Compassionate Woman Stops Reluctant Robber With Lie

ABC calls this story: “Faith Stops Florida Robbery” and “Christian Woman Stops Robbery With Faith”.


“I’m here to rob you.”
“Let me tell you about Jesus, I’m a Christian.”
“I am too and I hate doing this, but I still need to rob you.”
“Do you have a family?”
“That’s why I’m doing this.”
“I can help you get a job.”
“I’ve got a job.”
“Then why do this?”
“I need $300 or I’ll get evicted.”
“I’m sorry, I have to take every cent.”
“Well, they’ll charge me for this.”
“They’ll charge you for the money I’m stealing?”
“I’m the one responsible.”
“OK, I won’t rob you. And, hey, it’s a BB gun.”

The dishonesty-in-reporting brigade ignores the fact that he didn’t stop until he thought he’d be robbing her…and it gets chalked up to a robbery stopped by faith.

Are people more willing to steal from a corporation than an individual? Yes.
Are people less likely to victimize people once some personal connection is established? Yes.
Did a shared religion help establish a connection? Sure.
Would this robbery have been averted by almost anyone else letting the gunman know that they would have to personally pay back what he stole? It seems likely to me.

The claim that she’d have to pay is also, as far as I can tell, a lie. Essentially, she talked him out of robbing the place by explaining how he’d be robbing her, and not just the store.

So, why doesn’t the headline read “Compassionate Woman Stops Reluctant Robber With Lie”?

The moral compass

A fan just wrote in with a quote from a Catholic instructor who offered their moral opinion on both rape and masturbation:

“Rape is better than masturbation because there is a chance of a child to be conceived rather than wasting that of which God gave us.”

This probably doesn’t represent the view of every Catholic (or even most) and may not even map to orthodoxy – that’s not my reason for posting it.

Navigating the moral landscape can be difficult and religions give the illusion of simplifying the process while actually making it more difficult. Even the most flexible cognitive contortionist will struggle to reconcile the web of confusing, vague or contradictory conclusions that result from flawed religious premises.

I understand the appeal. Religious adherents get to be intellectually lazy. They get that comforting “problem-solved” feeling that you get when someone else does the work for you. They get to avoid responsibility for their moral views by shrugging and pointing to their imaginary scapegoat.

The big problem is that religious moral claims gradually surround one’s moral compass with magnets.

We may be able to discuss and debate the moral impact of masturbation (I’d say there’s no moral assessment to be made), but if you believe that masturbation is worse than rape, you’re no longer eligible to participate in the discussion. You’ve sacrificed your humanity on the altar of laziness and blind servility and you won’t be allowed to rejoin the discussion until you correct that.

The rest of us are trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together and we don’t need you spilling your coffee all over the table while you try to force pieces together – especially as you seem to have brought pieces from some other puzzle.

“If I gave you any thought, I probably would.”

We have lately gotten a number of emails from viewers bringing Rich Allen’s YouTube bullshit to our attention, and who haven’t gotten the memo that Jen essentially exposed the guy for the pathological liar he is more than a week ago. They seem to think we need to address Allen’s falsehoods as a matter of some desperate urgency. These viewers need to realize that this is exactly what Allen wants you to think: that he is important and that his ravings have some bearing on our own character and credibility.

There are two kinds of people in the world: honest and dishonest. And among each, but especially among the dishonest, there are multiple levels of severity, from the inconsequential dishonesty that comes from mere ignorance, to the truly malevolent levels of douchebaggery that come from a sense of self-importance inflated out of all proportion to any actual achievement or substance to back it up. Because Rich Allen belongs to the latter group, it is senseless to engage him or any of his little pals beyond the level we already have.

There are plenty of sincere Christian apologists out there genuinely interested in having a two-way conversation, in which actual ideas are exchanged, for us to waste our time with the kinds of people who (as happened earlier tonight with one of Allen’s doucheposse) send us emails simply repeating Allen’s little content-free shifting-the-burden fallacy (which Matt thoroughly disposed of today) and, regardless of whatever answer they receive, respond with such delightful bon mots as (as our correspondent called Jen) “you stupid fucking cunt.” Guys like this are just bad people, and there was never even the hint of a desire on their part for an honest exchange of ideas. Their pattern is infantile in its simplicity: taunt the atheist to get him riled up, then declare victory no matter what is actually said by whom. Like their idols in the lunatic fringe media (Glenn Beck seems to be the template here), the principle in play is “Just say anything!” The bigger the lie, the better, because you can guarantee the target you wish to smear will get angrier, and all you have to do is get them angry.

