Pride and poorly-written posts

December 7, 2006 | Atheism | 71 comments

What a load of horses–t this is…I hereby urge my fellow RA’ers to let this moron know how you feel in the comments. [censoring mine -JF]

I just don’t see anything of God in this post. I see a lot of ego, a LOT of pride, and a lot of self-congratulatory, self-serving BS.

Honey, you need a whopping great dose of getoveryourself.

Wow, what a straw-man, flawed, illogical, self-righteous load of crap this is.

Congratulations, now people can’t say you’re lacking in spirituality, but they can say you’re stupid!

Well, my last post got a resounding “thumbs down” from my atheist readers. They evidently do not believe that the Holy Spirit was working through me on that one. And, boy, what a difference it makes when you get a link from The Raving Atheist vs. The Friendly Atheist. Whew! Two very aptly named sites.

As for the potential experiment I mentioned that ignited so much anger, I agree that it is nothing that would make it into Nature. The main point I was trying to make is that most (not all, but most) atheists are not open-minded. Neither are most Christians. We can call that one a truce.

And I sincerely apologize if I seemed prideful, it wasn’t my intention. I’m surprised it came out that way since I really don’t think of myself as having it all figured out or having any great wisdom to share with others. My hope is that talking about my experiences and giving an honest account of what my life was like before and after I really opened my mind (and my heart) to Christian teaching might be helpful to others, one way or the other. Those who think I’m a prideful, self-deluded blowhard might use my story as a cautionary tale. Others who think I’m just a prideful blowhard might find it inspiring that God was able to get through to someone as hardheaded as I. 🙂

71 Comments

  1. professor chaos

    Inserting the word “most” does nothing to correct your inexplicably inaccurate atheist straw man.

    To call atheists not “open-minded” is as ridiculous as it comes.

    The obvious example: Who is open-minded about sexuality, atheists or Christians?

    This is one of the most absurd notions from a theist that I’ve seen in some time, and that’s really saying something.

    Atheists, by and large, value EVIDENCE over anything. If your god were to show up and speak one-on-one with any of us, I assure you we’d be happy to listen

  2. SteveK

    If your god were to show up and speak one-on-one with any of us, I assure you we’d be happy to listen

    But would you believe he is God? That’s the primary question here.

    Your claim above flows from a thought experiment so I’ll quote Rhinoq from his earlier comment and ask you (rhetorically) if the legitimacy of the results is faulty or not.

    “So, you have a thought experiment to prove atheist rationality isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, yet you’ve never done it, but you claim the legitimacy of the results. Yup, sounds like faulty reasoning to me.”

  3. Professor Chaos

    But would you believe he is God? That’s the primary question here.

    Your claim above flows from a thought experiment so I’ll quote Rhinoq from his earlier comment and ask you (rhetorically) if the legitimacy of the results is faulty or not.

    “So, you have a thought experiment to prove atheist rationality isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, yet you’ve never done it, but you claim the legitimacy of the results. Yup, sounds like faulty reasoning to me.”

    I couldn’t agree more. But, when in Rome…

    Would I believe he is God? I have no idea. What would he look like? What would he say? Had I been drinking?

  4. Jerret

    Being an asshole has nothing to do with your spiritual orientation. Some people just are. Don’t sweat it. :p.

    But, on topic, isn’t the nature of God to be unknowable? I thought that was what faith is for. No insults, just sincerity, as always.

  5. Anonymous

    Prof:
    The obvious example: Who is open-minded about sexuality, atheists or Christians?

    Can you honestly not see the horrible flaw here?

    You bring up open-minded sexuality , then you define it, and then claim it. That’s not open mindedness. That is circular dogmatism.

    If you were truly open minded you wouldn’t dog the Christian views on sexuality in comparison to the atheist view(s), you’d be…ahem…open minded about them. 😛

    Atheists, by and large, value EVIDENCE over anything.

    Jen, don’t you know you can’t say ‘most’ atheists (that’s a straw man), but atheists can say ‘by and large’, and that’s just fine.

    Tsk, tsk, tsk. Very sloppy. 😉

  6. Lily

    Oh, brother Professor. Of course most of you are close-minded! What does acting like a rutting animal and talking about the most repulsive, perverse, and degrading “practices” on the RA forum have to do with being open to other people’s ideas, perspectives, experiences, etc.?

    DYDA just doesn’t cut it as intellectual conversation!

    –love, Lily

  7. Eric

    Re: Prof Chaos –
    “The obvious example: Who is open-minded about sexuality, atheists or Christians?”

    What do you mean by open-minded? Most atheists I know are quite scared of letting sexuality be what it is. They more often prefer a rather ‘neutered’ version of it. It seems they’ve given over Darwin’s theory to the (often) Christian breeders. Open your mind and let your sexuality be what ‘random chance’ has in store and perhaps you’ll see a bit better what ‘natural selection’ wants.

    On atheists wanting EVIDENCE, you admit (later) that even a personal interaction with God wouldn’t quite be enough. So, there you have it. You apparently value the evidence that you value. Look at the pretty circles.

  8. Eric

    Re Jerret:
    “Being an asshole has nothing to do with your spiritual orientation. Some people just are. Don’t sweat it. :p.”

    Well stated, Jerret. Atheists often forget this when they want to argue against religion. Christians often forget this whenever they want to argue against atheism.

    If you ask St. Francis, he would absolutely agree with you about himself. However, for him, the difference is that even though his sin (or asshole-ness) makes him worthy of death, he knew that God loved him anyway. Anyone even approaching sainthood begins to realize that without the grace of God, they are no different than an adulterer or murderer or thief.

    Most important to keep in mind when dealing with Christians, is that while some Christians may claim to be holy or morally superior, all are on a journey toward that. Some are closer than others. Some have been given more graces than others to set them further on that path to begin with. A Christian world should be filled with peace (at least among the Christians!) but that presumes mature Christians really conformed to the model of Christ, willing to die for their enemies. I do not count myself as one of these mature Christians but I’m walking.

  9. Dennis

    Isn’t the nature of God to be unknowable?.

    Jerret, that’s an excellent question. And saying that God is unknowable is sometimes helpful, but not entirely accurate.

    Usually, when people say, “God is unknowable,” they mean that he cannot be fully known in the way that the properties of Helium or Potassium can be fully known, or in the way that the formula for Coca-Cola can be fully known, even though it’s a closely guarded secret.

    But lots of things are unknowable in that sense. You, for instance, are unknowable, since I can never know everything completely and fully about you, your properties, how you think, how you choose. And neither can anyone else. Oh, I can get to know you. We could become friends and we could spend a lifetime getting to know one another, and even at the end of that time, I’d know a lot about you, but there would still be things to learn.

    And that, my friend Jerret, is the definition of mystery! For a mystery is not a problem to be solved, but a wonder to behold and to get to know without ever being able to fully and completely know.

    For this reason, we could say that you are unknowable. And even moreso, we can say that God is unknowable.

    But perhaps, because I can get to know you better, even if I never know you fully, it would be better to say that you are partly knowable. That is, there is always more to learn and come to know about you.

    And even moreso about God. In fact, God is knowable, in the sense of getting to know him, and unknowable in the sense that we cannot completely and fully know everything about him.

    It is better to say that God is infinitely knowable. God is mystery. Not a puzzle to be solved, but a mystery to be contemplated, to get to know, to come into knowing with.

  10. professor chaos

    Wow, lots of stuff here. Hope I don’t miss anything, let me know if I do.

    jerret:
    What is the value of faith? Why should we believe in God without personal revelation?

    steve:
    I’m sorry, but I can’t make any sense of what you’re saying here. Are you saying that atheists are NOT open-minded about sexuality because we’re closed-minded about your closed-mindedness?

    Plus, with the “by and large” comment, as I said before, “when in Rome…” Besides, you’re reaching here. My comment was regarding one simple trait that many atheists share. I will happily say, also, that “By and large, Christians are generous people.” And I mean that sincerely. Is that a straw-man?

    lily:
    As Jen aptly pointed out on the front page, you get quite a different lot from a website entitled “raving atheists” than you do from the “friendly atheist.” I suggest you expand your conversations with us godless and not claim that most atheists are Choobusian. Were your parents not unbelievers?

    eric:
    RE: Sexuality, I have no idea what you’re talking about, but my point is simple. By and large (wink, wink, Steve) atheists support homosexual rights and are open-minded about other people’s sexuality. By and large, Christians are not.

