Open Thread for Episode 20.31: Russell and Tracie

Russell and Tracie discuss the meaning of “prejudice” and take viewer calls.

As a reminder, dinner after the show tonight will be at Star of India located at 2900 W Anderson Lane.


  1. Devon says

    My wife is a Jehovah’s witness, and I was a closet atheist until last week. I just told her and the family I won’t be going to anymore meetings or conventions. Her friends and parents are bombarding my phone with messages trying to tell me about how we gain morality and ethics from the NWT bible. I read a lot of Hitchen’s books and relay his/my thoughts about morality, but nothing seems to connect. Whatever I do seems to exacerbate the problems and cause seperating between my wife and I. It’s tough, but I won’t continue playing the role of a witness anymore. Her family kicked her brother out of the house when he was 14 because he was gay. They seem to feel it was justified because it says it in the bible. What the heck…

  2. Steven Tracey says

    The only examples of miracles happening I can find are the ones that the US government said happened on 9/11 – personally I don’t think that Allah did suspend the laws of physics in favour of jihadists on 9/11 but I guess if you accept the official miracle claim then that’s up to you.

  3. The YouTube Guy says

    The first caller asked “How do you make something like that up?” The answer is, “You make that up.” Whether consciously or unconsciously, it appears people aren’t being truthful to themselves or others.

    Unfortunately, there are lots of claims of miracles but no one ever catches one on camera. As Traci said a miracle can be defined as “Something that happened that can’t.” People no longer having joint problems isn’t a miracle. There are lots of ways you can fix your joint problem. Just because your joints are fixed, doesn’t mean it’s a miracle.

    I hate to sound cynical here but I just read a story about a man and his wife. The father of the wife died four days after their wedding and the wife died unexpectedly months after. The GoFundMe mentioned all the “Prayer Warriors” working to help them out. Here is a test…. Offer a sick person the best doctors in the world for their given disease or one million prayer warriors.

  4. Steven Tracey says

    Does it normally take longer than the show to have the very first comment to be moderated?

  5. God says

    @TheYoutubeGuy The reason why miracles are never caught on camera is because they indeed never happen. The age of miracles ended when the Messiah rose back up to Heaven. Miracles are no longer needed, and of course, as I wrote in Romans 1:20, man is without excuse, as he has sufficient evidence to know about the one who performed miracles. As for what you mentioned regarding join problems, they are indeed not miracles, but they are still supernatural events. Why? They are divine and justified punishment for the sins of man

  6. The YouTube Guy says

    To Craig,

    Have a conversation with your family about what they expect and what you are willing to do. If they are willing to NOT press bringing your children to church, I would go ahead and have them baptized. I highly suggest having an opening dialogue about this because there WILL be more issues regarding this whether your clear the air or not. If you do clear the air now you can say that you’ve already spoken about this when they ask to take them to church weekly. It is just very important to have open communication and boundaries set.

  7. joxer says

    The Lightning round caller didn’t mention the views of his wife, unless I missed it. But Traci’s opinion that the baptism is harmless doesn’t really jive with me. For one thing, unless you lie to them then they’re always going to know that they were baptized. That seems harmful to them becoming a skeptic when they know you were already hedging your bets. So there’s that along with setting a precedent.

  8. metman says

    Tracy is right about the restriction of air flowing up limiting the cooling of the thermometer. The same happens when a car is parked under any object. It will take longer to freeze compared to a car with no cover above it. Even if the cover is just as cold as its surrounding environment, it will still have the same effect. Clouds also have this effect on a larger scale and that is why a clear night is often colder then a cloudy night.

  9. says

    Just wanted to say “Thank You” for taking my call, despite its brevity. I have a 2nd question regarding dealing with apologists (& presupposititionalists): is a book (or books) I can read to help educate me on dealing with these types of theists? (Note: I have read Boghossian’s book, “A Manual for Creating Atheists” and found it to be quite helpful.)

