I love everything about this video. It’s a debate between a gang of godbotherers and, apparently, one sensible woman on British TV. First, the Christian minister announces that heaven is absolutely real, and that he believes every aborted child automatically goes straight to heaven (how does he know this? I guarantee you that he could not say). Then the smart woman points out that we should be all in favor of abortion, then, to which he replies indignantly that she’s trivializing a very serious issue…I think that claim was too late, since he’d already done that by inventing a simplistic solution, heaven, and declaring that he knew the entrance requirements.
And then the ordure strikes the rotating blades, and she explains that she doesn’t believe in things on faith because she’s “not an idiot”. My favorite part: listen to the gasps of horror from the believers after she says that. It’s beautiful. Yes, you ninnies, you’ve been insulted…accurately!
I also like how one pompous dufus then demonstrates that she had characterized them correctly by arguing that she believes in faith because she uses money, which isn’t real. I suppose he won’t mind giving me all of his imaginary money in exchange for my imaginary soul, then?
The one thing I don’t like is the aftermath. She has been the recipient of some very nasty invective since, declaring that she’s going to hell, that she needs to be “gang reaped”…it’s bizarre and at this point totally unsurprising that the standard illiterate response to an uppity woman is to propose raping her.
Seriously, that’s the best they could do? Assert – against the evidence – that money doesn’t exist.
They are idiots.
Ing: Od Wet Rust says
Note that they can’t conceive that atheists don’t have faith, and keep claiming they do in various ways. I’ve seen that kind of projection often in discussions with believers and many of them simply can’t be disabused of their preconception.
Money doesn’t exist, therefore God.
However, money does exist, therefore not God.
Inapproriate Susan says
I like that her worst offense was being rude. bahahha
But if they gang reap her, they’ll just be absorbing what she’s sowed.
The “imaginary” qualities of regulated fiat currency are nothing like the imaginary qualities of a deity, I’m amazed they even tried to make the comparison.
I hope she doesn’t take to heart the comments in ebaumsworld, Youtube, reddit, 4chan, etc. Par for the course in the internet regarding women.
Atheist says stupid gullible people are stupid and gullible
God-botherers gang rape and kill atheist (presumably in that order)
Sounds like a fair exchange to me.
You have to wonder why “gang reaped”. Are they planning on using a scythe?
[blockquote]The “imaginary” qualities of regulated fiat currency are nothing like the imaginary qualities of a deity, I’m amazed they even tried to make the comparison.[/blockquote]
I never understood the harping about “Imaginary dollars” when people talk about the USD, or any other modern currency. Especially when they then follow up “GOLD IS BEST”.
Money has worth because people are willing to give it worth. Gold is worth money because people are willing to believe it is worth X money for Y gold.
Gold, if of itself, is not a more secure currency system than dollars. If you’re in a wasteland, and want to buy a bottle of water off of someone, dollars and gold can both be equally worthless.
Steve Jeffers says
It’s very weird watching a real life debate that’s even more stunted and fragmented than the internet ones on the same subject.
Well … we’ve learned that idiots don’t like being called idiots. And that there are Christians who haven’t resolved the ‘if Heaven’s that good, we should want to get there soonest, right?’ suicide bomber logic problem (which suggests they’ve not read their Bible).
There is a kernel of a good point about money. The ‘thing’ that money is meant to be only exists because we want it to. It’s a system based on trust, on ‘faith’. But, but, but … is that really what that man really wants to equate his god with?
Simple question to him: if God’s like money, then God will just go away if we stop having faith. Oh wait, that’s not a question.
Can we call this the ‘Confederate Dollar God Argument’? Many gods have gone the way of many currencies – no longer acceptable tender anywhere.
Interesting that there’s always a response to a woman saying something that someone doesn’t like that says she needs raped. It’s almost like they realize they’re too stupid to actually argue their own viewpoints so their only recourse is physical violence.
AJ Milne says
(Blinks at ‘gang reaped’…)
This is some archaic biblical agrarian threshing parable thing, right?
(/Oh. Wait. No. Just standard-order appalling/misogynistic biblical, coupled with bad spelling. I capisce. As you were, then.)
I’m not entirely certain how a person gets reaped, nor why it would take a gang to do so.
Janine Is Still An Asshole, OM, says
Heaven is a place
Nothing ever happens
So it seems that a woman needs a good raping. Where have we heard this before. Perhaps a christian version of Abbie Smith should start building her own internet monument.
Interesting how the religious ones were so charitable about the unborn and aborted…until very recently, like “Great Awakening” recently, any fetus that died before birth and any baby that was born but died before baptism went straight to Hell.
Edward’s pornographic “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” and associated material is very…instructional, on matters like this. Did you know that “reprobate infants” are like “vipers…spitting venom in the face of God as He holds them over Hell in iron tongs?” I didn’t. I mean, sure, poopy diapers suck, but nothing to flamebroil them for :(
Anubis Bloodsin the third says
‘God-botherers gang rape and kill atheist (presumably in that order)’
Xians by tradition and reality are rather confused little hoppy bunnies to start with and at the best of times.
But matters not, whichever way they swing in this righteous task one thing is for sure, the atheist had it coming, or going, difficult to say!
“calling people of faith idiots, is just rude”
How does that affect the truth value of the statement?
(switches to another tab to find stuff about Kate Smurthwaite)
She’s fucking brilliant.