So, you know, fuck these guys. Seriously. Don’t keep emailing us about them, because you’re giving them the credibility and attention they crave.

There’s a scene in the classic movie Casablanca that sums up the situation beautifully. Peter Lorre plays a small-time hood who is desperate for the attention and admiration of Rick, Bogart’s character. Bogart has his number and basically dismisses him as the wannabe poser he is. At one point Lorre, with wide, expectant canine eyes, says to Bogie, “You despise me, don’t you?” And Bogie, without even looking up from his work, calmly replies, “If I gave you any thought, I probably would.”

So there you have guys like Rich Allen, our little Peter Lorre*, forever seeking the attention of the atheist community despite a total absence of any real cred to shore up his bluster. He almost surely does deserve to be as despised as he wants to be, because bad people are despicable by nature. But really, should we give him any thought? What has he brought to the table to earn it? Beyond his oft-repeated lies, I mean? Nothing? Well, sorry, but nothing earns you nothing here. So let’s hear no more of Rich, then, okay?

* Naturally, I am speaking of Lorre’s Casablanca character here. Lorre himself is someone I’d have loved to have known!

Quick admin note: gang, how hard is it to notice the moderation alert?

Matt’s post today is getting a lot of responses, but it would appear some commenters aren’t reading the notice that comment moderation is on, nor are they noticing the window that pops up after leaving your comment, informing you that comment moderation is on, and that it will appear on the original post after it has been approved by an admin. Considering that these notices are all but accompanied by a parade of elephants and a 40-piece brass band, I find the phenomenon curious. But still, today one guy submitted his comment no fewer than seven times, and another at least four. While it’s no trouble to delete the extras in the queue, still, among intelligent adults I really don’t feel like I should have to remind people to read the notices.

Moderation has been more or less permanently activated due to the activity of trolls like Dennis Markuze/David Mabus (who’s still around) and the rise in Asian porn spam (not even good porn either!) that is the inevitable consequence of our increasing readership. It has not been activated to censor views we do not like, including Christian views. So if you don’t see your comment right away, please, don’t keep clicking the button like a monkey with Down’s Syndrome going “Why not it work?” It is working. Don’t panic. Okay? So: group hug! Now, thank you all for reading and participating here, and we return you to your regularly scheduled blasphemy.

Answering the right questions…

Reposted from my Facebook notes, by request:

“What proof and evidence can you provide that atheism is accurate and correct?”

Atheism is not a world view or a philosophy, it does not assert claims that could be viewed as accurate and correct – it is the rejection of theistic claims. It is disbelief of the claim “some god exists” – there is no requirement that one believe that no gods exist in order to be an atheist.

The question, as phrased, represents a misunderstanding of both atheism and the burden of proof. It’s an attempt to frame atheism as if it is asserting that no gods exist and it does so in order to shift the burden of proof. It’s not only hand waving…there’s a big, rotten, fallacy-ridden, red herring in that hand. Why phrase the question that way? Because, to those who don’t understand the burden of proof or the subjects at hand, it sounds so much more clever than “can you prove that there are no gods?”

In my case, I reject theistic claims because they have not met their burden of proof. That’s it. I’m an atheist because no one has been able to provide sufficient evidence to support their theistic claims. They’ve failed to answer a question similar to the one they aim at me…and after being called on that failure they’re desperately trying to point the finger in any direction except where it belongs.

If you believe you can read minds, why would you ask a non-believer if they can provide proof and evidence that you can’t — instead of simply demonstrating the truth of your claims? The simple answer is that you can’t, and you know you can’t.

Consider the following:

I get e-mails from Christians on a regular basis. Many of them are convinced that the Holy Spirit has instructed them to contact me and give me valuable evidence that will change my mind. These people believe that their god is real, that he wants me to know that he’s real and that he’s charged them with providing me with the evidence.

We can, via reductio ad absurdum, demonstrate that these people are simply wrong:

If their god exists, then it knows precisely what information they’ll need to convey to convince me and it would communicate this information to a person who is capable of accurately presenting it in a way that achieves the stated goal. (I’m not going to draw out a syllogism for this…it’s all from the definition of the god that they believe is real.)

