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Jun 22 2013

The sign had two sides

I neglected to show you the backside of that sign in St Joseph. It doesn’t get any better.

Jesus provides the only worldview that offers forgiveness

Right…”Jesus provides the only worldview that offers forgiveness”. As if that’s a positive message — it’s also the worldview that insists that we are all evil, rotten, god-cursed creatures from birth, and who therefore need magical forgiveness. I can also negate it by stating the my wife, the goddess Mary, is a very nice person who would also offer any of you forgiveness (while I am the converse, the being of eternal judgment who will never forgive you no matter what you do). I would argue that my imaginary pantheon is more complex and difficult than your imaginary singleton god, and therefore you should worship us, because we are more unique than you are. So nyaah.

By the way, both sides feature that odd “quote” nonsense — when the words don’t seem to be quoting anyone in particular. Do a google search, you won’t find that specific sentence anywhere. I suspect they were added simply because someone thinks that quoting an authority sounds more…authoritative.

Also, neither side has any attribution — whether it’s an individual or church or whatever who put it up is unknown.

74 comments

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  1. 1
    mythbri

    I forgive them for saying that.

    ….

    ….

    (BOOM!)

  2. 2
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Jebus, Jebus’ father is one condemning them, so Jebus can forgive them. And they are one and the same with the Trinity? My rationality hurts….

  3. 3
    ChasCPeterson

    that’s bullshit.
    People can forgive other people under any ‘worldview’.
    If forgiveness is warranted.
    And if they want to.

  4. 4
    ChristineRose

    ”Jesus provides the only worldview that offers forgiveness”

    Well, unless your worldview is that there is no such thing as forgiveness. I like the use of the word “provides” though. Do you pick up your forgiveness packet at the local souls-processing center?

  5. 5
    John Morales

    Chas,

    People can forgive other people under any ‘worldview’.

    But they’re not referring to people’s forgiveness, are they?

  6. 6
    Dick the Damned

    My worldview offers forgiveness, when appropriate.

    But as an atheist for over fifty years, I despair for those people who can’t seem to escape from a superstitious worldview.

  7. 7
    obscure1

    Dear Mother Mary, I humbly beseech your forgiveness for being a megalomaniacal ass, for being a general botheration to humanity and for hurting those who have cared about and loved me the most. In the future I will try to do better. If given a choice, most thinking people would much rather live in mean ol’ PZ’s world than any other. But what do I know?

  8. 8
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    There’s a metric shit-ton of question-begging in that pair of signs. There’s the whole forgiveness thing (“Yes, my children, I forgive you for the way I made you.”) There’s the whole worldview thing, which is about as solipsistic as it gets — you create reality by what you believe, it seems. There’s the idea that a life is chock-a-block with despair if you don’t have a special kind of forgiveness — the kind of forgiveness an incompetent craftsman gives his flawed creation, it seems. And that doesn’t even touch on the assumption the Bible gives an accurate representation of this Jesus character, which is the kind of assumption I make when I’m sure Superman will save me if I tumble from a skyscraper.

    This seems like a lot of questions begged from just two sentences.

  9. 9
    carlie

    Maybe the quotes are the billboard version of air quotes, so the whole thing is sarcastic.

  10. 10
    raven

    Right…”Jesus provides the only worldview that offers forgiveness”.

    This isn’t true at all.

    According to xianity, large numbers of people will go to hell and be tortured forever for mundane things like voting Democrat, accepting reality, getting a college degree, or belonging to the wrong religion.

    The exact numbers aren’t known as it depends on which of the 42,000 cults you ask. A lot would say just about everyone but our One True Cult. Might as round it off and say 7 billion plus or minus a billion are going to hell for eternity.

    In Hinduism you get multiple shots at the goal, nirvana or oneness with Brahma or whatever. You get reincarnated depending on your karma. Most fundie xians seem to be on track to spend their next life as tapeworms or slugs or something. But in the end if they are the best tapeworms or slugs they can be, they can work their way back up to human and then intelligent human.

    Something like this also holds true in Buddhism.

