Bad argument #2: No more Poes »« Three bad arguments

Bad argument #1: The Mormon exception

(This is part of a list of bad arguments I heard at the Texas Freethought Convention.)

Richard Dawkins gave a short speech on the Texas capitol steps, and for the most part, it was right on the money (or should I say, the Rmoney). He pointed out the bugfuck lunacy of Mormonism, and the patent charlatanry of its con-artist founder, Joseph Smith, as well as criticizing the media for failing to follow up on how nuts Romney’s religion is.

And he’s right! But some of his conclusions were, I think, a strategic error and simply wrong.

He came right out and said that he thought Mormonism was worse than the older, more established religions. That was the gist of his defense, actually: that Catholicism and Anglicanism and the various other protestant faiths were older, therefore less wacky…and that Mormonism’s clear mimicry of Elizabethan English, for instance, is a clear indicator that it was all fake. I don’t think that’s a good argument; I’d argue that Christianity could have been just as obviously bogus to a contemporary during its formation because they’d be as aware of its cultural context as we are of Mormonism’s origins; We benefit from sufficient proximity that the anachronisms leap out at us. But also, I think familiarity breeds complacency. Sure, Mormonism is nuts, but Catholicism is equally so. If you want deranged beliefs, I would merely cite the dogma of original sin — the pernicious doctrine that all people are born intrinsically evil, giving us a rich heritage of guilt and shame — as just as wicked and disturbing as anything Mormonism has come up with, and it’s far more pervasive, too.

Dawkins’ suggestion that the media should more thoroughly grill Romney on the details of Mormon belief has a germ of utility to it, but I don’t think he quite appreciates the depths to which the American electorate and the political process has sunk.

If you’re going to ask Romney if he believes Native Americans are descendants of the lost tribe of Israel, or whether Mormon underwear really stops bullets, or if Joseph Smith actually translated golden plates by staring at stones in a hat, you’re also going to have to ask Obama if he believes every line of the Nicene Creed. And when you start doing that, we atheists will be sitting smug and cocky laughing at both of them professing their faith, but the majority of the electorate will be seeing their religious identity challenged — and they won’t like it, not one bit.

Dawkins did mention Kennedy’s resolution of his Catholic problem, but I don’t think he really got it. Of course Kennedy’s views were shaped by his Catholicism, as Romney’s are by his Mormonism. But what Kennedy did was the only reasonable secular solution, since we can’t wipe our cultural influences out of our brains: he stated that he would not bring the papacy into the Oval Office, and would not entangle the institution of Catholicism with his duties as president. And that’s as much as we can ask of someone.

It is a question I’d like to see Romney smacked with, though. The Mormon church is a meddling church — witness their active interference in gay rights in states outside Utah, for instance. I’d like to see a clear statement from Romney that that scary office building just outside Temple Square in Salt Lake City will not be pulling the strings on a Romney presidency, and that he’ll be making political appointments on the basis of competence rather than religious cronyism (something Mormons are notorious for). Is he willing to stand up for the separation of church and state? Then I won’t make a big deal about his stupid beliefs.

And this goes for everyone. When the first atheist president is sworn in, I want evidence that he won’t simply be a puppet of the wizened, necrotic husk of David Silverman, Atheist Pope of 2060.

Comments

  1. lippard says

    One of the things that amuses me about the Mormon religion is that it stands in the same relationship to Christianity as Christianity does to Judaism. Joseph Smith decided to add a *newer* testament to holy writ and revise the interpretation of Christianity. I look forward to the Mormon offshoot that adds yet another book and tells the Mormons they’re doing it all wrong. (That’s probably already happened, e.g., RLDS/”Community of Christ” or FLDS…)

  2. Rawnaeris, FREEZE PEACHES says

    This is a question I would like to see Romney answer as well. Since virtually everyone I have physical contact with is planning on voting for him because “OMG Teh Gheys!!” or whatever, it would be nice to hear him say the Mormon church doesn’t completely pull his strings.

    That said, I wouldn’t be able to tell if the git was lying or not.

  3. says

    The Mormon church is a meddling church — witness their active interference in gay rights in states outside Utah, for instance.

    Last time I checked, PZ, Utah was part of the United States– the Mormon church has no more right to interfere with gay rights in Utah than in any other state.

  4. Aratina Cage says

    Who cares about his religious beliefs when his party’s beliefs are tangibly worse!

  5. Patricia, OM says

    Thanks PZ for a balanced look at Dawkins speech. I am eager to see if this is the same one he gave last weekend in Portland. I did not think the anti-Romney/mormon speech was appropriate in Portland because it was in a closed room, full of over 800 atheists that had paid to hear Dawkins speak. We are his peeps, we already, by a high percentage agree with him. Not one person I spoke to there was going to vote Romney. It may have been different standing on the Texas state house steps? I can’t say.

    I do think Romney is getting a pass on religion. He was 31 years old before the mormon church allowed black men to become clergy, I haven’t seen him asked about that on the 6:00 News.
    /politics from a hippies viewpoint

  6. Sastra says

    “I wish I would have been born into a Mormon family or one with another one of those more obviously wrong religions.” (Emo Phillips)

    The Mormon religion is similar to fundamentalist Christianity in that it makes a lot of testable claims. Needless to say, that means it’s been falsified, over and over. And, like fundamentalist forms of religion, instead of taking public refuge in “metaphor” and obscure handwaving (whatever they may say in private), when shown their error Mormons tend to either change the subject, or double down.

  7. DLC says

    Wait. . PZ Disagrees with His Unholiness Pope Dawkins ?
    Schizm! Deep Rifts!

    Seriously though. I wasn’t there for Dawkins’ speech, but I tend to agree with PZ. I would say it more like this : “As long as you don’t bring your magical thinking to work with you, I am not concerned with it. I would however greatly prefer a politician who did not espouse wacky magical thinking, as it would mean someone more rational was in office. “

  8. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    We should stop criticizing Mormonism and wait over a thousand years. It has yet to go through it’s moderating reformation stage.

    (Yes. I am mocking those people who claim that Islam has yet to go through it’s reformation stage and get more moderate.)

  9. Steve Caldwell says

    PZ Myers wrote:

    If you’re going to ask Romney if he believes Native Americans are descendants of the lost tribe of Israel, or whether Mormon underwear really stops bullets, or if Joseph Smith actually translated golden plates by staring at stones in a hat, you’re also going to have to ask Obama if he believes every line of the Nicene Creed.

    PZ,

    I don’t know if Nicene Creed question would be appropriate here. Barack Obama’s Chicago church was Trinity United Church of Christ (commonly referred to as UCC).

    The UCC denomination is different from the very loud and vocal expressions of Christianity one sees in North America. The UCC folks support marriage equality for same-sex couples, reproductive choice, science education, and comprehensive sexuality education using guidelines from the best available medical and public health experts like SIECUS and Planned Parenthood.

    Here’s what I found about the UCC perspective on historic creedal statements like the Nicene Creed:

    In the United Church of Christ, creeds, confessions, and affirmations of faith function as “testimonies of faith” around which the church gathers rather than as “tests of faith” rigidly prescribing required doctrinal consent.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Church_of_Christ#Historic_confessions

    Basically, the UCC folks are very close to the Unitarian Universalist tradition in that they are both non-creedal (don’t have formal creedal tests for membership). Unlike the Unitarians, the UCC folks are more comfortable with the words “god” and “Jesus” being used. Basically, this means that a UCC member like Barack Obama could say with perfect sincerity that he doesn’t believe the Nicene Creed at all and that would be perfectly OK for him as a church member.

  10. robwilson says

    I’ve got to disagree with PZ a little on this one. Of course mainstream Christianity is absurd, but at least they have the excuse of not having a lot of information on a historical Jesus. With Mormonism, however, we do know from the historical record that Joseph Smith was a con man.

  11. says

    I agree with PZ. I think People get used to their own community’s superstitions,so they feel that their own community’s superstitions are better than other community’s superstitions. And they laugh at other community’s superstitions much more than they laugh at their own community’s superstitions. Some ex-Christian or ex-Jew or ex- Hindu atheists laugh at Islam much more than they laugh at their equally weird Christianity,Judaism and Hinduism.
    Richard Dawkins should not have this psychological problem.

  12. jamesfrank says

    Also against PZ here. As said, Jesus and the rise of Christianity has been shrouded by the fog of history whereas Joseph Smith is still visible as the con-man that he is. Jesus? We can’t even be certain he existed.

    There’s a large difference between grasping at something plausible due to temporal distance (at least plausible in their minds) and accepting barefaced bullshit which has been pointed out. At least to me. Coincidentally, accepting bullshit is what annoys me the most about Romney and those who support him. That kind of cognitive dissonance rewards liars and spits in the face of truth, and that rankles my feathers more than feeble attempts to hide beliefs in grey zones.

  13. Patricia, OM says

    How could anyone not laugh, scoff or point at fuckwits in my religious community?

    Seriously?

    Original sin. Killing of gays. Cursed births. Stoning mouthy children. Hate your wife, parents, siblings, and children or you don’t love jesus?

    How about taking up venomous snakes? That’s big in my church. Yep, fried chicken, and rattle snakes, happy Sunday!

  14. says

    An interesting bit of info:

    In 1976, A Mormon Democrat named Mo Udall ran for president and almost beat Jimmy Carter in the primary. From what I’ve read about Udall, he was a genuine liberal, an environmentalist, and a cool dude.

    According to Wikipedia, Udall’s Mormonism played a role in losing him the election:

    During the Michigan primary, the Carter campaign had Coleman Young, the mayor of Detroit, accuse Udall of racism for belonging to the LDS church, which at the time, did not allow blacks to serve in the church’s priesthood (since changed in 1978 by LDS Church President, Spencer W. Kimball). Young’s attack was at least somewhat unfair, since Udall had been a longtime critic of that church policy, and had ceased being an active member because of it. Carter’s subsequent sweeping of the black vote in the Michigan primary was key to his crucial and narrow victory in Michigan.

    I tend to agree with PZ on this. Romney’s Mormonism in itself shouldn’t disqualify him to hold higher office, as long as he holds his beliefs privately and as a public official upholds the separation of church & state.

  15. Shplane, Spess Alium says

    Isn’t Mormonism supposed to also include regular Christian mythology? I don’t think that Mormonism makes any statements that are any more ridiculous than anything in Christianity, but I do think it makes more of them, since it makes the same ones that Christianity does and then tacks on some fanfiction.

  16. atheoarchaeologist says

    First: I have never posted here before and usually use my own name on blogs. I have an unusual surname and can be googled so apologies for being cautious in the pit of vipers.

    I think Richard Dawkins is speaking from a British perspective.
    In Britain religion has largely become an irrelevance from most people’s point of view. The default position is mainstream Church of England which is a broad church that is so paranoid about schism that it it afraid to express strong views. It thus does not trumpet the anti gay views of its evangelical wing.

    Other Christian denomonations also realise that we British are resentful of over-strong religiosity. We are taught to never discuss politics or religion [oe sex] in contexts such as dinner parties [or of course work].

    Dawkins is reacting to Islam, which has not been acclimatised to the British way of life, and some african and caribbean churches. Mormonism doesn’t really impinge on us British. So to the average Briton [or the middle class subset I am a member of ] there are two apparent aspects of British religion.

    1) “our” tamed religion. Dawkins can have tea with a bishop and they will be too polite to quarrel.

    2) “their” religion which tends not to have accommodated liberal democracy and thus needs fighting.

    So the hope in liberal circles in Britain is that a strand of Islam can appear that is British enough to rub along with us as happened with Judiasm and Catholicism in the nineteenth century.

    Dawkins is thus transferring his British perspective to the USA with its completely different religious culture. We often don’t realise how foreign you guys can be!

  17. says

    Is he willing to stand up for the separation of church and state?

    I think Romney answered that one when he called secularism “a religion” and announced his intention to “defend god.”

    During the Michigan primary, the Carter campaign had Coleman Young, the mayor of Detroit, accuse Udall of racism for belonging to the LDS church

    If memory serves, Jimmy’s church had its own issues with institutional racism back in 1976. I wonder if I still have a copy of the Playboy interview…

  18. alexanderz says

    Don’t Mormons have a form of institutionalized thought police (much worse than the Catholic catechism) to weed out freethinkers? Wouldn’t it make any average Mormon much more likely to support his church’s dogma than an average Christian? Isn’t than enough of a distinction for interviewers to push harder on Mormons than on members of more established religions?

  19. says

    Sorry PZ, you are an insightful writer, but saying Catholicism is equally as ridiculous as Mormonism just means you are uninformed. Mormons’ strange beliefs equal that of Scientologist’s bizarre beliefs and practices. Catholicism might seem strange to an atheist, but Mormonism and Scientology would seem insane to any rational person. I don’t think you can say the same for Catholicism. The Nicine Creed is not to outlandish. If you analyze it a little more I think you wouldn’t be so quick to equivocate Catholicism with Mormonism, not even in the slightest degree.