Why then do these people consistently present the most obviously flawed arguments and absurd anecdotal evidence? Why then do these people often say the very thing that confirms that they have no clue what they’re talking about?

Are they just inept at communicating the needed information? Then their god has made a terribly stupid mistake, inconsistent with the character of the god they believe in.

Is their god incapable of accurate communication? Not according to their beliefs. Their god is perfectly (or nearly) wise, intelligent, capable, powerful, etc…and clearly directed them to present the information.

No matter how you break this down, the god they believe in simply doesn’t exist. There may be a god, and it might even be the one that they’re trying to represent, but they’re clearly wrong about its desire and ability to demonstrate its existence. At best we’re left with something that is, to a third party, indistinguishable from delusion.

Is there something that you’re really good at or knowledgeable about? Perhaps you’re a bit of an expert at a game, or at repairing cars, or you’re a trivia wiz about a certain show. Perhaps you’re highly educated in a particular scientific discipline or you’ve been doing a particular job for many years.

If so, then you’ll have some idea of how easy it is, in many cases, to determine (roughly) how skilled someone else is in that same area. You probably also have some sense of the extreme frustration you feel when someone who clearly has no clue what they’re talking about is trying to “educate” someone else. It’s almost as frustrating as when they’re trying to “educate” you. You can spot the bullshit from a mile away and it’s almost physically painful to watch someone get away with poisoning another mind with nonsense.

That’s what I feel like when I read many of these e-mails. That’s what I feel like when I see apologists videos or blogs.

I’ll continue to take on all callers, including (especially?) the overly-glib bullshit artists who willingly lie to promote their beliefs…because it’s something that I find important and something that I’m pretty good at.

The phone lines are open.

All new meaning to the term sh*t sandwich…

Courtesy my bud Chris Conner, I am made aware of the company Food for Life Baking Co., Inc.

They name their products after Biblical verses, and I believe I’ve seen their Ezekiel 4:9 bread at the grocery stores.

So what’s wrong with this? Oh, nothing. Free enterprise and all that. But it does make for a gloriously funny example of what happens when you quote-mine the Bible. Ezekiel 4:9 itself is fairly benign, and sounds exactly like the sort of thing organic foodies would love.

Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself…

Now that’s not all of 4:9, of course, but it’s all Food for Life sees fit to quote. But the amusing part happens if you read on in Ezekiel 4. It gets, er, a little weird. And gross. Have a look at Ezekiel 4:9-17. As they say, context is everything.

Now, there are hints that Food for Life may very well have baked their bread according to God’s command. After all, they take care to mention how it was baked “from freshly sprouted organically grown grains” (emphasis added)…and they recommend you “try it served warm to release its exceptionally rich nutty flavor.

Yeah, that’s enough for one day.

What type of Theistic Skeptic are you?

I’ve obviously spent a lot of time on this subject and this will be a much shorter post. I’m simply going to categorize, for clarity, the different types of skeptical theists. I’ve named them after individuals who all self-identify as both skeptic and theist (some as a specific subtype, like Christian) and as skeptics.

The “Lee Strobel”

This individual is convinced that the proper application of skeptical principle actually confirms their theistic beliefs.

The “Pamela Gay”

This individual is convinced that their theistic beliefs are beyond the critical eye of skeptical principles, often asserting that skepticism only applies to testable claims.

The “Martin Gardner”

This individual acknowledges that they’re not being skeptical of their theistic beliefs and that they have some emotional reason for believing. Often they’ll acknowledge that their beliefs most probably would not hold up under the critical evaluation of skepticism.

I’ve covered the difference between the “Pamela Gay” and “Martin Gardner” types in previous posts. In short, neither is applying skepticism to their theistic beliefs and one is claiming that it shouldn’t apply. The assertion that skepticism can say nothing about untestable claims is one that I think is demonstrably absurd.

But what about the “Lee Strobel” type?

I’m pretty sure that if we polled skeptics at a convention like TAM (and I think we should), an extraordinarily high percentage would claim that the “Lee Strobel”-type is simply not a very good skeptic. Some of them, might even flatly claim that the “Lee Strobel”-type simply isn’t a skeptic, despite using the label.

