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Nasty little man snipes at the brave

I am the father of a non-religious soldier. I take it personally when a cretinous wackjob priest declares that my son is a coward lacking in commitment, damned, evil, and weak. Fuck you, Bryan Griem.

There’s an adage I expect will be repeated by other ministers responding to this question. It goes, “there are no atheists in foxholes.” Meaning, when bombs burst, everyone hedges their bets and prays, “God, save me!” There’s a joke about one combat vet who prayed “Lord, if you’re there, I’ll serve you and attend church every Sunday; just get me through.” The Air Force immediately comes and blasts everything, answering the man’s prayer. He then looks up to heaven and says “never mind….”

I know that religious people have security that atheists don’t. If you believe in life after life, you fight harder, risk more, and serve better than a guy who thinks, “this is it!” If you believe you’re nothing but worm-food at death, you aren’t going to jump on a grenade to save the platoon, or charge a machine-gun nest expecting to meet Jesus. You’re going to be reserved, second-guessing, and probably be a big fat chicken.

Look, you just read the stats: “Researchers have found that spiritual people have decreased odds of attempting suicide, and that spiritual fitness has a positive impact on quality of life, on coping and on mental health.” Atheists be damned. They will be. So I really don’t care what they think regarding these tests. I’m tired of having their constant nagging, their constant opposition against God — their evil. They contribute nothing positive in the long run. Their very name, “a” theist, means they are “against,” with a big “no” regarding America’s “creator” and “Nature’s God” (the one mentioned in our Declaration of Independence). I’m frankly sick of them. Why they are here on the In Theory cast is beyond me. It’s like saying, “I have no spiritual input because I don’t believe in the spirit. So here’s my ignorance….”

I wonder what the military puts on gravestones of atheists, a thumbs-down? Listen, all religions are protected by our laws, but atheists don’t countenance America’s documents that mention God. They don’t actually deserve rights that even bizarre religionists have. If it could be shown that people who deny God create military weakness, however small, what should commanders do when choosing a winning military? I agree with you.

This is what we get when the Army decides to evaluate soldiers’ “spiritual fitness”: scumbags like Griem judging our troops by how superstitious and gullible they are.

You can let Griem know what you think of his attack on our troops. Be civil, but don’t pussyfoot around his douchebaggery.

Comments

  1. says

    If you believe you’re nothing but worm-food at death, you aren’t going to jump on a grenade to save the platoon, or charge a machine-gun nest expecting to meet Jesus. You’re going to be reserved, second-guessing, and probably be a big fat chicken.

    *coughpattillmancough*

  2. falstaff says

    I’m not going to register at that taint stain’s site, but fuck him. I was in the USMC for six years and I was a closeted atheist, because of assholes like him. Assholes like him are the biggest reason I left. And of course he’s never heard of that cowardly Pat Tillman. Again, fuck him.

  3. says

    I know that religious people have security that atheists don’t. If you believe in life after life,

    …being willing to die isn’t as brave, because you don’t believe you’re really dying?

  4. tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach says

    I’ve been shot at – whilst in a foxhole even – and I am an atheist.
    Theory falsified.

  5. says

    You lost me at “be civil” on this one. I could barely stand reading the fuckwit’s ramblings here.

    According to his logic, the holiest and most pious people on the planet are those who are willing to sacrifice themselves for others because they know they’ll be rewarded with an afterlife. Yeah, and 72 virgins, too. Jesus, what an idiot. If Christians are so sure of their place in heaven, why the hell do they buy health insurance and suck up valuable resources with hospital care rather than just trusting in their god’s plan for them?

  6. kantalope says

    ahh uhhh phllllpppsssppp arrrgh.

    Luckily I never had to find out if I would jump on a grenade but if it had been to save this dirtbag I’m pretty sure the timer would have gone off while I tried to decide.

    IF this guy served, it was willful ignorance if he didn’t know that there were plenty of non-godbotherers covering his back.

  7. bribase says

    I’ve never really trusted the old “No atheists in foxholes” canard. Do you really expect someone to be better at answering complex philosophical issues while someone is shooting them or there are shells exploding overhead?

  8. Ryan Jean says

    In my Army career, I’ve probably had to deal with someone like that once every 2-3 months. Since I became quasi-famous (along with SGT Griffith and MAJ Bradley) for my application as a Humanist lay leader, I’ve had to deal with it every 1-2 weeks (and for a while it was nearly every day).

    What keeps me going despite the vile, contemptible rhetoric espoused by those like the pastor above is that for every one who espouses hatred in the name of their bronze-age myth a half-dozen more (usually mid-grade and junior enlisted) come forward to say they agree with my efforts and wish me luck, even if they feel they can’t *publicly* support me out of fear for their own careers. I have made it my mission to give them a voice where I, too, was once afraid to speak.

  9. says

    The most twisted thing is that even if he were 100% correct, he’d still be absolutely wrong. It’s not a plus if your religion makes you so unafraid to die that your first battle instinct is ‘KAMIKAZE’. Maybe he should look up what a good soldier is, they’re supposed to try and stay alive.
    After that it just devolves into bald assertions, lies, and patent falsities that aren’t even worth a validating with a response.

  10. says

    Wow, he clearly doesn’t know what a privative prefix indicates.

    One might find differences between the fighting spirit of atheists vs. theists. But of course the military fighters aren’t really being motivated much by ideology or theology, but primarily by their “instincts” (not a good word, I know) and their group cohesion.

    Is he dumb enough to think that the Russian soldiers didn’t fight like demons in WWII (not all atheists, but many were, and all lived in a society dominated by atheist thought)? They gave up far less quickly than theists in Western Europe did, for reasons including the fact that the Nazis treated Russians like dogs, so that although I wouldn’t credit their atheism for their willingness to die, atheism hardly prevented it.

    Glen Davidson

  11. coldhope says

    Somewhat hesitant to give his nasty little site my email address, which is cowardly, but this is what I would say to him:

    I don’t understand where or how religious people find this astonishing fount of self-righteousness that allows them to impugn the courage or the memory of those servicemembers who have fought and died for your country on the basis of their belief or lack of belief in a god. I really don’t. Calling nonreligious servicemembers “big fat chicken[s]” or stating that “atheists [will] be damned” does very little for your credence as anything but a vicious, ignorant ideologue.

    People who do not believe in your god have fought and died to keep your country safe. That is not a matter that can be argued; that is a fact. Whether or not you like the idea of soldiers not believing in your god, they exist, have existed, and will exist; and your sickening and childish protests will not stop them from continuing to serve their country rather than your god.

    I wish I could hold my own country up as an example of a rationalist culture which does not prize so-called spirituality over reason, but we have our own ideologues trying to stir up the pot. Nevertheless, when I read ignorant screeds such as yours, I am very, very glad I am not a citizen of the United States of America. I know, believe me I know, that the majority of Americans are not as reactionary or ignorant as yourself, but nevertheless I am not motivated to apply for citizenship in an America that allows people like you to supply a Spiritual Viewpoint.

  12. geocatherder says

    This sort of argument sends me into a rage. As an atheist, what is life for, if not for other people? We are not islands. We’re connected wholesale to the rest of humanity. Being an atheist is what finally made the words of the Catholic nuns who taught me into reality: I AM my sister’s/brother’s keeper, there is no other. I can’t “hand it over to God”; I MUST help my local food bank, my local Planned Parenthood, my local services in general for people in need. I MUST do what I can to reduced need-based distress in my local community, and make my vote count at relieving it nationally and internationally. It’s my job, as a benefit-sharing member of my civilization. Once you’ve dismissed the goddy conclusions out of your life, your task is clear, it’s year-round, it’s as much as you can do. It’s part of being part of the kind of civilization you want to live in.

  13. unclefrogy says

    by this comment he clearly indicates that he is not a believer in the constitution nor the Ideals that this country was founded on.
    “Listen, all religions are protected by our laws, but atheists don’t countenance America’s documents that mention God. They don’t actually deserve rights that even bizarre religionists have.”

    What I remember was the shinning phrase All Men are created equal some where it did not say anywhere all believers or christians or white men. I took it to mean all people not just males or whites and subsequent events, laws and court decisions have upheld that understanding.

    he can take his opinion and carve it in stone and put it where the don’t shine and carry it where is brains are located for ever.
    uncle frogy

  14. Snoof says

    Why has my all knowing/loving/powerful god stuck me in this foxhole?

    Mysterious ways! Original sin! It’s your fault!

    Or something like that.

  15. says

    Larry Jewell to montrosecommun.

    show details 8:50 PM (1 minute ago)

    I served in the USN for 20 years. The only difference between my and my fellow service men was that I was not allowed to be areligious. I have my fair share of medals. I killed people for $247/month, just like the other men serving with me. Nobody ever called me “chicken.”

  16. janine says

    Yet an other example of a person saying truly hateful things without once swearing. With all of the swearing I have done just on this blog, I have never been this mean and unthinking.

  17. says

    “There’s a joke about one combat vet who prayed “Lord, if you’re there, I’ll serve you and attend church every Sunday; just get me through.” The Air Force immediately comes and blasts everything, answering the man’s prayer. He then looks up to heaven and says “never mind….””

    And there was a man who had taken refuge from a flood on a roof, PZ…

    Uh, well, you can Google it. Same idea as that “joke,” though.

    Glen Davidson

  18. dianne says

    If you believe in life after life, you fight harder, risk more, and serve better than a guy who thinks, “this is it!”

    If you go into the fight believing that you’ll go to heaven if you die then jumping on a grenade is no more brave than sending your character in ADD out to fight a dragon: as far as your concerned, if you die you’ll just be able to get a new life anyway.

    Plus, as others have already pointed out, an army of suicidal beserkers isn’t really the most effective anyway.

  19. says

    I sent this fool an email. Perhaps it might be an idea if more people did that.

    And what a terrible website! I design a few myself, and I would be embarressed to put my name to that horrible site. Being a self righteous fool, and having an IN with the creator of the universe ovbiously does not give you access to basic web design skills.

  20. hotshoe says

    I was interested to notice that the other religious voices on that opinion page don’t seem to share the stupid bigotry that Pastor Griem displays.

    Given how much I detest christians lately, I have to be a little suspicious that they don’t really mean what they say, but it’s reassuring to see the sanity of

    … To ignore the statistics that spirituality improves our lives would be irresponsible, but to mandate spirituality would be impossible, and to limit promotion on its basis would be repressive. The Army should continue the testing if it can administer it in such a way that the results are used solely for counseling (and not career advancement) purposes.

    (credited to Pastor Jon Barta, Valley Baptist Church, Burbank)

    and

    I’m reminded of a story when I was an adult-education teacher, facilitating current events discussions in a retirement home. We were having a discussion about our responsibility in contributing to a better world. The atheist said, “We must leave the world a better place than we found it,” and the Christian said, “When I die, I don’t care how I leave the world or what happens after that.” How we interact in our relationships and our daily lives is not necessarily impacted by whether we are religious or not.

    (credited to Rev. Beverly G. Craig, Senior Minister, Center for Spiritual Living, La Crescenta)

    In spite of Griem’s foolish little dig about “no atheists in foxholes” I don’t see any other pastors agreeing with that. Religious people who are NOT bigots restore a little of my hope for humanity.

    Kudos also to the Pasadena Sun for including two atheists’ opinions for this column.

  21. renaissance13 says

    Bryan Griem. What a douche. I’ve served in my nations military and I never personally came across religious zealots immediately within the people I worked with. How can an armed service function when it has concerns about its members requiring supernatural beliefs for advancement?

  22. phoenicianromans says

    Hey, perhaps he does have a point and a bunch of fanatical religious zealots do have an advantage over a more apathetic secular group.

    Of course, if he believed that, he should be supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan rather than America.

  23. says

    As far as life after death goes, I was told the following in a twitter exchange by J. Todd Kincannon, General Counsel and Executive Director of the South Carolina Republican Party:

    “My name is written in the Book of Life. You get judged, not me. I get in the club automatically–I know the bouncer.”

    He had asked a woman “If you don’t believe in eternity, how can you be an epic fatass?”

    I asked him if he thought he was going to be judged, why does he live as a rude obnoxious asshole.

    See, he’s getting in no matter what, he’s special. THAT’S why the religious are more brave in battle.
    Because they don’t have to be.

    Or something.

    Still trying to make sense of it.

  24. jbhodges7 says

    Assume for the sake of argument that everything he says about atheists is correct. They still might be better soldiers than Christians. With Christians, you have the risk that they might actually read the gospels and discover that Jesus told his followers to not resist one who is evil, but instead turn the other cheek, give him your cloak also, go with him a second mile, love your enemies, and so forth; basically to practice nonviolent pacifism.
    See http://www.atheistnexus.org/profiles/blogs/the-ethics-of-jesus

  25. echidna says

    There are a few good responses to this article at the Pasadena Sun. One Dan Rawlings quotes George Washington:

    It will be impossible for them [Chaplains] to discharge the duty; that many inconveniences and much dissatisfaction will be the result,… Among many other weighty objections to the measure [of appointing chaplains], It has been suggested, that it has a tendency to introduce religious disputes into the Army, which above all things should be avoided, and in many instances would compel men to a mode of Worship which they do not profess.

  26. mikelaing says

    Actually, those fucking religious are more dangerous because they think that everyone goes to heaven, so letting others die isn’t so bad. Either that, or whoever is killed deserves to go to hell, of which I would not ever, in a million years, be in a combat unit with Bryan Griem.
    They also display their chickenshit BS attitudes by saying everything is god’s will and this would prevent them from acting in a self sacrificial manner, because whatever they do, it can be rationalized this way: ‘Oh, look, something bad is happening. Oh, well, god’s will – mysterious ways and all that!’

    Bryan Griem, and his ilk, just use religion to rationalize their own sickness of bigotry. When it comes down to it, we all just act by our innate humanitarian feelings, religion makes no difference.

  27. jamesemery says

    I’ve provided him with this:

    Dear Rev. Griem,

    As a United States Marine who came to atheism during my time in, and more specifically, just shortly before the beginning of our invasion of Iraq, I find myself rather appalled at your comments concerning atheists in the military. I’d very much love to have a look at the statistics that you and BGen. Cornum cite to back this 1st Amendment travesty, but they’d be easy enough to explain: Suicide rates, mental health problems and depression run rampant in MOST minority groups, solely because they happen to BE minorities. When one faces everything from petty discrimination to bullying to shunning to anti-[gay/atheist/black/latino/woman/whatever] violence, they tend not to thrive as well. Part of the reason we fight so hard against these discriminatory practices is for the sake of our well-being as a group. I’m 32 years old, served proudly, and don’t take kindly to this sort of hateful speech coming from anyone, much less someone who has taken it upon himself to shepherd people into kindness and grace. If this has been your idea of ‘glorifying God in all you do’ then you’ve happily strengthened my resolve in being an atheist. I’ll leave you with this quotation from President Jefferson:

    “Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”

    May it illuminate your path toward being a better human being, and toward a more just and kind understanding of your god.