Hillary Rettig says
She’s wonderful, but one thing I think the atheist movement needs to communicate better is that atheism isn’t just about the absence of faith (although that’s a virtue) but an extraordinary, empowering freedom. Religion sells bliss, joy, salvation, transcendence, belonging, whatever – it’s a fraud, but simply saying it’s a fraud is a weak sell. You’ve got to have something to replace the empty promises with. Fortunately, atheism does offer authentic happiness and freedom and even salvation – as many of the Why I’m Atheist essays document. I think atheists should emphasize this more. That’s why I keep recommending Eric Maisel’s The Atheist’s Way – he does a great job of that.
Dr Bryan Fry says
I had someone today say to me that I am religious because I do things religiously, like religiously check my email. He didn’t like it when I said ‘yeah, I don’t read it … I just operate on faith that it is there’.
A new flavour of stupid burn.
That is the most convincing, absolutely central proof the theists have.
The voices in their head told them.
That is where all their arguments end up.
As everyone has noticed, billions of people have voices in their heads telling them stuff. All those voices tell them different things. They never agree on anthing. Some voices are xian, Moslem, Hindu, Jewish, Scientology, Mormon, and thousands of other religions and sects.
If aborted fetuses go to heaven, and the goal of us humans is to go to heaven, should we not then abort all babies? Or is my atheist brain not thinking this through enough.
Janine Is Still An Asshole, OM, says
So reacting to a physical event that happens on a regular basis is the same as believing in an incorporeal being. Someone is not clear on the concept.
You are right, Dr, that is a hunk of burning stupid.
I actually posed this stumper to a priest who stopped me (and my girlfriend…uh, hel-LO, since when do lesbians get each other pregnant?!) outside of a PP once. Since they automatically go to heaven, wouldn’t the best thing to do be abort all pregnancies in progress, then sterilize everyone, then pray for forgiveness? Even if the forgiveness isn’t granted, no one else AFTER this generation goes to Hell. Seems the most moral thing to do.
He was especially discomfited when I asked him if any parent would not throw themselves into Hell to save their child. Being a professional virgin (or at least, not likely to be sticking his dick in a woman), I would guess these emotions are outside his ken…
Kate is pretty awesome. She also works for an excellent organization – Abortion Rights UK :)
If aborted fetuses go to heaven, and the goal of us humans is to go to heaven, should we not then abort all babies?
Because it’s god’s prerogative to decide who lives or dies. Sure, god aborts up to 80% of fertilized eggs, but the ones that he doesn’t abort are meant to be born, no matter how horrible their lives are. Suffering will teach them…er…something or another. Religion really isn’t very nice when you look at it.
It just goes to show that one Atheist can outsmart a half a dozen believers. Perhaps if the believers weren’t idiots they could have come up with more intelligent statements apart from “money isn’t real” or the statement that it’s absurd to point that that abortion must be good since all abortions go to heaven.
Have you ever noticed that when these sorts of talks go on it’s always one Atheist against a crowd of believers and they all gang up on him/her? However, every time the believers just end up looking like morons because they can’t present any case that their imaginary world is true.
So, I don’t get it. An atheist saying that she doesn’t do faith because she is not an idiot becomes viral?! Jeez, they really have a thin skin.
That’s only from your point of view.
From theirs, they bravely battled the brazen lies of the satanist.
Gord O'Mitey says
I’m with Kate on this. We should call ideas stupid when they patently are stupid. Believing in the veracity of redacted, possibly mis-translated mythology from Bronze Age tribesmen, & taking on their morality, is stupid.
Love her. I also love how the religious seem to think that logical conclusions based on evidence are the same as blind faith. It just proves they don’t understand how stilted their thinking is.
I’ve seen this before, but I now noticed what seems like a very interesting analogy between monetary policy and religion. How does a monetary system collapse? When people no longer believe (as with hyper-inflation) that there is any *real* value attached to their currency, and refuse to accept the “imaginary” value. If only all those people realised that their religious beliefs are imaginary, perhaps we’d see a nice collapse of all those silly churche hierarchies.
But then there the analogy fails – the fall of religion doesn’t result in hunger strife and anarchy – it results in the same people doing the same things without all the added spiritual hocus pocus.
Jeez, they really have a thin skin.
It’s things like this that make me think that everyone* is really an atheist, some people are just trying to hold onto their surface delusions as long as possible. If they really believed in a just god, why worry about whether or not one person believes in the same god? Why not just let her and god work it out? On the other hand, if she’s challenging a belief they are desperately trying to hold on to and upsetting their ability to continue to hold it, then the anger makes sense.
*Well, most people. There’s probably someone out there who truly believes just about anything.
Thomas R says
Seems like the classic “only a theory” argument. Theory has multiple meanings in different contexts, ergo all meanings are applicable in all cases.
Yes, as an atheist I have faith. I have faith that my wife has not and will not cheat on me. Oddly enough though, this is a somewhat empirical faith. I’ve never caught her cheating, I’ve never heard from others that she cheats, I’ve seen the quality of her moral character around me and others, therefore, I have faith that she has not cheated.
I also have “faith” in science. I have neither the time nor the resources to learn every scientific fact or principle, and conduct the relevant experiments, therefore I have faith that the work of scientists is on the whole honest and accurate. I have faith that the larger body of scientists will check the work of others and root out frauds and incompetents. This seems to have worked quite well over the years, and hence is also an empirical faith.
I have faith in money too, because I have never walked into store with cash and not gotten something in exchange for it.
But, to confuse this with faith in God is as stupid as thinking the Theory of Evolution means “Wild, off the wall guess about Evolution.”
And yes, calling people idiots is rude. But would it have been really any better to say “belief in heaven is a concept that no rational minded person would subscribe to?” Isn’t that rude because it states that those who believe in heaven by definition are irrational?