  20. says

    Sorry PZ, you are an insightful writer, but saying Catholicism is equally as ridiculous as Mormonism just means you are uninformed. Mormons’ strange beliefs equal that of Scientologist’s bizarre beliefs and practices. Catholicism might seem strange to an atheist, but Mormonism and Scientology would seem insane to any rational person. I don’t think you can say the same for Catholicism. The Nicine Creed is not to outlandish. If you analyze it a little more I think you wouldn’t be so quick to equivocate Catholicism with Mormonism, not even in the slightest degree. Sometimes Atheists paint the whole town with the same brush and don’t dissect ideas the way they should be one by one. There are some logical reasons to be a Theist, and then there are bizarre religious ideas that are nutty as all get out.

  21. Beatrice, anti-imperialist anti-racist Islamophobiaphobic leftist says

    jaredwolf,

    You are mistaking PZ and other commenters here for people ignorant about Catholicism. We’re not. Some of us are even former Catholics.

  22. says

    Lawologists? Perfect example. “Alien overlord nukes innocents, therefore mental defects” is not particularly different from “Divine prosecutor tricks innocents, therefore sin”.

    Lawology is stupid as hell, sure, but it’s just a form of stupid we’re not used to.

    I don’t think you can say the same for Catholicism.

    Well, you are apparently a fan of thinking wrong things. The Nicene Creed is self-contradicting, ffs.

    There are some logical reasons to be a Theist

    Technically true, but that list is a very short one, and duress aside, only extends to tangible benefits like preferential treatment or aid.

  23. says

    I disagree with PZ. The age of a religion shouldn’t matter in principle, but it absolutely does matter when trying to discuss the practical aspect of examining religion. There is zero mystery or nuance to the mormon view of the world and no one can say that the book of mormon is not meant to be taken literally. I don’t find the cop outs about the bible all that convincing, but a lot of folks do- the difference between a religion that can claim its all just fables and one that cannot is huge. There is no where to run to when facts run up against the reality of a book as recent as the book of mormon. It is presented specifically as a historical account of the history of north american people. The sheer number of historical claims (which are again, so much more recent that it is easy to verify/disprove them) contained in the mormon religion also makes it especially hard to believe. The book of mormon is also in its original tongue so the complications involved with critiquing the bible (caused by multiple translations) are non-existent. The criminal records of the authors of the bible are also unlikely to be found, or if they were they would have to be understood in light of law and culture at the time. The criminal record of joseph smith is not hard to understand or find.

  24. marko says

    Wait. . PZ Disagrees with His Unholiness Pope Dawkins ?

    May he be struck down with whatever the scientific equivalent of lightning is.

  25. feedmybrain says

    I was sent to Catholic primary and secondary school in England and although things like the virgin birth and original sin were mentioned they weren’t really pressed. Every mass the priest would give communion and say, ‘This is my body’ etc. I only realised after I became an atheist that I was supposed to believe it was literally the body of Christ. There was a lot more concentration on the stories and the lessons that could be learned from them.

    I wrote that first para planning to defend Dawkins’ position but then I started to think about the other things that were axiomatic.

    It was a given that Jesus was the son of God; that all the zombie business at Easter happened. Mary was definitely a virgin, Jesus performed all the miracles (look them up if you’re not familiar). Angels were appearing left, right and centre A maniacal king ordered the death of loads of children and this was just done without question.
    It’s only through familiarity that these seem less ridiculous.

  26. marko says

    There’s also the whole heaven and hell thing. I watched a debate program a while back where a few religious leaders were asked to describe hell; they had all already insisted it was literally real. It was interesting to watch them squirm as they attempted to explain this to a room full of adults.

  27. Rodney Nelson says

    jaredwolf #24

    Many parts of Catholicism are weird. Let’s look at the basis for all of Christianity. God is unhappy because of Original Sin (an outlandish idea itself) so he sends his son to be killed to appease himself. The son dies but he doesn’t die, he just spends an unpleasant afternoon hanging around the cross and a couple of days later he’s good to go again. How does that “redeem” anyone?

    No, jaredwolf, Catholic ideas don’t seem weird to you only because you’ve been indoctrinated with them from an early age. If you looked at them objectively then you’ll see they’re the results of some very strange imaginations.

  28. laurentweppe says

    The Mormon Church believes they own Utah.

    I know some people here will not like this, but the Mormon Church is right: they do own Utah

    ***

    May he be struck down with whatever the scientific equivalent of lightning is.

    I’m pretty sure the “scientific” equivalant of lightning is called… lightning

  29. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    That said, I wouldn’t be able to tell if the git was lying or not. – Rawnaeris

    Nah. It’s easy to tell when Romney’s lying: his lips move.

    but saying Catholicism is equally as ridiculous as Mormonism just means you are uninformed. – jaredwolf

    Catholicism, like all doctrinally orthodox Christianity, is far more ridiculous than Mormonism, because it is not simply factually false, vile, absurd and abundantly disproven, as Mormonism is, it is necessarily false: false in all logically possible worlds. The doctrine of the hypostatic union claims that Jesus was “true God and true man”, or “wholly God and wholly man”; but “God” and “man” have incompatible attributes, therefore nothing can possibly be both.

    There are some logical reasons to be a Theist

    No, there are not. (What is asserted without argument can be denied without argument.)

  30. DLC says

    for those expressing the “you’re right about Mormonism but wrong about X” – we know most of the values of X quite well, most of us having been members of at least one such variable in our time. Myself, I have read about almost all of the popular religions at one time or another. To us, and to any rational outsider, each set “X” (be it Roman Catholicism, Mormonism or whatever) is irrational and actually bizarre. Consider for a moment, a ritual wherein a man with a water sprinkler and another man with a bit of smoldering wood walk down between the two masses of people, chanting nonsense words. Does this actually seem more rational than magical underwear ? Does it ? does letting some guy you barely know dunk you in water and say magic words over you make more sense than Thetans ? Really ? Do crackers actually turn into hunks of 2000 year old human flesh ? Why is any of this shit rational to anyone ?

  31. says

    Mormonism has one point where it’s decidedly less weird and nonsensical than standard Christianity: It rejects the trinity.

    The Mormon conception of God is very much simpler; the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are all distinctly different entities. You don’t end up with the problem of explaining how different people could be the same person, while also having different access to knowledge, even though they’re all omniscient.

  32. timothya1956 says

    I cleave to the idea that religion is a consolation for the effects of alienation – that feeling of powerlessness so many people feel in the face of seemingly inexorable economic and social forces.

    Religions generally make a claim of relevance for some combination of:

    1. history (we must have been doing something right to have lasted this long),

    2. social cohesiveness (behave as we specify and you will fit in with us),

    3 effectiveness (we raise the dead, cure the sick, make the lame walk),

    4. charity (we run soup kitchens),

    5. logical necessity (there must be something out there and you can’t prove otherwise)

    6. psychological fear (if you can’t prove otherwise, then you had better believe or you will be toast),

    7. physical fear (believe what I say or I will put a bullet in your head), or

    8. bald assertion about doctrine (we are right because this and this happened because we say so)

    PZ may right about the form of Dawkins’ argument – but it is possible that he has misunderstood the content.

    No organisation can survive for millennia without incorporating the developments of scientific understanding occurring around it (scientific developments defined as knowledge that reliably contradicts any of the arguments above). All religions are wacky in their various doctrinal assertions, but the older the religion (generally speaking), the more likely it is to have abandoned overtly coercive or overtly loony arguments.

    I would make one side point – it wasn’t science that invalidated fascism and its religious supporters in the 20th Century, it was the horror that people felt when the reality of the death camps was finally revealed. As it was with Stalinism.

    We should perhaps apply the same process to religious belief. It should be condemned primarily for its material effects, not for its logical inconsistencies, its claims of supernatural events, or for its hypocritical claims of good works.

  33. marko says

    I’m pretty sure the “scientific” equivalant of lightning is called… lightning

    I would appear to be the first to cross the bad satire threshold.

  34. says

    All religions are wacky in their various doctrinal assertions, but the older the religion (generally speaking), the more likely it is to have abandoned overtly coercive or overtly loony arguments

    Well, in defense of Mormonism (ugh, I feel dirty) they’ve shown themselves to have a remarkable degree of doctrinal flexibility (which sounds nicer than saying they’re hypocrites).
    Blacks in the priesthood and polygamy were both doctrines that were vigorously defended at the very highest levels of the church.

    According to Brigham Young himself (longest-serving President in church history and, according to the church, in direct contact with God Almighty), polygamy is an absolute requirement for the highest exaltation. Now, it’s forgotten.
    He also gave his (or rather, god’s) opinion on black people:

    Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.

    You won’t hear a word about that today in any LDS sermon.

    The Mormon Church has made it clear that they’re more interested in avoiding controversy and ensure regular tithing than they are in sticking to their guns. The hard-liners have already been excluded and have branched off into the FLDS and similar separate organizations.
    Give them another generation or two and they’ll be saying how they were always in favor of gay marriage and supported it from the beginning.

  35. andr3wh says

    I’d like to see a clear statement from Romney that that scary office building just outside Temple Square in Salt Lake City will not be pulling the strings on a Romney presidency…. And this goes for everyone.

    Funny how nobody seems to be interested in getting an answer from “everyone” though. The highest ranking Democrat in Congress is a Mormon, but we don’t see demands from him.

    Nevertheless, you can rest assured since Romney has already provided you this statement from when he was running in 2007:

    Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin.

    Satisfied?

  36. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Satisfied? – andr3wh

    No. Since Romney is a persistent and completely shameless liar, nothing he says can be taken at face value.

  37. Sastra says

    andr3wh #39 wrote:

    Nevertheless, you can rest assured since Romney has already provided you this statement from when he was running in 2007:…

    Maybe that was “milk before meat.”

    To Romney’s reputation on lying, add that of the Mormon church — and keep in mind he was active in its hierarchy.

  38. Aratina Cage says

    There’s a large difference between grasping at something plausible due to temporal distance (at least plausible in their minds) and accepting barefaced bullshit which has been pointed out.

    Doesn’t believing in ancient fables make one more accepting of obvious bullshit?

    It’s true because it’s old.

  39. says

    There’s a large difference between grasping at something plausible due to temporal distance (at least plausible in their minds) and accepting barefaced bullshit which has been pointed out

    No, there isn’t. Specifically, there’s no difference between “barefaced bullshit” and “something (that X will think is) plausible”. A quick look around you will make that clear.

    In addition, increased temporal distance should make something less plausible, not more. E.g. we know what Joseph Smith taught. It may have been complete bullshit, but we know what it was.
    On the other hand, we have absolutely no idea what Jesus taught. We know what people a few generation later said he taught, but we have nothing from Jesus himself and nothing from any contemporary.

    Add to that the fact that the sources we do have show that Christians took centuries in figuring out what to believe and had disagreements on literally every single point of doctrine, there’s absolutely no reason why we should think that present-day Christianity has anything whatsoever to do with what Jesus taught (assuming he was a real person).

  40. jamesfrank says

    The point is that there are considerable blanks in our knowledge which can only be speculated on. There’s limited speculation as to who Joseph Smith was, how his faith spread, or the numerous other holes Christianity had to hide behind. People who outright ignore the facts we have are more obstinate in my view than those who try to slip their fanciful wishes where we can’t comment with a high degree of certainty (e.g. the entire God of monotheism concept). They’re still foolish, but not to the same degree of hopelessly stubborn against reality. Instead their issues lies with acceptance that plausible != probable.

  41. sj54321 says

    When Dawkins publicly declares that the batshit faith that I was raised in is somehow more batshit than the batshit faith that he was raised in, it only serves to point out that I was more gullible than he was. It also turns off any questioning mormons who may be open to listening to a reasoned argument. mormons define themselves as outsiders. They thrive on the distinction – they classify themselves “Saints” and everyone else “Gentiles”. They put the atheist in the same box as the catholic or the hindu. Most children of mormons are descended from people who walked across the country chased by armies and mobs to live by themselves. They celebrate their heritage of oppression. When you make them weird or outside you only strengthen their resolve. As they work to grow their numbers they become a greater problem for secular activists. It is important that we learn to talk to and counter them – we write them off at our own peril.

    Also Romney does not believe nor is he taught that his underwear stops bullets. This is a child’s story. They believe in god’s intercession for the faithful and will tell urban legend style stories but this is not doctrine. You get no effect by ridiculing something they don’t believe.

  42. sj54321 says

    #38 I assure you mormons still teach and believe in plural marriage but do not practice it. They teach that it was a correct doctrine and that it will be practiced in the future. They believe that it will be common in the afterlife.

  43. says

    Thanks for the correction. I’d forgotten about that. I have no Mormon background myself, so I’m going off Mormons I’ve talked to and spare-time research.

    I’m not sure about the practical difference, though. My point was that the church seems happy to side-line any doctrine the moment it becomes problematic. “Common in the afterlife” has no relevance in the here and now, after all.

  44. says

    @jamesfrank

    People don’t necessarily “ignore the facts”. Rather, they just reinterpret them. Sure, Joseph Smith was convicted of fraud, but that only shows how Satan was out to get him. Yes, one prophet contradicts another, but we accept continuing revelation. And so on.

    This is also done by regular Christians. Sure, early Christian sects believed completely different things from us, but that was just Satan trying to pollute the true religion. Yes, the gospel accounts disagree, but that’s because they represent perspectives on Jesus. And so on.

