Comments

  1. Chixter says

    The question in this post is for Tracie, or Jen, or Matt. Great Episode. I have been binge watching over the last month after a friend told me about AE. At a small gathering this evening I mentioned to my friend that I caught my first live episode. (sadly she missed it). She was with her sister who I learned is a born again Christian and to my surprise is also familiar with the show. This woman tells me that the former “believers” who host the show (I’m aware of 3), can boldly promote atheism and not worry as they were ‘saved and sealed’ when the came to Christ in their earlier years. Once saved always saved…and a bunch of bible verses that go with it. She believes they are “cheating” the other hosts and guests that have never been ‘saved’. Aside from the obvious answers that I would expect, what would your response be to such a proclamation? Does it ever enter your mind even occasionally that former belief may have you “covered”?

  2. Beta says

    Tracie has such a unique perspective. She blows my mind every time.

    I think the Christians who like Trump have that opinion because of classism and racism. My interactions with evangelicals have betrayed a great deal of these things, especially classism in particular.

  3. Monocle Smile says

    @Chixter

    Once saved always saved…and a bunch of bible verses that go with it.

    This is actually a fringe position because there’s a great deal of biblical hoopla about apostasy. Also, I’m not sure why any host should give a crap what some random god-bot thinks of them.

  4. StonedRanger says

    As a long time atheist who was once ‘saved’, once I figured out what a load of bullshit organized religion is, and how much of a scam it is, I would have to say that has never entered my mind since. Prove that being saved is anything other than a meaningless act, mostly performed to make ones parents happy. And I still don’t care what the bible says. It holds no more value than any other aspect of religion to me.

  5. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Chixter #1:

    She believes they are “cheating” the other hosts and guests that have never been ‘saved’.

    “Why is salvation necessary?”
     
    Hint: It’s not heaven. Don’t let her get away with that glib response. It’s begging God to forgive her wretchedness to let her in the back door, into something good she doesn’t deserve. If she’s thought it through that far, she’s already been cheated out of self-worth.

  6. RationalismRules says

    @Chixter

    the former “believers” who host the show (I’m aware of 3), can boldly promote atheism and not worry as they were ‘saved and sealed’ when the came to Christ in their earlier years.

    She’s right that they don’t have to worry, but she’s wrong about the reason.
    Your born-again friend is so completely unable to think outside her own worldview that she cannot wrap her head around the fact that non-believers simply don’t believe the threat.

    The Outsider Test is designed to help people step out of their own worldview – reflect their position back to them in terms of another religion: “If you were a Moslem who converted to Christianity, would it make any sense to you if I told you that you were ‘cheating’ your friends by not preaching the Qu’ran to them?”

  7. sayamything says

    Russell and Tracie are two of my favourite ACA personalities, so it’s cool to see them doing a show together.

    I think one of the big problems with the first bit they’re talking about comes down to the semantics of “knowing” something in the first place. My understanding of the general opinion of scientists with relevant expertise is that the evidence is agreed upon by the experts to point towards heat death as the way our universe ends. I don’t know, and I don’t think that caller did, that the unverse will end in heat death.. Based on my understanding of an agreement by authorities in the field, I do think that I have a justified reason to believe that this is the probable outcome based on current observations. Maybe that’s close enough to knowledge, but I don’t think it counts. I don’t think it’s faith, either, but even if it is, at least I’m not wagering my immortal soul on it.

    Which goes to Tracie’s bit and what this has to do with atheism, because you can disprove the big bang, the heat death of the universe, or the spherical-ish Earth, and it still doesn’t make me a theist.

    While this doesn’t directly address the question from the audience, if the atheist community wants more women, or more of group X, then it really needs to take a look at itself. I mean, if folks are cool with things as-is, that’s fine, but more often than not when I see someone who asks why there aren’t more women in atheism, it’s a man who will likely get very hostile when any change is suggested.

  8. theisntist says

    Great to have a large live audience and their energy to feed off of, with two equal co-hosts that are mindful of not taking over the show!

    Having suffered through reading the blog for last week’s show, Russel’s closing though seems especially relevant, and that is, you don’t need to agree with someone to take the time to actually try to understand what they are trying to say. Unfortunately, it appears that many of this blog’s regular contributors care more about picking apart minor tangential details than figuring out someone else’s point of view. Some really smart people get so enamored of their own brilliance that they end up behaving like buffoons, and end up wasting that brilliance defending ridiculous positions.