    Regards,
    LCpl J. Bradley Emery

  28. Aquaria says

    They gave up far less quickly than theists in Western Europe did, for reasons including the fact that the Nazis treated Russians like dogs

    Not quite.

    My Soviet history is a little rusty, but I’m pretty sure that the biggest motivators for the Soviets fighting like their lives depended on it, is because, well, their lives did depend on it. Stalin had standing orders that 1) any officer who ordered an unauthorized retreat was to be executed; 2) superiors were to shoot deserters on the spot, 3) anyone who broke any military rules would be sent to the front lines–er, put in “penal battalions” and 4) for any of the above slacker cowards, harass their families for giving a coward to defend the Motherland.

    If there was a brutal way to do something and a humane way, it seems that Stalin always chose the most brutal way possible.

  29. Naked Bunny with a Whip says

    Are there any theists in foxholes? Why would someone who really believes in a glorious, infinitely blissful afterlife even be in a foxhole asking God to save him from going there?

    These fucks make life miserable for anyone who doesn’t buy into their hateful shit, then they crow at the sane minority having more emotional health issues. It’s like they’re beating their wives, then gleefully reporting that women are injury-prone crybabies. Fuck you, you repugnant monsters.

  30. Margaret says

    So Griem wants our soldiers to be more like the 9/11 hijackers? He should join the Taliban, since he likes their outlook so much better than American ideals.

  31. Ray, rude-ass yankee says

    This guy desperately needs a decaying porcupine, sideways.

    Fuck him, and not in a good way.

    palmettoyankee@17,

    There are no pastors in foxholes.

    Bryan Griem is proof of that.

    Abso-frickin-lutely!

    jbhodges7@32, <snark> Maybe it should be “there are no christians in foxholes” after all, with all that “love your enemy”, “turn the other cheek” stuff, who could trust’em to fight? They’d prolly just wander around being all meek, humble n’shit, which is useless on a battlefield. </snark>

  32. kaleberg says

    If World War I taught us anything, it’s that there might not be any atheists in foxholes, but an awful lot of soldiers stopped believing in god when they crawled out of their trench and took a look around. Contemporary accounts and period fiction are full of this sort of battlefield conversion.

    Also, you’d expect people to fight harder when they think that “this is it”, not when what really counts is the next life.

  33. raven says

    If you believe you’re nothing but worm-food at death, you aren’t going to jump on a grenade to save the platoon, or charge a machine-gun nest expecting to meet Jesus. You’re going to be reserved, second-guessing, and probably be a big fat chicken.

    The idiot pastor is wrong on his facts. Atheistic soldiers can die like flies and win wars.

    1. During WWII, the Soviet Union commie-atheistic army took most of the casulties. I forget the numbers but the Russians lost something like 20 million people. And guess what? The good xians of Germany lost!!!

    The saying goes that the USA provided the money and the Russians supplied the troops on the Eastern front.

    2. The next war we fought was against the commie-atheistic Koreans and their commie Chinese PLA allies. The commies died like flies. They also sort of won inasmuch as Korea ended up a draw.

    3. The Vietnam war was fought against the Viet Cong and the NVA, commie-atheistics again. They lost huge numbers of soldiers, over 1 million to our xian 55,000. They also won in the end simply because they were willing to sacrifice more lives than we were.

    It’s not clear that all the commie Vietnamese troops were atheists. They could have been Buddhists, another religion that doesn’t necessarily have gods and afterlives.

    Pastor chickenhawk doesn’t know what he is talking about.

  34. raven says

    Pastor chickenhawk:

    If you believe you’re nothing but worm-food at death, you aren’t going to jump on a grenade to save the platoon,..

    Here is a hypothetical experiment.

    Toss a hand grenade in front of Pastor Griem.

    1. See if he is brave enough to jump on it.

    2. See if he is at all eager to see jesus.

    We already know what would not happen.

  35. grumpyoldfart says

    I’ll bet he makes it the subject of his next sermon – and the mugs in the pews will give him a big “Amen to that brother” and he will think to himself, “See, I was right all along…”

  36. says

    They gave up far less quickly than theists in Western Europe did, for reasons including the fact that the Nazis treated Russians like dogs

    Not quite.

    My Soviet history is a little rusty, but I’m pretty sure that the biggest motivators for the Soviets fighting like their lives depended on it, is because, well, their lives did depend on it. Stalin had standing orders that 1) any officer who ordered an unauthorized retreat was to be executed; 2) superiors were to shoot deserters on the spot, 3) anyone who broke any military rules would be sent to the front lines–er, put in “penal battalions” and 4) for any of the above slacker cowards, harass their families for giving a coward to defend the Motherland.

    I’m pretty sure that it included the fact that the Nazis treated Russians like dogs. What the “biggest motivator” happened to be is a different matter.

    On the whole, one could almost certainly make the case that the bigger factor was how badly the Nazis treated the Slavs (not just the Russians), although no one doubts that the Stalinistic tactics taken against the troops was not a small factor. It’s one thing to refuse to surrender or retreat when you have Russians pointing guns at your back in case you move back too far, it’s another when you’re surrounded and doomed to be killed if you kept fighting. Who cares about Stalin when you’re at the “mercy” of the Nazis? Why not surrender once surrounded? Some commanders might fight to the death in such a situation, but many would not. A few surrendered after the first few weeks, but mostly they fought because the Nazis (who themselves tended not to be well-provisioned) would just let the Russians die of cold and hunger in the prison camps. The fact that they’d fight to the death even when surrounded–thus largely beyond Stalin’s power while in the Nazis’–seriously slowed the Nazi advance, inflicting some casualties, but even more so running the Nazi equipment into the ground (only a third of German motorized equipment was still running by the end of 1940).

    Maybe even more important was the fact that the populace, which might have welcomed troops fighting the vicious Stalin were said troops even slightly less less brutal, became quite hostile to the Germans. Kill them if you can, and guerrilla tactics effectively crippled much of the logistics. No doubt any number of soldiers could in fact have deserted in numerous situations regardless of Stalin (no way can they keep track of all of the troops in the field), but who’s going to do it when the people of the countryside will hate you for deserting, instead of fighting the hated Nazis?

    I didn’t say previously what I thought the “primary factor” was, and I’m not certain that it was the Nazis who mainly caused them to fight to the death now, but I think it’s quite possible.

    Glen Davidson

  37. christophburschka says

    What is “no atheists in foxholes” even meant to prove, were it true? If the inquisition got up and running again, there’d be precious few atheists in the torture chamber too. Is it supposed to cast credibility on religion that you are more likely to accept it, or even consider it, when you are in mortal fear or peril?

  38. madscientist says

    I’m betting the stupid priest had never been on the front lines himself – a coward slandering the folks who brave hell itself. Now the folks I really admire are the ones doing Medevac and serving in the field hospitals, not filthy priests who preach and do nothing useful.

  39. says

    The saying goes that the USA provided the money and the Russians supplied the troops on the Eastern front.

    Not an especially apt saying. The Soviets produced a hell of a lot of materiel, including the light but very well-designed T-34 tank (easily beat the shitty Sherman tank). I recall hearing on some show a Russian grousing that America only provided something like a quarter of the goods used in Russia during the war years (how true, and what it might include, are not things that I know). If taken at face value, that’s both a whole lot of added supplies and equipment “on the margin” (how well do starving troops fight?), but clearly has the Soviets supplying the bulk. How else could it be, really, we couldn’t replace their entire economy, and fortunately they both moved a lot of production to safe areas, and kept major producing regions like Leningrad and Moscow (also the crossroads of about everything) out of enemy hands.

    We made up for a lot of their deficits, that’s what’s important, plus they were able to stop production and move factories better because they knew we could make up for at least some of the loss of production.

    Glen Davidson

  40. golkarian says

    After thinking about it awhile, a question comes to me, why would anyone jump on a grenade? That seems like it would help absolutely no one and guarantee your own death (almost like the cross).

  41. susan says

    If Bryan Griem were a brave person and not a coward, he’d have a Twitter account and an open Facebook page, so we could blast him without having to hand over our email addresses. But no.

  42. echidna says

    Religion: discounts the value of life, creates division and is used as a tool of control, often abused.

    Poisons everything.

  43. Tony says

    mikelaing:

    Actually, those fucking religious are more dangerous because they think that everyone goes to heaven, so letting others die isn’t so bad.

    True, but what’s amusing is watching religious zealots rail against abortion and birth control in one breath, yet still believe babies go to heaven. If babies get a free pass to heaven, shouldn’t theists-at the very least-accept that abortions are part of god’s ‘mysterious plan’?

  44. says

    What is “no atheists in foxholes” even meant to prove, were it true?

    Maybe it’s supposed to prove that being scared out of your wits contributes to religiosity? In that case I guess I’d agree.

  45. says

    If babies get a free pass to heaven, shouldn’t theists-at the very least-accept that abortions are part of god’s ‘mysterious plan’?

    Plus, the evil immoral abortionists get weeded out and go to hell! It’s a win-win!

  46. pastor says

    You know, I get tired of your whining. All you foul-mouth atheists who hate God and hate his people. You think the rest of us are logged on to your whining web-pages? Well here I am, at least on this one because you are military. Take your shots. I never heard such filthy-mouthed rhetoric, and this from our American? service men! Well, as an American, I am ashamed of all of you. My comments in the newspaper had a limit. I was asked a question and given 350 words to answer it. I did so. And I did so with the recollection that atheists are the ones that make us remove every cross we put up to honor our honorable servicemen (not you guys, obviously). Atheists sue us every time we want to keep God in our pledge of Allegiance, or keep the word “Creator” in our declaration. Atheists want the cross tombstones removed from Arlington. It’s the atheists that say filthy things about God’s people, who denounce his ministers and pastors, and who cowardly camouflage behind their sin. Sure, get enough sinners to agree with you, and you can feel good about yourself.
    What makes any one of you better than the Nazi soldier, or the Soviet Comrade? Nothing. You will all go to hell with them. Why? Not because I wish it, I don’t. Neither does God, but while God comes in the person of Jesus Christ to save the soldier wearing the white hat (the thing all Americans want to believe about our soldiers) you cry-babies are whining about having to be good. You reject your salvation. You don’t want goodness, just what, war? Does that fill your hearts with warmth?
    Well, get out then. We civilians are embarrassed by such as you. But alas, fight if you want, if that’s what gets you off. Why not, the gays are in the military too now. Perhaps that’s who I’m talking to, I can’t know, because all I get from you are these back-stabbing jar-headed snipes.

    Look, my nephew is in the USMC. My Father, retired US NAVY. I have nothing against servicemen. In fact, I go to the memorials and even pray for our troops. I recognize them in my congregation. But if you try to tell me that I’m a jerk for saying what God says about those that reject him, you have a problem with Jesus Christ, not me. Military life may get you a GI bill in America and some nice freebies, but not with God. You either fight in the army of God, or you are on the devil’s side and you will lose. You are a loser now, because the battle is all but done. The only hope you have is to switch sides. What will you do? Curse me some more? If you pray for God’s protection in the foxhole, he doesn’t owe you squat if you hate him, and neither does any God-fearing American. Turn or burn is the adage. I thought I’d never use it, but after reading the crap you guys are shoveling my way, I am a changed man.
    ~Pastor Bryan Griem, Army of God, Saint, Good Guy, seriously disappointed….

  47. rico says

    well he is basically an ignorant idiot anyway, as if in a situation where a person uses his/her body to save his/her comrades from a grenade for example the person would even have the time to think about i’m going to jesus, so no not even a religious person would think about something like this in a given situation, what makes you sacrifice for others is empathy you have with them and there is essentially nothing, maybe besides the stupid sectarianism which is precisely put in place by morons like griem, which would stop an atheist from sacrificing even his/her life

  48. crocodoc says

    He could not have put it better:

    “I know that religious people have security that atheists don’t. If you believe in life after life, you fight harder, risk more, and serve better than a guy who thinks, “this is it!” If you believe you’re nothing but worm-food at death, you aren’t going to jump on a grenade to save the platoon, or charge a machine-gun nest expecting to meet Jesus. You’re going to be reserved, second-guessing, and probably be a big fat chicken.”

    Yes Sir, I don´t believe in an afterlife and I´ll do anything possible to avoid my own and other people´s death for a nation, a leader or a belief.
    That´s what priests do for a living: make sure some people are ready to sacrifice other people´s lives for someone elses greed.

  49. ericpaulsen says

    I tried REALLY hard to be civil but the thought that some religious huckster selling soothing stories to the credulous decided to imply my service was less because I am not afflicted with his particular mental derangement kind of pushed the big red button in my mental control panel. And what with the sordid state of religion these days it seemed like some skeevy pedophile with a NAMBLA membership crawled out of his sewer long enough to call ME a degenerate. Suffice it to say that I was not the cool measured voice of the atheist movement. The one thing I often repeated to myself when I was in and I saw idiots and racists and misogynists on the television was the quote by Evelyn Beatrice Hall – “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”. Back then I really believed that I could gladly die to defend the 1st amendment rights of even a Bryan Griem, but back then I guess I never realized that to them I don’t count as an American.

    Fuck you Bryan, wherever you are.

  50. says

    Yes! Pastor is right!

    How DARE atheists dishonor military dead by trying to uphold the constitution they died to protect!

    How DARE atheists demean those brave military heroes by trying to prevent the destruction of the democracy they defend and it’s replacement with theocracy?

    Screw civility. Pastor, whether troll impostor fuckwit or genuine fuckwit, get stuffed.

    Damned right we’re going do everything within our power to prevent you from destroying the country with your astoundingly idiot delusions and your dangerous ILLEGAL desires to impose your vile, hateful, pathetic excuse for an ideology on others so-as to satisfy your sociopathic narcissism.

    If, rather than seeking treatment for your severe mental illness, you instead choose to let your vain desire to re-impose a reign of terror on others rot you from inside, then so fucking be it. Your tough luck.

  51. ericpaulsen says

    Oh yeah, if those god fearing religious types are so incredibly brave then what the fuck are they doing cowering in a foxhole to begin with? Those xtian supermen should be running to meet Jesus, not trying to save their frightened little asses.

