How not to make an 1100 person convention welcome »« Episode CCLXXV: You aren’t in church right now, are you?

Bwahahahaha!

Would you like a Sunday morning pick-me-up from Josh McDowell?

The Internet has given atheists, agnostics, skeptics, the people who like to destroy everything that you and I believe, the almost equal access to your kids as your youth pastor and you have… whether you like it or not.

Yes. And it makes me so happy.

Comments

  1. says

    Even worse, the internet has so much information that people need to be skeptical of bullshit (religion):

    “Now here is the problem,” said McDowell, “going all the way back, when Al Gore invented the Internet [he said jokingly], I made the statement off and on for 10-11 years that the abundance of knowledge, the abundance of information, will not lead to certainty; it will lead to pervasive skepticism. And, folks, that’s exactly what has happened. It’s like this. How do you really know, there is so much out there… This abundance [of information] has led to skepticism. And then the Internet has leveled the playing field [giving equal access to skeptics].”

    Oh no, they’ll question our baseless nonsense. It’s a disaster.

    That said, I’m pretty sure that we already covered McDowell’s complaints about the access to knowledge that the internet gives to what he’d hoped would be his dupes.

    Glen Davidson

  2. otrame says

    Yep. And we will make full use of that, Josh me lad. We will work hard to rescue those poor kids. And unlike a rather appalling number of youth pastors, we won’t sexually assault them while we do it.

  3. Sastra says

    Religious faith relies on there being a homogenous community of believers who give their faith claims a pass from ordinary scrutiny. This is true whether it’s a specific claim (“Jesus rose from the dead”) or a general claim (“faith is a noble commitment of the heart.”) Diversity is not going to lead to ecumenical tolerance unless the diverse people are all going to agree to grant the religious beliefs of others a special kid-glove treatment and protection.

    Welcome to the internet. Not going to happen — and that’s a good thing. Religions can’t play on a level playing field.

  4. Gregory Greenwood says

    The Internet has given atheists, agnostics, skeptics, the people who like to destroy everything that you and I believe, the almost equal access to your kids as your youth pastor and you have… whether you like it or not.

    I love the tone of panic in this quote; “Oh teh noes! Our kids might actually be exposed to the complete lack of evidence for our god! They might hear about the horrors committed in the name of our religion! They might actually start thinking for themselves! We can’t have that! Won’t somebody think of the… err… parents!”

    You know that cracks are beginning to appear in the religious edifice when theists are so afraid of reality and alternate opinions that they feel the need to wall themselves (and their unfortunate children) off from the rest of the world in order to live in some sick fantasy of obeisance to an imaginary sky fairy.

  5. Sili says

    Big difference between Internet atheists and youth pastors.

    One group habitually abuses the trust of children to gain sexual gratification.

    The other writes blogs.

  6. peterh says

    Another entrant in the Parade of Stupid.

    “…when theists are so afraid of reality and alternate opinions…”

    Would that their level of fear be heightened to the point where they just might see reality as reality!

  7. says

    I’ve been saying for a long time that the internet is the non-believer’s best friend. Not only does it give us a voice we never had before, it also allows batshit-crazy fundie Christians to display their insanity for the entire world to see. They do more to destroy their own religion than mere skepticism and reason alone could ever accomplish. Viva la intertoobz!

  8. says

    If your beliefs are so vulnerable you think they can’t handle the outside world’s scrutiny, well, what exactly does that say about your faith in faith?

    My optimistic answer: On some level, he knows he’s wrong.

  9. says

    Actually while I laugh at that quote, it also makes me resentful since a lot of us (atheists, skeptics) were net-active and community building WELL before the major religious sites ever went online. It’s almost like he’s implying that good Christians built the net and then we invaded, instead of it being neutral territory that a lot of us already occupied.

    But yeah.

    They probably said the same thing about libraries, which is where incidentally, I got a lot of my heretical reinforcement before I had access to the interwebs.

  10. Gregory Greenwood says

    peterh @ 7;

    Would that their level of fear be heightened to the point where they just might see reality as reality!

    But to do that, they would have to give up on the post mortem Disneyland/Playboy mansion in the sky that they anticipate so much.

    For them, the trouble with reality is that it stubbornly refuses to bend to their will and just have the good grace to be what they want it to be. It is most inconsiderate about stuff like that…

  11. fredbloggs says

    Information is the enemy of dogma. No wonder they’re scared…the only way they can control their children is by completely isolating them.