    Rejecting unsupported God claims is a good start towards being a rational thinker, but without a healthy dose of humility it will only get you so far.

  9. Susan Schindler says

    I’m so glad I was able to participate in this live broadcast. It was a thrill. The whole convention was a blast. It was so cool to pass on my friends comment as a question for the hosts.

  10. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @sayamything #8:

    I do think that I have a justified reason to believe that this is the probable outcome based on current observations. Maybe that’s close enough to knowledge, but I don’t think it counts. I don’t think it’s faith, either, but even if it is, at least I’m not wagering my immortal soul on it.

    How about… crude expectations, subject to exceptions, liable to disappoint?
     
     
    Book: Bertrand Russell – Problems of Philosophy, Chapter 6 On Induction

    Domestic animals expect food when they see the person who feeds them. […] The man who has fed the chicken every day throughout its life at last wrings its neck instead, showing that more refined views as to the uniformity of nature would have been useful to the chicken.

     

    The crude expectations which we have been considering are all subject to exceptions, and therefore liable to disappoint those who entertain them. But science habitually assumes, at least as a working hypothesis, that general rules which have exceptions can be replaced by general rules which have no exceptions.
    […]
    The belief that the sun will rise tomorrow might be falsified if the earth came suddenly into contact with a large body which destroyed its rotation; but the laws of motion and the law of gravitation would not be infringed by such an event. The business of science is to find uniformities, such as the laws of motion and the law of gravitation, to which, so far as our experience extends, there are no exceptions.

  11. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Russell (9:11):

    A theist called in and said, “Okay I’m building my argument on God now. Okay, so physicists all know that […].” And he kept insisting over and over again, “Nonono we know that. All physicists think that.”

     
    To be fair to the caller in episode 22.07 (at 1:05:14), he said “Now we know galaxies are speeding away from themselves at ever increasing speeds, so the projection into the future is […]” and “These are models”. Then he went off the rails regarding the “[vast majority’s conundrum: getting back after heat death]”.
     
    He didn’t say – at least, not on-air – that he was a theist or that he was making an argument for God. He mentioned Kalam come up a lot and said the hosts keep up with physics, before rambling about frontiers of cosmology.

  12. Monocle Smile says

    @theisntist
    Coming from someone else, I’d probably somewhat agree, but coming from you, it seems like sour grapes.

  13. Theisntist says

    Come on monocle, you should know better than to blatantly use a logical fallacy like that here! My words are either true or not, regardless of their source.

    It’s true that a while back I was on the receiving end of some false attacks, and that does color my opinion. (For those fortunate enough to have missed it, I was called a sock puppet and closet vegan.) Rather than trying to understand my point I was told that I didn’t actually exist. I am in the unique position of knowing those were empirically wrong assumptions, which does give me a certain insight on just how erroneous some blog participants can be, jumping to wrong conclusions without evidence.

    I didn’t comment last week but did read through the whole agonizing thread, and it seemed like nearly half of the more than 200 comments were on the definition of “unelected officials”. I was desperately looking for a commenter to agree with, but no such luck.

    I really hoped that this blog would be a place for rational debate, but sadly it looks all too similar to what one might find in the YouTube comments section. Perhaps that’s an unavoidable part of the human condition, but I’d like to think otherwise.

  14. Monocle Smile says

    @theisntist
    One person IIRC called you a sock, and it was because you came across as a concern troll by getting some things so horribly wrong they sounded made up. Think before posting next time, and you won’t have that kind of trouble. It’s not hard.
    Here’s a post from you in that thread:

    Not sure why you have such a hard time accepting the fact that carnivores exist that care about the quality of life of our food animals, but there are lots of us.

    This was after literally everyone in the thread voiced opposition to factory farming and inhumane slaughterhouse practices. Don’t blame the audience when you post something that is indistinguishable from trolling.

    I really hoped that this blog would be a place for rational debate

    This is also the kind of line a troll would spout after getting called out for dishonest behavior. If you want to be taken seriously, stop acting like you’ve got paper-thin skin and an ax to grind.

  15. says

    @MS

    I was going to make a comment, but thought i’d better not. Your response though is excellent.

    With regards to last week’s debate, I was wondering how it’s a minor tangential detail when someone asks for an example of their goalpost shifting, is given one, and comes back, “that wasn’t goalpost shifting, that was clarifying”. In my view it goes to the core of the debate. If you can’t debate honestly, there is no debate.