    The other dozens or thousands of religions have their own story about the afterlife. Some Jews believe in reincarnation, others in some nebulous afterlife that no one knows much about. The ancient temple priests, the Saduccees, didn’t believe in one at all.

    I don’t know what the manifold varieties of Pagans believe, all different ones I’m sure. Even Valhalla is an improvement over hell or heaven.

    Like much of xianity, it is substandard mythology and a substandard afterlife and like the mythology, largely borrowed from the neighboring tribes, hell being stolen from the Greeks.

  11. 11
    raven

    There’s the whole worldview thing, which is about as solipsistic as it gets — you create reality by what you believe, it seems.

    This is one of the dumber cuckoo things xians say.

    There aren’t just a few worldviews. There are thousands or millions at least. Depending on how you define it, there might be 7 billion, one for each person.

    There isn’t even a xian worldview. There are 42,000 and growing xian cults, all claiming to be the Real One, all disagreeing with each other. There are many xian worldviews, sometimes differing by huge amounts.

    Enough that they used to fight wars that killed millions until we got sick of it and took away their armies and heavy weapons.

  12. 12
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Those Burma Shave signs have really gone downhill.

  13. 13
    Hurin

    Its kind of dishonest; first of all that sign is incomplete. Really it should read “Jesus provides the only worldview that offers to forgive you for the fundamental wrongness inherent in being born human”. Also I think they should include a disclaimer that pretty much every religion looking to expand its follower base uses some variation of the “you can’t ever be a complete/forgiven/enlightened/non-atrocious person without our special bullshit package” trope, of which this is a part. I don’t even think they invented it, because Buddhism has some similarities with its “stop suffering by using the 8 fold path” schtick, and that variation is definitely older.

  14. 14
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    I had to stop reading the billboards when I was driving through Indiana a few months ago. There were even more fear-mongering pro-gun signs than there were pro-Jesus ones.

  15. 15
    raven

    much every religion looking to expand its follower base uses some variation of the “you can’t ever be a complete/forgiven/enlightened/non-atrocious person without our special bullshit package”

    And BTW, send us lots of money.

    Oddly enough, saving your soul from hell seems to require some monetary payments, and oddly enough, these are to…othe humans.

  16. 16
    Scr... Archivist

    Carlie @9,

    Maybe they are trying to be ironic? It certainly has become so, in that Googling this side of the sign also leads ultimately to Pharyngula, just like the other side does.

    Hmmm….

    P.Z., are you responsible for these billboards?

  17. 17
    alkaloid

    I created you to inevitably be a horrible being deserving only of eternal judgment and punishment…but I forgive you.”

  18. 18
    J Bowen

    What, exactly, is a “worldview”, and how does it forgive me?

    Is that in the bible? Oh, right, Jesus. Makes sense.

  19. 19
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    “Jesus provides the only worldview that offers forgiveness”

    So why does it matter if I’m an atheist?

    Oh, right. I have to beg on my knees to be forgiven. No thanks, pal. I’d rather walk tall than grovel to your imaginary savior.

  20. 20
    bad Jim

    The early Unitarians rejected the notion of original sin, and Universalists preached universal salvation, so a saying went something like “Universalists think God is too good to send them to hell, and Unitarians think they’re too good to go to hell.”

    (It may have been a poke at the snobbishness of 19th Century Unitarians.)

  21. 21
    Azuma Hazuki

    @10/Raven

    You give Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism far, far too much credit. Read about their hells (“naraka”) sometime. I have heard that a Roman writer, I forget who, said Plato and the Brahmins were responsible for these ideas of afterlife torment (sounds like Seneca or someone like him though).

    If there is any justice in this universe, all the hell-mongers from all religions will have to suffer all the pain and fear they caused in other people. I hope they do. I hope the universe makes a special exception for oblivion at death for these people.

  22. 22
    Randomfactor

    Big freaking deal. SCIENCE launches satellites which provide a worldview offering WEATHER FORECASTS. Much more valuable.

  23. 23
    Rey Fox

    Meanwhile, the anti-abortion ones just get more and more offensive with every new one. Wish I could remember the last few slogans that had me screaming at the windshield.

