Tell Me Again Why He Deserves Forgiveness? August 14, 2010

Tell Me Again Why He Deserves Forgiveness?

It’s always fun to make Christians explain why a kind person who doesn’t believe in the divinity of Jesus will go to Hell, while a repentant serial killer who accepts Jesus in his heart will go to Heaven.

Next time you have that conversation, just hand them this article from The Onion:

If it weren’t for the Savior, I’d still be living with a horribly tormented conscience like some chump. I used to think that maybe, just maybe, I could ease some of the unrelenting pain after a lifetime of good works and contrition. But once God’s grace washed over me — and that took, what, maybe 15 minutes at most? — I knew I was in the clear.

Bing, bang, boom. Salvation.

I mean, it’s too bad I’ll never get back those days I squandered on unbearable guilt, but Jesus bailed me out big time, so I’m not going to complain. No sense in living in the past. The man who took five innocent lives in brutal fashion and made himself a glass of chocolate milk afterward might as well be a totally different person. I walk in the Lord now.

Of course, the laws of man will keep me physically behind bars for the rest of my life. But my soul has been set free by the Lord and by the sacrifice of His only son. Despite all my earthly sins, He has redeemed me. He always does.

Had I known that sooner, I would’ve killed way more people.

If any Christians are laughing after reading that, I’d love to know why…

(Thanks to John for the link)


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  • Reginald Selkirk

    Robert Ingersoll wrote
    “The creed that you have left behind, that you have repudiated, teaches that a man may be guilty of every crime — that he may have driven his wife to insanity, that his example may have led his children to the penitentiary, or to the gallows, and that yet, at the eleventh hour, he may, by what is called “repentance,” be washed absolutely pure by the blood of another and receive and wear upon his brow the laurels of eternal peace. Not only so, but that creed has taught that this wretch in heaven could look back on the poor earth and see the wife, whom he swore to love and cherish, in the mad-house, surrounded by imaginary serpents, struggling in the darkness of night, made insane by his heartlessness — that creed has taught and teaches that he could look back and see his children in prison cells, or on the scaffold with the noose about their necks, and that these visions would not bring a shade of sadness to his redeemed and happy face. It is this doctrine, it is this dogma — so bestial, so savage as to beggar all the languages of men — that I have denounced. All the words of hatred, loathing and contempt, found in all the dialects and tongues of men, are not sufficient to express my hatred, my contempt, and my loathing of this creed.”

  • Dan

    I don’t believe that all Christians think that it is simply a matter of repenting. Many think it is based on your actions and works, the test for heaven.

    That being said, it is appalling that some do think that no matter what you have done, you simply need to accept Jesus and bam! You’re in.

  • Roxane

    Very timely. I recently watched an excellent Hitchens video on the moral bankruptcy of salvation by proxy–of even thinking that you can absolve yourself of your responsibility by foisting it off on someone else, who gets tortured to death for it.

  • Roxane

    @Reginald Selkirk: I’ve often thought about that. If, say, a mother goes to heaven and her child does not, how on earth could heaven not be hell for her? In order for her to be OK with being in heaven, her “soul” would have to be so “transformed” that it wouldn’t even recognizably be her any more.

  • Matt

    @Roxane
    I think I have a possible answer to that question. A true believer, while they may love their family, is loyal to god first and foremost. God is more important than the mother’s child. In such a way, the mother may pity her child for going to hell, but will still be happy because she is where she really wants to be.

    This is just me guessing at the minds of a crazy person though. 😛

  • «bønez_brigade»

    ‘Tis an excellent piece.

  • Dan: I’m sure that there are Christians who believe that their good works are what get them into heaven; I’m pretty sure most of my family are such people. But that’s a belief that goes directly against their scripture, which creates an interesting problem: Why do people call themselves Christians when they clearly follow a belief system they’ve invented by scavenging bits of dogma from what the source of Christianity – the Bible – actually teaches?

    Luckily, apostates like myself tend not to have to deal with such cognitive dissonance 🙂

  • Sorry, but this banner was funnier than the story: http://i.imgur.com/IkpGK.png

    This is what I call a Friendly Atheist 🙂 j/k

  • Jeff

    @Matt: God is more important than the mother’s child. In such a way, the mother may pity her child for going to hell, but will still be happy because she is where she really wants to be.

    Yes, that is what many of them think – they’ll know, but they won’t care. They’ll “see as God sees” – iow, “they had it coming”:

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2002/april22/27.84.html

    http://www.epm.org/resources/2010/Mar/26/if-our-loved-ones-are-hell-wont-spoil-heaven/

    The there are those who believe God will erase their memories, so they won’t have to think about their children being tormented for eternity.

    They really are the worst people in the world.

  • JJR

    The crazy thing is, Jeffrey Dahmer could have penned that, since he underwent a jailhouse conversion. He was later murdered by other inmates exacting their own brand of vigilante justice. But if Christianity is true, Dahmer sings with the angels now, which is a vomit inducing idea that is mercifully pure fiction.

  • Philbert

    You’re asking Christians to defend straw man theology from Onion-world. It is satire.

  • Siamang

    JJR…

    Not only is Dahmer in heaven, according to that belief..

    But ALSO if any of his victims, by his actions, died before converting to christianity, they are in hell.

    If the victims had lived to a ripe old age, they might have seen in the fullness of their years, the wisdom to turn to christ. However, Dear Jeffrey killed and ate them, and so their souls will roast forever and ever, Amen.

    It’s like whoever came up with this bullshit never even thought about it for ten minutes before preaching it to the world as a creed.

    Also, that Ingersoll guy? What a STRIDENT New Atheist. What’s with these strident new atheists all over the place? This strident stuff is all new.

  • Siamang

    Philbert…

    So obviously there are no True Christians who believe such stuff, huh?

    Sorry, they exist. I’ve had conversations with them. They seriously believe Dahmer is in heaven.

  • Philbert

    They might believe Dahmer is in Heaven, but I doubt he went around saying he wished he’d killed more people. That’s not generally what is meant by repentance.

  • Drew M

    You know, if I didn’t see it was the Onion, I wouldn’t be sure it was satire.

  • Daniel

    When I first deconverted, it was a flurry of emotions. Sadness was one of the biggest ones, as was fear. I cried for hours for several days when my God died. The person who was protecting me from war, who was guiding my career decisions, my morals, my future family, never existed. I was an extremely devout Christian. I had strict morals that I imposed on myself, but I was also an advocate of gentle conversion. I did not condemn homosexuals, instead, I presented Christ to them. God was my only friend at that time, and I loved him more than my own life.