    To Gary: You came out to family as an atheist, yes? If so, then stay the line. Do not let your kids be baptised as your parents & in-laws will see that as a “chink in your armor,” a bit of your convictions on which you are willing to comprise. That opens the proverbial “Pandora’s box” to trouble: “can we take the kids for the weekend?” which will include a visit to a church on Sunday or they will talk to the kids about God and Jesus behind your back. (If I recall correctly, Tracie relayed a story once about a atheist man who let his ex-wife & in-laws raise the kids religiously and when he went to talk with them about his views, it was too late – “they told us you would try and take us away from Jesus.”
    Here is a link to a parenting book (Did Tracie mention this one?)

    Thanks again. ~ Reid

  10. corwyn says

    ““How do you make something like that up?”

    How do you make something like the _Lord_of_the_Rings_ up? That seems a much harder feat than some simple miracle story. Humans make up stories. True ones. False ones. It is what we do.

  11. Wiggle Puppy says

    @10: Is anybody watching your conversations with pre-suppositionalists? From my experience, the run-of-the-mill pre-suppositionalist will 1) declare that presupposing God is necessary in order to reason, without any justification for this assertion and then 2) declare that you, atheist, already know that God exists, because that’s what Romans says, and you’re just lying/suppressing that truth. I’m not at all interested in engaging one-on-one with these people, because 1) declarations without justification are meaningless and 2) I’m a better judge of what’s in my head than anyone else is. If no one is watching, then there’s not much of a point in engaging, because these people generally have no interest in honest debate, and if other people are watching, you should be happy to let them see somebody defend their beliefs with total nonsense. Watch Matt’s debate with Sye Ten Bruggencate to see how laughably awful this approach comes across under even the lightest scrutiny.

  12. The YouTube Guy says


    Considering we hadn’t seen planes fly in to some of the largest skyscrapers on the face of the earth before, I’d say there isn’t much data on what should happen. Now let’s move on to more relevant/on-topic discussion.

  13. The YouTube Guy says


    At this point it seems like you need to sit down with your wife and all the family involved in this. If not, things will just fester for years and until it explodes in your face.

  14. Chikoppi says


    Oh my gosh, I never thought about it before, but your totally right! Quick, you should tell somebody! How about you post about it completely off-topic in some random comment section off in the corner of the Internet somewhere? Good job dude. We’re lucky there was someone as smart and knowledgeable as you to figure it all out. Looks like that PhD in materials science and/or applied physics paid off. Your colleagues must be so bummed that they missed evidence so obvious that even simpletons can see it once they’re told by other simpletons that it exists. Maybe there’s some big conspiracy and all the other smart people are in on it? Have you noticed any windowless black vans in your neighborhood? Better watch out!

  15. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    @Devon #1
    All the best for the future, I know from a few friends that it can be difficult leaving restrictive cults like JW. It must be traumatic for your wife’s family and friends too – they think you’re now destined for hell!
    There are web resources for ex-JWs (I’m sure a Google will find them). Are you a member of any Secular/Atheist groups in your area – that might help to debrief. Do you have Atheist friends/family?
    Sounds tough.

    My comments on the first caller regarding miracles.
    I’m a Registered Nurse. I’ve seen lots of people pray and I’ve never seen a miracle, my daughter is blind and I’m involved in the ‘blind community’ here. I’m not aware of any miracles restoring sight (other than in scripture) and I’m sure as hell god doesn’t cure amputees!
    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
    We know people can be mistaken, they can be deceived and they can deceive themselves – we know these three things are possible.
    Your friend that claims healings MAY, be experiencing one of these three things.
    We don’t have any evidence to support any sort of mystical healing power so why would you choose that option over the three possible options? Why not say you don’t know.

