Compare and constrast: American Atheists from two different perspectives

I was reading Gretchen Koch’s review of the American Atheist convention in Oklahoma city (net positive), and she links to a Christian pastor’s review of the same (not positive at all). Koch’s article is a thoughtful balance of concerns about atheism’s problems and the good aspects of community.

The Christian review is a collection of familiar tropes. Atheism is just like a religion because they have speakers and try to persuade people that they’re right! Welcome to the real world, guy: then auto dealers and the society for developmental biology are religions, because they have meetings with speakers and argue.

Then he scorns the attendance.

The organizers were impressed with the fact that 850 people attended the conference. But I have attended a dozen church conferences in the past year that have more people than that. In some ways, I think the church has little to worry about from such a small, insignificant organization, but in other ways, I am very concerned because their goal is nothing short of transforming our entire nation from one with Christian foundations to a completely secular nation where the religious would be forced to keep their beliefs confined to the inside of their homes.

This is correct. 850 people is not that many; the Society for Neuroscience annual event draws in 20,000+ attendees, just to put it in perspective. Atheism is a minority view, so don’t be surprised when events are smaller than some rally filmed by Leni Riefenstahl. But it doesn’t mean that they can’t be influential, especially when the majority view is becoming increasingly repellent. Donald Trump’s support by evangelical Christians does so much hard work for us.

Stop me if you’ve heard this canard before.

The reason most people are atheists is because they want to have the freedom to sin. At the atheist conference I saw people promoting abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism, premarital sex, and polyamory. The most common theme at the conference was, “There is no god” but the second most common theme was, “I want to have sex unhindered by religious morality.”

The theme is actually more like “Consenting adults ought to be free to find happiness in their own way,” but OK, yes, we do want to get rid of narrow, dogmatic religious morality that too often disregards the happiness and consent of its citizens to meddle in personal matters.

How about this oldie?

The atheists also celebrate homosexuality which is weird because if evolution is true as atheists believe then the gene for homosexuality should disappear within a few generations.

If god is true then why haven’t all the gay people been on the receiving end of a thunderbolt, huh? My answer to his fallacy is that, like all behaviors, there are biological compromises. Fine-tune the specificity of human mate preferences too much, and you get a population that doesn’t want to breed with anyone. And, since we’re a social species, maybe loving people of your own sex is just fine and even advantageous in building a community.

And then…

American Atheists are mad about the recent school shootings, but their founder Madalyn Murray O’Hair is the one responsible for taking prayer out of schools. When an objective moral standard is removed from education and prayer to Almighty God is forbidden in the classroom, then lawless behavior is the inevitable result. Who is responsible for school shootings? I think the American Atheists are.

Takes your breath away, doesn’t it? Taking prayer out of schools has nothing to do with school shootings; and it’s not true that prayer has been removed, because anyone can still pray all they want in school, you just can’t have an authority dictating to you how and to whom you must pray. This pastor is some kind of generic Protestant. I wonder how he’d feel if a Catholic were to decide on the prayers to be dictated in the schools, or even more horrifying to him, a Muslim? Separation of church and state has been a blessing that allows every weird sect to flourish in this country, including his profitable ministry.

But to blame atheism for the shootings? Over the top. Fuck you, Daniel King.


  1. robro says

    …then auto dealers and the society for developmental biology are religions

    Well, duh! But these aren’t the true religion. The only true religion is TV, and specifically Fox News.

  2. anthrosciguy says

    Why was there such a long gap between prayer out of schools ruling in 1962 (a year before the Bible reading in schools case that involved O’Hair) and the start of mass school shootings?

  3. mnb0 says

    @2: “Why was there such a long gap ….”
    That was the time Satan needed to develop a optimal strategy to use the given opportunity for His purposes.

  4. Ed Seedhouse says

    “The reason most people are atheists…”

    So he thinks most people are atheists?

  5. jrkrideau says

    Daniel King

    The atmosphere at the hotel was like landing in a heathen nation for the first time.

    Where the blazes does one find a heathen nation, whatever that is, these days? I have to wonder if he has ever been outside the USA.

    This boy is as open-minded as a clam.

    Daniel King

    American Atheists are mad about the recent school shootings, but their founder Madalyn Murray O’Hair is the one responsible for taking prayer out of schools.

    Would he be happy if we introduced Muslim prayers? I am reminded of the Bobby Jindal school voucher program (designed to funnel monies to fundie Xian schools. The Louisiana representatives were horrified when the first school to apply was a Muslim madrassa.