    RE: Evidence, I never said what you are claiming I did. But I’ll gladly take the original question a bit further.

    Let’s say I get home from work today, put my daughter down for a nap, and turn on the Steeler game. In the middle of the third quarter, Roethlisberger drops back to pass and the ball bounces off the receiver’s hands and flies through my TV screen, landing in front of me. Having had nothing stronger than apple juice, I rub my eyes and pinch myself, as the ball morphs into human form (or a ball of light, or stays a ball, or whatever) and begins speaking to me.

    The ball tells me that it is God, communicating to me in a way that would grab my attention. God tells me things nobody would know, including personal thoughts that I’ve never shared with anyone.

    God tells me that he thinks I am a good person, that I have been wrong to not believe in him. I ask him a bunch of questions (re: where’s the evidence been, explain suffering, etc.)

    Not only would I believe, I’d enroll in seminary school tomorrow.

  11. Eric

    Re: Prof Chaos, part 2:

    Most atheists prefer neutered sex. Why aren’t they more open-minded about sex as it comes to us from nature? Is that simple enough for you?

    On homosexual sex: What do you mean by ‘open-minded’ in this case? Christians (many, not all) reject it as harmful to the person engaged and to society in general (some science would agree, but that would get back toward the ‘what evidence’ discussion.) Are you more open-minded about harm, or just more open-minded about letting people harm themselves? In this case, I agree that Christians are guilty of often wanting to help people to not harm themselves. Perhaps you mean something else. Internet forums are frightfully bad for these sorts of discussions.

    Of course, many of the same arguments can be made about divorce.

  12. professor chaos

    Well, I have no idea what “neutered sex” is, so I’m going to need some clarification, there, but moving on to homosexuality, which was the point of my post anyways:

    Christians reject homosexuality as harmful based on some texts from some ancient goat-herding nomads. You mention that some ‘science’ would agree, then try to avoid the topic, but I’m curious, how does ‘some science’ agree with this?

  13. Eric

    Dr. Chaos:

    I find your ‘football’ analogy a bit too easy. My atheistic instinct would be to go to the psychologist the next day. I’d bet that you would have the same reaction. In fact, my Christian instinct would be to do the same!

  14. professor chaos

    eric,

    I knew someone would bring that up, eventually, and yes, that would certainly be a possibility.

    The reason I mentioned menial things such as putting my daughter down for a nap, drinking apple juice, and watching the Steelers play is because I’m going on the assumption that I have no previous signs of mental illness, and have the mental clarity to believe that what I am seeing is real.

    I would also hope that God could leave the football behind as “proof,” or, he could just wait until my wife gets home as proof that I’m not crazy.

  15. Anonymous

    I’m sorry, but I can’t make any sense of what you’re saying here. Are you saying that atheists are NOT open-minded about sexuality because we’re closed-minded about your closed-mindedness?

    You can say it that way if you like, but the problem is more fundamental. You are cheating.

    You are simply defining my position as close minded because you disagree, then defining yours as open-minded, and then calling yourself open minded. As someone else said so elequently…

    ‘See the pretty circles.’

    😀

    Plus, with the “by and large” comment, as I said before, “when in Rome…” Besides, you’re reaching here. My comment was regarding one simple trait that many atheists share. I will happily say, also, that “By and large, Christians are generous people.” And I mean that sincerely. Is that a straw-man?

    I didn’t call your position a straw man. Strictly speaking it isn’t, and neither is Jen’s.

    Again, her post was a personal reflection, not a rigorous philosophical proof. You both simply made generalizations that may or may not be correct.

    You perceive that many atheists share a certain trait and you made that observation. Jen perceives that many atheist share a trait and commented on that observation. They are the same type of comment. You can’t protest hers and then do teh same thing.

    Let’s just agree to take them for what they are (observations) and not be so freaking rigorous in regards to a personal reflection on a blog

    Let’s say I get home from work today, put my daughter down for a nap, and turn on the Steeler game. In the middle of the third quarter, Roethlisberger drops back to pass and the ball bounces off the receiver’s hands and flies through my TV screen

    Please…you know very well that it would end up in a pick. 😛

    As for the rest, you should really go and read John Wright’s blog entry linked in the earlier post.

    He had something like this happen to him, and comments on it far more intelligently then we could.

  16. professor chaos

    You know, the more I read the original post, the more dumbfounded I am by it.

    This is actually supposed to be an attack on atheists, that they WOULDN’T believe a hoax.

    I’ve thought this over, and would like to thank you, Jen, for realizing just how smart we are 😛

  17. Jennifer F.

    Let’s say I get home from work today, put my daughter down for a nap, and turn on the Steeler game. In the middle of the third quarter, Roethlisberger drops back to pass and the ball bounces off the receiver’s hands and flies through my TV screen, landing in front of me. Having had nothing stronger than apple juice, I rub my eyes and pinch myself, as the ball morphs into human form (or a ball of light, or stays a ball, or whatever) and begins speaking to me.

    The ball tells me that it is God, communicating to me in a way that would grab my attention. God tells me things nobody would know, including personal thoughts that I’ve never shared with anyone.

    God tells me that he thinks I am a good person, that I have been wrong to not believe in him. I ask him a bunch of questions (re: where’s the evidence been, explain suffering, etc.)

    Finally, some creativity! Where were you a few days ago? This is a great answer. This is the sort of thing I was trying to get at when I asked about this in a post recently.

    Anyway, if that happened to me I’d just think I was insane. So he’d have to do something else for me. And if that were God’s policy, to do whatever it took to make each individual believe, wouldn’t essentially be a slave to humans? I mean, I could keep upping my requirements until I had God moving heaven and earth to satisfy my doubts. Like, “God, I’m starting to think that that amazing miracle you performed for me last year was just me being crazy. So this time I’m going to need you explain to me [some great mystery of physics that only God would know] for my belief to be solid again. And, also, if you’d make my a**hole neighbor’s car explode right now that’d really assuage a lot of doubts.” It’d become a great way for me to have incredible knowledge and power, just getting God to do cool tricks for me to make sure I never doubt.

  18. professor chaos

    SteveG:

    Christian’s position on homosexuality: “It’s wrong, it’s wrong, it’s wrong!”

    Atheist’s position on homosexuality: “Meh. It’s neither right, nor wrong. Do what you want, I don’t care.”

    Yes, one is open-minded, one is not.

    You perceive that many atheists share a certain trait and you made that observation. Jen perceives that many atheist share a trait and commented on that observation. They are the same type of comment. You can’t protest hers and then do teh same thing.

    Let’s just agree to take them for what they are (observations) and not be so freaking rigorous in regards to a personal reflection on a blog

    Wrong. I made a comment about a shared positive trait. Jen envisioned a multi-layered future based on multiple traits and used them to predict behavior, passing that predicted behavior off as fact.

    Please…you know very well that it would end up in a pick. 😛

    Rarely does the laughter come this loud when I’m alone at my computer! Nicely done, Steve!!!!!!

    As for the rest, you should really go and read John Wright’s blog entry linked in the earlier post.

    He had something like this happen to him, and comments on it far more intelligently then we could.

    When I get a chance, I’ll take your suggestion. I probably should have read it already. Thanks.

  19. Dennis

    Actually, when Christians assert that homosexuality harms the person involved, they are not citing the writings of ancient goatherders. At least, the Catholics aren’t. They are reasoning from Nature Law, which is to say: what is the nature of the act? what is it for? what is its purpose? what does it do? Natural Law has to do with teleology and ultimate ends.

    Reasoning from Natural Law may not be fashionable among post-moderns, but it has a long tradition that finds its origins in the thoughts of the ancient Greek philosophers.

  20. R and all

    “Most atheists are not open-minded.”

    Bullshit. All you can say about theists as a group is that they believe in “god,” despite the fact that there is no credible evidence that “god” exists, and despite the fact that nobody can even define “god” in any meaningful way. And all you can say about us athiests as a group is that we don’t believe in “god,” period. Some of us are open-minded, some are closed-minded, some are liberal, some are conservative, some are brilliant, some are idiotic, many are just plain old normal people. The only thing we have in common is that we just don’t believe in “god” because there is no evidence to make us think “god” exists.

  21. professor chaos

    Finally, some creativity! Where were you a few days ago? This is a great answer. This is the sort of thing I was trying to get at when I asked about this in a post recently.