    Among all the negative emotions I experienced when he “died”, I did experience some positive ones.

    All the issues that plagued me as a Christian: war, abortion, homosexuality, lieing, etc. As a Christian, I was in a mental hell trying to decrypt what my contradictory 1000+ page holy book had to say about them.

    The biggest positive feeling though, was the realization that all of my failures and accomplishments were my own, and had nothing to do with any divine being. I was once, in my life, self-allowed to have pride in my actions.

    My emotions were no longer forbidden. Anger, lust, hatred, jealousy, material desire; I could have them all with no remorse and no imaginary consequences. I didn’t have to ask forgiveness from anyone.

    I didn’t have to love my brother, the brother who heavily physically abused, as well as verbal and emotionally, me as a child. The one who kicked me, punched me, chocked me and cut me. I could hate my father for the verbal, emotional and physical abuse I suffered because of him. I could hate them with all of my heart. It felt good. It did not consume me like I’d always been told hate would, it released me. For the first time in my life, I could mourn my abuse. I could wish horrible things to happen to someone, with no remorse.

    It made me realize, that the Christian philosophy of forgive 70 times 7 for the same offense is crock shit. Serial killers? I can hate them. Pedophiles? I can hate them. Black people? If I want, I can hate them. Satanists? Fags? If I want, I can hate them, but I can also love them, or just feel neutrally about them. That’s really the best part of atheism. I am amoral. I don’t make decisions based on if they are “right” or “wrong”. I use logic.

    It helped me get over the death of my God. Yeah, I couldn’t pray to him for help, but I also didn’t have to pray for forgiveness.

  • AM

    If I recall correctly, Catholic Christians believe in the grace of God and doing good works to get to heaven. The Church of England followed the same path. It was Martin Luther and the Reformation that created the puritanical ideology of heaven being for the saved only.

    Some years ago while working at a Christian preschool I was admonished for my “Church of England” beliefs, though I was agnostic at the time, that the only way I would get to heaven would be through recognizing Jesus died for my sins. It didn’t take me much time after that before I stopped equating good morals to being a Christian. I find the whole talk of Christians being full of peace, love and compassion totally hypocritical. They’re no different from the impression we can have of Muslims, they’re just more deceiptful in the way they do things.

  • Anonymous Atheist

    Daniel – And (speaking from experience) it relieves you from having to wonder why God allowed such bad things to happen to you despite your prayers, as if you ‘deserved’ it all for some twisted reason.

  • Dan W

    I love The Onion. They consistently do some of the best satire I’ve seen.

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of Christians that seem to think that way. Some think good works are important, but so many think it doesn’t matter what harmful things they do as long as the believe in Jesus. And so there are plenty of Christians who are complete assholes to other people.

  • Andrew

    I think there’s a bit of a disconnect between Christian Ideology, What Many Christians believe, and what non-Christians think Christians believe. I always cringe when I hear Christians promote ideas that go directly against their own supposed ideology (Which seems to be whatever is convenient at the time). For transparency’s sake, I’m a Christian (Not a pastor or anything), but I tend to dislike most other Christians.

    The General Christian lowdown if anyone is interested? (crickets, I’m sure…)

    1) Sin is not just a “bad thing”, it can be defined as that which separates humans from God (and heaven with the harps and halos)

    2) Everyone has sin because, let’s face it, people suck. Yeah, you too. Anyone who has ever been harassed by a Christian also knows that Jesus forgives these sins, though I like to use the word “nullify” because it’s a little fancier sounding and more sci-fi. Which I also like.

    3) Presumably, at the end of time, Jesus will be all like, yea or nay, on the entrance to heaven thing. At that point, you saying, “I fed the poor, and other good stuff,” will be kind of like meeting some Olympic athlete and telling them how proud you are of sometimes taking the stairs instead of the elevator except a gajillion times more pathetic. So that’s why just being good isn’t really good enough. A gallon of perfume wont change the fact that you stepped in shit a few blocks back.

    4) As for Dahmer’s unconverted victims going to Hell? I kind of got nothing except that maybe they’ll get like a last minute opportunity where Jesus is like, “Okay, last chance… Do you believe in me?” Not exactly biblical, as far as I know. Still trying to figure that one out.

    But maybe they don’t get a reprieve? Maybe they don’t get shit? I’m not sure where this whole idea came about that any proper religion has to be fair. Maybe the universe is just unfair? Wouldn’t we agree that it kind of fits the pattern of the world as we observe it? Maybe some other Christian has a better answer for this than I do. But if you stop believing in God, the world doesn’t become more fair. At best, it just kind of stays equally unfair.

    Wow, super long. Sorry about that.

  • L. Vellenga

    ok – i’m a christian and i did laugh. here’s a couple of thoughts as to why:

    1) the punchline is unexpected: the guy bemoans the *wrong* missed opportunity. (it also reminds me of the ex-leper in “the life of brian” — also very funny.)

    2) it seems to equate the intensity of the feeling of relief from the weight of sin to the severity of the sin itself. in other words, “dude — if it feels this good to be forgiven for X, i shoulda done more so i could get a stronger hit of grace.” now i’m a ‘diminishing marginal returns’ kind of person when it comes to sin, i think — once you pass a certain point, each successive act contributes less and less of a sense of moral guilt (i.e. it gets easier), so the idea of killing more people to be extra-forgiven is, to me, absurd. romans 6 has the definitive spin on this, fwiw.

    and lastly, re: knowing other christians who think like this, i can’t say. sadly, a decision to follow jesus as leader and lord does not necessarily or automatically grant one a working brain. i’m certain there are embarrassingly stupid atheists out there (present company excluded, of course), so there could be people who think this way. but maybe that’s due to other things besides the tenets of christianity itself.

  • Sock

    @Andrew

    Sounds to me like you believe in something guarding the gates to eternal peace, but not necessarily the Jesus and Yahweh that most Christians talk about.

    Religion, and the labels attached to it, are entirely about the details and rituals and beliefs. You can’t change those entirely from the dogma and pretend that you still believe the same thing. You don’t.

    You may want to be called a Christian cause you do believe in an afterlife, but you can’t honestly consider yourself a Christian if you don’t believe in everything the Bible says, word for word, because the bible is the -only- source for knowledge about the Christian afterlife. Everything else is completely made up.

