1. John David Balla says

    This message is for the last caller. Check out (formerly Rational Recovery). Many members had tried AA but couldn’t continue due to its religious emphasis. SMART is completely science-based. Its roots go back to Dr. Alber Ellis (1950s) and his Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) which is often referred to these days as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). I’m a certified meeting facilitator and am happy to answer any questions you might have.

    SMART places a premium on promoting “rational” beliefs and has tools to help you identify “irrational” ones. And while designed for addiction recovery it’s easy to see how this tool can benefit anyone who aspires to believe as many true things as possible and is willing to change belief when irrational ones are identified.

  2. StonedRanger says

    Matthew from North Carolina So you think that because atheists don’t believe in any gods that they cant know love. I would like to know the train of thought that got you there because you were pretty vague about it on the show. Lets talk about your god and its love shall we?

    The basics demand we start with how does your god destroying the whole world but a few of his favorite sycophants demonstrate love? Your god supports human beings owning other human beings as property. Please don’t go the it was only for seven years. No, your god gives explicit instructions on who you can own, how you can beat them so severely that if they don’t die within a couple of days of the said beating that its okay to beat them that badly. It even tells you how you can force someone to become your slave ‘voluntarily’ by keeping any spouse or children that came along after the period of servitude started. Pretty loving god you got there. And lets not forget the whole ‘I will only love you if you get down on your knees and worship me and acknowledge that I am the one and only and the bestest god there is otherwise I will cast you into a lake of fire and punish you for all eternity’ thing that your so called loving god has going on. Ive been with my wife for 37 years now and I don’t need any god to know that I love my wife and she loves me. How many christians you know of been married that long?

    And if knowing god is the only way you think you can know love then why is it that all you fucking god lovers out there don’t do anything but bitch about how you are being forced to not show your hate for people that your bible tells you to hate? Where is the love there? LGBT etc… people are definitely not feeling your love either, are they? How come? If it takes knowing your god to know love then you are using love in a way that does not comport with reality. I am able to love without your god because I am a thinking, caring, reasoning human being. I am on a planet with 6 or 7 BILLION other humans and I know that it is better to try and get along with people than it is to hate them. You are a sad person. Please think about the dog thing for a very long time, and when you get that figured out, apply that thinking towards humans who don’t believe in your god (which by the way, is a significant portion of the people on the planet).

  3. Monocle Smile says

    I always appreciate your input, but if a caller got you THIS riled up, I should probably watch!
    Is this the same Matthew from North Carolina who has tried to justify slavery in a couple of past calls? Last time he was extra butthurt and kept harping on about how slavery was “stealing freedom” and the bible commanded people not to steal, so haha atheists, it wasn’t real slavery. What a douche.

    If this was the same guy, I understand your reaction completely.

  4. uglygeek says

    About the call of Ronny from Denmark… John said that there are places in the United States where “expressing unbelief can be very dangerous” and it is certainly true that it’s much easier to be an atheist in Copenhagen. However “very dangerous” seems a bit of a stretch, it can be bad for your reputation, you can be fired maybe, you can lose friends… but physically dangerous? How many people have been killed in the States, let’s say in 2017, because they were openly atheists? How many have been beaten up?

    Denmark is an interesting case for other reasons; the caller Ronny mentioned the problem with cartoons depicting a prophet published by Danish newspapers. Maybe as a reaction, Denmark is, between the north-European countries, decidedly the most hostile towards refugees and immigrants. In 2016 they passed a harsh law to dissuade migrants from coming to Denmark, cutting social benefits and even seizing assets that migrants may bring with them. This has probably a lot to do with the specific religion of most of those migrants and the problems that ideology is causing in Europe.

  5. Monocle Smile says

    You’re developing a reputation for dismissing the struggles of US atheists out of hand. Why is that?
    While physical violence is a bit rare, there are other consequences I would consider dangerous. How about losing custody of your child?
    Teenagers being tossed out of their homes by their religious parents is another one, though I would need to dig deeper to find actual statistics.

  6. Bill Bo says

    The Bible claims Jesus’ tomb was empty. How many crucified criminals got their own personal tomb with a stone door? The Romans probably just did mass burnings or burials. What is the story behind Jesus scoring such lush digs?