    Anyway, if that happened to me I’d just think I was insane. So he’d have to do something else for me. And if that were God’s policy, to do whatever it took to make each individual believe, wouldn’t essentially be a slave to humans? I mean, I could keep upping my requirements until I had God moving heaven and earth to satisfy my doubts. Like, “God, I’m starting to think that that amazing miracle you performed for me last year was just me being crazy. So this time I’m going to need you explain to me [some great mystery of physics that only God would know] for my belief to be solid again. And, also, if you’d make my a**hole neighbor’s car explode right now that’d really assuage a lot of doubts.” It’d become a great way for me to have incredible knowledge and power, just getting God to do cool tricks for me to make sure I never doubt.

    Thank you very much for the compliment. I addressed the insanity angle in a previous post, but no, I do not in any way shape or form think this to be unreasonable, or think that it would make “[God] a slave to humans.”

    I hardly think it to much to ask for proof of God’s existence if I am to worship him. Obviously, if God is all-knowing, he’d know my motives if I were “just getting God to do cool tricks.”

    Motive and intent is the important factor here. This is (one reason) why Pascal’s wager fails.

    I have, on multiple occasions, asked to speak with God, and meant it with all my heart. I have been in tears, begging for him to speak to me and to help me. What did I want? A better job? Money? The Steelers to win the Super Bowl? A bigger…car?

    No. I wanted to be a better man. I also wanted to serve and love God, while feeling his love as well. He never showed up. I never felt anything.

  22. Jerret

    jerret:
    What is the value of faith? Why should we believe in God without personal revelation?

    I don’t believe we should, hence why I don’t.

  23. professor chaos

    Actually, when Christians assert that homosexuality harms the person involved, they are not citing the writings of ancient goatherders. At least, the Catholics aren’t. They are reasoning from Nature Law, which is to say: what is the nature of the act? what is it for? what is its purpose? what does it do? Natural Law has to do with teleology and ultimate ends.

    Reasoning from Natural Law may not be fashionable among post-moderns, but it has a long tradition that finds its origins in the thoughts of the ancient Greek philosophers.

    Just because something doesn’t possess a benefit to nature does not mean that it is detrimental.

  24. professor chaos

    jerret, I mistakenly believed you to be a theist when I read that post.

    Would a Christian care to answer the question for me?

  25. Anonymous

    Christian’s position on homosexuality: “It’s wrong, it’s wrong, it’s wrong!”

    This is such a terrible oversimplification. And it further shows that indeed you are closed minded on the subject because you haven’t even considered whether there might be other than religious reasons why it’s not ok/healthy/good/beneficial.

    I am going to copy a comment from Mike J. (a biologist btw) in an earlier thread below in answer to Jerret…

    And here’s where the biologist in me pipes up. There are a large series of facts that somehow get left out of the public discourse on this issue. All relate to biology. I set them forth here only as facts and I will leave to the audience to drae any connections or conclusions.

    -Persistent entry of large, hardened objects into the anus can damage the relatively delicate membranous lining of the terminal portion of the colon.
    -Such damage can allow materials normally limited to the colon to be introduced into the blood. These materials can include bodily wastes, colonic flora, and proteins found in the colon.
    -Homosexual males have significantly increased incidences of hepatitis types A, B, and C. They also have an increased incidence of some other STDs.
    -Homosexuals frequently develop immune responses or immune tolerances toward rare or cryptic substances. (This statement is hard to me to phrase because I have trouble finding non-technical terms for it.)
    -Life expectancies for homosexual men are lower than overall, national averages for the entire male population.

    I am not saying this is conclusive of anything, but that it offers some tiny bit of evidence that maybe it’s more complicated than you’d like to think.

    If we say homosexuality is not good for the person, we might mean that both physically and spiritually, and further that the two are related to one another.

    I realize you reject the spiritual part, but the other stands at least as a topic of discussion despite your ‘meh.’

    Atheist’s position on homosexuality: “Meh. It’s neither right, nor wrong. Do what you want, I don’t care.”

    To blithely dismiss the discussion like this because you think that Christians are so stupid that they just say it’s wrong without any further thought…Yes, that is extremely close minded. And it’s exactly the kind of thing Jen was referring to.

    You seem so sure of yourself that you will barely entertain the thought that you might be wrong.

    Yes, one is open-minded, one is not.

    Only if you define open-mindedness as having the ability to not consider discussion because you are already convinced of your position.

    Wrong. I made a comment about a shared positive trait. Jen envisioned a multi-layered future based on multiple traits and used them to predict behavior, passing that predicted behavior off as fact.

    Sorry friend, but go back and read her post. She did not pass it off as fact.

    She even ended her speculation on the expirement by saying…

    “At least in my case, atheism was a defense mechanism.”

    And applying it only personally to herself. You are really making a mountain out of a mole hill.


    Rarely does the laughter come this loud when I’m alone at my computer! Nicely done, Steve!!!!!!

    I knew you’d appreciate that. Go Stillers. 🙁

    When I get a chance, I’ll take your suggestion. I probably should have read it already. Thanks.

    It’s really very good.

  26. Eric

    I don’t know what topic you think I’m avoiding. I tried to ask for a clarification of what you mean by ‘open-minded’ as I think that you’re defining it ambiguously. *sigh* I’ll put it as directly as I can. I apologize for using lighthearted and indirect language as I should remember that it can be highly inaccurate and misleading. Mea culpa…

    The discussion of neutered sex goes directly to your thoughts on ‘open-mindedness’. You are, I believe, essentially defining ‘open-mindedness’ as “I want to let homosexuals do what they want and be nice to them.” Fine. You’re more open-minded about homosexuals, but that is not what your first post said. It said: “Who is open-minded about sexuality, atheists or Christians?”. I submit that while atheists (in general) may look more favorably on the rights of homosexuals to “marry”, etc they look less favorably on the fundamental nature and purpose of sex. That purpose is procreation. While one would assume that atheists with their more naturalistic approach to life should understand that sex is ordered toward procreation they will more often than Christians use whatever means necessary to avoid that end. Please note that I understand the statistics about contraceptive use and abortion within the Christian realm and I am making what I think is a valid assumption that atheists will in general use contraception or abortion if it is available. I know exceptions to the rule on both sides.

    So, neutered sex = sex without the natural consequences. Sex without the force of what it is intended to be. Sex without babies. It seems at odds with an ‘open-mind’ to deny through our actions what sex is fundamentally.

    On the other hand, I also argue that Christians fundamental beliefs about Christianity, while based on ancient texts, play out in a concern for their fellow human beings (more generalizations here, there are hateful Christians). Christians believe that homosexual sex is not only offensive in itself, but also harmful physically and emotionally to the people taking part as well as to societal structures. As far as society in general, I believe that this is harder to prove in a ‘scientific’ manner, but there has been study of the harmful physical and emotional effects of homosexuality that I do not believe can all be blamed on society’s prejudices. I’ll not do your homework for you, as I do have a life outside of this little discussion that I need to get back to. Don’t forget, keep an ‘open mind’.

    Actually, the ‘ancient goat-herder texts’ you mention don’t really talk about the harmful effects of homosexual sex as it was not primarily the concern. In general, you’ll just see the “it’s bad” stated and then the text moves on.

    Your pejorative use of the term ‘ancient goat-herders’ is not lost on me. I prefer to think ‘ancient common man with lived wisdom.’ They did understand the fundamental nature of sex that our society has so ‘modernly’ forgotten. I’m not as much into thinking that all that came before me was dumb as you seem to be. The modern era has brought us such ‘scientific’ wonders as eugenics which I hear may be coming back into vogue. I don’t know whether this is palatable to you, but it isn’t to me.

    Btw…I love science. Really. I’m fascinated by the cool things scientists discover.

  27. professor chaos

    Only if you define open-mindedness as having the ability to not consider discussion because you are already convinced of your position.

    Isn’t that the Xian view towards homosexuality? Has the pope sat with members of the homosexual community to discuss the issue?

    Why do you constantly accuse me and others of not “being open for discussion,” simply because we disagree with you? I could turn right around and accuse you of the same thing, since your stance hasn’t changed either.

    I also notice that you didn’t post anything about how the male ‘g-spot’ is the prostate. (conveniently located) or that one’s sexual preference is not a choice. Kind of throws your natural arguments down the toilet.

    Sorry friend, but go back and read her post. She did not pass it off as fact.

    Ok, I did. Here’s what I found.

    Then just sit back and watch the atheists at the new forum attack the story and list reason after reason that it does not necessarily prove that God exists.