  24. 24
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Can someone explain exactly what the christian worldview IS? I know many christians have an idea in their head of the christian worldview, but thats very cherry picked, ignoring much of the undesirable crap in the bible. But the bad crap is still there and very much part of christianity.

    In contrast stands Humanism, with a pretty damn clear worldview.

  25. 25
    consciousness razor

    If there is any justice in this universe, all the hell-mongers from all religions will have to suffer all the pain and fear they caused in other people. I hope they do. I hope the universe makes a special exception for oblivion at death for these people.

    I see you still haven’t given up your bizarre sense of “justice,” and you didn’t mean most of your backpedaling before when you were called on it. It’s good that you’re not a god, I guess. You’d be an awful one.

  26. 26
    robro

    The quotes mean “this is what god would say, if he was still speaking to us.”

    It’s a strange message. The use of “worldview” seems uncharacteristic of this sort of religious message. The other side was more typical, although addressing atheists per se is a bit unusual…perhaps they knew you were coming, PZ.

    What are the chances the message is from the owner of Franklin Outdoor Advertising, or someone involved in the business.

  27. 27
    Azuma Hazuki

    @25/C. Razor

    How is it bizarre to want people who hurt others to be taken aside and told “THIS is what you did to ALL these people, and now you’re going to watch it all from their vantage point?”

    I was always taught, outside of the religious indoctrination, that the only way to right a wrong thing I did was a combination approach: understand why what I did was wrong, apologize to the victim, and make reparation.

    And experience has taught me that there is no forgiveness in the Christian sense; even if your victim forgives you, you still have to live with the memory of what you did and the knowledge that you may have permanently derailed someone’s life if it was bad enough.

    What is bizarre about this? What here does not line up with observable reality? Evil deeds are written in the rock of the past, eternally, as are good deeds. No one can alter the past.

  28. 28
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    If there is any justice in this universe, all the hell-mongers from all religions will have to suffer all the pain and fear they caused in other people. I hope they do.

    I was always taught, outside of the religious indoctrination, that the only way to right a wrong thing I did was a combination approach: understand why what I did was wrong, apologize to the victim, and make reparation.

    I hope you notice these two statements don’t talk about the same or even similar thing. The second does not give excuse for the first, or explain it.
    Unless you mean that if, for example, a kid kicks another kid in the shin deliberately, (s)he has to get a shin kick her/himself on the way to understanding what they did was wrong.

  29. 29
    consciousness razor

    Unless you mean that if, for example, a kid kicks another kid in the shin deliberately, (s)he has to get a shin kick her/himself on the way to understanding what they did was wrong.

    Yep. Besides the fact that it would only add to the suffering in the world (which is bad enough and is emphatically not justice), it’s also as disproportionate as you can get:

    I hope the universe makes a special exception for oblivion at death for these people.

    It’s explicitly saying they (who? “the hell-mongers”?) should experience that kind of hell for eternity. Just need a god now to make it happen, since blog comments aren’t enough.

    Couple that with the apologetics from before, and you get some kind of theist who’s very angry about how “corrupted” religions have supposedly become. But even without all of that, Azuma, this is very much soaked with religious indoctrination. I don’t know how many different ways it needs to be explained what is wrong with it. It’s so bizarre, I just don’t even know where to start.

  30. 30
    Azuma Hazuki

    @28/Beatrice

    Something like it. An eye for an eye doesn’t work, we all know this, but something has to be done to make someone understand the harm he or she did so s/he won’t do it again. You can’t really understand why something is wrong if you don’t understand viscerally the harm it causes, in my experience.

  31. 31
    Azuma Hazuki

    Also, CR, you are misunderstanding me: I said the hellmongers should each suffer the mental anguish each one individually caused. You’re not reading closely here.

    Since they did not torture anyone for eternity, they should not suffer torture for eternity. They should, however, experience the sum total of the mental pain they caused others, each in proportion to how much he or she (almost always a he) caused. THAT is what I think would be just.