So now I’m confused.
I had this discuss with Janine on TET that even Gnu atheists shouldn’t call believers idiots, and now one of the most prominent ones does?
(discussion starts here)
The implications of both heaven and hell are such that their existence ethically demands a whole set of practices that Christians simply won’t practice, such as your proposed solution. Theologists should be consumed with finding out exactly how people are sorted into heaven or hell for the purpose of gaming the system to thwart God and prevent as many souls from entering hell as possible. Those in heaven should be overthrowing the angels and God to release their imprisoned brethren.
The usual weasel-out is to claim obeisance to “God’s will” or “plan”, though both are regularly violated by proselytisation and prayer.
(with Janine and Walton, sorry Walton)
Rape threats make me angry. What if I wandered about threatening to rape men? I’d look stupid and full of myself. Same goes the other way around! What’s so hard to get?
What a load of crap.
I guess you could always point out that you can have all the things religion sells, at the same or better quality, for free.
Show people that there are substitutes. When the currency is intelligence, religion is an inferior good.
Hillary Rettig @ 21:
I disagree. Finding out that it’s a fraud, and why it’s a fraud, is very freeing and fulfilling in itself. Learning and critical thinking replace the lies they cram into peoples’ brains.
Matt Penfold says
This came up recently is discussions about atheist churches. One point raised was the in Northern Europe where church attendance and religious belief are in sharp decline there seems to have been no demand for any replacement for religious belief.
Which is why in Dr. Ing’s clinic for every patient I cure of dysentery I give cholera. Make an appointment before the 10th and I’ll infect you with herpes with no extra charge
Gregory Greenwood says
I wonder if Gunboat Diplomat will turn up on this thread to mansplain to us all that the reflex among morons, both atheist and godbot, to threaten ‘teh uppity wimminz’ with rape (or, in this case, ‘gang reap’) in no way supports the existence of a rape culture because of… well, I am not entirely sure what his reasoning was. He blathered on about Marxism for a bit, I seem to rememeber, and complained about the supposed scourge of false rape allegatios, but he provided nothing that approached a cogent argument before running away.
As to the anger and bile directed towards this wonderfully forthright and honest woman, well, I agree with the posters that propose that many theists actually do, at some level, realise how utterly ludicrous religion is, but still want to cling to their delusions because it forms a part of their identity. They hate to be confronted with a bald statement of thelogical inconsistencies and the outright ahistorical, unevidenced stupidity of faith because the truth, as they say, hurts.
For every tumor removed I implant a fishing weight.
Imagine if a councilor dealing with someone leaving a cult started suggesting they join the Moonies…to fill the void.
I removed your tape worm and put in a mole rat…to fill the void.
Dhorvath, OM says
When someone says they aren’t religious because they aren’t an idiot, I get leery. Thinking about something and reaching solid conclusions that others will follow is something that smart people can do poorly, and being an atheist is not limited to those who are intelligent. On the other hand, if someone were to say, ‘I think that the arguments people use to convince others of the validity of religion are lacking in intellectual vigour’, well, I don’t really find any reason to complain.
Either way, I admire her courage, I don’t think I could say something so inflammatory in that environment. Well, not on purpose anyways…
It depends on the context. I have in a round table discussion about ecology in class when asked basically why I don’t trust God that there’s nothing humans can do that can hurt the earth, I did shoot back something like “Because I’m not an idiot” though I then went on to try to make my point that you can’t base policy where lives are at stake on someone’s “trust me” etc etc.
uncle frogy says
>>>>But then there the analogy fails – the fall of religion doesn’t result in hunger strife and anarchy – it results in the same people doing the same things without all the added spiritual hocus pocus.<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
I'm not so sure that the result would be so benign if religion just suddenly collapsed like a currency at least in the short run.
If faith in religion and resulting behavior is any indication of the thinking of the religious, and the often made argument that belief in religion keeps them acting in a moral way. Informs them on how to behave They might just "go nuts" for some period of time until they have time to deal with the emotional reactions that would result from a sudden collapse of their faith.
fear guilt resentment and anger might just get out of control. I hope that the coming end of religion continues on a more gradual way not unlike the many individual stories we know of and read about here and would not occur so abruptly but I have no control of that.
reason and reality
it is telling that it seems so self evident by the reaction to the question about the aborted "babies" that there is life after death that they do not even recognize it as a faith but instead focus on some ideas of a heaven.
Dhorvath, OM says
I understand that it wasn’t the core of her argument, nor yours, but using that kind of phrasing is an artifact of thinking that intellect protects us from bad decisions and unsupportable conclusions and that makes me nervous. Maybe that just reflects other biases that I hold as important, I dunno.
Just as often or more so, it sells hate, lies, hypocrisy, ignorance, and lots and lots of dead bodies.
Tell the Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq about all the love their religion brings. But do it in an email. They are too busy killing each other by the hundreds of thousands and might mistake you for the wrong religionist.
All that “bliss, joy, salvation, transcedence, belonging” frequently comes with a bullet, hangman’s noose, or stack of firewood.
I’m not the first or only one to notice that fundies and other religionists hate and rage when people challenge their beliefs.
HL Mencken commented on it a century ago.
Bishop JS Spong writes about it in his books. I forget his explanation exactly but seems to have something to do with the fact that they either know or suspect it is all just a bunch of fairy tales.
A defensive reaction to the invasion of reality.
Christians often form large groups; that way, they can be persecuted in bulk by a single atheist. It’s more efficient, for them and for us.
