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Kevin Sorbo is an idiot, part Umpty-Eleven

He’s doing it again. Sorbo is mouthing off about atheists.

Atheists, he claimed, secretly believe that God exists, and are upset with him because they know he is going to judge them. They are a “small group of people, and they get on Fox or CNN and they rant and they rave,” Sorbo said, “and I pretty much based my character [in God Is Not Dead] off of these guys that I see who are just angry — they’re just filled with anger and hatred.”

Says the man who despises atheists, and is happily making a career out of stereotyping them.

After a brief digression about how “the chipping away of religion” has “brought the country down,” Sorbo claimed that “85 or 90 percent of the people in this country” believe in God, and that they’re offended when atheists use the courts to compel Christians to respect the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

How dare anyone expect Christians to obey the law!

At this point, host Rick Wiles chimed in, saying “I don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy, but I don’t spend all my time stopping people from believing in the Tooth Fairy. If they don’t believe God exists, why are they spending all this time and money if God doesn’t exist. The truth is, [atheists] know he exists and they hate him. That’s what it’s all about.”

When the Tooth Fairy lobby gets going and starts making laws requiring automatic tooth extraction for all children, then I’ll start spending a lot of time bashing them.

You know, I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about this God question, because people around me keep insisting that it’s an important part of their life, and I have to say…no, he’s wrong, I really don’t have even the slightest, niggling, abstract doubt about any gods. You could change my mind with some real evidence, but right now, nope, no way. My confidence in the non-existence of gods and the power of natural processes is pretty much absolute.

So when these loons make all this effort to tell me what I really believe, I wonder how they’d respond if I declared that they were all secretly atheists themselves, that in their hearts they were positive that this god they declaim never was, that Jesus was a deluded fanatic, that prayer is a complete waste of time. It’s a rather dishonest argument, don’t you think? I’m right, but everyone who disagrees is lying about their true opinion, therefore my support is unanimous?

I’d also have to question whether that approach can ever be truly effective. If I’m arguing against someone’s belief, it’s not going to win them over if I deny them their beliefs and try to pretend that I know better than they do what is going on in their heads.

So rock on, Kevin Sorbo! You’re doing a fabulous job of discrediting the Christian position…which, by the way, I will acknowledge you are holding with total sincerity and conviction. You’re just wrong.

Comments

  1. says

    They are a “small group of people, and they get on Fox or CNN and they rant and they rave,”

    1. They are a small group, therefor they don’t matter.

    2. Names and dates, please. I’d like to see them ranting and raving on CNN and/or Fox. Seriously.

  2. johnharshman says

    One could certainly argue that the majority of Christians act as if god didn’t exist. Don’t read minds; judge by actions. Presumably, if they really, truly believed, they would act more like he says he wants them to.

  3. Lance Johnson says

    You fools! He’s the son of Zeus! No wonder he hates atheists. How would you feel if somebody didn’t believe in your dad?

  4. funknjunk says

    @1 – Not only is it silly to point to numbers, but the figure is wrong. Stupid on top of fallacious….

  5. says

    Atheists, he claimed, secretly believe that God exists, and are upset with him because they know he is going to judge them.

    Presumably, Sorbo is a Christian. Does he secretly believe that Allah exists and is upset with him because he knows Allah is going to judge him? What about Vishnu? Ahura Mazda? Waheguru? The deity worshiped by the Mormons?

    The arrogance of so many Christians is astounding: I simply disbelieve in one god more than they do.

  6. Kevin Kehres says

    Jesus was not a deluded fanatic.

    Jesus never existed. He is purely mythical, like Hercules only without as many muscles. And demon-hunting as his superpower instead of super strength and invulnerability.

    Whether or not there was a role model for Hercules (a leader of heroic stature) or Jesus (a messianic preacher) is neither here nor there. Fact is, they’re both pure fiction.

  7. says

    I’d like to see them ranting and raving on CNN and/or Fox.

    Seriously? CNN doesn’t give a damn about facts any more, and frankly.. Fox is an expert of the “token opposition”. Their favorite tactic, for example, for showing the left’s position is the “token liberal”, whose job is to spend 2 minutes saying something that might actually be vaguely sane, then the next 5 shoving his foot so far down his throat that they start channeling Pol Pot, or Stalin, along with a nice mix of asinine gibberish that is strait out of the, “These are the typical leftist crazy ideas!”, playbook they whine and babble about all the time. What the hell kind of “atheist” do you expect Fox to have on, if they even bother? Of course they are going to be the angry, fake, non-believer, who is merely angry that the sky fairy didn’t grant them a puppy, or some stupid BS, when they where six. They sure as hell won’t be putting someone on that can actually answer questions, hold their own against pseudo-Christo-fascists, or present an argument based on logic, instead of just ranting. And, even if they did, what do you imagine the odds are they would be allowed to get a word in edge wise, instead of being shouted down by the talking heads?

  8. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I am always amused that they just can’t grasp the idea of how can one be angry at something that doesn’t exist? Anger takes effort to keep going.

    The problem they have is that they fail to see that the anger is directed at their inability to behave according the requirements of a secular society, where their religion should be kept in their homes and churches/synagogues/mosques, and not in the public square.

  9. tascott says

    ” If I’m arguing against someone’s belief, it’s not going to win them over if I deny them their beliefs and try to pretend that I know better than they do what is going on in their heads.”

    I don’t think this argument is aimed at atheist. It is directed at believers. You see the same thing with inequality issues. Part of the defense of beliefs or behavior is to deny that there is even an real issue to be addressed. We’re right. They are wrong. But don’t bother thinking about the points they are making because the position they are defending does not really exist anyway.

  10. says

    Bah.

    I’ll never be able to enjoy Andromeda again, every time I see Captain Hunt I’ll be thinking “The guy who plays him is an arse.”

  11. shadowspade says

    When will they learn that it isn’t god we hate it’s them. They are right that because I don’t believe in god I don’t care about her or him or it. I do however care that people like Sorbo and Wiles. I care that they use peoples fear and superstitions in an imaginary being to make money, pass laws, discriminate, and much more. Just like PZ, if people used the tooth fairy to tell others how to live and make life miserable for others I’d be angry at that too. It’s not the god that I hate it’s the people who claim to speak for him and the vile garbage they spew that I hate.

  12. gmacs says

    “85 or 90 percent of the people in this country” believe in God, and that they’re offended when atheists use the courts to compel Christians to respect the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

    Huh, I have plenty of Christian friends who don’t seem to mind. Hell, I’m getting married to a Christian who has the same views on the First Amendment as I have. Also, Americans United is headed by an ordained and practicing pastor. So, no, Sorbo. Christians are not all on your side.

    If they don’t believe God exists, why are they spending all this time and money if God doesn’t exist. The truth is, [atheists] know he exists and they hate him. That’s what it’s all about.”

    Again, I’ll point out that the majority of my friends and loved ones are Christian. If I really hate their god so much, how am I able to be around them so comfortably? How do you explain people like me who are outspoken critics of religious privilege, but at the same time will gladly go along with Christmas celebrations (even the ones not stolen from pagans) and church weddings? It’s not necessarily religion that bothers me, it’s the imposition of it.

    tascott @9
    I agree. I think it’s a vocal group within Christianity of less than what Sorbo would like to claim (I’m not sure about “minority” or “majority”). In order to maintain dominance, they must scare and shame the more moderate Christians by implying a shared threat and an obligation to be a “good Christian”.

    I’m not defending Christian philosophy. I just think the real threat from theocrats is their tactic of shaming other Christians who may otherwise be completely fine with ceding their privilege.

  13. DonDueed says

    Hey, at least he conceded that 10-15% of Americans are godless.

    Nice of him to dismiss the views of “a few” (30,000,000+) of his fellow citizens.

  14. azhael says

    Persecution complex, denying the existence of atheists…..wow, christians are really fucking unoriginal…
    It just goes to show how tiny and isolated their worlds are.

  15. robro says

    Kevin Kehres @#6

    Jesus never existed. He is purely mythical…

    What! But Kevin, “most scholars agree” that Jesus existed. The Wikipedia article on Jesus says so many times. Also, according to Wikipedia “most scholars” agree that Buddha existed. I’m sure these surveys of scholars would be interesting to see. There’s no mention of scholars agreeing about Mohammad’s existence. Obviously, this is an indisputable fact.

  16. says

    Let me clarify my earlier comment.

    1. They are a small group, therefor they don’t matter.

    …apparently, according to Sorbo. (not according to me, being part of that “small group” myself.)

    2. Names and dates, please. I’d like to see them ranting and raving on CNN and/or Fox. Seriously.

    I probably should have just put [citation please]. The closest thing to a “ranting and raving” atheist I’m aware of on CNN or Fox would be S.E. Cupp. So, if he is seeing them on there, I would like to know which clips to google so I can see them too. (tl;dr He’s lying)

  17. James Cherry says

    Very well said PZ. I think that you’re forgetting, though, that like most apologists, his actual audience is not real-world atheists but rather doubting theists – he uses strawman atheists to help convince doubters to stay in the flock. A sheep may be sheared many times, so the goal is to keep them sheep. The charade collapses, of course, when actual atheists speak out about what they actually believe.

  18. robro says

    Gregory of Seattle @#5

    Does he secretly believe that Allah exists …

    Well, yes, but “Allah” is just Arabic for god and perhaps should not be considered specific to Islam. According to Volker Popp in an essay on early Islam in The Hidden Origins of Islam (Karl-Heinze Ohlig and Gerd-R Puin), Arab Christians used Allah as their name for god as attested in inscriptions and on coins from the 6th through 8th century. If you accept their hypothesis, then you could say he secretly believes in Mohammad, because that word means “anointed” or “chosen” and was used as a title by these Arab Christians to refer to Jesus.

  19. consciousness razor says

    One could certainly argue that the majority of Christians act as if god didn’t exist. Don’t read minds; judge by actions. Presumably, if they really, truly believed, they would act more like he says he wants them to.