  6. euclide says

    School shooting are quite innexistant in France, where school prayer is completely illegal and where the majority of the population is either atheist or agnostic

    And it can’t be because France a strict gun laws

  7. emergence says

    There’s a lot to unpack here.

    First of all, it’s not that I simply think that since the Christian god doesn’t exist, that means people should be able to do anything they want. I think that fundamentalists who attack LGBT people, women who have abortions, and sexually active people are fucking evil.

    Denying people the right to love each other is evil. Forcing people to live as a gender that they don’t identify as to the point that they commit suicide is evil. Telling women that they’re worthless “sluts” if they have sex before marriage is evil. Forcing people to repress their sexuality in general is evil. Denying abortions to women, especially women whose lives are in danger or who’ve been raped, is evil.

    Fundamentalist Christians don’t have an actual moral system. They have fake morality based on arbitrary religious precepts. I base my own moral system around my value for other people and society as a whole. Numerous philosophers and civilizations over the course of history have constructed secular ethical systems to live by. Many of them predate Christianity or the Abrahamic religions as a whole.

    Really though, if you want to define morality by forbidding certain behaviors, I can think of a few “sins” that fundamentalist Christians are guilty of. Beyond the stuff about reproduction, Jesus freaks are usually misogynists who think that women are supposed to be submissive to men. I’ve even seen them claim that marital rape doesn’t exist because the husband doesn’t need consent. Fundies tend to buy into rape myths in general, using the usual set of shitheaded excuses to claim that a rape either didn’t happen or was the victim’s fault. Conservative Christians also tend to be perfectly fine with environmental destruction. They’ll say it’s okay to destroy the planet we need to survive because the end times are coming and they’ll just go to heaven when Earth becomes uninhabitable.

    Finally, the U.S. is one of the most religious developed countries in the world, and yet we have a massive number of school shootings compared to other, more secular countries. For example, Christians are a tiny minority in Japan, but Japan doesn’t seem to have school shootings at all.

  8. jrkrideau says

    @ 8 emergence
    I am hard-pressed to come up with any country with the number of school shootings that the USA has regardless of the religious orientation.

  9. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    There is a BIG difference between WANTING to be good, vs REQUIRED to be good/ for some after death reward.
    Personally I prefer rewards while I’m alive. Prefer hearing “thank you” from real people for incidental acts of kindness.
    I’d rather take credit for being good rather than rejecting Gawd to do evil acts.
    When will these church-heads get the picture: being good is its own reward internally without any need for intervention from a mythical “spirit”.

    new blurb: recently ran across a bizarre “headline” where a pastor on “youbube” asserts ‘masturbation is homo sex, no matter how much one is using naked female pictures during it, still having sex with yourself is sex with a man. Get it”.
    — my first response (pointlessly): as if homosexuality is a bad thing.

  10. says

    Polyamory is a sin? Biblical figures like King David and King Solomon would be surprised to hear that.

    How is being trans a sin?

  11. shadow says


    IIRC, Japan does not allow personal ownership of firearms. Also, the culture there is more likely to have the disgruntled student commit suicide. Something to be said of ‘saving face’ as well. Not sure how common that practice is now. I haven’t discussed this with spouse (who is at that perfect age — older than me).

  12. says

    Czech Republic does not have, and never has had, school prayer. Czech Republic does not have, and never has had, school shootings.
    Czech Republic does have strong and enforced gun laws.
    Go figure.

  13. rietpluim says

    Takes your breath away, doesn’t it?

    Fortunately, it doesn’t. I would have died from asphyxiation a long time ago.

  14. rietpluim says

    Note that King’s review is not a review at all. He is just expressing his own prejudices. He could have written it without attending. Note that he also opens with a lie: The main reason I went was to listen to what atheists are saying and to try to understand their viewpoint. His whole article is in denial of that.

  15. unclefrogy says

    It looks to me that the true religion of the U.S. regardless of the protestations of the self-identified christians is “More Room More Stuff” . That is especially true for conservative christians and their ministers, any perceived to their money or property or their advantage in the economy will bring a rapid and vociferous response.
    uncle frrogy

  16. says

    shadow@12 private ownership of firearms is possible in Japan, but not easy. The process includes mandatory training and strong background checks. If you are given a license you’re subject to unannounced inspections by the police to make sure your weapons are properly stored and unmodified, Records are also kept of every round of ammunition you buy and what was done with it, and you have to return cartridge casings to the shop when you buy more ammunition..