  7. beetlenaut says

    I bet I know where Justin from Little Rock was going with his “seven days” thing. He only hinted at it because he couldn’t get you to agree with what he wanted you to, but he thinks that it would be proof of Genesis. I’ve read that claim before. It takes a warped view of history to not laugh at that, but he has a warped view.

    The real reason, which you can look up, is that there were seven moving things in the sky known since antiquity, and the days are named after them or the gods associated with them: Sun day, Moon day, Tew’s day (Norse god of war), Woden’s day, Thor’s day, Freya’s day (Norse god of love), and Saturn day.

  8. diegodelavega says

    Other reason for the 7 days per week is the days the moon changes its phases. Most ancient calendars where based on the moon and its phases, which was useful to measure time. Think in all those agricultural people.

    Sorry for my English.

  9. BKV says

    @Kevin. at the 57min mark, you misrepresent Ehrman’s position on the resurrection. His position is easily researched on the internet and you can view video of him that contradicts your assertion. Given the ease with you are able to make the mistake regarding Erhman’s position, in the face of overwhelming evidence, isn’t fair to question the accuracy of the accounts of the resurrection in the Gospels?

  10. Ben Sullivan says

    Ben from Sydney here. Thanks again for airing me! I re-watched it afterwards and realised how problematic the echoing was, not to mention cupping my head in my hands after realising I said ‘you know’ about 100 times. I say that without realising and then couldn’t believe how much times I had actually said it. I understand this is frustrating for the audience and slows down proceedings, so I’ll plan what I’m going to say a bit better in future. Hope I was making sense and didn’t ramble on too much. Hope to call back again sometime.

  11. Mobius says

    Where did seven days in a week come from? If I had to guess, I would say it was a product of the lunar calendar. A lunar month is (usually) 28 days. Humans like to divide things by 2. Do that twice and you have 7 days, and thus the length of a week.

    But beetlenaut’s “seven moving things in the sky” is also an intriguing thought.

    Where did the Bible get seven days for a week? Almost certainly from Babylonian influences. There is a great deal in Genesis that come from Babylon.

  12. Peter K says

    Jen mentioned a type of stories. I did not get that name. It was something beginning with “T”. Can anyone help with the correct term that she mentioned?

  13. DanDare says

    Cory, Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins. Its a focus on science while mentioning older beliefs. Every part of it is very clear with some great artwork. Its aimed at children and really good.

  14. Killian Jones says

    Last night I watched the show. Prior to that I’d been watching episodes of the Twilight Zone. I was shocked that the hosts didn’t give the usual long boring back slapping speech at the beginning but got straight to the calls. (Twilight Zone). Then they seemed to screen the calls and answer questions which were on topic. They didn’t spend needless time on one call but moved on to other callers (Twilight Zone). I don’t believe the show is real. Hosts acting like they knew what they were doing? Is this the same organization? I must be in the Twilight Zone. On a serious note, well done on a perfect show. Destined to be one of the classics. Man cannot love until he has delusions and worships an imaginary god, but animals can love without worship. The perfect answer. More shows like this please.

  15. dalrath says

    The Babylonians based thier calender on moon cycles, which is 28 days and divided this time span into 4 periods of 7 days each, using leap days to stay in sync with the Moon phases in the long-run.

  16. Steve Trumm says

    I had a visit from some JW’s last summer, I come from an entirely non religious background but post visit, and seeing these guys out and about….I just don’t get how in this world, anyone believes in a thing where despite my active searching….I just can’t find any evidence to back up the claim.

    The level of commitment and belief are impressive but looking and listening as hard as I can…..I find nowt I can use.

    My appeal thus is for theists to show me weighty arguments to back up the belief.