    I really don’t see any significant difference. Any objective look at any religion exposes it as a fraud. Any biased look at any religion proclaims it as the one true revelation.
    Once you accept an omnipotent, mysterious god there’s nothing that you can’t explain away.

  45. sj54321 says

    LykeX

    They can get away with changing their minds because they claim continuing revelation. To them it is not their church that is being pragmatic it is their god.

    While the church was fighting for statehood and James Buchanan was threatening to send in the army god saw fit to change his mind for political reasons. From the outside what looks like hypocrisy appears as an internal consistency that is very hard to disabuse yourself of.

    The problem with Dawkins’ (and many ex-mainstream christians’) approach is that when you hold them out for special ridicule the faithful entrench and double down (the ridicule fulfills prophecy) and requires those of us who have left the church to defend a faith that we no longer hold. Neither myself nor my family (I think I have 48 cousins) are any more gullible or misguided than any other indoctrinated believer.

    Richard Dawkins who claims that he only eschews one more god than the theist somehow believes less in the god that I was raised to worship than he does in all of the other gods he doesn’t believe in.

  46. says

    They can get away with changing their minds because they claim continuing revelation. To them it is not their church that is being pragmatic it is their god.

    Quite. I’m describing my own view of it. I wouldn’t expect the church to agree.

    The problem with Dawkins’ (and many ex-mainstream christians’) approach is that when you hold them out for special ridicule the faithful entrench and double down

    Agreed. In my opinion, not only is Dawkins wrong on the bare facts, he’s also committing a tactical blunder. Singling out the LDS church will just make them dig in their heels, while every other Christian will say “See, even Dawkins says we make more sense than those guys.”
    It’s lose-lose.

  47. says

    “You are apparently a fan of believing wrong things.”

    It’s only a “wrong thing” because your perspective tells you it is wrong. If it makes sense to me, then it is a “right thing” for me.

    The concept of Original Sin for example: Does it not make sense that we are born into this world as imperfect human beings? Or do we become imperfect human beings only once we sass our mothers, or tell a lie, or steal a cookie out of the cookie jar although we know it is against the rules? Original sin is perfectly logical to me.

    I am a big fan of Matt Dillahunty, because with out dismissing my beliefs as just “stupid” or “absurd” or belittling me, he challenges me to examine what I believe and try to justify my beliefs rationally.

    My brother is an atheist and I was recently on a deadline to send in my absentee ballot and was extremely conflicted. The “Voters guide for serious Catholics” lists the “5 non-negotiable issues” which are 1.)Abortion 2.)Stem cell research 3.) Euthanasia 4.) Cloning and 5.)Same-sex marriage. We are instructed to vote for the candidate who is least likely to promote or allow these “abominable” things to occur in our culture. Also, if we vote for the candidate that supports these things, our soul may end up in Hell. The problem was, I am a big Obama supporter, and all of the gay people I know are very nice. And I am a guy, and don’t know why any man should tell a woman what she HAS to do to her body. My brother advised me that I should trust my “rational thoughts” and ignore the Vatican’s irrational ideas. I figured, I’m going to hell anyway, so one more sin won’t hurt me too bad, and I voted for Obama. Admittedly, I am a hypocrite.

    The point of that long story was that my brother has been encouraging me to “let go of my assumptions.” So I tried for a moment to picture my world without God the Father and Jesus Christ sitting on their thrones, which is a constant image that I carry with me in my mind at all times. I erased those images (God on His heavenly throne, Jesus at His Right hand) from my mind and I found that I felt so empty that I had to bring them back immediately to their rightful places just to fight off the dysphoria I was feeling. I’ve been wanting to contact Matt Dillahunty or even call his show to ask him how he was able to let go of the beliefs he had held so sacredly his whole life, and the fear that comes from Pascals wager, do you live the rest of your life knowing there’s a chance you will burn forever?

    I am a Theist, but I would like to base my claim of God’s existence on something other than faith. I haven’t found a sound argument that I think would stump Matt, but I’m still working on it. In a fit of rage once, I said to my brother “I reject rationalism!!!” But now my adventure is to combine my belief in Catholic Doctrine with rationalism. It may take a lifetime.

  48. CJO says

    So I tried for a moment to picture my world without God the Father and Jesus Christ sitting on their thrones, which is a constant image that I carry with me in my mind at all times. I erased those images (God on His heavenly throne, Jesus at His Right hand) from my mind and I found that I felt so empty that I had to bring them back immediately to their rightful places just to fight off the dysphoria I was feeling.

    You might start at a different place: examine the idea that the universe has some obligation to be configured in such a way that you feel okay about it. You’ve articulated very clearly what most atheists think: theism is a grandiose form of wishful thinking.

  49. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    jaredwolf,

    You really do provide an object lesson in how stupid and disgusting Catholicism is.

    If it makes sense to me, then it is a “right thing” for me.

    It made sense to the 9-11 terrorists that Allah wanted them to fly planes into buildings and thus murder thousands of people. So, was it a “right thing” for them?

    The concept of Original Sin for example: Does it not make sense that we are born into this world as imperfect human beings?

    Not if you believe in an omnipotent and benevolent deity it doesn’t. Nor does being punished by that deity for being what it made us.

    the fear that comes from Pascals wager, do you live the rest of your life knowing there’s a chance you will burn forever?

    Duh! Even Homer Simpson was bright enough to see through the idiocy of Pascal’s wager. I quote from memory:

    How do we know we’re not going to the wrong church, so every Sunday we’re just making God madder than ever?

    Quite apart from that, it really is utterly vile to worship a being you believe intends to torture people forever.

    In a fit of rage once, I said to my brother “I reject rationalism!!!”

    That much is obvious.

    But now my adventure is to combine my belief in Catholic Doctrine with rationalism. It may take a lifetime.

    *snort*
    You’d do better to spend your time on something more attainable, like building a perpetual motion machine.

  50. says

    Does it not make sense that we are born into this world as imperfect human beings? Or do we become imperfect human beings only once we sass our mothers, or tell a lie, or steal a cookie out of the cookie jar although we know it is against the rules? Original sin is perfectly logical to me.

    It makes much more sense that we are born into this world as beings with brains requiring years of development before we are capable of grasping concepts like right and wrong, moral and immoral. Also, you are confusing “imperfection,” as in making mistakes, bad decisions, and occasional selfishness, with committing crimes against some imagined perfect creator being. And what exactly is logical about the idea that everything that lives being required to struggle and strive and suffer due to the actions of two people (whom the evidence says never existed) thousands of years ago?

  51. says

    how … do you live the rest of your life knowing there’s a chance you will burn forever?

    How can you avoid it? The problem of Pascal’s wager is that there no way to reach a reasonable conclusion. What if Allah is real and all Christians will burn forever? What if the Great Spirit will damn you for not performing the sun dance? What if god is tired of hallelujahs and will only let you into heaven if you don’t believe in him? What if the Great Green Arkleseizure will wipe you off no matter what you do?

    What if the true god is one that no human being has ever thought of and all humans in all of history will all suffer for eternity?

    Given the number of possible theologies, absent any evidence, it’s practically certain that you will burn. How do you live the rest of your life knowing that?
    Are you just going to hope against all odds that you’ve picked the right faith? If so, what’s the difference between you and an atheist?

  52. says

    the fear that comes from Pascals wager, do you live the rest of your life knowing there’s a chance you will burn forever?

    A long, long time ago, when I did believe in a god, I found myself unable to avoid this question: was a fear of hell a good reason to believe in god? I never could get a good answer to that question. I decided it was a markedly lousy reason to believe in a god.

    Why on earth would you want to bow down to such a creature?

  53. says

    So this Nick Gotts character….Wow, what a class act!

    I’m doing some introspection and genuinely seeking some advice on how to be a better critical thinker. When CJO says: “Theism is a grandiose form of wishful thinking,” see, that gets me thinking and gets me a little closer to perhaps some enlightenment. It IS pretty selfish of me to attempt to create my own reality around what makes ME comfortable, instead of what is actually true, and that’s a good point. I appreciate that feedback, and fortunately I know a lot of Atheists that are kind and thoughtful, so when a Nick Gotts shows up and in a nut shell says “you’re an idiot, everything you believe is horrible and I’m smarter than you in every possible way,” I know that not all atheists are people that get their rocks off by insulting and belittling people on the internet. Most Atheists are reasonable, mature, intelligent, and thought provoking, which is why I am here.

    Of course, then there are the folks that might hear me say “I reject rationalism,” and see it as an opportunity to attack “the ignorant Catholic know-nothing loser”, instead of noticing in it’s context I was being ironic when my brother was pointing out some of my irrational assumptions. Would anybody sincerely reject rational thinking? Maybe I was being sarcastic? “Nope, he’s a theist, time to pounce.”

    My post summarized would be: I realize I am indoctrinated, and if anyone would care to point out to me some of the flaws in my thinking, I would appreciate the help, and thank you!

    But I realize that there are mean spirited folks in every demographic, and the atheist community obviously is no exception.

  54. says

    @Caine, Divisitrix du mal,

    You’re right, that is a pretty lousy reason to believe in God. I always think though, if there is even a 1% chance that I will go to that terrifying place, wouldn’t it be wise to spend all the time I have on earth trying to avoid it? But then, there is no way to be sure, there are so many interpretations of the Bible, plus all the other religious texts that would say we’re going to burn. Every time I think of a verse I might interpret to mean I have a chance at heaven, there are 100 other verses that tell me I’m going to hell. Catch 22.

  55. Forelle says

    I’m following this conversation with a lot of interest — do good documentation and modern references make a doctrine more, or less plausible?

    I don’t have a ready answer myself. As a former believer, I suppose I’ll be biased in favour of Catholicism versus Mormonism. But there is something else I’d like to mention. Nowadays, whatever makes religion respectable for me is related to the human beings that ennobled it. The works of Mozart, Bach, Teresa of Ávila or Velázquez confer dignity and status on the Nicene creed.

    Though of course I accept the arguments about both religions containing similar nonsense and sharing the same basic flaw, that’s why I’d argue that time has favoured Catholicism — it has had more chances to benefit from human genius and offer human beauty.

  56. says

    the fear that comes from Pascals wager, do you live the rest of your life knowing there’s a chance you will burn forever?

    Shouldn’t you be trying to die valiantly in glorious battle, carrying your mother’s name proudly into the fray as the lifesblood of your enemies pours out around you? If you, you know, die a coward’s death (Anything not a valiant death in glorious battle), you go to Helheim. You’ll suffer in that bleak realm until Ragnarok ends everything. Forget this Jesus stuff, death in battle promises you selection by the Valkyrie.

    Or maybe you should be living a life according to the greek virtues of excellence and fuck-everyone-else. You know what happens to the blasphemers and those who exemplify hubris? Tartarus.

    Fucking fool. Pascal’s Wager is the stupidest argument. Even Pascal pointed out that if you believe in YHWH because of it, it’d piss YHWH off, because YHWH wants selfless worshippers.

    Would anybody sincerely reject rational thinking?

    Are you connected to the same reality as me? Do you fucking listen to the Republican platform?

    Maybe I was being sarcastic?

    I don’t fucking know you. Why would I assume you were being sarcastic?

    I realize I am indoctrinated, and if anyone would care to point out to me some of the flaws in my thinking, I would appreciate the help, and thank you!

    Go fucking google it then. You don’t need us, you need to put some tiny modicum of effort into reading statements already made.

    But I realize that there are mean spirited folks in every demographic, and the atheist community obviously is no exception.

    “Someone insulted me, therefore they are mean spirited, even though I am being a jerk and expecting everyone to give me their time for something I actually could do myself.”

  57. says

    jaredwolf:

    I always think though, if there is even a 1% chance that I will go to that terrifying place, wouldn’t it be wise to spend all the time I have on earth trying to avoid it?

    No, I don’t think that’s wise. I think it’s bowing to a fear others inculcated within you and a complete waste of your life. It can take a long time to get over a fear of hell, I know. I grew up Catholic and they hammered that hell crap home, hard.

    However, in the end, actual knowledge won out. I learned enough to know that when I stop functioning, I simply won’t exist anymore. There’s no big scary waiting out there somewhere. Even if there was, I’d have one helluva lot to say to any entity that thought crispy crittering people was okay or that the incredibly goofy religion that is xtianity was in any way reasonable. So, you see, in the end, even if the god thing was true, I’d end up more moral than that god.

    So…how do you know it isn’t all a test and only those who stand up to such a monstrous notion of a god get to go to the nice place?

    Also, for all the fear of hell I dealt with, I had massive problems with the notion of heaven, too. I have no choice in existing for fucking eternity, just so I can worship a monster? I don’t think so.

  58. CJO says

    Nick doesn’t pull punches, it’s true. But having known him for some time (virtually), I believe I can say, on his behalf, that his ire is directed as much at those who indoctrinated you into these untrue and harmful beliefs. You articulated the beliefs, so, yes, you become the target. But I think most of us recognize that the bad actor is Catholicism itself. You appear to me to be an unwilling victim, however, and so I chose a more Socratic approach myself. But I despise your beliefs as much as Nick does.

  59. mythbri says

    @jaredwolf

    With your admitted indoctrination, a lot of the counter-arguments that would persuade you to abandon it will seem unpalatable by default. Sometimes you’ll feel the anger that can be present behind such arguments, and you may be tempted to take it personally.