  12. says

    The Internet – turning fine, Christian youngsters into homosexual, liberal heathens one innocent soul at a time. And it has cookies!

  13. KG says

    In other news, Egyptians are fighting the military junta for democracy, reoccupying Tahrir Square. Admittedly, many of them are Islamists, but they still deserve our support.

  14. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    When I was in high school, I had some odd friends. Actually, considering how odd I was (and still am), maybe they were pretty normal compared to me. One of my friends was a kid with whom I carpooled my senior year while taking calculus (the class started an hour before regular classes).

    His family belonged to an independent Bible church (which, I guess, differentiates it from those independent “Gone With the Wind” churches) — they dropped out of the Southern Baptist Convention because the SBC was too liberal (I think this had something to do with apologizing for supporting slavery). I went to pick him up early one morning, and I remember walking into the kitchen (I had been there enough that I was no longer company and, according to his mother, I no longer needed to knock) and being quite surprised. A group of a half-dozen adults sat in a semi-circle around his sister; his little sister sat, exhausted, in the middle. Around her, scattered on the floor, were her clothing — trousers, dresses, skirts, underwear, bras — books, albums, her life. Two of the men continued to talk at her as I stood, speechless, in the doorway. My buddy ran through the kitchen, grabbed me, and said, “Let’s go.”

    As we settled into VW Microbus, I turned to him and asked, “What the hell was that all about?”

    “Mom found a Michael Jackson album in her room. She told the church and I guess they’re trying to save her,” he answered.

    “Why didn’t you stop it?” I asked.

    “Are you kidding? My room is full of D&D books, Pink Floyd albums. Do you think I want that happening to me?”

    They had arrived the previous day, after church. They had been churching her the entire night. Today, books, music, videos, you name it, are so easily available on the internet that, short of forbidding internet access (which is done by some), finding alternate fantasies, or even finding reality, has gotten much easier.

  15. peterh says

    @ #17

    That was just a rhetorical observation. Now and then I just gotta blow a little steam as the Parade of Stupid keeps passing by with no sign of an end in sight.

  16. raven says

    Sounds like Josh McDowell sees the Grim Reaper coming for his cult, carrying a laptop with 3 gigabytes of RAM.

    More likely he is just begging for more money. The cure for atheism is (supposedly) sending money to toads like McDowell.

  17. GregFromCos says

    I will endeavor to always speak the truth online for one reason.

    I wish the internet had existed when I was in my formative years, so that I would have been exposed to contrary opinion. So that maybe it would not have taken me into my 30’s to escape the brainwashing.

  18. Hazuki says

    Josh is right. The Internet means people who aren’t raised in the intellectual equivalent of feedlots, ankle-deep in their own shit and piss, covered in infected sores, have access to their little veal cows.

    He’s very revealing, too: he’s saying that now anyone can get their hands on the works of Carrier, Avalos, Loftus, etc etc. And those works jibe with reality. And that means his religion doesn’t.

  19. alkaloid says

    I will endeavor to always speak the truth online for one reason.

    I wish the internet had existed when I was in my formative years, so that I would have been exposed to contrary opinion. So that maybe it would not have taken me into my 30′s to escape the brainwashing.

    Same here. My life would’ve been a lot better if I had a lot more information at a younger age. I didn’t even grasp what atheism was as an outright possibility until the internet beyond just not having faith.

  20. TimKO,,.,, says

    …the people who like to destroy everything that you and I believe, the almost equal access to your kids…

    Said the leech-applying doctor and the flat-earther. Yes, the internet spread knowledge; scary for the xtians.

  21. Larry says

    The internet, like sunlight, can help disinfect

    True, but also like the sun, used injudiciously, it can put on a major hurt.

  22. Marlo Rocci says

    When Atheists have access to children, they learn science, when religion has access to children, they get molested.

  23. reasonisbeauty says

    I have to admit that the internet makes it muuuuch easier to steal the souls of get information to children of fundies than the old way of kidnapping them and playing Darwin and Dawkins on a loop until they were ready to swear allegiance to Satan got a clue.