Is Lee Strobel a skeptic? How about Kent Hovind or Duane Gish or Ken Ham or Deepak Chopra or Sylvia Brown? I’d be willing to bet that most of them would self-identify as a skeptic because most of them think that they have evidence (or perhaps pretend that they think they have evidence, if they’re simply dishonest) and that the evidence confirms their beliefs. They, like most people, recognize the value of evidence in understanding reality and I’d bet that most of them (hell, most anyone) would say, “Yes, I’m a skeptic and I value skepticism” once they’ve had it explained to them.

(The explanation, by the way, could simply be: a skeptic is a person who strives to accurately understand reality by accepting only those things that are supported by the evidence.)

But are they really a skeptic, just because they call themselves one? Would you consider them to be a good skeptic? Is their usage of skeptic consistent with your own…is it consistent with the larger skeptical community? If any of those people were invited to speak on behalf of skepticism, would you object?

Let’s not pretend that legitimate, skeptical questions about this subject can be answered by accusations of a “no true Scotsman” fallacy if we’re really trying to determine whether or not someone is conveying accurate information about Scotland.

Let’s not pretend that we’re somehow rude for questioning or correcting misinformation or that there’s no problem with letting some misinformation slip by.

If we wouldn’t pretend that the “Lee Strobel”-type has any more knowledge about Scotland than one might obtain after watching a special on the Loch Ness monster…then let’s not pretend – at all.

Why Anti-Gay Catholic Doctrine Is Good

It just gets sadder and sadder.

I received a response from the Catholic who spawned the last item I posted. Since she wasn’t interested in visiting the blog to see what people thought, I went ahead and issued a full response. Below is her initial note back to me today, along with my reply below that:

Her note from today:

Hey, thanks for the response. I knew when I first wrote you that we would most likely not be coming to an agreement or anything close to it, and I hope you realize that was not my point. I understand how this can look like bigotry because I used to be an atheist and felt the same way you do. I just want to share with you a short explanation of my perspective and only ask that you try to imagine my point of view (as hard as it may be) for the time being. I’ve been studying Theology now for a while and it only finally came to me when I saw the whole picture. First, I would ask you to accept the claim that those who truly, that being the key word, try to live out there faith, sincerely and genuinely, really believe what their religion teaches. Whether it is out of ignorance, or a great deal of investigating and researching to see if there is truth behind it is irrelevant. The sincere and genuine person truly believes in the good and beauty of God and their faith and that is why they desire and choose to participate in it. There are of course exceptions to this and people who are not in religion for the right reasons, and although this does not contribute to my point, I want to acknowledge it. So, if we can say that a person genuinely believes the Church’s doctrine, and is sincere in their belief in it, we can say that their belief in a certain teaching is sincere as well. When they agree with a teaching on, lets say, loving your neighbor as yourself, it is because they genuinely believe with all their being that loving your neighbor as yourself is the right thing to do. Now shift the gears to a not so fuzzy sounding topic such as homosexuality. Regardless of what your opinions are, when someone holds a belief that to you might seem like it is out of hate or discrimination, (I know right now you are thinking BECAUSE IT IS HATE AND DISCRIMINATION, and I would ask you to bear with me), if they are, as I keep reiterating, sincere in their desire to want what is good, true, and beautiful then their support of this teaching is also out of sincerity. The sincerity in the belief that they feel it is false form of compassion (keep in mind this is the believers perspective) to find fulfillment outside of the will of God. Therefore, it is reasonable to say that the motive here is not hate, but one of love from their point of view as a result of their sincere beliefs. It contains no benefit for the individual, but is solely because of love for the other simply because of the fact that they are a human being with dignity. Whether the person agrees or not, in the believer’s opinion, the truth remains whether it is accepted or not. For example, if a girl with a eating disorder sees nothing wrong with her problem, the response of concern from her friends and family will remain even against her will, because they believe what they feel to be an objective truth and it is a result of their love for her. Even if they are seen as ignorant or stupid for their beliefs, it does not change the fact that they are wholehearted. Now of course this analogy falls short and in no way am I comparing homosexuality to an eating disorder, but you get my point. I only wish to express this to you because, and I wont go into it, this is a very personal and important topic to me and I value all people so greatly it breaks my heart to see all this confusion going on in so many people’s lives right now. I respect our difference in beliefs and would only ask that you understand mine to be one of sincerity and love if you refrain from judging the heart and dig a little deeper.

