So...You Really Want Equal Time eh?

Do you really? Then do this:


43 comments:

Kev said...

ROTF!

Yeah, it would be nice to see Christian schools giving equal time in biology class AND have an equal number of guest speakers who accept evolution. Didn't happen at my Christian high school.

articulett said...

Oh golly--
David Mabus/Dennis Markuse has infected this blog too.

Howard said...

Atheists must be careful how they play their cards.


Evolution undoubtedly makes people become more liberal. That's as far as you should work with the evolution card.


In a society where stupid people are the majority and where most politicians are stupid, if you love evolution, you have no choice. Lie or stay silent.


No evidence, the existence of many present religions and past religions, and all the other great atheistic arguments are more than enough for secularism to slowly grow.

Larian LeQuella said...

Holy shit! Are people like DM allowed out in public? Unsupervised? Without being heavilly sedated?

Please stop the planet, I want off if we actually allow people THAT crazy in the gene pool!

DiBattista said...

Hey Dennis/David, am I going to die too b/c I am a high school math teacher who discusses existential questions with my students without any reference to god?

3g.nursing said...

I have a slightly different proposition.
Will our orthodox Christian troll Lv, who thinks the so called holy fire is "the longest running miracle", allow some roman catholics, who think that's a fraud, to come to his church and debate the matter?

ismellarat said...

This is why Christians keep losing. They cry that everyone takes their money and spends it in ways they don't like, and then they try to take yours and do the same thing. If they'd set up a private system that doesn't produce functional illiterates, yet still teaches creationism, and then say they don't see why they should be paying for other people's kids also, they might have an argument.

But so far it appears that they love failure as much as everyone else. Hell, what difference should it really make to them, with Jesus coming so soon. They think losing means winning, so I guess everyone expects they'll soon get what they want. :)

Michael said...

Why don't you spend equal time addressing the arguments of theistic evolutionists as you devote to creationism? I get the impression that you grew up with a creationist form of Christianity, then got involved with an atheist culture which attacks Christianity's weakest opponents rather than it's strongest and aren't even particularly familiar with anything other than creationism and naturalistic evolution. So why don't you give equal time? Why do you spend so much time on creationism?

John W. Loftus said...

Michael perhaps this answers your question.

Cheers

Michael said...

But then if you expect Christians to read and show they’ve thought through the best atheism has to offer shouldn’t you read the best Christianity has? Otherwise you’re no different than the Christian who spends all their time debunking the likes of Dan Brown but runs away when a serious heavyweight comes their way. Moreover, if you’re main aim is to debunk Creationism then why not rely on scholars such as Alistair Mcgrath just as readily as you rely on sceptical ones?

But anyhow, thanks for admitting that Debunking Christianity is not an attempt to engage with Christianity at any intellectual level.

Marcus McElhaney said...

I agree with Michael. And who says that people have not looked at the "best" Atheism has to offer and found it and you, John Loftus, wanting?

Papalinton said...

Marcus and Michael
Come on! Theistic evolution is an oxymoron. A century ago there was no such thing as theistic evolution. God made everything in it, on it, around it and over it and continued to move it and manipulate it from the supernatural, read unnatural [i.e. not natural]. And made it in six days. Anything other was heresy.
Religious discourse is a lazy hanger-on to every scientific discovery before, and more so particularly since Darwin. Contemporary theology and apologetics has been nothing less than a sloppy and brazen attempt to co-opt research and discovery to give meaning to scripture, in an intellectually unprincipled manner. Religious faith is not averse to underhanded double-dealing [lying for jesus] to inveigle its so-called 'truths' and tries to do so without putting in the hard yards.
Even in my life-time christian apologetics has morphed incredulously through what I call "retrospective prophesying", [as indeed the whole history of the bible story has been about the retrospective search for even the most tenuous of snippets in the old testament to justify or support a prophecy fulfilled]. And science is now the theist's favourite medium that supposedly 'attests' to the 'veracity' of scripture [the big bang, 'theistic evolution', genetics, EVEN quantum mechanics for crying out loud. Theology of the christianities is very much a parasite.
Marcus and Michael, it seems a fairly good bet that secularism/humanism is the one commonality we have encompassing all homo sapiens. I would be saddened to think that you could not at least acknowledge the case as it transcends even belief systems as a common bond we all share.

Cheers

Marcus McElhaney said...

@PapaLinton...who said i believe in "theistic evolution"?

Jon Hanson said...

What exactly does theistic evolution mean to you? As far as I can see it's just theists accepting the facts of evolution. So I would think there's nothing to debunk because the only difference between those who believe in theistic evolution and those who believe in atheistic evolution is the God question which would be separate from the evolution question. Of course you might mean something like Intelligent Design, which is completely ignored by every scientist who isn't trying to push a religious perspective.

And John hasn't interacted enough with Christian scholars? John was a Christian scholar! He studied under William Lane Craig!

This is the type of thinking I remember all too well, "his unbelief must be due to lack of exposure to true Christian intellect." One of the big blows to my faith was finding Common Sense Atheism and watching Luke interact with my hero William Lane Craig's arguments in a fair and balanced way and still coming away unconvinced. The Christian apologist sees the world through his rose colored glasses and can't imagine why others aren't seeing things his ways.

Of course the knife cuts both ways and you could probably say the same things about atheists.

Papalinton said...

Hi Marcus
Michael said, .."Why don't you spend equal time addressing the arguments of theistic evolutionists....."

Michael then said, ..."But then if you expect Christians to read and show they’ve thought through the best atheism has to offer shouldn’t you read the best Christianity has? [theistic evolution?]

Marcus said, ..."I agree with Michael...."

'nuff said.

Cheers

Marcus McElhaney said...

@Papalinton

Michael said:


But then if you expect Christians to read and show they’ve thought through the best atheism has to offer shouldn’t you read the best Christianity has? Otherwise you’re no different than the Christian who spends all their time debunking the likes of Dan Brown but runs away when a serious heavyweight comes their way. Moreover, if you’re main aim is to debunk Creationism then why not rely on scholars such as Alistair Mcgrath just as readily as you rely on skeptical ones?

But anyhow, thanks for admitting that Debunking Christianity is not an attempt to engage with Christianity at any intellectual level.


That was the comment I agreed with. I don't think said he believed "theistic evolution" but I would like to know the answer to his question.

Papalinton said...

Hi Marcus
Michael's other comment two comments up from his and your comment.
Cheers

3g.nursing said...

Guys,
Don't waste your time on Marcus.
He is a genesis literalist.

Russ said...

Michael,
You said,

But then if you expect Christians to read and show they’ve thought through the best atheism has to offer shouldn’t you read the best Christianity has?