    I don’t know about all that. If I believed in some version of the Christian god, I might try talking to it, I guess. That’s acting like it exists. But I’d do that to see if I could convince it to be less of a complete asshole. Who knows? Maybe it would listen to reason. It probably wouldn’t have heard much of that in most prayers.

    But me doing what it supposedly wants, according to the Bible or whatever? Not going to happen. Never mind all the mindless bootlicking that would entail. I just could not live with myself being that immoral.

    If nothing else, I would do everything I could to thwart its plans. Even if that means watching Kevin Sorbo try to act, I think it would be worth the sacrifice.

  20. says

    @robro #20 – I meant Allah as in “the non-Trinitarian deity worshiped by Muslims.” Discounting, of course, the different variations worshiped by differing sects.

  21. johnharshman says

    But me doing what it supposedly wants, according to the Bible or whatever? Not going to happen.

    What if you really, truly believed that doing what god wants would both save you from eternal torment and grant you eternal bliss? Are you going to stand by your principles then? If so, you are principled to the extent of foolishness. Give the bastard what he wants.

    If nothing else, I would do everything I could to thwart its plans.

    If you really, truly believed in god, you would realize that you could do nothing whatsoever to thwart his plans. Resistance is futile. Face it; all of what you said is posturing, and you can speak so bravely only because god doesn’t exist.

    But of course I wasn’t talking about you anyway. I’m talking about the Christians who say they believe (and love, and obey, and all that stuff).

  22. Christopher says

    If you really, truly believed in god, you would realize that you could do nothing whatsoever to thwart his plans. Resistance is futile. Face it; all of what you said is posturing, and you can speak so bravely only because god doesn’t exist.

    Bullshit. I have access to more than one iron chariot, I’ll just run the fucker over like an indecisive squirrel. Easy peasy.

  23. scienceavenger says

    @1

    Names and dates, please. I’d like to see them ranting and raving on CNN and/or Fox. Seriously.

    Silverman/O’Reilly, although granted O’Reilly forgot who was supposed to be angry and ranting…

    @7

    They sure as hell won’t be putting someone on that can actually answer questions, hold their own against pseudo-Christo-fascists, or present an argument based on logic, instead of just ranting. And, even if they did, what do you imagine the odds are they would be allowed to get a word in edge wise, instead of being shouted down by the talking heads?

    You’d be surprised, they even manage to screw this up. But when the opposition does make a good point, they just blow it off with the Hypocrite game or a half-argument Colteresque snark.

  24. johnharshman says

    Bullshit. I have access to more than one iron chariot, I’ll just run the fucker over like an indecisive squirrel.

    I think there’s a reference I’m not getting. Is there somewhere in the bible where it says iron chariots are god’s kryptonite?

  25. consciousness razor says

    What if you really, truly believed that doing what god wants would both save you from eternal torment and grant you eternal bliss? Are you going to stand by your principles then? If so, you are principled to the extent of foolishness. Give the bastard what he wants.

    There aren’t many principles involved here. I’m just not that fucking selfish. That’s not how morality could possibly work, and I cannot imagine that any version of me really truly believes any such thing. Some other person? Maybe. Not me.

    And “eternal torment” would not be my fault. You could blame it on that bastard, if you really truly believed in it. As far as “eternal bliss” goes…. meh. That’s all I have to say about it right now. In another eternity or two, maybe I’ll write down something else. But now it’s just not worth it.

    The odd thing is that you seem to really want Christians to act like they’re the fucking Nazis. I don’t think telling them “I expect you to be a total fucker, or you’re just not living up to your ‘high’ standards, so I’ll be dissatisfied somehow” is going to send the right message to them. They’re just going to hear how wonderful “ideal” Christians are with their high standards, and remind themselves of how we’re all imperfect sinners. Or some shit like that. The Bible is shit. I expect absolutely no one to follow it, ever.

    If you really, truly believed in god, you would realize that you could do nothing whatsoever to thwart his plans.

    Depends on what this god is actually like, doesn’t it? You have an awfully specific idea in mind, for this this non-existent god that you don’t believe in.

  26. Christopher says

    Judges 1:19
    And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

  27. says

    I do hate their gods. Of all the gods in all the pantheons, Yahweh and Jesus are both pretty worthy of my disdain and contempt. But I hate them in the same way as I hate other fictional characters. But would I join an anti-Uriah Heap group or read an anti-Angelo blog? No. What gets me angry is the way religion is used to harm real people (especially those already marginalised) and the way it is imposed on people by means of force and coercion. Make it something voluntary that adult people join in order to enjoy life and socialise, like Morris dancing or knitting and you won’t hear a complaint from me.

  28. johnharshman says

    Judges 1:19

    Ooh, I’m going to have to remember that one. Do you think a tank would count?

  29. johnharshman says

    That’s not how morality could possibly work

    Who said anything about morality?

    You could blame it on that bastard

    Who said anything about blame?

    Are you saying you wouldn’t obey a few commandments to save yourself from a nasty fate? They don’t even seem all that objectionable. Most of them seem to be in the nature of “don’t do bad things to other people”. If he regularly told you to commit genocide, you might have a point, but he seems to have given that idea up a while ago. Now it’s more in the line of “be excellent to everyone”, and god reserves the right to be an asshole to himself.

    And the god I have in mind is the one that people claim to believe in.

  30. says

    I just watched the movie to see what the fuss was about. Excellent production values and better acting than I expected. Sorbo really sells his Angry Atheist character. Scripting on the level of a decent TV movie. All the characters (abused Girlfriend, apostate Muslim girl, converted PRC Chinese student, Cancer-death-sentence woman) and Scenarios (only God can restore the starter on your rental car) exist only to advance the plot to the inevitable conclusion: God Is Not Dead. They cleverly fold in all the top Scientific Objections, name-drop Stephen Hawking and Steven Weinberg and a raft of Philosophers, then refute their arguments as Believers must.
    Although I couldn’t possibly align with the main characters’ beliefs, the filmmakers competently appealed to the viewers’ emotions.

    Spoiler:
    By far the ickiest scene was at the conclusion, where Sorbo’s character is fatally injured in a hit-and-run where the 2 preachers are happily at the intersection and cajole him into a pre-death conversion. One of the men posits that a few moments of pain are offset by all the joy being felt at that moment in Heaven. Creepily perverse (Christians will gladly suck all meaning out of this world and elevate the next one) or Glorious depending on your worldview.

  31. Rowan vet-tech says

    @ johnharshman 31-

    Yes. I am saying that. I stopped being Christian while I still believed in God, because I read the bible. I found God to be an absolute evil fucker, and completely at odds with the God I’d been taught about. I spent many years being terrified of my eventual ‘fate’ due to defying God and refusing to worship a force of evil. But I never was tempted to be a christian again simply to avoid it. Fuck that noise.

    God tells us how to sell our daughters to be sex slaves. He tells us to kill our children with rocks if they aren’t respectful enough. He tells us to cut off a woman’s hand if she grabs a guy by the nuts. He tells us to kill non-cis people with rocks. There are not a ‘few’ commandments, there are hundreds. Hope you’ve never eaten the fatty part of meat, because that is forever an abomination unto God and it’s HELL FOR YOU! :D

    No. Fuck that noise again.

  32. says

    I wonder how much attention the producers were paying. When the main character reads the Bible, they zoom in on a lovely passage the describes when to beat your slaves severely or not so much.

  33. says

    @Rowan-33, I’m a “Lucky Atheist” – my parents cut God out from the get-go, so I had no baggage to shed. Good for you for being smart and having balls.

  34. frugaltoque says

    “Judges 1:19
    And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.”

    So, a car would do it?

  35. says

    Consciousnessrazor:

    “But me doing what it supposedly wants, according to the Bible or whatever? Not going to happen. Never mind all the mindless bootlicking that would entail. I just could not live with myself being that immoral.”

    In The Rapture, Mimi Rogers chooses to spend eternity in darkness rather than kiss His ass.

  36. kevinalexander says

    Whenever I get the ‘you secretly believe’ thing I counter with ‘you secretly don’t’
    Why else would you get so upset about what’s going to happen to me when I die. If you truly believed then you would feel genuine pity for me but instead your reaction is anger and hatred. Could it be that you know that you are wasting your life, your time and tithe on this nonsense but are too afraid to admit it even to yourself?

  37. johnharshman says

    Rowan vet-tech:

    That’s God Classic. New God doesn’t command any of those things. This is why you’re allowed to eat bacon.

    But wait: you decided that the gross inconsistency of god’s character in the bible was evidence that he was real but evil? Ah, well. I suppose you were young.

  38. microraptor says

    “Judges 1:19
    And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.”

    So, a car would do it?

    That probably depends on how much plastic and fiberglass went into its construction.

  39. says

    I’ll say it again. Gods have not given me a reason to hate them. It’s their followers who are the troublemakers. And if there are any gods out there, I wouldn’t trust said followers to represent them accurately.

  40. Kevin Kehres says

    @30…Hell, a beat up steel bicycle counts.

    Not a new carbon fiber one, though. Gotta be iron or the mojo doesn’t work.

  41. johnharshman says

    The increasing prevalence of iron vehicles would actually explain the god-power curve (3000 BC: floods the world; 30 AD: blasts a fig tree; 2000 AD: appears on toast).

  42. Ray, rude-ass yankee (Whimsy, I has it) says

    Don’t diss Yahweh while in a Corvette, he’ll get in through the fiberglass and “f” you up.

  43. ironchew says

    8/10, could’ve been a bit more subtle.

    Kevin Sorbo has found a new hobby: trolling atheists. Considering the butthurt that inevitably follows every passing remark he makes, I’m sure he enjoys it.

  44. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    No it isn’t. It references spanking a child who then cries like it is the end of the world. Get your mind out of the gutter.

    No, you have been asked to stop. Either do so, or just fade into the bandwidth. The folks at Pharyngula say you are WRONG. You deal with that.