    I’ve never done this because of logistical issues, mainly that it would be too hard to get a URL that would seem like a real news site. Also, it’s hardly worth spending the time to do since it’s obvious what the results would be.

    Doesn’t pass it off as fact, huh?

  28. Anonymous

    No. I wanted to be a better man. I also wanted to serve and love God, while feeling his love as well. He never showed up. I never felt anything.

    So is your rejection of God based on the lack of a certain emotion/feeling? Is that any more reasonable than someone who accepts God because the got the emotional payoff they wanted? Does our emotional response, or lack, have any bearing on the truth?

  29. professor chaos

    So is your rejection of God based on the lack of a certain emotion/feeling? Is that any more reasonable than someone who accepts God because the got the emotional payoff they wanted? Does our emotional response, or lack, have any bearing on the truth?

    I knew this was coming as soon as I posted it. No, my “rejection of God” has nothing to do with emotion/feeling in the slightest. The only relevance is that his failure to appear to me is but a small speck in my personal mountain of evidence that leads to my atheism.

    And the point was not for an “emotional payoff.” It was to see for myself. I need more than the widely disputed texts of ancient men that only a handful of people in a small geographic area chose to originally believe without force/brainwashing if I’m going to devote my life to something. The least he could do is ask me himself.

    Again, I ask, what is the value of faith? Why is there a need for absence of evidence? How is that virtuous?

  30. professor chaos

    eric, I have no idea why you’re saying that I’m accusing you of dodging something. I am not and have not.

    At any rate, how do you know that the only natural reason for sex is procreation?

  31. Eric

    Re: Prof Chaos –
    No. I wanted to be a better man. I also wanted to serve and love God, while feeling his love as well. He never showed up. I never felt anything.

    Sorry to hear of your struggle. I fight the same fight constantly. I haven’t given up yet and have found that as I become more sensitive to His movements, I come to know His love more. That has been my experience. I know I can’t prove it to you. That is more frustrating than anything.

    And, sorry to jump ship, but I’m certainly sinning by posting here rather than doing the work I’m paid to do. I hope you find happiness. I’ve found it in Him.

  32. professor chaos

    eric,

    I see now what you mean. You mentioned that ‘some science’ agrees with the Bible RE: homosexuality, and say,

    (some science would agree, but that would get back toward the ‘what evidence’ discussion.)

    This is what I meant. Please indulge me on how science agrees.

  33. professor chaos

    And, sorry to jump ship, but I’m certainly sinning by posting here rather than doing the work I’m paid to do. I hope you find happiness. I’ve found it in Him.

    Whew *wipes brow* I agree! I’ve GOT to get some work done. 🙂

  34. Anonymous

    Perhaps I missed it, but no one seemed to address this comment:

    I have, on multiple occasions, asked to speak with God, and meant it with all my heart. I have been in tears, begging for him to speak to me and to help me. What did I want? A better job? Money? The Steelers to win the Super Bowl? A bigger…car?

    No. I wanted to be a better man. I also wanted to serve and love God, while feeling his love as well. He never showed up. I never felt anything.

    This breaks my heart. Really, it does. Unfortunately, what so many Protestants seem to have done is reduce belief in God to a feeling. Belief and faith are not the same as emotion and feeling; Jen has discussed this several times before. The fact is, your intentions were noble, and the fact that you “felt” nothing when talking to God does not mean that He didn’t hear you or listen to you. Sometimes, He speaks in ways that aren’t obvious. I’m sure you’ve heard the old joke about the guy who drowns because he doesn’t accept the help of people in boats and helicopters as the waters are rising. When he reproaches God for not answering him, God answers that He sent two boats and a helicopter, what else did the guy want?

    Many times, our prayers are answered in ways unexpected, and through other people – not directly by God and not from a thundering voice from Heaven. (Or a whisper – the Bible says that God is not in the thunder or strong wind, but in the tiny breeze that could be missed.)

    Perhaps, and I am saying this without knowing your exact situation, God answered you by sending other people into your life, or nudging you towards information (on the web, on television, in books, etc.) that would have answered your prayer for help in living a better life, being a better man, serving the Lord.

    Just because you didn’t hear a voice or have God appear to you (God the Father has no body, by the way; He is pure spirit) doesn’t mean that He didn’t answer. Maybe Jennifer’s blog is a part of the answer. Allowing yourself to think of it in those terms, though, would require you to, at least in some part, agree to Paschal’s Wager.

    And Jen, even though I don’t respond to every post, I want you to know just how much I love your blog here. I have your post on the other blog saved at Bloglines so I can check it out when I have a little more time. But this blog has been fantastic for me. Thank you so much for keeping it up. God bless you!

  35. Anonymous

    Why do you constantly accuse me and others of not “being open for discussion,” simply because we disagree with you?

    Because of the way you present yourself in these discussions. It is not because you disagree with me that I am saying it. It is because you have not seriously considered the strongest arguments of the other side before proclaiming them either wrong or irrelevant.

    I could turn right around and accuse you of the same thing, since your stance hasn’t changed either.

    Being open minded doesn’t mean your stance WILL change. It means having the willingness to at least consider and listen to the other side to see what they have to say and consider you ‘might’ be wrong. If you’ve done that, I’ll trust your word, but the way you’ve framed the two positions initially sure doesn’t make it seem that way.

    You presented the Christian position as simply ‘It’s wrong’ and implied there was no more thought to it than that. It comes across as both ill-informed and close minded.

    I also notice that you didn’t post anything about how the male ‘g-spot’ is the prostate. (conveniently located) or that one’s sexual preference is not a choice. Kind of throws your natural arguments down the toilet.

    Not in the least. It is far from scientifically proven that sexual preference is solely genetic. It *may* be in part the case that some people have a predisposition to it, but what of it?

    It doesn’t change the natural law (not natural arguments) in the least. If someone has a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, shall we just tell them ‘oh well, too bad’, or shall we try to be more understanding in how we approach their struggle, while still exhorting them to not succumb to that predisposition?

    Ok, I did. Here’s what I found.

    Then just sit back and watch the atheists at the new forum attack the story and list reason after reason that it does not necessarily prove that God exists.

    I’ve never done this because of logistical issues, mainly that it would be too hard to get a URL that would seem like a real news site. Also, it’s hardly worth spending the time to do since it’s obvious what the results would be.

    Doesn’t pass it off as fact, huh?

    And she followed that very sentence by what I provided above…

    At least in my case…

    Again, I’ve said (and Jen seems to admit in this post-i.e. the title Poorly Written posts) that this was a loose personal reflection, not a rigorous philosophical statement.

    Mountain…molehill.

    Or shall I cruise through the forums looking to pick out every imperfectly written statement you’ve made regarding theism? ;-P

  36. Anonymous

    Ah, there it is. How did I miss that?

    Oh, well, there were my two cents.

    Back to the cookies and movie.

  37. Anonymous

    And, sorry to jump ship, but I’m certainly sinning by posting here rather than doing the work I’m paid to do. I hope you find happiness. I’ve found it in Him.

    Whew *wipes brow* I agree! I’ve GOT to get some work done. 🙂

    Me three! Good to see you in any event PC!

  38. professor chaos

    Alas, steve, if you’re going to search for every poorly written thing that came from my keyboard, you won’t be getting any work done for quite some time.

    Before I try to get some work done, I just wanted to address your lovely post, christine, and thank you for your sentiments.

    But the point of my prayer was not for help as much as it was for personal revelation. Not a sign that could be misconstrued. Cold. Hard. Evidence.

    Which begs the question, yet again: What is the value of faith? Why is believing in God without direct evidence a virtue?

  39. Mike J

    Greetings to the new (to me) names:
    Prof:

    Brief intro. I’m a Christian in the process of possibly deconverting. That’s why your comment resonates with me.
    >I hardly think it to much to ask for proof of God’s existence if I am to worship him. Obviously, if God is all-knowing, he’d know my motives if I were “just getting God to do cool tricks.”< YES! I do think He should be able to tell if I was just fishing for tricks. And anyway, He can do a miracle for me, and if I won’t accept it, He can then say, “You weren’t sincere. No more miracles for you.” > What is the value of faith? Why should we believe in God without personal revelation?< You mean you just want what Paul got, or what Thomas demanded, or what several other Biblical characters got? How unreasonable of you. I reckon I could say more but I too need to work. 🙂

  40. Anonymous

    Mike:
    I wanted to bring it to your attention that I bogarted those facts as part of a post in the current topic being discussed in Jen’s latest post. I didn’t use them to bash anyone, just because it was so germane to the discussion.