    Don’t make that mistake. You’ll do yourself a disservice.

    All of us are born atheists. Many of us become atheists again, whether we admit it in public, to ourselves, or not at all.

    If you believe in a Catholic God, then all those pre-Catholicism humans are – what? Just so much wasted organic material?

    There is no religion that even pretends that everybody can win. There is no religion that values individuals over the congregation – you’re meant to lose yourself completely in it.

    I’ll take being my own person, thanks.

  60. says

    It’s only a “wrong thing” because your perspective tells you it is wrong. If it makes sense to me, then it is a “right thing” for me.

    My ‘perspective’? You can’t give anything better than “ITS SUBJECTIVE” to say that the Nicene Creed isn’t absurd?

    The concept of Original Sin for example: Does it not make sense that we are born into this world as imperfect human beings? Or do we become imperfect human beings only once we sass our mothers, or tell a lie, or steal a cookie out of the cookie jar although we know it is against the rules? Original sin is perfectly logical to me.

    Original Sin doesn’t just say we’re imperfect, you manipulative jackass. It says we’re imperfect because the two, singular human beings ate from a tree that God said not to. Because apparently only knowledge made us imperfect. We were just fine when we were stupid as hell.

    It isn’t really self-contradicting, but it isn’t evidence based or rational.

    I am a Theist, but I would like to base my claim of God’s existence on something other than faith.

    Well, try finding that eternally burning bush. At least then you’d have some evidence.

  61. Brownian says

    I always think though, if there is even a 1% chance that I will go to that terrifying place, wouldn’t it be wise to spend all the time I have on earth trying to avoid it?

    I believe that’s called the argument from personal lack of integrity.

    “Yeah, God’s a sadistic douche ‘n’ all, which is why I’ve got my nose shoved up his ass in order to save my own bacon.”

    That’s a helluva moral code.

  62. says

    Rutee Katreya, another Nick Gott!

    “Are you connected to the same reality as me? Do you fucking listen to the Republican platform?”

    If you read that sentence, you might have noticed the word “sincerely.” I would argue that Republicans don’t SINCERELY believe the lies they’re telling, they are deliberately being insincere. That’s a whole other topic though. If a person rejects rational thinking, then they are purposely lying to themselves. I don’t think a whole lot of people WANT to lie to themselves. So, to them, it IS rational. You are yet another dude looking to pounce on theists any chance you get, instead of engaging in a fruitful discussion.

    I never said Pascals wager was a good argument for believing in God, by the way, I only alluded to it as a concept that has caused me some confusion.

    “Go fucking google it then. You don’t need us, you need to put some tiny modicum of effort into reading statements already made.”

    So you seriously don’t see that that is EXACTLY why I am on this website? To get different points of view? I’m here to learn how to be a better critical thinker, a “free” thinker. Is ftb the wrong place for that? Why don’t you tell me what websites I should go to for varying ideas and opinions, since you are the authority on my effort level. Typing this post is my effort, you think? I thought you were the genius, and I was the fool. You’ve gotta stay in character my friend, you can’t play both roles. I am the fool, let me be the fool, you stay where you belong, as the super intellectual one.

    But dudes,(Rutee Katreya and Nick Gott) just ignore me, don’t you have some gay teenager to cyber-bully into committing suicide? Because sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t respect you enough to give you that power over me. Better luck with the next theist.

    @Mythbri, I don’t get insulted when an atheist criticizes my beliefs. My beliefs are evolving. I am not offended by pricks like Nick Gott or Rutee Katreya, I pay them no mind, why would I? I get no benefit from being told I’m “fucking fool” or what not.

    But Mormonism is Christianity on a bad acid trip, I like to say. So I don’t think it would be accurate, or honest, to say they are equally ridiculous. While I believe very strongly in my religion, I study others as well, and there are just too many bizarre beliefs in Mormonism to make that connection of absurdity with Catholicism. Catholicism is not a cult, it’s a religion. Mormonism is a perversion of religion, a cult. Catholics believe in some things that a non Catholic/Christian or even someone who steps outside the box and rethinks their religion, might find strange. My personal spectrum though, I would call all of the Protestant faiths heresies, but they are religions nonetheless. I know atheists want to be impartial in the religions they hate, but it’s important to differentiate from the “religions” you find goofy and the “cults” you find goofy. If I said “I hate all liars” I would say that I hate the liar that lied about the landing gear on the plane that crashed being safe that killed 150 people, I hate him more than the liar that lied about what he had for breakfast. Just saying there are degrees of insanity, and on a scale of 1-10 Catholicism wouldn’t be nearly as high as Mormonism.

  63. Koshka says

    But dudes,(Rutee Katreya and Nick Gott) just ignore me, don’t you have some gay teenager to cyber-bully into committing suicide?

    You vile piece of shit.

  64. says

    don’t you have some gay teenager to cyber-bully into committing suicide?

    Seriously over the line, dude. We aren’t the ones who think gay people are subhuman, we aren’t the ones who think they are deviants, we aren’t the ones who think gay people are committing a sin against god. That would be people like you and your church.

  65. sj54321 says

    Jaredwolf

    As an exmormon, I’m speechless. No I’m not. You get defensive about the forum’s characteristization of your faith and then spew the same bile at the faithi i was raised in. I assure you that the religious shackles dragging you down weigh exactly the same as the bounds I grew up wearing. I can spend days ripping Catholicism apart ( if it would be helpfull let me know). If you find it right to disbelieve the Mormon God and the hindu gods and the Muslim god and the Greek and norse gods and all of the thousands of proposed gods who’s believers can all site Pascal’s wager and who’s indoctrination occurred under greater pressure, then for the love of your fictitious god give up one more god. You cannot imagine the freedom involved in casting off your psychosomatic shackles. And he’ll is an invention of Dante and barely exists in the bible so your stress is based on priest’s plagerizing fiction.

  66. anteprepro says

    I would argue that Republicans don’t SINCERELY believe the lies they’re telling, they are deliberately being insincere.

    Because “IT’S A CONSPIRACY” makes far more sense than Republicans being as stupid as they seem.

    If a person rejects rational thinking, then they are purposely lying to themselves. I don’t think a whole lot of people WANT to lie to themselves. So, to them, it IS rational

    Ugh. Ignoring the fact that I don’t even think your argument makes sense, do you really think it is simple as “rejects rational thinking”? Do you really think there is some clear dichotomy between Perfectly Rational and Completely Irrational?

    I’m here to learn how to be a better critical thinker, a “free” thinker.

    Once you realize that we aren’t here solely to play teacher, you’ll be much better off. We aren’t here to be free education for people too lazy or thick to educate themselves, especially when the questions are indistinguishable from JAQing off

    But dudes,(Rutee Katreya and Nick Gott) just ignore me, don’t you have some gay teenager to cyber-bully into committing suicide?

    FUCK. YOU.

    But Mormonism is Christianity on a bad acid trip, I like to say.

    I’m sure you are an authority on the subject. I prefer to compare it to bullshit with dogshit piled on top. Sure, it is shittier than regular bullshit, but the smell is basically the same, and the only people who really can tell the difference are those that have already built up a tolerance to bullshit.

    Catholicism is not a cult, it’s a religion. Mormonism is a perversion of religion, a cult.

    Why? Because you say so? Sorry, but a cult is just a small religion. Neither Mormonism nor Catholicism qualify. Insofar as they bear the “perverse” traits of a cult, both share them.

    My personal spectrum though, I would call all of the Protestant faiths heresies

    Holy fuck, you are far gone.

    Just saying there are degrees of insanity, and on a scale of 1-10 Catholicism wouldn’t be nearly as high as Mormonism.

    Because you are Protestant and believe most of the nonsense that Catholics believe in. Your assessment of the absurdity of Mormonism and Catholicism is based on how similar they are to Protestantism. Of course you think Mormonism is more absurd by that fucking delusional metric. It’s like a homeopath saying that alchemy is less absurd than astrology. It means nothing.

  67. mythbri says

    @jaredwolf

    You’re way over the three-post line and the human decency line.

    So Nick Gotts and Rutee hit you hard where you believe.

    So. Fucking. What?

    Are you that fragile that someone angrily calling out your ridiculous fear of an imaginary place as a reason for believing in an imaginary person leads you to believe, think or even SAY that people here would bully people to the point of suicide?

    You are an asshole.

    And you know what? As a former Mormon, I feel quite safe in telling you that Mormonism and Catholocism are EQUALLY BULLSHIT.

    Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

  68. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    But dudes,(Rutee Katreya and Nick Gott) just ignore me, don’t you have some gay teenager to cyber-bully into committing suicide?

    You are fucking scum, jaredwolf.

    Here is a quick question for you, fuckface. How much of the money that you forked over to your church went to making sure the LGBT people get treated as second class citizens.

    I could go further. But I will say this, your silence on the issue is your concent to how your church treats LGBT teens.

    Live with that.

  69. says

    Mythbri:

    As a former Mormon, I feel quite safe in telling you that Mormonism and Catholocism are EQUALLY BULLSHIT.

    As a former Catholic married to a former Mormon, I’ll happily confirm they are both bullshit.

    They are also both cults, whether you like that or not, Jared. The Catholic church happens to be an older, highly successful cult. One that achieved much of said success through brutal oppression, suppression, torture, murder, theft and the co-opting of many other religious rituals and beliefs to make it all somewhat palatable. You may as well declare yourself a follower of Mithra.

  70. mythbri says

    @Caine

    I didn’t know that Mr. du Mal was a former Mo. Makes me that much more glad that the both of you have gotten to where you are. Maybe jaredwolf will, too, though that won’t automatically correct his being an asshole.

  71. says

    Mythbri:

    I didn’t know that Mr. du Mal was a former Mo.

    Yes, he’s the oldest of eight. His dad was always a Jack Mormon, but his mom is devout. Mister rebelled early, didn’t buy into any of it – he only made Melchisedec priest, never made it to the magic undies. He was already having sex in high school, smoking weed, etc. Several of his siblings made their way out of Mormonism, three of them. The rest are happy little Mormon breeders.

    I couldn’t get away from Catholicism fast enough. I have absolutely nothing good to say about it.

  72. campbell says

    @Catholic dude,
    1) That “5 non-negotiables” crap is ginned up by conservative catholic groups, not by the Vatican or even officially endorsed by the USCCB (though no doubt many of the bishops would agree with the list). The notion implied by your original comment, that if you vote for the wrong guy (read: Obama) you’ll burn in hell, is just not an accurate rendering of that church’s teachings. No item on your list has ever been treated as a matter of infallible doctrine (only 2 things have ever been). That the RCC has official positions on topics like abortion, euthanasia (and don’t forget–the death penalty, war, and the economy/poverty) does not mean that there is only one official means of achieving those ends in public policy. And p.s., a cursory glance at Romney’s ever-changing positions regarding abortion (including his approval of his son’s surrogate’s contract provision of an abortion clause) suggests voting for Romney isn’t as clean a call on so-called “life” issues as the conservative catholics would have you think.

    2) Quit reading Pascal and brush up on 20th century Catholic teaching–you obviously haven’t read Gaudium et Spes and Dignitatis Humanae, both of which make quite clear the role of individual conscience in forming moral opinion, including those opinions that drive participation in the political sphere. If you insist on remaining a theist and insist on remaining Catholic and you want to think more rigorously about how to have your religious beliefs inform your political opinions, you’d do well to broaden your exposure to actual Catholic doctrine and theology.

    As for PZ’s OP, I loathe both religions, pretty much equally, though I do find persuasive the notion that Mormonism has a much tougher time with historicity claims than Christianity/Catholicism. I’m willing to agree with the folks who say if we’re gonna be stuck with a magical thinker of some stripe in an elected office, let’s just make sure xe doesn’t want the Department of Education designing American History curricula to teach that indigenous Americans are actually descended from the Hebrews, NASA funding or science classrooms to be influenced by the idea that dead people get their own planets, etc. In that sense, I’m all for a religious test for holding public office.

  73. says

    If you read that sentence, you might have noticed the word “sincerely.” I would argue that Republicans don’t SINCERELY believe the lies they’re telling, they are deliberately being insincere.

    Argue that all you want, it won’t be less stupid. It doesn’t matter if they’re sincere; it appeals to masses who *are* sincere in these things.

    I never said Pascals wager was a good argument for believing in God, by the way, I only alluded to it as a concept that has caused me some confusion.

    You asked how one avoids the fear; that implies Pascal’s Wager is a valid argument.

    So you seriously don’t see that that is EXACTLY why I am on this website?

    It isn’t. “Go read statements already made.” Nothing needs to be rehashed if your goal is to educate yourself; you need only read where others have asked questions. You are instead here to get us to educate you. Learning yourself is different.

    But dudes,(Rutee Katreya and Nick Gott) just ignore me, don’t you have some gay teenager to cyber-bully into committing suicide?

    Being insulted on one site for saying stupid shit is not even the tiniest bit like being bullied for being gay, or trans. It’s even further away from society hating you, and knowing your family can discard you for it while *ALSO* being bullied. Fuck off, hetero, this won’t go well for you if you decide that gay people’s experiences are like yours.

    , I study others as well, and there are just too many bizarre beliefs in Mormonism to make that connection of absurdity with Catholicism.