I would love to see a store take that man’s money and then give him nothing in return saying, “The euro works in mysterious ways. It always has a value, but sometimes that value is zero.”
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
Well that may soon be the case.
I think it´s true, that most people believe in one thing or another, because not everything is evident. But you can choose what you believe and thats what matters. To believe in a magic land in the sky where all the aborted babies go is just silly and Mrs. Smurthwaite is absolutley right to call out that idiocy.
It’s like the old joke about the Buddhist who orders a hot dog saying, “Make me one with everything.” After he pays the vendor, he asks where his change is, to which the vendor replies, “Change comes from within.”
Richard C says
Sure they are, and I think that theologian was on to something. Both God and currency are nothing more than man-made ideas from long ago that only exist because we as a species have decided that they exist. But outside of our own collective delusions all we have is a bunch of geometric shapes scrawled in pigment on flattened sheets of tree fiber that, for some silly reason, homo sapiens cling to like their lives depended on it.
Religion and money really do have a lot in common!
‘The one thing I don’t like is the aftermath. She has been the recipient of some very nasty invective since, declaring that she’s going to hell, that she needs to be “gang reaped”…it’s bizarre and at this point totally unsurprising that the standard illiterate response to an uppity woman is to propose raping her.’
P Z, Why are you surprised by this as it is a legitimate sanction of scripture. God not only condones rape but orders it as well along with punishments for rape victims. This pernicious view will continue to influence societies social mores as long as the bible holds sway.
Dr Ing, fuck off as I have just snorted hot tea up my nose but I suppose you have a cure for that, hot coffee perchance.
Almost. People cling to flattened sheets of tree fiber with numbers and old, dead white people on them for a good reason. Their lives really do depend on them.
You can live without religion but try to live without money.
I saw this programme first time around and I have to say that it is very difficult to try to laugh and swallow coffee at the same time.
You call that tea scolding? It’s barely scorching!
Except I think most people understand on some level that relying on that is a horribly bad idea. The example I used was “why do you go to the doctor for medicine but insist on inaction when it’s other people?” I was a believer then, but it was still such a stupid thing to say.
Dhorvath, OM says
On further reflection, I think my concern is rooted in having been an intellectualist for most of my teen years. I saw myself as smart, ergo I was correct. I don’t think that I was unique in that particular thought process and when I see people use their relative intelligence as an argument, however rhetorically, I know that there are people who think that way who will see it as validating their shallow personal understanding of good thinking.
but my point sort of is that while you thought yourself an intellectualist, in this regard you were wrong and were being, for lack of a better term, stupid. My def of stupid has been ‘a failure in thinking’. It’s important that smart people have this flaw in thinking pointed out, and if they value intellectualism they will appreciate this. If you use proper thinking you will arrive at a correct answer more often than if you don’t, but what you’re talking about seems to be along the lines of the moral absurdity of WLC: they’re good because they’re Christians and thus defined as good. We should remind people that thinking you’re right feels just as good as actually being right but has no utility.
Dhorvath, OM says
And anyone can have a stupid thought then yes? So we wouldn’t then say that those who have a thought are idiots and those who don’t are not, we would say that the idea is lacking in intelligent redeeming features.
I think if it hits anything important then you’ve gone into idiot category. It doesn’t have to do with any one idea, it’s that the thought process is broken.
I wonder if people who don’t believe in money believe in Jesus money? I’ve heard of some fundies leaving it as a “tip” in restaurants.
Midnight Rambler says
Didn’t you post this video before? I know someone did…
'Tis Himself, OM says
Richard C #60
If either of you decide to apply to grad school for an economics degree, let me know. I’ll be happy to write letters of endorsement for you.
Incidentally, I have a mathematical proof that money is imaginary:
1. Money is the root of all evil.
money = √evil
2. Evil is a negative.
evil < 0
3. The square root of a negative number is imaginary.
√-1 = i
4. So money is imaginary
Money = √evil Χ i
I’m chortling in my department’s computer lab and people think I’m nuts. Thanks a lot, people.
On topic: I find the religious definition of persecution fascinating. Not only can one atheist persecute whole crowds of Christians, we appear to be able to cause Christians to be harassed by having them yell at or threaten us.
It’s amazing how it works: if they get upset, anything they do in response is us harassing them.
It must be awesome to always be the underdog, no matter how large you are.
I’d have liked to see them actually argue that believing in something without evidence isn’t idiotic. The fact that their first reaction was to say she’s just as idiotic as them speaks wonders.
Kate Smurthwaite says
Thanks so much for your kind words PZ and all. I’ve been on The Big Questions quite a few times, but my main job is being a deeply heretical stand-up comedienne. If you’d like to follow me on Twitter I’m @Cruella1, my blog is http://www.cruellablog.blogspot.com and I have a public profile page on Facebook – whatever suits! I gig around the UK and occasionally overseas, details go up regularly on all those platforms. KS
The money analogy defeats itself upon closer inspection. Money is merely a social construct enforced by dynamic shifting plate tectonics of supplies, demands, subsidies, politics, whatever. It’s a dynamic useful fiction that is difficult at best to circumvent because of the deep roots its taken within our bartering system. In principle, we could make it go away if we all decided to trade Calculus lessons for chickens and plumbing repairs for cell phone minutes, but that would be beyond ridiculous. (Another alternative would be state ownership, “from each according to his abilities and to each according to his needs” and all that… maybe less ridiculous, but I’ve never seen it worked out. Some nations like Norway use money *and* also heavily socialize basic infrastructures and health care like it’s a basic human necessity or something.)