Will you please do us the favor of querying the tens of thousands of Christianities for which apologists or approaches constitute "the best Christianity has"?

I'm not being snide here. Among the Christianities, what makes up "the best Christianity has" is as subjective and parochial as which definition of God is the best one. Think about that for a moment. Among the Christianities there is no definition of a god that they all accept. For that matter, among the Christianities it is not universally accepted that a god exists. There are active atheist clergy among the orthodox Christianities and among the fundamentalist sort. Atheist laymen , so-called social Christians, are everywhere.

There are 40000 or so distinct Christianities because Christians do not agree about any point of theology or any point of doctrine or any point of practice. So, who or what is "the best Christianity has"?

If you actually chased after an answer to this for a bit, you would find that addressing this concern is even more impenetrable than what I've said above. How could that be? you might ask. Well it's simple really: most self-identified pew-warming Christians have no idea what beliefs compose a theologian's definition of their sect or denomination or congregation. Roman Catholics, as an example, work real hard at making everybody stand and sit and bleat out rote litanies in unison, but academic studies at schools like Notre Dame and Harvard Divinity, show that for all the mechanical synchrony of their rituals, the people in the pews have theologies different from the theologians and different from each other.

So "the best Christianity has" is unknown to Christians themselves.

If we assume that "the best Christianity has" is to be found among their theologians, then the problem is just as intractable. Lots of Christian theologians tell us there is exactly one Christian God, but when that God tells different theologians different things, what are we to make of the idea "the best Christianity has"? If their one unique God reveals more than one narrative then aren't all of them "the best Christianity has"?

Face it, Michael, there is no "the best Christianity has." People have their individual favorites, but there is no "the best Christianity has." If you don't recognize that, you make the point.

You said,

Otherwise you’re no different than the Christian who spends all their time debunking the likes of Dan Brown but runs away when a serious heavyweight comes their way.

The only people who concern themselves with Dan Brown are Christians. The man is a fiction author. I think it says a lot about how the Christianities are so isolated from one another, all imagining they have truth, when they piss and moan about Dan Brown's stated fictions, while they neglect their fellow same-named Christianities which reject the Bible; don't believe in gods; don't believe in miracles; believe that Jesus was a nice guy but not the son of a god; don't accept the resurrection; and so on and so on. They see a stated work of fiction as a threat to their particular beloved Christianity, while they ignore the enemy within, the ever-increasing diversity among thought labeled Christian. It makes me laugh.

Russ said...

Michael,
You said,

Moreover, if you’re main aim is to debunk Creationism then why not rely on scholars such as Alistair Mcgrath just as readily as you rely on sceptical ones?

In part because McGrath no more speaks for Christianity as a whole than anyone else does. Christians get in quite a tizzy over Dan Brown but they plainly don't care what other Christians say. Why is that? When the Pope says that everyone who is not Roman Catholic is guaranteed to go to hell, other Christians don't believe him. When Jerry Falwell outlined his exclusivist regime for salvation, non-Falwellian Christians just ignored him. If Christians don't take seriously what other Christians have to say, why should anyone listen to any Christian. More specifically, there is no reason anyone should listen to the individual Christian scholars, academics or theologians since they listen to each other only as a matter of pained etiquette, while they rarely change their minds.

You said,

But anyhow, thanks for admitting that Debunking Christianity is not an attempt to engage with Christianity at any intellectual level.

No such admission was made, nor should it be. Mr. Loftus engages Christianity intellectually in the only way that that is possible, on an argument by argument basis. But Christianity is little more than a fistful of smoke, so debunking a specific argument by a specific individual is oftentimes that and that alone having no force beyond their particular interchange. For every argument dismantled, there are a million Christians ready to say "that's not my god," or "that's not my Jesus," or even "that's not my Christianity." For every notion that some lone Christian realizes has been debunked there are a million Christians, many of them esteemed academics, scholars and theologians, prepared to salvage it or prop it up with magic, lies, misinformation, or simply clinging to it in faith. Truth obviously is not important to Christians since they have so many conflicting and contradicting versions of it.

It's important to realize that Christianity survives in large part because there is no standard for it. There is no way to assess it for correctness or truth. Christianity is whatever the separate social clubs, the churches, say it is to them, but that doesn't apply to the different Christianity across the road. Truth is not important; being part of the club is. Since truth is not the objective the "heavyweights" are free to disagree with others like them in other groups while they are consoled by their pals within their own group. Since Christianity is whatever someone wants it to be, there are no heavyweights. Like all other Christians, these supposed heavyweights are themselves just making things up.

Marcus McElhaney said...

3g.nursing said:

Guys,
Don't waste your time on Marcus.
He is a genesis literalist.


When did I say that?

Russ said

It's important to realize that Christianity survives in large part because there is no standard for it. There is no way to assess it for correctness or truth. Christianity is whatever the separate social clubs, the churches, say it is to them, but that doesn't apply to the different Christianity across the road. Truth is not important; being part of the club is. Since truth is not the objective the "heavyweights" are free to disagree with others like them in other groups while they are consoled by their pals within their own group. Since Christianity is whatever someone wants it to be, there are no heavyweights. Like all other Christians, these supposed heavyweights are themselves just making things up. ?

I disagree. The Bible is that standard. If you think people who disagree over what the Bible says and what it means let's dissect the different viewpoints and see who's understanding is left standing. Go ahead pick a passage...any passage. The problem is that people do putt heir own spin on things but that doesn't mean the Bible is wrong.

Michael said...

Papalinton:A century ago there was no such thing as theistic evolution. God made everything in it, on it, around it and over it and continued to move it and manipulate it from the supernatural, read unnatural [i.e. not natural]. And made it in six days. Anything other was heresy.
Not true – it’s claims like this which is the reason why you need to read commentaries on Genesis by actual scholars rather than Fundamentalist atheists/Christians. For example St Augutine writing well before there was any scientific data on the age of the earth(City of God):

What kind of days these were it is extremely difficult, or perhaps impossible for us to conceive, and how much more to say!

We also have an allegorical view of the Genesis creation account clearly given in Jewish writers from the time of Jesus such as Philo. In fact to read Genesis as a precise scientific report would be imposing a literary genre onto it which didn’t exist until comparatively recently.

Jon HansonSo I would think there's nothing to debunk because the only difference between those who believe in theistic evolution and those who believe in atheistic evolution is the God question which would be separate from the evolution question.
Not so, for example Professor Simon Conway Morris has produced some fascinating arguments to show that convergence in evolution sits more comfortably with theistic evolution than naturalist evolution and Francis Collins has raised interesting questions around where the language of DNA which drives evolution comes from. There are other respected scientists providing arguments to explain why they believe theistic evolution is preferable to naturalistic evolution.