    Mormon heaven where you live with wives, etc for eternity: Bizarre
    Catholic Afterlife, where you live with loved ones, sing choruses to Jesugod for eternity: Normal

    Mormons believe a verifiable historical figure and conman was their prophet: Bizarre
    Catholics believe a person who lacks strong evidence for existing was their prophet: Normal

  74. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    though I do find persuasive the notion that Mormonism has a much tougher time with historicity claims than Christianity/Catholicism

    Well one has had a lot more time to change, cover up, ignore and obfuscate.

  75. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    You’re right, that is a pretty lousy reason to believe in God. I always think though, if there is even a 1% chance that I will go to that terrifying place, wouldn’t it be wise to spend all the time I have on earth trying to avoid it? But then, there is no way to be sure, there are so many interpretations of the Bible, plus all the other religious texts that would say we’re going to burn. Every time I think of a verse I might interpret to mean I have a chance at heaven, there are 100 other verses that tell me I’m going to hell. Catch 22.

    See but you miss the most important point of Pascal’s Wager. It works two ways.

    How do you know you aren’t praying to the wrong god?

    By praying to Jesus you might be angering the correct deity.

  76. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    @RevBDC: 100% agree. Sorry if i implied otherwise.

    no I was just hitting the point home, but as you can see by my other post my reading hasn’t been on par tonight.

  77. chigau (棒や石) says

    Caine #76
    *ahem*
    I have something good™ to say about Catholicism.
    In my case it has proven to be the best inoculation against all woo.
    After I stopped Practicing™ (ca. age 16) and was still attracted to various theist, deist, I Ching, tarot, TM, EST, Ecankar, etc.etc.etc. I could always compare that stuff to my Catechism.
    It was always just as stupid and easier to reject.
    After 40 years it still stuns me that any adult could be Religious™.

  78. says

    Chigau:

    After I stopped Practicing™ (ca. age 16) and was still attracted to various theist, deist, I Ching, tarot, TM, EST, Ecankar, etc.etc.etc. I could always compare that stuff to my Catechism.

    There is that, however, I think it’s Catholicism which makes so many former Catholics attracted to various forms of woo, seeking that same sort of mysticism, just mysticism unattached to the church.

  79. chigau (棒や石) says

    Caine
    I also have an elder sibling who de-Catholicized before me.
    He set a very good example.
    (His vocabulary for several years consisted mostly of “That’s bullshit.”)
    (Still, we were both Carlos Castaneda fans for a while.)

  80. chigau (棒や石) says

    Caine
    Looking at Carlos’s bibliography, it seems I kept on reading until about the time I took Anthropolgy101.

  81. Patricia, OM says

    Years ago, when I was as smug a fundie as could be, I read a book called No Man Knows My History which was an expose’ of the Mormon cult. It was so delightful! Pointed out just what a fraud Joseph Smith was.

    So far I haven’t had the courage to read the book about Warren Jeffs. This bullshit doesn’t make me feel superior anymore, it makes me cry.

  82. campbell says

    Sonia Johnson’s excommunication from LDS for her support of the Equal Rights Amendment is what spurred me to start asking “just who the hell ARE these people??” and start reading up on the religion. (Sadly, she ended up buying into all kinds of woo, but that’s a Horse of a different, albeit not White, color…)

  83. says

    Patricia:

    This bullshit doesn’t make me feel superior anymore, it makes me cry.

    Which highlights the fact you are a decent, compassionate human being.

    You bring up a point Jaredwolf was very busy missing – that the religious most always need someone to feel superior to, when you’d think they’d be all secure in their faith. Theists rarely question that need. And it should be questioned, most seriously.

  84. loopyj says

    I really do suspect that you’ve already had an atheist president sworn in. I have a strong feeling that Obama’s religiosity is not real, but that he knows full well that he can’t come out until after his second term is over.

  85. Beatrice, anti-imperialist anti-racist Islamophobiaphobic leftist says

    But dudes,(Rutee Katreya and Nick Gott) just ignore me, don’t you have some gay teenager to cyber-bully into committing suicide?

    Sorry, did you want to post that on a Catholic forum, but accidentally addressed it to wrong people?

  86. anteprepro says

    I really do suspect that you’ve already had an atheist president sworn in. I have a strong feeling that Obama’s religiosity is not real,

    Yeah! Because the only true True Believers are Bible thumping literalists, right? Sorry, but wishy-washy believers are still believers, and not super-secret closeted atheists. Considering how little Obama has actually done that would be consistent with him being Religion Free, the people who think that Obama is a secret atheist are getting just as tiresome as the people who think he is a secret Muslim.

  87. says

    @Mythbri,

    I’m sending out the wrong vibe here. Nick Gotts and Rutee Katreya absolutely did not “hit me where I believe.” They’re internet thugs, and I was pretty clear in saying that they don’t bother me.

    Apparently I used a trigger word that ruffled some feathers. Oops. I wish I could go back and omit the word “gay” from that line. Those dudes, and, wow, most of you folks on here, are a pretty good reflection of the internet bullying problem that goes on these days, was what I was intending to express there. I may be Catholic, and what was it….a vile piece of shit, scum, fuckface, asshole, and just a dimwitted fool in general, but the LGBT folks deserve their human rights, and equality, and freedom from discrimination in all it’s forms. I apologize if using the word “gay” was insensitive. What you see on the news, most of the teenage victims seem to be gay.

    The verbal assaults that so many of the atheists- at least from what I’ve seen on this thread on ftb, this being my first time participating in one- resort to, is the same kind of belittling language that causes a lot of teenagers to kill themselves.

    campbell, I was misled then. A Catholic apologist I know misrepresented that “guide” as official church doctrine. It was a Pope John Paul II teaching though. Hey, I admittedly don’t know everything there is to know about Catholicism. There’s been a lot of Popes and Counsels, it’s hard to keep up with. Plus, I don’t like to read. BOOOM! There’s your invitation oh wise ones! There’s your winner! The Catholic guy just said he doesn’t like to READ! HAHA what a bafoon! Let’s all collectively insult him so we can feel super intellectual and superior! Let’s bomb the shit out of this fucker!

    @Janine: Hallucinating Liar, No my silence wasn’t any kind of agreement or consent. I didn’t respond last night because I was watching the debate, and then fell asleep. Although I am scum, I don’t spend a lot of time on internet blogs calling people names, or defending a position that I don’t even hold, like treating LGBT people like second class citizens. I’m not sure many parishes give money to promote bigotry, but I don’t defend them if they do. Ignoring a post doesn’t mean consenting to what it says, not sure how you figure it does. I’ve never given a dime to the Catholic Church, I’m a greedy bastard I guess. Oh, and scum!

    Rev. BigDumbChimp,

    I know what you mean. I think in Islam, the “unpardonable sin” is to make “partnership” with God. A Muslim neighbor once explained to me that by believing that a man is equal to God, you are damning yourself to hell. So me believing Jesus is God, I’m screwed if Islam is right. Penn Jillette said it best when he says that everyone is an atheist, in that regard. I deny Odin, so I am an atheist. The idea of heaven bothers me too, because even if I get there, the knowledge that there will be other people in Hell would bother me a lot. I would think I would be even more of a vile piece of shit than I learned that I am here today if I wasn’t angry at the fact that here I am in heaven while nice people who aren’t fucking scumbags are roasting in hell. That’s why I am questioning the whole heaven/hell thing. But at the end of the day I realize that we can’t understand the mind of God, and his ways of doing things, his system of justice, is beyond our comprehension-one day it will make sense.

    I don’t believe that every religion has to feel superior to everyone elses. I just believe in the oldest Jesus Christ worshiping church, and at least to me it makes sense that the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church is the structure God put here to be the authority on matters of faith. I’m a history buff and when Martin Luther came along I think it created a lot of confusion on the western side of this planet, without which there would be no need for Mormonism.

    Hey I still believe most atheists are nice people. I know you can be smart/informed and not be jerks like a lot of you folks on this thread. I would be careful though, in the last 10 years Atheism in America has gone from 8% of the population to 12%. You don’t want to lose that momentum by turning people away from thinking freely the same way the church turns people away from Jesus by being arrogant assholes, do you? Separation of Church and state is important. Atheism has a strong role in keeping them separate. But the “Atheist movement” won’t get many people to help them organize and be active in achieving that goal, if when they come to atheist forums they are greeted with such enthusiastic venom. I’m pretty shocked by it myself, anyway.

  88. CJO says

    Those dudes, and, wow, most of you folks on here, are a pretty good reflection of the internet bullying problem that goes on these days, was what I was intending to express there.

    Bull. Fucking. Shit.

    You came here, defending Catholicism, purveyors of some truly hateful, life-denying dogma and perpetrators of an international criminal conspiracy to cover up child-rape, and got treated to some invective. Here. Not where you live, not in email, not on Facebook, not at your school or place of employment. Boo fucking-hoo, man, seriously. There is no comparison. Bullying is systematic harrassment, not some bad fucking words in a comment box, and your false-equivalence speaks volumes about your lack of empathy for actual victims of bullying.

    I would be careful though

    Nobody gives a shit what you think. You’ve shown your true colors, now go get bent.

  89. John Morales says

    jaredwolf:

    You don’t want to lose that momentum by turning people away from thinking freely the same way the church turns people away from Jesus by being arrogant assholes, do you?

    You’ve been turned away from your mythical godman?

  90. Koshka says

    The verbal assaults that so many of the atheists- at least from what I’ve seen on this thread on ftb, this being my first time participating in one- resort to, is the same kind of belittling language that causes a lot of teenagers to kill themselves.

    The verbal assaults from so many atheists started after you compared yourself to a bullied gay teenager.

    You are a liar.

    And still a vile piece of shit.

  91. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    What you see on the news, most of the teenage victims seem to be gay.

    Gee, do you suppose that the dominant Abrahamic religions in US culture demonizing homosexuality has anything to do with that?

  92. says

    #100, riiiight, because atheists never “dig up the corpses” of the victims of religious abuse to make a point.

    CJO, I came here defending the Catholicism against the accusation that it is as absurd as Mormonism. Don’t straw man me. Also, the constant harassment of teens for a long period of time leads them to the depression that kills themselves. Yes, exactly, which is why I said this is an example of the verbal assault that takes place on the internet leading to the suicides of teens. And I never used their tragic deaths to exploit them, I used YOUR bullying language as an example of the kind of nastiness that causes them to become depressed. If I were to continue in conversation with people like all of you for a lengthy period of time, I would probably want to kill myself.

    CJO, “nobody gives a shit what you think.” Well, freethoughtblogs.org led me to believe I could express my thoughts and be respected and that people might consider giving a shit what my “thoughts” are. Why does nobody give a shit about what I think. I care what you think, because I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t care what other people think. And you’re not a very polite person, but I wouldn’t say “I don’t give a shit what you think.” or “go get bent.” And because some priests abused some kids, the argument that all people who believe in the Catholic God are guilty of the same crimes, what is that fallacy called again?

    Koshka, I’m a vile piece of shit? Show me your evidence. You’ve done a great job at proving me right. You call someone a vile piece of shit that you have never even met? What if I were that vulnerable teenager? What if I WERE fragile. Don’t any of you have a shred of human decency.

    Well, I came to this site thinking Atheists were some interesting people to learn from and get some ideas from a different perspective. What I found was by FAR the ugliest group of people I’ve ever come across. All the religious hypocrisy I’ve come across, all the bigotry from ignorant people, all the insults you see tossed around on the internet….you folks are definitely the most despicable characters I’ve ever had the displeasure of meeting. Latch onto one ambiguous thing a theist says and bomb him with insults, and justify it with, “because you said-insert illogical accusation here.” If I’m a vile piece of shit, holy shit balls, I don’t know what that makes you guys. If being a Catholic means being ignorant and stupid, and being an Atheist makes you enlightened but have no human decency or manners, yeah, I’ll stay ignorant and stupid, and continue being Catholic. I thought I’d meet some decent people here, and you’ve proved me wrong….Thank you. I’ll have to re-examine Matt Dillahunty’s argument that morals can exist without religion, because I don’t think atheism can exist without having an ugly heart, but maybe I’m on the wrong site.

    Keep being assholes though, because it has certainly strengthened MY beliefs. I certainly don’t want to be like you pricks. I thought I was relatively unintelligent until I came here. Now I feel like a pretty reasonable person. Thanks guys!

  93. John Morales says

    jaredwolf:

    CJO, I came here defending the Catholicism against the accusation that it is as absurd as Mormonism.

    So, when are you gonna start the defence? :)

    This crap is called the “Profession of faith”, and is duly recited by Catholics during one of their ceremonies:

    We believe in God, the Father, the Almighty,
    maker of heaven and earth,
    and all that is seen and unseen.
    We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
    the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father,
    God from God, Light from Light,
    true God from true God,
    begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.
    Through him all things were made.
    For us men and for our salvation
    he came down from heaven:
    by the power of the Holy Spirit
    he was born of the Virgin Mary,
    and became man.
    For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
    he suffered, died, and was buried.
    On the third day he rose again
    in fulfilment of the Scriptures;
    he ascended into heaven
    and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
    He will come again in glory
    to judge the living and the dead,
    and His kingdom will have no end.
    We believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the Lord, the giver of life,
    who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
    With the Father and the Son
    he is worshipped and glorified.
    He has spoken through the Prophets.
    We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
    We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
    We look for the resurrection of the dead,
    and the life of the world to come.
     