    Also thank you for reminding me about theisntist. I recall the, “I’m a meat eater but I believe that eating meat is murder” schtick. I knew that engaging in debate with this person was pointless.

  16. lusspanik says

    @Theisntist #14

    You seem like a reasonable person, and it’s perfectly fine if you disagree with my conclusion, but I think we can both agree disputing my exhaustive definition of a single word was not productive in the least. I’ll be the first to admit that conversation went nowhere, but when I provide a perfectly coherent definition of a word I’m using, offer a rephrasing that means the same thing by a different word, and the other person refuses to accept it on the grounds of rhetoric, we can’t really move forward to talk about the principle of the thing.

    I don’t want to get back into that discussion at all, but I feel I’ve experienced something similar to what you’re describing. A lot of people here using insult tactics and presuming motive. It’s pretty wacky. This is not the place for honest discussion from what I’ve observed, and that’s unfortunate considering I’ve been a fan of axp for almost a decade and thought I’d get a lot more nuance and careful conversation when coming to this blog.

  17. lusspanik says

    @Shaun #16

    when someone asks for an example of their goalpost shifting, is given one, and comes back, “that wasn’t goalpost shifting, that was clarifying”.

    You are not an honest person. Calling anything you want “moving goalposts” does not validate your claim. I explained to you in great detail why clarifying how I’m using a word doesn’t change the parameters of a discussion, yet you continue calling that moving the goalposts. I’m not getting back into this other than to say you are wrong in your characterization.

  18. says

    @lusspanik

    Get over it, that was last weeks debate. You were in a minority of one when it came to who thought you were arguing in good faith.

    And it would appear that you are so butthurt that you couldn’t wait to comment once I did.

    Oh and by the way, if you call me not an honest person that is fine. You are welcome not to engage me in debate. I don’t find you particularly honest either.

    So let’s not derail this weeks thread with more sealioning ok?

  19. lusspanik says

    @Shaun #19

    Get over it, that was last weeks debate.

    You brought it up. I responded and ended with saying I didn’t want to talk about it any more.

    You were in a minority of one when it came to who thought you were arguing in good faith.

    Appeal to popularity.

    And it would appear that you are so butthurt that you couldn’t wait to comment once I did.

    Assuming motive. I was actually writing that first comment to affirm @Theisntist #14’s sentiment at the same time you were writing comment #16, then when I posted #17 I saw your mischaracterization and decided to respond. Coincidence is a funny thing, huh?

    You are welcome not to engage me in debate. I don’t find you particularly honest either.

    I’d rather not, but when you’re directing your comments at me, I feel I should correct the mischaracterization.

    So let’s not derail this weeks thread with more sealioning ok?

    Assuming motive again. You were already made to look a fool with the sea lion character attack yet you continue with it. https://i.imgur.com/TWrHnmp.jpg
    As I’ve already said in #17, I don’t want to keep talking about this, I just felt I should respond to your mischaracterization.

  20. says

    “Appeal to popularity”

    I don’t make appeals to popularity. I did however concur with the consensus. There is a difference.

    @MS. It appears to me that the blog has attracted a couple of trolls whose primary goal is to derail debate. A possible tactic. Your thoughts?

    @lusspanik, I find you utterly disingenuous. I won’t be responding to you attempts to clutter the blog with irrelevance.

  21. lusspanik says

    I don’t make appeals to popularity. I did however concur with the consensus. There is a difference.

    Oh, I see, you brought up the fact that the majority of ~5 total participants agreed with you, but it totally wasn’t an appeal to popularity. Got ya.

    It appears to me that the blog has attracted a couple of trolls whose primary goal is to derail debate. A possible tactic.

    If I said this about you, would you consider it a legitimate application of reason, or a completely unsubstantiated character attack in an attempt to poison the well?

    I find you utterly disingenuous. I won’t be responding to you attempts to clutter the blog with irrelevance.

    Great. Maybe someone more rational will have a discussion with me, though I didn’t find anything in this episode particularly objectionable so I doubt there will be much disagreement on the content itself.

  22. says

    “Great. Maybe someone more rational will have a discussion with me”

    Yes, yes. I hope you find that person.