    My comment regarding the Atheist that didn’t want to get his kids baptised.
    You mentioned that your parents weren’t too fundamentalist so it wasn’t such a big deal when you became an Atheist. This is somewhat similar to myself (and my wife). Both of our parents want to baptise our daughter and we’ve said no. Actually to be honest they’ve never asked – they understand what Atheist means.
    I mean what are you going to do – get every childhood ritual done on your child ‘just in case’? It would take a year of Sundays (and Saturdays and Fridays) and leave your child perpetually wet with very little remaining genitals.
    I’m also a ‘sort of’ ex-Godfather (my god-daughter got rebaptised as Baptist, so I figure I’m off the hook). If my memory serves me correct don’t the parents have something to say about leading the child to god (something like that). Do your family want you to lie in a church?

  16. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    Erm… to the guy who said that because deities exist as concepts, the atheist position that deities don’t exist is therefore false? That’s not what “exists” means with regard to that question. Mickey Mouse exists as a concept, but that doesn’t mean we should take anyone seriously who claims that Mickey Mouse is a real creature.

    @Stephen Tracy, 2
    Steel doesn’t need to melt in order to become structurally unsound. Also, holy fuck, I realise this must be difficult to let go of if you actually buy into the bullshit conspiracy theories peddled around that event, but let it go. If you’re right about any of it, if there actually was some government conspiracy in action on that day, then you are giving them cover by repeating nonsensical claims that do not hold up to even the most cursory inspection. Why would you want to do that?
    (And yes, moderation often takes a while for new users, or those who’ve recently changed their display name. That is not a conspiracy against you in particular. The people responsible for moderating this forum are more likely to be preoccupied with running the show than checking the forum while the show is running.)

  17. Steven Tracey says

    Don’t you just love it when you give the government’s official version of events – jihadists had miracles occur just for them – and the trolls cannot see past their own cognitive dis.

    Funny how there are so many comparisons between blind faith and the way that people view 9/11.

    Just believe what you are told and don’t ask any questions – sounds like somebody has been indoctrinated and cannot see the truth for the lies. Again – when the official story is that miracles happened on 9/11 then how can you claim that miracles don’t occur if you believe in them when provided by a government source – as for my education in science – well that’s been my profession for over 20 years and I stand by Newtonian physics any day over the words of lying politicians and those who refuse to look at the peer reviewed science that has been published – hint* there is ZERO peer reviewed work published by those who were meant to investigate the subject – their answer – it was a miracle – now who’s the crazy one here? The person using the science or the God botherers who look to faith to give them answers.

    There’s no coincidence that the US is the most gullible western society in the world today and how easily it is to convince the public that science is something that can be dismissed. Just look at how easily evolution is thrown away by those that don’t believe in it – regardless of the evidence.

    You lot certainly picked the right president to represent you in G W Bush – he is after all a fantastic example of American exceptionalism.

  18. Chikoppi says


    No dude, I get it. The scales have been lifted from my eyes! Thank god you came here to share this important information with us. I’m so glad we have brave people like you to save us from our utter incompetence, complacency, and credulity. Wow, you’re a ‘science professional’ too? There must be very few of you, or maybe you’re just among the smartest and the bravest, because given how obvious all this is your colleagues sure seem nonplused. Tell us, what should we do to help you fight the power? Should we start a Reddit thread or maybe change our Twitter pic? How about I go to a forum about music and create a post about how the CIA played the American people like a cheap guitar? Oh, I know! We can all start leaving comments on YouTube videos! You are truly an important person doing important work!

  19. says


    >For one thing, unless you lie to them then they’re always going to know that they were baptized. That seems harmful to them becoming a skeptic when they know you were already hedging your bets.

    Just to clarify, I wasn’t suggesting having them baptized in order to save their souls in case a god exists. In fact, most religions that include baptism don’t teach that merely being baptized will get a person into heaven. I was suggesting that he consider this ritual as part of a compromise to not shred his family. I don’t see why lying to the children would be necessary, and if he tells the truth they won’t think he was “hedging bets.” They will know he was just appeasing relatives in order to keep the peace, since this ritual was meaningful to them.