    Amen.

    What is the salient difference between this crap and the Mor[m]on crap?

    (Not the magical godman speaking through the prophets; not the judgement in the afterlife)

  94. John Morales says

    [meta]

    jaredwolf:

    Well, freethoughtblogs.org led me to believe I could express my thoughts and be respected and that people might consider giving a shit what my “thoughts” are.

    Heh. You are getting the respect you refer, and your thoughts (oh, sorry, “thoughts”) have been duly noted.

    (Chewtoy, you)

    If being a Catholic means being ignorant and stupid, and being an Atheist makes you enlightened but have no human decency or manners, yeah, I’ll stay ignorant and stupid, and continue being Catholic.

    Your admission you’d (given your hypothetical) rather be ignorant and stupid than enlightened (as is proper for a Catholic) is duly noted, as is your imagining that a human can lack humanity.

    (Isn’t that a bit like a dog that lacks dogginess or a cat that lacks cattiness? Heh.

    Apparently, once one buys into epistemic crap, anything goes)

  95. ibyea says

    Catholicism not as ridiculous as Mormonism? Oh man, that is funny. I attended Catholic mass and events, holy crap are they ridiculous.

  96. says

    because atheists never “dig up the corpses” of the victims of religious abuse to make a point.

    We use examples of victims to defend other victims. You’re using victims to defend abusers. Slight difference.

    Freethoughtblogs.org led me to believe I could express my thoughts and be respected

    You thought that no matter what opinion you expressed, you’d be respected? I’m happy to say that’s not how we run things around here. You will be treated according to the merits of your position. If you talk crap, don’t be surprised if people point that out.

    And because some priests abused some kids, the argument that all people who believe in the Catholic God are guilty of the same crimes, what is that fallacy called again?

    It’s called a strawman, but you seem confused about who’s committing it. It’s not that all Catholics are guilty of child abuse, but you can’t ignore the fact that you’re a member of a highly shady organization.

    The Catholic Church is engaged in organized disinformation regarding condoms, which is a direct cause of untold amounts of suffering and death.
    The Catholic Church has deliberately protected known pedophiles, keeping them from prosecution, silencing their victims and ensuring their continued access to children.
    The Catholic Church has on numerous occasions made it quite clear that they would rather let both mother and child die than allow an abortion. For example.

    Now, I very much doubt that you’ve been personally involved in any of that, but we’re still left with the fact that you’re supporting and defending an organization with the moral integrity of a child molesting serial killer.

    You may say that you personally disagree with these policies, but that is irrelevant. The Church is not a democratic organization. What you think has no effect on what the church hierarchy does.

    Your membership swells the numbers that they will use to influence politicians. Any donation you give will go to further their agenda, not yours. Every time you take communion, you’re saying “I may disagree on these points, but not enough to withdraw my support for the church.”
    Every time you attend mass, you’re sending the message “My identity as a Catholic is more important to me than the lives of your victims.”

    As a member of the Catholic Church, you are de facto supporting mass murder, child molestation and the fight against women’s rights.
    The only question is whether you’re ok with that.

  97. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    LykeX@35:

    Mormonism has one point where it’s decidedly less weird and nonsensical than standard Christianity: It rejects the trinity.

    Uh, that point gets overturned with the notion of becoming gods upon death.

  98. Ermine says

    CJO, I came here defending Catholicism against the accusation that it is as absurd as Mormonism.

    So you came here defending Catholicism – As you just admitted to AGAIN – and got so very upset that when some of them had the temerity to disagree with you, you suggested that they should be bullying or were the type who might bully a gay child until they committed suicide! And you wonder why they got mad at you?? You wonder why, in the face of the utter hypocrisy of a Catholic accusing atheists of bullying gay children, why people might think of you as a particularly loathsome piece of shit? I don’t wonder anymore, not for an instant.

    All the religious hypocrisy I’ve come across, all the bigotry from ignorant people, all the insults you see tossed around on the internet… You folks are definitely the most despicable characters I’ve ever had the displeasure of meeting.

    Really? You just suggested that two people that you don’t know bully gay children to suicide, simply because they strongly disagreed with you about the relative believability and weirdness of Mormonism compared to Catholicism, or told you to do the simple act of informing yourself about the arguments (Like Pascal’s fucking wager – Hah!) before coming here and expecting us to spoon-feed it all to you. And you think they are the most despicable people you have ever met? Hah!

    YOU attacked Nick, claiming that he’d “called you an idiot” and said “everything you believe is horrible and I’m smarter than you in every possible way”, but he hadn’t. I just went back and reread his posts just to be sure, and in every case leading up to your bizarre and hypocritical accusation of bullying, he aimed his vituperation at your beliefs, Not. At. You. Do you, CAN you see the difference between his attempt to point out “how stupid and disgusting Catholicism is” or “the idiocy of Pascal’s wager” and your actual attack on him as a person? Trust me, WE can see it even if you can’t (or won’t).

    You then went on and opened the floodgates, making quite a few unsubstantiated claims about HIM as opposed to his beliefs. You suggested that he “get [his] rocks off by insulting and belittling people on the internet”, you put words in his mouth with the false quote(s) “Nope, he’s a theist, time to pounce.” and “ignorant Catholic know-nothing loser”, and then you suggested that he was “mean spirited”. YOU ATTACKED HIM.

    And because some priests abused some kids, the argument that all people who believe in the Catholic God are guilty of the same crimes, what is that fallacy called again?

    If only someone here had MADE that argument, you might have a point. Thus far I don’t consider you a very reliable judge of what other people have said in this thread. So far, the only thing -related- in this conversation is when people pointed out that Catholicism – the religion and/or its leaders, NOT any of the individual people – is still in the middle of a criminal conspiracy to cover up CENTURIES of horrific child abuse.

    Yep, it’d be really awful if anyone here tried to call all of some group awful because of something some fraction of their group did.

    If I were to continue in conversation with people like all of you for a lengthy period of time, I would probably want to kill myself.

    …Like you just did there. *facepalm*

    Here’s another old rule that you -really- ought to educate yourself on before digging yourself in any deeper: The First Rule of Holes. When you realize that you’ve dug yourself into a hole, STOP DIGGING!

    At this point, you’re already in too deep for a lot of us here to ever want to talk to you again. You’ve definitely gone past MY limits of human decency. You probably can’t even see it, can you? You’re mad and defensive, so you’re going to try to ignore or obfuscate the fact that you just accused two people that you don’t know of bullying, (somehow that was supposed to make a difference when YOU were concerned, wasn’t it?), exactly the -same- sort of bullying that has caused the suicides of far too many students over the past few years. You’ve done that, but somehow they’re the worst, most despicable examples you’ve ever run across? Let me tell you a little story about motes and beams, buddy..

    When it comes right down to it, Jared, YOU started it. YOU attacked Nick (as opposed to his beliefs) first, and then you doubled down and claimed he and Rutee were engaging in exactly the same sort of bullying that was causing the suicides of gay students. YOU called them thugs and bullies, when all they’d disagreed with so far was your beliefs.

    If we can your errors (and blatant hypocrisy) so easily, do you think your supposed God is going to let you weasel out of the consequences of your words with the same sort of excuses? I’ve got news for you, sunshine!

    Stop digging. Get bent. Go away. I like Nick and Rutee and their blunt honesty far more than I like your hypocritical ignorance and close-mindedness.

  99. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    jaredwolf:

    I am a Theist, but I would like to base my claim of God’s existence on something other than faith

    There is nothing to justify god’s existence. The god you worship…all the gods currently worshipped on Earth…all the gods created by humanity throughout our existence:
    Humans created them all.
    God exists only in the realms populated by ghosts, dragons, elves, 100 headed serpents, Xenu and Superman.

    Come on. You’re not far from rejecting god belief, it seems. You’ve already realized faith is a poor reason to claim any deity exists. I’m sure you already reject all the other gods humanity has created. Why not add one more to the list?

  100. Ermine says

    If we can SPOT your errors (and blatant hypocrisy)… etc.

    Whoops! There’s always one word missing when I send it.. *sigh!*

  101. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    jaredwolf:

    But dudes,(Rutee Katreya and Nick Gott) just ignore me, don’t you have some gay teenager to cyber-bully into committing suicide?

    You had my sympathy until this post. I could see you were struggling with your religious views and I hoped that in the end, truth would win out.

    After this post, fuck off.

    You crossed a line with the above comment.
    That shit is NOT funny. What you’re facing with ridicule and contempt in one thread over the course of one day, which you choose to keep returning to-even though you do not have to-is
    NOTHING.
    I mean
    NOTHING compared to a gay teenager being bullied (cyber or otherwise) into committing suicide.

    What the ever loving fuck is wrong with you to even draw that comparison?
    Moreover, why the fuck would you make such a comparison to three people you don’t even know?

    Oh, they said mean things to you.

    That makes them the same as bullies who push gay teens to commit suicide. That’s what you meant to say? You stand by that shit?

    Fuck off to infinity and beyond asshole.

  102. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    jared:

    The verbal assaults that so many of the atheists- at least from what I’ve seen on this thread on ftb, this being my first time participating in one- resort to, is the same kind of belittling language that causes a lot of teenagers to kill themselves.

    Hey dumb fuck!
    Some of the people you’re talking to are queer.
    I’m a gay man.
    I’m fucking offended by your comparison of your privileged position of heterosexuality to the bullshit and bullying the queers face.
    Have you, over the course of this day, since you’ve been posting here, been told that someone was going to hurt you or your family?
    Has anyone threatened your home or your vehicle?

    No.
    No one has done that.

    Also, you haven’t been insulted day in/day out for months or years on end.
    You haven’t been constantly threatened each day you go to school-something you HAVE to do-with threats of verbal or physical violence.
    You haven’t been treated as a freak among your peers for being different.

    Your comparison to gay bullying is way off.

    And you need to fucking apologize to everyone you insulted, particularly to Rutee and Nick Gotts.

  103. Ichthyic says

    CJO, I came here defending the Catholicism against the accusation that it is as absurd as Mormonism.

    Are you sure? If so then you appear to have failed, completely.

  104. Ichthyic says

    Fuck off to infinity and beyond asshole.

    That should really have been a line from “Toy Story 3″

  105. Ichthyic says

    Catholicism is not a cult, it’s a religion. Mormonism is a perversion of religion, a cult.

    ah the wonders of privilege.

  106. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    jaredwolf:

    CJO, “nobody gives a shit what you think.” Well, freethoughtblogs.org led me to believe I could express my thoughts and be respected and that people might consider giving a shit what my “thoughts” are. Why does nobody give a shit about what I think.

    The Freethought *concept* does not mean “free to think whatever the fuck you want”.
    As a human being, you already *have* that right.

    The Freethought *concept* means:

    Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds opinions should be formed on the basis of logic, reason and empiricism and not authority, tradition, or other dogmas
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freethought

    Your opinion of the universe being created by god is just that-an opinion. It wasn’t formed on the basis of logic, reason and empiricism. Rather, it was formed on the basis of indoctrination based on authority, tradition and dogma. When you can have opinions formed on the basis of science, then you may deserve to have your thoughts respected. Just having a thought doesn’t mean you automatically get to have that thought respected.

    Contrary to what many religions teach, religion is not off limits for criticism.
    Contrary to what many people seem to believe, the content of an argument is more important than its tone.
    If you come to a forum such as this, and put forth your beliefs in original sin, virgin births, supernatural miracles, 3 in one deities which contradict every law of physics, burning bushes, parted seas, or acts of genocide committed by a petulant deity you’re going to find those beliefs ridiculed. They *should* be poked at. The beliefs are ridiculous.
    You’ve had your religious beliefs criticized and ridiculed, but until you made your vile comparison of Rutee and Nick Gotts to cyberbullies who cause gay kids to commit suicide, you weren’t attacked as a person.
    Now you have been attacked because you’ve shown yourself to be a shitty person (nothing said to you constitutes anything remotely similar to anti-gay bullying and you’ve made a baseless and horrifically wrong statement about two commenters here based on them saying mean things to you)

  107. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Ermine:

    You wonder why, in the face of the utter hypocrisy of a Catholic accusing atheists of bullying gay children, why people might think of you as a particularly loathsome piece of shit?

    Fuck.
    In my responses to that shithead, I wasn’t even thinking about it this way. That makes the comment *and* jaredwolf more repulsive.

  108. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Ichthyic:

    That should really have been a line from “Toy Story 3″

    I wonder how a mature audience version of Toy Story would look…

  109. Ichthyic says

    I always think though, if there is even a 1% chance that I will go to that terrifying place, wouldn’t it be wise to spend all the time I have on earth trying to avoid it?

    easy way to avoid it:

    don’t believe it exists, because it doesn’t.

    You say that you think Catholocism is less imaginary than other religions, but you don’t even question the concept of hell that the Catholics basically invented?

    wow.

    you’re right, you DO need to learn better critical thinking skills.

  110. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Ichthyic:
    That’s more Toy Story Xxx (having watched Smurf porn, I have no more desire to see animated characters having sex).