  24. Darby M'Graw says

    The Internet now gives you my review of The Fakers, a book of semi-skepticism by Danny Korem and Paul Meier. This book provides a skeptical viewpoint on what Korem terms “pseudo-occult” phenomena: Ouija boards, dowsing, fortune telling, etc., along with some Christian apologetics which reek of Josh McDowell.

  25. Sili says

    The internet, like sunlight, can help disinfect

    Someone obviously haven’t looked at their keyboard recently.

  26. Darby M'Graw says

    Speaking of “equal access”, I’m seeing an ad for Liberty University on this page. Oh well, let them waste their money.

  27. Akira MacKenzie says

    Of course, McDowell’s not-so-hidden implications is that since the Internet threatens the faith, it must be controlled (by them, ofcourse) or dismantled.

  28. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    It’s been argued that the printing press inspired the Protestant Reformation. People gained access to reasonably cheap Bibles and religious commentaries in the vernacular. Now the internet is doing the same thing with skepticism and atheism.

  29. Phoenician in a time of Romans says

    I think it’s sad. An omnipotent, omniscient Creator of the Universe and All Within It, slain by a couple of loudmouths with ISP accounts. Damn you, Internet, and all your godslaying prowess!

  30. shouldbeworking says

    I had the son of a fundie in my physics class one year. He had to explain the outcome of a situation using the 3 laws of motion. His home work was submitted with Newton’s name crossed out & jebus subbed in. The kid explained daddy corrected the homework because all science is gawd’s work, not man’s. Wumminfolk didn’t count I guess. The poor kid thought I would fail him on the assignment .

    Physics: messing up kids minds since 1685
    Religion: messing up everyone since 4004BC.

  31. Azkyroth says

    the people who like to destroy everything that you and I believe, the almost equal access to your kids as your youth pastor and you have

    Almost equal, because we only have external access. >.>

  32. PeteJohn says

    IOW because of the internet it is no longer possible for closed-minded religious zealots to brainwash children with their patently ridiculous fairy tales. I see no problem with this.

  33. RFW says

    15, Mrs. B. says at 20 November 2011, 11:57 am:

    The Internet – turning fine, Christian youngsters into homosexual, liberal heathens one innocent soul at a time. And it has cookies!

    Sorry, but I’m afraid the Evil Internet won’t turn those youngsters into Evil Homosexuals. More’s the pity. Heathens, maybe, but not homosexuals.

  34. elaine says

    KG@19 “Admittedly, many of them are Islamists, but they still deserve our support.”

    um. how would you feel if a Xtian wrote:

    “admittedly, many of them are athiest but they still deserve our support”

    ?

    Support for Human Rights is independent of whatever religion the abused are. unless you are a bigot, of course.

  35. says

    What kind of shitty god designed a world where minimal access to secular culture & skeptical discussion competitively threatens Truth? I thought they were worshipping the most awesome awesomeness imaginable?

  36. Azkyroth says

    KG@19 “Admittedly, many of them are Islamists, but they still deserve our support.”

    um. how would you feel if a Xtian wrote:

    “admittedly, many of them are athiest but they still deserve our support”

    ?

    Support for Human Rights is independent of whatever religion the abused are. unless you are a bigot, of course.

    The specter of Egypt voting in an Islamic theocracy is frequently passed off as a serious counter-argument to the West supporting the revolutionaries.

  37. Zinc Avenger says

    So in the free marketplace of ideas, xianity can’t compete.

    Millions of republican heads fail to explode, but even switched-off irony meters go critical injuring their operators.

  38. anchor says

    @#49Cody: “What kind of shitty god designed a world where minimal access to secular culture & skeptical discussion competitively threatens Truth?”

    The kind that control-freak people need to establish their god-like (economic) influence, power and dominance over others with.

    And yeah, it is shitty. It’s no way to run a country, but tell them that as they laugh all the way to their Swiss bank accounts. (BTW, they ARE worshipping “the most awesome awesomeness imaginable”. $$$ isn’t three crucifixes perched on Calvary neither.)

  39. ghoti says

    Some of my favorite Biblical passages are: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” and “By their fruits shall ye know them”. Another one is about building a house on stable ground.

    The thing about the first passage is that it implies that it would be totally unnecessary if you already KNEW the truth, and if / when you have truth you’ll be free. Now, if a lot of the religious had the courage of their convictions, they wouldn’t have to be afraid of what people could learn.