  45. says

    Christopher:

    No it isn’t. It references spanking a child who then cries like it is the end of the world. Get your mind out of the gutter.

    That may be *a* use for the word, but it is also a homophobic word:

    http://persephonemagazine.com/2013/01/can-we-please-stop-using-the-term-butthurt/

    Just think about it. The term implies less of “pain in the ass, I sat on something unpleasant” and something far more sexist and homophobic. This is mostly because of the context the word is typically used in. Sandra is in a bad mood because Hugo took her parking spot? She’s just butthurt. Mike won’t stop complaining that his bro beat him playing video games? Butthurt. Essentially, the term is used when someone is upset that someone else has gotten the better or them or beaten them or bested them in some way. That is to say, they dominated them. You know, like when someone is raped. This just isn’t funny. Not only is the term sexist, because it hinges on domination and anal rape, which is primarily a male device, but it is also homophobic. I’m pretty sure that gay men don’t think the threat of anal rape is hilarious, and I’m also pretty sure they don’t enjoy an act they enjoy once again being used as a display of cruelty, disgust, and derision.

    The English language is so wide and varied that surely we can think up a word that doesn’t have such awful connotations. No, it’s not the worst thing anyone can say. The thing is, danger lurks in seemingly harmless words like this. Words like this contribute to the ever-present rape culture that makes our society perilous for marginalized groups. So come on, I know you’re creative. Can’t we think of something better?

    *You* might not be used to it being used as an slur against gay people, but that doesn’t mean others are not.

  46. carlie says

    I wonder how they’d respond if I declared that they were all secretly atheists themselves, that in their hearts they were positive that this god they declaim never was, that Jesus was a deluded fanatic, that prayer is a complete waste of time. It’s a rather dishonest argument, don’t you think?

    In this case, no, actually, it’s not a dishonest statement to make. If there’s one thing I could admire fundamentalism for, it’s that they get this part “right”: if you honestly, truly believed what Christianity says is true, then you would spend all of your waking time, all of your energy, all of your resources on getting the word of salvation out to as many people as possible. You WOULD sell all you have and give it to the poor, you WOULD take up your cross and follow him, you WOULD think that the most important thing you could ever do in life is to spread the word, and follow that through by doing it. If you’re not doing that, then yes, there IS at least a small part of you that knows it’s bogus. Because if you didn’t doubt it a little bit, you would be too scared of hell and too full of conviction to do anything other than become a full-time itinerant preacher.

    The nice thing about using that argument against a Christian is that, even if you don’t shake their belief, you give them a heaping dose of shame and guilt. “Oh, you REALLY believe that? Then the fact that you are living a normal middle-class life means that you think the rest of the world can literally go to hell for all you care, because you got yours.” If they are devout, that ought to give them at least one sleepless night.

  47. Christopher says

    I think we can all agree on the accepted definition of ‘butthurt': whining about an inconsequential perceived slight, annoyance, or insult. The implication is that the person has no reason to complain and should buck the fuck up.

    How exactly does this relate to anal sex of any kind (gay, straight, consensual or not)?

    If someone was anally raped, they very much have a reason to complain, their insult wasn’t inconsequential, they straight up need medical attention and PTSD counseling.

    If someone had consensual anal sex, then presumably they did it for enjoyment and won’t be whining about it.

    How does butthurt = gay slur fit with the accepted definition of butthurt?

  48. says

    Christopher @ 56, you were provided information and a link in #51 by Tony!

    You are in violation of the commenting rules, so I suggest you take Daz’s advice, and if you wish to continue being a JAQing ass, take it to thunderdome, where you will not be derailing this thread. Consider it a plus that you can demonstrate you don’t need a whole fucking city to come down on your head in order to get a hint.

  49. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Christopher, where the fuck do you think we haven’t talked it over amongst ourselves for a long period of time, and come to a consensus conclusion? Don’t expect us to agree with you….

  50. Ichthyic says

    Now it’s more in the line of “be excellent to everyone”,

    you mean the 10 commandments… where death is suitable if you sass your parents?

    that god?

    are you stupid or just in denial?

  51. Gregory Greenwood says

    adamcolley @ 11;

    Ah – a fellow connoisseur of obscure and spectacularly cheesy sci fi shows I see.

    Bah.

    I’ll never be able to enjoy Andromeda again, every time I see Captain Hunt I’ll be thinking “The guy who plays him is an arse.”

    It is sad isn’t it? All that time spent playing the last surviving advocate for the Commonwealth*, which for the most part had reasonably decent progressive values in the fiction, and he really hasn’t grasped for one second why the secular, multicultural, inclusivist Commonwealth was depicted as such an immensely superior option to the alternatives such as the gene-supremacist Nietzchians and a couple of pretty clearly theocractic groups.

    I get the impression that all he really thought any of it was about was running around in a spiffy uniform with a conventionally attractive actress playing the self aware holographic/android avatar of his starship – the politics of it all was clearly wasted on him.

    I never thought Sorbo was much of an actor, but it is only recently that I realised that he was such a delusionally fanatical, bigoted arsehat.

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————

    * No, not that one, the fictional union of planets – a bit like the Federation, which is no surprise given that both universes were originally created by Rodenberry.

  52. says

    @Rowan-33, I’m a “Lucky Atheist” – my parents cut God out from the get-go, so I had no baggage to shed. Good for you for being smart and having balls.

    1) No, I’m fairly sure she doesn’t have balls.

    2) Don’t use this as a metaphor for “being courageous” here (or preferably, anywhere). Women are perfectly capable of being just as courageous as men, and I’d contend, show so on a much more regular basis, just by continuing to exist in a society which shits on our very presence in the world. Associating “being courageous” with “having testicles” is a grossly misogynist meme, and really doesn’t belong here, or anywhere among people who have the radical idea that women are people.

  53. carlie says

    CHRISTOPHER – you have been told that word is not a good one to use here. Arguing will do nothing but give everyone else more evidence that you don’t care about anyone but yourself (well, it could get you banned if you’re annoying enough about it).

  54. Ichthyic says

    What if you really, truly believed that doing what god wants would both save you from eternal torment and grant you eternal bliss?

    I’d think it’s time we introduced someone who believed such to a deprogrammer.

    why take it as a given that to believe such things to begin with is somehow a reasonable premise?

  55. robro says

    Gregory @#22 — Oh yeah, that anti-Nicean version. As I understand it, very popular during late antiquity around Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, and even both sides of the Arabian peninsula all the way down.

  56. johnharshman says

    Now it’s more in the line of “be excellent to everyone”,

    you mean the 10 commandments… where death is suitable if you sass your parents?
    that god?
    are you stupid or just in denial?

    Ah, the charm of Pharyngula commenters. First, I said “most”. Second, I do forget where in the commandments it says death is the proper punishment for sassing your parents; it’s certainly not in the commandment itself. Let me say this in a different way: most of the things that Christians are supposed to do are not objectionable, and some of them are downright positive. Do you disagree?

    why take it as a given that to believe such things to begin with is somehow a reasonable premise?

    I don’t, I haven’t, and I wouldn’t. Why would you assume as a default that everyone except you is an idiot and read every post from that point of view?

  57. Ichthyic says

    First, I said “most”.

    irrelevant to your portrayal of this deity, which is summarized by what I quoted you saying.

    Ah, the charm of Pharyngula commenters.

    says the person now commenting.

    do forget where in the commandments it says death is the proper punishment for sassing your parents;

    your ignorance of the book is not an excuse.

    most of the things that Christians are supposed to do are not objectionable, and some of them are downright positive. Do you disagree?

    yes, because your creating a strawman of a Christian that doesn’t exist. why do you think there are over 40 thousand recognized sects of Christianity?

    some of them insist that the only way to be true to god is to force your kids to handle poisonous snakes.

    I don’t, I haven’t, and I wouldn’t.

    ?? you fucking well did.

    you’re a dishonest shit, ain’t ya, and quite ignorant too boot.

    perhaps this isn’t the place for you.

  58. Ichthyic says

    by the way, I’ll save you the time in actually reading the book:

    If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

    – Deuteronomy 21:18-21

  59. johnharshman says

    Ichthyic: that isn’t part of the 10 commandments. There are of course many other commandments, most of which Christians claim they’re allowed to ignore because they worship New God, and those were commandments of God Classic.

    Even for snake handlers, most of the things they think god wants them to do are not a problem. And you have chosen an extreme as if anecdote are the singular of data.

    Show me where I claimed that believing in god, heaven, hell, etc. were reasonable. For the record: I don’t think they are. Is that not clear?

  60. Ichthyic says

    that isn’t part of the 10 commandments

    yes, it is. It’s how the 5th one was acted on.

    again, your fucking ignorance is no excuse.

    Even for snake handlers, most of the things they think god wants them to do are not a problem. And you have chosen an extreme as if anecdote are the singular of data.

    if you weren’t so fucking ignorant, I would bother to list a hundred more in detail that are variants of the homophobia, misogyny, and authoritarianism that are melded irrevocably to this religion.

    but I won’t, because it would be entirely a waste of time to point out to you, after hours of education, that the ONLY things reasonable about xianity are not at all actually a unique part of it.

    ta.

  61. Gregory Greenwood says

    johnharshman @ 66;

    Ah, the charm of Pharyngula commenters.

    Pharyngula is a rude blog; PZ likes it that way, and there is much to be said for people who have the preparedness and conviction to say what they mean without feeling the need to obscure their point with sugar coating designed to spare the other side’s feelings. Different approaches have merit, but an excess of milquitoast ‘niceness’ acheives precious little on its own.

    As an aside; are you sure you want to chum the waters while you are swimming? Chiding the entire commentariat here with a tone troll argument is unlikely to have the effect you desire.

    Second, I do forget where in the commandments it says death is the proper punishment for sassing your parents; it’s certainly not in the commandment itself.

    It is not directly mentioned in the text of the commandments, but it most certainly is in the bible.

