    Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

    Romans 14:10
    But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

    James 4:12
    Who art thou that judgest another?

    Blessed are the merciful.” Matthew 5:7

    Forgive those who repeatedly offend you. Matthew 18:21-22

    Love you enemies; do good to those who hate you. Luke 6:27

    “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”Luke 6:36

    John 8:7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

    Galatians 6

    (6:1) “If a man be overtaken in a fault … restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
    Forgive others. Someday you might make a mistake, too.
    (6:2) “Bear ye one another’s burdens.”
    Should we bear each other’s burdens?

    Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
    6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

    Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
    4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

    But hey, I wouldn’t have to quote all this if heddle was a real Christian.

  52. says

    Owlmirror,

    So you might say “I believe that the universe was created, but I don’t think that that religious dogma is science, nor do I deny any findings of science”.

    Yes, generally speaking. It of course depends on what you mean by “any findings of science”. But I assume you mean nothing nefarious–that you mean findings that have a wide spread consensus and have passed some critical mass of experimental tests. For example, I know nothing about climate science, but on the basis of trust that I have in my profession and its checks and balances, I accept the consensus position by default.

    I did not see the Nye-Ham debate. I am told Nye “won” if that has any meaning. I hope he did.

    cjcolucci

    None of these possibilities seems problematic to me. What, then, is this argument about?

    The argument would be that some do see your points as problematic, and want to cast, in most if not all cases, the questioning of the authenticity of someone’s claim as nothing more than Christians not willing to admit that one of them could be bad. And a certain blind eye to even the possibility that someone might co-opt Christianity, pretend to be faithful, say the words–when all they really want is money, power, and/or easy access for sexual predatory practices. This is most evident in the H-man (with the funny mustache) — even in his case we are “No True Scotsman” guilty if we question his Christianity in spite of the fact that he murdered millions and that there was a documented Nazi plan to persecute German Christianity and replace it with a kind of religious German nationalism.

    It can also, in a double-standard kind of way– be the inconsistency in boasting that most atheists were committed Christians at some point, until they examined the evidence (the reason I am often given to explain why they supposedly know the bible better than Christians)– while, as part of a rebuttal to the (meaningless, though I suspect true) claim that Stalin was an atheist, noting that “no, he attended seminary” as if that were significant.

  53. colnago80 says

    Re Heddle @ #53

    This is most evident in the H-man (with the funny mustache) — even in his case we are “No True Scotsman” guilty if we question his Christianity in spite of the fact that he murdered millions and that there was a documented Nazi plan to persecute German Christianity and replace it with a kind of religious German nationalism.

    Schickelgruber proclaimed himself to be a Christian in every public utterance he made when the subject came up. As to whether he was being truthful, that’s another story. The best evidence for prevarication is a statement by Albert Sheer in his memoirs where he stated that Schickelgruber once told him that Shintoism would have been a better choice then Christianity for Germans who, in his estimation were a warlike race, implying that Christianity was effete.

  54. says

    busterggi #52,

    But hey, I wouldn’t have to quote all this if heddle was a real Christian.

    Hmm. You start with Matthew 7:1.

    Again, how could I not have foreseen that brilliant atheist exegetes like you would know that the bible has a little-known verse “Judge not lest you be judged.” I was so hoping that nobody knew that.

    Now some cafeteria Christians like me would point out that in context (as in the very next four verses) it is rather clearly a call against hypocritical and rash judging, and a warning that he who judges will also be judged. And the cafeteria Christians like me would point out that five verses later we have Matt. 7:6: Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. and that such a teaching presupposes that some are judged as dogs and some as pigs. And cafeteria Christians like me might also point out that later in the same chapter (vs 16-17) we read 15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. which again suggests not only should one judge some as false but also gives a yardstick (by their fruit) to judge. And finally cafeteria Christians like me might point out that Simon (a professing Christian) in Acts 8 was judged, that Ananias and Sapphira (professing Christians) in Acts 5 were judged, that the man (a professing Christian) sleeping with his step-mother in 1st Corinthians was judged, etc.

    Please do not respond that “that just means you can make the bible say whatever you want it to say.” I need to have a little self esteem so please don’t take it all away.

  55. busterggi says

    heddle, “Please do not respond that “that just means you can make the bible say whatever you want it to say.”

    But as a self-proclaimed Calvinist you must know I have no choice but to say that – its all predestined by god and I cannot change his plan.

  56. Owlmirror says

    heddle @#53:

    I have no idea what “nefarious science” might be — the title of a Hammer horror film, or maybe a phrase from such a film?

    I just meant the basic science that creationists reject — the age of the earth and the observable universe, and evolutionary biology over deep time, including the evolutionary relationship between humans, great apes, and monkeys.

  57. says

    Owlmirror,

    I have no idea what “nefarious science” might be — the title of a Hammer horror film, or maybe a phrase from such a film?

    Hah. No, I just meant that I trusted the question was sincere.

    I just meant the basic science that creationists reject — the age of the earth and the observable universe, and evolutionary biology over deep time, including the evolutionary relationship between humans, great apes, and monkeys.

    Yes I have stated many times that I accept all those. Unless you are excluding philosophical/religious position (which makes no difference in the science) that laws of science are, as we say, secondary means. That is, I also believe that god is sovereign.

  58. Owlmirror says

    Yes I have stated many times that I accept all those.

    And since I (and I am confident, many others as well) associate “creationist” with the denial of those findings, I just want to reiterate that it is very incongruous when you apply that label to yourself.

    While acknowledging that dictionaries are not perfect, I note that the online Merriam-Webster says that creationism is: “the belief that God created all things out of nothing as described in the Bible and that therefore the theory of evolution is incorrect”. While this definition avoids the issues of different exegeses, I suspect that most creationists, and most theists who would not label themselves “creationist”, would agree with it.

    Definition “creationist” so broadly that it is synonymous with “theist” strikes me as being similar to defining “Christian” so broadly that it can mean almost anyone, including someone who believes that Elvis is Christ — which, as I recall, is not a definition that you think is accurate or preferable.

    Unless you are excluding philosophical/religious position (which makes no difference in the science) that laws of science are, as we say, secondary means.

    Now, this is a whole other conversation….

  59. badgersdaughter says

    Lurker here. You know, no matter how many threads I read, no matter how many times heddle comes across with his “Christians are this and that” and “Christianity says such and so” and “I believe in [insert the whole Apostles Creed here if you like]“, he still doesn’t make Christianity sound plausible or moral or like anything in particular but “I am taking this D&D game seriously so there”.

  60. dingojack says

    badgersdaughter – You know the old saying then: ‘If you don’t have a thief, send in the cleric’.
    Dingo

Leave a Reply