  23. Monocle Smile says

    @Shaun
    I’ll post this link again:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/iamverysmart/
    I don’t think these people are trolls, they just have severely underdeveloped social skills and have no idea how to communicate clearly and concisely. Make a point, stick to that point, and get off the pot. That’s typically how focused, productive discussions happen. lusspanik was all over the place and derailed like it was his/her job, largely out of what appears to be a compulsive need to avoid admitting error. It’s immaturity, not trolling, but the two can sometimes appear similar.

  24. says

    “largely out of what appears to be a compulsive need to avoid admitting error. It’s immaturity, not trolling, but the two can sometimes appear similar.”

    Yeah I take your point. Admitting error is the key. If someone admits error it becomes easy for the debate to move on.

  25. lusspanik says

    @Monocle Smile #24

    I don’t think these people are trolls, they just have severely underdeveloped social skills and have no idea how to communicate clearly and concisely.

    You’re absolutely right, I should use more insults and link to subreddits even after the person has admitted to being of average intelligence, which is antithetical to the subreddit you linked. Insult tactics are what constitute civil dialogue and I’ll try to do better from now on. You two are a shining example of conduct.

    lusspanik was all over the place and derailed like it was his/her job

    The fact that you can see someone spending 20 posts exhaustively defining a word even going so far as to offer an alternative phrasing that means the exact same thing as “all over the place” and “derailing” is astounding. Especially considering this is the second time you’ve linked a subreddit to poison the well. Character attacks via reddit is actual derailing.

    largely out of what appears to be a compulsive need to avoid admitting error.

    Or an honest refusal to cede unwarranted ground. Guess it depends on how charitable you are, in your case, not at all.

    Now that I’ve responded to your wholly unsubstantiated critique, I won’t be talking about the issue any more unless someone other than these two want to offer criticism.

  26. lusspanik says

    @Shaun #27
    That’s a good, fair question. I think they should be given an opportunity to hold their own referendum to decide if they remain with the UK or stay with the EU.
    If I were given that choice, I’d stay with the UK, but I believe a majority in Scotland voted to stay with the UK on the assumption they’d remain in the EU. That changed, so they should have a fair opportunity to decide.

  27. Theisntist says

    And round and round we go again. MS and Shaun are just proving my original point, that they aren’t interested in a discussion so much as a game of king of the hill, but it really just comes across as pigeon chess with bigger words. One week I’m the target, another it’s lusspanic, next week it will be someone else. The reason they outnumber their ‘opponents’ is that those coming for a reasonable debate soon have enough sense to go somewhere else. Perhaps a different moderation policy is in order, but I won’t hold my breath. At least the actual show is still a joy to watch. Speaking of, there’s a new one right now, so I’ll see you on the other side.

  28. says

    @theisntist.

    No king of the hill here. If you’re going to say something inconsistent, like “I’m a meat eater, but meat is murder”, I’m calling bullshit on that every single day of the week.

    Or alternatively if you say, “unelected officials”, which was a standard meme from the leave campaign, when there is a European parliament, I’m going to call you on that too.

    If with the European argument for example you come back and say, oh you’re right, that’s not what I meant, fair enough. If you double down on your position I’ll hold your feet to the fire all day.

    If you think the alternative – that people should spout nonsense and not get called on it, then by all means you blog that way. I’m not going to.

    @MS (if you’re still reading this thread). I note that lusspanik has self identified as vegan and theisntist.. well.. an interesting coincidence.

  29. lusspanik says

    @Shaun #31

    If you double down on your position I’ll hold your feet to the fire all day.

    If by “hold your feet to the fire” you mean completely unwilling to accept a perfectly coherent definition of “unelected official” and get bogged down in a rhetorical argument, sure. Can we just drop this though? I’m so sick of talking about it. If you do want to continue, address this point:

    “Officials not elected by the governed populous… officials not elected by governed… officials not elected… unelected officials” I think we’d both agree the officials mandating policy on Slovakia were not elected by the governed populous but rather foreign nations, so where along that line exactly does the agreement break down?

    I note that lusspanik has self identified as vegan and theisntist.. well.. an interesting coincidence.

    As far as I can tell it seems like @theisntist isn’t a vegan, but just expressed concern for animal welfare? In which case, I’d disagree with him on that, but we’re not talking about that, I’m pretty sure what you’re doing here is implying I’m a sock account. Who could believe two people actively concerned about animal welfare are in the same place. What a coincidence, totally worth noting, I’m sure you weren’t implying anything.