But no one has “faith in money” in the sense that we think you can eat a dollar bill if a catastrophe were to horribly upset the system. And of course the monetary system is open to problems and manipulation and siphoning, leading to occupations of Wall Street and whatnot.
If this person really wants to make this analogy with gods, then God would have to be some sort of contract between persons, understood to be a useful fiction, but so entrenched so as not to be totally under the control of any one person or group. And he’d have to agree that God really doesn’t exist independently of its usage as a continuously evolving useful fiction, ever changing, taking whatever form it converges upon that day as a function of how it’s being used by its millions of users.
Heather Dalgleish says
It seems that women get rape threats where men get death threats from unhinged illiterates.
uncle frogy says
I was wondering about bringing up money and a belief in money. What thoughts would have led him to think that question made any sense it seemed so off the wall. I wonder if he did not make an unconscious connection with “godless communism” and was trying to show up her hypocrisy?
I know the the religious have a very difficult time understanding that atheists think and do not just accept some dogma or are of the devil.
I do like the word dogma sounds just like the stuff the dog leaves on the lawn.
Marcus Ranum says
Hey, some of us our soul-crushing nihilists.
One of the attributes of the faithful that I least like is their tendency to blather stupid shit and assume that they speak for everyone who wears their label. So, while I appreciate that some atheists are moon-eyed about their extraordinary empowering illusion of freedom, they do not speak for the collective. There is no collective among non stamp-collectors, either.
It seems that not all xians believe that babies go to heaven.
I’m not sure about that. I think atheism as understood by most is not just absence of the belief in gods, but also about having a rational-skeptic attitude to all the questions in life. In that sense, there can be a community.
Of course there is also the values aspect, like adding humanism into the mix, which probably is shared by many here too, but atheism JUST as “non-belief in gods” is a little bit meagre I think.
'Tis Himself, OM says
Money is indeed a fiction. It’s a replacement for bartering. Instead of “I’ll give you five bearskins for that horse” it’s “I’ll give you five hundred thalers for that horse.” It seems more civilized to use money rather than barter. However bearskins will keep you warm on cold nights but thalers won’t.
Coins and bullion, the gold standard so admired by the Teabaggers, are almost as inherently worthless as paper (fiat) money. Gold and silver do have value on the market. But their values, particularly gold, are artificially high. If gold wasn’t seen as a “precious metal” its cost would be much less than it is.
So it’s the psychological aspects of gold which drive up its price. Gold is valuable because we agree it’s valuable. Gold coinage is “good” because we say it’s “good.” Its “goodness” is purely fictive. Gold has no intrinsic value. Nothing has intrinsic value. Certain commodities have values set by law or custom, but these values are completely artificial.
Similar arguments can be made about fiat money. We say a dollar is worth a dollar and a pound is worth a pound and a euro is worth a euro because we say so. Currency markets play complicated what-if games to determine the relative value of the dollar to the pound and the euro. But these games are primarily psychological.
At the risk of making a fool of myself by talking about something (economics*) that is way out of my field, could there be a small kernal of truth in the claims about gold?
In as much as that gold is a physical object that will always be there (unless it is stolen or traded), and so is not as ephemeral as fiat money that only exists as numbers on a balance sheet or electrons in a database (and which really just represent a promise) and which could be wiped out by the destruction of the records or the elimination of the government/entity that backs that promise.
So wealth stored as gold is less likely to evaporate than wealth stored as electronic records of a promise (assuming you actually physically posess the gold, rather than it sitting in a vault somewhere and you just having a certificate saying it belongs to you).
Although of course it is not immune to evaporation as, as has been said, the value of gold is still just a fiction based on people wanting it, so in the case of a complete collapse-of-society scenario, you would still be better off with wealth in the form of actually useful stuff, like food and fuel and ammunition.
(And either way, the “money doesn’t exist” justification for religious faith is still such utter bollocks I can’t believe they even came up with it).
* I tried to learn more about economics, as it seemed an important thing to know about. But eventually I realized that I didn’t have enough of a starting understanding to be able to distinguish valid arguments from convincingly-presented BS.
'Tis Himself, OM says
Gold does have value. It’s a commodity used in jewelry, electronics, dental appliances, etc. If you have a lump of gold then it’s worth something in the marketplace. However in a famine that lump of gold may have less value than an equal mass of grain. As I said before, nothing has an intrinsic value.
Belief without sufficient evidence is not only faith, but ludicrous.
It’s hard to believe people still believe in god.
You have faith in money, what kind of shit was that, If I ever saw him I would personally like to stuff some bills up his arse so he can feel the money, IDIOT.
But money(or whatever currency be it paper dollars or rice balls) has a demonstrable affect in the real world, whereas god does not since he doesn’t exist. To me money is as imaginary as math is. Both are imaginary, but both also affect the real world in real ways. God however is ONLY imaginary.
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
Still waiting for Tis’ book.
And in a world devoid of toilet paper, even bills may be more valuable than lumps of gold.
What?! The effects of the belief in God are just as demonstrable as the belief in the value of money.
True, a loonie is a physical object that exists in the real world, but that’s a minor distinction.
Money is fiction. Yes. I’ve always understood this intuitively; never gave a shit about money, finance, or economics in any way. (To the probable detriment of my life and the lives of my immediate family members. But anyway.)
I think that evolutionary lineages and functional ecosystems have, or should have, intrinsic value.
yeah, not really what you meant and plenty of people disagree with me obviously.
Values. slipperily subjecive.
No One says
Money IS god. Ask any republican religiot.