    If there is a god, I’m rather interested in that detail 🤔

  17. Raz says

    Bill Bo
    While I’d like to say that your comment is a damn fine point, I have unfortunately spotted a flaw.
    Jews have very strict rituals concerning the disposal of corpses. Every devout Jew must be buried (along with a host of other rituals). The bottom line is (assuming in the first place that there actually was a real person named Yeshua Bar Yousef) that the Jewish community would have taken delivery of his corpse from the Romans and buried it, rather than leaving it to the Romans ‘tender’ mercies. In fact, the orthodoxies of the day were such that cremation was utterly unthinkable, unless the recently departed had died from a plague.
    Hope that makes sense

    Having said that, I’d like to pose a question to anyone who might remember…
    Ok, on a TAE show- maybe a year ago, maybe more- Tracie gave an example to a caller about evidence. It went something along the lines of:

    “If I told you I had a cat, but you’d never seen a cat at my place,” and
    “If I showed you a tree that had been knocked over in the front yard and told you that my cat had done it…” Also
    “If I showed you a giant footprint left in the mud and told you that my cat had left it, you’d have to wonder if I knew what a cat was…”
    Does anyone remember what the actual analogy was and how it went? I really liked that one and I really hate being only able to half-remember it… While I know that 3 half-remembered lines aren’t much to go on I don’t really expect an answer to so vague a query.. Still, it’s better than praying 😀
    If it helps, I’m convinced that the host of the show that day was either Matt or Jen. I’m now re-watching all the Matt+Tracie and Jen+Tracie episodes just to find that analogy, damnit!!

    Ps: Does Jeff Dee do shows anymore? After finding out that he worked for the company that made many of the games that shaped my younger years, I made the unbiased decision that he was my new favourite-est host ever and that we should see more of him on TAE.

  18. Raz says

    I meant to add this tidbit in my previous comment, but managed to forget it somehow. It’s a bit of a tangent, albeit one that supports the idea that any Jewish carpenters who died in Judea ~2,000 years ago would indeed have been buried, regardless of their criminal history.

    The Jewish insistence of burying their dead has caused somewhat of a real-estate problem in some parts of Israel (populations centres like Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem) recently. Cemeteries are now being excavated deep underneath the cities, with burial plots resembling somewhat more of a backpackers hostel than any kind of final rest. The digging gives rise to a host of new concerns, as there’s something in either Jewish culture or religion that makes disturbing any (already buried) Jewish remains the most taboo-iest of taboos.

  19. einyv says

    Love it, the simple dog example destroyed Matthew! It was fun to watch considering he came across as very ignorant.

  20. says

    This is for the caller that was feeling some Catholic guilt over not praying for his deceased mother, and then lying to his father about it. One solution might be to find an alternate way to honor your Mother on Mother’s Day. It could be that you do something on that day that you always enjoyed doing with her, or that you do that thing that she was always nagging you to do, or that you try to talk about your memories of her on that day. You can honor the ways in which her memory is still with you and still affecting the world through you. Then, in your talk with your Dad, you can honestly say that you aren’t praying for her to live on in heaven, because you don’t think that has any effect on whether she does, but you are helping to keep her memory alive here on earth.

  21. sayamything says

    I honestly don’t get what’s so hard about understanding that for some people, lying is a serious issue. It would be nice to see the show hosts employ some of that empathy they tout on this topic, because it’s very real for some of us.

    Justin’s bit on days of the week comes down to “why are things the way they define them?” which he tried to push back to design and a variant of the watchmaker argument. I mean, it’s interesting to wonder why this round shap is called a circle and whatnot, but at the end of it definitions and common language came down to utility. Babylon was a fairly important city-state IIRC, and as such, parts of their culture will be adopted, the same way there have been several historical instances of Lingua Franca. Why did different cultures develop a common parlance or adopt the parlance of another culture? Convenience, necessity, or too often conquest.

    The important thing is we know these things are done by humans, so like the stop light analogy, it fails.

    Even if Genesis predated Babylon, that doesn’t mean God gave us days of the week. There’s a utilitarian aspect of the lunar cycle that makes 7 convenient.

    @StonedRanger but what is love? *dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun*

  22. Matt S says

    In regards to Kevin and the martyred apostles around the 55 minute mark:

    The Reasonable Doubts podcast did a great job of addressing this “die for a lie” argument in episode 114.

    In order for the “they wouldn’t die for a lie” argument to work, we need to know that the apostles were martyred specifically for their beliefs in the resurrection, and not for some other (possibly political) reason. You’d also need to know that they had a chance to recant their testimony before their execution.