  • Jeff-

    Those articles made me throw up in my mouth a little. Thanks for ruining my day. 🙂

  • Jeff

    But maybe they don’t get a reprieve? Maybe they don’t get shit? I’m not sure where this whole idea came about that any proper religion has to be fair. Maybe the universe is just unfair? Wouldn’t we agree that it kind of fits the pattern of the world as we observe it? Maybe some other Christian has a better answer for this than I do. But if you stop believing in God, the world doesn’t become more fair. At best, it just kind of stays equally unfair.

    No, Andrew. For many of us, it actually becomes more bearable, when we realize that the unfairness stops when we die. It isn’t mismanaged for eternity by some cosmic psychopath.

    i’m certain there are embarrassingly stupid atheists out there

    Actually, there don’t seem to be. If there are, they’re so few and far between that I’ve never met any. On the other hand, you can’t turn around these days without tripping over a dumb-as-dirt Christian. Atheists tend to think deeply about what they believe, and why. I challenge you to say the same of most Christians – at least, those who have the ability to think deeply about anything.

  • Jeff

    @Keith: Those articles made me throw up in my mouth a little. Thanks for ruining my day.

    Sorry. They are highly illustrative, however. I challenge the Christians posting comments here to read them. Then come back and lecture us about the superiority of the Christian belief system.

  • muggle

    I don’t believe that all Christians think that it is simply a matter of repenting. Many think it is based on your actions and works, the test for heaven.

    My understanding as a former Christian is both. First, you’ve got to accept Jesus as your savior and then you’ve got to walk the talk by not sinning or at least doing your damnest not to. When I was Christian, I spent a lot of time begging Jesus to yet again forgive me for bullshit slip-ups. Stupid shit like wishing bad things to happen to mean people.

    So, yeah, you could kill any number of people, rape babies, any vile thing you can think of or someone more twisted than you could think of and still be forgiven at the end of your life.

    The catch is that once you have that epiphany that Jesus is Lord then you have to act right before him, submit your will to his and go forth and sin no more.

    So the I should have killed still more people doesn’t work. The murderer couldn’t kill more once the lightbulb went off and not be judged for it and he couldn’t have asked forgiveness before believing in Christ.

    All that rot.

  • tomath

    Which is the greater injustice: Jeffrey Dahmer (or fill in any extremely despised evil person) getting into heaven, or Jeffrey Dahmer (or anyone else) going to hell for all eternity? Isn’t this the most important question? Do many Christians even ask this of themselves? If they do and then think of answering that that judgment is not up to them to make, then they’re just avoiding the question. They may think that by giving themselves to ‘God’ or Jesus they are trusting ‘His’ judgment instead of their own. But isn’t it their own judgment in choosing to believe in this ‘giving over’ of their judgment in the first place? Doesn’t the atheist then have a right to use his own judgment also when he/she decides that such giving over of judgment is Not in any way a wise choice let alone his obligation?

  • tomath

    And to just continue a bit, do many atheists ask the question I first posed above? Is it an unimportant question to them? Or had they just not thought of it before? I’m curious to know.

  • I think that forgiveness is a pretty reasonable policy most of the time. The alternative is letting the wrongs we’ve had done to us fester. Of course I also believe that there have to be limits otherwise we’d get walked all over. the point I’m trying to make is that we forgive others for our own peace of mind and not to please some divine scoreboard.

  • @tomath
    yeah ive often wondered that 1 myself, seems odd and hardly just that 1 could be punished with an infinite punishment for a finite crime, kinda goes against the idea of eye for an eye tooth for a tooth heh (which contray to popular belief it doesnt mean a punishment should be equivilent to the crime it means the punishment should never be more severe than the crime only slight difference but im a sucker for technicalities :D)

    the idea of the christian heaven ironicly enough would be my own personal hell, being all happy up there whilst knowing full well there would be potentialy billions of others suffering eternily and not being able to do anything about it but then mabie im just far too big a softie >.< haha

  • p.s.

    Actually, there don’t seem to be. If there are, they’re so few and far between that I’ve never met any. On the other hand, you can’t turn around these days without tripping over a dumb-as-dirt Christian. Atheists tend to think deeply about what they believe, and why. I challenge you to say the same of most Christians – at least, those who have the ability to think deeply about anything.

    I disagree. Stupidity does not discriminate, and there are alot of different types of stupid.
    There are plenty of atheists who believe in all sorts of woo and insane conspiracy theories. I think they just tend to be more vocal about the crazy and less vocal about their atheism.

  • muggle

    p.s., absolutely. I have a nonbelieving sister who defines white trash as whites who want to act black. I got into quite an argument over it with her when it struck me that what she was saying was that all blacks act like trash. I could not shake her from this ridiculous stereotype no matter what intelligent, classy examples of persons of color I gave her. She and I have fallen out over this and other issues and I haven’t spoken to her in years. I’d like to think that having a black president would change her mind but somehow I doubt it.

  • tomath

    muggle,
    You’ve given An example of a non-believer who has a wrong belief about another matter entirely than the far-flung issue of gods and other ‘woo’. The latter are such extremely wild ideas that are infrequently reconsidered by their believers that the comparison p.s. makes here is poor. When p.s. said ‘I disagree’ after citing 5 sentences which essentially state that the writer has met few ‘dumb as dirt’ atheists but quite a few ‘dumb as dirt’ Christians, and also that atheists Tend to be more deep thinkers about religion since they, most of them perhaps, had to do so in their reconsideration of those beliefs into which they had been indoctrinated, something of which most Adult Christians of the
    Bible-is-literally-true variety apparently have done little. I know I’m putting a lot of extra words into that writer’s pen with this interpretation, but the point is that p.s. should have said what sentence in that set of 5 he disagreed with. For example, does he disagree that the writer has met much fewer ‘dumber than dirt’ (DTD) atheists than DTD Christians? Does he disagree that the writer ‘challenges you to say the same …’? What I’ve had to do is surmise from what p.s. says next that there’s not much difference between the craziness of the beliefs of Christians and that of atheists. I don’t think that’s a supportable position, and it’s obviously not supported by the four sentences p.s. wrote in response to what he quoted. He also throws in ‘insane conspiracy theories’ as something he sees a significant amount of in atheists beliefs. How does he know any of those is insane? Is he saying that no conspiracy theories are true? Are there no evil conspiracies going on anywhere? Has he investigated the majority of them so that he could at least say, with some credibility, that most of them are Likely to be false? I doubt that he’s done this. Besides, how does the craziness of a conspiracy theory compare to the craziness of believing in magic beings in a supernatural world? Isn’t there a gigantic gap there?