John was a Christian scholar!
No he wasn’t, John was a student. He never published any papers, contributed to academic journals or played the role of a scholar.

Russ:Among the Christianities there is no definition of a god that they all accept.
By the same reasoning scientists don’t agree on everything, atheists don’t agree on everything nor do any category of people.

Russ said...

Michael,
Concerning the fact that the Christianities are polytheistic, you said,

By the same reasoning scientists don’t agree on everything, atheists don’t agree on everything nor do any category of people.

Wow, Michael, are you sure you want your version of a god to know that you think that disagreements about it are of the same status as any other quibbles? Is that really what you think? It's nice that you are so accommodatingly liberal with your gods.

But, you do realize, do you not, that scientists are not making the claim that they worship the One True God while accepting that that One True God tells different believers completely different things related to an afterlife, ways to get to heaven, and myriad other lies. If you accept and allow that different Christianities have different gods, then you must accept and allow that other religions could be every bit as well informed about some god as you might wish to be about yours. And the Christianities do indeed have different gods. In some Christianities the gods send people to hell; in other Christianities they do not. Those are very different gods, Michael.

We are told by many esteemed theological types that belief is itself not enough and that the specific content of one's beliefs is of eternal significance. As I said the Pope claims that you must believe that the path to salvation begins and ends with Roman Catholicism -- not Christianity. Only after one believes that Roman Catholicism marks the one and only way to life eternal can one actually work toward achieving eternal life, again through Roman Catholic means. Are you a Pope follower? Do you believe the Pope? If you're not Roman Catholic you are every bit as willing to say he's an idiot as I am, and you are every bit as willing as I am to reject what he says.

Understand, too, that with the standard provided by nature, disagreements in the sciences can be resolved. That is why the body of scientific knowledge and understanding becomes more and more coherent as time goes on. That's why we can rely on science. If you believe for religious reasons that being baptized by anointing versus full immersion is the difference between heaven and hell, there is no means to resolve the difference. That is why religious notions become more and more incoherent as time goes on. That's why we can not and do not rely on religion. Every religious person has some god feeding them information that is diametrically opposed to the information that the same god is feeding others. What is really going on? Everyone is just making it up. It's that simple.

So, Michael, play your smug answer games and climb back into the religious hole you came from. In your nice little hole you can feel as superior as you like; you can reject as many Christianities as you like, and you can put one's thinking about God on equal footing with one's picking toilet paper. After all, we don't agree on everything, do we? and your God is just one more thing to disagree about.

Papalinton said...

Hi Marcus
You say, ...."I disagree. The Bible is that standard."

Papalinton
Balderdash! The bible has never been a standard; different versions have different numbers of books in it [the catholic version has more books in it than the protestant bible.] Indeed the count is that there are now more than 60 versions of the bible (different versions not translations. The different versions of the Bible are not merely different translations, but are actually versions i.e. they add and remove things from other versions). These revisions serve as substantive proofs that the books that constitute the tome are not at all divinely inspired. The Bible is a collection of writings by many different authors, an anthology of bronze/iron age writers describing their time. There is even, believe it or not, a New World Translation of one stripe of christianity (1950, the Jehovah's Witnesses bible) which theologians of a different stripe, suggest should be avoided because it is [supposedly] actually corrupt, being a sectarian paraphrase rather than a true translation of the Holy Scripture. Duh! How unsurprising is that?

@ Michael
You say, .."For example St Augutine writing well before there was any scientific data on the age of the earth(City of God):

'What kind of days these were it is extremely difficult, or perhaps impossible for us to conceive, and how much more to say!'

Papalinton
This is little more than 'retrospective prophesying' on your part. Again the quote is taken out of context. Augustine was not commenting on the 'length of each day [as today's theists are attempting to do, in supposing that each day may have signified millions of years in the 'theist evolutionist' timeframe], rather Augustine was commenting on the cosmic god-initiated events that brought the universe into existence, on a scale which would simply be unimaginable, beyond human capacity.
Well, we know differently now, and yet still theists are trying to co-opt scientific discovery [big bang] to prop up the flagging prospects of scripture.

@ Marcus and Michael
If you dropped all that religion stuff at 8.00am tomorrow morning, do you know what would happen to you? Nothing; not one jot. And yet you will still be Marcus and still Michael, and more importantly, you will be able to have an R&R day on Sunday getting over the stress of the previous week. There will be no need to ritually debase yourself as a person unworthy and born into sin
before an underserving entity.

Sheesh

Michael said...

Russ:Wow, Michael, are you sure you want your version of a god
If I asked one of your friends what your favourite film was and they gave me a completly different answer to somebody else that you knew, it wouldn’t mean that the two people I asked were not talking about the same person. You can’t confuse disagreements on secondary issues for disagreements on the area as a whole. And so if I disagree with a fellow Christian over how old the earth is it doesn’t follow that we’re worshipping different Gods.

But, you do realize, do you not, that scientists are not making the claim that they worship the One True God while accepting that that One True God tells different believers completely different things
In order to know everything there is to know about God, I’d have to be God myself! Because I’m not infallible I will make mistakes in my theology, as will other Christians. Therefore I find it hardly surprising that Christians don’t agree on absolutely everything. If two Christian disagree then does that show that God isn’t perfect or that Christians aren’t perfect? When you arrive at the core Christian beliefs (as summed up in early church creeds) you’ll find that most Christians are in agreement. Those such as Bishop Shelby Spong do not claim that the Bible is unclear on these central matters but reject the authority of scripture.

Only after one believes that Roman Catholicism marks the one and only way to life eternal can one actually work toward achieving eternal life, again through Roman Catholic means. Are you a Pope follower?
Where has the current Pope claimed that only Catholics are saved? Sounds like a straw man argument to me.

Understand, too, that with the standard provided by nature, disagreements in the sciences can be resolved
If there is no way that my disagreement with young earth creationists can be resolved then fine, but you’ve admitted that creationism is just a valid an opinion as evolution is. Seems a bit like an own goal to me. Of course not all disagreements amongst Christians are admittedly scientific however historians, literary critics and philosophers all have their own tools to resolve issues.

Papalinton:Again the quote is taken out of context.
Yes, I've looked at the context...have you? Augustine goes on after the quote to discuss the problems associated with a literal interpretation of the word ‘day’. I take it you just screamed ‘context’ without actually going to the text in question and seeing what the context is.