    I realize now that I should have asked you first. I hope you don’t mind, but If you do, I’ll see if Jen can edit the comment.

  41. Anonymous

    Which begs the question, yet again: What is the value of faith? Why is believing in God without direct evidence a virtue?

    You’ve asked this a couple times now, and I don’t want you to think we are ignoring it. It’s just so big.

    How can we convey to you in a pithy answer that which gives meaning, understanding, value, coherence, etc., etc., etc. to the whole of our lives.

    For so many of us, it has meant radically transformed lives that in all ways are more joyful and more peaceful (happier or easier).

    And at least in my case, it’s helped me begin to make a go of becoming the better man that you longed to become.

    I have a long way to go in that endeavor, and it’s been hard fought making the progress I have, but I can’t begin to convey to you the radical transformation that has ocurred in my own life in that regard through following Jesus Christ (and his example).

    Maybe read Jen’s recent On Having Proof post to get a glimpse of her own answer (which will have at least something in common with many of our own).

    Despite your introduction to her, she’s a pretty bright cookie, and not a shabby writer.

  42. Darwin

    Atheists, by and large, value EVIDENCE over anything. If your god were to show up and speak one-on-one with any of us, I assure you we’d be happy to listen

    Creationists also insist that they are terribly “open minded”. I’ve had several say to me, “If you could have something change from one species to another, right in front of my eyes, I’d accept evolutionary theory in a moment.”

    Aside from general snarkiness (a vice from which I am far from free) I think my point with the above is that it’s generally un-helpful to propose means of proof which don’t fit with the proposed belief. It’s sheer obtuseness of a creatist to propose an “open minded” approach which nonetheless demands a level of proof which evolutionary theory never suggests is possible in the first place (e.g. speciation obviously taking place over the course of days or months).

    It seems similarly unhelpful to say “If your god were to show up and speak one-on-one with any of us, I assure you we’d be happy to listen.” when that is not a standard happening or reason for belief claimed by Christians.

  43. Anonymous

    Um, I stated that I wasn’t an atheist. So it wasn’t just atheists that found your post so offensive.

    I will never get people who claim they’ve found God and then go on to do incredibly mean, stupid, juvenile and offensive things to other people as a result. It’s a pretty safe bet that if you’re sitting home cooking up ways to bait atheists, what you’ve found probably isn’t God.

    By their fruits you will know them…

    Whatever the hell that post was, it was nothing of God, nor did it serve God. Seems like it served your voracious ego just fine, though.

  44. Anonymous

    Sorry I had to comment on the posts regarding Catholicism and homosexuality and sexuality as a whole. So I think I should share my beliefs regarding sexuality. I believe you are born distinctly male and female, but I also believe some people have a natural same sex attraction. Just as I see it natural to be attracted to the opposite sex, so can one be to the same sex.

    Just because I’m attracted to the opposite sex doesn’t it mean I can engage in unnatural sex acts, whether it be oral, anal, or masturbation. I have to honor my body and engage in sex in a way my body was design and respecting all aspects of it and be responsible when I open myself to procreativity i.e. marriage. The rules don’t change if a person happens to have a same sex attraction.

    Even if you are not Catholic, all humans are bound by natural law. I am not saying this, or even the Church, your body is designed (even if you have same sex attraction) to have natural relations as man and woman. The Church didn’t create marriage, man and woman did or if you believe in God, God did. Marriage is the complimentry relationship of their sexuality that protect the personal investment that is made from its natural fruits, children.

    As Catholics we celebrate marriage through as a Sacrament, a gift from God. If God wanted to, He could of made us all neuter and just added humans on Earth as He please. Instead God gave us the gift to add humans, through love making and children.

    I follow the Catholic teachings regarding same sex attraction. I do not hate people with same sex attraction. I understand they may not be able to change that. I want as many people as possible to love God and I’m concerned about the spiritual welfare of homosexuals, just as I am with heterosexuals.

    I believe homoseuxals must remain chaste during their lifetime. They need our support and freindship. Many might think I’m mean for denying them a right of Free Will, but I speak more out of concern for them and natural law.

    If you want to read more regarding the Catholic Church’s teachings regarding those with same sex attraction there is a website and support for all of those.

    http://couragerc.net/

    Atheists are theists, they believe they are in control everything. Not just of their own physical and mental capacity, like Catholics, but also they think they are in control of nautral law. We both believe in Free Will, it is just we accept God who gave us that will and they attempt to reject it.

    We know as Christians we will be judged by God, so when we slip we are humbled by him. And we do and will do, because we aren’t perfect. So I have to ask when atheists slip up, what humbles them?

  45. Anonymous

    Mmmmkay…

    So married, Catholic, heterosexual couples can never enjoy anal or oral stimulation because it’s unnatural…? What about kissing…what about foreplay…? How about breasts…they weren’t meant for anything but feeding the babies, right, so is it sinful if your husband touches your breasts?

    And active homosexuals can’t love God? Why? Because you think they are sinning and people who sin can’t love God? So Catholics never sin…? Or is it just when homosexual Catholics sin?

    Atheists think they’re in control of everything, including natural law?? Really? All atheists think they are in control of everthing and are in control of natural law? Oh, man, whatever it is you’re on, I’d love to have some right now…

    When atheists make a mistake or hurt someone, what humbles them is either their own limitations, or that they’ve hurt another person. Why is only hurting God valuable to you Catholics? Does it make it easier for you to blow off hurting other people?

  46. Anonymous

    As a woman, my sexuality can not be interhcanged with any other orafice on the human body. The female sexual organ isn’t just another opening for someone else’s pleasure, but the main component of her sexuality. Any other body part or orafice being used degrades her sexual idenity as a woman.

    The same goes for heterosexual men and homosexuals.

    Breasts are nice and they can serve both fuctions, just as sexual intercourse between heterosexuals is very pleasurable and open to life. I find it strange how people have no problem with bare breasts, but are disgusted with a woman breastfeeding.

    Today we have a major exploitation of women’s body. Unnatural sexuals acts have a greater reprecussion against women’s dignity and their children. We are nothing but mere play things for men,whther through pornography or our sexuality is repressed quite physically through synthetic hormones (The Pill). We as women expose ourselves to being unresponsive unaffectionate men for husbands, or end up being single mothers and our children being fatherless, or even worst being mislead to kill our unborn children as a matter of choice.

    If a man is to love me, he must love all of me as a human being. So if you cared about not hurting others, I think you would agree with me whether or not you believed in God.

  47. Anonymous

    I realize you never bothered to read the linked offered, regarding the Catholic Churches understanding of homosexuality by the quickness of your comments.

    As for this… I responded to a like comment in the other post about pride and humility. We love God, but when we sin we are commiting and act against God’s love whether you are heterosexual or heterosexual. Thanks goodness for reconciiation. God loves us and welcomes us, when we learn what is sin and what isn’t.

  48. Anonymous

    Renee, I was Catholic for forty years. I know the Church teachings, I’ve read the various documents, etc., etc., etc. I’m also familiar with COURAGE. For the THIRD time now, I’m not an atheist. And please don’t assume anything. Assuming you know something you can’t possibly know is, um, prideful…and arrogant…are not pride and arrogance sins? They’re the ones that got Lucifer in so much trouble, aren’t they?

    “The female sexual organ”. Okay. Define it. Is it merely the vaginal passage? Does it include reproductive organs such as ovaries and uterus? Where does the clitoris fit into it all? Not to mention the G-spot…

    Are women (statistics say it’s a large percentage, perhaps half or more of all women) who can’t achieve orgasm via straight intercourse sinful if their husbands stimulate them to orgasm using their hands or mouth? Is this just God’s cruel joke on half of all women?

    Breasts only serve a sexual purpose in some cultures, so how can you say they serve two functions? Besides, if only your sex organs can be used for sex, how can your husband touch your breasts with his hands or mouth and not be sinful?

    You lost me with women becoming unresponsive, unaffectionate men for husbands…we turn into men if…if…help me here, please…if we use birth control…? If we let our husbands stimulate us to orgasm…? I’m sorry, but you’re very hard to follow.

    God loves and welcomes people on his terms and at his will, not yours or the Catholic Church’s.

  49. Tony

    What is the value of faith? Why should we believe in God without personal revelation?

    Prof, you seem like a fairly reasonable guy, so I’ll give it a shot.

    I don’t know your background, so I’ll let you in on mine. I was baptized Catholic, and went through 7 years of parochial school, and was confirmed. I was married to a devout Catholic girl and have two Catholic daughters.