  30. lusspanik says

    By the way, if anyone was a sock account, which I’ve gathered @theisntist is being accused of, surely the admins have their IP logged and would ban the person for being manipulative, which hasn’t happened. Perhaps a bit of paranoia excusing the possibility of more than one person disagreeing with you is to blame?

  31. says

    “I’m pretty sure what you’re doing here is implying I’m a sock account.”

    No actually I wasn’t. I was implying that perhaps vegans in their current 3 month worldwide activist phase are being active. It seems there is a thread of thought amongst some vegans that atheist should be, by definition, more evolved and therefore also vegans. That they aren’t is annoyance to them. That they now come here and argue specious positions is a curiosity.

    And let’s no go back to unelected officials. Since Slovakia sought entry to the EU and signed treaties and agreements voluntarily to enter the EU, decisions made by the European parliament are as legitimate to Slovakia as decisions made by Westminster for Scotland.

    And in common parlance, unelected officials generally is taken to mean public servants, not. like, you know, elected people.

    Now, what sensible people would do in such a position as you found yourself in, is just say, “yes of course. My mistake. What I meant was that I don’t believe that the European parliament show have the power they have over member states”. It’s not hard, and it makes a lot more sense that the way you approached it, which was to split hairs over what the term unelected officials meant.

    It makes for a lot more civil discourse and people like myself don’t then get accused of playing king of the hill.

  32. lusspanik says

    @Shaun #34

    No actually I wasn’t. I was implying that perhaps vegans in their current 3 month worldwide activist phase are being active.

    Ah, okay, fair enough.

    It seems there is a thread of thought amongst some vegans that atheist should be, by definition, more evolved and therefore also vegans.

    I see what you mean, I’m definitely not of that mindset though. I mean, I do think people should be vegan, but I don’t expect atheists to be more inclined to it.

    And let’s no go back to unelected officials. Since Slovakia sought entry to the EU and signed treaties and agreements voluntarily to enter the EU, decisions made by the European parliament are as legitimate to Slovakia as decisions made by Westminster for Scotland.

    See, now I agree with this to a degree. I could nitpick about member states not knowing exactly to what extent their policies would be influenced when they entered into the EU, but like you said, really don’t want to get back into it.

    It’s not hard, and it makes a lot more sense that the way you approached it, which was to split hairs over what the term unelected officials meant.

    I’m not sure which of us could be blamed for splitting hairs in that interaction, but I get what you mean about how I could have phrased it as a concern over the extent of power that should be exerted by EU parliament. I still hold that my definition of unelected official expresses the way citizens aspiring to be sovereign perceive it, but I understand where you disagree considering member states agreed to the union and its authority with some understanding of the implications and maybe instead of spinning tires I should have just presented the same idea in another way.

    It makes for a lot more civil discourse and people like myself don’t then get accused of playing king of the hill.

    Well, in any case it seems like we just made more progress in these three messages than we had over the past 3 days, so that’s good. lol I’m still burnt out on the subject though, so yeah, I’ll just need to recognize when the disagreement is something as inconsequential to the overall point as that and rephrase to avoid the misunderstanding.

  33. says

    @lusspanik,

    Well there you go, it seems when we debate civilly we can see each other’s points of view more readily rather then quibble endlessly over minutiae. Thanks for that.

    By the way on veganism, I respect each person’s right to choose what is right for them, naturally. The only course I concern I have is the same as for religion – the I live this way therefore you should too approach. Just saying/

  34. Theisntist says

    For the record, I never said ‘meat is murder’, so please stop putting words in my mouth. (If you want to assign me a pithy catchphrase I suppose “factory farming is torture” will do.) My consistent position is that factory farming as presently practiced is by and large inhumane, and I say that because I’ve seen it first hand. My solution isn’t to ban meat, but to raise the standards for the treatment of food animals. Im not sure why that’s so hard to believe, there is presently a billion dollar industry devoted to just that, so apparently I’m not alone. Google ‘certified humane meat’ (or HFAC) if you wish to have an educated opinion on the issue. (I also support veganism as a viable approach, but that doesn’t make me one.) I’m sure everyone is sick of this topic, but if you just took my words at face value in the first place we would have been done with it weeks ago.