Thanks for reading.
Peace my friend.

My reply:

Thanks for writing back:

>I understand how this can look like bigotry

You fail to understand, however, that it is bigotry. That’s where the breakdown is happening. Calling something wrong that isn’t wrong for no good reason is pure prejudice in action.

>I used to be an atheist and felt the same way you do

Atheism has nothing to do with homophobia or lack of it. Some atheists are homophobic, some theists aren’t. You, unfortunately, have aligned yourself with theists who are. And you are causing needless harm to good people by doing so.

>Regardless of what your opinions are, when someone holds a belief that to you might seem like it is out of hate or discrimination, (I know right now you are thinking BECAUSE IT IS HATE AND DISCRIMINATION, and I would ask you to bear with me), if they are, as I keep reiterating, sincere in their desire to want what is good, true, and beautiful then their support of this teaching is also out of sincerity.

You seem to have a mistaken impression that it’s your attitude, and not your ideology or actions, I have a problem with? It’s the results you reap I oppose. Homophobic bigotry is harmful and wrong, whether it comes from horribly misguided ‘concern’ or open hatred. I hope that helps you better understand my position. Doing harm, but meaning well, is still harm. And I will continue to try to stop it and speak out against it.

>Therefore, it is reasonable to say that the motive here is not hate

Fine. Your motive is not hate. But your actions are still misguided, harmful to others, and based on prejudice, lies and fallacies.

>Now of course this analogy falls short and in no way am I comparing homosexuality to an eating disorder, but you get my point.

Yes, I agree. Gay is demonstrably not a disorder. And it’s not wrong, harmful or a problem. It’s also not your business or anything you need to be ‘concerned’ about. But you seem to think it’s loving to say it’s a ‘sin’ for fallacious and false reasons. I understand you think it’s sin. I think that’s ill, and I oppose it just as I would oppose bigotry from the KKK or any other brand of unwarranted prejudice from any group or authority.

Please understand that if All-Mighty God himself came to me and told me to call homosexuality a ‘sin,’ I would not agree to it. No authority can simply label benign action as wrong and make it so without justification. It would be immoral for anyone, and that would include a god, to require such a thing as ‘bigotry’ from his/her followers. And I am really not sure you understand that.

I’m sure KKK members are very sincere. I’m sure they think their views are positive and helpful and would be good for society overall to adopt. But they’re clearly wrong, just as you are. And they’re harmful, just as you are. And I will oppose that sort of immorality from the KKK or the Catholic church.

>it breaks my heart to see all this confusion

I assure you we’re not “confused” at AE TV. In fact, the more you try to explain, the deeper you dig yourself in. You’re only demonstrating that a well meaning person can be taught to do evil in the name of religion. And the fact you’re blind to what you’re doing only makes it all the more tragic. You seem to think I think you think you’re motive is hate. What I’m really saying is that I don’t care what your motive is. Your view, and your promotion of that view, is flatly harmful and wrong. You’re causing harm to people who aren’t causing harm to you. I don’t particularly care why you do it. It’s wrong to do it
, because you’re hurting people for no good reason. You are on the side of evil when it comes to this issue.

I encourage you, again, to visit the blog.


Catholics Aren’t Anti-Gay?

We just recieved an e-mail I had to share. It seems that every time we hear from a Christian who wants to help us better understand they’re not as bad as we make them out on the show, I’m left astounded at how blind they are to how horrid or stupid they honestly sound.

Here is the intro:

Hi to whoever reads this. I’ve been watching some of your show for a while now and have noticed a lot of misconceptions held about God and especially religious viewpoints. I understand that many people who call in are well intentioned at explaining the faith, but many are not very equipped or knowledgeable enough to respond to you with answers that are representative of what we believe is the truth about our faith. I, as a Catholic, do not have the authority to speak for anyone else’s viewpoint of a different religion, but I can say that there is certain truths and doctrine that are universally excepted as what we would believe to be truth. Unfortunately many of us have not invested in learning the “why” behind the “what”, and this perhaps inhibits many of us from responding articulately and intelligently to opposing views, and for this I apologize. I would just like to respond very quickly to the view of atheists and even many Christians on the misunderstanding of our view on homosexuality. Because I care so much about it (and them) and have many friends that have same-sex attractions, it is this misunderstanding that bothers me the most. Rather than restate something that I believe can be said more fully and eloquently through the words of the writer of this article, I would like to share with you the real position of the Catholic Church on same-sex attractions. I know you will not agree with much in this article, but my hope for you is that you will understand better our position of love for them as persons. And it is because of this love that we hold the teachings that we do.