  17. Mak, acolyte to Farore says

    you get a population that doesn’t want to breed with anyone.


    Takes your breath away, doesn’t it?

    Haa, some public official was saying that shit in Indiana back in February and I wanted to spit.

    What’s the logic behind this bullshit? Kids and faculty are being killed by it. Sometimes very young kids. Are they the ones who “took prayer away”? Do they vote? Did they vote back in the 60s?

    So their oh so loving and judicious god is violently killing children to punish parents/grandparents and public officials. And this is seen as a good and just thing.

    They really see no problem with this?

    timgueguen @11

    How is being trans a sin?

    Because we go against god’s perfect plan that he laid out for us by… being… who we are. Because it can’t possibly be that Yahoo wanted us to be trans. Or something. Lowly humans are more powerful than gods, apparently.

    Meanwhile they have no problem with people seeking out medical treatment for congenital issues, or just plain cosmetic reasons.

    They also have this idea that we’re just a bunch of men running around being women, which they also seem to have a big problem with. Because that’s ~degrading~.

  18. Mak, acolyte to Farore says


    See also the ‘LCS Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality’ in the application form for a Christian elementary school now unfortunately housed in what used to be a very nice (public) elementary school:

    We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male and female. These two, distinct complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. (Gen 1:26-27) Rejection of one’s biological sex is rejection of the image of God within that person.

    They also believe in abstinence, that fetuses are sacred, and in praying the gay away! What a wholesome environment to raise children in. But only if their parents are godly enough.

  19. Bruce says

    While I attended the entire conference in Oklahoma City this past weekend, I am sorry to say that I didn’t notice anything about polyamory. Well, I can look forward to finding something on it next time, I guess.
    Also, in her blog post, Gretchen Koch says that she didn’t like the use of the term “islamophobia”. It is indeed a distressing situation. But I don’t want to criticize the right of a formerly Islamic person to choose his own words in commenting on the situation. As even Koch’s commentary makes clear, as well as the talk itself, the speaker was not being islamophobic and not being in favor of islamophobia by any normal definition of the word.
    I am doubtful of the potential success of trying to reclaim this word, but I certainly agree with the validity of working to make a point about the true meaning of islamophobia, which I think that Koch and the speaker would agree upon. But we can’t deny that _some_ people are using the word in a broad sense to refer to all criticism of Islam, which is certainly not the traditional definition. The speaker was making the point that mere criticism of Islam is NOT Islamophobia, even if some people say it is. And because criticism of Islam is valid, if the word is changed to mean this, then that changes everything about it.
    The fact remains that words are defined by usage, not by dictionaries. And the usage of the word “Islamophobia” is currently mixed, and thus causing confusion and distress. But the distress regarding the word is very small compared with the distress caused by the phenomena of Islam and its various defenders.
    I think everyone of good will understands that true Islamophobia is bad, while the falsely hyper-liberal “definition” of it as any criticism of Islam is a reference to criticism of Islam, which is a valid and necessary thing. I am very liberal, but I can’t support the erasure of intolerance by Muslims, just to simplify the understanding of terms. Criticism of Islam is a good thing, even if some people who think they are on the left (or on the right) don’t actually understand it. Their misunderstanding of the validity of criticism of Islam does NOT make criticism of Islam invalid in any way. The conference speaker’s speech succeeded in making this point, and Koch agreed that she understood this, even if she also felt uncomfortable with the situation with the wording. I agree that the wording is a problem, but the speaker’s experiences and thoughts were something everyone should listen to.

  20. slatham says

    With appropriate statistical treatment for covariates, are school shootings more or less frequent in religious schools (where prayer is presumably led by school authorities) versus non-religious schools? I’d be curious to know.

  21. says

    School shootings didn’t happen when school prayer was allowed? I guess that time sink I fell into on the wikipedia listing for school shootings
    In the United States– Many of which occurred in the late 19th century and early 20th century when school prayer was pretty much mandated–was all in my head.

  22. billyjoe says


    In my opinion, the designation “Islamophobe” should be discarded.

    The word “Islamophobe” translates literally as “a person who fears Islam”. In that sense, the speaker you referenced, is an “Islamophobe”: He fears Islam, because it means death for him in the country of his birth because of his apostasy. However, the word “Islamophobe” has been used pejoritively against those in Muslim minority countries who criticise the tenets of the Islamic faith. The idea being that, in Muslim minority countries, criticism of the tenets of Islam is seen as support for “anti-Muslim bigots”. So “Islamophobe” has become conflated with “anti-Muslim bigot”, even though strictly they are different concepts.