  35. paxoll says

    @Theisntist, lusspanik. Free though blogs (FTBs) is pretty terrible about these problems. The atheist experience is better then many of the other specific blogs, but it is quite full of people who very often seem to be going for the “king of the hill” position. I would really like Matt on his atheist debates channel to pull out one of these “debates” on the forum and pick it apart comment by comment. Here are the most common problems I see pop up repeatedly.

    Quote mining- Why this is done seems to be that people are trying to pick an argument or be king of the hill and are not actually trying to understand what people are saying. This is a pretty generous viewpoint, because when someone separates two sentences that make perfect sense into blockquotes and then misrepresents both sentences in order to create an argument, that is incredibly dishonest. Which leads to the second problem…

    Strawmanning- Quick easy example seen above Shaun-

    I recall the, “I’m a meat eater but I believe that eating meat is murder” schtick

    Why this is soooo common here is probably because people are lazy, they see a topic or keywords and anticipate the direction the argument is going to go so try to “cut them off at the pass”, showing how smart they are by jumping to the end of the argument. I see this on the show a lot of time too. This is accompanied by a ton of false assumptions, including motive and belief, and then you get…

    Ad Hominem- Way better here then other places, but plenty of “Troll” comments. Also “young earther” “creationist” and “vegan” being assumed or not, and then used with obvious derision that has no actual purpose in the conversation other then as a dishonest arguing technique.

    Quite honestly I think the majority of the problem is that people are looking to get into an argument and once they pick their opponent or get picked by someone else, they are trying to “win” so are completely unwilling to admit error. Which means when presented with any clear evidence that they are wrong, they “move the goalpost” to a tangent argument in order to save face and continue the argument. Pretty much these points are so common every major argument in this blog you can just go post by post pointing out the multiple logical fallacies. The only way I have seen to end them, is to clearly summarize your side of the argument and then stop responding.

  36. KJP says

    I have often thought about how tough it is for men in our society who are expected to “act manly”, “toughen up’ and “be a subjector of women”.
    I want to point out that when a man asks “am I not supposed to ask a woman out on a date now?”, I like to say that it is perfectly acceptable to ask a woman out, one time (if she says no), and then point out that you can ask a woman out on a date without once commenting on her appearance/body. If you need to comment on a person’s appearance to ask them on a date, then maybe you are not mature enough to date.
    I wonder if anyone else agrees with my feelings on this?

  37. says

    @ Chixter –
    My church didn’t believe in “once saved, always saved.” So, we must have been a false doctrine, and I would then have to say the person who claims I’m now always saved would have to explain how that’s possible? If people who believe in false religions can be saved, then it would be hard to know who actually was and wasn’t saved? Either she’s right, and I’m hellbound for having followed a false faith, or she’s wrong, and she’s hellbound, for following a false faith.

    But honestly, I’ve never heard of even someone who accepts “once saved, always saved,” who would assert we would “still be saved,” based on what we’re doing. Usually they would assert that our original salvation was not valid, or we’d be showing ourselves to be believers still. Those who are saved are known by their fruits:

    >Matthew 7:15-20 New King James Version (NKJV): 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

    I would not accept the above passage, because contextually it’s in the Gospels, and therefore written before the church existed. So, it can’t even be talking about Christians, as they didn’t exist yet. But generally a “once saved, always saved” believer would assert that since our “fruits” show us to be of the devil, we could not have ever really been saved. There are other passages I’ve heard them use to also assert that a true salvation results in a transformation, that they believe will keep the convert doing good until they die. Therefore, anyone who ever leaves the church, or does things contrary to god’s perceived will, “must not have really been saved”—is their usual mantra.

    My own church pointed to passages that showed Christians could fall away again. Versus such as this one in Hebrews–which would have been written after the death of Jesus and the church was established. This would be very appropriate as authoritative if we accept the Bible is the word of God.

    >Hebrews 6:4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen[c] away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

    The above passage literally describes someone who has known god and fallen away–and it says you’re doomed in that event. That you can’t be salvaged.

    This passage is in 2 Peter 2, and describes the same thing–saying it’s better to never become a believer, than to fall away. Why? If you stay saved, this makes no sense: 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.

    See? I can quote the Bible, too. And I say that not to you, but to the person who was showing you scripture. The Bible is the big book of multiple choice. They’re simply pulling out of it what makes them feel good. It contradicts and has no coherent cohesive message. It’s whatever anyone needs it to be to make them feel better, or support whatever they already are predisposed to believing. She’s looking for a way to be critical, so she looks for passages that support her view, and just ignores ones like these.