    Let me say this in a different way: most of the things that Christians are supposed to do are not objectionable, and some of them are downright positive. Do you disagree?

    As Ichthyic says, there is no consensus on what Christians are ‘supposed’ to do, hence the proliferation of christian sects. Many christians interpret the injunction in the bible that ‘thou shalt not lie with a man as thou would with a woman for it is an abomination’ to be a direct godly instruction toward the establishment of homophobic laws. ‘Suffer not the witch to live’ has been used repeatedly throughout history to justify the brutal murder of innocent people ( as can be seen from such works as the infamous malleus maleficarum), in particular women, and this practice is still ongoing in some regions of the world.

    Even where the toxic attitudes aren’t explicit, the implicit message is horrifying – the deeply misogynistic Eden myths, The ‘hewers of wood and bearers of water’ passage that endorses slavery, Lot’s wife divinely murdered for glancing over her shoulder (a punishment for a ‘disobedient’ woman that is grotesquely excessive), the exhortment of the Hebrews to genocide of the Canaanites, the poisonous Hammite origin of races notion, the weird idea of sacrificing an avatar of god to himself in order to appease himself, the biblical notion of marriage the effectively declares the women of the household, including the slaves that the bible really has no problem with, to be the sexual property of the head of the household – the list goes on.

    Modern christians often try to edit out the worst parts of their own religious traditions in order to avoid the most monstrous implications of what their supposedly holy text actually say, but they are rarely entirely successful. As for any positive elements (the whole love they neighnour bit – well, at least so long as they aren’t gay, atheists, believers in other religions, given to mixing their fabrics and so on), the same can be achieved through means of entirely secular value systems, and without all the deeply problematic and at least potentially oppressive baggage that comes with christianity and indeed all religious traditions.

  62. Rowan vet-tech says

    @John, various-

    Firstly, thank you sooooooo much for your condescension about the first stage of my deconversion. You being willing to grant me youth for the decision that the God as displayed in the Bible was probably the ‘real’ version versus the happy-fluffy-feelgoodGod because, after all, the bible is supposed to be the word of God, is extremely generous. So generous and so gently condescending in fact that Fuck You.

    Secondly, If christians are willing to follow 10 of the commandments, they need to follow the others. Even Jesus says they still need to follow those rules (“not one letter…”, etc etc…) Besides which, the punishment for not following those 10, as reiterated later, is still DEATH.

  63. johnharshman says

    Gregory Greenwood: I’m not sure that failing to say “you’re an idiot; fuck you” is sugar-coating or obscuring anyone’s point, unless the point actually is “you’re an idiot; fuck you”; and in that case the point is boring. If anyone would like to engage with what I said rather than what they imagine I might have meant, that would be nice.

    I never said the bible doesn’t contain a vast number of nasty things, or that the god of the bible isn’t an asshole; clearly he is, though he gets a bit nicer toward the end. But he’s also self-contradictory. He says so many things, some of which are things most of us would agree with, and some of which aren’t. If we just pick the ten commandments, either version, I don’t see much problem with any of them. The worst you can say is that a few seem pointless — sabbath day, graven images, etc.

    Now, if the greatest commandment for Christians is to love your fellow human beings, the views of some sects, though biblically based, seem contradictory. But I still think the majority of claimed beliefs regarding expected behavior of almost all sects are perfectly fine. That still leaves a minority, even in some of the largest sects (Catholics, anyone?) that are just plain evil. I don’t think, though, that this invalidates my point.

    Well of course secular morality can give us all the good parts without all the bad parts. Who ever said anything else? Do you think I’m arguing for Jesus here?

    Rowan: I’m honestly sorry about being condescending; shouldn’t have. But I don’t think your idea that God as shown in the bible was real is very reasonable; and apparently you eventually decided it wasn’t too.

    It’s almost universally considered among Christian sects that quite a few parts of the Law no longer apply; do you disagree? Or do you just say they’re wrong?

    Ichthyic: I’ve pretty much given up on you.

  64. thinkingman says

    “and that they’re offended when atheists use the courts to compel Christians to respect the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.”
    Some of the most rabid bible thumpers I know (and I live in the bible belt) think that the constitution was inspired by god, is the word of god, and is just as sacred and holy as the bible itself, I guess I will need someone to explain to me why it would take atheists and courts for christians to respect a document that is supposedly handed down by their god ….. or maybe someone needs to explain it to Sorbo

  65. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ichthyic: I’ve pretty much given up on you.

    And I’ve given up on anything you say. Don’t like it? Try arguing your points *snicker* without the attitude….

  66. robster says

    “How dare anyone expect Christians to obey the law!” or respect the Constitution!

  67. Rowan vet-tech says

    John, I tend to try to be consistent. As such, cherry picking to me always seemed wrong. If the whole of the bible is supposed to be the word of God, then one must accept the WHOLE bible, not just the parts that one prefers. Now, I know this is not how the majority of christians treat the bible. So yes, I do actually think they are wrong. They either need to own their entire ‘holy’ book, or they need to abandon it entirely. So while I may, indeed, have been young (13), I *thought* about these things. I asked questions of my religion teachers that they was uncomfortable answering. I found their attempts at making the bible say things opposite what the written words said to be intellectually dishonest.

    It is perfectly reasonable, when one is a believer, to consider the God portrayed in the book that God supposedly ‘wrote’ (through humans) to be the ‘correct’ version of God. I believed in a higher power at that point. I didn’t know a single person who didn’t. When I first encountered the idea of atheism when I was 15, I was startled. I’d had enough ‘spiritual’ experiences, and had been indoctrinated well enough, that the idea of not-believing in a deity was bizarre to me. But my journey through paganism to agnosticism to atheism was precisely because of a lack of evidence. As I grew, I wanted to be able to back up what I believed in and it was a lack of evidence for deity that finally made me call myself an atheist.

    That said, your condescension is still ringing through loud and clear, so once again, Fuck You.

  68. consciousness razor says

    Implying they’re insincere or hypocritical in #2, but suddenly they’re expected to cherry-pick (in a very specific way) from a book which isn’t even consistent (and apparently, given johnharshman’s example, doesn’t even need to be read). That was quick.

    Let me say this in a different way: most of the things that Christians are supposed to do are not objectionable, and some of them are downright positive. Do you disagree?

    For fuck’s sake, yes. Where have you been?

  69. johnharshman says

    Rowan: I tend to try to be consistent.

    There’s your problem, then. The bible isn’t consistent and any serious attempt to accept everything it says must result in a host of contradictions. It was, after all, assembled from a great many different stories. There is no “god portrayed in the book”; there are many gods. So, once again, I don’t see how a reasonable person could come to any coherent view of what god is by accepting the entire bible, neither a good god nor an evil god, but an incoherent god. Cherry-picking of one sort or another is the only way to get a consistent story, so I wouldn’t be too hard on those who do it. Why, I believe there may even be a few genuine facts in there somewhere. I do believe there’s a city called Jerusalem, for example.

    My point is that the bible provides excellent evidence that it isn’t the word of god. (It also isn’t the work of any other fictional character.)

    You may, if you prefer, continue with the Fuck You’s. I can easily ignore them and still respond to the rest.

    Nerd of Redhead: What points would you like me to argue? I probably can’t lose the attitude; it’s my attitude.

  70. johnharshman says

    consciousness razor: Are we arguing about percentages now? Various sects cherry-pick in various ways. Pick one. Make a list of the things they’re supposed to believe. I think three categories would do: good, evil, and just plain silly. My claim would be that the list of good things will outnumber the evil things, and we can ignore the silly things. Which doesn’t mean that the evil things don’t taint the whole sect; I’m not arguing that religion is on balance a good thing; I think it’s a bad thing. I wouldn’t actually say that religion poisons everything, but I’d agree that it tends to poison a whole lot of things. Is that good enough for you? Can I be one of the cool kids now?

  71. consciousness razor says

    There’s your problem, then. The bible isn’t consistent and any serious attempt to accept everything it says must result in a host of contradictions.

    Which means believers cannot possibly “act on it,” as you suggested initially, in a way that anybody (who’s honest and not totally ignorant) could regard as being “consistent” with what it says. That does not mean you can’t “really” believe it, or in the god of the Bible (whatever you conception of that god happens to be). It only means your beliefs need to be really fucking confused/incoherent — indeed, similar to yours in this thread, johnharshman.

  72. johnharshman says

    consciousness razor: Well, you have proven with geometric logic that there must be a second key to the wardroom locker. I think that the way out of your brilliant argument is that nobody makes a serious attempt to believe everything in the bible. Most people don’t in fact know what’s in it and just accept what their church leadership things is important. They may think they believe everything, but they have no real idea of what that is. So the solution: cherry-picking, conscious or unconscious, can bring a degree of consistency good enough for most people. Nor do I say there’s only one proper way to cherry-pick. But there are various ways instantiated in various denominations. I don’t care which one you want to talk about; I find them all equally pointless.

    Apparently I can’t be one of the cool kids. But I don’t think your argument shows me to be incoherent.

  73. consciousness razor says

    My claim would be that the list of good things will outnumber the evil things, and we can ignore the silly things.

    What’s silly, and why ignore it? Bad metaphysics and bad epistemology and bad ethics certainly deserve a fuckload of criticism just on those grounds, because even if you don’t think some of these silly things are a “big deal” as they are, people in the habit of believing absurd horseshit tend to continue to do that in other parts of their lives. They’re definitely not “positive,” so ignoring it is out of the question when it comes to evaluating your claim. If we were having a party or whatever the fuck, I’d have no problem with silliness, but that’s not what we’re doing.

    Since you don’t even try to count, and you evidently aren’t terribly knowledgeable about the Bible or Christian doctrines or religions generally (and since you’ve leaped at the chance to shrug off ethical problems in this thread), I don’t believe your claim. It’s almost entirely bad, by my reckoning. It doesn’t quite manage to “poison everything” (else), but it is itself just a bunch of poison.