    When you examine the accounts we have of these martyrdom episodes, we just don’t have that information. Even if we accept that the apostles existed and were executed, we don’t have the evidence needed to know that they witnessed the crucifixion and resurrection and died for their belief in it.

  23. Monocle Smile says

    @Matt S
    Another fun point: recanting didn’t always buy a criminal their life back. They all could have recanted and still been executed to make a point. The entire “no one would die for a lie” line of argumentation is thought-free and designed to end the discussion.

  24. Curt Cameron says

    StonedRanger wrote:

    Matthew from North Carolina So you think that because atheists don’t believe in any gods that they cant know love.

    I don’t think that’s the point he was trying to get to. I think he was saying that atheists refuse to believe anything that they can’t see or measure, therefore we’re inconsistent if we say that we believe in love. But he hadn’t thought this out very well, because when Jen gave him the example of how dogs can love without believing in a god, he didn’t know what to say.

    Hell, *I* could make his argument better than he could. He could have said that we atheists are inconsistent if we believe that a dog can love, because that’s something we can’t directly measure just like God!

    There are a hundred ways to show that his argument isn’t valid, but he didn’t even understand it well enough himself to have that conversation.

  25. Cimmerius says

    You need to look no farther than the Heaven’s Gate cult to see people who are willing to die because they have a firm belief in a charismatic leader.

  26. Serge Rubinstein says

    During the french revolution, the republicans used a calendar of three weeks of ten days every month

  27. Theisntist says

    I agree with Curt’s analysis of Matthew’s love/god call. Matthew may have had a further point, along the lines of ‘if love is real then God is too’ or ‘without God there can be no love’, but he never made it, the dog analogy just ruined him, and he slunk away in defeat. He was a nice enough caller, hope he tries again, this time a little more prepared.

  28. StonedRanger says

    Curt Cameron & Theisntist At 23:11 he specifically asked “If you don’t believe in a god, how can you believe in love”? He may have started out with the whole evidence thing, but that was a lead in to his actual question at the above time stamp. He has called more than a few times and he doesn’t learn anything because he isn’t interested in learning anything. He just calls with his ‘gotcha’ of the week and it never works out good for him. Sometimes I think he is just a poe because his arguing is so poor and he gets his ass handed to him on the regular. But he pulled my strings this time, no doubt about it.

  29. Raz says

    Re 23 and 24 “Die for a Lie”
    Honestly, I think the Inquisition is the best response to someone asking “why would the martyrs have died for their beliefs if they weren’t true?”
    By that, I mean that the church tortured and murdered an uncounted number of Jews who refused to convert from Judaism to christianity. Why would those Jews have been willing to die for their beliefs if Judaism wasn’t true? And if it follows that Judaism is true, then Jesus is a false messiah.

    Damn it… This response- along with my other one- are gonna make it seem like I’m supporting Judaism. I’m not, though I think every christian in the world should ask themselves “why are there still Jews in the world/ why haven’t all the Jews become christian?” It’s not just that they believe jesus is a false messiach, but also because the old testament ‘prophecies’ that ‘foretell’ the coming of jesus do no such thing. In fact, the jesus worshipped by christians is not mentioned at all in any way in the old testament. Furthermore, whilst researching Judaism I also found that it appears that early christian authors appear to have deliberately mistranslated (or at the very least, have carelessly translated) certain parts of the old testament to make the new testament appear to be coherent. Or to put it another way: the new testament is antithetical and contrary to many parts of the old testament (links below). Any christian earnestly researching their bible will come to the same conclusion. Christianity is utterly unsupported the by old testament and in clear contradiction to it. (audio file ~10 minutes)

  30. Pony says

    It’s Tuesday, and I’m still not seeing this episode come up as a podcast on my iPhone. This has happened several times of late.

    I know Tracie sometimes monitors this forum; perhaps she can explain what’s going on.


  31. Theisntist says

    Stoned ranger, Matthew asking ‘if you don’t believe in God how can you believe in love?’ isn’t the same thing as declaring ‘only those who believe in God can experience love’. The latter is disproved by the dog question, the former is not.

    I interpret his question as meaning ‘if you believe in love, which is the same as God in certain ways, then to be consistent you should also believe in God’. That is easily rebutted by pointing out the ways the evidence for love and God differs (which the hosts did do as well), but not by the dog analogy.