    The problem comes when someone who is criticising the tenets of Islam but who is not an “anti-Muslim bigot” (of course, some who criticise Islam are “anti-Muslim bigots”), gets called an “Islamophobe” with the implication that they are an “anti-Muslim bigot”. The effect is to shut down discusion and criticism of Islam. And the problem here is that this does not help and, in fact, hinders ex-Muslims like the speaker you referenced, and Maryam Namazi who was also present, and Maajim Nawaz, and who are trying to reform Islam and combat Islamic fundamentalism so as to improve conditions for Muslims around the world, especially in Islamic countries.

  23. John Morales says


    The word “Islamophobe” translates literally as “a person who fears Islam”.

    Etymological fallacy. In a modern sense, ‘Islamophobe’ refers more to to prejudice than to fear.

    (For example, when someone gushes about some incredibly good show, they don’t refer to a show whose goodness is not credible. Grok?)

  24. John Morales says

    PS Any informed person understands that Judaism, Christianity and Islam constitute the Abrahamic religions. Thing is, only one of those does not proselytise, and of the two that do, both have been the most problematic at different times in history.

    (They are all patriarchal and misogynistic ‘revealed’ religions, and they are all descendants of more ancient beliefs, credibly polytheistic. (cf. Asherah))

    Sure. Right now, (radical) Islam is more pernicous than (radical) Xniaty — USA aside — but that’s contingent on our point in history. The Jews are no better than either, but that they don’t proselitise is a big plus.

    (Not that I would countenance converting — having my foreskin amputated as a necessary condition suffices, theology aside)

  25. Holms says

    “…but the second most common theme was, “I want to have sex unhindered by religious morality.””

    I completely agree.

  26. Holms says

    #25 Morales
    Reminds me of those that earnestly declare that the ‘real’ meaning of the word decimate is to reduce by 10%. We’ve been using it incorrectly all along oh no!

  27. Porivil Sorrens says

    Can’t say I really care if Namazie is stifled, though I’d prefer it’d be over her support for Al-Sisi’s coup in Egypt and open contempt for democracy (“a tool of the bourgeoisie”) rather than the equally valid claims of islamiphobia.

  28. KG says

    and Maryam Namazi who was also present, and Maajim Nawaz, and who are trying to reform Islam and combat Islamic fundamentalism – billyjoe@24

    Showing your usual ignorance, I see – even to the extent of getting both names of those you suppose are “trying to reform Islam” wrong. Maryam Namazie is a self-identified atheist and Marxist, a member of a peculiar and explicitly anti-democratic personality cult calling itself “the Worker Communist Party of Iran”, and as Porivil Sorrens says, an enthusiastic supporter of Al-Sisi’s military coup in Egypt (being too stupid to recognise a counter-revolution when she saw one). Maajid Nawaz is an opportunist fraud, who successfully took the UK government for several £million (but was himself out-frauded by the British fascist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon aka Tommy Robinson). He now hobnobs freely with various members of the Islamophobic right (Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Douglas Murray, Sam Harris), and spends much of his time and effort in the USA, because the grifting prospects are better.

  29. Mak, acolyte to Farore says

    The word “Islamophobe” translates literally as “a person who fears Islam”.

    I’ve often heard this exact same rhetoric from people who claimed that it was incorrect for us to call them ‘homophobes’ because a homophobe is someone who fears gay people, when all they wanted to do was make sure that gay people stayed down in the muck where they belonged.

  30. rietpluim says

    Now we’re at it:

    Islamophobia is not racist because Islam is not a race!

  31. Kurt says

    And Tony! (#23) didst say:

    school shootings in the United States– Many of which occurred in the late 19th century and early 20th century when school prayer was pretty much mandated–was all in my head.

    Come on, Tony! Obviously, school shootings now are because they removed prayer from schools. The ones from before were because they weren’t praying enough

    Also, Rev, which is it? Laughable attendance numbers or an existential threat to Christianity? Reminds me of the old joke, “The food here is terrible! And such small portions!””

  32. billyjoe says


    Entomological fallacy

    I agree that is how “Islamophobia” is used. Similar to “homophobe”, which is not so much a “fear of homosexuals”, although there is often an element of that as I can personally testify from my adolescence as a fanatical Christian, as a “prejudice against homosexuals”.