    I’m thinking more Toy Story meets Boardwalk Empire or Sopranos in terms of mature content.

  111. says

    Mormonism has one point where it’s decidedly less weird and nonsensical than standard Christianity: It rejects the trinity.

    Uh, that point gets overturned with the notion of becoming gods upon death.

    Why? In my opinion, multiple gods is a substantially more sensible idea than multiple gods who are really the same, while still being different. One I can understand, the other I can’t.

    If you’re thinking of any problems related to a human being becoming a god, I don’t see that there should be any problem. Since Mormons don’t share the same idea of god as most Christians, you don’t run into the problem of incompatible natures. Mormons don’t see god as something existing outside normal reality or as “the ground of being” or any of these things.

    A god is simply a perfected human. That’s it. “God” and “human” refer to the same essential type of being. There’s no more difference between a god and a human than there is between a parent and a child. They’re different in age, knowledge and power, but not in nature.

  112. carlie says

    jaredwolf.
    Dude.

    This is a blog run by a scientist. A blog on a freethought network, which is dedicated to rationality. The most highly prized quality of any comment here is its basis in reality.

    So this?

    Latch onto one ambiguous thing

    is a feature, not a bug. Ambiguity does not help you in a discussion, especially when it’s the entirety of your position.

    And this:

    Why does nobody give a shit about what I think.

    Because we give a shit about what’s real, not about opinions.

    And when somone spouts off, and then backpedals and says that they just hadn’t thought something through enough, or didn’t quite know all the facts, or was just offering an opinion, and tries to use that to complain that they were criticized harshly? That isn’t an explanation, it’s a condemnation. On this blog, you think things through BEFORE you post them, not after. And if you can’t back up what you say, you either don’t say it, or you understand that you will be deservedly ripped to shreds for it. Everybody has that happen a few times, and whether they respond by making their arguments better next time or by doubling down and crying that everyone is a big old meanie sets the tone as to whether anyone else will even bother reading their comments from then on.

    So really, you haven’t made a good start here. And that’s even without considering how you blithely grabbed for anything in the category “who’s someone who gets bullied and it’s a bad thing” and flung it at commenters who were simply telling you that religious beliefs had zero link to reality, without even pausing for a moment to consider whether that was a valid or useful comparison, or whether the people you were flinging it at might even be in that category themselves. Seriously. Re-read this entire thread, without thinking of your comments as yourself, and rather as someone you’re observing. Look at how you come off. Mote, eye, remove.

  113. says

    I’ll explain why the moment you can explain the Trinity to me in a way that doesn’t make my brain go “Blooooooop!”

    I’m not discussing whether this makes sense from any rational point of view. We’re comparing mythologies here, so that’s a moot point. I judge the Mormon god concept to be less weird than the standard Christian one, not because I think it’s more likely true, but because I can actually understand what it is.

    I can’t do that with the Trinity. It doesn’t make any sense. I can’t wrap my head around the idea that three separate people are the same being.
    Note, it’s not just three aspects of the same person. It’s not that god is the sum total of the three people. It’s not that three people share some common characteristic.
    It’s three distinctly different people, each one of them completely and fully the same being.

    I’m sorry, but multiple gods doesn’t even come close to that level of incomprehensible insanity.

  114. Ichthyic says

    I’ll explain why the moment you can explain the Trinity to me in a way that doesn’t make my brain go “Blooooooop!”

    not fair. I have NO clue what will or won’t make your brain fart.

    I’m sorry, but multiple gods doesn’t even come close to that level of incomprehensible insanity.

    and yet, all you’ve done really is project your subjective notion of what makes sense to YOU.

    there’s nothing objective there that I can see.

    the trinity and multiple gods are EXACTLY the same level of confabulation to my mind.

    of course, my point is buried in there.

  115. says

    It sounds to me like you’re simply saying “since they’re both bullshit, it makes no sense to judge between them.” I can agree that the discussion may not be terribly productive, but I still think there’s a distinct, objective difference.

    The Mormon god concept is false, but comprehensible. It’s like talking about a pink unicorn. The animal doesn’t exist, but we can understand the idea. From this simple description, you probably already have a picture in your mind right now.
    If you asked different people to draw a pink unicorn, their drawing would be recognizable as representations of the same animal. A mythological one, sure, but the same distinct idea.

    Compare that with the idea of a pink, invisible unicorn. Not only can you not imagine what that animal would be like, it doesn’t even make any sense. The characteristics described are mutually exclusive.
    You’d have to do some amazing reinterpretation to even get to an idea that made any kind of sense and if you asked different people to explain how it could be pink and invisible at the same time, you’d likely end up with radically different notions. That would be inevitable because it just doesn’t make any sense.

    No matter how weird the Mormon faith is (and it is weird, I freely admit), I have yet to hear of anything approaching that degree of complete nonsense. I don’t mean “nonsense” as in wrong. I mean, literally non-sense.
    The Trinity concept has no comprehensible content at all. We can’t even begin to think of what it means.

    As for an objective measure of relative merit, how about counting the problems that each concept has to deal with? If we do that, the Mormons win out.
    All god concepts will involve a certain amount of hand-waving (What do you mean by spirit? How does god influence matter without a material conduit? Euthyphro dilemma, etc.), but any problem inherent in the Mormon god concept is also shared by the Christian concept, while the Christian Trinity has a whole new set of problems that the Mormons can easily avoid, simply because they don’t rely on an essentially meaningless idea.

    I think there’s a good case to be made that, at least on this point, the Mormons make more sense.

  116. carlie says

    Apparently I used a trigger word that ruffled some feathers. Oops.

    What you DID was accuse people here of bullying others, and doing so with regard to an immutable aspect of a person. Both of those things are policed quite tightly here, although you wouldn’t know that given that you just blundered in and started commenting without even getting the feel of the room first. And there is no valid comparison to you there, because being gay is part of who you are. What was being criticized were beliefs that you CHOOSE to have. Big difference. Very, very big. Doesn’t matter if you were raised that way, at some point you must have had doubts (or are having them now), and are still choosing which way to set your brain. It’s a choice. If you choose to believe trash, don’t be surprised if people think you made the wrong choice and aren’t afraid to tell you.

  117. carlie says

    while the Christian Trinity has a whole new set of problems that the Mormons can easily avoid, simply because they don’t rely on an essentially meaningless idea.

    And millions upon millions of people have no trouble at all believing in the Trinity. In fact, that was the crucial turning point for Francis Collins to become a Christian, when he saw a three-parted waterfall and realized how easy it was to believe that there could be an entity that was the same although in three parts. What’s your point again?

  118. says

    And millions upon millions of people have no trouble at all believing in the Trinity

    How does that address what I said? I’m not disputing the ability of people to believe nonsense. Are you? Are you saying that if people believe it, then it must make sense?

    when he saw a three-parted waterfall and realized how easy it was to believe that there could be an entity that was the same although in three parts

    The Trinity is not a god in three parts. It’s a god in three parts, where each part is fully god, while remaining different from each other part.
    See this. A=B, B=C, A=/=C. That’s what the trinity is and it goes against basic logic.

    I don’t see that the three-stream example makes it much more clear, since each sub-stream is less that the total original. The trinity explicitly is not that. Each person is fully and completely god.
    You can’t use the comparison with water either, since the different persons of the Trinity have the same nature. Not just different instances of the same type of thing (like different streams of water), but literally the same substance.

    Indeed, this is part of my point. I bet that most of the people to say they accept the Trinity actually don’t. Instead, they’ve reinterpreted it into something that makes more sense and then they ignore that what they believe isn’t the Trinity anymore.

  119. carlie says

    Are you saying that if people believe it, then it must make sense?

    Sort of? You seem to be arguing that it’s so outrageous that no one can even comprehend it. I’m refuting that, saying that a lot of people do.

    The Trinity is not a god in three parts. It’s a god in three parts, where each part is fully god, while remaining different from each other part.

    I spent over 30 years as a devout Southern Baptist, much of that time as a spiritual leader. Seriously, I do not need to be schooled on the nature of the Trinity, especially not by you.

  120. carlie says

    …because honestly, believing that there is a God that can do anything really opens the door to all nature of wacky beliefs – it does allow for things that are not at all understandable by people, and it’s ok for those things to exist under that particular set of criteria.It’s internally consistent. And it’s a lot more internally consistent than to say that there are other inhabited planets nearby that people get to rule over, when that is demonstrably false. Seriously, there is no truck with the idea that Mormonism is somehow more believable than Christianity because it “makes more sense”.

  121. A. R says

    Seriously, there is no truck with the idea that Mormonism is somehow more believable than Christianity because it “makes more sense”.

    Agreed. Consider also that Mormonism is a relatively new religion, and that Joseph Smith had to create new bullshit to make it sound like a religion. And Christianity took all of the good bullshit a few thousand years ago.

  122. says

    I spent over 30 years as a devout Southern Baptist, much of that time as a spiritual leader. Seriously, I do not need to be schooled on the nature of the Trinity, especially not by you.

    Am I wrong in my phrasing of the doctrine? If so, point out my error. If not, explain how the image of the three-way stream makes the Trinity any more comprehensible, because I’ve already pointed out some problems with it.

    Don’t try to pull seniority on me because I don’t give a shit how long you were in whatever church. What matters are the arguments you make right here and now. I made my argument. You make yours.

    Seriously, there is no truck with the idea that Mormonism is somehow more believable than Christianity because it “makes more sense”.

    It’s a good thing I didn’t say that, then. Maybe you want to go back and read what I actually wrote. I’m not a Mormon. I don’t think Mormon theology is at all believable. I don’t accept the Mormon idea of god (or any other, for that matter) as true. I even specifically said so.
    This whole thread was on the subject of a claim that Mormonism was weirder than Christianity. My point is not that the doctrines of Mormonism are true, but that, on the specific point of the god concept, they’re actually coherent, whereas the Trinity is not.

    So, stop derailing the discussion with other planets or whatever else you’ve got. I’ll happily concede that Mormonism has a lot of wacky and sometimes demonstrably wrong beliefs (Native Americans descended from Jews, anyone). I completely agree.

    Now, can we return to the subject we were actually discussing: the relative coherency of the god concepts?

  123. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    So, stop derailing the discussion with other planets or whatever else you’ve got.

    Other planets are not, when it comes to Mormons, a derailment. Other planets are an integral part of the Mormon afterlife beliefs.

  124. anteprepro says

    Other planets are not, when it comes to Mormons, a derailment. Other planets are an integral part of the Mormon afterlife beliefs.

    Yes, but LykeX is simply trying to demonstrate how Mormonism isn’t completely more insane than Christianity by mentioning the Trinity specifically. The planet thing is absurd, but it doesn’t help much LykeX isn’t arguing that Catholicism etc. is MORE absurd than Christianity, and we were working away from the default assumption that Mormonism is incredibly and laughably more absurd than Christianity. Bringing up more absurd doctrines is just talking past one another, unless someone really wants to make the case that Mormonism is, in fact, significantly more absurd than Christianity.

  125. Ermine says

    @Carlie,

    And it’s a lot more internally consistent than to say that there are other inhabited planets nearby that people get to rule over, when that is demonstrably false.

    3 = 1 is more internally consistent than to say that there are lots of other planets? Now I’m getting confused. I thought most educated people were pretty sure that there were trillions upon trillions of planets out there, so the possibility that there might be a few billion inhabited ones out there where we’d never see them wouldn’t be at all hard to comprehend, while the idea that 3 wholly individual beings could at the same time be one indivisible being seems like a contradiction in terms, a nonsense statement on its face. Yes, millions of people may not have a problem with it, but that’s because they’re part of that religion, and that’s part of the nonsense that their religion requires and indoctrinates them to believe.

    To the best of my knowledge there’s nothing in LDS theology that claims that the inhabited planets are “nearby”, or even so much as in the same galaxy. Without having any notion of where these inhabited planets might BE in the universe, how can you say that the claim is demonstrably false?

    I’m pretty sure that Lykex was referring only to one specific point of theology (The Trinity) to point out to JaredWolf that Catholicism was just as strange as Mormonism, if not even stranger in places. I have to agree on that point. The doctrine of the Trinity seems to be self-contradictory on its face, like a square circle or a 3-foot mile. To me that one point of doctrine seems a lot weirder and more damaging to logical thinking than the LDS idea that the Trinity are 3 separate individuals, only one *in purpose*, not body/mind/spirit/whatever. As far as I can tell, that’s all that LykeX was trying to say.

    Sure, both religions are total bunk, but when the point was to show Jaredwolf that Catholicism is weirder than Mormonism in at least some aspects, and the Trinity and transubstantiation stand out as obvious examples.

    I don’t think Lykex or I would even dream of suggesting that there aren’t equally-weird tenets in Mormonism, but the whole point of the preceding conversation is that Jaredwolf was wrong, Catholicism looks just as weird and cultish as Mormonism when you’re looking at both of them from outside the bonds of theism. If you’re familiar with either one, that one will probably seem more “normal” and mainstream than the other, but that’s just a subjective point of view.

  126. says

    Other planets are not, when it comes to Mormons, a derailment. Other planets are an integral part of the Mormon afterlife beliefs.