If you dropped all that religion stuff at 8.00am tomorrow morning, do you know what would happen to you?
If I stopped believing in gravity tomorrow morning nothing would happen to me – it’s not as if I’d float off into space. These sort of argument say nothing about the truth of a belief.

Papalinton said...

@ Michael
You say, ..."If I stopped believing in gravity tomorrow morning nothing would happen to me – it’s not as if I’d float off into space. These sort of argument say nothing about the truth of a belief."

Papalinton
The gravity analogy is silly. We *know* gravity is the real deal and if we were to jump off a church spire, we would surely have more faith in the concept of gravity and the messy consequences of not believing, compared to a belief in a god protecting us from harm at the moment of decision. Now THAT would truly be a 'leap of faith'.
And the next bit of 'evidence', "the truth of a belief" has as much solid grounding as a helium-filled balloon let loose. From that statement alone, I picture, snake handling in the Appalachians, medical intervention and blood transfusions as against god's law, female genital mutilation, sadness at Lourdes, the ineffability of the Pope, Westboro Baptist Church, talking animals, Pat Robertson, homophobia at its ugliest, theistic evolution.
So, which of the above is the truth of a belief ?

Cheers

Russ said...

Michael,
You said,

If I asked one of your friends what your favourite film was and they gave me a completly different answer to somebody else that you knew, it wouldn’t mean that the two people I asked were not talking about the same person.

In this poor analogy of a vignette I'm analogous to your God, right? Funny that. If my friends have differences of opinion about my preferences I'm nice enough that I'm not going to send all but a select few of them to burn forever. Most versions of gods in the Christianities will do exactly that. I'm much better than any of the Christian gods.

As a regular reader at DebunkingChristianity I get to see the theological heavyweights in action. Some are well-schooled theologists. Some are trained-up active clergy oozing truth from every pore. Some are former philosophy majors enamored with the eternal openendedness of theological interplay. Some are current Roman Catholic seminary students. These people know this stuff, Michael.

There's so much to be afraid of since every Christian is bound for Hades according to the theology of some other Christianity. Since all Christians are guaranteed to go to hell, I wonder why more don't more don't embrace their fiery fate and worship Satan. When things get hot it's good to have an in with the guy manning the thermostat. It's sad but true. Everyone who is not Pentecostal is going to hell. Everyone who is not a Biblical literalist is going to hell. Everyone who is not Roman Catholic is going to hell.

Me, I'm not worried. Since I was a kid I knew hell was my only option. Catholics told me so. Free Methodists told me so. Me own Dear Departed Evil Lutheran mother told me so(not one of those bastard Missouri Synod Lutherans, either). So I've learned to live with it. We all have our own cross to bear...so to speak. But, really hell won't be that bad since everyone will be there. All non-Christians will be there, cuz they ain't Christians. Duh! All Christians will be there since all Christians are the wrong Christians according to one or more other Christians. With the entirety of humanity unified against the Horney Evil One we'll send him back to heaven, dial in a balmy Caribbean beach temp, and sip pina coladas forever...and ever...and ever...

You'll be there, too, Michael, so maybe at some point in our infinity of togetherness we can figure out how everybody managed to get the eternal truth of god eternally wrong. There will be a lot to ponder, but we'll have lots of time, you and me. You and me together forever, now that's hell right there.

You said,

And so if I disagree with a fellow Christian over how old the earth is it doesn’t follow that we’re worshipping different Gods.

It does indeed mean that you are worshipping different gods. If you tell me that your conception of a god is that it is a pathological liar, then your gods might be the same god. But then you can never trust it anyway and your god is irrelevant. If you tell me your god is reliable and trustworthy then two significantly different ages means two different gods. If you try to play semantic games with words used in expressing time, like day or age, to make it appear that your gods are the same god saying the same thing, then what you say is not reliable anyway since we can make 'circle' mean 'square' if we attach enough semantic corners.

If the words of the Bible suggest a Ussheresque 6014 year old earth, we know the Bible is a fiction. It's that simple. If that 6014 year age is data coming from the supposed creator of the universe, then that creator is not only 'supposed,' but is also imaginary. That, too, is that simple.

Russ said...

Michael
Sir James Lightfoot refines Ussher's astoundingly precise Biblical calculation to give us 9 AM Oct 3, 4004 BC as the exact date and time of creation. But, that, too, is wrong since through science we know that the actual date and time of the creation was 2:09.79542976 (+/- 0.00000004) PM in 4,541,093,682 BC.

Since you get to invent the character of your god, I leave it to you to decide who your version of a god is lying to, the Biblical literalists or those who accept the science that the world is more than 750000 times older. If you want to go the route of telling me that your god was writing for ignorant superstitious people, then you take on the burden of explaining why your god preferred to leave them that ignorant and superstitious rather than disclosing information that would have kept his followers from killing millions down the ages. Simple facts like black people are humans, too; microbes, not imaginary demons, cause disease; planetary motions, including eclipses; and hygiene, like wash your hands and eat your pork well-done.

You say,

In order to know everything there is to know about God, I’d have to be God myself!

That's a fact Jack! Humans worship more than a 1000 gods today and have had 100000 or so throughout their history. You might not have to be one of today's 1000 gods to know everything about gods, but you'd surely have to be somethin' special.

You said,

Because I’m not infallible I will make mistakes in my theology, as will other Christians.

If it's acceptable for you to be wrong, you know, make mistakes, then why not Abraham, Moses, Jesus, the cult leaders that invented the first Christianity, the bishops that pieced together the Biblical canon, those who made law of orthodoxy and heresy. If mistakes are, as you suggest, just part and parcel of Christianity then you do not know that anyone today has any of it correct. You can't know that. Some perfectly acceptable mistake introduced centuries ago could have all Christians following the wrong path today. If you allow for mistakes you have to admit that all the Christianities can be wrong, thus losing whatever specialness you envision for yourself.

Your permitting mistakes says that Christianity is allowed to be whatever anyone wants it to be, and it justifies why all Christians are damned by the theologies of other Christianities. Everyone gets to make up their own thing. You're telling me that the Christian gods do not care what anyone believes, that the content of their belief is of no consequence. Can you identify actual 'mistakes' in the thousands of distinct Christian theologies by any standard other than how they differ from yours? No, you can't. There is no standard Christian theology and the Bible has trillions of words of wildly conflicting apologetics offering its 'true' meanings, so it's useless. Many Christians are atheists. Many Christians reject the Bible. Many Christians reject the idea that miracles ever happen. That mistakes can and will be made and then accepted as true allows the Christianities to continue being the mishmash of conflicting and contradictory theologies that it has always been.

Michael, your statement tells us that the Christianities are not true, and are known not to be true. The present form of every version of Christianity is just many lifetimes of aggregated mistakes.