  74. chigau (違う) says

    johnharshman

    My claim would be that the list of good things will outnumber the evil things,

    In the Bible????
    Have you ever read it?

  75. says

    johnharshman:

    My claim would be that the list of good things will outnumber the evil things, and we can ignore the silly things.

    I hope you’re basing this claim on something more substantial than a hunch or intuition.

  76. consciousness razor says

    My best guess: he has friends/family who are Christians. (So do I, John!)

    They seem like pretty decent people, therefore, it can’t be all that bad. But that doesn’t follow.

  77. says

    John:

    My claim would be that the list of good things will outnumber the evil things, and we can ignore the silly things.

    I think you should get better acquainted with the god & his book a whole helluva lot of christians truly believe in. Start small, with Steve Wells’ Drunk with Blood: God’s Killings in the Bible. Then you can move onto the Skeptic’s Annotated KJV bible.

  78. F.O. says

    The problem is that we always assume that these people are talking to us.
    They are not.
    They are preaching to the choir, which incidentally is the one that pays their bills.
    Their job is to give assurance and validation to the last person you atheist debated on the internets, to the too many faithful whose fragile ideas are threatened by the existence of atheists.

  79. anteprepro says

    The list of good things outweigh the bad things in the Bible? Doubtful. Even if you just were looking at quantity alone. But if you want to look at the quality, the magnitude, the insight and significance, of the good passages, versus the magnitude, severity, repugnance, and atrociousness of the bad things, it is damn near blatant that the bad things overwhelm whatever minor good lessons or beneficial cliches managed to squeeze its way into all of the bafflegab and outright horrors of the Bible.

  80. johnharshman says

    chigau: In the Bible????
    Have you ever read it?

    No, and yes. No, not in the bible; I’m talking about the list of behaviors a believer in some particular sect (pick one) is supposed to do. Was that somehow unclear? And yes, I’ve read quite a bit of the bible. But mostly the fun parts.

    Inaji: same response as to chigau.

    Tony: I hope you’re basing this claim on something more substantial than a hunch or intuition.

    If you’re asking whether I’ve done a rigorous assessment, then no. Have you? But as a first pass I picked the 10 commandments, which are supposedly basic to just about every sect. The count varies depending on which version you like, but I’d say more than half are good things (the honoring, no lying, stealing, coveting, killing) and the rest are what I’d put in the silly category. (Unless of course you try to kill those who don’t keep the sabbath holy, etc.; but that’s extra.

    CR: My best guess: he has friends/family who are Christians. (So do I, John!)j

    So does just about everyone in the U.S. How does this in any way explain my opinions? What do you imagine my opinions are? What do they have to do with whether or not the average Christian is on the whole a decent person? Never mind the bible; does anyone actually read what I write?

  81. johnharshman says

    Anteprepro: same answer as I gave to chigau above. I never said anything like what you claim here.

  82. omnicrom says

    Johnharshman what is your point again? I’m not getting it. Somehow the Christian bible is not important to Christians? They don’t base their behavior on their reading of their bible? Somehow the behavior of people who claim to predicate their behavior on their bible has nothing to do with their bible?

    I am genuinely confused here, so if you think you’re getting a raw deal then perhaps it’s because you’ve occluded what you’re trying to say.

  83. says

    johnharshman:

    If you’re asking whether I’ve done a rigorous assessment, then no. Have you? But as a first pass I picked the 10 commandments, which are supposedly basic to just about every sect. The count varies depending on which version you like, but I’d say more than half are good things (the honoring, no lying, stealing, coveting, killing) and the rest are what I’d put in the silly category. (Unless of course you try to kill those who don’t keep the sabbath holy, etc.; but that’s extra.

    I have not.
    Of course I’m not the one making a claim here. Which is why I asked if you had something substantial to base your claim on.

  84. carlie says

    johnharshman:

    If we just pick the ten commandments, either version, I don’t see much problem with any of them. The worst you can say is that a few seem pointless — sabbath day, graven images, etc.

    Just two weeks ago, two Amish girls were kidnapped from a family produce stand by a couple who sexually assaulted them and planned to permanently enslaved them. Search and rescue efforts were underway immediately, but were severely hampered because there were no pictures of the girls, and it took a day or so to convince the father to even allow a sketch artist to create a drawing, and then would only allow it for the older girl. source. So I’d hardly call the injunction against graven images “pointless” or in any way harmless.

  85. carlie says

    And yes, I’ve read quite a bit of the bible. But mostly the fun parts.

    I’m pretty sure I see the problem here.

  86. says

    johnharshman #92

    But as a first pass I picked the 10 commandments, which are supposedly basic to just about every sect. The count varies depending on which version you like, but I’d say more than half are good things

    Oh gawd, am I sick of seeing/hearing people say that.

    Taking the traditional ten:

    • 1–4 are basically all about kowtowing to the big invisible tyrant in the clouds.
    • 5 is about honouring your parents. Well, I dunno about yours, but my dad was a complete bastard and deserved about as much honouring as I’d give to a randomly chosen pebble. Those worthy of being honoured will generally earn that status while those who don’t do so, shouldn’t expect to be. In the former case the commandment is redundant, and in the latter it stinks.
    • 6 is either do not kill or do not murder, depending on your chosen reading. We need a commandment from on high to tell us this?
    • 7 is about adultery. Which, yeah, if you’ve made a promise you should stick to it. But again, I’m pretty sure we didn’t need a god to tell us this. And hey, if all involved are happy with “playing around,” it’s none of my business or Gawd Almighty’s if they do so. (Oh and fun fact: adultery was defined at that time only as a crime committed by the wife. So much for “unchanging moral frameworks,” eh?)
    • 8 don’t steal. See “6.”
    • 9 don’t perjure your neighbours. Uh. Wow.
    • 10 Don’t even think about getting nice things like your neighbour has. Know your place, peasant, and stay there.

    I give it a 3.5 out of 10: and all of the good bits are basically statin’ the bleedin’ obvious.

  87. anteprepro says

    So even factoring in that most believers just outright ignore most of their holy book, there is still the fact that a decent sized chunk of the good beliefs of believers don’t actually come from the Bible.

    You are relying almost entirely on vagueness to defend whatever position you actually have, john.

  88. carlie says

    johnharshman, I am seriously furious with your attitude. Allow me to tell you why: you are opining that Christianity is fine on the whole, and mostly all ok and good, and assuming that nobody actually believes the ridiculous or evil parts. You are whitewashing what they believe and what they do, and you are doing it out of a position of absolute ignorance, and you are the cover that allows them to maintain respectability while doing terrible things. “Oh, surely they aren’t that bad!” you blithely claim, while things like this are happening to thousands of children. “But on the whole they’re good!”, you say, chastising people who seem a bit forceful while describing the pain they went through as a direct result of Christianity.
    In short, you do not know what you are talking about. You’re trying to be the polite moderate, assuming that nobody is unreasonable or in any way actually takes religion seriously, and isn’t it all a nice lark that lets little old grandmas toddle around and say “I’ll pray for you” and teach people to share, and you have no fucking clue.

  89. johnharshman says

    I’m getting tired of people imagining what I might be thinking based on vague impressions of what I said. Do you all think I’m some kind of faitheist?

    1-4 (same version you picked) seem harmless to me unless you try to force others to obey them. Sorry your father was a bastard. The fact that you don’t need divine guidance on 6-10 — and of course you don’t, cough*Euthyphro*cough — doesn’t seem relevant to the count.

    So, my point: a lot of Christians do not follow the supposed rules of their particular sect, that which they claim to be god’s instructions, which suggests they may not believe, deep down. The Catholic church doesn’t like birth control. How many Catholics use it anyway? OK, maybe they just don’t really believe in Church infallibility. But there are plenty of examples.

  90. says

    John:

    But as a first pass I picked the 10 commandments, which are supposedly basic to just about every sect. The count varies depending on which version you like, but I’d say more than half are good things (the honoring, no lying, stealing, coveting, killing)

    Let’s just go with the KJV for a moment, shall we? Let’s start here.

    Okay, first up:
    Exodus 20

    20:1 And God spake all these words, saying,
    20:2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
    20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
    20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
    20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
    20:6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
    20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
    20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
    20:9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
    20:10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
    20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
    20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
    20:13 Thou shalt not kill.
    20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
    20:15 Thou shalt not steal.
    20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
    20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

    A few things: about that ‘thou shalt not kill’ stuff – god certainly didn’t mean that when it was his idea to commit one atrocity after another. Pretty much the whole OT is god commanding people to kill. What that means is “don’t kill unless I, God, say so.” A sample:

    Kill:

    Exodus 22:18
    Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

    Exodus 32:27
    Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side … and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.

    Numbers 15:35
    And the Lord said unto Moses, The man [who was found picking up sticks on the sabbath] shall be surely put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones.

    1 Samuel 15:2-3
    Thus saith the Lord of hosts … go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare him not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

    Ecclesiastes 3:1-3
    For everything there is a season … a time to kill.

    Don’t Kill:

    Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17
    Thou shalt not kill.

    Exodus 23:7
    The innocent and righteous slay thou not.

    Mark 10:19, Luke 18:20
    Do not kill.

    Matthew 19:18
    Thou shalt do no murder.

    Let’s move on to that honour your parents stuff.

    Honor your parents:

    Exodus 20:12, Deuteronomy .5:16, Ephesians 6:2
    Honour thy father and thy mother.

    Proverbs 1:8
    My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.

    Proverbs 23:22
    Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.

    Malachi 4:6
    And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

    Disrespect and Hate Your Parents:

    Matthew 12:47-48
    Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother?

    Matthew 23:9
    Call no man your father upon the earth.

    Mark 3:32-33
    And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother?

    Luke 9:59-60
    And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead.

    Luke 14:26
    If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

    How about Thou shalt not steal?

    Steal:

    Exodus 3:22
    But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour … and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.

    Exodus 11:2
    Let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver and jewels of gold.

    Exodus 12:35-36
    And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians … and they spoiled the Egyptians.