  32. says

    To Cory, the atheist with a religious ex-wife, and a 7-year-old daughter, I grew up very religious and most of my family is still very religious. My wife and I are not, and we had to work through some issues with our daughter and her grandparents, etc. This is a blog post I wrote about how we went about it. I know it’s not the same, but maybe it can give you some ideas.

    “A couple of years ago, my daughter was staying with my LDS mother. After the visit, my mother told me that, at dinner, my daughter asked to “do what [my cousin] does,” meaning to say the prayer. My mother wasn’t sure what to do, so she simply helped/coached my daughter through saying a prayer. I understood that my daughter just wanted to participate in and receive the attention given during the ceremony. I appreciated my mother being honest with me about the occurrence and it opened up a discussion amongst our family about how to deal with my non-religious child.

    We had never really mentioned religion to her, thinking she was maybe too young to understand it. It was clearly time, however, to start introducing the fact that some people believe in the supernatural and don’t need science to support their beliefs.

    The first thing we did was invent ‘Gratitudes’; a secular pre-dinner ceremony in which we say three things for which we’re grateful. When my daughter was at grandmother’s house, one of her cousins could say the prayer and then she could say her ‘Gratitudes.’ We started the ceremony at home, and it seems to be working well when visiting family.

    The second thing we did is order a children’s version of The Odyssey and introduce the concepts of mythology. These stories were fun and introduced the concepts of gods and goddesses. After that, we went to the library to seek out books about other cultural mythologies. Egyptian. Chinese. Japanese. Norse. Indian. Native American. All that we could find. We explained that all cultures developed rich, creative, fun, and different ways to explain life, death, natural disasters, etc. We then carefully explained that some people still believe in different versions of mythology and that her grandmother believed in a different version of mythology from her ‘nana & pappa’. She asked if we believed in mythology? My wife and I answered truthfully that we once did, but that we found science a much better way to explain life, death, natural disasters, the solar system, biology, and more.

    Introducing religion in this way seemed effective with our child and the process was smoother than I once feared. She seems to have accepted and understood these different belief structures with much greater ease than I ever did. I think it a useful method of introducing these difficult concepts without indoctrination. We have no desire to teach our daughter what to think, rather how to think.”

  33. says

    Regarding amazing experiences, I had regular vivid hallucinations until my doctor diagnosed my vitamin B12 deficiency. I now take a monthly injection. Since then, I no longer have such hallucinations. Seeing and believing is arrogant, as ape brains can be so wrong!

  34. says

    Kevin kept going on about “from a Christian viewpoint”, “Christian theologians agree”, “Christian scholars say”. Why was he not challenged on any of that? “Christian theologians may state that they see the Resurrection as absolute fact but non-Christians do not.
    Kevin was not asked about what proof he had of ANY of his premises outside of the Bible and opinions of Bible believers. When he said that the existence of Jesus was completely historically proven, again he was not asked for any references.
    His argument was was basically “I have a book which states blue unicorns had a picnic.” People who think the book is true, agree that blue unicorns eat picnics, and that is an important event. Now the major question of our time is “What kind of sandwiches did the unicorns eat?”

  35. Robert, not Bob says

    Jeanette (#35), John did eventually challenge the “scholarly consensus” claim by pointing to Carrier, but it was late and a bit weak, when perhaps they ought to have stepped in right away. The problem is, there IS such a consensus, even though it’s obvious that the only evidence historians have for Jesus are the Gospels-which are really, really bad evidence. In my opinion, this is because Christians dominate the field, and hold the power to make or break careers, but that can sound a bit conspiracy-y. All of this makes it a bit difficult to argue the “historians agree” point, so maybe it’s better to not press too hard on it.

  36. Monocle Smile says

    The “consensus” is not nearly as strong as some folks make it out to be, and it’s not really a consensus among historians, but among New Testament scholars, who are not historians. Also, folks like Carrier and Price point out that this “consensus” largely only exists because of lack of challenge until recently, which isn’t so much a conspiracy as an artifact of having a specific field largely dominated by specific people (Christians).