Russ said...

Michael,
You said,

When you arrive at the core Christian beliefs (as summed up in early church creeds) you’ll find that most Christians are in agreement

Not true. Not even close. Most Christians have no idea what beliefs constitute the identity of their religion, sect, denomination or congregation. If you actually look at the studies of what Christians know about their religion, and thus must believe, you will be surely be surprised since you, at this moment, seem quite ill-informed. You clearly envision some romantized Christianity wherein members give a shit about their religion. Today's Christianity ain't that, by a longshot.

Christians can't believe what they don't know and what they don't know is Christianity. They can ritualistically regurgitate lots of words, Michael, but when pressed about what those words mean the real beliefs show through. Christians are as ignorant of their own religious beliefs as they are of science, geography or history. What's more, they just don't care. Only a fraction of US Christians can even find a church once a month. US citizens read almost nothing, and that almost nothing includes their holy books. Even active clergy don't read the damned things.

From [http://www.theologicalstudies.org/page/page/1572910.htm]

--- Only half of adults interviewed nationwide could name any of the four Gospels of the New Testament.

--- Just 37% of those interviewed could name all four Gospels.

--- Only 42% of adults were able to name as many as five of the Ten Commandments correctly.

--- Seven in ten (70%) were able to name the town where Jesus was born, but just 42% could identify him as the person who delivered the Sermon on the Mount.

--- 12% of adults believe that Noah's wife was Joan of Arc.

and
[http://www.theologicalstudies.org/page/page/1573625.htm]
--- The most widely known Bible verse among adult and teen believers is “God helps those who help themselves”—which is not actually in the Bible and actually conflicts with the basic message of Scripture.

--- Less than one out of every ten believers possess a biblical worldview as the basis for his or her decision-making or behavior.

--- When given thirteen basic teachings from the Bible, only 1% of adult believers firmly embraced all thirteen as being biblical perspectives.[2]


How can it be that "Less than one out of every ten believers possess a biblical worldview as the basis for his or her decision-making or behavior"? They do not believe it, Michael. The Christianities are a bunch of social clubs sharing name only, and the members don't have a clue what their religious beliefs are. They just like being in the club.

From the Christian Broadcasting Network in 2009,

The latest Barna Group survey revealed that about 60 percent of believers either strongly agree or somewhat agree that Satan isn't "a living being" but rather "a symbol of evil." About 58 percent also said they strongly agree or somewhat agree that the Holy Spirit is "a symbol of God's power or presence" but not "a living entity."

"Most Americans, even those who say they are Christian, have doubts about the intrusion of the supernatural into the natural world," said George Barna, founder of The Barna Group. He's also written several books on America's faith.

Russ said...

Michael,
Look this stuff over. They do not believe what you think they believe. These are not my words. These are not my studies. Much of this work is done by Christians hoping to find some all-natural strategies to make Christians have the appearance of being more devout.

Some of the suggested all-natural strategies include changing the message because buyers - oops, I mean supporters, don't like the current one. More advertising -- always popular. Putting into their mega-mall type churches more arcades, game rooms, gymnasiums, weight rooms, spas, swimming pools, basketball courts, beauty parlors, massage therapists, coffee shops, movie theatres, and so on. All the completely natural things you might expect if a god wasn't there providing reasons to believe in it, like Thor or Kitchen God. These are business tactics, pure and simple. The prayers have been exhausted and they obviously have no effect. God commands no respect when Duke Nukem or Desperate Housewives are offered as alternatives. Gods and prayers and unfulfilled promises are no consolation whatsoever when US Christians look at countries populated largely with non-believers, like the Scandinavian countries, and see better quality of life all around - lower infant mortality, longer life expectancy, lower abortion rates, better health throughout life, stronger marriages, far less crime, etc - without the overhead of believing manifestly stupid things or giving hundreds of billions of dollars a year to churches.

These studies do, however, show your vision of Christianity to be nothing but a fantasy. Believers don't believe and the faithful don't have faith. You're dreaming, Michael.

Michael said...

I’m not going to write a long response to Papalinton and Russ as I’m away for the weekend and have other stuff to do.

PapalintonThe gravity analogy is silly. We *know* gravity is the real deal
But I wasn’t making a comparison between the evidence for gravity vs. the evidence for God (that would be a discussion for another day) I was responding to an argument that you’d previously made and demonstrating that just because nothing happens when you stop believing in a proposition says nothing about whether that proposition is true. Now go back an read the argument I was responding to and ask whether my rebuttal refutes it. Of course I could also add that comparing the lives of people before they became a Christian with their current lives suggests that there is a noticeable difference when people accept or reject God.

So, which of the above is the truth of a belief ?
I am fully aware there are people out there who disagree with my – so what? There are also people out there who disagree with you! Or take a recent post on this blog: it appears that John Loftus thinks Phil Phait is a dick and Phil Phait thinks John Loftus is a dick. So whose right? Well I suppose that if atheists can’t agree on anything I better avoid converting to atheism.

Russ:If my friends have differences of opinion about my preferences I'm nice enough that I'm not going to send all but a select few of them to burn forever.
Strawman argument: most Christian do not believe that you go to Hell for being wrong about the age of the earth or for not being right about everything and everything. Most Christians believe that we’re saved by grace rather than our ability to score highly on a Bible trivia quiz.

As a regular reader at DebunkingChristianity I get to see the theological heavyweights in action.
I’ve not seen any of the Christian posters on this blog putting up the wide variety of views that you make out. Could you link me to some of these comments sections full of Catholics, evangelicals and Pentecostals all saying that each other are going to Hell?

Since you get to invent the character of your god, I leave it to you to decide who your version of a god is lying to
People misunderstanding God on an issue that doesn’t really matter is hardly the same as God lying.

rather than disclosing information that would have kept his followers from killing millions down the ages.
Because commandments like love your enemy are really ambiguous and hard to understand? The Bible is very clear on these types of issue.

Christians can't believe what they don't know and what they don't know is Christianity.
You’re confusing ignorance of theology which is the result of bad teaching with disagreement over theology which the result of differences of opinion. According to some statistics, 21% of atheists believe in God so does that mean I should rule out atheism until atheists have settled this rather important issue?

Some of the suggested all-natural strategies include changing the message because buyers - oops, I mean supporters, don't like the current one.
That’s nothing but a caricature of some churches, I could equally point out that atheists are often guilty of such marketing strategies. All your rant does is leave to wonder what could have happened to you to make you hate Christianity so much.

Papalinton said...