    Wisdom 10:19

    The just took the spoils of the wicked.

    Ezekiel 39:10
    They shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robben them, saith the Lord God.

    Nahum 2:9
    Take ye the spoil of silver, take the spoil of gold: for there is none end of the store and glory out of all the pleasant furniture.

    Don’t steal:

    Exodus 20:15, Matthew 19:18
    Thou shalt not steal.

    Leviticus 6:2-5
    If a soul … lie unto his neighbour … or hath deceived his neighbour … Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely. … Then … he shall restore that which he took.

    Leviticus 19:11, 13
    Ye shall not steal. (v.11)

    Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbor, neither rob him. (v.13)

    Deuteronomy 5:19
    Neither shalt thou steal.

    Psalm 37:21
    The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again.

    Mark 10:19, Luke 18:20
    Do not steal.

    Romans 2:21
    Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?

    Ephesians 4:28
    Let him that stole steal no more.

    1 Thessalonians 4:6
    That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such.

    Adultery, perhaps?

    It’s bad:

    Exodus 20:14, Deuteronomy 5:18
    Thou shalt not commit adultery.

    Hebrews 13:4
    Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

    Well, no, wait, it’s good:

    Hosea 1:2
    And the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms….

    Hosea 3:1
    Then said the Lord unto me, God yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress.

    Surely there’s no waffling over telling lies…these are long, so a link: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/lie.html

    And about that coveting business: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/covet.html (Here’s a hint: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, … nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”
    To the God of the Bible, women and slaves (servants in the KJV) are the property of men; they are his possessions — like an ox or an ass.)

    Then we get to the second set:
    (Exodus 34:28) The Ten Commandments
    This is set of commandments that God wrote in this chapter to replace the ones that Moses broke a couple chapters ago. So I guess this is the official list.

    Thou shalt not make covenants with neighboring tribes (v.12).
    Thou shalt destroy the altars of other religions. (v.13)
    Thou shalt not worship other gods. (v.14)
    Thou shalt not make any molten images. (v.17)
    Thou shalt keep the feast of unleaven bread. (v.18)
    Thou shalt rest on the seventh day. (v.21)
    Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks. (v.22)
    Thou shalt not offer blood sacrifices with leaven. (v.25)
    Thou shalt bring your first fruits to the house of the Lord. (v.26a)
    Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother’s milk. (v.26b)

    You are out of your depth, and if you think most xians believe mostly harmless stuff, or non-contradictory stuff, you are so, so wrong.

  91. omnicrom says

    Johnharshman @103

    I’m getting tired of people imagining what I might be thinking based on vague impressions of what I said. Do you all think I’m some kind of faitheist?

    I have no goddamn idea John, because i don’t understand your point, or your line of reasoning, or what you are saying. Know why? Because this?

    So, my point: a lot of Christians do not follow the supposed rules of their particular sect, that which they claim to be god’s instructions, which suggests they may not believe, deep down. The Catholic church doesn’t like birth control. How many Catholics use it anyway? OK, maybe they just don’t really believe in Church infallibility. But there are plenty of examples.

    This is gobbeldygook. Is your point is that Christianity doesn’t matter and is generally okay because Christians don’t always align with what their sect says they should do? Is that what I’m getting? Am I even in the right ballpark? Because if I am then you’ve grasped the exact wrong end of the wrong stick. Go reread Carlie’s posts @97 and 102 and reconsider how harmless and good religion is.

    It’s not generally good the people who don’t really follow the dictated tenets of their faith that bother me, it’s all the really awful people who they lay down cover for.

  92. carlie says

    I’m getting tired of people imagining what I might be thinking based on vague impressions of what I said. Do you all think I’m some kind of faitheist?

    Well…

    #31 Are you saying you wouldn’t obey a few commandments to save yourself from a nasty fate? They don’t even seem all that objectionable. Most of them seem to be in the nature of “don’t do bad things to other people”.

    #66 Let me say this in a different way: most of the things that Christians are supposed to do are not objectionable, and some of them are downright positive.

    #69 Even for snake handlers, most of the things they think god wants them to do are not a problem.

    #75 He says so many things, some of which are things most of us would agree with, and some of which aren’t. If we just pick the ten commandments, either version, I don’t see much problem with any of them. The worst you can say is that a few seem pointless — sabbath day, graven images, etc.

    #75 But I still think the majority of claimed beliefs regarding expected behavior of almost all sects are perfectly fine.

    #82 My claim would be that the list of good things will outnumber the evil things, and we can ignore the silly things.

    #92 And yes, I’ve read quite a bit of the bible. But mostly the fun parts.

    #92 If you’re asking whether I’ve done a rigorous assessment, then no. Have you? But as a first pass I picked the 10 commandments, which are supposedly basic to just about every sect. The count varies depending on which version you like, but I’d say more than half are good things (the honoring, no lying, stealing, coveting, killing) and the rest are what I’d put in the silly category.

    …Yes.

  93. anteprepro says

    johnharshman I’m getting tired of people imagining what I might be thinking based on vague impressions of what I said. Do you all think I’m some kind of faitheist?

    Vaguely, yes. Mostly because we are only get vague ideas of what you mean, because everything you have written is vague….

    1-4 (same version you picked) seem harmless to me unless you try to force others to obey them.

    “Unless you try to force others to obey them”…..

    Are you new to religion?

    The fact that you don’t need divine guidance on 6-10 — and of course you don’t, cough*Euthyphro*cough — doesn’t seem relevant to the count.

    It is rather relevant because it goes to show that you don’t need Christianity to get to the “good” stuff that allegedly comes from Christianity. Christians actually believe that the idea of not stealing and murdering comes from Christianity, apparently ignorant of the fact that legal systems existed before their holy book, and of the fact that their religion doesn’t have a monopoly on such rules either. Christians actually believe that idea that rape and child abuse are immoral come from their religion and their holy text, which is laughable to anyone who actually has read that shit.

    What is your actual point? You are still being far too vague, far too coy. Clarify your position.

  94. says

    johnharshman:

    I’m getting tired of people imagining what I might be thinking based on vague impressions of what I said. Do you all think I’m some kind of faitheist?

    When you say things like this:

    My claim would be that the list of good things will outnumber the evil things, and we can ignore the silly things.

    you’re employing tactics used by some believers to claim that the bible is a good source for guidance or morality.

  95. says

    johnharshman #103

    The fact that you don’t need divine guidance on 6-10…

    I fucking dismissed two of them outright, and noted that one (adultery) might not always be a “sin.” Your reading comprehension sucks.

    …and of course you don’t, cough*Euthyphro*cough — doesn’t seem relevant to the count.

    If that was a reference to my relationship with my father, fuck off. If was in order to note that Plato was unhappy at a very specific case of a man accusing his father of murder, then I assume you’re trying to generalise that into murder in general not having been always considered a crime. Which, bullshit, much?

    So, my point

    Your point was, as I quoted, that of the ten commandments, at least half may be considered good. Then you ignored all the ones I pointed out as not good in order to pretend that my refutations hadn’t “affected the count.”

  96. says

    Daz:

    5 is about honouring your parents. Well, I dunno about yours, but my dad was a complete bastard and deserved about as much honouring as I’d give to a randomly chosen pebble. Those worthy of being honoured will generally earn that status while those who don’t do so, shouldn’t expect to be. In the former case the commandment is redundant, and in the latter it stinks.

    Out of two parents, I was prevented from seeing one. The remaining parent was inventively and horribly abusive. However, that came more into play later in my childhood. In the meantime, of the two people standing in as a sort of parents, one started raping me when I was three years old. So, yeah, that ‘honour your parents’ shit? It’s shit.

  97. says

    Jake Harban:

    Anyone who has ever felt grief at the loss of a loved one is an atheist, whether they know it or not.

    Yes, I’m sure countless grief-stricken Christians who are consoled by the thought of being reunited with loved ones in heaven are just fakin’ it.

    FFS.

  98. says

    Jake:

    Anyone who has ever felt grief at the loss of a loved one is an atheist, whether they know it or not.

    When believers-who make up the majority of people on this planet-experience the death of a loved one and turn to their deity of choice (to express anger, sadness, questions, for hope, etc), are you saying these people don’t actually believe in the god that they’re worshiping? They’re…what…lying to themselves? Faking it? How do you know that? How *would* you know that? That’s just as ridiculous as theists claiming that atheists really believe in god, but we’re just angry at him.

  99. Ichthyic says

    Do you all think I’m some kind of faitheist?

    nope, just an ignorant dolt who thinks he somehow created an interesting hypothetical @#23.

    who is not furiously trying to defend how little he knows, and whinge about being criticized for it.

    keep digging though, always good for a show.

  100. anteprepro says

    I somewhat sympathize with Jake Harban’s point, because I have often said that it doesn’t make sense for believers to actually grieve over the death of loved ones if they truly believe in a Heaven. But of course, we already know that religion isn’t rational. And death is emotionally powerful, and it is bad logic and bad taste to judge the integrity of one’s beliefs based on how they respond to one of the most devastating things that a person can experience.

  101. says

    It’s a cheap-shot. “You wouldn’t be sad if you really believed they’d gone to a better life.” It ignores the fact that people grieve just as hard when, for instance, a lover leaves them but carries on living. It ignores compartmentalisation. And, frankly, using people’s heartfelt grief to score debating points is fucking sick.

  102. says

    Daz:

    It ignores compartmentalisation.

    It also ignores the horrible shock of losing a loved one to, say, murder. A great deal of grieving in that case, especially if it’s someone young, is coping with never being able to live through all the milestones you expected.

  103. raven says

    I wonder how they’d respond if I declared that they were all secretly atheists themselves, that in their hearts they were positive that this god they declaim never was, that Jesus was a deluded fanatic, that prayer is a complete waste of time. It’s a rather dishonest argument, don’t you think?

    1. It’s not a dishonest argument at all!!! There is a lot of truth in it.

    2. A lot of xians are just box checkers. Census xians. This is a fact. Dawkins found it with the Ipso Mori poll and Barna (a fundie pollster) found it as well.