    He’s got to subconsciously realize that anyone who actually analyzes what he has to say and the results of what he professes will come to the conclusion that he’s got nothing.

    I remember my hand hurting from writing “most scientists believe” before every answer to science questions I didn’t / wasn’t supposed to believe in on tests…I made a symbol to represent that phrase so I could use the right answers…

    When I finally saw the evidence and talked to some real scientists about things, I saw the evident lies in apologists’ versions of cosmology, evolution, sociology, etc. I’d already come from the “other side” so to speak because I’ve got a much stronger background in history, mythologies, and performance. When I finally learned philosophy as well, my faith in religion dwindled.

    Sometimes I think their objections are simply grounded in the fact that the more people stop buying into McDowell’s and other apologists’ arguments, the fewer intelligent people will buy into their organizations…and then they might have to get real jobs.

  40. elaine says

    “The specter of Egypt voting in an Islamic theocracy is frequently passed off as a serious counter-argument to the West supporting the revolutionaries.”

    So…we’re not *really* interested in democracy unless it gets the results we want in sovreign states?

    In no way to I think a theocracy is a good thing but why should there be limits to supporting democracy where we think the people of that country might not give us the government we want them to have?

    Also, give me credible stats on the percentage of egypt’s revolutionarires who are islamic fundamentalist. Then compare that to the percentage of christian fundamentalists (hello, teabaggers) in office/standing for office in the US and then explain why it’s ok to have a democracy with chritian fundies in the mix but not moslem fundies.

  41. peterh says

    “[McDowell's] got to subconsciously realize that anyone who actually analyzes what he has to say and the results of what he professes will come to the conclusion that he’s got nothing.”

    Don’t look down. That is ground, those are feet, and they’re made of clay.

  42. John Morales says

    elaine:

    KG@19 “Admittedly, many of them are Islamists, but they still deserve our support.”

    um. how would you feel if a Xtian wrote:

    “admittedly, many of them are athiest but they still deserve our support”

    ?

    Presumably, the same, since KG is stating that they deserve our support in their struggle for democracy, despite their stance towards theism.

    (You seem to have missed KG’s point)

  43. Benjamin says

    “I have faith” is an euphemism for “I don’t know, and I am satisfied with that”. As such, knowledge has always been the most powerful antidote to religious superstition and delusion.

    And here we have the internet. *The* single most powerful platform of knowledge in the history of mankind. Being decentralized and digital, it can’t be torn apart, blacked out or burned, either. It can probably be blocked for a few days until the next proxy tool comes around, but even then it doesn’t disappear from the eyes of the doubting… it just stays where it is, veiled, but in tempting sight. A tempting sight made even more interesting by the fact that it is forbidden.

    It is the greatest enemy religion has ever faced.

  44. elaine says

    I don’t think I did miss the point, John.

    The point, implicit through KG’s use of language, is that “islamists” are only grudgingly deserving of democracy.

    The term Islamist is used as an alarmist, anti-islam, anti-arab catch-all by westerners covering their racism with anti-terrorist rhetoric.

  45. ghoti says

    “Pssst, DO NOT TELL HIM that ו (Vav) is the 6th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and represents W ∴ WWW = 666 *gasp*”

    That’s been known for a while, but it’s fairly easy to refute (at least two ways offhand even accepting bible mysticism).

    1) 666 is actually a mistranslation of the actual value, which was 616.

    2) Vav Vav Vav would have been 18 in Hebrew, not 666.
    ______

    Numbers were letters in the ancient world until the Indians came up with the decimal system (carried into the west through Arabic traders and called to this day “Arabic” numerals), and sometimes you’d write a “veiled” appreciation or criticism or whatever about someone saying words that effectively meant “the person whose letters equal this number is hot stuff / is a jerk / whatever”

  46. joed says

    @19 KG
    “Admittedly, many of them are Islamists, but…”
    KG sounds pretty racist here.

    Seems those Egyptians are not going to back down from their amerikan backed military govt. Many regular egyptian people have died this year because they know what defeat will mean for their selves, families friend and future.
    If “Islamists” win Egypt is would be a defeat for the murderous, hate-filled amerikan empire/zionists.
    Now that can’t be all bad–can it!

  47. Agent Smith says

    The Internet is hot coffee. Come dunk your cookies of knowledge in it. Only the strong and cohesive survive.

