Mormon Duo in Australia Hits Passer-By Just For Fun, Puts Him in a Coma January 1, 2014

Mormon Duo in Australia Hits Passer-By Just For Fun, Puts Him in a Coma

Did two Australian Mormons decide they’d had enough of their religion’s squeaky-clean image?

What we know is that the duo, Amanaki Kaufusi, 21 (see image below), and Onesi Taufui, 18, had signed up to attend a Latter-Day Saints conference in Tallebudgera (Queensland‎) over the weekend. Not content with the program, they soon began looking for a little divertissement, and found it in the person of an unsuspecting passerby, 24-year-old tourist Onyekachi Okoye.

The pair were walking along Cavill Avenue in the early hours of Sunday morning when an intoxicated Kaufusi allegedly yelled: “I just want to hit someone. I will hit the next person I see.” … Police said he king-hit 24-year-old tourist Onyekachi Okoye, who collapsed unconscious to the footpath.

Both men then allegedly stomped on the victim’s head before laughing and walking off. When their Mormon friends pleaded with them to turn themselves in after Mr Okoye was rushed to hospital, the duo allegedly tried to flee Surfers Paradise in a taxi to return to the Tallebudgera camp.

Luckily for all involved,

Mr Okoye, from Glendale near Newcastle, later woke from a coma and has been transferred out of intensive care at the Gold Coast University Hospital. He suffered a broken jaw but no brain damage.

Remember that story the next time you hear that only a belief in God will tell you what’s right and what’s wrong.

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  • Thiriel

    I think this has more to do with two kids being fucking idiots rather than religious motivation. Now, if they had hit Onyekachi Okoye because he wasn’t a mormon, then that’d be different. Still, those two idiots deserve whatever punishment they get. Random Acts of Violence are not cool.

  • trj

    Remember that story the next time you hear that only a belief in God will tell you what’s right and what’s wrong.

    I feel pretty sure they knew it was wrong and their religion was not a factor in their misdeed.

    Unless they thought the victim was an Amalekite. Or a Midianite. Or an Amorite. Or a Bashanite. Or any other of the numerous peoples God wants his followers to ruthlessly destroy.

  • Gottlos und Frei

    “You need religion in order to be moral.”

    Yeah right. Quod erat demonstrandum.

  • Calhoun

    My question is, where is the proof that this was religiously motivated? The driver stated that he wanted to “hit someone” and that he would “hit the next person he sees”. Also, they were intoxicated.

  • paulalovescats

    They didn’t do this because they were Mormon. They did this because they were two stupid young male punks who were drunk. I guess it is good for showing the hypocrisy of what you supposedly believe and how you act. I don’t know how serious they were as Mormons, but if they were active in their religion, someone needs to use it to shame them (if they felt any).

  • AntonioPeYangIII

    This news reminded of an Eddie Izzard sketch…

    “You crazy bugger! You can’t do all this, what are you a Mormon? It’s illegal. What have you been reading? The gospel according to St. Bastard?”

  • MerchantMariner

    “…Kaufusi and Taufui, both from western Sydney…”

    That explains a lot. Definitely not about religion. Just two pissed bogans doing what pissed bogans do best.

  • Roy Gamsgrø

    That’s not the point of the story.

    “Remember that story the next time you hear that only a belief in God will tell you what’s right and what’s wrong.”
    -That- is the point of the story, that religion is supposed to make you a living saint, that no religious person could -possibly- do something bad, amiright?

  • MerchantMariner

    Hard to say. The Mormons have a temple at Carlo, but I doubt these two pie-eaters are from there. Going further out west you find not only Hillsong, but all manner of weird little evangelical and pentecostal churches. They seem to be very popular with the Islander community. But I suspect these two most likely only went up to Surfers for a weekend on the piss.

  • Dan

    He didn’t say it was religiously motivated but rather the morals, that according to their religion only believers can have, were not heeded.

  • Lagerbaer

    The article doesn’t make the point that it was motivated by religion but rather that it was not prevented by religion.

    In reality, religion is neither necessary nor sufficient for moral behaviour.

  • honhol

    This is the exact sort of thing we rail against. If this was a christian article where the author wrote about the “atheists” doing this despicable act we would be quick to point out it’s not the “atheism” that caused him/her/them to do this. Let’s be consistent; otherwise we lose credibility.

  • Roy Gamsgrø

    Commenters, please read the story again, and pay particular attention to the last sentence: “Remember that story the next time you hear that only a belief in God will tell you what’s right and what’s wrong.”