@ Michael
The bible is a book for all occasions. It says something about nothing. It says something but nothing in particular. Anyone, and I mean ANYONE, can cherrypick the bible and find something to justify their stance, for homophobia, against homophobia; for killing children, against killing children; for raping, against raping; you name it it is there, written in bold. The book is amoral. There has never been a right or wrong read into religion.
It must be made very clear,..."religions do not and cannot progress the way that, say, science can progress. When science progresses, it abandons old and false ideas. Once we discovered oxygen and the principles of combustion, we stopped thinking that there was a substance called phlogiston. Once we discovered that the earth is round, we stopped thinking that it is flat. Science and reason are substitutive and eliminative: new ideas replace old ideas. Religion is additive and/or schismatic: new ideas proliferate alongside old ideas. For instance, the development of Protestantism did not put an end to Catholicism, and the development of Christianity did not put an end to Judaism. With science, we get better. With religion, we get more."

Cheers

Marcus McElhaney said...

@Papalinton: Let's test your cherry picking assertion

Give on pro-homosexual scripture from one of the 66 books in the Bible.

Give one reference that tells us God did not create the universe.

Give one reference that says Jesus was not resurrected.

Give one reference that says murder, stealing, and raping are all accepted Godly behavior.

I'll be waiting for your response.

Papalinton said...

Hi Marcus
Here is a bit about homosexuality in the bible:

Common mistranslations in English versions of the Bible:

There are two Hebrew words which are often associated with homosexual passages and which are often mistranslated in English versions of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament):

"qadesh" means a male prostitute who engaged in ritual sex in a Pagan temple. This was a common profession both in ancient Israel and in the surrounding countries. The word is often mistranslated simply as "sodomite" or "homosexual." (e.g. the King James Version of the Bible, Deuteronomy 23:17). The companion word quedeshaw means female temple prostitute. It is frequently mistranslated simply as "whore" or "prostitute." A qadesh and quedeshaw were not simply prostitutes. They had a specific role to play in the temple. They represented a God and Goddess, and engaged in sexual intercourse in that capacity with members of the temple.
"to'ebah" means a condemned, foreign, Pagan, religious, cult practice, but often simply translated as "abomination." Eating food which contains both meat and dairy products is "to'ebah" A Jew having a meal with an Egyptian was "to'ebah." A Jew wearing a polyester-cotton garment, or having a tattoo is "to'ebah" today.
In order to understand what the Bible has to say on heterosexual activity, we could consult the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts, dividing all of the references to heterosexual sex into different categories:

rape;
sexual abuse of children;
ritual sex in Pagan temples;
prostitution;
sexual orgies;
non-exploitive, consensual, monogamous sex in a loving relationship, etc.
The final category above is the only one that would help us understand what the Bible teaches about heterosexual activity in a loving committed relationship. After all, a verse which describes how an army kidnapped some female virgins for use as sex slaves does not tell us anything about the role of sex in marriage today. A verse that discusses temple prostitution during the worship of Pagan gods does not instruct us about feelings of romantic love between a man and a woman.

Similarly, in order to comprehend what the Bible says about gay and lesbian relationships, we must pass over the references to homosexual rape, male sexual abuse of boys, and homosexual prostitution, same-sex orgies by heterosexuals, Pagan sexual rituals in temples, etc. We would be left with only those references relating to consensual sexual activities within homosexual partnerships. There may not be any of these. The Bible may be as silent on loving, committed same-sex partnerships as it is about planes, trains and automobiles.

There are biblical descriptions of three close and intimate relationships between members of the same gender. But there are no unambiguous passages that show that they were sexually active.

The Bible often condemns heterosexual and homosexual exploitive, manipulative sex, and prostitution, but may be totally silent on consensual homosexual relationships.

One is left with many Biblical passages which condemn fornication - sex outside of marriage. If one were to accept these passages as inspired by God, then one can conclude that the Bible considers homosexual sex within a committed relationship as equivalent to a man and woman living together common-law without having being married.

Remember Marcus, it's all about interpreting the bible.
Remember selective literal translations and readings in contemporary biblical studies are not only a theological no-no but also a social no-no. We don't really want you bleating your homophobia over the net do we?
I will respond to the others shortly.

Cheers

Papalinton said...

Hi Marcus
Here is a bit about homosexuality in the bible:

Common mistranslations in English versions of the Bible:

There are two Hebrew words which are often associated with homosexual passages and which are often mistranslated in English versions of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament):

"qadesh" means a male prostitute who engaged in ritual sex in a Pagan temple. This was a common profession both in ancient Israel and in the surrounding countries. The word is often mistranslated simply as "sodomite" or "homosexual." (e.g. the King James Version of the Bible, Deuteronomy 23:17). The companion word quedeshaw means female temple prostitute. It is frequently mistranslated simply as "whore" or "prostitute." A qadesh and quedeshaw were not simply prostitutes. They had a specific role to play in the temple. They represented a God and Goddess, and engaged in sexual intercourse in that capacity with members of the temple.
"to'ebah" means a condemned, foreign, Pagan, religious, cult practice, but often simply translated as "abomination." Eating food which contains both meat and dairy products is "to'ebah" A Jew having a meal with an Egyptian was "to'ebah." A Jew wearing a polyester-cotton garment, or having a tattoo is "to'ebah" today.
In order to understand what the Bible has to say on heterosexual activity, we could consult the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts, dividing all of the references to heterosexual sex into different categories:

rape;
sexual abuse of children;
ritual sex in Pagan temples;
prostitution;
sexual orgies;
non-exploitive, consensual, monogamous sex in a loving relationship, etc.
The final category above is the only one that would help us understand what the Bible teaches about heterosexual activity in a loving committed relationship. After all, a verse which describes how an army kidnapped some female virgins for use as sex slaves does not tell us anything about the role of sex in marriage today. A verse that discusses temple prostitution during the worship of Pagan gods does not instruct us about feelings of romantic love between a man and a woman.
(to be cont.)

Papalinton said...

@ Marcus [cont]

Similarly, in order to comprehend what the Bible says about gay and lesbian relationships, we must pass over the references to homosexual rape, male sexual abuse of boys, and homosexual prostitution, same-sex orgies by heterosexuals, Pagan sexual rituals in temples, etc. We would be left with only those references relating to consensual sexual activities within homosexual partnerships. There may not be any of these. The Bible may be as silent on loving, committed same-sex partnerships as it is about planes, trains and automobiles.

There are biblical descriptions of three close and intimate relationships between members of the same gender. But there are no unambiguous passages that show that they were sexually active.

The Bible often condemns heterosexual and homosexual exploitive, manipulative sex, and prostitution, but may be totally silent on consensual homosexual relationships.