    But, I was giving the literal translation. In fact a “phobia” is an “extreme fear” or “irrational fear”, so “Islamophobia translates literally as either “extreme fear of Islam” or “irrational fear of Islam”. The first version might apply to the speaker if his fear of being killed for his apostasy was extreme. This is probably not the case now, but very likely was the case when he still lived in his country of origin. I don’t think the second version applies, because it is not an “irrational fear” but a very real one. Ex Muslims have been killed for their apostasy and fatwahs have been proclaimed.

    I agree broadly with your follow-up post. But I would add that circumcision Is child’s play compared with clitoridectomy and infibulation.

  33. John Morales says


    But, I was giving the literal translation.

    Pointlessly so, since it’s how it’s actually used that matters. It adds nothing to your thesis that “The problem comes when someone who is criticising the tenets of Islam but who is not an “anti-Muslim bigot” (of course, some who criticise Islam are “anti-Muslim bigots”), gets called an “Islamophobe” with the implication that they are an “anti-Muslim bigot”. The effect is to shut down discusion and criticism of Islam.”

    Is it really? I doubt it.

  34. billyjoe says


    Hmmm…I had to check my post after your correction because I know how to spell their names. They must have been either typos or auto-corrects.

    But I am not concerned here with the political affiliations and other activities of Maryam Namazie and Maajid Nawaz. I am only concerned here with their efforts to reform Islam in order to reduce the influence of Islamic fundmentalists, and to advocate against the adoption of Sharia Law within the UK. Neither are “islamophobes” if by that you mean “anti-Muslim bigots”. Maryam Namazie is an apostate, but Maajid Nawaz is a self-identified Muslim. He could hardly be an anti-Muslim bigot. Both criticise the tenets of the religion of Islam for the purpose of reducing the suffering of moderate Muslims, non-Muslims, and apostates in Islamic countries and moderate Muslims in non-Islamic countries.

    There is a fear that criticising Islam will adversely affect Muslims in non-Islamic countries like the USA and the UK, and that is a real fear that should be countered at every opportunity. But that ignores the effect the religion of Islam has on the lives of moderate Muslims, non-Muslims, and apostates in Islamic countries and, to a lesser extent on moderate Muslims in non-Islamic countries.

    And neither Ayaan Hirsi Ali nor Sam Harris are “islamophobes” if by that you mean “anti-Muslim bigots”. As I said, Sam Harris has co-authored a book with Maajid Nawaz who is a Muslim. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an apostate who has suffered the consequences of FGM, arranged marriage, exile, and fatwah. She wants to see Islam reformed for similar reasons to Maryam Namazie and Maajid Nawaz.

  35. billyjoe says


    Pointlessly so

    Jesus, it was just a short introduction to my comment.

    Is it really? I doubt it.

    Yes, that is exactly the problem.
    Someone who is not an anti-Muslim bigot but who criticises the tenets of the religion of Islam is pejoratively called an Islamophobe, and criticised for inciting anti-Muslim bigotry. All that does is shut down criticism of Islam which does nothing to help moderate Muslims – especially women and homosexuals – non-Muslims, and apostates in Islamic countries and, to a lesser but still significant degree, in non-Islamic countries.

  36. John Morales says

    BJ, reasserting your claim does not make it any more justified.

    Again: I doubt it’s an actual problem.

  37. Porivil Sorrens says

    That feel when you try to list off thinkers who are being silenced by accusations of islamiphobia as an argument against it, but can literally only come up with fascists and fraudsters.

  38. billyjoe says

    Funny that, especially when four or five have already been mentioned in this comment section. Most of the criticism of these public figures is the fear that they will incite anti-Muslim sentiment, rather than criticism of what they are actually doing, which is criticism of tenets of the religion of Islam itself.

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been a victim of FGM, forced marriages, forced exile, and fatwa. She has a lot to say about conditions for women in Islamic countries and Muslims in non-Islamic countries. She IS an “Islamophobe” in the sense that she is extremely fearful of theocratic Islam. She criticises Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia Law for Muslims in the UK, and advocates for reform within Islam in order to reduce the influence of Islamic fundamentalists.

    For her trouble, she is constantly being labeled an anti-Muslim bigot by people who fear what she says will incite anti-Muslim bigotry, losing sight of the bigger fear that Muslims and apostates worldwide have from Islam itself, especially women, homosexuals.

  39. billyjoe says

    Typical example of quote mining to convey an opinion opposite to the one intended.
    Even if is was tongue-in-cheek.