    I was baptized, but am not a believer. I don’t think baptism has anything to do with whether or not someone can be / become an atheist/skeptic.

  20. gshelley says

    With what Tracy said about how this God who will send people to hell for not loving it isn’t worth following, in much of Christian theology, it’s even worse than that. You could love this god with all your heart, dedicate your life to serving it and encouraging other people to do the same, pray a hundred times a day, thanking it for being so awesome in creating the world and everything in it, and that everything is according ot it’s wonderful plan, but if you don’t add “and thanks for dying”, then it’s off to hell with you.

  21. Steven TR says

    Again – will someone address the contradiction in play here?

    The government tells you that a number of miracles happened on 9/11 – I don’t believe in miracles – if you believe the official narrative that miracles were the reason then you have to admit that miracles exist. You can’t have it both ways.

    Or is atheism just another conspiracy theory because it goes against the establishment and doesn’t conform to established norms?

    No wonder the rest of the world views America as the stupid nation – evolution, physics and a round earth all seem to be able to be dismissed if you have enough ignorance or prejudice against science and it’s methods.

    No wonder God is still so popular there – in the gullible country.

    What next – Magic bullets?

  22. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Steven TR #23:

    The government tells you that a number of miracles happened on 9/11 – I don’t believe in miracles

    Article: Simple English Wikipedia – Fixed-Wing Aircraft

    The wings are the most important part because they are what makes the plane fly. The wings create a force called lift that goes against gravity, which makes the plane get off the ground. When air flows around the wing (which happens when the plane moves forward) the wing pushes air down, which in turn pushes the plane up. Lift can also be explained using Bernoulli’s principle; since wings are designed so that air goes faster on the top of the wing than on the bottom, the higher pressure on the bottom will push the plane up.

  23. Chikoppi says


    You seem a little slow on the uptake, so I’ll address you plainly.

    No one cares one jot for your non-sequitur screed. No one owes you the time of day, much less their attention. These hyperbolic and petulant rants are tired as dishwater and absolutely everyone has heard it all hundreds of times before. If anyone gave a shit they’d be hanging out elsewhere. You seem to be completely lacking in social grace and your attempt to hijack the thread is exceptionally inept, juvenile, and insulting.

  24. Jason Waskiewicz says

    I always enjoy Russell Glasser as a host. He has a quiet way of taking charge, and his cohost always is a true cohost, especially Tracie Harris.

    It was a small piece, but I wanted to respond to the baptism. I was baptized as an adult (age 24) when I could make the choice. (Though I am an atheist now.) So, even in my Christian days I believed in adult baptism only. Infant or child baptism is meaningless. Worse, it only opens the door to more church involvement. Infant baptism is a ritual that ties the child and church together. It is not meaningless and not harmless. The child may not understand, but this opens the door to other involvement. And it will only encourage family members to push harder. I know a situation exactly like this right now where a grandparent is working hard on her grandchild contrary to the clear wishes of the atheist parents.

    But, I couldn’t help but wonder about the wishes of the other parent during that call. That is important, and comes down to something a lot of churches say: make sure you agree on religion before you get married and have kids. What seems minor while dating is suddenly very important once children are involved.

  25. Yaddith says

    heicart #21:

    The day I was baptized was a turning point in my life, but not in a way Christians would like. I attended church and Sunday school from a young age, but do not recall ever being a religious believer. When I was about ten years old, I had a weak moment. I gave in to peer pressure and agreed to be baptized. As the minister was dunking me, I realized that I had made a big mistake, because I didn’t really believe this stuff. At that moment I vowed that I would never again compromise my principles and integrity to follow the crowd, and I believe I have kept this promise. I have self-identified as an atheist since the age of twelve, more than half a century ago.

  26. Conversion Tube says

    @ 5. You would think God would correctly spell joint. He’s apparently not all perfect.