‘Tis: Thalers? Read Christopher Stasheff’s “Warlock” series?
The god-botherer who asked the “Do you believe in money question” asked the wrong person. He should have turned to the Muslim on the panel. There is a growing movement among Muslims to return to gold as coinage because they realize that at the end of the day gold retains its value unlike paper which loses value through inflation and the criminal manipulation of Wall Street wankers.
The woman is clearly an atheist. She doesn’t believe in God but does believe in Mammon.
I’d like to see the store take the man’s Euros and present him with a written demand for:
“One pair of breeding goats, a promise to plough the 2nd field on the left down the road at the back of the shop which is approximately one acre in area, a hand-knitted yak wool beanie suitable for a twelve year old child, half a dozen bottles of fine wine obtained from the esteemed purveyor of desirable beverages on the other side of the street, and one sheet of paper and a drop of ink sufficient to create another written demand such as this one”,
saying “The Euro has value, but my faith says that for you it is negative. And don’t bitch to me about it – my deity said it, I believe it and that settles it. Now cough up the goods or I’ll have to give you your money back.”
I’m talking about what the beliefs are tied to, not the act of believing itself. We all believe in things. The difference between money, math and god is that the former two actually have effects whether someone believes in them or not. Money has actual importance despite being imaginary as evident in our economy. Math also has importance despite also being imaginary, as evident with everything in the universe. God however is purely imaginary. It doesn’t matter if someone believes in him since this belief itself is not enough for god to affect the real world. Its enough for people to affect the world but this isn’t god’s doing, its people.
You cannot express the concept of god in the real world like we can do with money or math. With math I can demonstrate that 2+2=4, and with money I can show that this lump of gold has value based on X amount of reasons. With god what can you do to express his significance in reality? There’s no numerical equation that can express god, and there’s no physical model that can be used like money (bible doesn’t count because it raised more questions than it answers, and it is more representative of the effects of faith rather than the real world effects of a god).
Yes the difference is subtle, but its enough for me to say that money is more real than god.
mouthyb says: Thalers?
I haven’t read the Warlock series lately, but I do know that thalers were real-world money–I’ve got one somewhere. Oddly, the word “thaler” was flushed through several languages to become “dollar”, while the “thal” part, which meant “valley” (the mint was in one) also wound up in part naming the skeleton that was found in Neander Thal.
I’ve also a bottle with $5 of gold leaf in it. The gold has manufacturing value, or at least it did before the economy crashed. It’s only ever worth what I can get for it.
The comparison to money was bizarre–it’s a fiction that we have all agreed to pretend is true? That’s what you want to compare your religion to? And the first thing a preacher man thinks of is money?
Amphiox, OM says
However, this statement with respect to god, is equally true with respect to money.
All of the economic effects of money is a result of people’s belief in money.
And there is one and only one reason why gold has value – because people desire it. Everything else is just an elaboration of this desire, which itself is a wholly imaginary construct of human brains.
@17. Hazuki : 31 October 2011 at 3:08 pm
I’m sure a mass of flamebroiled poopy diapers would create a hellish stink! Maybe that’s creating the Fly Gods heaven?
Also .. it’s kinda impressive that babies can spit that far and that they can come up with such a plan to make try & make Gawd put his iron tongs down for a second whilst he wipes his face clean of all that venomous baby spittle.
Oh & wouldn’t Gawd need rather a lot of hands to hold so many babies (Couple of billion or trillion wouldn’t it be?) simultaneously over Hell? Sure that’s not one of the multi-armed Hindu divinities?
@86. evader : 31 October 2011 at 11:45 pm
Unfortunately, there’s oodles of evidence indicating that’s true. (IOW, That, yes, there are many people – a vast majority in fact – who do believe in god(s).)
uncle frogy says
There is a growing movement among Muslims to return to gold as coinage because they realize that at the end of the day gold retains its value unlike paper which loses value through inflation and the criminal manipulation of Wall Street wankers.
please some one explain to me why “gold retains its value”? I thought we chose gold as a medium of exchange because it does not rust or change under normal conditions. everything else we value is unstable it burns up or dies or runs away or rots but gold remains gold unchanged.
I thought inflation was the increase cost or price of things. It seems to be implied that with respect to gold the price does not change that makes no sense. Just why would that be?
Money/God/Heaven: a social fiction that people willingly participate in because they conceive it as useful, and they find it can give them status and a sense of security. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a fiction, and in some ways one to which adherence doesn’t do human happiness any favours.
I think I can buy that. Good analogy, sir. Now, hand me the gun and let’s see if we can sort out some treatment for that wound to your foot.
Juniper Shoemaker says
Episode 423 of This American Life comprises a helpful and entertaining explanation of why money is fiction and why gold has no more irrevocable value than government-issued currency does.
(At least, I thought it was helpful and entertaining. I’m one of those people who thinks finance and economics are deadly dull subjects to study.)
Juniper Shoemaker says
P.S. to Comment 103: This argument is still hella dumb.
This has got to be one of the worst programmes in Britain. It’s still got that god-awful midi soundtrack from the 80’s that cuts in every 20 minutes, and the BBC is so concerned with representing every opinion that the studio is filled with Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Sikh apologists – with a token atheist usually in the corner somewhere. Each person gets about 15 seconds to say their piece (perhaps on a subject like ‘why does God allow earthquakes to happen’) and then the host moves on to the next person. When Richard Dawkins was on the programme a few years ago I think he managed to say about three lines while he was there. I completely agree with him when he pointed out that religious figures have no special insight into moral or political issues – any more than a baker or a gardener – so why do they have to be invited in the first place?