  32. 32
    anuran

    In Christianity if you say “Dead Jew Onna Stick forgive me!” it doesn’t matter how despicable you are. It’s suddenly all good. You can rape, steal, slander and kill and it magically goes away. In other words, actions have no consequences and there is no responsibility.

    If you have to choose a religion based on how it treats forgiveness I’ll go with Judaism. If you say “I’m sorry for what I did to you, Big Sky Wizard” Big Sky Wizard will say “It’s cool.” But if you say “I’m sorry for what I did to my neighbor, Big Sky Wizard” he’ll say “Do I look like your neighbor? Do whatever it takes to make good on the harm you did him and get his forgiveness.”

  33. 33
    Amphiox

    If there is any justice in this universe, all the hell-mongers from all religions will have to suffer all the pain and fear they caused in other people. I hope they do.

    That would not be justice.

    True justice would be if the hell-mongers were made to ameliorate, reverse and negate all the pain and fear they caused in other people.

    You make a more just universe by erasing the suffering, not by doubling it.

  34. 34
    Amphiox

    In fact, a truly good universe should not be hung up on justice anyways. Justice is merely the bandaid that stops the wound from bleeding. Far better to heal the wound. Even better to prevent it from being inflicted in the first place.

    “Justice and retribution are but trifling things. There are victories of far greater worth.” – Kluya, Final Fantasy IV (Nintendo DS version).

  35. 35
    consciousness razor

    You’re not reading closely here.

    Suppose that’s right. You’re still not thinking ethically at all. Which do you think I ought to give a fuck about?

    The way I read it, if there’s “a special exception for oblivion at death,” that means that they will not die (not really, not their experience). If they do go into oblivion at some point, then there wouldn’t be any such exception. Why, exactly, do you think you said it needs to happen “at death”? If they ought to be punished for some finite length of time equal to what they’ve done to others, why should there be any exception? Why shouldn’t they be punished now while they’re alive, by us rather than the fucking anthropomorphized universe itself? It makes no fucking sense.

    And whatever the case, are you sure that you’re not one of the fucking hell-mongers, or is this something you want for yourself?

  36. 36
    yoav

    But a sign saying “atheists exist, here’s our website why don’t you look it up if you feel like it” are horribly offensive.

  37. 37
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Azuma:
    Leaving aside the idea of the universe being *just* (which is hard to set aside), how would ‘all the pain and suffering’ be measured? Moreover, what type of hellmonger are you talking about? Jerry Falwell? Pat Robertson? Fred Phelps? I think about all the pain and suffering those people caused and you want them to suffer the collective pain and anguish of their victims? Do you have any idea how much that would be? I question how much the human mind could cope with the assault of mental anguish of that magnitude all at once.
    I also think that wishing for others to suffer is not a sign of justice, but retribution.

  38. 38
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Something like it. An eye for an eye doesn’t work, we all know this, but something has to be done to make someone understand the harm he or she did so s/he won’t do it again.

    Actually, eye for an eye is exactly what you are advocating in that first comment, and the “something like it” leans heavily in that direction too.

    So…. Should the victim kick the shin kicker back? Or maybe a parent or teacher?

    You can’t really understand why something is wrong if you don’t understand viscerally the harm it causes, in my experience.

    You think the shin kicker doesn’t know that getting kicked in the shin hurts?

  39. 39
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Why are we even pretending you are advocating for anything but revenge?

    If someone who has hurt others suffers torment after they die, what is the use of them “learning” that torture sucks at that point ? So I would appreciate if you didn’t suddenly move the goalposts into the direction of teaching someone that hurting others is bad through experiencing the pain themselves.

    Those are two separate issues, and your position is repulsive on both of them.

  40. 40
    consciousness razor

    You can’t really understand why something is wrong if you don’t understand viscerally the harm it causes, in my experience.

    You’re a counter-example. Since you did (apparently) suffer a lot of harm from the kind of hell-mongers you’re talking about, what exactly do you think you’ve learned from the experience? You’re saying the same utterly wrong shit as they are.

    And I’m sure many of them likewise experienced a whole lot of trauma when others indoctrinated them about hell. So they don’t fail to understand that it’s harmful, for lack of experience. Instead they, just like you, think they can justify it despite that.