  52. says

    Incidentally, I’m not very fucking impressed with an “all-powerful” deity that for some reason needs a human army.

    And isn’t Army such a nice word to call members of a religion of peace and morality?

    I’m gonna Godwin this thread. Why not go for alliteration? Why Army of God? Why not Gestapo of God?

    (After 46 years of living I STILL have trouble sometimes believing these people are for real.)

  53. renaissance13 says

    Nice rant Pastor. Maintain the rage. If there was a Jesus he just facepalmed out of shame at your hubris and ridiculous pontifications.

  54. zxcier says

    Trolling pastor get over yourself and your selfish little persecution complex. When you write repeatedly how we’re all going to hell, it damn well IS your wish, or do you really presume to speak for God? Take a deep look into your soul and ask yourself, is this angry bigoted person what Jesus would want?

    Oh but we atheists (“a-” meaning “without” not “against”, but why let facts obscure your hatred) are angry Christian haters, so it’s ok? Reality check, we don’t hate God, or Christians in general (although some in particular…) – we simply want the same rights as the religious majority in our secular country and military. To read the above stories of the many atheist servicemen/women and come back with nothing but contempt and disparaging remarks, marks you as neither a decent human nor a “Godly” man.

  55. says

    Religion: discounts the value of life, creates division and is used as a tool of control, often abused.

    Poisons everything.

    Even claymation. :( #Davey&Goliath

  56. says

    All you foul-mouth atheists who hate God and hate his people.

    bit difficult to hate something that doesn’t exist. as for “his people”… well mostly you get contempt, with a bit of active pushback for your BS.

    You think the rest of us are logged on to your whining web-pages?

    well, you’re here, producing wall-o-texts, so that would be an obvious “yes”.

    . I never heard such filthy-mouthed rhetoric, and this from our American? service men!

    punctuation, you are doing it wrong.

    And I did so with the recollection that atheists are the ones that make us remove every cross we put up to honor our honorable servicemen

    you are, of course, lying. there are situations, like putting up a cross on public land, or the government pretending that a cross can stand for all soldiers, where it’s inappropriate. but you can put as many crosses in your private yard as you wish; and you can continue to have crosses commemorating soldiers who were actually Christian.

    Atheists sue us every time we want to keep God in our pledge of Allegiance

    that’s because it doesn’t belong there, having been stuffed in there in the paranoid 50’s, and because it’s government endorsement of a religion.

    Atheists want the cross tombstones removed from Arlington.

    liar

    It’s the atheists that say filthy things about God’s people, who denounce his ministers and pastors, and who cowardly camouflage behind their sin.

    says the person trying to strip people of their constitutional rights, cowardly hiding behind made up fairytales.

    you cry-babies are whining about having to be good

    you are, once again, lying. It’s generally Christians who whine about having to respect other people’s human rights, not atheists.

    You don’t want goodness, just what, war?

    you’re confused. it’s not atheists who started the last few wars the US was involved in.

    I’m a jerk for saying what God says about those that reject him,

    honeybunch, god isn’t saying anything, on account of not existing. you’re just trying to hide your own hatred and bigotry behind a sockpuppet god of your own making.

    Good Guy, seriously disappointed….

    hahahahahahaaa. no. you’re not a “good guy”, you’re a hateful, cowardly bigot.

  57. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ Brian Griem

    for the Christians are outside the pale in one domain and the Epicureans and a few Cynics in the other. Both had committed the cardinal sin; they had denied the gods. They are sometimes lumped together as Atheoi. L’atheisme, voila l’ennemi. — (discussion of Emperor Julian)

    Yeah, xtians as they ever where. Purging all that is sacred and worthy of esteem, and replacing it with their crass and garbled superstitions.

  58. says

    Pastor, there are people here who served their country at great risk to themselves while you kneeled mumbling magic words at your imaginary friend. And you looked up from your tax-free hocus-pocus just long enough to spit on their sacrifices.
    What did you expect? You are hurling bilious insults at people who are clearly better people than you. And, just to double-down and prove it, you come here and threaten everyone with your imaginary god. But as always, God fails to smite us, and you must raise an actual army.
    Or steal one.
    When you make your holy war, there will be no winners. Only losers. And it will be you making war. Not for any god, but to satisfy your own hunger for power. We’ve seen the man behind the curtain.
    If your god wants me, he can come and get it like a big funky sex machine. You, on the other hand, better not knock on my fucking door.
    Not after spitting on the graves of thousands of veterans who made a sacrifice beyond your ability to appreciate and which you did not deserve. Holy man? You’re a piece of pathology.

  59. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    Brian Bryan. Sorry, but you made me think of Monty Python…

  60. toddsweeney says

    The man has the usual inane idea of what combat is. It isn’t about individual heroism. It isn’t about dying for your country. It is about working in a team, working hard and careful and seeing to it that the OTHER poor smuck dies for HIS country.

    Do I want a suicidal moron on my left flank while I’m advancing? So instead of giving me covering fire, he decides to get to his seventy-odd virgins faster and leaps up with a Sergeant Fury grimace and starts spraying the woods with full auto?

    Do I want a captain above me who evaluates his intelligence, considers that the convoy route passes through a chokepoint that would make a great ambush spot, and shrugs, thinking “Well, it ain’t like it matters…they’ll just get to Heaven a little faster?”

    Heck, as an ex S3 puke, I really, really hate the idea that after all the money we’ve spent training a guy up, and all the money he is carrying on his back, the only equation running through his head is whether throwing himself into the face of a machine gun nest is going to impress his buddies and please his god.

    Give me someone who recognizes when it is appropriate to give the ultimate sacrifice.

    Oh, and another reason moron has never served. You don’t throw yourself on that grenade because you want your folks to get the Congressional Medal of Honor. Or because St. Peter is waiting with white beard and little notebook. You do it because you are surrounded by your family, and you’d do ANYTHING (as would any social animal) to protect them.

  61. says

    Do I want a suicidal moron on my left flank while I’m advancing? So instead of giving me covering fire, he decides to get to his seventy-odd virgins faster and leaps up with a Sergeant Fury grimace and starts spraying the woods with full auto?

    I knew a guy from school who joined the marines, said he was going to do just that. Not follow orders, just immediately start shooting everything like a madman. In his fantasy, he’d be the biggest baddest guy around, just like Rambo.

    I dunno if his subsequent training once he’d joined rid him of that silly idea, but I DO know that he was one of the first combat fatalities when he was sent off to war.

    In Grenada.

    He died for fucking Reagan in fucking GRENADA.

  62. drxym says

    It seems incredibly dangerous to foster the notion that the army is “Christian”.

    Not only does it alienate non-Christians within the army, but it aids and abets enemies in countries like Afghanistan who can pitch their insurgency as a “holy” war. I wonder how many soldiers have been killed because some zealot became an insurgent just to take a pop at Christians.

  63. says

    I love how the religious according to him are both kamikaze lunatics with no preservation but also cowering whiners begging someone, anyone to save them. The juxtaposition is more impressive than the logic or the sentiment.

    Hey Dumbass! If you’re only christian when sitting in a hole. You ain’t a christian!

    makes you so unafraid to die that your first battle instinct is ‘KAMIKAZE’. Maybe he should look up what a good soldier is, they’re supposed to try and stay alive.

    Kamikaze is a japanese word. I don’t remember the japanese being particularly religious.

    Odd, isn’t it, that research shows believing Christians are the ones that insist on every possible life-extending treatment when they are dying?

    Unless you are fermale… and pregnant.

  64. Ataraxic says

    charge a machine-gun nest expecting to meet Jesus

    Jesus firing a .50 is a pretty cool image, you have to admit, and entirely consistent with this kind of theology.

  65. says

    Actually I would hope that most atheists would be too intelligent to volunteer to become killers and martyrs for the military industrial complex. Too intelligent to buy the courage and glory, serving your country, character building, man making, hero, you look good in uniform BS used to recruit the simple minded. And if somehow an atheist did find him/herself fighting in the mass insanity we call war, that they would not mindlessly obey orders and charge a machinegun nest or bomb civilians. In fact if someone ordered me to charge a machinegun nest or to kill civilians I would rather shoot the person giving the order. Oh yeah and let me state again if my son were to volunteer to join the US imperial forces I would disown him.

  66. says

    If you believe you’re nothing but worm-food at death, you aren’t going to jump on a grenade to save the platoon, or charge a machine-gun nest expecting to meet Jesus.

    How arrogant must this guy be to think that he knows the mind of his “saviour”? How does he know that Jesus wouldn’t damn him to hell for e.g. (a) loving his son more than Jesus; (b) not chopping off the hand that caused himself to sin; (c) commiting adultery in his heart for lusting after women; (d) calling another person a fool etc.? How can he be sure that he’s confessed every single “sin” that he’s ever done before he leaps onto that grenade?

    I know that it’s not only important to study hard before taking a test, but you’ve got to have the paper graded and given back to you before you know for sure that you got everything right. If you haven’t you get to resit. Christians don’t get to resit Jesus’ “test”. Once they’re judged, it’s too late for them to try again.

  67. raven says

    ~Pastor Bryan Griem, Army of God, Saint, Good Guy, seriously disappointed….

    The Army of God is a xian terrorist organization and listed as such by at least one government.

    No point in expecting normal behavior out of him. He is probably a sociopath or psychopath.

  68. says

    Actually I would hope that most atheists would be too intelligent to volunteer to become killers and martyrs for the military industrial complex.

    It’s not very popular with people when I say it, but I still feel it’s true, my feelings go further.

    In my opinion you cannot serve in the US military and be a moral person. I’d usually grant that there are exceptions in cases like lifesaving, like the Coast Guard, etc., but I’ve heard recently that they’ve shifted focus in a disturbing way in recent years.

    I think that war is sometimes unavoidable but is always a tragedy, never heroic, never glamorous, and that selling serving as a proud and honorable tradition is sick.

    At best it’s a regrettable necessity.

    Of course, I’m also morally opposed to self-checkout machines at supermarkets.

  69. raven says

    Army of God (USA) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaen.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_of_God_(USA)Cached – Similar

    For other uses, see Army of God (disambiguation).
    Army of God (AOG) is a Christian terrorist anti-abortion organization that sanctions the use of force to combat …

    Griem, I’ll omit the pastor, is a self described xian terrorist.

    Nothing more to say here.

    The FBI keeps close track of these guys. And our laws and prison system exist to protect us from kooks like Griem.

  70. raven says

    wikipedia:

    Associated individuals

    Michael Bray
    Paul Jennings Hill
    David Leach
    Scott Roeder
    Eric Robert Rudolph
    James Charles Kopp[7]
    Shelley Shannon
    Donald Spitz
    Clayton Waagner
    Fritz Springmeier[8]
    A 2011 NPR report claimed an associate of this group, Stephen John Jordi, was imprisoned in a highly restrictive Communication Management Unit. [9

    Here is a list of associated individuals from wikipedia of the Army of God.

    I recognize some of those names. Paul Hill was executed for two murders. Eric Rudolph killed a few people and set off some bombs that injured many. Scott Roeder killed George Tiller. Clayton Waagner is the white powder fake anthrax guy, seriously deranced and now in prison.

    Quite a list of killers and seriously crazy people, Bryan Griem is part of. Best I can say, many of them are doing long sentences in prison.

  71. stubby says

    Just like most christians his words expose his lack of faith. If I really believed where I spent eternity hinged on me believing in Jesus, and acting in a manor that proved my belief, it would be very easy to disregard any criticism. This guy is exactly the sort of ignorant, arrogant bigot we all thought he was.

  72. rational jen says

    If you believe you’re nothing but worm-food at death, you aren’t going to jump on a grenade to save the platoon, or charge a machine-gun nest
    …fly planes into buildings, blow-up tube trains, persecute authors …

  73. kevinalexander says

    I’ve been holding off on contributing to the “Why I am an atheist” thread because I couldn’t find the right words. Now I find that I only need two.

    Bryan Griem

  74. NotAProphet says

    @Pastor

    “Sure, get enough singers to agree with you, and you can feel good about yourself”

    Total self-awareness fail.

    “Atheists want the cross tombstones removed from Arlington”

    Cite your source please. I think you are just making stuff up.

    Pastor, please tell us something truly brave that you have ever done. I’m getting ready for my fourth tour of Afghanistan, and I’ve never meet anyone there on or side who is out there fighting for their god; the overwhelming majority would tell you that we’re fighting for the guys next to us first and foremost, and the innocent people of Afghanistan/our loved ones

  75. NotAProphet says

    @Pastor

    “Sure, get enough singers to agree with you, and you can feel good about yourself”

    Total self-awareness fail.

    “Atheists want the cross tombstones removed fr. om Arlington”

    Cite your source please. I think you are just making stuff up.

    Pastor, please tell us something truly brave that you have ever done. I’m getting ready for my fourth tour of Afghanistan, and I’ve never meet anyone there on or side who is out there fighting for their god; the overwhelming majority would tell you that we’re fighting for the guys next to us first and foremost, and the innocent people of Afghanistan/our loved ones back home a close second

  76. coldthinker says

    Bryan Griem has once again reminded us that religion is pro-death.

    At first look, Griem’s logic seems pretty sound. If you believe you’re going to paradise, why not jump on a grenade as soon as possible. But if you believe your brothers-in-arms are going to heaven too, why bother saving them? Why not turn some routine day into a crazy suicide mission and get yourselves killed the first day?

    Griem has actually pointed out one of the main use of religion: Religion is a mechanism to aid and promote warfare. Religion wants to assure young people that death is a good thing. That’s why the idea of God, King and Country have been so inseparable through centuries. Religion and war are inseparable. Death is fuel for them.

    If I were a greedy King and wanted to advance my interests, I would certainly try to create an army of aggressive zombies with a deathwish. With a mere promise of afterlife in heaven with virgins and unicorns, I could send them wherever there are pastures to appropriate, riches to plunder or oil to drill.

    However, if I wanted justice, decency and my loved ones to be protected, I might prefer an army with a conscience and soldiers who cherish life enough to stay alive, keep their friends alive and even avoid killing other people unless really, absolutely necessary.
    Then again, what makes the religious soldiers so sure they are going to heaven? Shouldn’t breaking the sixth commandment carry at least a risk of going to hell?

  77. raven says

    ~Pastor Bryan Griem, Army of God, Saint, Good Guy, seriously disappointed….

    Don’t bother reasoning with this guy except rhetorically.

    The Army of God is a known terrorist organization and the best one can say is a lot of them are in prison. They are all pretty crazy, a collection of sociopaths, pychopaths, and psychotics.