I Have a problem with how many use the word faith, I do not have faith in the norwegian(i’m norwegian) legal system, I do not have faith in science, I trust the norwegian legal system, I trust in the scrutiny of peer review.
That distinction is in important since faith do not require evidence.
I am a man without faith, my world is based on evidence and I trust in the people around me, faith don’t enter in to it.
(Straight, cisgendered) Men get death threats, women get raped-to-death threats. Its just a way of reminding the bitch that she is just a fucksock, and those wishing death on her want to see her used like one up to and while she dies. Its also a way to amp up the fear they want her to feel.
Its all that christian love they’re filled with.
Ophelia Benson says
So did the angry believers also offer to kick her in the cunt? That can’t be my special privilege alone can it?
Janine Is Still An Asshole, OM, says
Ophelia, you have to keep in mind that the person who said that is a very “special” person. As you know, in these parts, his moniker is a verb.
“aborted fetuses go to heaven”
I have this image of Pigpen (from Schulz’s Peanuts), wandering his way through heaven, scuffing up all the blastocysts and fertilized eggs that went up to heaven after they were sloughed from a female’s body.
Maybe that’s where all the clouds come from that the angels sit around on all day.
Smurthwaite is a new hero.
myeck waters says
Had to give it up. I’m nearsighted enough as it is.
Dhorvath, OM says
Faith has a meaning consistent with that use, it’s only a problem when people try to conflate the two meanings. That said, I am all for not using the ‘weaker’ faith and replacing it with trust, or maybe respect, people seem to have an easier time understanding that those ideas are provisional and can be revoked, whereas too many leap from faith to permanent.
Aratina Cage says
@Midnight Rambler #71
It was Greg Laden who did over at his new place: http://freethoughtblogs.com/xblog/2011/09/24/is-there-a-god-and-is-heaven-real/
The opinion that unbaptized infants go to heaven is extremely recent, and in my opinion was established because early anti-abortion protestors used to claim ‘your baby is doomed without baptism’, and the 25% of women who were aware they had previously suffered miscarriages got really sick and tired of hearing that bullshit. Now that early pregnancy detection is possible, and it’s been established that 50% or more of pregnancies spontaneously abort, it sounds even more ludicrous.
“However, this statement with respect to god, is equally true with respect to money.”
No it is not equally true of god and money. Your statement would be correct if we were talking about faith alone with money. Faith is as real as money since someone who has it can demonstrate it even though both are imaginary. God however cannot be demonstrated to have any kind of effect in reality. Even if you have faith in it what precisely can you do to demonstrate that it has some kind of effect? Nothing I can think of, and the same goes for other things of pure imagination like heaven, hell, or limbo.
Again, with money its the same as math. We are not going to start believing that math is also an imaginary concept whose power is directly related to how much people believe in it are we? Whatever item is used to represent money has a purpose outside of the imaginary; the same cannot be said about god, heaven, etc. You can make the comparison with faith and money but since the video is not about someone believing in faith itself, rather its about some idiot who believes faith alone is enough to consider another plane of existence as a real legitimate concept.
Yes there is faith in money, and using that faith we create monetary value as it is the purpose of money. This value has an actual function in real life and whether you want to argue if it is a good or bad thing (as a good number of people here seem to be doing) is entirely irrelevant. What can faith in god create? Many things can be created with a faith in god as we all know (mostly stupid things), but none of it deals with the actual purpose of it. Faith in god cannot do jack shit to show, or demonstrate that god can affect our lives in some way, shape or form. This is because unlike other imaginary things, god is purely by every extent, form, explanation, and anything associated with to be simply and purely imagination.
Of course I agree that belief in heaven is idiotic and that the retort about money is a case-in-point, I must add that it IS idiotic to call a room full of religious folks idiots (unprompted, no less)! I can only assume she expected a big reaction and got what she wanted, else that really was idiotic.
I agree with an earlier poster that atheists really need to engage the positive, touchy-feely side of the argument to “win hearts and minds.” Most people just can’t seem to handle reason.
oh, the Pius X bishop (I take it they only have one?) is Swiss, not German or Austrian.
oh sorry, wrong thread
You can’t just call theists idiots! you have to engage the positive touch-feely side with them because they’re idiots!
That woman was awesome. lol!
In the bronze age, especially in the Levant, North Africa, middle east etc etc, ALL gods and demi-gods wee born of virgins, Mithras, Osiris, Perseus etc. (couldn’t be a god without a virgin birth!)
The death cult of the virgin Mary is based on a mis-translation from the Aramaic to Greek when the word ‘almah’, meaning a ‘nubile young woman’ usually in someone’s hareem, was translated as ‘parthenos’ which means a virgin instead of ‘neanis’ – a young girl.
When the writer of Matthews gospel, who believed that ‘everything was foretold’, found the prophesy in Isiah that ‘a child would be born to a virgin’, it fitted the bill exactly (never let the truth get in the way of a good story), took the ‘prophesy’ out of context and the rest as they say is history.
To follow on, the Ebionites who were the first converts to the new ‘Christianity’ did not accept the divinity of JC and Paul of Tarsus took exception and the Ebionites did not last too long after that – nice these Christians.
I am always a little stunned by ‘history of religion’ books that gloss over how ‘soon everyone agreed that X was true’ is only true because everybody who stubbornly continued to maintain that it was false got tortured to death or stoned or burned alive.
In the bronze age, especially in the Levant, North Africa, middle east etc etc, ALL gods and demi-gods wee born of virgins, Mithras, Osiris, Perseus etc. (couldn’t be a god without a virgin birth!)