    Also…Kevin was wrong about the facts upon which “historians agree.” The empty tomb thing is total bullshit. In fact, despite what Gary Habermas says about his “minimal facts” approach, the only thing that historians actually agree on is that there was an itinerant Jewish rabbit in the region that may have been named “Yeshua” or something. Bart Ehrman does not hold the position Kevin portrayed.

  37. Ed Goodman says

    I absolutely LOVED it when they would throw Kevin a curve ball, and you’d hear pages frantically turning.

  38. Han says

    Hi Ben (comment 11). I also live in Sydney. Same issues with father / mother. Happy to chat about it if you flick me an email.


  39. thetalkingdonkey says

    If atheists are incapable of feeling love without a god then by that callers own reasoning we cannot feel hate. Consequently all the world’s hate must come from those who believe in a god. There’s some Lane Craig ‘logic’ for you 😂

  40. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Monocle Smile #37:

    there was an itinerant Jewish rabbit

    😀 🐇

  41. y4dar says

    Pony and Curt,
    It’s Wednesday and I’m still not seeing the podcast in my PocketCasts app. As Pony said, this has been happening the last few weeks. Pony, were you able to resolve this?

  42. says

    Justin of Little Rock wanted to know about 7 days. Surely it came from the 28 day moon cycle and the four quarters. If we lived a long time ago we would be very aware of the four quarters, not because somebody made them up, but because, if you are out there watching every night, they are very distinct from one another. The moon starts out smaller than half and growing (first quarter), then is larger than half and growing (second quarter), then larger than half and shrinking (third quarter), and finally smaller than half and shrinking (fourth quarter).

    Regarding 60 seconds in a minute, early people observing nature, especially the stars and planets, had to do a lot of computing with almost no machinery to help. 60 is a wonderful number for computing because it is divisible by so many other numbers – 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, 30. They broke a circle into 6 times 60 parts (360 angular degrees), broke each degree into 60 angular minutes, and then broke each minute into 60 angular seconds. For time of day, they ended up with 24 hours. I can’t tell you why but surely that also has to do with easy computation. 24 is divisible by 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, and 12 – very handy if you don’t have a calculator in your pocket.

    Well, all that might be so, or maybe God just told us.

  43. rexlee says

    Perhaps start a discussion with your father about your mother and ask him to what he includes in his prayers. What does he actual ask for. For her comfort for her in heaven? Release from purgatory? A miracle?
    On mothers day I think about my mother, the good times we shared, the food we enjoyed together etc. If she had a favorite song, play it. Put some flowers on her grave.
    Prayers are empty & meaningless.

    When your daughter comes around play as as background music “I don’t believe in fairies” by Shelley Segal ( yes the same who does the intro to the AXP). After a while she will start a discussion about the music. Discuss the lyrics with her. Let her listen to some of the other songs on Shelley’s Atheist album. She will work it out!

  44. rexlee says

    FWIIW, I found a lot of similarity between Kevin from Palo Alto and Mark from Stone church of several years ago. Mark was pretty good at changing his voice and his modus operandi.
    Perhaps Kevin was a avid listener to Mark. Perhaps Mark is off his meds!

  45. Murat says

    Some basic questions addressing the common perception Matthew from North Carolina exhibited:
    Why is it more fulfilling to assume that there is a god in order to label our emotions? People who believe in the existince of a god may have eventually equated their affection for the creator to what they experience in social life, but that does not mean those who do not have that belief are experiencing something totally different.
    If you see God as a reason / source / explanation for emotions, then why do you cherrypick LOVE as the emotion that the godless lack? You could as well have asked “If you do not believe in God, then how can you HATE? How can you DESPISE? How can you ABHOR?”
    None of these other emotions are less connected to the content of so called holy texts than “love” is.
    If you do not have a subconscious agenda of making your belief and deity look good, then why did you ask just about “love”?
    The thought of people’s feelings being “mere chemical reactions” or “just like machines” seems to be somehow unacceptable and disturbing to you. If we people are “made to function the way we do”, then there is nothing sacred, meaningful or valuable about our very existences, right?
    Are you sure that, in another discussion where you would have to argue for “intelligent design”, you would NOT be giving examples of machines to demonstrate that “everything that exists has a maker”?
    I strongly believe that you would, so I ask you to note the sharp contradiction between these two positions:
    If being designed “like a computer” is the assumption along with which comes the disturbing thought of our lives not having proper meaning, then how come the very theology suggesting us to be “creations”, products of an “intelligent designer”, be the one you can associate better with your inner peace, with the validity of your emotions?
    Though the issue was not made clear during the call, your approach suggested you were a Christian of some denomination. And I know for a fact that, varying levels of islamophobia is quite common among the religious people in the USA.
    Does establishing “love” as an “outcome” of the “acceptance of God” make you feel closer to muslims than to atheists with regards to your emotions, or not?
    If you had one atheist and one muslim friend to go to the movies with, and if both were known not to be psychopaths or something, do you think your immediate reactions to tragedy, humor or action on the screen would change with regards to your beliefs in God and what definition of god you believe in?