    But I really was somewhat going through the motions.

    My oldest is 17. This will give you an idea of the next part of the story…

    I recently (7 years ago) came back to the faith (reverted). It was interesting how it happened. I had been involved in a Catholic internet newsgroup, and was getting my ass handed to me from Protestants who knew my faith better than I did. So I started doing the research…

    When I started quietly contemplating God, He made himself known to me (personal revelation). Nothing that I could take a picture of and show you, but situations that were very real to me.

    When I look at a Lamborghini, I contemplate the engineer. When I look at a Cathedral, I contemplate the architect. When I look at a beautiful painting, I contemplate the artist, and when I look at the world, I contemplate the creator.

    The more science advances, the more it points toward a designer. And I believe that when scientists finally completely discover the origin of the universe, they’ll be looking into the smiling face of God.

    The point I’ve been trying to make by my rambling, is that God has personally revealed himself to me. I just discovered where to look for that revelation.

  50. proud to be an atheist

    Renee,
    “Just because I’m attracted to the opposite sex doesn’t it mean I can engage in unnatural sex acts, whether it be oral, anal, or masturbation.”

    (This has disturbed me greatly in a post on your own blog that these acts would be grounds for a divorce in your eyes).

    Dolphins are mammals, and they masturbate, they do this for self pleasure. So since we are mammals too, why is this so wrong for us? When my kids are teens, 2 boys and a girl, I hope like hell that they use masturbation as a way to release sexual energy instead of trying to find someone to help them out. You can talk abstinence till you are blue in the face, so why not tell them that masturbation is also okay? Seriously, what is so wrong with self gratification? Babies do it whether you like it or not. Let them learn to love themselves and their bodies first.

  51. proud to be an atheist

    professor chaos,

    You stated at the end of your football anaology…”Not only would I believe, I’d enroll in seminary school tomorrow.”

    Why? Why would you change the way you act and think? If God revealed himself to me, I would say okay, I was wrong. But I still would not go to church, I wouldn’t force my kids to go to church. I have always been an athiest and married a man who was, lets call it what it is, brainwashed from birth to be a Christian until he was old enough to think for himself and ask questions.

    Anyway, 99% of his family is Christian, it makes me so sad to see him mom especially try so hard to prove herself worthy of God’s love. She works at the church, helped build the church, sings and plays the organ for the church, listens to peoples problems, reads the bible all the way through once a year, goes to church 3 times a week and for what? She still doesn’t feel like it is enough. She thinks she is a bad mother because my husband didn’t remain a Christian. My father in law sent an email once, one of those you fill in the blanks that tell things about you, fav color, food, etc. It asked to list from 1 to 5 people you love, 1 being the highest, and I was floored when God was his number 1 answer, then his wife, and then his kids. Why and how could you love something more than the person you are married to and had kids with? I don’t get it. My number 1, my husband AND my kids. I’m sorry, but the last thing I want to be is a follower. I like thinking for myself.

    *Renee, just because someone is an atheist does not mean that they lack values and morals. It is called right and wrong, there is no religion behind it.

  52. professor chaos

    steve: My question about faith does not concern faith from your perspective, jen’s perspective, or any Christian’s perspective.

    I’m referring to the perspective of God. Why does God require belief in him without evidence, or despite contrary evidence? Personally, I think that’s pretty cruel.

  53. Anonymous

    I’m referring to the perspective of God. Why does God require belief in him without evidence, or despite contrary evidence? Personally, I think that’s pretty cruel.

    Part of the problem is how we view the question of evidence. What constitutes it? What evidence do we accept? How do we recognize it? But that is somewhat less important than the ‘real’ answer.

    The real answer is encapsulated in the paradox of free-will. And free-will is crucial because the reason God created each one of us was to participate in a relationship of love. We are primarily mad to receive His love, and to be able to freely return ours.

    You might want to go back to the earlier discussion in the post from a few days ago, Good Questions from an Atheist, for a bit deeper of a discussion on this.

    In a nutshell, here’s the problem. The only ‘proof’ that would be acceptable to EVERYONE at all times is one which is either impossible for us to receive (absolute proof), or is one which so overwhelms us as to violate our free will.

    If there is no room for our choice in the matter, there is no freedom. If there is no freedom to love, than we can’t truly love and be loved, but are nothing more than automatons.

  54. professor chaos

    I didn’t honestly see much of an answer there, but your comments on ‘free will’ I think touch on it a little.

    However, could you please define ‘free will’ within this context?

    As far as evidence is concerned, I’m referring to personal appearance. Not “look at these cute kittens under the beautiful rainbow, there must be a God.” I mean, “Hi, [Professor Chaos]. My name is God. How are you today?”

  55. professor chaos

    Let me rephrase the first sentence in my post because it looks snarky and that wasn’t my intent, and I certainly don’t want to dismiss your efforts to answer my question.

    “I didn’t see much of an answer”

    should read

    “I didn’t see much of the answer I was looking for”

    or

    “I’m not sure you’re covering what I’m looking for exactly.”

    Maybe I haven’t expressed my question properly, I don’t know.

  56. Anonymous

    PC,
    I’ll strongly suggest again that you read John Wright’s post that Jen linked to, and read through that discussion I linked to in my last comment.

    I think between the two your questions are addressed pretty fully.

    If not, at least you’ll have a fuller understanding of where we are coming from and will likely give us all better focus in the discussion.

    I realize it’s a lot to read through (and some of it’s not pertinet), but I am pressed for time and just can’t recreate the wheel this morning. I apologize for that.

  57. professor chaos

    Ok, I’ve done some reading.

    RE: John Wright’s post – This does nothing to answer the question. Wright states that he was an atheist that turned to Christianity because of personal revelation. He then states that God does not personally reveal himself to atheists because atheists wouldn’t believe it.

    What?

    Wright claims to know God and to have spoken to, among other people, the virgin Mary. Why not answer the question by speaking for them, not pretending to know what the straw-man atheist will do in a hypothetical situation.

    RE: Conversation on Jen’s previous post – This is really just the same stuff over and over. You make the same straw-man argument that Wright and Jen make. Stop predicting my hypothetical behavior without even knowing me! 🙂

    As far as free will is concerned, there is a difference between belief and worship. I can accept that we have the free will to worship God, but I cannot accept that belief is at the mercy of free will as well.

    An all-knowing Christian God should realize that there is as much evidence for his existence as there is for Allah, Vishnu, Zoroaster, etc. Any of whom you would currently be worshipping if you were born elsewhere. For you, Christ is the Steelers and Vishnu is the Cowboys. You wouldn’t dream of rooting for Vishnu against Christ in the Deity Bowl.

    Skepticism is spoken of as if it is a character flaw. Is it? Are you not skeptical of other religions, certain scientific claims, etc. Why should God, whose word is not recent and only delivered via man, be any different?

  58. Mike J

    Just read the profs comments about the John Wright post. So I went a read it. For those who haven’t, here are a the two conflicting parts of it that struck the prof and me upon reading it:

    >> I am Christian because I had a religious experience with specifically Christian elements in it, …It was not some vague light or misty sensation I met, but people to whom I spoke, a ghost, an apostle, the Madonna, the Paraclete, the Messiah, and the Father. …I should say experiences. Plural. Not one, but six, over a period of months, and continuing to the present day. I have seen visions and experienced miracles, seen prayers answered, and had things even stranger happen. One supernatural event would be enough to convince an honest atheist that there was something in the universe which could not fit into the materialistic, scientific model. I have had half a dozen such experiences, each one different in nature, duration, and kind from the other: An embarassment of evidence; overwhelming; overkill. < < >> You might wonder why, if God can convince atheists to worship Him merely by dropping by for a visit, He does not do it more often. The reason is that it does not help, not at all, not a bit. When I suffer doubts, when my faith gets weak, my faith in my memory gets weak too. Faith and faithlessness have NOTHING TO DO with evidence presented to reason or senses. It has to do with a humble will and an upright heart. If God presented evidence to skeptics, all that would happen is that skeptics would doubt their evidence. If God gave a logical argument to prove His own existence, all that would happen is that skeptics would doubt the power of logic to prove anything. < < So miracles as evidence won’t convict or change but I changed because of miracles as evidence. Of course there is an easy explanation for it all. He’s a bald faced liar. And when you’re lying steadily, it gets hard to keep track of what story you made up last. I spoke to a ghost, an apostle, the Madonna, the Paraclete, the Messiah, and the Father. PFAH!