One is left with many Biblical passages which condemn fornication - sex outside of marriage. If one were to accept these passages as inspired by God, then one can conclude that the Bible considers homosexual sex within a committed relationship as equivalent to a man and woman living together common-law without having being married.

Remember Marcus, it's all about interpreting the bible.
Remember selective literal translations and readings in contemporary biblical studies are not only a theological no-no but also a social no-no. We don't really want you bleating your homophobia over the net do we?
I will respond to the others shortly.

Cheers

Marcus McElhaney said...

@Papalinton

You never did answer my question about what "versions" of the Bible you are referring to or how they are different.

As for your arguments about homosexuality they are standard for folks who want to be Christians yet hold on to their homosexuality. IT really doesn't fly. I have two debates you should watch that will help you in your Biblical understanding

Dr. Walter Martin vs Bishop James Shelby Spong

Dr James White vs Dr. Michael K. Schutz, Professor of Sociology at CSU East Bay

James White also wrote a book on the subject. He read, speaks, and teaches Hebrew. I think he understand how to translate it better than you.

Russ said...

Michael,
You said,

Strawman argument: most Christian do not believe that you go to Hell for being wrong about the age of the earth or for not being right about everything and everything. Most Christians believe that we’re saved by grace rather than our ability to score highly on a Bible trivia quiz.

Your strawman claim is itself a strawman. You really need to stop acting as though you speak for some mythical idealized "Christianity." There simply is no such thing. You do not know what most Christians believe. More than that, Michael, if it is the case that "most" somehow points to the truth of a matter, then "most" humans are not Christian, so being not-Christian and believing not-Christian things puts us closer to right.

Here again you are suggesting that the specific content of what one believes is relevant and irrelevant; relevant in that you want it be to the case that "Most Christians believe that we’re saved by grace rather than our ability to score highly on a Bible trivia quiz," and irrelevant because if this is true then "grace" frees you from believing anything at all. It's just another fancy schmancy theological sleight-of-hand, a religious conjuring trick the sole intention of which is to remove from the church the responsibility of getting all its members to believe the same thing. This is a another deception the church uses to leverage ignorance to keep the collection plates collecting.

Do you really think that "most popular" somehow means "correct"? Do you really think that? If that's the case then among Christians themselves, not going to church should be encouraged more since "most," more than two-thirds of Christians don't go to church in the US and fewer yet elsewhere. Among Christians - hell, among Christian clergy - reading the Bible should be warned off since few actually read it. A Princeton Theological Seminary study done in the eary nineties, found that among, on the whole, less than one percent of Christians read their Bibles. In general polling the numbers are between 25 and 30 percent, but more detailed studies show that Christians saying they "read their Bible" actually parses to "once in a while I look up my favorite Bible verses to refresh the wording." So, if "most" should be the criterion, then Christians should be told not to be Christian at all since most people aren't.

Michael, neither what you believe as an individual nor what your church's adopts as its "looks good on paper" theological precepts have any relevance to those who do not believe them. Christianity is spread and sustained almost exclusively by family tradition. The fraction of Christians who first adopt Christianity as adults is very very small. You can yap out "most," "most," "most" all you like but parents who don't believe your theology teach their children what they believe. Fred Phelps "God Hates Fags" theology is every bit as legitimate as yours. It has ended up in the minds of a couple hundred people thus far and it shows no signs of disappearing any time soon. It is what they believe. They do not think "grace" to be the panacea to religious ignorance that you do. They insist that a believer's mind must be trained with very specific content and that deviating from that content spells everlasting discomfort. You're obviously convinced of the same, but you think that you can have it both ways. Millions of Bible believers contend that you must first and foremost believe that the Bible is the literal inerrant word of one or more of their deities. From their perspective what one believes determines the access to grace. For many Christians them what ain't born again ain't gettin' no grace either. The Falwell types, the Haggard types, and the Copeland types, say it as plainly as the Pope has: them what ain't like us, ain't gettin' no grace.

Russ said...

Michael,
It appears you want to use Starwars' Obi-Wan Kenobi's Jedi mind tricks here. I see you rolling your fingers with a subtle turn of your wrist and saying, "Christians don't have to know Christian theology since most Christians believe they are saved by grace," while you clearly expect the rest of us to step into the role of the weak-minded Stormtroopers, completely at the mercy of your will, obeying and parroting back your words. You expect everyone to react to your religious maneuverings with the same unthinking credulousness of a child. It doesn't work, Michael.

In any case you've made my point that Christian theology is of no importance since it is incoherent and inscrutable. You exemplify this with your silly comment on grace. Must you believe in a sect-specific God? Yes. So grace is not enough. Must you believe a guy got better after being dead a while? Yep. So grace doesn't work. Must you believe that after your dead guy got better he returned to where he was before he was born? Yep. This is all part of the stupid religio-theological game you play. Mortal sins are acts that are of such consequence in Thomist theology that it deprives the soul of grace. Sins like abortions(Roman Catholics have the highest abortion rate of any religious identity in the US, including atheists), contraception, murder, missing mass are all things that have been said to make grace impossible. But, wait! there is always forgiveness and absolution to keep from driving reliable nickel-plunkers from the pews. It's a game, Michael. Make the rules too restrictive and not enough people will play. For every rule you've devised exceptions, and for every exception you've devised more exceptions. Do what the Christianities do and you make rules and their exceptions irrelevant.

You show Christianity for the silliness it is.

You said,

Could you link me to some of these comments sections full of Catholics, evangelicals and Pentecostals all saying that each other are going to Hell?

If you want the particulars of the Debunking Christianity crowd, you'll have to do the legwork yourself. But you can get it from television ministers, websites, journal articles, and old fashioned face to face at your local churches. Various branches of my own family occupy distinct places on the Christianity spectrum from dysfunctionally fundamentalist to inhuman Roman Catholic, and they all claim to know why the others are doomed for eternity. Again, Michael, it does not matter what you or theologians say must be believed by Christians. The fact is that what an ordinary Christian actually believes is almost always far afield from the written musings of a theologist, their own or some other. When my Roman Catholic aunt tells me I'm going to hell, I believe that that is what she thinks she's supposed to say. When my hell, fire and brimstone father tells me I'm hellbound, I believe that he too is saying what he thinks he's obligated to say. (I also have active Christian clergy in my family who are atheists.) When they condemn each other it's I think the same. But, they've embraced a fantasy just as you have.

Papalinton said...