    Christopher Hitchens, quite an intelligent atheist, believes that the US was justified in invading Iraq, if my understanding is correct, and I think this idea is ‘crazy’, but I don’t think it makes Hitchens a crazy person. I think he can make at least a fairly cogent argument to support his position, Something which Christians rarely do regarding their religious beliefs.

  • p.s.

    tomath,
    This may not be the most coherent (not feeling too great today) so just let me know if something is unclear. Also, since we are using pronouns, I should point out that I am a “she”, not a “he” 🙂 now on to the stuff that matters.
    I’m challenging the idea that christians (and any theists) are inherently dumber than atheists. I know many theists who hold on to their beliefs through faith and admit that that is an emotional choice, not a logical one. They are, however, quite logical about the “real world”.
    The “dumb” christians-the creationists, the young earthers, the ones who claim to have a good, logical proof for god, the ones who deny practical medicine to those who really need it- tend to be more vocal about their christianity (i.e get more news coverage) than the smart christians I know. So I think it is likely that jeff is only including these vocal christians in his evaluation of christian intelligence.

    As to my “crazy conspiracy theories” comment- most “theories” that 9/11 was an inside job is crazy, unscientific, and the “proof” they have is easily debunked. The “theory” that the government is actually controlled by lizard men in disguise is crazy. the birthers are crazy. Alot of the christians I know do not try to define every good act as an “act of god” or every misunderstood phenomenon as a miracle. they do not purposefully distort our present reality the way the conspiracy nutters do. In that sense, yes, the conspiracy theorists are worse than many christians.

    Believing in magic and the supernatural is not limited to theists. Atheists can believe in ghosts, homeopathy, reincarnation, magic, faeries, santa clause, vampires, werewolves, tinker bell, etc. They just don’t believe in god.

    Justifying going into iraq is not crazy, I’m not sure why you think I would say that. I personally don’t support it, but I don’t think the logic is crazy. It just shows different priorities.

    I don’t think having faith makes someone crazy/DTD. It’s emotional and unscientific, but that doesn’t make it crazy.

  • Jeff

    I know many theists who hold on to their beliefs through faith and admit that that is an emotional choice, not a logical one.

    I’m sorry; I don’t accept this, although it isn’t important enough to argue about.

  • Andrew wrote:

    Everyone has sin because, let’s face it, people suck. Yeah, you too. Anyone who has ever been harassed by a Christian also knows that Jesus forgives these sins…

    For the life of me, I just can’t understand the extreme self-loathing of this worldview. If people really believe they are these loathsome sinners, how can they ever feel good about themselves? How can they have self-esteem if everything about them is bad except the part that’s been “nullified” by Jesus? It sounds very emotionally unhealthy to me.

  • tomath

    p.s.,
    I’ll assume Jeff is the person you quoted at 10:53 am. @ 2:15 pm you said: “I’m challenging the idea that christians (and any theists) are inherently dumber than atheists”. I didn’t put forth that idea nor do I think Jeff did. You said yourself later “I think it is likely that jeff is only including these vocal christians in his evaluation of christian intelligence”. I would agree with that but add further that I don’t think Jeff or I are in any position to evaluate anyone’s intelligence based on one related set of hare-brained ideas (religion) they have adopted in their lives, even the extreme Christians; after all, these beliefs are mostly adopted in childhood and adolescence and held in place mostly through fear, in my opinion, so this does not tell us much about their intelligence, really. What I try to do then is to use epithets at a minimum and only to characterize ideas rather than persons. As to conspiracy theories, you are still condemning them all as crazy/nutty or whatever. I personally think some of them are true–I just don’t know which ones and don’t intend to do the work to find out. But when I hear a theory of any kind, I like to think I’d give it a fair hearing and think about it if it doesn’t sound too unlikely at first. I have some offhand theories of my own but I don’t believe them with any certainty because I haven’t verified their truth yet, I just speculate with them. I don’t think that’s a nutty thing to do. Many scientific theories sounded nutty to people at first but turned out to be quite viable, useful, and verifyable.
    You also say: “Justifying going into iraq is not crazy, I’m not sure why you think I would say that. I personally don’t support it, but I don’t think the logic is crazy. It just shows different priorities”. You’re right that the word ‘crazy’ is a poor characterization of faulty logic, expecially when the person putting forth the argument is really arguing logically to the best of his ability, which is considerable in the case of Hitchens. I didn’t say you thought his logic was crazy as if it was one of the conspiracy theories; I was saying *I* thought his justification was crazy, and I wish I’d used a less hyperbolic term.

  • tomath

    p.s.,

    You say: “Atheists can believe in ghosts, homeopathy, reincarnation, magic, faeries, santa clause, vampires, werewolves, tinker bell, etc. They just don’t believe in god”. I suppose they ‘can’, but DO they in significant numbers? If so, how do you prove that? On the other hand, theists *all* believe in magic (miracles and creation from nothing) and the supernatural and few if any would deny that. For some time after becoming an atheist, I retained a partial belief in the supernatural but only because it seemed that the evidence for it was quite substantial. But more recently (a few years ago) I saw the evidence mount against it and decided that the supernatural did not exist and that all was natural only. My former belief in it, and remember it was not a certainty of a high level, was not based on any faith. It was based on what I *thought* was plausible evidence.

  • Jeff

    Actually, on the whole, I do think atheists are more intelligent than conservative Christians. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I think there are more intelligent atheists than there are intelligent fundies.

    This is a nation of abject morons. We’re the laughing stock of the developed world. There are also tens of millions of conservative Christians. As they say – do the math.

    There is a nascent but growing body of evidence suggesting a neurological foundation for fundamentalism. This doesn’t necessarily indicate low intelligence – it would be more along the lines of a developmental disorder – but fundies do tend to eschew or regard with suspicion anything they see as being too “intellectual”.

    In any case, I stand by what I said. Atheists tend to put a great deal of though into their positions. People of faith generally don’t. Either they’re brought up with it, or they come to it for emotional reasons. A number of times, I’ve I’ve had Christians tell me, “I can assure you, I’ve investigated the alternatives thoroughly”, or “I would change my mind if presented with sufficient evidence”. It would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic. Of course, no amount of evidence would ever be sufficient. The bottom line is that they believe because they want to believe. It’s a form of addiction – and, is always the case with addicts, other people are subordinated to their need. As long as they get what they want – the feeling of being “saved”, of belonging to something greater than themselves – everyone else can quite literally go to hell. Your eternal destiny is sacrificed on the altar of their security.