  41. 41
    bad Jim

    Justice is a heuristic which can’t really be instantiated. We can become more just as a society, but whether justice has been done in any case is necessarily problematic.

    Heaven and hell never did and never will make much sense, but you have to bear in mind that ancient people didn’t really understand infinity. They were puzzled by Zeno’s paradoxes.

  42. 42
    bad Jim

    Oh, and by the way: the ‘front’ and ‘back’ photos of the billboard don’t look like they’re in the same place. The vegetation isn’t the same. (Before you complain, isn’t “nitpicking atheist” redundant?)

  43. 43
    Azuma Hazuki

    Why do you people think I want anyone to suffer eternally? I just want people to pay for what they did. Even if it’s not an eye for an eye, I want people to understand the pain they caused and pay for it.

    Though, Amphiox at 33 and 34 has a point. Maybe the persistent lack of justice in this world, and my own life, has caused something of an obsession. It will be nice to let that go, if it’s safe to. Since the universe seems not to be just, isn’t it natural to want to create our own justice?

    You’re a counter-example. Since you did (apparently) suffer a lot of harm from the kind of hell-mongers you’re talking about, what exactly do you think you’ve learned from the experience? You’re saying the same utterly wrong shit as they are.

    And I’m sure many of them likewise experienced a whole lot of trauma when others indoctrinated them about hell. So they don’t fail to understand that it’s harmful, for lack of experience. Instead they, just like you, think they can justify it despite that.

    No, I’m not, and the difference is proportionality. Those whackaloons think eternal torture is meet for finite wrongs. I think justice would consist of everyone suffering precisely the amount of pain they caused, not one femtosecond more or less, and understanding exactly how they caused it as well as all the knock-on effects.

    You’re saying something important though, that the cycle needs to be broken. I’ve had a few calm days (relatively) to think on the results of the last thread, and am coming around to your position. Can it be done though? How? These people are twisted and will never ever stop. I can’t think of any way to get them to. Their ideas will only die when they finally do.

    Leaving aside the idea of the universe being *just* (which is hard to set aside), how would ‘all the pain and suffering’ be measured? Moreover, what type of hellmonger are you talking about? Jerry Falwell? Pat Robertson? Fred Phelps? I think about all the pain and suffering those people caused and you want them to suffer the collective pain and anguish of their victims? Do you have any idea how much that would be? I question how much the human mind could cope with the assault of mental anguish of that magnitude all at once.

    Not all at once. Serially. Case by case. That is the entire point, that they would need to be lucid and sane and it should take as long as it needs to. I have a very good idea of how much it would be and I am perfectly okay with it; even I would have at least a few straight weeks’ worth of this to suffer. If they need to spend a few thousand years continuously experiencing their victims’ mental anguish, well, karma’s a bitch.

    I mean the torture-porn peddlers, people like Edwards, Furniss, and especially Augustine of Hippo. I’d want that son of a bitch to be stuck until the cosmic-torturer versions of Christianity go extinct, wired into the entire awareness of all the churches he helped found (which is ALL of them in the modern world, save perhaps the Nestorians), experiencing it all. He has actual murders and torture on his conscience.

    You would be amazed at what a human mind can suffer and still keep going after experiencing. I am being continually amazed, firsthand, on that score.

    Do you think this is all just OCD and PTSD and a strong sense of justice getting all mixed up and feeding on one another?

  44. 44
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    No, I’m not, and the difference is proportionality. Those whackaloons think eternal torture is meet for finite wrongs. I think justice would consist of everyone suffering precisely the amount of pain they caused, not one femtosecond more or less, and understanding exactly how they caused it as well as all the knock-on effects.

    I am amazed by your lack of self-awareness.
    You advocate torture. You want more suffering in the world instead of less.

    Wanting them to suffer a precise amount of pain doesn’t make you fair or merciful, it doesn’t make your proposition any less monstrous.