    In the end, though, all three of the ex-believing hosts subscribed to different sects of Christianity, which means that at least two of us, if not all three, belonged to churches that were engaged in teaching error—which would mean we bought into falsehoods, not the true faith, and were baptized into illegitimate sects—the same as if we had become Muslims or Buddhists or Hindus. We should not be considered any more “saved” than any person outside the “true faith” (whatever that would be). In other words, if a false Christian can be “saved”—then why not a non-Christian, as neither of them really ever believed in the true god, but in no god or in idols?

  38. Theisntist says

    Thanks Paxoll for the thoughtful comments.

    And Tracy, the “once saved always saved” line was a lifesaver (godsend?) for my atheist wife, whose dad is a Baptist minister and mom a devout Mennonite. She used the line on them when they repeatedly lamented how much they would miss her in heaven, and it seemed to work, they kinda went, “oh yeah, I forgot about that” and have since dropped the subject.

    Based on her experience, it seems the “once saved always saved” angle might be an underutilized tool for some atheists when dealing with family, depending on their denomination.

    That being said, I read my wife your above comments and she agrees that “once saved always saved” is complete nonsense, but if it helps some theists accept a family member’s atheism, well, there may be times when it’s best to pretend otherwise!

  39. RationalismRules says

    @Theisntist

    She used the line on them when they repeatedly lamented how much they would miss her in heaven

    …which would seem to indicate that their heaven is not free of suffering, wouldn’t it?
     
    I’ve always liked that point from Matt D: if there is no suffering in heaven then either your heavenly relatives no longer care about you being tortured, or else they’ve forgotten you altogether – either way they have been fundamentally changed from who they were on earth, which is not supposed to be part of the deal.

  40. RationalismRules says

    @heicart
    “rapture forums”, excellent !

    Your TL:DR was spot on.

    I also note this:

    Nowhere in Scripture that I can recall is there a clear enough depiction of this topic to develop a doctrine. To do so from these two passages alone is dangerous since each is capable of both literal and figurative interpretation and whichever interpretation you choose still allows for a great deal of subjectivity in developing meaning from it.

    He fails to see that he’s describing a very large proportion of Xtian doctrine (including heaven) – subjective interpretation from passages which are capable of both literal and figurative interpretation.
     
    Since I wrote the previous post I’ve been pondering this:

    either way they have been fundamentally changed from who they were on earth, which is not supposed to be part of the deal.

    Not sure where I got that from, and couldn’t find any bible verses to support it. I guess it just comes from the widely held belief that everyone will recognize their loved ones in heaven. I’d like to go back to one of the times Matt made this point to see what his take was, but I can’t think of a time-effective way to find that clip.

  41. says

    @Heicart
    I hadn’t really thought about the bible verse,”You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” for awhile. It occurs to me that men gather blackberries and raspberries from thornbushes and artichokes from thistles instead of grapes and figs. I’m sure there’s some good counter in there for the next godbot who says “you will know them by their fruits,” probably about prejudging people. I’ll have to try to remember that.

    And to the questioner from the live show who was concerned about getting over the lingering effects of indoctrination, in addition to hanging out with atheists, I also find humor helps. Big doses of George Carlin and Tim Minchin and anybody else who doesn’t take religion seriously.

  42. Likwidglass says

    It was so satisfying to hear russel call out Eric for his obnoxious bullshit. I really don’t like him and feel that talk heathen would be better and more popular if he would just step aside. I have heard many other people agree with my position on Eric, but knowing that at least some of the hosts of the atheist experience feel similarly is great. I’m sure there are going to be some of you that come to Eric’s defense saying he did a lot of work to get the show started, but just ask yourself if he wouldn’t be better helping the show and the movement if he would move to an off camera position.

  43. Chixter says

    @ Heicart – Actually there is a strong argument to be made for the bible demonstrating that ALL will be saved. Regardless of belief or lack of, religious affiliation, lifestyle, etc. These folks are subscribing to Universal Salvation. Much can be read about it here: Tentmaker.org. Interesting concepts that buggers the shit out of the hellfire and brimstone Christians.

  44. Monocle Smile says

    @Chixter
    Please tell me your posting here is not just a pretext to proselytizing.
    Why should anyone care about warring theologies? It’s all evidently fiction.