  78. says

    Dear Pastor Griem

    I am repulsed by your attitude towards atheists who not only have the courage to express their lack of religious belief but also put their lives at risk defending your right to heap scorn on them. My father served in the Air Force fighting against the Japanese in WWII. He was in a squadron which struggled frequently to put two or more planes into the air to carry out bombing raids on Japanese shipping and airfields in the early days of the war. He flew these missions in poorly armed twin engined bombers in the full knowledge that at any time a much superior Japanese fighter could shoot him down far from the relative safety of his home field.

    I say relative safety because his airfield was regularly bombed. On one particular occasion his return from short leave in the nearby town was delayed because of one of these raids. When he arrived he found a 1000 pound bomb crater where his bed was and the padre writing a condolence letter to his mother. It was at that point he realised that God had nothing to do with the whole mess and turned his back on religion . In the course of 6 months 80% of his squadron mates were killed and they ran out of planes to fly. For that period of extreme heroism his squadron was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation a unique honour for a non-American military unit. He later joined a Joint Australian/USAAF squadron which I have recently discovered was awarded yet another Unit Citation.

    My father is now in his 90’s and for most of his post-war life has suffered the effects of his time spent in the service of his country. I do not share his religious views but I am still enormously proud of his courage and the fact that what he and I do have in common is his belief that war is never a solution.

    Your comments about atheists in the military are disgusting beyond belief. You may like to add that there are no atheists in foxholes to your other delusions but I can tell you that the number of wars in which God’s name is invoked is enough to convince me that the sooner religion is a battlefield casualty the better.

    Regards
    Gary Dargan

  79. says

    Slightly off-topic, but
    ricardodivali: “Kamikaze is a japanese word. I don’t remember the japanese being particularly religious.”

    Kamikaze means something like ‘divine wind’. It is a religious concept. The official Japanese religion from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 was State Shintoism (in a deliberate attempt to sideline Buddhism, amongst other motives). This was a form of animistic/polytheistic beliefs that included the Emperor as both head of the military and a living god – a risky combination under any circumstances. Part of the terms imposed upon Japan after their surrender to the USA in 1945 was that the Emperor had to renounce his divine status. So if the Japanese are not particularly religious today, it might be something to do with the fact that the last time they went down that route, it started a chain of events that ended up with atomic bombs going off over two of their cities.

  80. petermartinuk says

    Scumbag. Forgive the length of this comment. I emailed him this:

    Pastor Griem,

    I won’t generalise. I can only draw from experience.

    It is true that my father was raised in a Catholic household. He was never overly devout, but nonetheless observant.

    In 1939, as a young man of 22, he joined the RAF to help defend his country, europe and indeed the world, against an appalling menace. As it turned out, he was assigned the role of a bomb aimer, regularly flying in Wellingtons and Lancasters over Germany.

    His experiences of the conflict, as his friends died around him, soon caused him – unsurprisingly – to question what kind of all-powerful being would put his creations in this position, of having to kill each other, and having to die so horribly, when it had been presumably within his power to have arranged things otherwise. He abandoned his faith utterly early on in the conflict, and became an atheist, although he wouldn’t have used the word.

    And he carried on, out of sheer necessity, defending his country against a terrible threat, as more of his friends died around him.

    Once, high over Germany, as usual freezing cold and with his plane under fire, he had to arrange the legs of his best friend (most of what was left of him) around his shoulders so that he could squeeze into the rear gun turret, grab the fortunately still operational Browning, and defend the plane and crew from further attack. On landing, exhausted and no doubt traumatised, he had to remove his friend’s semi-frozen remains with a shovel, so the plane could be made airworthy for the next mission.

    He was one of the lucky ones, who beat his odds of lasting a mere ten missions, four time over. He survived the war with only minor wounds, to have children and to tell them, reluctantly and when he felt able to share his experiences, what it was like.

    Is this not courage, bravery, fortitude? In fact, does it not perhaps call for even greater courage when you confront the possibility of imminent extinction, rather than the delusion that paradise awaits you (the pleasures of which include, according to the version you subscribe to, a handy supply of virgins or the dubious privilege of watching less fortunate loved ones frying in eternal torment).

    Without the blind self-righteousness that comes with “faith”, he also struggled with the morality of the acts he had to perform – the bombing of urban areas and the deliberate terror he and his colleagues were inflicting on people like themselves. He knew that he couldn’t heap this at the feet of some conveniently partisan and all-forgiving overlord. He would, and did, have to live with it.

    So shame on you for suggesting that this man is any less brave than any other, let alone actually evil. Shame on you.

    Your views are entirely odious, quite literally thoughtless, and without merit. The example of my father, alone, refutes pretty much every word you have written on the subject. You are now provoking the same level of disgust over here in the UK as you have done in the USA.

    Yours not even slightly faithfully,

  81. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Jafafa Hots #78

    In my opinion you cannot serve in the US military and be a moral person.

    In my opinion you’re a self-righteous asshole who doesn’t have a fucking clue about people in the military.

  82. says

    “America’s creator” ?

    I seem to have miss the bible verse where it says “And on the 7th day, God created America, and He said to her: Behold! Thou shalst reign upon all the nations”…

  83. says

    If you believe you’re nothing but worm-food at death, you aren’t going to jump on a grenade to save the platoon, or charge a machine-gun nest crash your plane into a building full of people expecting to meet Jesus whatever mythical being(s) or creature(s) your religion taught you to expect.

    Fixed.

  84. csmiller says

    …spiritual people have decreased odds of attempting suicide.

    I suspect that if you sincerely believe that you’ll go to hell for eternity if you commit suicide, then it is strong incentive not to commit suicide.

    However, I know of no studies that have looked into this, or the mental health of the faithful who are near-suicidal, under the strain of their negative feelings.

  85. says

    In my opinion you’re a self-righteous asshole who doesn’t have a fucking clue about people in the military.

    A person can be moral and join the US military out of ignorance or gullibility, but cannot remain moral unless of course they somehow remain ignorant and gullible.

    The opinion of a person who would object to such characterization of a willing member of by far the most powerful machine of death and imperialism the world has yet seen is of less than no value to me.

    My experience with the military is indeed limited, as I never had a desire to risk my life by helping obscenely rich people become yet richer by killing people now seen as so insignificant that we can’t even be bothered to fucking count their bodies anymore.

    So, my experience is limited simply to having several relatives who have joined and “served,” at least one of whom flew missions over Iraq and helped kill (we can’t be bothered to know how many) people…

    And my closer relationship to my now-dead brother-in-law, who was sent illegally into Cambodia to kill for the government that lied to its own citizens about it, and which predictable tossed him aside once he was wounded in action and became disabled, and fucked with his benefits continually while he still lived, and made his widow with four small children pay back what they retroactively decided he hadn’t deserved after he’d died.

    Who joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War when he got home (his most patriotic act IMO), and whose opinions largely mirrored mine.

    Self-righteous? Maybe, maybe not. Pretty sure I’ve never bombed a fucking wedding party though.

  86. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    ~Pastor Bryan Griem, Army of God, Saint, Good Guy, seriously disappointed….

    What, really?

  87. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Self-righteous? Maybe, maybe not. Pretty sure I’ve never bombed a fucking wedding party though.

    And I’ve never bombed a wedding party either during my six years of doing valve maintenance on a submarine.

    Are there immoral people in the military? Quite certainly. Are people in the military called upon to perform actions which might be considered immoral? Yes. Are there self-righteous assholes who call each and every military cook, supply specialist, electronics technician, and truck driver immoral? You bet.

  88. says

    I see tis himself is still a wingnut, redneck, neocon arsehole. Watch Rush and Glen much Tis? If there were less people like him we would have less wars. It is people like him that make me ashamed of my species. By the way Tis, too much of a coward to use your real name?

  89. says

    A person can be moral and join the US military out of ignorance or gullibility, but cannot remain moral unless of course they somehow remain ignorant and gullible.

    I will take self righteous assholes for $1000, Alex.

  90. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    By the way Tis, too much of a coward to use your real name?

    Fuckwits like you are the reason many of us use pseudonyms. I suspect you would stalk everybody who disagrees with you. Try being a real person.

  91. Louis says

    I liked this from the Pastor:

    ~Pastor Bryan Griem, Army of God, Saint, Good Guy, seriously disappointed….

    Bolding mine.

    Saint? Good Guy?

    Wow!

    The projection and delusion is strong with this one. Having read the froth flecked rant at #54 I hope it’s a Poe. It probably isn’t and even if it isn’t I’ve seen it before from other sources. {Sigh} It’s just drivel to be honest, no sense can be talked into someone that is incapable of sense in the first place. Hate god? How does one hate something that doesn’t exist? {double sigh}

    The serious lack of “getting it”…where does one start?

    Louis

  92. says

    Yes, I know. Not every person in the military is a killer and most will never be killers. Of course not. Saying that would be ridiculous.

    And of course I also know, from that same brother-in-law, that when you’re IN combat your only concerns are keeping yourself and your buddies alive. He had that experience because he was drafted, so he didn’t get much choice in where they sent him.

    It was only during his second tour and afterwards that he decided that the war was immoral, and started to protest it. Really pissed off his whole family, too.

    And it’s ALWAYS been that way – in ANY huge imperial force, most of those involved have been just trying to do their job, get through their day, get a paycheck. Larger questions of morality just can’t take focus.

    Every time. Every imperial or wannabe imperial army, every army bent on aggression or domination. Almost everyone in them just trying to do their job.

    Every aggressive army, every non-aggressive member. Every time.

    And how could it be otherwise? If it weren’t that way, if they didn’t feel that way, we might not get to have imperialistic armies at ALL.

    I once worked briefly for a defense contractor when I was 24.
    All I did was some desktop publishing on-call from time to time for a few months.

    Was that immoral of me? You’re damned fucking right it was, and I wish I hadn’t been too young and too stupid to recognize that at the time. Because I SHOULD have known enough. I already knew enough.

  93. says

    But there is ONE thing that’s pretty unique about THIS era’s most powerful imperial army as compared to its predecessors.

    This one’s all-voluntary.

  94. says

    But there is ONE thing that’s pretty unique about THIS era’s most powerful imperial army as compared to its predecessors.

    This one’s all-voluntary.

    So was Queen Victoria’s. Or do you not “do” history?

    Killfile.

  95. says

    Whoa. Got me there. I’ll have to reconsider.

    Maybe joining the world’s most destructive killing force is a good idea after all! I mean, Victoria’s army was such a force for good in the world.

    I only hope that some day there will be a world where some apologists look back on defenses similar to some of these and say “well you can’t expect too much from them, they were products of their times.”

    Yeah, I know. The only way we’ll ever get to that point is to keep having armies now, right?

    As long as we’re the GOOD guys. Which, despite everything, despite anything we know for a fact we are, because we’re us.

  96. mijan says

    I’m an skeptic/freethinker/atheist and a veteran. The only time I found myself contemplating suicide in the Army was when a large, obnoxious group of evangelical Christians in my chain of command wouldn’t stop harassing me and making my life miserable for several months.

    There are several enormous problems with this spiritual fitness test. There’s the obvious fact that it violates the constitution, but there’s also the fact that the Army SUBSTITUTES religion (specifically Christianity) for any sort of mental health support. Is the Soldier a good Christian? Great! They don’t need any real mental health support because Jeezus will take care of everything. How can they be unhappy if they have Jeezus?

    I got to experience the Army’s style of evangelism starting with Basic Training. I got it even worse when I became a commissioned officer and went to Officer Basic Course. It’s an unconstitutional, twisted system of oppression for anyone who either adheres to a religion that isn’t hardcore, right-wing, fundamentalist, evangelical, born-again, blind-faith, biblical literalism (they harass moderate and liberal Christians, too, and woe to you if you’re Muslim or Pagan), or take a more rational approach to life and acknowledge that religion is a pack of lies meant to make the feeble-minded feel better.

    Yeah, there are atheists in foxholes. And we’re more afraid of friendly fire than anything else.

  97. nicoleharris says

    I would think that atheists would be much better in reference to fighting to stay alive. We aren’t so eager to “go home to Jesus.” We don’t believe there is any patout for death so we better spend all the time we can in the life we have.

  98. coyotenose says

    Well, Pastor Cocoa Puffs has just damned himself to Hell by his own words here (if such a nonsensical place existed). When you tell someone that they’re going to Hell, you’re claiming to know the will of God, which makes you a false prophet, and, well…

    Better pack some imaginary sunscreen, “Saint” Griem.

  99. Sir Shplane, Cyberman Gamma Warrior says

    Because soldiers doing stupid things and dying for it is just the best thing evar, right guys?

    Fuck this guy with several rakes simultaneously. Like, setup some sort of rotating Rakefuck Device and set it to Fundie Shitstain Mode.

  100. says

    As an Atheist going into the armed services in 18 months, I find your disingenuous assertions to be false and absolutely disgusting.

    I’ve taken more risks and added more spice to my life as an Atheist than I ever did as a ‘christian’.

    Oh, but I’ve seen plenty of good ole’ christians praying uselessly while the evil Atheists got the job done, then have their hard work snubbed by praise to god.

    Get out.

  101. says

    #89 :

    Kamikaze means something like ‘divine wind’.

    Yes I read the wiki blurb, but I still went with it because:

    a) This guy would turn around and happily say that the japanese are atheists because they don’t worship Jesus.
    b) It was named after a typhoon that messed up a Mongol invasion. Divine doesn’t necessarily invoke god. It’s like the word “spiritual”. It means whatever you want it to mean.
    c) It was too good to miss.

  102. says

    americans, especially the redneck variety, have a reputation for not getting irony and Nerd of Redhead is a prime example.

    Try being a real person.

    he says to me, a person who uses his real name, while he uses a pseudonym.
    American politics is so far to the right, that far rightwing, militarist warmongers like Tis, Nerd and JeffreyD, consider themselves progressives.

  103. says

    he says to me, a person who uses his real name, while he uses a pseudonym.
    American politics is so far to the right, that far rightwing, militarist warmongers like Tis, Nerd and JeffreyD, consider themselves progressives.

    Are you high, joking or dumb?

  104. says

    I see tis himself is still a wingnut, redneck, neocon arsehole. Watch Rush and Glen much Tis? If there were less people like him we would have less wars. It is people like him that make me ashamed of my species. By the way Tis, too much of a coward to use your real name?

    Troll or really bad humor?

  105. shabadoo says

    I see Jafafa Hots is just as big of an asshole now as he was ten years ago on the Fucked Company message boards.