  45. 45
  46. 46
    DLC

    But what am I being forgiven for ? Why should I seek forgiveness ?
    Because some mythical woman ate a fruit, and offered some to her husband who also ate some ?
    So fucking what ?
    It’s like blaming me for the evil doings of Elizabeth Bathory or Jack the Ripper.

  47. 47
    Azuma Hazuki

    @Beatrice and others:

    I’m going to stop now before this gets out of hand, since it already amoeba’d the other thread and it’s getting off-topic. Think of me what you wish, but at least I don’t advocate someone suffering for someone else’s evil deeds, or anyone suffering anything worse than what they caused or longer than what they logically deserve.

    Sorry you find it repulsive; consider that I may find lack of justice repulsive. Bearing in mind Nietzsche’s warning about (s)he who fights monsters, still I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting evil people to have their evil rebound on them.

  48. 48
    bad Jim

    Beatrice, should we offer murderers and rapists ice cream?

    Quibbling about heaven and hell is the height of silliness for atheists. If we’re talking about retribution in real time, of course there have to be penalties for bad behavior. Mere opprobrium is sufficient to deter most people, and more opprobrium is probably a good prescription for some behavior which is still too common, like rape.

    The golden rule, the silver rule, and the categorical imperative are not sufficient as moral principles, because they don’t deter cheating. If there’s a better alternative to tit for tat – treating another the way they last treated you, retaliating immediately and forgiving immediately – I haven’t heard of it.

  49. 49
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    bad Jim

    Should we rape rapists and murder murderers?

  50. 50
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    …at least I don’t advocate someone suffering for someone else’s evil deeds, or anyone suffering anything worse than what they caused or longer than what they logically deserve.

    Let me get you a fucking medal.

  51. 51
    bad Jim

    Beatrice, could we at least agree that we oughtn’t award medals to rapists and murderers?

  52. 52
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    bad Jim,

    Go fuck yourself. Alternatively, you can try not completely distorting what I wrote.

  53. 53
    bad Jim

    See also tit for tat. People occasionally talk about morality being “objectively true”, and it might be, to the (rather limited) extent that it’s constrained by game theory. Otherwise it’s an ongoing political process. We used to call it “consciousness raising”, but then we stopped using LSD.

  54. 54
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Bad Jim:
    No one has said criminals shouldn’t be punished. Subjecting them to the same treatment they gave to others is not justice. Raping a rapist is not just. It is a horrific violation of ones bodily integrity. Does a convicted rapist lose their right to bodily integrity while imprisoned? If one wishes to reduce incidents of rape, it needs to be understood that under no circumstances is it justifiable. Not even in retribution. Tit for tat does not make the world better or safer. It does not rewrite the past. Nor does it enlighten the offender to the wrongs they committed.

    Also, at what point is tit for tat the appropriate “justice”? Which offenses qualify for thst brand of “justice”? Theft? Extortion? Homicide? Arson? Embezzlement? Libel? Slander?

    Lastly, I’d say tit for tat is not in accordance with a Humanist worldview.

  55. 55
    bad Jim

    Dammit, Beatrice, I don’t want a fight, and I don’t know why you’re pissed off. Can I assume eternal punishment is off the table? We are atheists, aren’t we? Can we agree that there ought to be consequences for those who do harm to their fellow creatures?

    I’m sorry I walked into the middle of the issue you had with Azuma; I wasn’t aware that there were any minefields there. This is a heavily trafficked website, though, and unloading with both barrels on an unsuspecting trespasser, though hardly unprecedented, is perhaps not the most fun we could have on Saturday night.

  56. 56
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    bad Jim,

    On the other hand, having some asshole misinterpreting what I wrote into “wants to give rapists ice-cream” is really nice.
    Good move there, trying to make me look unreasonable for being angry about you talking out of your ass and pretending it has some sort of resemblance to what I actually wrote.

  57. 57
    bad Jim

    Shit. Profound apologies to everyone. I was not preaching bloody retribution.

    Tit for tat is a remarkably simple strategy, concocted by Anatol Rapoport, for an iterated game of Prisoner’s Dilemma, where the only choices are to cooperate or defect. The first move is to cooperate, and the next is to do whatever the other did. Two copies of “tit for tat” do very well, because they always cooperate. Most other strategies fare worse in the long term.