@ Marcus
I had several runs through the following:
'Dr. Walter Martin vs Bishop James Shelby Spong'

A couple of points:
1. This is the classic example of two very committed christians not having a clue what the bible is saying. This is symptomatic of the whole christian theology scenario, all accusing each other that their particular stripe of the christianities is the one and only right interpretation. Since the Reformation, this has been the sad and cruel joke that has been played upon the people and which has characterised religious discourse for the last 500 years. It is pathetic display of 'my bible reading' vs 'your bible reading'. If I was a betting man, and I had an investment in any religious outcome of this discourse, I would say Spong is streets ahead, I mean light years ahead of Martin's Neanderthalic interpretation of scripture. He is a pious and belligerent bully. Spong is so much more in tune with jesus' message, if there ever was a jesus; so much more compassionate, inclusive, fair, with a sense of justice for all; more in keeping with Paul's christianity. Martin on the other hand, is exactly as you would portray the Pharisaic upholders of his faith; unbending, morally bereft, attention to ritual, mean-spirited and suffering from the virus, 'theoneural apoplexia [relige BS3 strain]'.

2. The 'debate' was a set-up, in the most callous christian way so typical of rabid theologians; a stacked audience, boofhead Martin, and a brazenly biased moderator, who threw in his own questions, his own pathetic apologetical book list from theological minnows that nobody's heard of. So much for balanced moderation.

3. If this is an example of your best intellectual argument for 'faith' then your reasoning is akin to a dog with distemper.

Sheesh

Russ said...

Michael,
You said,

Because commandments like love your enemy are really ambiguous and hard to understand? The Bible is very clear on these types of issue.

If you are not a complete fool, it should be obvious to you that Biblical dictates have never influenced Christians to love their enemies. How do I know? I actually listen to them. I actually observe them. Church laity, church leaders, religious political leaders are more bloodthirsty than love thy enemy. Always have been. Roman Catholics today are complicit in the deaths of millions in Africa due to their views on birth control, despite the fact that in their home countries Catholic aid workers in Africa use birth control as much as non-Roman Catholics and, at least in the US, Roman Catholics have the highest abortion rates of any religious identity. Pentecostalists in Africa kill hundreds of children for being witches every year. Christians do not love any more than anyone else. These Christians do not even love their own, and their enemies much less. They just egocentrically imagine that they do. The non-believers of Norway are observably more loving and caring than are the Christians in Christianity-flooded and Bible-soaked US. Apparently, your point that commandments like love your enemy - which is not actually a commandment, by the way - are ambiguous and hard to understand, is true as witnessed by Christian behavior throughout their history.

You said,

You’re confusing ignorance of theology which is the result of bad teaching with disagreement over theology which the result of differences of opinion.

If there existed right theology and not-right theology which could be discriminated from one another on any basis other than purely subjective personal opinion I might agree. I'm not confusing this at all. You won't admit it, but your particular Christian beliefs require specific content. But, there is no specific Christian content which is common to all Christianities. Everyone is just making it up, you included. You don't want the church to have the responsibility of getting all believers to believe the same things and to know what that is, so your sect uses "grace" to relieve themselves of that chore. Don't tell us that being Christian is "better" or "more desirable" when your own acceptance of theologically significant differences of opinion are of no concern to you. Other believers see things differently. Your position is not esteemed or privileged or elevated. You do not know anything more about your own version of a god than I do, or anyone else does. You've made it up or simply accepted what someone else has made up. No one has ever studied a god, Michael. People only ponder over what others have said about gods or invented new traits or characteristics for gods. Untold numbers of gods and variations on the Christian god theme have been dreamt up on barroom napkins and gone out the same way as cigarette butts.

Russ said...

Michael,
You said,

According to some statistics, 21% of atheists believe in God so does that mean I should rule out atheism until atheists have settled this rather important issue?

By definition, one who believes in gods is not an atheist, but, if the matter is of concern to you, it is important to know what an atheist might mean by it. One deeming the impersonal cosmos, Einstein's "Old One," to be their god, is not talking about the same thing as one who thinks their god is in a woman's reproductive tract at conception pinning on souls and infusing Original Sin. One who lets mystery be their god and leaves it at that, isn't thinking like the dolts who claim their god is the source of their good fortune but has nothing to do with things gone wrong. Atheists are the same social animals as believers and they need others just as much. I know many social Christians who are atheists, and among their believing friends they play the game of not confessing their atheism as part of their club membership. "Believing" Christians do that too. Believers do not know what they mean with most of the theological claptrap they utter, but they mouth the words to keep their memberships up to date.

You said,

That’s nothing but a caricature of some churches, I could equally point out that atheists are often guilty of such marketing strategies.

It's not a caricature. Many Christianities fit my description perfectly. That they are not yours makes no difference. They are Christianities even if they might not be befitting of your True Christian ideal. It is you who maintains that 'grace' eliminates the need for specific beliefs. Others, pious and devout others, see it differently. And, Michael, I think you're lying when you say you, "could equally point out that atheists are often guilty of such marketing strategies." Atheism doesn't need arcades. Atheism doesn't need to control all the aspects of a person's life as do so many of the Christianities.

You said,

All your rant does is leave to wonder what could have happened to you to make you hate Christianity so much.

From childhood I have known that the basic tenets of Christianity are lies. Gods, saviors, resurrections and the like. Fundamentalist Christians have the highest rate of domestic violence of any religious identity in the US, followed closely by Roman Catholics. I hate that I was beaten as a child for asking questions about religion. I hated seeing, literally seeing, my friends getting mauled by their parents for not having Bible verses memorized or for asking questions mommy couldn't answer. As a child I could see that Christianity wasn't true. It was a thing that had to be forced onto others. Truth isn't like that. Truth seamlessly fits into the world. Religions and their gods aren't true. They don't fit into the natural order. They are cultural constructs. They are cultural tools of control.

Russ said...

Michael,
So, why might I hate Christianity so much? Hmmm, let me see. Christianity observably doesn't work. The whole fable-based structure of Christianity is a lie. I hate lies. I hate liars. I hate those who lie to children. I hate those who sponge off the benefits of science while trying to destroy it. I hate people who rape children and I hate people who do not have the moral fortitude to stop supporting rapists. I hate those who exacerbate plagues like the African AIDS plague to achieve religious conquest. I hate people who have allowed themselves to be so morally weakened by religion that they would kill their children at the urging of a Christian clergyman. I hate people who would allow their children to die from easily treated afflictions. I hate people who deny science to prop up old superstitions and magical thinking. I hate frauds and cheats and charlatans. I hate people who use today's technology to deceive. I hate people who take money from others knowing the money is desperately needed by the one giving it. I hate that people who infuse rot into the mind of a child with observably useless superstitions like prayers and observably impotent gods.

That's just a start. Among the Christianities there is a whole lot to hate.