  46. gshelley says

    The argument from the empty tomb is bizarre and I have never been able to understand why anyone takes it seriously.
    It basically comes down to “Well, other alternatives seem a little unlikely to me, so it must be magic”
    Surely if people are going to argue this, they should at least try and quantify how unlikely an alternate is?
    Jesus wasn’t dead – is that billions to one against, or is that probability just one in a hundred? Someone stole the body? Again, are they claiming the chance that this happened is one in a million, or one in ten?
    There are actually books dedicated to just this subject from a skeptical/atheistic point of view, such as “The Empty Tomb: Jesus beyond the grave”, but a person doesn’t even need to have read this to refute the argument..

  47. Curt Cameron says

    StonedRanger wrote:

    Curt Cameron & Theisntist At 23:11 he specifically asked “If you don’t believe in a god, how can you believe in love”? He may have started out with the whole evidence thing, but that was a lead in to his actual question at the above time stamp.

    Yes, that’s why I was saying that the hosts misinterpreted what his question was. He was saying that atheists refuse to believe anything that they can’t see or measure, therefore we’re inconsistent if we say that we believe in love. He was NOT saying that you need to believe in a god to have love. But he was really bad at communicating it.

  48. Murat says

    @Curt Cameron

    He was saying that atheists refuse to believe anything that they can’t see or measure, therefore we’re inconsistent if we say that we believe in love. He was NOT saying that you need to believe in a god to have love. But he was really bad at communicating it.

    How can you tell???
    I believe he was actually thinking love was somehow related to belief in a god and that he had no problem communicating that thought.
    This is a bit like how to tell “a god that is not detectable” from “a god that doesn’t exist”.

  49. Theisntist says


    I just went back and listened to Matthew’s call. There is no need to divine his intent, it’s actually pretty clear. His initial assertion is “only those who believe in God have justification for believing in love.” He then moves on to arguing that if not for God, love would just be chemical reactions and would have no meaning. He never asserts that only those who believe in God can experience love.

    I did enjoy your earlier comment where you switched out love for hate, it’s still the exact same argument, but far less appealing to theists to argue “only those who believe in God have justification to believe in hate!”

  50. northpaul says

    Bill Bo and Raz – Jesus got his own tomb because a rich man named Joseph username his own tomb for Jesus. It was not provided by the Romans. That’s what they say at least. See, being forced to learn everything about Christianity as a kid is useful sometimes.

  51. northpaul says

    Joseph *used his own tomb. Sorry, first time posting here, autocorrect got me and it looks like I can’t edit a post.

  52. Mobius says

    @54 northpaul

    I despise autocorrect. The first time I came across it I was thinking “WTF?” Ever since, I have turned it off whenever I encounter it.

    (And, yes, I believe in spite even though I don’t believe in a god.)

  53. pertsy says

    Justin’s hopeless badgering style prevents him from actually thinking, or understanding much of anything.Just miserable listening to that nonsense.

  54. dwocks says

    If love is nothing more than a chemical reaction, if we are just at base bipedal chemical reactions then rationality is a chemical reaction as well. Can we rely on chemical reactions to determine truth? The statement love is a chemical reaction is itself a chemical reaction? How can it be justified that one chemical reaction can tell another chemical reaction that it’s chemical reactions are wrong?

  55. Monocle Smile says

    Maybe you’ll find the answer when you crawl out of Sye ten Bruggencate’s ass.

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