    This isn’t a story about religiously motivated violence; nowhere in the story did Terry even hint that that was what the story about. This story is about the image of religious people, in this case Mormons, as paragons of virtue, that a religious person could never do something like this.

    I’m willing to bet my left knee cap on that if this story was presented to a random sampling of Americans without mentioning these men’s faith, and asking them if they thought these men were religious or atheists, the vast majority would say that they were atheists. -That- is what this story is about.

    Of course, Terry, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. 🙂

  • We generally do not claim that atheism makes you a better (i.e. more moral) person. That is a claim often made by religions. That asymmetry seems to be tripping everyone up on this.

  • honhol

    And nowhere did the article say the kids believed in god. Like most kids..they were probably brought up Mormon..or whatever the religion and hence have been without a choice and have that title on them just because they were born into a family of mormons. Still think this article is unfair and it would annoy me if this were an article about atheists.

  • Roy Gamsgrø

    They are 18 and 21 years old, not kids.
    They are adults, and apparently self-identify as Mormons.
    They signed up to a Mormon conference, presumably voluntarily.
    Until some new information arrives, I will say that it is not unfair to assume these young men, not kids, are religious.

    And your comparison with atheists fails, since atheism says that there are no gods, not that those who don’t believe in any gods are, by virtue of that alone, good people.

  • Don Gwinn

    This is going to be a great point in their come-to-Jesus stories in a couple of years. So jealous.

  • MerchantMariner

    I doubt they’re Mormons if for no other reason than the Mormon prohibition on drinking. It’s called Word of Wisdom or somesuch. And from my own experience, no matter how much you wind them up, the last thing Mormons will do is punch on with you.

    And the fact that they were in Surfers tells me a lot. It’s a rite of passage for young blokes here to go there, get on the piss and then cause trouble. Search on the term “Schoolies Week Gold Coast”. Surfers isn’t Salt Lake City.

    Kinghits are a big problem here, and very newsworthy at the moment.

    One other thing – the Courier Mail is not the most reliable newspaper you’ll ever read. It’s one of Citizen Rupert’s rags.

  • Christianity, for example, has a whole book of commands of things you are and are not supposed to do. This can very much be a factor in a causal chain.

    Atheism has no tenets, dogma, doctrine, etc. Thus, as an non-existent influence, cannot be the cause of anything.

    To say that atheism caused a person to do X is about as nonsensical as saying that a non-existent man caused a traffic accident.

  • Artor

    Do you know any Mormons? They backslide constantly. There’s a string of jokes about it; Why do you always take 2 Mormons fishing with you? A: If you take only one, he’ll drink all your beer.

  • JohnH2

    “their religion only believers can have”

    False statement; according to Mormonism everyone, regardless of their religious situation, knows the difference between right and wrong (excluding special cases, obviously) and are responsible for their actions.

  • Spuddie

    It did, but you overlooked it

    “…had signed up to attend a Latter-Day Saints conference in Tallebudgera (Queensland‎)”

    So yes, they believe in God and more importantly take their religious beliefs seriously enough to attend a conference to discuss such things.

  • JohnH2

    They were drunk, ergo they weren’t that serious as Mormons.

  • Spuddie

    But they and other religious believers feel that the difference between right and wrong only comes from divine direction. Without God, they can’t tell the difference. It is constantly repeated by people trying to denigrate atheists.

    They make the phony claim, “Religion forms the basis of our moral thinking. How can you be moral if you don’t believe in God?”

    Its psychopath logic. Because they also arguing that they would do evil, wrong things if not for the fear of divine punishment. Not very moral.

  • JohnH2

    You are talking to a Mormon, fyi.

    Mormonism does not assert that the difference between right and wrong comes from divine direction, in fact that difference is independent of God, as God is moral and says when Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit of knowledge of good and evil that they had become as one of us, knowing good and evil.

  • JohnH2

    “Latter-day Saints State President Asa Smibert said the men were not
    pre-registered at the camp and may have been visiting friends.” – From the Article, note that it should be Stake President not State.

    This combined with them being drunk should cast serious doubts on the claim that they are Mormon.

  • Exactly. A Jewish person doesn’t magically lose that status by eating a bacon cheeseburger. A bad Mormon is still a Mormon.

  • John Lev

    Did anyone read the article and notice this: “Latter-day Saints State President Asa Smibert said the men were not pre-registered at the camp and may have been visiting friends.”

  • Andrew

    Where’s the inconsistency? Neither the article nor the blog post claims that their religion is responsible for their thuggish behavior.

  • Lark62

    The point is that christians constantly declare that no one can be moral without god. They declare that atheists deny god for the sole purpose of living a self-centered immoral life. And on and on and on.