    3. A lot of fundie xianity is just right wing extremists politics with a few crosses stuck on for show. A tribal identity. A package deal. The important part is the right wing extremist politics.

    They never walk their xianity talk. They don’t go to church. They have no idea what is in the magic book bible. Or what the doctrines are.

    US xianity is hollowed out.

  104. raven says

    Those Kevin Sorbo quotes are basically gibberish. His facts are wrong, the logic isn’t there, and so on. To take just one example, xians aren’t 90% of the population. The last Harris poll had them at 68% and dropping rapidly.

    1. He had a medical problem and has had three strokes. This looks more like brain damage than anything.

    2. There is a lot of disinhibition there and a lot of hate, poorly controlled.

    3. He’s actually managed to insult a huge number of people. What if some of the hirers in Hollywood are atheists or No Religions. For sure some of them won’t be xians.

    Who would hire a babbling idiot and hater like that. Other than C grade xian movie makers.

  105. omnicrom says

    1. He had a medical problem and has had three strokes. This looks more like brain damage than anything.

    Can we not take this tact? Ableism isn’t a pretty thing.

  106. raven says

    1. He had a medical problem and has had three strokes. This looks more like brain damage than anything.

    Can we not take this tact? Ableism isn’t a pretty thing.

    It’s relevant.

    I knew this would show up. This thread is trolled to death and useless. Troll some more, I’ve got millions of better things to read.

  107. says

    raven #123

    You throw that accusation around like confetti. Not everyone who disagrees with you is a troll.

    Assuming a mental-health problem (which is not even a guaranteed outcome of a stroke) is the cause of plain, ordinary, very common bigotry is, itself, bigotry. It is ablist.

  108. Rowan vet-tech says

    @ John-

    And yes, I’ve read quite a bit of the bible. But mostly the fun parts.

    Then you’re a liar, because the ‘fun parts’ aren’t ‘quite a bit’ of the bible. The evidence for the fact that God in the bible is NOT good starts off almost immediately. Starting from the beginning, I was no longer a christian by the time I finished exodus. There’s nothing in the rest (which I have also read) that can possibly hope to make up for just those first books. There is no way for God to redeem itself as a character.

  109. omnicrom says

    Raven @123

    I knew this would show up. This thread is trolled to death and useless. Troll some more, I’ve got millions of better things to read.

    You say you know you’d get this response yet you said it anyways. If you knew that people would consider your Ableism to be Ableism why bring it up? Also If you’ve got a million better things to read than feel free to go flounce off to them, but considering you stuck around enough to get off another potshot to me suggests you aren’t going to stick said flounce.

    Oh and pop quiz: Saying something deliberately that you know will get a negative reaction is called what? Hint: It starts with a “T”, is 8 letters long, and makes your post rather hypocritical.

  110. says

    Omnicrom:

    You say you know you’d get this response yet you said it anyways.

    Raven’s true belief is that only Raven knows everything there is to know about religion and what goes on in every theist’s head. It has a lot in common with Sorbo’s belief in god.

  111. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    The god of the bible most definitely does not get nicer in the later half. You can throw out the old testament and still show god is a genocidal asshole. All you need is the book of Revelations.

    The Baptist sect I grew up in appears outwardly to be fairly nice people, but they are, as a group, eagerly awaiting the end times when the wrath of god will descend on the unbelievers and the blood of the “wicked” will flow as deep as the brides of horses over a distance of 200 miles (Rev 14:20). Anyone want to do the math on how many people need to die to get that much blood? I bet its a hell of a lot.

  112. says

    Dave @ 129, well, given the mess that is Revelations, ‘brides of horses’ doesn’t sound that out of place.

  113. says

    Back to the “chariots of iron” thing for a moment:

    You could write a good sci-fi-ish story about how the Second Coming happened in, say, 1920 or so, but got halted right at the beginning when Jesus was hit by a car. And the corpse was too mangled to be extricated, so it was just buried that way, preventing God from getting away from his weakness and starting over.

  114. consciousness razor says

    The Baptist sect I grew up in appears outwardly to be fairly nice people, but they are, as a group, eagerly awaiting the end times when the wrath of god will descend on the unbelievers and the blood of the “wicked” will flow as deep as the brides of horses over a distance of 200 miles (Rev 14:20). Anyone want to do the math on how many people need to die to get that much blood? I bet its a hell of a lot.

    Yep, lots of (glorious!!!11!) singing about being “washed in the blood” and so forth. I don’t know about you, but I would want to take several showers after that.

    Anyway, I realize geometry’s not exactly John the Revelator’s forte, but is that supposed to be 200 square miles (times the height of a horse)? Or is it more like a river of blood, that’s 200 miles long and much narrower? Only giving two of the three dimensions leaves it completely uncertain what the volume would be, assuming the “200” doesn’t cover both horizontal directions. The word “flow” kind of suggests it’s not just sitting still in a big pool, but I suppose there’s also the wind and tides and such to consider, not to mention all of the bluster from God’s idiotic fucking hot air during this whole process. (Also, I’m not sure if we’re really dealing in units of miles, or if that’s a translator fucking around with what the text means.)

    I don’t know how to find it, but I’m thinking of an xkcd comic that talked about fitting every person on the planet — not just their blood, shoulder-to-shoulder basically — in an area that was quite a bit smaller than that, if I’m remembering it correctly. I want to say smaller by an order of magnitude at least. The point is, I’m pretty sure that could easily be talking about hundreds or thousands of generations of people, given the current size of the population, the proportion of blood in a person’s body, what the units really are, etc. So, that would apparently put it up into the trillions. Maybe it’s still “only” in the many-billions if it’s a big river o’ blood, like in The Shining (except more horrifying, but let’s call it “fun,” in honor of johnharshman’s opinions which totally warrant our respect and serious consideration.)

    … Some more deep thoughts, while the caffeine hasn’t kicked in yet this morning to sober me up: Do already-dead generations not count, considering that they don’t have blood? I thought everyone was supposed to join in the “fun,” at least those who’ve been around since Jesus killed himself to make us all feel guilty… Or is this metaphorical spirit-blood or something? Yet it’s hard to see how that would have any spatial extent…. I mean, is the space it’s in also metaphorical space, in the spirit-world that’s “outside” of … uh…. actual space?? What the fuck is that like? So many questions. Like this one: what the fuck is wrong with these people?

  115. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    I always sort of pictured it as the human-juicer (“the winepress of god’s wrath”) being in the center and the the blood flowing outward in all directions. Assuming the diameter to be 200 miles, I get about 21 trillion bodies worth of blood. (And isn’t it nice that this is what I remember from Sunday school? Great life lessons for kids.)

    But there’s an endless rabbit hole of sophistimicated theological arguments about this bit, and the rest of the book. You could wade forever in internet arguments if you want.

    I prefer to assume ol’ Johnny-boy got too fond of the local fungi and just wrote down a few of his worst trips.

  116. johnharshman says

    Me: mention of Euthyphro.

    Daz: If that was a reference to my relationship with my father, fuck off.

    I wasn’t going to reply any more, but this one was too bizarre to leave alone. No, it wasn’t a reference to your father. Look at context: “The fact that you don’t need divine guidance on 6-10 — and of course you don’t, cough*Euthyphro*cough”. I think if you read that without blinders you should be able to see that it’s a reference to Plato’s demonstration that god can’t be the source of morality. That’s all.

  117. omnicrom says

    I think if you read that without blinders you should be able to see that it’s a reference to Plato’s demonstration that god can’t be the source of morality. That’s all.

    Oh is that what is was a reference to? Gee, sorry I’m not psychic. That is what “reading without blinders” means right? Using psychic powers to figure out what an obscure namedrop means?

  118. says

    johnharshman #134

    Ah I see. In discussion of a document containing a stricture about murder being not a nice thing to do and which also mentions honouring of parents, you referenced a work in which someone accuses their own father of murder, and are surprised that I inferred it was either a reference to father-child relationships or to societal attitudes to murder.

    I’m fine, mostly, at reading without blinkers, and even tend to give benefit of the doubt where I can. Maybe you should try writing without ambiguity?

  119. johnharshman says

    I would have thought the Euthyphro dilemma would be well-known enough among you widely read folks that there would be no ambiguity. The immediate context — the very sentence in which the Euthyphro reference occurs — should really have been enough. Is it really very reasonable to jump immediately to the worst case scenario, even given a little ambiguity?

  120. says

    johnharshman #137

    The context was the secular acceptance of “the” ten commandments as at least 50% good. I’d also note that your assumption seems to have been that I would know of the Euthyphro dilemma but not be widely-read enough to know anything about the internal plot of the work which it’s named for; a plot with major elements which bear directly on two of the commandments under discussion.

    Moving on, would you care to address the fact that you seemingly intentionally ignored or glossed over my criticism of the commandments, in order to claim that my criticism didn’t refute your claim that they are at least 50% good?

  121. johnharshman says

    Your assumptions about my assumptions have always turned out wrong. Immediate context offers clues to meaning. You are missing the tree for the forest.

    Why assume as a default that everything I do is the result of dishonesty or bad intentions?

    Let’s see.
    1-4, pointless.
    5, not applicable to your father, but I don’t see a single exception as very telling. Respect for parents in general, even if there are exceptions, seems like a fine thing to me. I may be biased by being a father.
    6, 8, and 9, we agree are good.
    7 you give a half point to, and your comments don’t seem to invalidate it.
    10 you state in as a capitalist conspiracy, which I don’t see. It seems more a reinforcement of 6 and 9 than anything else; thought father to the deed, and so on. It seems to me that if 6 and 9 are defined as good, then 10 ought to be too.

    So yes, I’m going with 6 out of 10. They seem in general good rules for anyone, including atheists. No god necessary or desired.

  122. says

    5, not applicable to your father, but I don’t see a single exception as very telling.