    I suppose one could get into a long discussion about what constitutes “intelligence”, how do we define it, are there different kinds, etc. I’m really not interested; it’s just easier to call them morons – and, as I said above, they are also the word people in the world.

    As far as the purveyors of woo are concerned – yes, New Age people are some of the dumbest people on the planet, but I wouldn’t necessarily describe them as atheists. A lot of them believe in God, and, even when they don’t, they believe in “spirit guides” and the like. They’re functional children, really.

  • tomath

    Jeff,
    You seem to be ignoring the fundamental (excuse the expression) background of why people wind up with religious beliefs, namely childhood indoctrination and the fear instilled to keep those teachings in place. How can you judge the intelligence of such a person when it is so clear that they are going to, out of fear, purposely avoid any new infusion of knowledge (new to them, that is) that might cause them to doubt their god beliefs. Remember, they believe that atheists go to hell, and of course they don’t want to go there. As ridiculous as their beliefs are in retrospect, most people started out accepting those beliefs as children and continue, through fear, to cling to them. This is not a weakness of intelligence, it is just a sad fact of life for the most complex of living things.

    Also, I don’t think anyone *wants* to believe anything. Why would you or anyone want to believe something? Don’t we all want our beliefs to be true? *Before* we adopt a belief, we would surely like to know if it’s true. But at that point we haven’t yet decided. We don’t then just have a desire to adopt some belief without any idea of whether it will match reality (i.e. whether it is true). No matter how wild a belief is, the believer really thinks that it reflects reality. I think what we should be talking about is education, education, education, ….
    The inadequacy of education, especially in the Red states, can explain a lot about why so much fundamentalism exists here in the states. If we truly believe that people are just dumb, then the real solution, education, will always look futile before we’ve even made a dent in improving it.

  • p.s.

    Woah jeff, I thought we were talking about christians in general. Not “conservative christians” or “fundies”. Again, these tend to be the more vocal groups (westboro church, tea partiers, the book burners, etc) and they are certainly not the majority of christians. Alot of christians don’t believe in hell, or if they do, it’s more of just a “separation from god” rather than a “burn for all eternity” sort of hell. They are genuinely kind people, and can be just as intelligent as atheists. They can be good at science- and I don’t mean in a “christian science” sort of way- they are scientists that happen to be christian. They have just as much respect for a secular government as any atheist. Christianity does not make you stupid, although yes, some use it as an excuse.

    As far as the purveyors of woo are concerned – yes, New Age people are some of the dumbest people on the planet, but I wouldn’t necessarily describe them as atheists. A lot of them believe in God, and, even when they don’t, they believe in “spirit guides” and the like. They’re functional children, really.

    Well now you are changing the definition of atheist. If they don’t believe in a god, they are an atheist. And plenty of them don’t believe in god. Homeopathy is not a religious phenomenon.

    I know many theists who hold on to their beliefs through faith and admit that that is an emotional choice, not a logical one.

    I’m sorry; I don’t accept this, although it isn’t important enough to argue about.

    Which part don’t you accept, that I know people like this, or that someone can have an emotional reason for belief (not knowledge!).

  • tomath

    And yes, the fundamentalists are adamant about keeping their kids as unaware as possible about the big wide world out there so that they won’t be corrupted with any ideas that will cause them to doubt. So it is an obvious uphill battle to improve education for them. But that’s completely understandable, isn’t it? So we need to work from that given situation and that will take some work. And to do this work effectively, we should always try to be realistic and aware about the causes of this problem. If we don’t do that, then it will likely just come down to fighting it out with the fundamentalists and evangelicals instead of finding an intelligent solution that will outwit them and get past their resistance.

  • Jeff

    tomath,

    I don’t dismiss fear – I think it constitutes the lion’s share of the problem – but I also think they’re complicit.

    As far as wanting to believe – I don’t agree. Again, there’s volition involved (insofar as volition is involved in anything we do). Simply expressed, this belief system makes them feel secure. If you have to suffer for eternity for them to have that for a few brief decades while here – they see it as a small price to pay. You are an acceptable loss.

    p.s.,

    The groups you mention are on the extreme end. There are far more fire-and-brimstone Christians among the rank and file than you realize. Tens of millions – hundreds of millions worldwide. If you include the Islamic fundies and the handful of ultra-Orthodox Jews – it’s over a billion. One-sixth of the population who are perfectly comfortable with the idea of the vast majority of human beings suffering for all of eternity.

    This is what has convinced me that humanity is a terminal species. I can see no way in which beings like these can solve their problems.

    Which part don’t you accept, that I know people like this, or that someone can have an emotional reason for belief (not knowledge!).

    I’m sorry; I thought you wrote “atheists”. Early AM.

    If we don’t do that, then it will likely just come down to fighting it out with the fundamentalists and evangelicals instead of finding an intelligent solution that will outwit them and get past their resistance.

    No such solution is possible. They are like a force of nature; they will never stop, and will settle only for complete domination. This is why I have no patience with well-meaning “progressive” evangelicals like Jim Wallis of Sojourners. They want to bring everyone to the table. It cannot be done, and I grow increasingly impatient with those who cling stubbornly to the idea that it can be. This is winner take all.

  • p.s.

    Jeff:
    A couple points:
    1/6th is far from the majority. It’s less than 20%. It kinda sukcs that they hate me, but I can get over that. less than 20% is not a big deal, considering 70%+ of the world is religious.

    I would be skeptical that more than 20-30% of christians are of the fire and brimstone type (That fits your figure of hundreds of millions of mean christians). I would not be surprised if it was closer to 10%. Again, not the majority of christians.

    I’m not saying they don’t exist. I’m not saying their aren’t alot of them. But the stereotype that all theists want all non-theists to suffer is wrong, and goes against what the majority actually think.

  • tomath

    p.s.,
    Is it clear now that Jeff is referring to the ‘fundies’? No need then to go on defending the intelligence of *most* Christians who are not fundies, is there? Jeff’s not attacking them.

    Jeff never ‘changed the definition’ of ‘atheist’. He was referring to ‘New Age people’ in saying that a lot of them believe in God. However, I don’t understand why he put the sentence the way he did: “…but I wouldn’t necessarily describe them as atheists”. p.s. didn’t describe New Agers as atheists, she said or implied that a significant number of atheists are New Agers. Think and write clearly, please, people!

    I see Jeff’s comments as ‘venting’, an expression of his frustration with religious extremists. I’m a bit calmer because I mostly have been able to avoid these people and try to think about positive solutions based on a realistic understanding of the situation.