    My original comment from which this line of discussion flows wasn’t about the totality of Mormon beliefs. It was about one specific, isolated subject; the god concept.

    If you want to argue that, overall, Mormonism is weirder, you might have a point, but that’s not what I was talking about.

  127. says

    I remember a fun d&D stpry someone told. Their campaign had a mishap with plane jumping and they wound up stuck in a strange low magic universe filled with grime and disease (due to lack of healing magic) that turned out to be RL middleages Europe. They quickly found a cathedral and via observation and logic concluded that that world was the domain of a LE pain diety: all iconography showed people being tortured or suffering, the main alter was of a man being executed brutally, human remains were kept as relics, and the god clearly refused to intervene to releave any of the suffering in the world even though it should be trivial to do so for any D&D diety.

  128. chigau (棒や石) says

    Back when I was a Catholic, I was told that it was not possible to understand the Trinity, one must just accept it.
    period
    shut up
    next question
    Same with transubstantiation.

  129. says

    Chigau:

    Back when I was a Catholic, I was told that it was not possible to understand the Trinity, one must just accept it.

    I received a fairly comprehensive teaching when it came to the trinity, but that’s probably because I was in Catholic school for eight years. I mostly remember it being taught as different aspects of god. Or somesuch.

  130. says

    I’ve always thought the question of whether one faith can ever be said to be “dumber” or “crazier” or “choose your own invective” more than another (or more than all others) is a waste of time akin to debating whether or not you can know if The Flash can outrun Superman. It’s all a matter of personal opinion.

    But let’s waste some time.

    It’s clear to me that some religions are demonstrably dumber than others. Deism and “Probably there’s a God but you can’t really know” agnosticism have a whole lot less to make fun of than religions that make multitudinous specific truth claims about active, loving gods that have been directly involved in recent history.

    If you are going to look at things from such a distant point that you can’t discern that level of religion versus another then you are crippling yourself. I don’t see the point in blinding yourself that way.

    On the other hand there’s certainly no way to make some sort of scale of craziness to measure each religion against one another on. Are evil space psychiatrists (Scientology) crazier than God making a bet with Satan on the results of doing bad things to a good person? The correct answer at that level is, to me, “who gives a shit?”

    But in the end it’s just a matter of opinion about whether the exercise is worth it. It’s at least a fun discussion to have beers over.

  131. carlie says

    I don’t think Lykex or I would even dream of suggesting that there aren’t equally-weird tenets in Mormonism, but the whole point of the preceding conversation is that Jaredwolf was wrong, Catholicism looks just as weird and cultish as Mormonism when you’re looking at both of them from outside the bonds of theism.

    No, Lykex was specifically arguing that Catholicism was more weird than Mormonism.

    My point is not that the doctrines of Mormonism are true, but that, on the specific point of the god concept, they’re actually coherent, whereas the Trinity is not.

    And I am saying you’re wrong. The Trinity is coherent within its own set of beliefs, which is that the rules of logic you are using are not applicable. The entire point is that God is all-everything, which means that there is no way to apply normal rules of logic and rationality, which means that anything goes and is STILL internally consistent.

  132. campbell says

    Not weighing in on the “which is sillier?” debate but am curious enough to jump in to ask LykeX if the brain gets “bloopier” knowing that the RCC’s new translation and new official version of the Nicene Creed renders the Trinity concept as “consubstantial with the Father”? They decided that “one in being with the Father” wasn’t accurate (either in terms of the original Nicene Council’s language or in terms of the theology they want to convey, i.e., that everything created by the Father is technically “one in being” but that only the Son and Spirit could be said to be actually of the same nature/substance, therefore consubstantial wins as the new language). It’s all still bullshit to me; just wondering if it smells worse to LykeX when the language changes.

  133. says

    No, Lykex was specifically arguing that Catholicism was more weird than Mormonism.

    On that particular point, yes. Not in general.

    The Trinity is coherent within its own set of beliefs, which is that the rules of logic you are using are not applicable

    Well, I don’t know what that means. Maybe it’s the lack of a good Christian upbringing, but that sounds like complete gibberish to me.
    More to the point, it makes my case: You have to break the laws of logic to explain the trinitarian god. Mormons need not do that. They simply have three gods, end of story.

    Three people, easy. Three people that are the same, less so. Here are three people of unified purpose. It took less than ten seconds to find them. Now, show me three people of one substance.

    I’m not asking for a funny picture of a human pyramid or the three-headed knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Show me three people of one substance. I want an actual picture of three actual people who are really, truly of the same substance.

    If you can’t, then admit that this god concept is stranger than the Mormon one. I can actually show you a picture that is entirely analogous to the god concept of Mormonism.
    You can plug the Mormon conception of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit into that picture and it’s completely appropriate, with no contradiction: Three separate persons.

    Do the same for the trinity.

    @campbell

    Not really. Consubstantiality essentially means that they’re the same thing; the same substance. If they’re the same substance, I don’t see how they can also be distinctly different persons.

    I don’t know, is there any way to separate who someone is from what he is?

  134. chigau (棒や石) says

    Can Flash run so fast that he makes the Earth rotate backwards and reverse time?
    I rest my case.

  135. vaiyt says

    @154:

    Flash can time travel by running really fast. He just doesn’t have Superman’s strength.

  136. says

    #114-@Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze–

    You know, I am sorry about what I said. I don’t express myself very well sometimes. I also shouldn’t have defended it after I said it. My only defense was, I didn’t mean it that way. Being called a “loathesome person” or a fucking scumbag doesn’t feel too good, so I went into defense mode. I don’t know the two guys I called “internet thugs” and for all I know they’re perfectly polite to everyone else unless they’re creeps like me.

    I have a couple of friends who are lesbians, they’re cousins, and they each have children. How can I look them in the eye after what I said here on this thread? My former boss is a gay woman in a committed relationship and she is probably the coolest person I’ve ever met. Only after this election will she, hopefully, have the right to marry her lifelong partner of 20+ years. She wasn’t just a boss to me, she was someone I could talk to, and a really good friend. Which all the more makes me ashamed of trivializing the constant struggle LGBT persons go through, and using the victims of bigotry as my own personal weapon, to insult a couple people that “hurt my feelings.” Honestly, my heart breaks for Kathy, (my old boss) and people with similar pain.

    I initially thought my words were taken out of context, but I did reread this thread and they weren’t at all. It was an awful thing to say in any context and I sincerely apologize to everyone for saying that.

    Maybe it’s a dead conversation at this point, but i just wanted to make a “for the record” kind of comment because I do feel bad about it. I’ll be more thoughtful next time.

  137. woodsong says

    Jared:

    I know your comment wasn’t directed at me, but I thought I’d drop my two cents in anyway.

    I’m glad to see you came back with a sincere apology. From my reading of the thread, it looked like you initially came in completely unfamiliar with Pharyngula and the blog culture here. For the record, Pharyngula is the shark tank of FreeThoughtBlogs. I’d really recommend lurking for a while and reading comments on some of the longer threads before diving in again!

    In particular, read this thread: The Amazing Atheist reveals his lack of humanity again. Read the comments (yes, there are over 400. Sorry!). Then look back at your cyberbullying remark, and you may understand better the instant reaction you got.

    Also, for a little background on individuals, read this one: [Introductions]. Again, it has a lot on comments (more than 500!), but if you want to know something about most of the Horde, that’s a good resource.

    One thing you should be aware of regarding this blog is the meaning of the red “A+” at the top. That stands for “Atheism+”, where the “+” is social justice issues. As a community, the Horde will readily call out bigoted remarks, with liberal use of insult and invective. The main thing I’d recommend is to be aware of your language here–while none of the regulars will object to a hearty “Fuck off!”, calling someone a name that disparages a whole group is a cue like blood in the water (shark tank!). There are whole threads discussing gendered insults, for instance. I’m actually a little surprised that nobody called you out for “prick”, although I suspect that was simply overlooked by most in the more offensive context of the rest of that comment. Had that been the only objectionable part of that comment, you would have seen the message I’m giving you now: We don’t use gendered insults here on Pharyngula, or anything else with splash damage. Try a site search on that phrase if you’re not familiar with it in this context.

    Pharyngula may be a shark tank, but the commenters here are also incredibly supportive of each other in times of need, and frequently will share highly personal stories. I’ve seen a lot of commenters share their rape stories and childhood abuse experiences, and seen a lot of responses offering Internet hugs, chocolate, and shoulders to cry on if the survivor wants them.

    Basically, you’ve stepped into a community social space, and really should lurk for a while to get the feel of the place before much more commenting.

  138. CJO says

    We all say things we regret sometimes. That took some courage to write, jared. I appreciate it.

  139. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Jaredwolf, that is what an apology should be. Perhaps I am just piling on now but I hope you learned that you have to be careful with how you insult people.

  140. Koshka says

    jaredwolf #156

    Thankyou for the apology.

    For what it is worth I no longer think you are a vile piece of shit.

  141. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Ing @149:

    Yup.
    Flash is faster.

    That’s his schtick. He’s the fastest man alive.
    Supes is fast, but he has a bag o’ tricks. Flash is a specialist.

  142. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    jaredwolf:

    I don’t know the two guys I called “internet thugs” and for all I know they’re perfectly polite to everyone else unless they’re creeps like me.

    One of the things that can be helpful for me is to think about my post before I click submit.
    Think about whether I’ve expressed everything I intended to.
    Think about how I would read the message.
    Think about how someone else might read the message.
    Think about anything that could be offensive and *why*.
    Think about how to engage others without employing gendered, ageist, ableist or racial slurs.
    Think about whether I’m focusing on the tone of a comment or its substance (the latter is important; the former…not so much).

    Take the time to think about what it is you’re saying and whether or not you’ve expressed your intent to the best of your ability. Remember, intent is not magic. The only thing that’s obvious to the rest of us are the words you post. We don’t have access to what you’re thinking, so if you post something, you’ll be judged according to that.

  143. nms says

    Flash is faster.

    That’s his schtick. He’s the fastest man alive.

    I feel an ontological argument for the existence of the Flash coming on…

  144. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    woodsong @157:

    Applause.
    Standing ovation.

    Must read material for newbies.

  145. John Morales says

    [totally OT]

    Tony, um.

    (To get that sort of speed, Flash needs (at the very least*) superstrength to overcome resistance)

    * Amongst other things, such as heat dissipation.

  146. chigau (棒や石) says

    One of the things I really ♥ about Pharyngula is that We can segue from ‘Dawkins on Mormonism’ to ‘the physics of comic-book super-heroes’ without much fuss.

  147. says

    Superman is not technically a human, so he can be faster than “the fastest man alive”.

    Usain Bolt is the fastest man alive, but compared to Superman? Not very fast.

    Maybe the Flash is only as fast as “ten fast men”?

  148. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    what Ing just said.

    Superman is only faster if we use the version of Flash from the short lived live action tv series on CBS, starring John Wesley Shipp. I think he wasn’t even able to break the sound barrier.

  149. Ichthyic says

    Also your logic fails as Superman is the MAN of steel.

    well, he’s Kryptonian and way harder than steel, so…

    maybe uh, the male of ultimate hardness?

    …wait..

  150. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    ::looks around for this Male of Ultimate Hardness. Must be vewwwy vewwy quiet. This is a mormon thread and they hate the gays.::

  151. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    jaredwolf@147,

    Apology accepted – thanks. (I had a new snarky comment ready which will now have to go unused. :-p) Numerous others – thanks for the support! I’ve been away on a short trip to London with my son, and haven’t been online.

    The only point in my #53 where I might be considered to be attacking you, jaredwolf, rather than your beliefs is:

    it really is utterly vile to worship a being you believe intends to torture people forever.

    But I’d have to stand by that (and people who are not vile can nonetheless do vile things, particularly out of religious or political belief). The cop-out you use:

    I would think I would be even more of a vile piece of shit than I learned that I am here today if I wasn’t angry at the fact that here I am in heaven while nice people who aren’t fucking scumbags are roasting in hell. That’s why I am questioning the whole heaven/hell thing. But at the end of the day I realize that we can’t understand the mind of God, and his ways of doing things, his system of justice, is beyond our comprehension-one day it will make sense.

    simply won’t do. If God’s “system of justice” includes torturing anyone forever, then it is infinitely more evil than any human tyrant, or psychopathic torturer and murderer.

    On the Catholicism/Mormonism comparison, I most definitely do consider Catholicism (along with all Nicene-creed Christianity) even less believable (though perhaps not weirder) than Mormonism, because, as I said @33:

    it is necessarily false: false in all logically possible worlds. The doctrine of the hypostatic union* claims that Jesus was “true God and true man”, or “wholly God and wholly man”; but “God” and “man” have incompatible attributes, therefore nothing can possibly be both.

    So, jaredwolf, since this is central to Catholic doctrine, you can be as certain that Catholicism is false as you can of anything whatever – as certain as that 2+2=57.3 is false. And since the only reason you believe hell might be real is the authority of the Catholic Church, you can stop worrying about it. (I realize it’s not, psychologically, as easy as that, because the cause of your belief in hell, as distinct from your reason for believing in it, is long-term abuse through indoctrination.)

    *The doctrine of the trinity isn’t, in my view, coherent enough even to be false – but one could perhaps interpret it as meaning that God suffers from dissociative identity disorder.