I hope you have a nice day!

The intro itself seems mild enough. However, the article provided was atrocious. Due to copyright considerations, I won’t post the entire article that was shared, but I am giving the link. Please read it. You’ll be amazed this is supposed to “clear up” our negative misconceptions of religion as a backward, dehumanizing, irrational belief system:

It only convinces me further of whatever negative views I held previously about the church’s stance on homosexuals. I don’t believe any further commentary is needed. Once you read it I have confidence you’ll see what I mean.

More tilting at windmills?

There’s a new reader rant over at Skepchick and I have questions:

Where are these people?
Where are the “Atheists who proclaim no one with a religious belief should have anything to with Skepticism“?
Where are the people who think, “That person is a Christian, he can’t think critically.“?

Holy crap? Exaggerate much?

Where are these people? I have yet to run across one. Nearly every skeptic I’ve met has encouraged everyone to get involved with skepticism. That’s the whole point of advocating skepticism. Nearly every skeptical atheists I’ve met has not only acknowledged that Christians can think critically, they simply aren’t convinced that they’ve applied this tool to their religious beliefs…and this would be a trivial thing to rebut, if anyone bothered (or could).

I am one of those who question how one can subscribe to the principles of skepticism and still justify theistic beliefs – but it’s a question and it’s one that has yet to be satisfactorily answered. I’ll keep asking it, no matter who gets irritated, because I feel it’s important and some people seem to be working overtime to protect the subject from critical inquiry.

I’m not saying that theists don’t belong in the skeptic movement or shouldn’t be allowed to call themselves skeptics. That’s absurd. I’m saying that theistic beliefs aren’t immune from skepticism and questioning and I’d love to know how someone could claim that their theism is supported by the proper application of skepticism. I’m saying that there is, or should be, some value to calling oneself a skeptic, something to distinguish the title beyond “selectively skeptical”.

Yet I continue to read about this grand threat that risks unfairly excluding people from skepticism and whenever they manage to expand on this idea it is always about one thing:


And the manner in which they address the subject is so… unskeptical.

Won’t anyone address this issue with something beyond “don’t be a dick” or “STFU” or “you’re just as bad as fundamentalist Christians”? Won’t anyone defend the theistic skeptic viewpoint with something more than assertions and whining and deflection?

Here’s the scenario, it’s really simple:

John identifies as a skeptic, advocates skepticism and is active in the skeptical movement. If John believes something (gods, ghosts or garglstropism) that can’t be supported by a critical examination of the evidence, isn’t it definitional to acknowledge that John has not properly applied skepticism to that issue? Isn’t that the point – distinguishing which beliefs are rationally justified and which aren’t?

This isn’t about kicking John out of a movement or telling him he’s not a “true skeptic” or that he shouldn’t use the “skeptic” label…that’s absurd. It’s about acknowledging that John’s view isn’t properly consistent with skepticism. That’s it. It’s what we’d do for ANY claim…right?

If John continue to hold that belief, that’s his prerogative. We believe what we believe.

If John claims that his belief isn’t within the purview of skepticism, isn’t that a claim he should have to successfully defend before others should accept it?

If John claims that his belief is actually supported by skepticism, isn’t that a claim he should have to successfully defend before others should accept it?

I’m not demanding that John defend anything. John can believe whatever his conscience dictates. John doesn’t have to explain himself to anyone, ever. I’m also not saying John is necessarily being a shitty skeptic on that subject. I have no idea whether or not he’s being a shitty skeptic until he actually defends his belief. (Depending on the subject, I of course may well believe that he’s being a shitty skeptic – but I’m willing to defend that belief.)

What I’m saying is that anyone who accepts Johns assertions before they’ve been successfully defended is being a shitty skeptic on that subject…and that’s what’s going on. Those who uncritically accept John’s claims and those who attempt to shield John’s views from critical thinking are being decidedly non-skeptical.

What I’m saying is that the problem in the skeptic community doesn’t seem to be on the side of those who are skeptical of theistic claims (testable or not), it’s on the side of those who don’t think we should be.