  27. Monocle Smile says

    Oh fun, a conspiracy theorist using 9/11 truther nonsense as an excuse to go on an anti-American rant.
    Let the door hit you on the way out.

  28. says

    I posted this on the FB page, copy/pasted here in case caller doesn’t check there:

    Listening to today’s podcast and I don’t know if the callers ever visit this FB page, but I can say I had a similar experience to that last caller, Craig, in regards to baptizing their child and family pressure.

    I am an atheist, my wife is a Christian and her father is a pastor. Her whole family is devout Christian and luckily they have accepted me as I am, although I hear a lot how they are “praying for me”. 😉

    The idea of Church and child indoctrination can be one of the most difficult for such a mixed marriage. I told my wife I would not have a problem with our future children going to church when that time came. However, over the years I began to worry about this and people change, our opinions and views change and so mine changed. I would prefer if she never went to church, or at least waited until her cognitive abilities were at the point to properly assess epistemology; but you know that doesn’t fly in theistic families.

    I made a compromise, I said it was fine if she went to church as long as she went to the actual proceeding and sat in pews. I don’t want her dropped off in daycare or sunday school settings where it’s a bunch of children being supervised by a pastor or two with the intent of indoctrination and proselytizing. This way I can say it’s more about the fact that there is NO government regulatory oversight and it’s all done “in-house” as far as background checks and such. I am a very over-protective father and I worry about baby-sitters and such.

    This has not been the best for her family, as they have said I am being immoral by denying her church activities, whereas I responded that she can do all those same things in secular settings. She takes karate (at four), she has done some dance, she played in a child soccer group, etc… In the end I had to say “this is my child and everything I do is for her safety, her education, and her well-being. If you think I’m endangering those then we can have a discussion, but there is no reason to believe church contributes to those aspects. If it’s just that you want to have another child to take to church then have another child or adopt, but this is my child and my wife and I are responsible for how we bring her up. I don’t need to be ganged up upon by others to force me to something just as I’m sure they were not so appreciative of others doing the same when they were raising children.”

    TL;DR: Dealing with same, just give good reasons and in the end remind them you are the parent and you are looking out for them the best you know how.

  29. Stephen of Wimbledon says

    To: Craig (Roseville),

    You asked on the show for advice on how to approach the problem of family requesting that you baptise your children.

    I had to deal with this too. My Mother is a priest.

    Tracie Harris gave a good answer, but time was pressing so I’ll try to give you a fuller answer.

    This is not just about your children. As Tracie pointed out this is a complex of ideas and emotions that might have repercussions for your family relationships long into the future. The good news is that sorting it out isn’t complicated – but it does require some thought and time. The big deals here are tradition – families love traditions and rites of passage – belonging, because we’re social animals and we all like to belong to some group or other and faith.

    The answer, in a word, is: Discuss. Please remember that I didn’t say ‘talk’ – you have to listen too.

    As far as I recall you didn’t say on the show how far apart you are from senior members of your family. If they’re close then pop by and discuss it and it won’t matter if you don’t come to a conclusion because you can always pop by again (or they can drop by your place). If you live further apart then you’ll need to take time to work out how you approach what I’m going to say next – my Father hates the telephone, my Mother hates e-mail and neither of them has put pen to paper for more than the annual cards for decades. If you live far from family, I feel your pain.

    The goal is to ‘work it out’.

    I think I need to be very clear on this next point; depending on how flexible you and your family are will probably dictate how easy – or difficult – it is to come to a peaceful conclusion.

    Either way, the agenda I would advise is to present those pressing for baptism to consider that this is a three-way deal.

    1. The most important part of the deal is: The children

    You will be very unlikely to get any resistance on this point. Depending on their denomination, depth of faith and commitment to proselytizing, (super-religious family might even preach ‘eternal damnation’ or whatever for the un-baptised) you may have to listen to some strongly-held ideas. My advice: Patience is a virtue. Listen.