    Josh has been passing out weak, porous Jebus-wafers, and he fucking well knows it.

  48. Mori says

    We are Anonymous and we will EDUCATE YOUR CHILDREN. They will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

  49. says

    It would be nice if there were more interaction, and a place where one could come to discuss things without it being provoking or derisive – on both sides. But like God, such an idea is nothing but idealised nonsense, and the reality is that the Internet gives people even more freedom to be insular. The fear of the fundamentalists is funny, more than anything else, because it exposes the mindset of people who are genuinely afraid of the consequences of disbelief.

  50. dartigen says

    I like to think of the Internet as society with all the social graces stripped away from it. That’s why flame wars and trolling exist – you’d never do that in real life to someone, but the Internet doesn’t know what manners or social protocols are, so you can go right on ahead.

    So yes, you’ve got bad sides, but there’s also useful sides, funny sides, and flat-out awesome sides. It depends on what you want to look at as to what you’ll find. You could, theoretically, learn anything from electrical engineering to dressmaking to makeup artistry to network engineering through the Internet (a lot of people already do). You could talk to people in five different countries at once, and see all their messages in your native language (albeit, with some really messed-up grammar and you might have to think very hard about what the message is supposed to be). You can watch a speech at a convention without leaving your desk, or you can book tickets for a concert that’s not happening for another year.

    (I cannot remember where, but I once heard that if the Internet was a planet scaled on the amount of data stored (not moving) it would be more than ten times the size of Jupiter, and growing. That was several years ago. Imagine how big it would be now – you’d probably need to split it all up into a solar system to fit everything in.)

    But the Internet is not anyone’s territory or rule. It belongs to nobody. It’s so decentralized it would be almost impossible to shut down. Sure, you can cut off one country – but it takes one person with a satellite modem to reconnect.

  51. postmodernslavepoet says

    I love the internet. It allows people to be really well-informed about stuff and still totally wrong.

  52. peterh says

    “1) 666 is actually a mistranslation of the actual value, which was 616.”

    Both values can be found in quite authentic manuscripts; this heightens the irony when discussing the matter with literaists.

  53. KG says

    KG@19 “Admittedly, many of them are Islamists, but they still deserve our support.”

    um. how would you feel if a Xtian wrote:

    “admittedly, many of them are athiest but they still deserve our support”

    ?

    Support for Human Rights is independent of whatever religion the abused are. unless you are a bigot, of course – elaine

    You’re an ignorant idiot, elaine. Look up the difference between “Muslim” and “Islamist”. No, to save you the trouble (though you’re welcome to check), I’ll tell you: a Muslim is any follower of Islam; an Islamist is one who believes Islam should guide social and political as well as personal life, and usually, that Islamic beliefs and practices should be enshrined in law.

  54. KG says

    @19 KG
    “Admittedly, many of them are Islamists, but…”
    KG sounds pretty racist here.

    Seems those Egyptians are not going to back down from their amerikan backed military govt. Many regular egyptian people have died this year because they know what defeat will mean for their selves, families friend and future.
    If “Islamists” win Egypt is would be a defeat for the murderous, hate-filled amerikan empire/zionists.
    Now that can’t be all bad–can it! – joel

    Another ignorant idiot, and apparently one unable to recognise that not all the evil in the world is the fault of either the USA or Zionists. “Islamist” is a well-defined term (see #71). Apparently you don’t give a shit about those whom the Egyptian Islamists are likely to oppress if they get the chance – notably Coptic Christians and secularists. BTW, it stopped being cool around 1970 to misspell “America”. Now it just makes you look even more of an idiot than you are.

  55. KG says

    I don’t think I did miss the point, John. – elaine

    Oh yes you did, idiot. I used the term correctly, you stupidly jumped to the conclusion that I was using it to mean Muslims.

  56. VegeBrain says

    If what you believe is really true then it will stand up to scrutiny. If your beliefs don’t stand up to scrutiny then they should be discard.

    The fact that Josh McDowell is afraid of the information on the internet makes it quite clear he is a person who does not truly care about the truth; instead he’s one of these people who want the truth to just go away. He doesn’t want the real truth. He’s a liar who doesn’t want his lies exposed.

  57. KG says

    Addendum to #72: the Islamists, if they gain power, will also of course oppress women and gays. But as long as they mouth a few anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist slogans, I’m sure that won’t bother joel.