    Reminds me of King Arthur’s exchange with the Black Night (Monty Python version):
    “I am the Black Night! I am invincible.”
    “You’re a looney.”

    Someone tell John, the next time he has Mary or Paul over for tea, have them pop over to my place afterwards for a nightcap..

  59. Anonymous

    RE: John Wright’s post – This does nothing to answer the question. Wright states that he was an atheist that turned to Christianity because of personal revelation. He then states that God does not personally reveal himself to atheists because atheists wouldn’t believe it.
    What?

    He’s only stating from experience that even once he got his revelation, that while it was evidence, it’s not the end of the story. It doesn’t save him from the doubts any more than those without it are saved from their doubts and questions.

    You seem to think that you wouldn’t succumb to that? How is that possible? Can you explain how you can be sure that you wouldn’t still doubt after your football incident?

    As far as free will is concerned, there is a difference between belief and worship. I can accept that we have the free will to worship God, but I cannot accept that belief is at the mercy of free will as well.

    If you were not free to disbelieve an omni attribute God, how would your will possibly be able to resist worshipping. You’d worship out of fear if nothing else. But God wants our love, freely given, not our fear.

    An all-knowing Christian God should realize that there is as much evidence for his existence as there is for Allah, Vishnu, Zoroaster, etc. Any of whom you would currently be worshipping if you were born elsewhere.

    I again think this is overly simplistic (at least from the Catholic perspective). To save time, I am going to borrow a bit I wrote for someone else recently…

    I think that there is a very real way that at least with mythology (other religions), we don’t necessarily need to reject it out of hand. Rather, I think we can see that these were many different cultures good faith efforts to get at the divine reality of existence with the limited means available to them (reason and nature).

    We can look at them and say in light of what Christianity tells us, ‘yes, they got that part right, and that part right, but ooooh, that Gnosticism is dead wrong.’

    If Christianity is the fullness of the truth, then it includes any overlapping truths that any other religion stumbles on even if by accident. We need not reject that which is good within them.

    As far as those people’s relationship with God, assuming Christianity is true, I trust God’s mercy to judge them fairly. Each individual can only work by the light they’ve been given, and I am sure that God’s judgement will take that into account.

    The Catholic Catechism says this in regard to other religions…

    847…Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.

    848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”
    ——————–

    Skepticism is spoken of as if it is a character flaw. Is it? Are you not skeptical of other religions, certain scientific claims, etc.

    I personally value being skeptical as a rule. I wonder though when I see someone claim that ‘all God needs to do is come down and talk to me’, if they are being sufficiently skeptical of themselves and what their real reaction would likely be to such an event.

  60. Anonymous

    Mike J:
    I’ll concede that maybe his statement is hyperbolic in that it states that it makes ‘not a bit’ of difference. But the way I read it from the first is that in the long run it doesn’t ‘settle’ the question as you guys seem to want.

    As I said to PC, it doesn’t save him from the doubts any more than those without it are saved from their doubts and questions. The point being, his revelation doesn’t put him in any different of a position than the person who doesn’t get it . He still doubts, he still questions. He still has to struggle through with faith in the same way that any believer does.

  61. professor chaos

    SteveG wrote:

    He’s only stating from experience that even once he got his revelation, that while it was evidence, it’s not the end of the story. It doesn’t save him from the doubts any more than those without it are saved from their doubts and questions.

    That’s awfully paradoxical. Why would one doubt what one can see and speak with? I don’t doubt your existence, Steve. (Though admittedly, I cannot see you.)

    Anyways, I doubt that he doubts. He never says that he still does, and, in fact, makes some comments that suggest otherwise:

    So much evidence of the Christian religion was given to me so abundantly that it is an embarrassment to me.

    Once I was touched by the Spirit (I, who did not until that moment even believe the word ‘spirit’ had any meaning) everything else fell into place.

    SteveG wrote:

    You seem to think that you wouldn’t succumb to that? How is that possible? Can you explain how you can be sure that you wouldn’t still doubt after your football incident?

    Again, why would I? Why would I doubt the existence of something that is interacting with me?

    SteveG wrote:

    If you were not free to disbelieve an omni attribute God, how would your will possibly be able to resist worshipping. You’d worship out of fear if nothing else. But God wants our love, freely given, not our fear.

    Not necessarily. I’ll spare you the quote mining, unless you request it, but your book seems to state that worshipping out of fear is a virtue. Hence the term, “God-fearing.” Besides, one can believe and not worship. Hence Satanists.

    SteveG wrote:

    [a bunch of stuff about other religions]

    This is one of the stronger reasons why I have no belief, and it is very, very far from “overly simplistic.” I find it incredibly unfair of God to reveal himself to one small geographic region in one brief time. Do you “trust God’s mercy to judge” me fairly? Since you hardly know me, assume that it is true that I am a kind, loving person that wouldn’t dream of hurting another person. Would that matter to God at my judgment?

    SteveG wrote:

    I personally value being skeptical as a rule. I wonder though when I see someone claim that ‘all God needs to do is come down and talk to me’, if they are being sufficiently skeptical of themselves and what their real reaction would likely be to such an event.

    Just like I wonder if someone is skeptical when I see that they believe that chanting some Latin over a cracker will literally turn it into the flesh of a guy who’s been dead for 2,000 years.

    I have no reason to believe that I would not react in a way similar to Wright. Of course, I won’t state with 100% certainty how I would react, nor would I ever try to predict any future events with 100% certainty. But seeing as how we’re talking about a hypothetical event involving me, a person you barely know, I think I might be a little more qualified to speak on the matter than you are.

  62. Anonymous

    Anyways, I doubt that he doubts. He never says that he still does, and, in fact, makes some comments that suggest otherwise:

    Quote from Mr. Wright’s post:
    [W]hen I suffer doubts, when my faith gets weak, my faith in my memory gets weak too.

    Not necessarily. I’ll spare you the quote mining, unless you request it, but your book seems to state that worshipping out of fear is a virtue.

    Not so, on two counts (and no need to quote-mine). It is a beginning, not a virtue (fear of God is the ‘beginning of wisdom’). In addition, fear can have the definition you speak of, but the theological understanding of fear is ‘awe’ (don’t believe me, pick up any dictionary). God does not want us to cower in his presence. He wants our love freely given. This is the very heart of the gospel message.

    Do you “trust God’s mercy to judge” me fairly?

    Yes, absolutely. I also am really worried that he’ll judge me fairly too. I suspect that I might not come off so well on that score.

    Since you hardly know me, assume that it is true that I am a kind, loving person that wouldn’t dream of hurting another person. Would that matter to God at my judgment?

    Yes and no. It won’t matter how much good ‘stuff’ you did, but it will matter if you did the very best with what you were given. Some are given more, some are given less. I’ll say again, we can only work by the light we are given.

    God will deal with the person who got hooked on crack in their mothers womb and all the havoc that wrought in their life far differently than he will deal with a whiner like me with my cushy life. I think I have far more to worry about than the person I describe.

    But seeing as how we’re talking about a hypothetical event involving me, a person you barely know, I think I might be a little more qualified to speak on the matter than you are.

    I hope one day you get whatever it is you need even if it is not a football through the TV.

  63. professor chaos

    I hope one day you get whatever it is you need even if it is not a football through the TV.

    That was one of the funniest ways to say one of the nicer things I’ve heard recently, as only you are capable of. Likewise to you, my black and gold friend. 🙂

  64. Mike J

    Took another look at his post. It’s ramble. He hops from one topic almost randomly. He’s not consistent.

    Steve pulled one quote where Wright mentions having doubts. What about the rest of the post where he goes on about talking with all those Bible characters?

    But frankly I could not blame Wright for having doubts. He might well doubt the existence of his chair. The more I look at his ramblings, the more I recognize familiar elements from having to read the ramblings of people who were certified looneys.

    Can we just not even try to derive anything from John Wright as he’s plainly not firing on all thrusters, playing with a deck of <52, a few attendants short of a quorum, nuttier than a squirrel's nest come hibernation time...... ?

  65. Anonymous

    Mike J:
    Are you just trying to pull our chain, or are you serious? I have this sneaky suspicion that you might have written those last two comments just to see how we would react, but I am not sure. :-/

    I am also not sure what is giving you the impression that he is not in command of his faculties. Could you point to the posts in question?

    I can maybe think that a couple of them had strange titles (‘If we outlaw death-rays, only Ming of Mongo will have death-rays’, or ‘My invasion plans’) if someone was not aware that Mr. Wright is a published science fiction author.