  40. rietpluim says

    The reason most people are atheists is because they want to have the freedom to sin.

    Funny coming from a religion that diverted from Judaism because they wanted to have the freedom to eat bacon.

  41. Saad says

    billyjoe, #36

    And neither Ayaan Hirsi Ali nor Sam Harris are “islamophobes” if by that you mean “anti-Muslim bigots”.

    You weren’t doing so bad until this.

    As I said, Sam Harris has co-authored a book with Maajid Nawaz who is a Muslim.

    I even heard one of his best friends is a Muslim.

  42. Saad says

    F’n quote fail.

    As I said, Sam Harris has co-authored a book with Maajid Nawaz who is a Muslim.

    was from billyjoe #36

  43. says

    I’m fine with concern for problems involving Islam and the specific Muslims that represent a problem in the abstract. But the reality I have dealt with involves islamophobia in the actions people acting concerned about Islam.

    Again and again fear of Islam was used to dismiss concern for sexism, misogyny, racism and other forms of bigotry. The essence of “Dear Muslima” was copied again and again as Muslims behaving badly were used to shield ones local people behaving badly.

    If someone wants to combat both sets of problems I have no quarrel with them. As I’m unfamiliar with Gretchen Koch I can’t say she does this so I’m somewhat open-minded on that front. But as Islamophobia does exist fuck the attempts to weaken it’s use. That’s a bad sign and I’ll do the opposite of cooperating there.

  44. zibble says

    So sick of this stupid “evolution should have weeded out gay people” meme. Aside from the obvious fact that having gay sex doesn’t keep animals from having procreative sex *as well* (and can actually be a beneficial strategy, as in the case of lion prides led by two males who boink each other as opposed to one), Christian homophobia has forced gay people to pretend to be straight and thus pursue typical heterosexual relationships.

  45. billyjoe says


    I even heard one of his best friends is a Muslim

    Firstly, the situations below are not identical:

    1) A person who does not know any Muslims
    2) A person who knows a Muslim
    3) A person who has a friend who is a Muslim
    4) A person who has many friends who are Muslim
    5) A person who has co-authored a book with a Muslim

    Secondly, I assume you understand the following:
    – the time it takes to write a book.
    – the time you need to spend with a co-author to write a book
    – the mutual understanding between co-authors of a book

    There’s more, but that’s enough to undercuts your one-liner. ;)

  46. billyjoe says


    Just pointing it out in case someone were to conclude from your response to my quote that we really do agree on that point, as apposed to actually disagree on that point.

  47. billyjoe says

    Yes, John, but there are degrees. Someone who co-authors a book with a Muslim, is not in the same position with regard to Muslims as someone who has friend who is a Muslim.

    That is clearly what Saad was incorrectly implying.

  48. billyjoe says

    Well, okay, just another illustration of your lack of nuance. And your general attitude that, if you’re not totally with me, you’re totally against me.

  49. Tethys says

    just another illustration of your lack of nuance

    Galileo. E pur si muove.

    your general attitude that, if you’re not totally with me, you’re totally against me.

    Obi-Wan and Anakin, at Mustafar.

  50. Tethys says

    Bedoul? Bedoel? In any case, it can’t possibly have escaped you that the same word has different spellings from German to Dutch to Afrikanns, jah?

  51. billyjoe says


    Yep, typo. It was meant to be “bedoel”.

    And, yes, I am aware of the similarities between Dutch and German, but I wondered why you replied to my Dutch with your German. Well, not really, I just decided on a whim to make an issue with it. I had a German friend in my youth and I could usually make out what his parents were saying when they spoke in their native tongue.

  52. Tethys says

    I wondered why you replied to my Dutch with your German.

    Because I can’t spell or speak in Dutch, but had no trouble reading it.

    Bedoel je niet = It does not mean ?

  53. Tethys says

    Danke/Dank je, Zenlike. I figured I was missing something in je, but “mean you not” wasn’t making much sense at two am. It sounds like something Yoda would say.

  54. billyjoe says

    Zen like,

    Bedoel je neit = Don’t you mean

    …or translated word for word: “mean you not”, which sounds awkward in English. Even juggled around to approximate the structure of the English translation, this gives at best: “not you mean” which sounds even more awkward. You have to add a “do” at the beginning: “do not you mean” which still sounds a little awkward until you shorten the “do not” to “don’t” giving: “don’t you mean”.

    It’s sort of bizarre that, “do not” sounds awkward but the contraction “don’t” does not, do not don’t you think?