    The fact is that christians do not have a corner on the market of morality. Religion is bogus, and does not do one thing to make a person more or less moral than they would be without religion. At times, it gives otherwise moral people a pass at being cruel and judgmental. But it doesn’t make anyone better.

  • Spuddie

    I guessed as much.

    So can something be moral independent of what God says or because God says so? This is the question when one links morality to religious belief.

    You are saying that divine authority has no place in formation of morals within your faith? That your prophets did not make such moral pronouncements as divine revelation?

  • Jeremiah Traeger

    Yeah… Honestly if these were atheists we’d be shouting that it wasn’t a lack of god that motivated these people’s actions based on the info provided. In this case they are a couple of Mormons who happened to do something completely sociopathic. You can tell that at least one of the Mormons isn’t devout by the fact that he was intoxicated.

    Absolutely terrible for Mr. Oyoke and what happened to him.

  • Hell, it’s a longstanding joke that a Reform Jew observes Passover by having his ham and cheese on matzah!

  • Spuddie

    Or just young. They were serious enough to enroll in a conference concerning the faith.

  • JohnH2

    They may have paid for a day at the conference but they apparently didn’t actually enroll, per the article.

  • Jeremiah Traeger

    His point isn’t stating that we are trying to show that atheism makes you a better person. He’s saying that we are condemning these people’s actions that occurred because they are Mormon, when if they were atheists at an atheist conference we would say they were just assholes who happened to be atheist. We would say that their atheism has nothing to do with it.

    If we are merely trying to show that Christians CAN be immoral don’t we have plenty of better evidence than this story?

  • randomfactor

    They were assholes before they were Mormons, I suspect.

  • skeptical_inquirer

    I think they were born Mormon and assholes.

  • skeptical_inquirer

    I do think the Mormon church has very carefully cultivated a well-groomed, aw-shucks sort of image and that really ignores a lot of the church’s history. I can’t help but wonder if the victim’s race played a part in their selection.

  • whittycorncorb

    i Respect your belief but I’m not sure anyone will take you seriously if you claim to be a Mormon on here. my personal opinion on the christian/ Jewish / Islamic god is that he is flawed as an all loving deity because he created evil. and because evil is used as a scape goat in so many situations i feel as if the concept of evil is malevolent in its self. in human situations when someone commits murder people will jump to the conclusion that the murderer was just evil. that doesn’t fix the problem though because the only source of evil is coming from an all loving deity (with respect to the religion of the murderer). so when we say someone is evil we really mean that we are afraid to deal with the problems surrounding the issue, people are not inherently evil, people make mistakes, people are mislead, people are violent and when there isn’t enough positive emotion, and love and kindness in the feedback loop, you start to see people at their worst. In my honest opinion “evil” is just a lack of compassion

  • skeptical_inquirer

    The issue is that this shows that It shows that whatever “goodness’ is being claimed by religion is being imposed from the outside by other members and possibly from the usual tendency of people not to attack members of their own ‘kind.’ I doubt they would’ve attacked someone they knew was another Mormon.

  • JohnH2

    “So can something be moral independent of what God says or because God says so?”

    Yes, absolutely something can be moral independent of what God says. Moses even talks about that in Deuteronomy and Paul in Romans.

    We make covenants with God and with those covenants come responsibilities to us, which include moral directives that we may not otherwise choose to follow, as well as giving commands that are moral due to the covenant relationship and not necessarily otherwise.

  • MerchantMariner

    No, I don’t know any Mormons, but I like the joke.

    You don’t see many of them out where I live. It’s too far out in the bush for them to ride their bikes to, for one thing. Most of their “missionary” work takes place in the so-called “Shire”, the Hills District of western Sydney – our very own bible belt. I left there a LONG time ago.

    But I take your point about backsliding. I know the place where this conference was being held, it’s up in the hills behind Curumbin. If they were in Surfers when they kinghit this bloke, they were a long way from where they were meant to be. And knowing Surfers, I reckon they weren’t there to spread the word of god.

  • skeptical_inquirer

    A lot of Mormons do stuff they’re not supposed to like premarital sex, drinking coffee. I remember one Mormon in high school who dyed his hair, went to prom and openly declared he was spending the night out with his girlfriend and would take his punishment later.

  • His point isn’t stating that we are trying to show that atheism makes you a better person. He’s saying that we are condemning these people’s actions that occurred because they are Mormon…

    …and what makes the cases incomparable is Mormonism (and the LDS Church) makes claims about how being a Mormon will make you a more moral person by providing both mundane and supernatural forms of guidance.