    And what, p.s., do you mean by an emotional reason to believe something? Are you confusing reason (chain of cause) with motive (desire or fear)? I’ve dealt with both of these types of reason in my most recent posts above. Some comments, please, on these. Ask yourself, if you will please, where do desires come from, i.e. why do certain ones form and others not form? [my answer is that they form based on beliefs. I say the same about fears. So my position is that beliefs are behind (and therefore come before) all motives, and so there can be no motive to believe anything because that would put the motive (desire/fear) before the belief, just the opposite of my reasoning above). I’ve written an essay on this and had it published in a philosophical journal, so some others may have taken the idea seriously also–I hope so.]

  • Jeff

    p.s.,

    Well, we disagree.

    tomath,

    I see Jeff’s comments as ‘venting’, an expression of his frustration with religious extremists.

    No, I really mean it – and I’m actually being rather retrained.

  • p.s.

    Tomath,
    Sorry if anything was unclear. In Jeff’s first post, he simply referred to christians. If he had said fundamentalist christians, I wouldn’t have bothered posting. It’s unfair to christians to lump them in with the extremists, just like it’s unfair to call all muslims terrorists.

    As far as motivations for beliefs go, I think it depends on your priorities. Let’s say I have a choice between broccoli and ice cream. If I prioritized health over taste, I should choose the broccoli. However, considering I’m a tall and healthy 110 lb girl, I generally choose the ice cream, because enjoying the taste is more important to me than the health benefits of broccoli. Neither choice is inherently wrong, baring any allergies/pre existing health conditions 😉
    I don’t think faith is inherently wrong if you like that sort of thing, but like ice cream, if you indulge too much it will make you sick. Religion is fine, as long as it doesn’t kill your brain.
    We make these sorts of choices all the time- love or career, enjoyment or health, to tell a white lie or tell the truth, even if it hurts someone- and it’s not a “this choice is better than that choice for everyone” situation.

    Your position kind of reminds me of Buddhism- it has a “desire leads to suffering” sort of vibe. (please let me know if this is a bad/unfair interpretation) I’m more of a “everything in moderation” sort of gal. Indulging in our desires and fears is fine, as long as we don’t let them control us.

    (personally, I prefer the non existence god over it’s existence, but that’s just me. Everyone is different)

  • tomath

    Jeff,
    So you’re saying we smarter people can’t outwit the fundies and evans and do an end-around their tactics? I don’t advocate going to the table with them–I know it’s impossible to get anywhere that way! But are we smarter or not? Do we have to resort to the violence they often resort to or approve of? We may not presently have a good set of smart, as well as intelligent, people to work on this education problem, but that’s what we need–unless you’re willing to take the risk of losing in pitch battles with the gun-totin’ fundies/evans. Remember that many in the military and police are macho types and may take the side of the extreme religious types (who seem to believe Jesus was a warrier of some sort and approves of pitch battles and such). Like to have all *that* against you? And even if we could somehow win these physical battles how are we going to keep these people in line when those battles are over? You said ‘they’ll never stop’. Well, they’ll never stop if they are physically defeated for sure unless you can kill all of them. Remember, the South still wants to ‘rise again’! We need to keep and use our heads or the apocalypse *will* occur in some form if only partly because of rash decisions *we* make.

  • tomath

    p.s.,
    My discussion about motives (desires and fears) was in response to Jeff’s contention, which I’ve heard many times and have had the audacity to question, that people believe because they want to believe. It has nothing to do with whether desires, for example, are bad or good or lead to suffering. Bhuddism is therefore nothing like what I meant. If my contention is correct, and that requires evaluation like anything else, then we can have a newer and better understanding of what the human brain does regarding beliefs motives and decisions. I didn’t mention that I also place beliefs before decisions because what else can decisions be based on but what we already believe? Then, of course, we can decide what next to believe given what we already believe and what we’ve recently experienced. This picture that I’m building is a radical one and leads to a radical conclusion, which I won’t go into, but I want to see serious criticism or agreement with it so I can either abandon it or develop it further. No response in three years to my essay in the journal, which does go into the consequences of my ideas. So no progress on that front. Here I was just hoping to get a rise out of a few people.

  • p.s.

    Tomath,
    It’s a pretty common idea that we make decisions based on beliefs, desires, and experiences. How is your theory any different? I don’t think I understand what you’re saying.

  • tomath

    p.s.,

    It’s not that decisions are based on beliefs, desires, and experiences as if these are independent entities. I’m saying that desires and fears (motives) and decisions are each based solely on beliefs. One of the consequences of this view is that there are no motives behind beliefs because it is the other way around. Therefore no one believes something because he wants to believe. He may want what he believes are benefits to having a certain belief, but that’s a different thing to want.

  • p.s.

    Tomath,
    Then how do you account for conversions from theism to atheism? or atheism to theism? There are motives behind those changes of belief. If our decisions are based solely on belief, then how does someone go about changing their beliefs?

  • tomath

    p.s.
    An example using the motive of fear: you can’t believe in a god because you fear that he might punish you if you don’t. You would have to believe in that god’s existence in order to have that fear, which of course makes the ‘fear of god’ pointless in converting an atheist.

    Also think about what it means if beliefs come before decisions: It means that our beliefs are not our choice! They occur due to our experiences only and based on beliefs we already have (like, for example, the belief that I just experienced a particular thing, what that thing consisted of, etc.). All of our beliefs are a product of our experiences only, period. ‘We’ do not will them into existence. Now is that radical or not? Well, actually not since it matches up pretty well with a theory called Determinism. However the difference is that I give a reasonable and simple argument for it that I’ve never seen anywhere else.

  • tomath

    p.s.,

    Actually there’s another difference with determinism, but that’s a much less important and technical matter IMO.

  • p.s.

    tomath-
    no, it’s not radical at all. I believe fire is hot because my experience with fire taught me this. I wasn’t born with the knowledge of fire.
    And I disagree. How we interpret our experiences is a choice, and that interpretation leads to beliefs.
    And fear isn’t always the motivation for belief. You are completely ignoring theists who don’t believe in hell or a punishing god.

  • tomath

    p.s.,

    Changes to beliefs occur the same way new beliefs do–they are the sole consequences of our experiences. Why would a theist want to change to atheism. He believes atheism is false. He doesn’t want to convert, but experiences may make it happen anyway. Of course it takes certain kinds of experiences, not just any will do. So if someone never gets that type of experience, he will keep believing as he presently does. So no one ‘goes about’ changing his beliefs, his beliefs just change because certain experiences occured to him.

  • p.s.

    And because he interprets those experiences a certain way.