    Oh, and Jafafa? Military vet here – US Coast Guard. We sign up to rescue people, not kill them. But hey, it’s a small branch of the service so you can go ahead and ignore it, so as not to introduce any shades of grey into y our black and white world and cause any cognitive dissonance.

    Fucking shitbag.

  106. carbonbasedlifeform says

    I see tis himself is still a wingnut, redneck, neocon arsehole.

    There are all kinds of things you can legitimately call ‘Tis Himself, but “neocon” isn’t one of them.

    Watch Rush and Glen much Tis?

    I happen to know he despises both of them.

    If there were less people like him we would have less wars. It is people like him that make me ashamed of my species.

    You have made it quite obvious that you know nothing about him.

    By the way Tis, too much of a coward to use your real name?

    Why, so you can try to get him fired from his job or something like that?

  107. jamesrlindley says

    Those who think there are no athiests in foxholes fall into two categories: those who have never been in a foxhole and those who mistake a profanity for a profession.

  108. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    American politics is so far to the right, that far rightwing, militarist warmongers like Tis, Nerd and JeffreyD, consider themselves progressives.

    Hmm, I’m a warmonger? That sir, is libel, as you deliberately told a lie in print. And we have your name for the subpoena. Better get your a lawyer on retainer…

  109. Guest Speaker says

    @Pastor:

    “even pray for our troops”

    Wow, how generous of you, to sit in perfect safety muttering to yourself in a shroud of self-righteousness.

    Someone who is afraid of hell, afraid of big daddy in the sky, afraid of not living forever, afraid not to believe, is telling brave servicemen about what happens in foxholes. Pathetic.

  110. drfill says

    Griem seems to be well known in his community too:
    “August 19, 2010

    Well, perennial hatemonger Bryan Griem has managed to sink to a new low in his latest homophobic rantings (“In Theory: Reactions to Prop. 8 court ruling,” Aug.14).

    Griem now is actively arguing that homosexuals should be forced back into the closet and away from “thinking society.” This is an insult not just to gays and lesbians and their children, but to the millions of “thinkers” who believe that all Americans should have constitutional rights.

    Griem also makes the stunningly ignorant “argument” that gays and lesbians shouldn’t have rights because the Constitution doesn’t expressly grant those rights. Griem smugly notes that the Constitution “doesn’t say that men may marry men or women may marry women.”

    True, but the Constitution also doesn’t say that men may marry women, or that women could marry men. Nor does the Constitution expressly say that ignorance-based homophobia can’t be spewed in the pages of an ostensibly respectable newspaper. The Constitution grants rights that may not be identified until centuries later, but that does not mean those rights (including the rights of interracial couples to wed) don’t exist.

    The irony is that the latest homophobic diatribe by Griem (like that of his partner in intolerance, Jon Barta) provides further evidence that U.S. District Court Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker’s lengthy, thoughtful opinion was correct. Griem’s frequent anti-Christian, venomous, hateful screeds are powerful examples of the animus, and self-righteous belief that heterosexuals are inherently “better” than gays and lesbians, that the conservative U.S. Supreme Court has already held cannot justify a discriminatory law.

    In the end, though, Griem is only partially to blame. The issues before the court were different from the issues addressed by the Bible. For this newspaper to ask clergy to opine on a 136-page ruling that dealt with important issues of constitutional law and decades of jurisprudence would be like asking someone who only speaks French to opine on a book written in Farsi.

    Even if Griem had more than the tenuous grasp on scripture he has displayed in the past, he is not a lawyer, has undoubtedly not bothered to read Walker’s decision, and is incapable of offering any insight into the constitutional issues in play.

    Griem can believe whatever he wants as a matter of religious faith, but that doesn’t mean he gets to abuse the United States Constitution to take rights away from others — regardless of how desperately he apparently wishes he could.

    Thank God — literally — for judges like Vaughn Walker, who recognize the extent to which innocent families deserve, and need, protection from people like Bryan Griem.
    Brian K. Brookey
    La Crescenta”
    http://www.glendalenewspress.com/news/opinion/tn-gnp-mailbag-20100819,0,2596135.story

  111. damonbarth says

    I am an atheist and I served 6 years in the Army. I was fortunate to have never served in combat, but as a medic I would have gladly put my life on the line to save my fellow soldiers regardless of their sex, age, sexual preference or religious affiliation. I would like to cordially invite Griem to eat a dick.

  112. greame says

    he says to me, a person who uses his real name, while he uses a pseudonym

    Umm… welcome to the internet, fucktard. You use your real name on the internet? Well good for you. Maybe you should try taking that Internet Safety course for second graders.

  113. James C. says

    Pastor Brain Grime here (can’t be assed to spell his name right btw) is so hideously hateful that I propose we mutate his name into a pejorative:

    brain grime (n):
    1. metaphorical santorum that accumulates between one’s neurons and causes one to spew hatred
    2. the mental state caused by brain grime

    1. I swear, you can see the brain grime oozing out of that pastor’s head! (Apologies for the disgusting image.)
    2. Alfred Karius has a bad case of brain grime.

  114. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    I would like to cordially invite Griem to eat a dick.

    You should rephrase this. Using a homosexual slur is really not needed. Especially when dealing with a Christianist dominionist asshat such as this.

  115. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    I’ve been thinking about what made me so angry about Jafafa Hots’ blanket condemnation of the military. I realized that Jafafa and Pastor Bryan are both doing the same thing. They’re considering groups they know little about but have strong prejudices against. Because of these prejudices, they make blanket condemnations against every member of these groups, declaring them to be either immoral or unpatriotic cowards as fits their prejudices.

    I am or was a member of the two groups Jafafa and the “saintly” pastor rail against. I won’t accept the sneers either of these two bigots throw against me for being either ex-military or atheistic. Bigotry should be called out regardless of who the bigot is.

  116. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    alfredkarius #100

    I see tis himself is still a wingnut, redneck, neocon arsehole.

    It’s hard to “still” be something I never was.

    Watch Rush and Glen much Tis?

    Not at all.

    If there were less people like him we would have less wars.

    Disregarding the poor grammar in the above statement, the obvious retort is “if there were fewer people like afredkarius then there’d be less stupidity in the world.”

    It is people like him that make me ashamed of my species.

    I’ve made alfredkarius ashamed. My job here is complete and now I can die happy. :-þ

    By the way Tis, too much of a coward to use your real name?

    You must be new to the internet. Otherwise you’d know that pseudonyms are a recognized internet tradition. Do try to keep up.

    Incidentally, I’m called ‘Tis. Please use the apostrophe when addressing me.

  117. christophgeisler says

    How is jumping on a grenade to save the platoon, or charging a machine-gun nest expecting to meet Jesus somehow not suicide?

  118. says

    The chew toy has come to PLAY!

    You know, I get tired of your whining.

    Pot, kettle, black. Nobody whines half as much as xtians asked to make room in society for people who don’t believe what they do. OH, OUR OFFENDED PRIVILEGE!!

    All you foul-mouth atheists

    As Janine wrote above, nothing we have ever said that contains naughty naughy cuss words was half as vile, half as full of shit, half as much spitting on our betters as your textual diarrhea at the Pasadena Sun‘s website.

    who hate God

    I hate “God” as much as you hate Zeus, Bri-Bri.

    and hate his people.

    You project like the front of a monsignor’s pants when he’s on playground duty.

    You think the rest of us are logged on to your whining web-pages?

    Didn’t you mean “You don’t think”?

    Well here I am, at least on this one because you are military.

    Some of us are, some of us aren’t. PZ isn’t, but his son is.

    Take your shots. I never heard such filthy-mouthed rhetoric,

    Again, what you wrote far exceeds anything on this post or thread in terms of nastiness. If it’s upsetting your delicate sensibilities, perhaps you ought to fortify them occasionally by taking a foray outside your little Ned Flanders-like world, where hatefulness is coated with multiple layers of white sugar.

    and this from our American? service men!

    You’re as good at punctuation as you are at web design. BTW, some of the atheists here may actually be servicewomen, too.

    Well, as an American, I am ashamed of all of you.

    It’s mutual, Bri.

    My comments in the newspaper had a limit. I was asked a question and given 350 words to answer it. I did so.

    You could have just typed “FUCK YOU” 175 times and it would have been much the same in terms of sentiment and honesty, although it’d have been somewhat nicer.

    And I did so with the recollection that atheists are the ones that make us remove every cross we put up to honor our honorable servicemen (not you guys, obviously).

    “Honor”? You just shat a massive load, wriggling with pinworms, onto the graves of atheist servicefolk who died for their country, and you presume to come here and talk about honor!?

    Atheists sue us every time we want to keep God in our pledge of Allegiance,

    It’s OUR Pledge of Allegiance too, asshole. And it didn’t mention the daddy of your sieve-handed sky buddy until the 1950s.

    or keep the word “Creator” in our declaration.

    It’s OUR Declaration too, asshole.

    Atheists want the cross tombstones removed from Arlington.

    Yeah, can you believe that? The temerity of not wanting the final resting places of the rmains of non-xtian warriors marked with an xtian symbol! What next, permitting synagogues and mosques in our cities?! Serving kosher food in our children’s school cafeterias?!

    It’s the atheists that say filthy true things about God’s people, who denounce his ministers and pastors as the liars they are,

    Fixed that for you. You’re welcome.

    and who cowardly camouflage behind their sin.

    I don’t even know how to parse that phrase, other than it’d be more accurately applied to the child rapists of the FLDS or the Vatican. We’re pretty open about rejecting your version of reality.

    Sure, get enough sinners to agree with you, and you can feel good about yourself.

    Oh, the irony, from a mouthpiece of the most privileged religion in the United States.

    What makes any one of you better than the Nazi soldier, or the Soviet Comrade?

    Uh, we haven’t pledged our loyalties to a genocidal régime?

    You will all go to hell with them.

    Right, just like I actually went to the Land of Make-Believe when I watched Mr. Rogers as a kid.

    Why? Not because I wish it, I don’t.

    Don’t blow smoke up our asses, Bri-Bri. You salivate over the idea of us roasting eternally on spits. That’s one of the perks of your religion, stated as far back as, I believe, the fourth century CE.

    Neither does God,

    I’ll give you that, as imaginary beings don’t actually wish anything.

    but while God comes in the person of Jesus Christ

    On a dinosaur?

    to save the soldier wearing the white hat

    Huh? Aren’t those sailors?

    you cry-babies are whining about having to be good.

    It comes naturally to most of us, Bri-Bri, most of the time. Oh, sure, we have our days, and not all atheists are good people, just as not all Christians are bad people. But we’re not the ones who require the threat of the Forever Furnace to make us not rape, kill, and steal.

    You reject your salvation.

    Can’t reject something that doesn’t exist.

    You don’t want goodness, just what, war?

    The warmongers are overwhelmingly yours, Bri-Bri. The name “Tommy Boykin” ring any bells?

    Does that fill your hearts with warmth?

    I can’t speak for anybody else here, but it’d make my heart explode with warmth to see you waddling out of here with a half dozen mortifying porcupines jammed into your colonic terminus.

    Well, get out then. We civilians are embarrassed by such as you.

    You don’t speak for all civilians, you presumptuous sack of douche lees.

    But alas, fight if you want, if that’s what gets you off. Why not, the gays are in the military too now.

    They’ve always BEEN in the military, Bri-Bri.

    Perhaps that’s who I’m talking to, I can’t know, because all I get from you are these back-stabbing jar-headed snipes.

    Another bit that you chose not to write in comprehensible English. You certainly are talking to some people who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual; and some who are transgender. I don’t know how many are military or ex-military. As for “jar-headed snipes,” why the snide jab at Marines?

    Look, my nephew is in the USMC. My Father, retired US NAVY. I have nothing against servicemen.

    You do if they’re atheist. I suspect you also do if they’re servicewomen.

    In fact, I go to the memorials and even pray for our troops. I recognize them in my congregation.

    IOW, you do nothing whatsoever that is helpful for our troops.

    But if you try to tell me that I’m a jerk for saying what God says about those that reject him, you have a problem with Jesus Christ, not me.

    I don’t have a problem with people’s imaginary friends. I have a problem with people who insist I take those imaginary friends seriously.

    Military life may get you a GI bill in America and some nice freebies, but not with God.

    “Freebies”?! Yeah, I guess you don’t keep up with how many veterans fight just to get basic fucking medical care from the VA. Yet many still get more from the VA than they do from your genocidal imaginary sky-daddy.

    You either fight in the army of God,

    This one?

    or you are on the devil’s side and you will lose. You are a loser now, because the battle is all but done.

    It is, and you’re running scared, aren’t you?

    The only hope you have is to switch sides. What will you do? Curse me some more?

    Yeah, but only because it’s fun.

    If you pray for God’s protection in the foxhole, he doesn’t owe you squat if you hate him, and neither does any God-fearing American.

    Actually, no, taintbutter. Soldiers owe their fellow soldiers (sailors, airfolk, marines) their lives, regardless of creed.

    Turn or burn is the adage. I thought I’d never use it, but after reading the crap you guys are shoveling my way, I am a changed man.

    Nah, you’re still a rancid chunk of cockroach-churned weasel meat marinating in sour milk at the bottom of a dumpster.

    ~Pastor Bryan Griem, Army of God, Saint, Good Guy, seriously disappointed deluded….

    FIFY.

  119. says

    BTW: I just realized with delight that PZ has a “Fuckbrained assholes” tag. I think Griem has earned this distinction. Maybe we should start referring to him as “Brian Griem, FA.”

    Also, the website design is about what I’ve come to expect from a raving wingnut.

    ‘Tis, #91: Agreed, 100%. And a classist one at that. Just like Alfred. “All-voluntary”? Yeah, if you can call joining up in order to escape your economically depressed town or neighborhood, get an education, and be able someday to earn a decent living “voluntary.”

    Must be nice, Jafafa and Alfred, to be able to sit in judgment of people who had fewer choices than you did.

  120. Happiestsadist says

    Ms. Daisy Cutter @ #135: Lots of comfortable fauxgressive types just love to hate on the enlisted. It means they can be as classist as they want, and still feel all nice and smug. Let the poor (and their families) eat bootstraps! Education doesn’t really matter anyway, not compared to a vague ideal.

  121. shabadoo says

    Happiestsadist @ #136:

    That’s exactly it. Fauxgressive classism, coming from people whose options in life have never really been limited in any serious way.

    I mean, of course someone who enlists is explicitly endorsing American imperialism – after all, he always could have gone to Stanford instead, had he only the foresight to be born to different parents.