    But if you read his blog in that context, I am having a hard time seeing were the nuttiness is.

    Can you help me understand?

  66. Mike J

    What makes me think Wright is either a nut or a liar?

    > people to whom I spoke, a ghost, an apostle, the Madonna, the Paraclete, the Messiah, and the Father< Just that.

  67. Anonymous

    Formula only came around in the past 100 years, so how did children survive if breasts only serves for sexual behavior?

    I mean the whole part of the female reproductive organ, not just the vagina. The reason why women can’t achieve orgasm is because of the Pill, the Pill effectively shut dows the ovulation which stimulates pheromones (the scent that attracts men). There is an interestting study in which a researcher had women come into his lab to be oserved by average people, on the days the women were approaching ovulation and their estrogen levels where at it’s highest peak both men and women thought these women were the most attractive.

    Yahoo News made note of an interesting study that women who aren’t aware of the Ovulation/Fertility Awareness Methods unknowingly make themselves more attractive when they ovulate. The force of natural estrogen to release an egg from an ovary follicle is quite powerful. I’m sure the researcher of the study is knowledgeable of the science of natural family planning. I can see why using the urine sample to detect ovulation, rather then changes in cervical mucus in the study was used not to throw off the individuals involved in the study.
    “A study of young college women showed they frequently wore more fashionable or flashier clothing and jewelery when they were ovulating, as assessed by a panel of men and women looking at their photographs…
    “They tend to put on skirts instead of pants, show more skin and generally dress more fashionably,” said Martie Haselton, a communication studies and psychology expert at the University of California Los Angeles who led the study.
    Writing in the journal Hormones and Behavior, Haselton and colleagues said their findings disproved the conventional wisdom that women are unique among animals in concealing, even from themselves, when they are most fertile….
    They asked 30 university students to come to their lab for a test, without letting them know the nature of the experiment. “We asked them some things about food, for example,” Haselton said in a telephone interview…..
    “One of the things we found pretty interesting is that people sort of have their personal style, almost like their uniform,” she added. “The women would show up to the lab wearing something pretty close to what they wore before, but embellished.”
    For example, one woman wore loose knit leggings and a tank top in both photos. “In her high fertility photograph, she would be wearing a very pretty tank top and she was wearing more jewelery. The difference was quite subtle,” Haselton said.
    The fertile women did not necessarily dress more provocatively, Haselton noted. “We did see a little bit more skin. It was my impression that the women were just dressing a little bit more fashionably but not sexier.””

    Martie Haselton has his own website with a collection of papers. I will take a dive into them.
    Ovulatory Shifts in Women’s Preferences, Thoughts, and Behaviors. Women’s heavy investment in reproduction has produced selection for a discriminating sexual psychology. The window of fertility within a woman’s cycle is also fleetingly brief. These two observations suggest that women have mating adaptations that are sensitive to or contingent on fertility status. In our research we are testing

    http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/comm/haselton/research.html

  68. Anonymous

    As for mastubation, I have a great concern because to masturbate you have to play out a fascination in your mind usually with pornography. There is no intamacy or emotion as with love making. So what happens when a teeager finally finds someone to love, and he doesn’t know how to love because sex is just a self gratification tool.

    I’ve dated my fair share of teenage boys as a teenager who regular masturbated with/without born. Honeslty I can tell the difference when someone is making love with you and when someone is merely treating you like the palm of his hand. I was taught that sex was mere recreation and as a young teenager girl to merely particiapte with it.

    Such acts give an unrealistic version of what married life and sex is. Women don’t look like prono stars, we don’t act like them either. We are human being that like to be treated like one. I don’t want the guy thinking of something else, I want the guy to be thinking of me in bed.

    Personally I don’t want to look at porn or watch a guy masturbate, I want him to make love to me and understand sex is to make love not just to blow off steam. I want a guy to save that sexual energy all for me and not release it on image, and like I said a mere orafice to fulfill out an false image in his head. Sex serves a purpose greater then ourselves.

    Just to explain regarding Natural Family Planning, a lot of non-Catholic use it also. There is a non-religious website called Taking Charge of YOur Fertility. http://www.tcoyf.com where women finally learn about their bodies, something they don’t teach in sex eduation. All sex ed is about do what feels good and just don’t get pregnant, without much talk about the biology of the body.

    And on a theological note, there is a great website by Christopher West who explains Theology of the Body, he has several essays. I’m not trying to be preachy, but if you are going to disagree with the Churches teaches I have to inform want they are and not base it on secular rumors.

  69. Anonymous

    Um…wasn’t the point about breasts primarily being for providing nourishment for infants mine to begin with…? How the hell did you get licensed to practice (or “not-practice”) law in this country? And, yeah, that’s a serious question.

    The reason why women can’t achieve orgasm is because of the pill? Um, hon, what about all those women pre-pill…and the women who’ve never been on it…? The reason why many women can’t achieve orgasm from intercourse alone has nothing to do with hormones. It’s strictly a mechanical issue. And they can achieve orgasm when intercourse is either accompanied by other forms of clitoral or G-spot stimulation. So, um, no.

    Um…the rest of that…uh, and this has exactly what to do with the discussion…?? Why are you cutting and pasting that nonsense here…? Yes, women are hornier when they’re more likely to become pregnant. Duh. Your point, please…?

    With masturbation, you have to play out a fascination with pornography in your mind…? Sweet Jesus, but where do you get this from, seriously? Yes, people fantasize. They do this even when they’re having sex with their spouses. Sometimes they even share their fantasies and play them out. And ya know what, hon? The Church doesn’t care. They’re totally okay with it. If a wife wants to run around in a little french maid outfit and tickle her husband with the feather duster (okay, really lame fantasy, but I’m not sure Renee is ready for the duct tape and hot candle wax…/rolleyes), it’s not wrong/dirty/bad/sinful, and you’d be hard put to find a priest to tell you it is. So, yeah, masturbation is against Church teaching, but please spare us the armchair psychology, ‘k?

    As for your experiences, sounds like you have had a lot of sex partners. And I’m glad you dated those teenage boys when you were a teen, too. It would be beyond creepy had you dated them as a forty-something.

    Yes, dear. We all want our SOs to be fully focussed on us, and some of us actually want to focus on our SOs, too, rather than sit back and take notes on how he’s doing, or compare him to other partners we may or may not have had. So, yeah…why you think marriage has anything to do with this, I don’t know, ’cause you can run down to any women’s shelter and find tons of married Catholic women with the bruises, broken bones, and scars that prove that Catholic marriage means nothing in itself. It’s what each individual brings to the relationship, not the ritual or the denomination of the house of worship the ritual took place in.

    You’re not trying to be preachy? Of course not. You are being preachy.

    I know what the Church teaches, and I know that a huge percentage of what you’re passing off as both Church teaching and psychology is a load of horse manure.

  70. Anonymous

    Oh…and here’s one for ya, Renee-the-non-practicing-lawyer…

    Some women can achieve orgasm via nipple stimulation alone…

    Now why would God go and do that, huh?

    Frankly, I think it’s ’cause God likes women a lot more than the Catholic Church ever did. I think it’s ’cause God actually sees women as more than walking uteruses.

    Women are infinitely more complex than men, sexually speaking, and infinitely more powerful. We have stronger, longer orgasms, sometimes multiple orgasms, we can achieve orgasm in all kinds of nifty little ways, and our orgasms aren’t directly linked to procreation or fertility at all.

    And the Catholic Church has done everything they possibly can to quash women’s natural sexuality from day one. The truth is, our sexuality and the power it has scares the bloody hell out of the dried up, misogynistic men that make up the institution that is the Catholic Church.

  71. proud to be an atheist

    Renee,

    Did you ever stop to think that if the Catholic “men of the cloth” were allowed to be married, and didn’t think masturbation was sooooo bad, that maybe they would have a HEALTHY outlet for their sexual frustration and not take it out on innocent little boys???

    Oh, one of the links you had in your own blog, it states that masturbation is a-okay as long as it leads to pro-creation. And focus on the family thinks it is a grand thing to do.

    You do not need porn to masturbate, you do not need a visual or a fantasy going on in your head or playing on the t.v. to masturbate. Do it as a couple, for eachother, you might be suprised at what a turn on it is.

    One last thing, I am one of those women that cannot have an orgasm without clitoral stimulation, and I do not take birth control. Your study is bogus, sorry.

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