  • tomath

    p.s.,

    “How we interpret our experiences is a choice, and that interpretation leads to beliefs”. And my theory says that choice is based solely on beliefs and beliefs are, in turn, based solely on experience. So a new experience comes along and we interpret it based on our beliefs (through making a decision which is completely based on our existing beliefs). The result, as you say, is more beliefs, but that result was a result of existing beliefs plus the new experience being interpreted through those existing beliefs. Do you want to bring up ‘Will’? When a decision is made to do something, it is a decision, based on existing beliefs again, that leads to a new (and temporary) belief that the action being considered is worth doing. If you didn’t believe that then you wouldn’t attempt to do it. I know this is a new element to the theory I’m trying to explain, but it all fits together nicely. ‘Will’ is intention which must come after the decision whether the action being contemplated is worth doing. You therefore can’t have the ‘will’ to make a decision come out a certain way, because that ‘will’ can only *follow*, not preceed, the decision that the act considered is worth doing. Of course an ‘act’ would have to be a mental act if the thing to be done is controlling a decision process so that it comes out a certain way. But I’m saying that this can’t be done anyway.

  • p.s.

    I think I see what your saying, but again, I don’t think it’s anything new or radical.
    And if choice is based on beliefs, and beliefs are based on experience, how does someone choose to interpret something in a new way (contrary to their beliefs?) I think you are oversimplifying a complex problem.

  • tomath

    p.s.,

    “And if choice is based on beliefs, and beliefs are based on experience, how does someone choose to interpret something in a new way (contrary to their beliefs?)”. No one does this. First a belief changes due to a new experience (which may cause some mental activity (thinking) which involves a reconsideration of that existing belief. Your belief isn’t changing as your brain does this, but at some point a new connection or realization (correct or not) occurs and the belief may change at that point. At first it is just a speculation, then that speculation is tested for compatibility with the rest of the current belief system (less the belief being reconsidered) and compatibility is found–voila!–a new belief or change to an existing one. But this is not done by the ‘will’; it is an automatic process which, again, will happen under special circumstances where an experience ‘does the job’. We all know, or should know, that we are aware of only a tiny fraction of the mental activity of the brain. A vast majority of it is ‘unconscious’. This fact, I would hope would make it even more plausible to you that your ‘will’ does not control *anything*! Radical enough for you?

  • p.s.

    Again, negating free will is not radical or new. Theists and atheists do it all the time. And at some point, it all comes down to how you define free will and choice.
    I can choose to interpret a beautiful sunset as a sign from god. Or I can choose to interpret it as the wonders of nature. Or I can choose to interpret it as a sign that pollution in the city is increasing. We make conscious decisions about how to view the world around us. We can either choose to look at evidence that goes against our beliefs, or we can choose to ignore it. Experiences are a part of our beliefs, but I don’t think they are the only factor. Someone who is naturally good at math, for instance, may think of the world around him in terms of mathematics. That may lead to seeing the world in a certain way, and would probably contribute to his beliefs. Someone who has an empathetic personality may have more emotional beliefs. People also have the ability to consciously change their beliefs and way of thinking, like kicking a bad habit.

  • tomath

    p.s.,

    What do you think the lack of free will implies? I’ve very rarely, if ever seen people on atheist blogs who believe there is no ‘free will’, either theists or atheists; but let’s leave the radicalness or rareness of my ideas about ‘free will’ as a subject behind. it’s not a point I’m trying to make in presenting my theory. Besides, I’ve said before that Determinism is pretty much what I’m talking about here, but they’ve never, to my knowledge, provided any proof for it. Instead, they start with it as an assumption or axiom and go from there. I think my argument about the necessary time order of experience–>beliefs–>choice–>will (or intention) is a way to prove Determinism. When was the last time you read about Determinism and what do you think of it? What’s important about it is its consequences if it is true. Have you thought about its consequences regarding religion, deserving, and morality? I know I haven’t defined ‘free will’ but that seems to be because it is such a vague concept as believed in by others. I don’t even want to attempt to define what others use the term to mean. I simply try to show that our will doesn’t control anything which would pretty much rule out ‘free will’ by whatever definition, wouldn’t it?

  • tomath

    p.s.,

    On second thought I think we are talking past one another and are not focussing on the validity or invalidity of single concepts. To really give a theory a chance, we must study it closely and really address its points one at a time. You don’t appear to be interested in doing that and keep throwing out multiple scattered thoughts and vague ideas (what’s an ’emotional belief’?, for instance), and also keep dismissing the theory without real focus on any particular point I’ve made. So I think we might as well stop here. Thanks for your interest anyway.

  • p.s.

    thanks for the condescending tone tomath. You were the one who kept insisting your theory was “radical”. I’m merely pointing out that every thing you have said so far has been said before, and in my opinion, it has been said with much more eloquence.

    I’ve very rarely, if ever seen people on atheist blogs who believe there is no ‘free will’, either theists or atheists; but let’s leave the radicalness or rareness of my ideas about ‘free will’ as a subject behind

    If you go to the forums you’ll find a few discussions on free will and it’s nature there. A big example among the theists are the calvinists.

    Besides, I’ve said before that Determinism is pretty much what I’m talking about here, but they’ve never, to my knowledge, provided any proof for it.

    Neither have you. What exactly is your proof?

    When was the last time you read about Determinism and what do you think of it? What’s important about it is its consequences if it is true. Have you thought about its consequences regarding religion, deserving, and morality?

    Well I don’t really care about it’s consequences to religion because I’m not religious, and I don’t really see the point. Not sure what you mean by deserving or morality… if you mean that it’s human instinct to function in a society (don’t kill, steal, etc) then fine. I also think humans can rise above instinct through critical thinking. All of our beliefs are not instinctual or experienced. I never had an experience that made me an atheist. We can think through what we believe and why, and attempt to be objective. We can build a beliefe system around what we think is important- whether that be the truth, emotional health, the people we care about, or anything else.

    I simply try to show that our will doesn’t control anything which would pretty much rule out ‘free will’ by whatever definition, wouldn’t it?

    If you are going to say we have no free will, you better have a good grasp of what free will you’re talking about. If you decide to shave your head, that’s your choice. If I hold a gun to your head and make you shave your head, that is not your choice. Just because I can predict your actions does not mean I control your actions, or that your actions are controlled at all. If you want to say that my actions are controlled by the neurons firing in my brain and dictated by the stronger neural path (which is not always true- to break an addiction or change a way of thinking we have to form new paths that are weaker than the old ones) that’s fine, but I still consider that free will. I am more than a product of my environment because as a human, I have the ability to think critically about my experiences.