    There was a scene in John Sladek’s novel “The Muller-Fokker Tapes” in which one character was talking about the sculptor Rodin and another about a rather sentimental Japanese dinosaur movie. This feels like that.

  58. 58
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    bad Jim:
    By your prior comments, I was under the impression you supported Azuma in retributive justice. Then I followed your link and was confused given what I had thought ‘tit for tat’ meant. Given the different definitions, and uncertainty as to which you were using, I *should* have asked.
    My apologies.

  59. 59
    bad Jim

    I’m going to sign off. Beatrice and Tony, I don’t think you’ve been very helpful. I’m not sure what you’re angry about. For people who aren’t into punishment your rhetoric is pretty harsh.

  60. 60
    bad Jim

    Fuck! Sorry, Tony. Thanks, too.

    I’ll probably owe Beatrice an apology as well, but I really have to go to bed now.

    The nice thing about Pharyngula is that people only get vicious with the best of intentions, though sometimes it takes a while to figure out what they are.

  61. 61
    christophermoss

    To return to the use of ‘worldview’ – it is a word that allows the interpretation that this viewpoint is deliberately chosen rather than an actual objectively accurate assessment of the world. The original concept of ‘weltanschauung’ included the fact that it was a perception. That’s quite a change from ‘I AM the way and the life’ – more a sort of ‘Well, you could think of me that way if it suits you’!
    Not that this indicates the heathens are influencing the god-botherers. The sign was probably dreamed up by a semi-literate christian who felt obliged to spend some money on the signs because he felt guilty about interfering with the little girl next door….

  62. 62
    dianne

    In my worldview, the only forgiveness that counts for anything is the forgiveness of the person who was wronged. So Jesus can forgive the people who crucified him or the ones who stepped on his foot accidentally, but he can’t forgive those who have wronged others. And especially not those who he has wronged. The fig tree, if fig trees have souls and are capable of forgiveness, must forgive Jesus for cursing it, not the other way around.

  63. 63
    Doubting Thomas

    You’re not supposed to ‘think’ about these road side ‘messages’. You’re supposed to memorize them and say them to yourself like a mantra. Over and over till your brain turns to mush. Then you become a True Christian.

  64. 64
    intergalacticmedium

    I really think people deserve pity if they genuinely believe and propagate ideas of hell as if they truly believe them (I don’t think they do) it must be terrifying, lets just be nice to everyone and educate people that would make the world a better place rather than strange retributive calls for something you call justice.

  65. 65
    ludicrous

    I have noticed previously that those folks tend to make things up.

  66. 66
    hunter

    “I suspect they were added simply because someone thinks that quoting an authority sounds more…authoritative.”

    That’s the whole point — if you have an authority, you don’t need facts or anything like that.

  67. 67
    zytigon

    Dear Jesus,
    Forgive me that I think you probably never existed and that the Bible stories are mostly fictional like Shakespeare plays. Forgive me that I think there probably is no supernatural realm or God, that most of the Bible ideas are primitive mumbo jumbo and potentially detrimental to mental health. Forgive me that I think biblegod is the one most worthy of a hell for sins of omission because only a cosmic god could have controlled human fertility to prevent the world population rising above a sustainable 2 billion, and have prevented illness, disease etc Forgive me that I think the idea of letting people suffer after death is unethical. Also I forgive you for thinking that I need to be forgiven for thinking what is decent and true. Ramen

    Well maybe that about covers it, or have i missed a few things ?