    People do the things they do for all kinds of reasons, and they are rarely as simple as Mister Hots seems to (desperately) want them to be.

  122. says

    sigh

    Pastor Bryan Griem (if that’s his real name) seems to have run away. He ran bravely away. Brave, brave Sir Bryan!

    And I so much wanted to argue the merits of giving citizenship only to a certain religious class, and governed by religious law. America would look good in Sharia law, don’t you think, Pastor?

  123. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Incidentally, while I did go to Harvard, that was after I was in the Navy. And I went to Harvard on a scholarship.

  124. says

    From 1974 to 1985 I served with the British Army as a volunteer while the members of the US Army that I met were still mostly conscripts. I joined to learn trade skills but with the full knowledge that I could find myself at war at any time. Having ‘no religion’ was not an option available at the time so I signed on as a Catholic. This meant I learned first-hand about the absolute silliness of sectarianism all through my training.

    My ‘belief’ at the time was that because I had never met a non-hypocritical Christian at the time I was openly irreligious, and privately agnostic. The one and only time I met an Army chaplain alone was in hospital waiting for surgery in 1984. This guy wanted me to pray with him that I had a successful surgery while I just wanted a good surgeon, and I knew that prayer had nothing to do with his skill in the operating theater – that chaplain; unlike this Bryan Griem; wasn’t at all upset when I told him I didn’t pray because I didn’t believe.

    It was an event subsequent to the Falklands War that opened my eyes. My unit was sent on a ‘jolly’ – doing equipment demos for the military industrial complex – when I met a Labour MP in the hotel bar, and after sitting down and chatting with him for a while it dawned on me that we really were glorifying killing in a sickening fashion. It made me realise that there is no morality in war no matter how bravely you live or die – it’s just a waste of human life for no valid purpose. It isn’t even a test of skill so much as a test of who has the biggest and baddest weapons, so the rich guy wins instead of the good guy.

    There is no glory in war – only death. I couldn’t get my head back in the Army game after that chat. I quit as soon as I could but even 26 years later I am unable to rationalize some of the things I did ‘for Queen and Country’ and ‘for the Glory of God’. I still don’t feel like a good human being.

  125. jingo says

    for a man who never served in the military, he sure talks big, maybe he’d like to speak to an actual atheist marine.

    So here’s his home phone number: 818.745.5456

  126. janine says

    Jingo, PZ bans people who reveal personal information about an other. Expect your comment at #142 to disappear.

  127. Gregory Greenwood says

    Here is the email I sent to the Pastor, for whatever it is worth.

    (Apologies for the length)

    —————————————————————–

    Pastor Griem,

    In the interests of full disclosure, I will state from the off that I am neither a soldier nor an American citizen. That said, I still feel the need to answer your opinion piece in the Pasedena Sun.

    In the article, you wrote;

    There’s an adage I expect will be repeated by other ministers responding to this question. It goes, “there are no atheists in foxholes.” Meaning, when bombs burst, everyone hedges their bets and prays, “God, save me!” There’s a joke about one combat vet who prayed “Lord, if you’re there, I’ll serve you and attend church every Sunday; just get me through.” The Air Force immediately comes and blasts everything, answering the man’s prayer. He then looks up to heaven and says “never mind….”

    The ‘there are no atheists in foxholes’ trope has been conclusively disproven. There are and have been atheist combat peronnel, as is a matter of miltary record, and there is no basis for the claim that they suddenly convert under fire. The fact that they are not discussing their atheism might be due to the fact that a combat situation may not be the best venue for philosophical debate. I know that the joke about the airstrike is meant in jest, but let’s look at it seriously for a moment. Would it not be more reasonable and parsimonious to attribute an airstrike to human agency? The planes are flown by humans, the aircraft and bombs and missiles built by humans, the strike ordered by humans – on what basis do you assume divine intervention?

    I know that religious people have security that atheists don’t. If you believe in life after life, you fight harder, risk more, and serve better than a guy who thinks, “this is it!” If you believe you’re nothing but worm-food at death, you aren’t going to jump on a grenade to save the platoon, or charge a machine-gun nest expecting to meet Jesus. You’re going to be reserved, second-guessing, and probably be a big fat chicken.

    I would suggest that military history and recent wars are both replete with examples of atheists who have risked their lives in defence of their fellow servicemen and women and in service to their country. This is not in question, but rather a matter of record. I would ask you to try to empathise with their position. As you point out, these atheists did not anticipate a perfect afterlife in the event of their death – they risked their lives in the belief and full expectation that their death would be their end. No second chance, no transport to paradise – and yet they risked their lives anyway. Why? Out of loyalty, out of friendship, out of a belief that their fellow humans – both their immediate squad mates and the broader citizenry of their society, whatever their race, creed, gender or sexuality – were worth risking complete and final oblivion for. Would you not agree that the preparedness to make such a total sacrifice for one’s fellow humans speaks of great courage and integrity? Do you not recognise that the religious hold no monopoly on the values of compassion, altruism and personal honour? Why do you feel such antipathy toward soldiers whose only ‘crime’ is not sharing your particular unevidenced theology?

    You also wrote;

    Atheists be damned. They will be.

    If you believe that your god is the ultimate expression of justice and morality in the universe, then how do you reconcile that belief with the idea that this entity would condemn to eternal torture people who simply look at the lack of evidence for god, any god, and decide not to believe in it? What kind of ethical being conceals its existence and then punishes those who don’t believe in it? What kind of omnipotent being condemns any sentient life form to eternal torture, or allows such torture to occur? Your god, as you describe it, sound more like a monster than a beneficent creator.

    So I really don’t care what they think regarding these tests. I’m tired of having their constant nagging, their constant opposition against God — their evil.

    Your definition of evil is strange to say the least. We do not oppose your god; we don’t believe it exists at all. What we oppose is the repeated attempts by theists such as yourself to force your religion on us. The fact that you would characterise our eminently reasonable desire to not be subordinated to your unevidenced theology as ‘evil’ seems to completely validate our concerns about ther dangers of religion entering the political sphere.

    They contribute nothing positive in the long run. Their very name, “a” theist, means they are “against,” with a big “no” regarding America’s “creator” and “Nature’s God” (the one mentioned in our Declaration of Independence).

    Atheists exist at all levels of American (and indeed global) society. We are parents, business people, charitable givers and workers and public servants of all types; in what way does the fact that we do not believe in your god mean that we do not contribute anything? Do we not pay our taxes? Do we not do our jobs? Do we not cast our votes? Do we not care for our children? Do we not engage in the social discourse?

    Furthermore, ‘atheist’ does not mean ‘against god’ it means (loosely) ‘without god’. We do not believe in the existence of a deity asserted without evidence (as all deities are). You claim that your god created America. Atheists like myself would say that the early migrant colonists did, and the fact that they mentioned god in their founding documents in no way proves that deity’s existence, any more that the Quran proves the existence of Allah. You claim that your god is the ‘god of nature’. Atheists like myself would point out that science is helping us understand more and more about the natural world, and no matter how hard scientists have looked they have never found any evidence that supports the existence of your god or any other god myth. The natural world can be explained by material, naturalistic processes without any need to invoke the supernatural.

    I’m frankly sick of them. Why they are here on the In Theory cast is beyond me. It’s like saying, “I have no spiritual input because I don’t believe in the spirit. So here’s my ignorance….”

    A lack of belief in god does not imply an ignorance of religion, religious texts or the social significance of religious belief. Has it occured to you that a great many atheists have read the bible and other religious texts, have looked at the arguments of theists like yourself, have weighed the available evidence – and are simply not convinced that your god (or any god) exists? Your claims are extraordinary, yet your evbidence is non-existent. Why should any rationalist treat your religion as anything more than simply another creation myth, no different than ancient Egyptian, Greek or Nordic mythic cycles? Of interest to anthropologists, but holding no great secrets about the functioning of the universe.

    I wonder what the military puts on gravestones of atheists, a thumbs-down?

    In what way is the sacrifice of an atheist that died for their country any less than that of a theist soldier? Atheist war dead are no less deserving of remembrance simply because they did not believe that they would pass into some idealised, immortal afterlife. Why seek to apply crosses – a christian religious symbol – to the graves of those who are not christians? Why shouldn’t atheists be accorded the respect of a non-religious grave marker as a reflection of their beliefs in life? In what way would such a thing threaten theists?

    Listen, all religions are protected by our laws, but atheists don’t countenance America’s documents that mention God. They don’t actually deserve rights that even bizarre religionists have.

    Is it any surprise that atheists feel hostility toward you when you so calmly advocate for the removal of their civil liberties? I take it that you do not agree with the passage from the Constitution that states that all persons are created equal? I know, I know – there is that ‘created’ word, but the document is of its time. Lets just say ‘born equal’ instead? What makes you think that you have the authority to deny rights to those who don’t believe as you believe? I imagine you would cite your god again in answer, but it is worth remembering that America has a non-establishment clause – it is a country founded upon the separation of church and state for a very good reason.

    If it could be shown that people who deny God create military weakness, however small, what should commanders do when choosing a winning military? I agree with you.

    I would remind you that you have yet to demonstrate that atheists in any way weaken the military.

    You seem to have a great deal of hostility toward what you think atheists are, but the fact is that the reality of atheism bears litle resemblance to your bogeyman version. We don’t want to destroy your religion, we simply don’t want to be enslaved to it.

    Perhaps if you read up on atheism and spoke to more atheists, and indeed to more people of all creeds, races, orientations and cultures, then you may come to a realisation that is central to the form of rational, humanist atheism that I (and many atheists like me) espouse – we are all human, and our common humanity should be valued more highly than those things, like religion, that are used to divide us.

    Yours sincerely,

    Gregory Greenwood.

  128. says

    Jingo, like most americans, seems to think that violence is the solution to everything. He is like a kid threatening to call his bully thug big brother on the kid down the road who he does not like. I know that the marine as a hero mythology, is deeply ingrained in the american psyche. Well Jingo, marines are not heroes, they are the lowest of the low, the scum of humanity, nothing but trained killers, all caught up in a nationalistic, ultra macho, testosterone soaked, live to kill and torture mindset. Someone who surrenders their mind to the army in order to be molded into a killer, is not a hero. They are, low intelligence, murder for pleasure, mindless, killer zombies. If there are any atheist marines, atheists who have any morals at all should reject them and should not be afraid to express their utter contempt for them. Just like we expect so called moderate muslims and christians to openly criticize the extremists in their respective religions, we atheists should not be afraid to distance ourselves from the bad apples amongst us. What could be more extreme than a human that is so fascinated by killing that he dedicates his whole life to it. I expect a shitstorm from the usual wingnuts on this site, sprouting the usual american exceptionalism, using terms like honour, glory, courage, killing them over there so that we can have freedom here BS, protecting world democracy, etc. and threatening to send a marine to deal with me.
    Nobody does hypocrisy like americans do hypocrisy. In the last fifty years their armed forces have murdered well over five million innocent citizens of this planet, many by burning alive. They leave the countries they have invaded saturated with mutation inducing poisons and never ever admit culpability for their war crimes and crimes against humanity and never ever compensate the victims of their crimes. They spend more money on weapons than the rest of the planet put together and this is the army that the wingnuts on this site are so proud to have served in.

  129. janine says

    Why, yes, you are right alfredkarius! The US is unique in all of human history. No other superpower targeted other populations and claimed that is was for a legitimate reason.

    Tiresome stupid troll.

  130. What a Maroon says

    Their very name, “a” theist, means they are “against,” with a big “no” regarding America’s “creator” and “Nature’s God” (the one mentioned in our Declaration of Independence).

    So is an “A”merican someone who’s against Mericans?

    alfredkarius,

    From the uncle of a Marine: fuck off.

  131. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Pastor Bryan’s rants in the OP and post #54 and alfredkarius’ rant in post #145 are on different topics but the style is identical.

  132. scottm says

    I’m still trying to get my head around how this clown can possibly think of himself as a “saint”.

  133. Brownian says

    They are, low intelligence, murder for pleasure, mindless, killer zombies.

    Hey, I remember those samples from The Violent Years!

    I expect a shitstorm from the usual wingnuts on this site, sprouting the usual american exceptionalism, using terms like honour, glory, courage

    Yes, if there’s anything more typically Pharyngula than the usual wingnuts using terms like ‘honour’, ‘glory’, and ‘courage’ to bolster their American exceptionalism, I don’t know what it is.

  134. says

    Their very name, “a” theist, means they are “against,” with a big “no” regarding America’s “creator” and “Nature’s God” (the one mentioned in our Declaration of Independence).

    So is an “A”merican someone who’s against Mericans?

    Yes. And the Army is against the Rmy. Gets rather confusing in a verbal debate, though.

  135. marey says

    I just left a short comment.

    ‘I just read what you wrote about ‘atheists in foxholes”. You should be ashamed of yourself for denigrating our troops just because they don’t have your childish superstitions. They are not cowards. Many have given their lives, though they know it’s the only one they have. And then to hear you mock them, like the sniveling petulant child you show yourself to be. Grow up. We don’t need your fake god and the lies and hypocrisy that goes with it. And you can’t stand that we refuse to let you and others like you pollute our world anymore with your malicious fairy tales.”

  136. susan says

    Pastor Bryan Griem, Army of God, Saint, Good Guy

    This can’t be the real Pastor. Surely they can’t crown themselves saints now, right? Have they really gotten that arrogant? (It’s been a long time since I went to church.) If it is him, he just pooped proof that he’s an idiot, a liar, and an asshole. Also, a whiner.

  137. petejohn says

    It’s not brave in the least if someone “knows” that heaven/72 virgins/another life as a higher caste-member comes after death. That’s not a sacrifice. Why is this confusing to religious idiots? Oh wait because they’re idiots.

  138. Rosenberg Atom says

    I say a Christian soldier is less likely to jump on a grenade to save his squad, because he may be convinced that it is not in God’s plan for him to die that day, and therefore he should do whatever he can to keep himself alive, even if it means that everyone else dies. The atheist soldier, on the other hand, would know that there is no cosmic plan for his life, and that his life is worth no more or less than the lives of his squadmates, and therefore jumping on the grenade is the only logical choice.

    Actually, I lie; that is not what I believe. But hey, if the pastor can pretend to understand the psychology of atheists, then I can pretend to understand the psychology of Christians.

    In reality, I am not a soldier and have never been anywhere near a warzone, but what I believe is that in combat, there is no time for rationalizing or philosophizing, and therefore, when they see the grenade land near their feet, the Christian solder and the atheist soldier will do exactly the same thing: whatever they were trained to do.