  • tomath

    p.s.,

    To be clearer, what you’ve been doing is just contradicting my conclusions in several different ways and without any stated basis, and not addressing the arguments themselves at all. That’s not what I would consider a fair evaluation or pointed criticism that might be helpful. It is simply dismissive at every step.

  • p.s.

    To be clearer, what you’ve been doing is just contradicting my conclusions in several different ways and without any stated basis, and not addressing the arguments themselves at all.

    If I’m contradicting your conclusions, isn’t that addressing the argument? I It’s your conclusion, not mine. I do not agree with your conclusion, and the fact that you expect me to is simply not fair. I have given you plenty of criticism. You are the one who is not addressing my points which, as you put it, contradict your own. don’t need a stated basis to point out an argument’s flaws. I honestly don’t know how the brain works. I don’t know alot about neuroscience or biology (I don’t do the squishy sciences). But you know what I do know, thomas? I know a logical mistake when I see one, and I know my own choices, experiences, and beliefs, and I can objectively view my past decisions/beliefs and see how all three- choices, experiences, and beliefs- are all tangled up together in a big ol’ ball of crazy. If you don’t feel the same, well, I guess you should feel blessed for living a fairly simplistic life.
    I am not interested in helping you solidify an argument I think is wrong. I am pointing out the flaws I see, and you haven’t countered any of them. You say that we don’t have free will without having a solid definition of what free will is. You have not addressed my point that how our experiences affect us is often a result of how we interpret those experiences. You are over simplifying a rather complex problem, and I’m sorry if I’m a little skeptical that you have unlocked the secretes of the brain when generations of philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists have failed to do so. And I’m pretty sure most of them were/are smarter than either you or me.

  • tomath

    And I didn’t ‘keep insisting’ that my ideas about ‘free will’ were radical. *You* kept insisting that I was claiming something radical that I was not. The only comment where I claimed a radical idea was at 1:28 pm. And it was an idea I’ve seen nowhere else. Later @ 2:13 pm I admitted that one of my stated ideas was *not* radical because it occurs in the theory of Determinism.

  • p.s.

    @ 3:33-

    This fact, I would hope would make it even more plausible to you that your ‘will’ does not control *anything*! Radical enough for you?

    @ 8:44-

    Besides, I’ve said before that Determinism is pretty much what I’m talking about here, but they’ve never, to my knowledge, provided any proof for it.

    You are claiming your position is radical. You are claiming to be brining something new to determinism. You claim to have “proof.”
    What is your proof? What’s new?

  • tomath

    Addressing the conclusion of an argument and simply saying it’s not true (no matter how many impressive ways you say it) is *not* addressing the argument.

  • tomath

    @ 3:33 was a snarky reaction to your insistence that I was advancing a commonly known idea (no free will) as radical, when I was not. What I think is radical, and I stated it only once before this point, is my idea about necessary time sequence of the four elements: experiences–>beliefs–>decisions–>will, which I consider my proof of Determinism, loosely constructed, so far, but it takes many words to fully describe it so I haven’t done it here for brevity’s sake, though I tried my best to make it clear and concise.

  • p.s.

    @ 3:33 was a snarky reaction to your insistence that I was advancing a commonly known idea (free will) as radical, when I was not.

    I didn’t say anything about free will. I said that I didn’t think anything you were saying was particularly new. You brought up free will, and whether it was snarky or not, you later implied that your view was radical (or at the least, rare)-

    I’ve very rarely, if ever seen people on atheist blogs who believe there is no ‘free will’, either theists or atheists; but let’s leave the radicalness or rareness of my ideas about ‘free will’ as a subject behind

    I agree, we should leave it behind. and yet….

    What I think is radical, and I stated it only once before this point, is my idea about necessary time sequence of the four elements:

    There’s that pesky word “radical” again. *sigh* You either need to read more, or get over yourself.

    experiences–>beliefs–>decisions–>will, which I consider my proof of Determinism, loosely constructed, so far, but it takes many words to fully describe it so I have’nt done it here for brevity’s sake, though I tried my best to make it clear and concise.

    How is that proof for anything? Proof would be neuroscience demonstrating a direct and isolated link between ” experiences–>beliefs–>decisions–>will”. It’s not a logical proof, it’s not a scientific proof. It is, at the very best, a simplified interpretation of determinism.

  • p.s.

    Addressing the conclusion of an argument and simply saying it’s not true (no matter how many impressive ways you say it) is *not* addressing the argument.

    I gave reasons why I don’t think it’s true. You haven’t said anything to contradict those reasons. And I’m not giving my ways in an impressive manner. I restate my reasons because you don’t adress them and I think that maybe you didn’t understand them. Maybe if I was wearing a top hat I could be impressive…

  • tomath

    p.s.,

    I don’t think we are comprehending each other. I admit I am not comprehending your complex ‘messy’ view of the world in the short space of time we have to converse here. My concepts of the world *are* simpler, and I don’t apologise for that. You do not intimidate me into thinking my simple ideas can’t be true because they are simple or seem too familiar to you so you can dismiss them. Simple does not necessarily = simplistic.
    I think we should call it quits here so we can get on with other things. Agreed?

  • tomath

    Hemant,

    Wierd things result when I try to copy and paste several blog comments at a time. Is that intentional? I’ve had no problems on other atheist blogs with this type of action. Also wierd is what happens when you are constructing a comment and you move the cursor arrow outside the box or scroll the comment in the box with the mouse wheel to a point where the scroll bar reaches the end of its run–at that point it shifts to scrolling the whole page which throws you right off. It’s very inconvenient when things shift around like that and disrupt what you’re trying to do. Please consider checking these problems out. Thanks very much. Tom.

  • Logan

    After reading that post, I did have a light chuckle.

    That man is expressing his belief in that no matter what he does he is saved.

    Perhaps the last piece is not to be taken literally but playful banter as he announces how certain of his salvation he really is.

    I wish I had such a firm belief in my salvation as he does.

    …. To answer the question “Tell me again why he deserves forgiveness”: Nobody DESERVES forgiveness. It is a gift, do not try to figure out God using logic, for logic is a part of the mind; it is strictly a spiritual thing that saved this man. Man cannot put God into words alone.

  • Jeff

    Logan, do you understand that the article in quesiton is a work of satire?

    This is why we’re screwed. These are the people who have commandeered society.

  • tomath

    Logan,

    Do you believe in Santa Claus? If not, why not?