    At any rate maybe forgiveness is a red herring ? Maybe it is more about focus and talking about things in caring way, specific to action or idea, proportionate, not exaggerating, not generalizing ( except for comic effect ).
    Why shouldn’t someone say, ” I will always be angry about that thing you did, when I think about it, but i plan to focus on my favourite things so that the things that pained me are forgotten. “

  68. 68
    zytigon

    Dear Jesus,
    Please forgive God for creating so much coal, oil and gas that run away global warming was likely when most of it was burned by humans trying to make their life tolerable in the short term. Please forgive God for not creating enough uranium ore to keep civilization going for millions of years instead of running out somewhere around 2075. Please forgive God for not telling humans about the risks of getting on the fossil fuel runaway minetrain and for not telling us how to make renewable technology 2000 years ago. Mind you wasn’t that something you could have done ? So maybe you sinned ? In which case are you fucked ? I suppose that could explain why you never returned ? Are you in hell ? Worrying, but probably not since it was just a Greek myth. By the way how come you didn’t tell us the origin of your ideas ? Hey don’t worry Jesus, I’ll forgive you for not telling us the truth about the history of religion. It’s not your fault that you were scarcely literate and maybe didn’t have access to the information about where your ideas came from. But please forgive the ministers who did know and didn’t tell their congregations because they were afraid of getting the sack from zealots in the midst. Well lets face it anyone could have gone to the library to study all the points of view. But please forgive the editors who censored so many books, t.v programmes, films radio shows from all skeptical freethought content.
    But also pass on my thanks to your father for putting enough fossil fuel to allow us to explore the planet and solar system to discover that the bible & alsoran & book of mormon etc are a mixture of mostly primitive guesses, wildly mistaken ideas, propoganda, theological psychological warfare, warped, twisted, misleading etc.
    Thank be that cosmic god is a failed hypothesis and may our communal management system be based on science & reason
    Ramen

  69. 69
    richcon

    That sign is half true. Christianity really is the only religion that offers forgiveness from the imaginary crimes Christianity itself invented. Like the original sin of simply being born.

  70. 70
    WhiteHatLurker

    I googled the phrase – and came back here. The are quoting someone – PZ Myers.

    (Does it matter that he didn’t say it first?)

  71. 71
    David Marjanović

    It’s good that you’re not a god, I guess. You’d be an awful one.

    A Lawful one.

    A Lawful Neutral one.

    Not a Good one.

    I’m with comments 34, 39 and 40. And 64, except they do of course really believe in all that stuff – don’t make an argument from personal incredulity.

    Wanting them to suffer a precise amount of pain doesn’t make you fair or merciful, it doesn’t make your proposition any less monstrous.

    Oh, it does make her fair. It doesn’t make her merciful or not monstrous – but it does make her fair. Mercy isn’t justice. Justice is monstrous.

    Gerechtigkeit gibt es nur in der Hölle. Im Himmel ist Gnade.
    “Justice exists only in hell. In heaven there’s mercy.”
    – on the wall in a room belonging to my natal parish

    Can we agree that there ought to be consequences for those who do harm to their fellow creatures?

    Depends on what good that would do.

    The original concept of ‘weltanschauung’ included the fact that it was a perception.

    You don’t even need to go that far. The word Welt-an-schau-ung literally means “world-at-look-ing”.

    Please forgive God for not creating enough uranium ore to keep civilization going for millions of years

    *twitch* Ouch! That would have had unpleasant effects on plate tectonics (and the rest of geophysics) and on mutations rates!

    (Does it matter that he didn’t say it first?)

    Retrotemporal evilwaves.

    (I didn’t come up with this wonderful term. It was someone in the vanished comments to this post; it’s bizarre that my comments are up…)

  72. 72
    David Marjanović

    …I’ve now caught up with the other thread. It’s now 10 days old, so I’ll rather reply here:

    *fluffy hugs*
    http://calmingmanatee.com/
    http://emergencykitten.com/
    http://emergencycute.tumblr.com/
    *chocolate*

    Come to the [Lounge], Azuma. We helped sleepingwytch, who was more disturbed and horrified than you; we’ll help you, too.

  73. 73
    Owlmirror

    Retrotemporal evilwaves.

    (I didn’t come up with this wonderful term. It was someone in the vanished comments to this post; it’s bizarre that my comments are up…)

    Anton Mates, per the web archive:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20080206150521/http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/09/this_is_a_very_boring_post_abo.php

  74. 74
    parkjames

    That’s the god-bothering city I went to college in! I guess its good to see that nothing has changed since I graduated…

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