    The level of preaching doesn’t really matter. Your response should be that there are many paths to God, and there is no reason to believe that the moral upbringing you have planned – and that you trust your family believe you capable of … – will set a dividing line between your children and truth.

    2. They’re your children.

    As Russell Glasser said on the show: The deal is that you, as Parent, have first say on what happens, or doesn’t happen, to your children. They’re your responsibility, and while you will obviously consider the advice of senior members of the family – because you love and respect them (say to them: they brought you up, and you turned out okay, right?) – they must respect your decision. They should return that love by trusting and respecting what you decide, and that means once that decision is made we all move on … as a family.

    3. Grandparents are special

    Younger members of the family, like brothers and sisters, should only play a very minor role in this little drama. It’s the Grandparents that really matter. Try to get them on their own – even individually – and reassure them that their grandchildren will be encouraged to visit, that there will be plenty of time for them to talk about what they think matters.

    [Be realistic about this. Unless your parents are some kind of horrific monsters this will happen. My Mother has 6 grandchildren 4 nephews and nieces and she’s a Great Aunt to another 4. She converted 1 and, let’s face it, she had a special incentive, and a professional interest.]

    Part of the conversation needs to be that this is not just a list – it’s a hierarchy. If you think (at Level 2) that your children’s needs – their moral, social and mental development – are best met (at Level 1) by bypassing the wishes of others at (Level 3) then guess what’s going to happen Mom & Dad!

    The most important part of the conversation though will be the part where you listen. If my Mother had come up with a great argument for christening do you know what? I’d have done just that.

    Finally, one last point: What are you afraid of Craig?

    Even though I resisted christening, my Wife pushed it through. Even though I resisted Sunday School, my Daughter attended for years … I even dare say: religiously. Even though I resisted, my Daughter attended the Good News Club after school.

    Yes, that’s right, I followed my own advice, as above, and completely failed. Or did I …

    My Daughter is not a Christian.

    In essence my experience, shared by my Brother and Sister who are of like mind, is that the best thing you can do is to recognize that religion is out there and that you can’t wrap up your kids in cotton woo and hope they won’t notice. The best defence is not digging a fox hole and treating every idea from your family as if it were a major assault.

    The best defence against religion is to teach your children critical thinking. Then, when the moment arrives, introduce them to the Invisible Pink Unicorn or the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Bible. Hey, do all three, I mean, why be dogmatic about it, right?


  30. ironchops says

    Dustin-A man was blown out of a closure (door) of the HMS hood, flew well over 300 feet from the ship and as high as 100 feet from the surface of the water and he lived. An Air-Florida aircraft crashed onto the 14th street Bridge in Washington DC on 1-13-1982 and 5 people out of over 70 survived the crash and floating in the frozen water. Miraculous! Highly improbable and extraordinary but only just plain lucky, that’s all. From their point of view it would seem like g_d had a hand in it but alas, not so.
    Mark-Good for you for not being a “Christian like crazy!” You should listen to the “The thing that made the things for which there is no known maker” here, It is funny.

  31. says

    For Craig re: baptism. Just my $.02, but I believe someone can be baptized any time in their life. I would explain to the family that I would rather have my child reach an age of understanding and the they could make the decision on whether or not to have drops but on their head.

  32. Russell Glasser says

    @Steven #23

    Again – will someone address the contradiction in play here?
    The government tells you that a number of miracles happened on 9/11 – I don’t believe in miracles – if you believe the official narrative that miracles were the reason then you have to admit that miracles exist. You can’t have it both ways.

    Nobody has accepted your first premise, so there’s no point in addressing any “contradiction” when you haven’t demonstrated anybody claiming a miracle occurred. You seem to be bounding off with this premise as if you assumed that people knew what you were talking about and agreed with it. Maybe you’d be less angry if you just accepted the fact that you’re not communicating very well, and worked on that instead.

  33. says

    I’ll chime in on the baptism issue. The actual water sprinkle is meaningless, it’s just a stupid ritual. But in many traditions the important part is that the parents are making a promise to indoctrinate their child into the church. And that’s the part that’s worrisome.