You’re 0 for 3, there, though I suppose Perseus is a maybe. No version of that story has Perseus’s mother Danae specifically as a virgin, but she was a childless young woman whom Zeus impregnated in the form of a shower of gold (kinky!). Osiris was the child of Nut and Geb, the Sky and the Earth who were definitely getting it on, and Mithras was born from a rock. All gods and demi-gods were not born of virgins.
Richard C says
You’ve got a lot wrong there. Almah doesn’t mean “nubile” young woman or young woman in a harem (no idea where you got that from!) Almah merely means “young woman” and is merely the feminine form of the Hebrew for “young man”. You are right about it being translated incorrectly into Greek as “virgin,” whih happened when the c.300 – 200 BC Septuagint Greek translation was created. That Matthew based his story on this mistranslated passage proves that its author was Greek and was not a native Hebrew or Aramaic speaker, and that he either altered or wholly invented the story to match his Gentile understanding of Jewish scripture.
Claiming that “all” bronze age gods were of virgin births is laughable. Greek gods had parents who got it on and little is known about polytheist middle eastern gods due to their religions being annhilated by Abrahamic religious conquest. The few you listed hardly cane from virgin births.
there seem to be some myths, in which gods impregnated women who were virgins, in some royal theogamy myths, this was usually assumed to occur on the mother’s wedding night before her royal husband had the chance to impregnate her.
This list I got off of Wikipedia:
– Egypt: the myth was in general that Amun-Re would announce to the virgin queen the birth of the crown prince, and would then sleep with her taking on the shape of the pharaoh.
– Persia: Saoschyant (sp?) was born of the seed of Zarathustra, when a virgin bathing in a lake received it from the water.
– Greece: Ariston was prevented from sleeping with his wife, until Apollon had the opportunity to lie with her and sire Plato.
– Greece: Danae, a virgin until then, received the seed of Zeus while sleeping and became pregnant with Perseus (why wouldn’t she be a virgin? According to the myth, her father wouldn’t let her get married because of a prophesy, here’s a depiction of the impregnation
– Greece: Alexander the Great was sired by Zeus or Amun in the form of a snake or lightning during the wedding night of his mother.
Judaism doesn’t have so many virgin births but births by women deemed infertile: Sara, Rebecca, Rachel, Samson’s mother, Samuel’s mother.
The messiah was never assumed to be born of a virgin. Isa 7,14. This was subject to dispute with Christians, who were arguing that Isa 7,14 was describing a virgin birth and led to persecution of the Jews for instance in Spain in the 7th century.
Oh also found some more on Japanese Wikipedia
(ignoring the cases of Japanese mythology where gods are born of rocks, body parts, or by photogenesis, or where male gods give birth to children, there is an entire parade of “nontraditional births in mythology” here)
– Egypt: Horus. Some myths say that Isis was a virgin. Some claim this is one of the origins of the Virgin Mary myth
– Ainu: On the island of Menoko-Kotan, all inhabitans were woman, they got kids by receiving the east wind.
– China: has legends about women getting pregnant from bathing, seeing water in a well, or drinking from a specific river, or receiving the south wind. 西遊記 (Journey to the West, ch. 53) has a chapter where two of the protagonists, male (one of them the Buddhist priest on his journey to the West) get pregnant upon drinking water in an all female country.
– India: Maiya (sp?) became pregnant without sleeping with her husband Spastika, but was impregnated by Sun God Sabitri (sp?), giving birth to Agni. This probably influended the Siddharta virgin birth myth.
– India: Siddharta (Buddha)’s mother saw a dream of a six-trunked white elephant and became pregnant.
– Japan: Shotoku Taishi, a Japanese politician from the 6th century. Some say this is based on the Virgin Mary myth.
– Finland: in the Kalevala. Since the Kalevala are from the 19th century, Christian influence is obvious.
I meant “photosynthesis”, but photogenesis might actually be right. The god in question conceived upon being exposed to sun light.
That’s one of things I like about this site. If you apparently get something wrong there’s always somebody there to put you back on track.
Perhaps I should start and trust Wikipedia more ;o)
The idea that ‘almah’ meant ‘nubile young woman’ and the reference to the hareem was from Beyond Reason by James MacDonald online at http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com.
Still you can’t let the truth get in the way of a good story!!
in the comments section of this entry of Language Log you can also find the expert opinion of several linguists familiar with Hebrew on what words can be used in both Modern and Ancient Hebrew to mean “virgin”
Why don’t they get pregnant & have abortions? If that were true, I’d love to be an aborted fetus – just go straight to heaven, thanks mom for the abortion!
Dhorvath, OM says:
1 November 2011 at 5:11 pm
Ironically, in most of the Bible, it seems to be using the “trust/loyalty” meaning. Apart from that one line about “the fool hath said in his heart there is no God”, I don’t know of any instances in the Bible of atheism even being considered. It’s all about “do you side with YHWH or Baal?” or “do you think God will notice if you kill your brother (who represents 1/4 of the world population)?”.
The modern “sophisticated theological” attitude that proof of God would undermine faith would have been alien to the authors of the OT, who described God walking around Eden, wrestling with Jacob, nuking cities, and showing his “back parts” to Moses, etc.
As for the divine ancestry of various mythological characters, don’t forget Conaire Mor and Gilgamesh, who were 1/3 and 2/3 god respectively. (Fucking conception – how does that work?)
Aratina Cage says
JUSTthinking →→ scumbag.
Caine, Fleur du Mal says
To say the least.
PZ Myers says