    The asshole atheist is a data point for a counterclaim that is responding to a strawman; there is no claim to counter. In contrast, the asshole Mormon is a data point for a counterclaim to respond to the very real claim made by Mormons that being Mormon helps you be a good person.

    If we are merely trying to show that Christians CAN be immoral don’t we have plenty of better evidence than this story?

    This objection is the one that seems to me to have the most merit. It’s not that it isn’t a data point highlighted to indicate the likelihood of the existence of a phenomenon (bad-behaving theists), but that it is a picayune one and an unclear one at that. I agree that it is probably, from a tactical point of view, best to reserve the highlighting and attention-making to cases where there is no plausible reason to believe the bad actor at issue isn’t actually a theist of one sort or another.

  • JohnH2

    What is wrong with dying his hair and going to prom?

  • skeptical_inquirer

    He wasn’t supposed to spend all night with his girlfriend. He was planning on coming back home the next morning.

  • Jeremiah Traeger

    I don’t see your third paragraph’s point in the blog post at all.

    If we are trying to show that people who believe in a god can be immoral, don’t we have much better and much more prominent examples than this? These are just TWO GUYS in an entire sea of a certain type of believers (Mormons).

    If there was a philosophy that showed people demonstrably living moral lives, and then two people who subscribed to that philosophy did something like this, I would be completely unconvinced. They would be outliers.

    If I want to show how immoral Mormons could be, anecdotes like this would be the last place I’d turn. I’d rather talk about some tenet of their faith such as the one that states BLACK PEOPLE ARE EVIL that they only have just renounced!

  • So Mormons buy into secular morality?

  • JohnH2

    What do you mean by that?

  • Carol Lynn

    I know someone who does that! It’s not always a joke or a myth. She swears she is keeping Passover but not kosher.

  • In a nutshell, deriving morality from non-religious, reality-based sources.

  • tsig

    Quod erat non demonstrandum.

  • Carol Lynn

    If they did something not-moral, they weren’t “True Mormons™” (or “True ‘insert sect name here’™”) – and that makes it somehow NEVER any religion’s fault. That’s a pretty ingenuous argument.

  • tsig

    Obviously they were not true Mormons.

  • JohnH2

    I wouldn’t say that at all. Morality is like light, something that we can perceive and it exists independent of our perception of it. Further, Jesus did what was necessary to be essentially the source of that light, sort of like the Astronomicon emmenating from the Golden Throne in 40K.

  • Oh, I know. I was “one of those” for pretty much my whole life before I stopped observing Passover altogether (what with the whole atheism thing, it seemed silly to stop eating wheat/leavened products to please a god I don’t believe is there).

  • tsig

    They paid for a day at the conference, they’ll get a seminar on criminal law.

  • Carol Lynn

    You forgot the ™ tag on True Mormons™. 😉

  • Morality is like light, something that we can perceive and it exists independent of our perception of it.

    That sounds like it could be reality-based, kinda… outside of the idea that it exists outside of minds.. that it isn’t a learned/decided set of rules/behaviors in thinking beings.

  • JohnH2

    Unless the bad Mormon gets excommunicated and then they aren’t.

  • skeptical_inquirer

    The problem is that religion is often peddled as a medicine that makes you ‘good.’ When it doesn’t work, then they keep saying that the people didn’t take enough of it. So I rather resent being told to do or believe something that refuses to take responsibility for its ineffectiveness.

  • msj

    Bet they beg for leniency because religion.

  • JohnH2

    Guidance only helps if the person listens to and follows the guidance. The claim is not that one becomes better simply by claiming to be Mormon, but that one becomes better by doing.

    So pointing out an example of two people who may or may not actually even be Mormon, based on the statement by the stake president, doing things that are directly contrary to what the religion teaches and in a place where they shouldn’t have been in based on what they had nominally signed up for really isn’t a data point for any counterclaim.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    I thought good mormons don’t drink and they most certainly don’t get drunk.

  • Christopher Griswold

    Yes, these assholes are Mormon, and they did something horrible, but why attack the church itself over this. They obviously broke at least two major tenets of their religion. The other church members in the story got the victim medical attention and convinced the perpetrators to turn themselves in. Isn’t this how we want religious people to act when one of their own does something like this? Aren’t we fighting to separate the action of the individual from that of his group?

  • skeptical_inquirer

    Isn’t that giving God all the credit and humans all the blame?