    Is your family actually asking you to get up and lie about your intentions? Or are they going to feel that putting your child through this ritual is going to give them some kind of right to indoctrinate your child without your consent? These discussions need to be had first.

    If you have any kind of alliance with something like a Unitarian Universalist church, or an Ethical Society, those groups do “child dedications” that you can invite family to, but that don’t include any promise to raise a child with a specific god-belief. Perhaps you could mollify the family with that, and explain that a “baptism” would have to wait until your child is old enough to make their own decisions.

  34. says

    I came here this time around to communicate to Craig, re: Lutheranism, children, & baptism. I also now feel the need to say something to Stephen (#34), so I’ll make it short and do that first.

    Why do you think Craig might be “afraid of” something? That’s insulting! Being OFFENDED by some of the ridiculous garbage in a religion is reason enough not to expose your children to it. To even HINT that someone might be afraid their atheist stances couldn’t withstand a religion/denomination, therefore “give a little” is a slap in the face!

    I, for one, would ‘slap back’. You should be ashamed of that idiocy.

    CRAIG — I’m also a former Lutheran, although it took almost 40 years for me to get out (I followed wife #2 into non-denominationals, which “mirrored” Baptist, for a while); when my daughter was born, she wasn’t baptized, either. My wife showed me in the bible where that was a flawed teaching.
    When my mother called one day in March (daughter was 4 months), she asked that question; I answered honestly. If telephone indignation could KILL……..! A week later, I received an envelope of PAMPHLETS from her “snowbird” (she vacationed on the Gulf Coast the last 20 winters of her life) Lutheran church. The entertaining part of that was looking through them and seeing the OBVIOUS fallacies in the biblical “confirmations” used!
    It’s, to me, simple, Craig — your kids, your call. Give as much or as little as YOU deem appropriate. I personally wouldn’t give a millimeter, but it’s your call. If you take that stance, your family will HAVE to accept it — they can’t TAKE your kids from you because of a lack of religious upbringing, and if they try the “guilt” or “shunning” that Lutherans like to do…screw ’em. The idea that you OWE them ANYTHING because you were born into their clan is monstrously ignorant. I didn’t get “excommunicated” from my family over my daughter’s non-baptized status. It was a CLOSER call in the 70’s when I excitedly whipped out the 3-record “Temptations Anthology” album…I was asked, “Are you turning n*****r on us?”
    (BTW — my daughter, now 18, told me the same evening I ‘came out atheist’ to her that she had NEVER believed!)
    Craig, draw your line in the sand and stand on it. Period.

  35. Leedownunderinoz says

    If Craig agrees to the children being baptised, the bigger question becomes will he attend the ceremony and be expected to take part! If he does not attend or be involved he will be made to feel bad. If he attends and gets involved he will later be accused of “not doing his part”. So he is damned either way.
    If he can dodge attending and/or being involved, then he can give his thoughts about baptism to his children in the same way as no doubt he will discuss with them collecting Easter eggs, xmas presents and tooth fairy money. It is just fun and pretend when you are young because there is no Easter bunny, tooth fairy or God. The kids will work it out in the long run.

  36. Stephen of Wimbledon says

    Hi Mark Brewster [#40],

    Thank you for your response.

    You ask:

    > “Why do you think Craig might be “afraid of” something?”

    Why do any of us hold back on taking some action or other?

    Given what we see in the World every day, isn’t a fear of what early exposure to religion might do to our children perfectly rational and empirically logical?

    I knew from experience that some people would undoubtedly think that if Craig gave in to family pressure over baptism he would set a tone, a precedent if you will, where his family would feel able to have even greater input into the raising of his children. Indeed, as I remember it, this idea was also brought up during the show. But even if that were not true: Isn’t it reasonable to assume that Craig has a totally normal anxiety about the consequences of his decision (he did call the show to ask the question after all)?