  139. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    It’s not brave in the least if someone “knows” that heaven/72 virgins/another life as a higher caste-member comes after death.

    Everyone wants to go to Heaven, nobody’s in a hurry to get there. -Irish proverb

  140. echidna says

    when they see the grenade land near their feet, the Christian solder and the atheist soldier will do exactly the same thing: whatever they were trained to do.

    QFT.

    We only imagine that we make decisions on the spot. Our decisions are generally the results of habit. Oscar Wilde put it better though.

  141. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ James C

    The anagram was based on “Brian” which I mistakenly typed, thinking of “Life of Brian”. This Bryan is so OTT, he reminds me of a Monty Python sketch.

    The real anagram would be: brayn grime, which has a nice Dickensian spelling to it. Eg: Bryan Griem has been leaving his brayn grime all over Pharyngula’s carpets.

    Others: My bare ring. (As in arsehole.)
    Many big err or …

  142. gravityisjustatheory says

    There’s a joke about one combat vet who prayed “Lord, if you’re there, I’ll serve you and attend church every Sunday; just get me through.” The Air Force immediately comes and blasts everything, answering the man’s prayer. He then looks up to heaven and says “never mind….”

    I take it he would approve of the ending of Starship Troopers 3, then, rather than viewing it as satire?

    (Oops – I’ve just admitted to watching SST3 – better go hide in shame).

  143. says

    @Janine #146

    The US is unique in all of human history. No other superpower targeted other populations and claimed that is was for a legitimate reason.

    Ahh! So other nations have slaughted millions of innocents, so that makes it OK then.

  144. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So other nations have slaughted millions of innocents, so that makes it OK then.

    Only in your delusional mind. What a fuckwitted idjit. You are the joker here to be mocked.

  145. says

    @Nerd of Redhead. I see you fail to grasp simple sarcasm. So let me clarify as simply as possible for you. When Janine said “The US is unique in all of human history. No other superpower targeted other populations and claimed that is was for a legitimate reason.” she was being SARCASTIC. What see actually was implying is that the US is NOT the only nation to have killed millions of innocents and so therefore what the US did and is doing is OK by her. This I thought was a pathetic excuse. You cannot excuse evil simply because others have done the same. It like saying what Stalin did is okay because Hitler also killed millions.

  146. says

    Wow, that’s a real nice job you did there of taking what a person said and then pretending they were saying something very different, alfredkarius.

  147. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So let me clarify as simply as possible for you.

    Let me clarify my opinion of your fuckwittery. You have nothing cogent to say, but say it anyway. You aren’t funny, and are a pathetic excuse for a person. Try fading into the bandwidth, where some other blog might be impressed with your lack of intelligence and pomposity.

  148. says

    @myeck waters. Ahh I see, so Janine was actually agreeing with me, she just threw in the “Tiresome stupid troll” comment to emphasize her agreement and of course she is totally oblivious of the atrocities committed by Russia and China, and ashamed of her country. Some of the commentators on this site are so depressingly dumb, that I feel I need to mention that the above sentence is sarcastic.

  149. says

    Wrong once again, stupid troll. Janine wasn’t agreeing with you, and she wasn’t saying what you claim she was saying.

    In conclusion, Mexico is a land of contrasts and you are a troll.

  150. nullifidian says

    If you believe you’re nothing but worm-food at death, you aren’t going to jump on a grenade to save the platoon, or charge a machine-gun nest expecting to meet Jesus.

    Aside from the idiot who hunkers down and prays to God while the bullets are flying, the person you least want to have in a combat situation is the fool who goes charging straight at machine-gun nests hoping that he’ll catch a bullet and meet Jesus. Such a person is a liability in combat where a basic prudence is called for. Soldiers aren’t just there as cannon fodder, and no command officer worth his or her salt would treat them that way. Military tacticians tend to advise against charging into certain death after seeing what happened when Lord Cardigan did it in the Battle of Balaclava.

  151. pastor says

    Well, after perusing the hundred-something entries that call me names and use profanity without any self-restraint, I feel obliged to weigh in once again. There is this book, actually a compilation of 39 books, called the Bible. Have you heard of it? I’m sure literate folks such as yourselves have not neglected the one volume that has been read by more people and published in more languages than any other work of literature in history. No? That’s odd to me, given that Americans use it to swear oaths, to provide foundation for our laws, and to teach our children how to live moral lives.

    But when I signed off last time, given that I’m talking to military atheists, I identified myself with the Army of God, and as a saint. Despite the libel (that’s illegal written slander, just in case Wikipedia is down or something) of poster, Raven, who falsely states that I am a member of some sordid cult called Army of God, the New Testament uses the imagery for all of Christendom as being in a spiritual war, of which we are all soldiers. We wear righteousness and faith as armor, and carry the “sword of the spirit,” which is the word of God. I can’t help that a cult co-opts the Bible’s content anymore than I can help that atheists treat it with equal disdain. So the army-of-god allusion was legitimate and very Christian. Similarly, the Bible refers to all Christians as “saints” and does not make the distinction that the Roman Pope does by conferring special “sainthood” on saints that meet some Vatican parameters. There are saints and aint’s, and you can decide which you are according to God’s definition.

    And their are scads of articles out there reporting on the activities of American Atheists and others who work to remove military crosses. Here’s a link to the MAAF (Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers) who are currently going after the cross at Camp Pendleton. You say I’m a liar when I say this? Well, here’s one of dozens of links. Who’s the liar?
    http://blog.militaryatheists.org/2011/11/camp-pendleton-cross-privileges-christianity-marginalizes-non-christians/

    Do I speak for God? Yes, as does every Christian, when we echo the words that God has already said which are recorded in the Bible. I don’t presume to know God’s mind generally, but when I say that all atheists goes to hell, I get it from what is already old news;

    “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
    For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
    Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already” (John 3:16-18 NIV).

    God’s word. Believe, and be not condemned.

  152. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
    For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
    Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already” (John 3:16-18 NIV).
    God’s word. Believe, and be not condemned.

    God’s word? That isn’t even John the Apostle’s word. The person who wrote that couldn’t have known Jesus.

  153. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Pastor, you are engaing in fallacious circular reasoning the your imaginry deity proves youre babble, which proves your imaginary dity. You need to break that circle, and either prove the babble is inerrant, or that your imaginary deity really exists with solid and conclusive physical evidence. Something equivalent to the eternally burning bush. Then, and only then, won’t you be considered a fuckwitted evidenceless delusional fool without any cogent argument.

  154. says

    There is this book, actually a compilation of 39 books, called the Bible. Have you heard of it?

    It would have been nice if you had waited for an answer so you could save your breath.

    Yes. All the way through.

  155. says

    pastor:

    There is this book, actually a compilation of 39 books, called the Bible. Have you heard of it?

    Yep. I’ve even read it, cover to cover.

    It seems to be a fantasy, rather like Beowulf, only not as interesting or important. It starts with a couple of conflicting creation myths, not too unlike other creation myths of the time. It introduces a deity character who uses poor logic to entrap the people he creates. It follows this with a rather boring genealogy, which makes sense only once you understand it’s really talking about tribes, not people. All these begats turn out to be metaphor for the various tribes of Israel, which is, I take it, is like the Geats.

    Then there’s a mishmash of various tales, placed in more-or-less chronological order (with some minor jumping back and forth). These tales are generally a mix of oral history finally committed to paper, some fairly pleasant fiction, and the various myths you’d expect from uneducated tribesman and sheepherders who knew the tale of Gilgamesh and other extant stories of the time. Their god is variously helpful, evil, tyrannical, mystical, vindictive, and kind, depending on the needs of the tale being told.

    Then there’s a sharp break, and the second half of the book starts up. This is a less expansive work, far less ambitious or epic, and a bit more personal. It’s a lovely little yarn of a man who preached peace, but angered easily, at money lenders and fig trees alike. Here is a man who preached love, but his teachings inspire hate (such as the kind you display, now that I think about it). It’s a tale so human, it’s told four times, each time with greater and greater embellishments, until it’s hard to figure out what really happened. He promises he’ll return within the lifetime of those around him, he’s executed for political reasons, and the book ends with a zombie uprising. Which was just weird, but whatever. That’s not the only part of the book that makes no sense.

    But then, after the death of the sometimes-likable protagonist, it takes a really weird bend, and suddenly becomes like a different book altogether. There’s chapters on hate, especially towards women. There’s chapters that are written in such a way they can be interpreted however you like, as if they were the stream-of-consciousness scribblings of someone taking peyote for the first time. Most of what follows the tale of the protagonist doesn’t resemble the life and teachings of the protagonist at all. It’s like it’s written by a bunch of different people, some who wanted monsters and dragons, and others who wanted a tale of a nice young man who treated everyone with love and caring.

    Ultimately, it’s not a book that stands the test of time. The narrative is sloppy, the main characters are mercurial, the moral lessons often contradictory. The god-character is especially abhorrent, slaying tens of thousands on a whim, causing suffering and death to those who love and worship him (Job’s family really got the shaft), and so on.

    The first time I read it was from curiosity, as many people talked about it. The second time I read it was because others around me assured me I just didn’t understand it. But really, it was a bit like trying to read Atlas Shrugged just because so many people find it enlightening. In reality, it just kind of sucks, devoid of much true good, and not worth investing much time.

    Anyway. Is that the book you mean?

  156. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    There is this book, actually a compilation of 39 books, called the Bible. Have you heard of it?

    Read it. Five versions of it.

    That’s odd to me, given that Americans use it to swear oaths, to provide foundation for our laws, and to teach our children how to live moral lives.

    I am a citizen of the United States of America. I am a veteran. And I have never swrorn an oath on the bible. It is not a foundation for our laws (that would be the Enlightenment). It is not a source for morality (just how much should I get for my daughter for when I sell her into slavery?)

    But when I signed off last time, given that I’m talking to military atheists, I identified myself with the Army of God, and as a saint.

    The Army of God has carried assassinations of doctors. The Army of God is considered, by the FBI, to be a terrorist organization. If you want to insist that you are a member of that organization, we are not stopping you. We are, however, pointing out the absurdity.

    New Testament uses the imagery for all of Christendom as being in a spiritual war, of which we are all soldiers.

    Completely ignoring helping the poor, the downtrodden, the sick, and the children. And rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesars. Are you sure you have read the bible?

    So the army-of-god allusion was legitimate and very Christian.

    Which is why the terrorist group uses the name. It gives them a veneer of respectability.

    There are saints and aint’s, and you can decide which you are according to God’s definition.

    And you would presume to speak for gods? Prophets speak the mind of gods. They speak for gods. I thought the bible said the time of prophets was over.

    Here’s a link to the MAAF (Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers) who are currently going after the cross at Camp Pendleton.

    A cross erected on public land, land owned by all Americans (including me, an atheist), which means that, according to the United States Constitution, the document I took an oath (not on a bible) to defend when I joined the Army, is illegal. It implies that the Us government is endorsing a particular religion.

    You say I’m a liar when I say this?

    No. You were called a liar when you implied that atheists were trying to remove the crosses from graves at national cemetaries. And you were lying then, and you are lying now.

    I don’t presume to know God’s mind generally,

    But you have, repeatedly, stated that you do know the mind of gods. So, once again, you are lying.

    but when I say that all atheists goes to hell, I get it from what is already old news;

    Quoting an 1,800 year collection of heavily edited, mistranslated, expurgated and added to book of myths really doesn’t carry any weight around here. Try again.

    God’s word. Believe, and be not condemned.

    No. The word of men. Who either thought they were talking to gods, or who made up shit in order to control the lives of others. Exactly as you, and others like you, do now.

    I did not see combat when I was in the United States Army. I have served in what has been described as a war zone for three weeks, at ground zero in New York City. I have seen, first hand, what minds like yours (whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Shinto, or whatever) can create. You have invented hell in your own minds and are determined to create hell here on earth. And I, and others like me, will do our best to expose your lies, your hypocrisy, your blood lust, and your hatred for all to see.

  157. says

    pastor:

    Despite the libel (that’s illegal written slander, just in case Wikipedia is down or something)…

    Ah, you’re so cute when you’re condescending. Who’s the cute little prideful pastor? You are.

    …of poster, Raven, who falsely states that I am a member of some sordid cult called Army of God…

    Since it can only be libel if it were known to be untrue and intended to damage the reputation of the target (and libel is very hard to prosecute), it wasn’t libel, now, was it? You yourself claimed to be Army of God. raven merely took you at your word, assuming you spoke the truth.

    And so, having admitted you claimed you were Army of God (out of ignorance, I’ll assume), you are bearing false witness against raven. pastor, I’m very disappointed in you. A man of the cloth, breaking one of the Commandments!

    Now. Speaking of libel. You have said repeatedly that atheists all hate your god. You should know by now, no longer being four years old (I assume), that atheists don’t hate your god. They can’t. They don’t believe in your god, nor in any gods. So, how can they hate it? Granted, some might hate it as a character, just like some people may hate Darth Vader while recognizing he’s a fictional character. But that is far from what you meant, isn’t it?

    Your continued accusation that atheists hate your god is therefore libel. You know it is not true, and yet you continue to claim this, in word and in print. You do so to defame atheists. This is libel when written, slander when spoken in public. And more importantly to you (I’d hope), it’s bearing false witness.

    You do a lot of that, though, don’t you, pastor? You bear a lot of false witness. In your god’s eyes, this is as bad as murder and adultery, isn’t it? In your wrath against atheists, you bear false witness every time you say they are cowards. You bear false witness when you claim they hate your god. You bear false witness when you say they will not sacrifice their lives for others.

    How do I know you bear false witness? Because of all the atheists (in the military and out) who have done sacrificed themselves for others, who have stood up for the rights of others, who have committed their lives to helping others.

    pastor, your example is not one becoming a bride of the church. It’s a good thing for you God does not exist, or you would be condemned to the fires of hell for your unrepentant pride, wrath, and breaking of the commandments.

  158. mikelaing says

    Bryan, you are a fucking bald faced liar. You said, “Atheists want the cross tombstones removed from Arlington” and raven called it to your face, you lied.

    That’s odd to me, given that Americans use it to swear oaths, to provide foundation for our laws, and to teach our children how to live moral lives.
    What’s odd to you, fuck-face? You are lying by implication again, you slanderous fuck. How do you conclude that we all don’t know what the bible is, you dis-honest shit hole?