    You think I’m the only person ever to have been severely mistreated by their parent(s)? Really? That rock you live under; is it cosy? Here’s some reading for you. (link is to a pdf)

    Respect for parents in general, even if there are exceptions, seems like a fine thing to me. I may be biased by being a father.

    Ah well done for yet again ignoring my actual fucking point. “Honour” needs to be earned. If it is earned, then the commandment is unneeded. If it is not earned, then the commandment is unfair.

    10 you state in as a capitalist conspiracy, which I don’t see. It seems more a reinforcement of 6 and 9 than anything else; thought father to the deed, and so on.

    Huh? Why the hell would the lord almighty’s personally dictated wishes need reinforcement? It doesn’t say “don’t covet ’cause that leads to stealing.” It says “don’t covet.” And nor did I say it was a capitalist conspiracy. I said it perpetuated a view that peasants should know their place. If anything the system in question is, therefore, more like feudalism/serfdom than anything I’d call capitalism in the modern sense.

    Your definition of “good” would appear to radically differ from my own, given that it seems to consist of uncritically accepting any bits that don’t specifically mention a god.

  123. says

    Yuck. Here’s that again with attention paid to spelling the word “blockquote” properly:

    5, not applicable to your father, but I don’t see a single exception as very telling.

    You think I’m the only person ever to have been severely mistreated by their parent(s)? Really? That rock you live under; is it cosy? Here’s some reading for you. (link is to a pdf)

    Respect for parents in general, even if there are exceptions, seems like a fine thing to me. I may be biased by being a father.

    Ah well done for yet again ignoring my actual fucking point. “Honour” needs to be earned. If it is earned, then the commandment is unneeded. If it is not earned, then the commandment is unfair.

    10 you state in as a capitalist conspiracy, which I don’t see. It seems more a reinforcement of 6 and 9 than anything else; thought father to the deed, and so on.

    Huh? Why the hell would the lord almighty’s personally dictated wishes need reinforcement? It doesn’t say “don’t covet ’cause that leads to stealing.” It says “don’t covet.” And nor did I say it was a capitalist conspiracy. I said it perpetuated a view that peasants should know their place. If anything the system in question is, therefore, more like feudalism/serfdom than anything I’d call capitalism in the modern sense.

    Your definition of “good” would appear to radically differ from my own, given that it seems to consist of uncritically accepting any bits that don’t specifically mention a god.

  124. omnicrom says

    I would have thought the Euthyphro dilemma would be well-known enough among you widely read folks that there would be no ambiguity.

    I’m not the only person who read this as a back-handed insult right? I read this sentence as something akin to “Oh of course if you were as well-read and smart and cultured as I was you’d fully understand my brilliance”.

  125. says

    John:

    Respect for parents in general, even if there are exceptions, seems like a fine thing to me. I may be biased by being a father.

    FFS, did you even read my post @ 110? Auto-respect for parents is absolute fucking shit. Parents can gain respect like everyone else, by earning it, full fucking stop.

  126. CJO says

    It doesn’t actually say “don’t covet”, and it is very much about not stealing*, but that’s obscure Biblical Hebrew stuff; for the purposes of discussions like these the commandments mean what they have been interpreted to mean for centuries in the vernacular translations.

    *for those interested, the verb chamad, translated as “covet, desire,” could mean just that, but it also had another, related sense used elsewhere, e.g. Exodus 34:24, in contexts that do not support the standard translation. In those cases, and in the commandment, the more accurate translation refers to “taking” without overt stealing (since stealing is already prohibited). “Usurping” or “plotting to take” are perhaps the closest English terms.

  127. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @CJO:
    If you’re willing to embrace legal language, I think the term you’re looking for is conversion. Verb: to convert.

    But the “unauthorized use” prohibited by that interpretation of חָמַד [which, to be clear, is an interpretation of which I had not previously been aware] is probably inclusive of fantasizing about having sex with a man’s wife, if the conversion interpretation is even the best interpretation.

    For reasons to reject your interpretation, see here. In particular, search the page for “avah”/אַוֶּה.

  128. CJO says

    Right on that page is the same reference I gave, Exodus 34:24, where “covet, desire” does not fit the context:

    I will drive out nations from your path and enlarge your territory; [and] no one will covet (valo yach’mod וְלֹא־יַחְמֹד) your land when you go up to appear before Yehovah your Elohim three times a year.

    Because what does it matter where the owner of the land is, if all that is meant is an unstated, not-acted-on disposition of the coveter? The term can cover an activity, and what could be the action alluded to here that is only a concern when the landowner is absent if it isn’t usurpation or your sense of conversion?

    It sounds to me like Yahweh is promising to keep away squatters.

  129. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    No, I agree with your analysis of Exodus 34:24 as far as it goes.

    i think that there are reasons to interpret it as you have. I’m simply not convinced. In particular, what’s wrong with the interpretation,

    I will kick so many asses so hard, commit so many genocides, that when you absent yourselves from the land to pay devotion to me, not only will no one steal your land, they will remember the fate of those previous, mutilated suckers and they will not even think about taking your land.

    you say:

    It sounds to me like Yahweh is promising to keep away squatters.

    I say, it sounds to me like YHWH is promising military victories so significant as to keep people from even THINKING about squatting.

    This is a reasonable interpretation and keeps everything restricted to mental actions. This is also consistent with how חָמַד is used elsewhere. It does not rule out that one functional definition of חָמַד used at the time of the writing of Exodus would have been effectively equivalent to English “conversion/to convert”. It simply makes it far from clear that any of us should regard it as proven that such a use of חָמַד existed, much less that that use of חָמַד would have been more appropriately used as a basis for translation of חָמַד as it occurs in the Ten Commandments.

    …and not because I’m an expert and have extensive knowledge of the details of all this. But because I’m **not** an expert. I recommended that page because it was useful in showing that there are reasons to believe that a translator can legitimately rely on the thought/emotion definition of חָמַד when rendering its sense in English, not because it entirely rules out your interpretation.

    Nonetheless, I encourage you to cite a more thorough examination of how Exodus 34 should change our understanding of Exodus 20 & Deuteronomy 5 or else concede that Exodus 34 does not require a reinterpretation of the “covet” commandment.

  130. CJO says

    Ok.
    But just quickly for the moment, as I’m about to be offline for a few hours:

    Another interpretation than a purely mental “action” is to be preferred prima facile. In the commandments we’re dealing with the terms of an Iron Age legal compact between a lord and his subjects; none of the other provisions relate to private thoughts or dispositions, and there’s no reason to expect them to feature in such a document in the context of ANE culture of the period.

    But I’ll revisit it later tonight, maybe in the Thunderdome if it looks like a derail here.

  131. CJO says

    I’m using my phone, so of course “prima facile” was the product of thrice-cursed auto-correct

    Sort of ironic in the context though, addressing a law student while debating ancient languages

  132. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @CJO:

    Another interpretation than a purely mental “action” is to be preferred prima facile. In the commandments we’re dealing with the terms of an Iron Age legal compact between a lord and his subjects; none of the other provisions relate to private thoughts or dispositions, and there’s no reason to expect them to feature in such a document in the context of ANE culture of the period

    That’s a legit point. I won’t say more here, conceding to your good observation about derailing, but if you choose to write later in TD, know that I’ll make a deliberate effort to look for it so it doesn’t go to waste.

    Also? prima facile is freaking awesome and I’ll have to find an opportunity to use it on purpose.

  133. says

    Speaking of the importance of parents earning respect and honor, here’s another case of parents being horrible to their child:
    http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/here_s_the_story_behind_the_young_son_who_recorded_the_secret_coming_out_viral_video

    Daniel Ashley Pierce from Georgia posted a video to his Facebook page Tuesday. That video, which was later posted to Reddit and YouTube, has gone viral, with almost 850,000 views in just two days. It depicts his family’s response to him coming out. In the video, Daniel’s mother says she knew since he was “a tiny little boy” that he is gay, but she also say that he has “made a choice” to be gay.

    Daniel’s boyfriend set up a GoFundMe page to help Daniel with living expenses. The New Civil Rights Movement has been told by a person in touch with Daniel that he is safe, living with a trusted relative, and he’s “overwhelmed” by all that’s happened.

    The video begins with a woman, possibly Daniel’s mother, saying, “Daniel, I want to tell you before I say anything else, that I love you.”

    “You can deny it all you want to,” the woman continues, “but I believe in the word of God, and God creates nobody that way,” Daniel’s mother tells him. “It’s a path that you have chosen to choose.”

    Daniel, who is 20, talks about his biology and psychology classes. He tells his family he believes that “scientific proof trumps the word of God.”

    “You go by all the scientific stuff you want to,” she responds. “I’m going by the word of God.”

    The woman then says, “we will not support you any longer.”

    “You will need to move out, and find wherever you can to live,” she adds. “Because I will not let people believe that I condone what you do.”

    As the exchange heats up, there sounds like a slap, the camera is jarred, and Daniel says, “You’re not going to fucking hit me.”

    Someone else says, “Son of a bitch,” and it sounds like a physical altercation is underway.

    Daniel is called “a damn queer,” “a disgrace,” and “a little piece of shit.”

    Someone, likely a woman, says, “I’ll beat you…”

    In the end, the family disowns Daniel, some members appear to get physically, emotionally, and verbally abusive, and they hide behind their Bible.

    Parents should not be honored and respected simply because they’re your parents, bc there are a lot of shitty parents out there. I would not support a rule, law, or commandment that said “honor thy parents”.

  134. Ichthyic says

    You could write a good sci-fi-ish story about how the Second Coming happened in, say, 1920 or so, but got halted right at the beginning when Jesus was hit by a car. And the corpse was too mangled to be extricated, so it was just buried that way, preventing God from getting away from his weakness and starting over.

    That actually sounds quite close to the plot of the movie Dogma.

  135. Ichthyic says

    Why assume as a default that everything I do is the result of dishonesty or bad intentions?

    It’s a conclusion, not an assumption.