    > “That’s insulting!”

    I don’t really understand how my attempt to empathise with Craig’s position and to give him some support could, in any way, be regarded as insulting. Your reasoning escapes me. In what way was I being insulting?

    > “Being OFFENDED by some of the ridiculous garbage in a religion is reason enough not to expose your children to it.”

    That’s an interesting idea: Why is taking offence sufficient grounds for taking any form of action?

    > “To even HINT that someone might be afraid their atheist stances couldn’t withstand a religion/denomination, therefore “give a little” is a slap in the face!”

    Firstly; I would greatly appreciate how you interpret the idea that I said Craig might be afraid? I did ask him – in the context of a comment that followed a long description of how I believed he is perfectly capable of standing by his principles – “What are you afraid of?”. But when I re-read #34 again it seems perfectly clear to me that I’m simply asking him to question his motives for wanting to enter into the kinds of family discussion he is contemplating.

    Obviously you come to a different conclusion regarding my comments, you appear to think that I am finding fault with Craig. That is fascinating to me – how did you do that?

    Second; You appear to live in an interesting World Mark, where compromise is never an option – you never ‘give a little’. You decide what you want to do and come Hell or High Water that’s what you make happen? How’s that working out for you?

    > “I, for one, would ‘slap back’. You should be ashamed of that idiocy.”

    It’s always a pleasure to exchange carefully considered views in a civil conversation. Thank you.


  37. says

    @Stoic Joe, thank you for those links.

    @Wiggle Puppy Regarding comments #12 – he made those comments, replies in a public forum, “Atheist United” Google group, where anyone in that forum could see. And I chose to engage him regardless whether anyone was watching. I also found it interesting that of all the posts in the group, he chose mine on which to comment. Thank you for your comments.

  38. Jeff Welch says

    Ug, when Russell suggests that his waiter (7:00) was exhibiting some sort of “unconscious preference” when he was inattentive at his job. it is more likely Russell and his wife were dissatisfied with service and labeled him a racist for no good reason. THe fact that the other customers where black could have simply been a coincidence.

    Where is all the “proof” that you all demand from your callers? Why does not Aham’s Razor apply here? The simplest explanation is that the waiter was simply distracted.

    So lets use the same technique on Russell. Later on while discussing moonlight (he admits he knows little about the subject and is simply parroting from e-mails) he sharply cuts off Tracie when she tries to m;ake a slight addition to his hypothesis. Hmmm, with absolutely zero proof, I guess I am allowed to suggest Russell has commtited “unconscious preference” against women using science?

    Just a thought.

  39. says

    The problem with baptism isn’t just the sprinkling water and magic spell on your kids. It’s also that YOU may be asked if you promise to raise the child in a religious manner. Are you willing to tell a lie to a congregation to appease your parents?

  40. Monocle Smile says

    Russell wasn’t saying the waiter was racist. His point was actually that we tend to be unconsciously affected by societal influences, and we probably can’t do much about it. Please learn how to make fine distinctions.
    I don’t know what the fuck “Aham’s Razor” is supposed to be.

  41. kuykend9 says

    In response to the gentleman who is considering having his kids baptized to appease his relatives… Tell them that you’ll have them baptized, but that you’re also going to have them blessed by a Buddhist monk, have a spell cast on them by a pagan witch, have them sanctified by a satanic priest, etc,. 😉

  42. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To kuykend9
    Cute, and funny, but as phrased, I don’t see the point of that except to antagonize.

  43. says

    Even ss atheists, we may be culturally “religious” we observe Christmas, Easter and thanksgiving. We celebrate Chanukah and Purim. We go to church for weddings and funerals.

    So I think the important thing is the meaning. Make sure that your family understands your meaning and get something out of the deal like they have to attend an event that is meaningful to you.
    Family goes both ways.

    Dan Savage of Savage Lovecast has commented pn this topic so has Seth Andrews and David Smalley.