    That whole statement is bullshit to begin with. Americans also use other methods to swear oaths, the bible IS FUCKING NOT the foundation for your laws, the constitution is, you fucking moron.
    Lastly, much morality is innate in children before they could possibly understand anything in the bible, which is contradictory and outdated to begin with – any ‘lessons’ from the bible are thousands of years old, are cherry-picked by the CATHOLIC CHURCH and others in power, not to mention written by who knows who, with any conceivable agenda at play to establish followings. Go talk to William Lane ‘Two Citations’ Craig if you need more info on the morality of the bible, even he says genocide and baby-killing is moral only in terms of the conditions back then.

    Most people learn the vast majority of their morals from society and family dynamics, and there are statistics that show that bible based morality leads to higher divorce rates and greater unhappiness of children raised in strict christian environments.
    Go fucking stone some petulant kids and rape victims to death, you twisted cum-stain. Go brag about the bible based morals of priest’s that practice homosexual pedophilia and child rape, you stunted freak.

    You are a lying shit stain, in my opinion, and I speak as an individual the places truth above your sick attempts and insinuation and moralizing and generalizing. Shut your fucking face, I despise the likes of you, who give decent people an abhorrent name by pretending to posit idiocy for wisdom, and assuming privileged knowledge and position of authority .

    You are nothing but an intellectual weakling barfing out such childish and unsophisticated pretensions that any 5 year old would recoil from in disgust.

    Fuck you and all that you stand for. You are a fraudulent attempt at impersonating a human being who’s right to be heard is given by the grace of those you condemn.

    Never fucking forget that, pigeon brain, freedom of speech is not in the bible, and it is something you actively seek to destroy by taking advantage of that very gift to destroy it.

    In case you are wondering, I’ll tell you how I really feel, in private communication, any time, in case I’ve been unclear in my attitude.

    Thank you, come again; have a nice day, bitch.

  159. Brownian says

    There is this book, actually a compilation of 39 books, called the Bible. Have you heard of it?

    Oh, Jesus. The greatest evidence that the deity called YHWH (among other things) doesn’t exist is that he lets smug, vain, self-satisfied pig-ignorant assholes like yourself speak for him.

    But feel free to think you’re more familiar with the bible than we are. It’ll be delicious to see your ego shattered.

    Well, after perusing the hundred-something entries that call me names and use profanity without any self-restraint

    You’re welcome for that by the way, dipshit.

    “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”—Matthew 5:11 NIV

    See, fuckbrain? Every time someone calls you a piece of shit, you’re earning Jesus points redeemable in heaven, which apparently count even if you’re an ungrateful wretch about the whole thing.

    You want to call yourself a Christian? Read your fucking book and live it. If you don’t have the stomach for religious conviction, then shut your fucking yap and get a job that doesn’t require you to be a hypocrite.

  160. Brownian says

    Every time someone calls you a piece of shit

    I should clarify: it only counts if people call you a piece of shit because of your Christianity, not because you are one. And, as Jesus said, the former earn you blessings in the hereafter. So, it does not do for you to be upset about such insults.

    Unless of course, they’re true. Jesus annoying inserted that ‘falsely’ part. So, if you’re upset about insults, it’s must be because they’re true, since Jesus Himself says being libelled and slandered here on Earth for your faith are good things. Of course, you’d have to believe Jesus existed and said those words in order to overcome your human desire to get angry and strike back.

    I see you didn’t overcome that desire, instead choosing to petulantly whine like a hypocritical Pharisee. I wonder what that means for your faith and your knowledge of it?

    It’s indeed a hard book to live by, Pastor, if you’ve read the entire thing. Your response here doesn’t suggest you’re up to it. You sound more like one of those Christians that likes the adulation of the community more than following the narrow path Christ lays out.

  161. says

    There is this book, actually a compilation of 39 books, called the Bible. Have you heard of it?

    Yes. I have three.

    That’s odd to me, given that Americans use it to swear oaths, to provide foundation for our laws, and to teach our children how to live moral lives.

    And then there’s this thing called the U.S. Constitution, the real basis for our laws. The document our legislators, judges and executives swear to uphold when they take office.
    The document that gives me the right to ignore about half of your precious ten commandments.
    It says I can: 1) Worship any god I damn well please, or none; 2) Ignore the Sabbath and pick up sticks or whatever the hell I want to do; 3)Make any graven image I want whenever the mood strikes me; and 4)Talk shit about my parents, if I’m so inclined, which I’m not.
    Okay, that’s four out of ten commandments, rendered unenforceable by one little amendment.
    And if you want to talk about “our children,” explain to me why your god, when handing down his inviolable laws, spent the first four commandments on himself, and never got around to “thou shalt protect thy children, for they are innocent and helpless” or somesuch.
    Not only does your god not seem to give a shit about children, your precious Jeebus announces that he is here to break up families, set mother against daughter, etc. etc.
    And that’s leaving out the sanctioning of slavery, genocide, and insistence that rape victims be forced to marry their rapists.
    With morality like that, who needs evil?
    Oh, and before I forget, bite me. You are a horrible little man.

  162. says

    and to teach our children how to live moral lives.

    Tell you what. I will accept this premise if you will let me read to your children a bible passage of my choosing.

  163. says

    Brownian:

    It’s indeed a hard book to live by, Pastor, if you’ve read the entire thing. Your response here doesn’t suggest you’re up to it.

    It’s gotta really hurt their feelings when it turns out we really do know their book, and expect them to live by it.

  164. Brownian says

    It’s gotta really hurt their feelings when it turns out we really do know their book, and expect them to live by it.

    I used to argue with a Baptist pastor, before I was aware of the atheist and skeptics’ communities. I agreed to a verbal detente when he admitted he was getting unChristianly angry because he kept losing. He seemed a man of courage, who’d uprooted his entire family and moved to another country to lead a small church out of declining membership, and I thought it rude to pile on when I’d pushed him into a mini-crisis of faith. Him, I liked and respected.

    But not this little snotweasel. This coward likes the feeling of having joined the popular kids’ club (probably gives him a boner just saying he’s part of the ‘Army of God’, though if a few nasty names hurt his thin little skin, can you imagine how he’d break if he really were persecuted?), but he hasn’t got the strength or conviction.

    I’m glad he’s stepped into this lion’s den. He’ll probably shit his pants to feel, for the first time in his life, anything like the early Christians did.

    $10 bucks says he doesn’t come back, preferring his cozy little life devoid of the suffering that Christ demands. He wants all the reward without putting in any of the work.

    When I was a Christian, I loathed weaklings like him.

    Anyway, this asshole aside, and more to the point of your comment, Sastra (I think it was Sastra) once said something interesting about the belief in the ‘magic words’ of the Bible—that there’s a belief among some that the words themselves are magic, and just reading a line or two will convict all but the most hardened non-believers. Pastor Brain-the-Size-of-a-Walnut here’s use of John 3:16—really? A entire degree in seminary school and John 3:16 is your best shot? Nonetheless, it—is a good example, since the words are pretty meaningless to all those who haven’t already bought the salvation story, hook, line, and sinker. It’s like whispering “He loved Big Brother”, expecting someone who’s never read 1984 to appreciate the full weight of the novel from that one line. It’s idiotic, unless you really think such sentences are somehow like holograms or fractals, and contain all of the meaning of the full text within their brevity. (Okay, I’ve long since stopped paraphrasing Sastra, or whoever, so don’t blame them if this starts to sound stupid fast.)

    In this worldview, non-believers can’t be familiar with the Bible, because if they were they’d be believers thanks to the magic words. Further, accepting that non-believers are familiar with the text and yet don’t want to drink the Kool-Aid® starts to raise all sorts embarrassing questions: Why don’t they feel about it the way I do? What are they missing? What am I adding? If this is all God left, and our salvation is predicated on not just understanding it, but understanding it in the right way and believing it and believing that it is good, then why doesn’t the Bible work the same way on all people?

    Honestly, only the Calvinists have a reasonable answer for this in predestination, though the fact that they still proselytise AND think God is good suggests they’re their own sort of self-deceiving idiot. I wonder if Pastor Low-Watt here has ever even considered these questions. He may have, but he sure doesn’t argue that way.

  165. petejohn says

    Do I speak for God?

    You’re the best this all-powerful God of yours can get to come mix it up here? He’d be in trouble, if there were any reason to think he was real.

    God’s word. Believe, and be not condemned.

    Not God’s word, but nice try. If you really think the Bible is an inerrant source of information then you’ve obviously not paid it and its history much attention. It was compiled by a mix of people over many centuries who spoke a wild array of languages and could not be expected to accurately translate the accounts from one language to the next. It’s passed through the hands of countless scribes, many of whom illiterate in their own language let alone Greek or Hebrew. There’s no reason to think the stories are anything other than the oral lore of ignorant goat herders, elevated to a place of importance by the decision of Constantine to Christianize the Roman Empire.

    So I don’t believe it and I’m not too worried about being condemned. The only person being condemned here is you, because you have obviously chosen to throw your life away defending a made-up figure from ancient literature. Might as well spend that time defending Harry Potter, whose life is at least far more interesting than your God. This God fellow is a tyrant gets jealous and kills people, until he decides to send himself to Earth to sacrifice himself because of his own decision to grant humans free will and then got pissed for using it. Luckily there’s no reason to think he’s real.

  166. says

    Brownian:

    If this is all God left, and our salvation is predicated on not just understanding it, but understanding it in the right way and believing it and believing that it is good, then why doesn’t the Bible work the same way on all people?

    This is my core argument against the usefulness of revelation. If everyone reacts to the Word of God™ differently, if everyone gets a different interpretation, if everyone comes to different conclusions, how can you have any kind of confidence in any specific interpretation? This pretty much eviscerates any kind of trust in revelation, which effectively reduces prophecy such that it is indistinguishable from delusion.

    In fact, I would almost wager the largest set of people who interpret the Bible in the exact same way is atheists. Our interpretation is the only one that is universally consistent, and pretty much agreed upon by most members. The only ones who diverge don’t diverge on the interpretation of the Bible, but rather, the usefulness of faith in the Bible to other individuals.

    I might be wrong in this.

    But I doubt it.

  167. says

    Honestly, only the Calvinists have a reasonable answer for this in predestination, though the fact that they still proselytise AND think God is good suggests they’re their own sort of self-deceiving idiot. I wonder if Pastor Low-Watt here has ever even considered these questions. He may have, but he sure doesn’t argue that way.

    they’re like Cthulhu cultists.

  168. David Marjanović says

    During WWII, the Soviet Union commie-atheistic army took most of the casulties.

    Meh… lots of them were probably Orthodox.

    I dunno if his subsequent training once he’d joined rid him of that silly idea, but I DO know that he was one of the first combat fatalities when he was sent off to war.

    In Grenada.

    He died for fucking Reagan in fucking GRENADA.

    Wow.

    So there is poetic, sarcastic justice after all.

    Verily, there is a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    Of course, I’m also morally opposed to self-checkout machines at supermarkets.

    Why is that? Because they annihilate jobs that nobody should actually be forced to do?

  169. Brownian says

    This is my core argument against the usefulness of revelation. If everyone reacts to the Word of God™ differently, if everyone gets a different interpretation, if everyone comes to different conclusions, how can you have any kind of confidence in any specific interpretation?

    The typical theists’ answer to this is that in case of discrepancy, everybody else is wrong.

  170. marey says

    His reply to my email to him.

    On Feb 25, 2012, at 10:52 AM, Montrose Community Church wrote:

    Well Marey,
    It is interesting to me how you behave in your letter the way you accuse me of behaving. I’m a “sniveling petulant child,” a hypocrite, a world-polluter and a believer in “fairytails?”
    If you read the article, you will notice that the question asked my thoughts on the United States Military’s findings and their questionnaire to discern soldier strengths and weaknesses. As a Christian, I was asked to make sense of it and I tried to answer in a way that both agreed with the findings and the teachings of Christianity. The 97% of soldiers that are not god-deniers are going to be in a better place emotionally and spiritually than the small number of atheists with which the military has to contend. If the military can figure a way to overcome the atheist’s emotional handicap, then I’m sure they will, but it’s their finding, not mine. If you have a problem with what the stats show, take it up with them rather than lashing out at me.
    As a Christian from a military family, I do tire of atheists constantly tearing down war memorial crosses like the one in Mojave, and the one in Camp Pendleton, and their talking now about the Argonne cross at Arlington. If you want to act like the material world came just came about from nowhere (magic?) rather than God, then go ahead, but stop attacking us and trying to destroy our symbols of faith, and we won’t be so negatively inclined toward you. So condescending you are calling God a fairytale. You’ll meet him one day and won’t be so smug.
    ~Pastor Bryan

    http://www.MontroseCommunityChurch.org
    Rev. Bryan Griem, Senior Pastor      (818) 249-0483

    And my reply to his reply

    Well Bryan

    Atheism is not an emotional handicap.  Believing in something that doesn’t exist is. Crosses do not belong on public property and should only be used on christian graves. Your kind has always been negatively inclined to those who don’t share your absurdist beliefs, to the point of murder. And while that is no longer acceptable, you try very hard to play the victim when we insist you can’t have special privileges. I ‘lashed’ out at you, not because of stats from a spurious report, but because of the way you insulted atheist veterans.  Denigrating others, many of whom have given life and limb, shows what a petty, insecure little man you are.

    Marey

  171. GrudgeDK says

    Well it’s pretty clear Mr. Griem’s grasp of warfare is somewhat ye-olde-timey, and inspired more by watching “war” movies like “The Green Berets” and less buy fighting in a combat infantry unit. Taking one for the team, is not a matter of religion, it is a matter of instinct (if a grenade lands near you, you’re dead anyway), and the idea that someone who thinks he’s going to heaven if he dies, has some motivation to fight harder than the guy who thinks he’s “worm food” is stupid and wrong.

    Anyway, the tactics he’s deploying are questionable at best. For starters a fox hole or defensive fighting position, usually has a grenade sump, which you can kick any incoming grenades down, to save you the trouble of dying, additionally nobody charges a machine gun nest. You send in a tank, or an air strike, or a drone, or an artillery or mortar barrage, or your teams M203/Mk19 grenade launcher, or take it out with a sniper, or alternatively, just shoot it to pieces with your own heavy ordinance, depending on the situation. No need to be all stupid and run at a fortified position, spreading out 7.62mm death at 750 rounds per minute, getting yourself killed and possibly risking exposing your team mates.

    In conclusion, he’s wrong on every account. Infantry tactics, as well as a soldiers motivation for staying alive. Religious people who have never served shouldn’t be allowed to use the “No atheists in foxholes” fallacy.

    I wonder what the military puts on gravestones of atheists, a thumbs-down?

    The Medal of Honor.