  • MerchantMariner

    According to the Newcastle Herald the bloke that threw the punch is from Acacia Ridge in Brisbane, and his mate’s from Wilmot in Sydney. That makes me reconsider my view that they probably aren’t especially religious. Both areas have a fair number of evangelical/pentcostal congregations – and around Wilmot at least you see the Mormons trundling around looking for converts amongst the Islander communities.

  • Cloe

    We have “laws” against such behavior in order that we can live amongst others. As an atheist, I follow these laws in order to have order and not chaos. I don’t follow the laws to avoid guilt or seek parental reward as those of perhaps religion, but I follow laws because I fully realize that I contribute to the flow of order. The only reward being survival, mine and others. Can you imagine if there were no enforcements of laws? Not many of us would live to adulthood. Right and wrong, good and evil…are relative to what side of fence one stands.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    Does your shire include a nice hobbit hole? Or do I have to go all the way to New Zealand?

  • tinker

    I hadn’t heard that one, but it’s funny because it’s true. I have know several Mormons. Most of the young Mormons that I have known can be your best friend, but as soon as another Mormon is around they don’t know who you are.

  • MerchantMariner

    They didn’t turn themselves in. They tried to do a runner and were arrested.

  • JohnH2

    how so?

  • tinker

    Try reading Roy’s post again. He is saying not that Mormonism made them bad, he is saying that their belief didn’t make them good.

  • Christopher Griswold

    Yep, should have said “tried to convince” instead of “convinced”. Thanks for catching that.

  • Christopher Griswold

    That is a major tenets of the religion. It is called the Word of Wisdom and it condemns alcohol, tobacco, and “hot drinks” (coffee and tea, but often extended to caffeine in general), amongst other things.

  • MerchantMariner

    People were calling it this long before Tolkien became the flavour of the month. The local government area up that way is the The Hills Shire Council. It’s a conceit of the locals to refer to the area as “The Shire” when they want to bung on airs and graces.

    Sadly, the same bullshit goes own down here where I live.

    (Or as I like to call it, the insular peninsula.)

  • Jeremiah Traeger

    I understand what he’s saying. Again, this is one data point that could be an outlier. There are much better examples of showing people that a Mormon’s belief does not make them good than this story which could easily be incidental.

  • Christopher Griswold

    I don’t know about Australia’s legal system, but most likely not since this seems to have no religious context.

  • MerchantMariner

    I think we’re at cross purposes. I don’t think for a minute that religious belief equates to goodness, nor do I have any regard for the Mormon faith. I was merely skeptical at first that these blokes were in fact Mormons. But having learned a bit more about the incident I may have been wrong in thinking that.

    I might say too that there’s a lot of background and context to this story that the majority of posters here, being American, are obviously unaware of. Just like I’m not aware of much of the context of stories from the US.

  • JohnH2

    Precisely, two guys doing things contrary to the belief don’t mean much. Doctrines of Salvation or Miracle of Forgiveness, both still in print by a publisher owned by the church, both used extensively by members of the church, and both written by Apostles who became Prophets are much more difficult to deal with, even if no comas were directly caused by either.

  • MerchantMariner

    Now that’s an interesting topic in it’s own right, but having finished work for the night I’m about to pack up my gear and head home, so we might leave that discussion for later if you don’t mind.

  • Jordan

    And it would probably make you feel bad to hit, knock someone out, stomp on them, put them in a coma and laugh? Probably the main reason I hope.

  • Dan

    So morality does not come from divine direction, but it is like light and Jesus is the source. Contradicting drivel.

  • Michael

    So in other words they do drink but not often enough to learn to handle it.

  • MaryOGrady

    “No true Scotsman,” a classic, fallacious refuge for the devout.

  • msj

    I don’t know about Australia but in Canada or the US, if they listened to their lawyers, they would show up to court in suits and their character would be presented as “nice,” “religious” young men who made a “mistake.” IOW: trying to take advantage of religious privilege to get off. But we will have to wait and see if it gets that far and if they try this strategy down there.

  • BunnyHoohoo


  • Richard Thomas

    Nobody is born religious.

  • Jeff

    Here in the South, the joke is the same, substitute Baptist for Mormon

  • Mario Strada

    A new ritual?

  • Bec

    Or that the church is engaging in some hasty damage control by dissassociating the Mormon church from the actions of this pair. It wouldn’t be surprising if this was the case.

  • Bec

    Sure, they can try that in Australia. No guarantees that it will work. If they can find someone in their church to offer a character reference it would help their case but in general acts of random drunken violence have been big news lately, it seems that attacking a random stranger by forceful blow to the head is a favourite entertainment for young men. The court and prosecutors will take this as far as it can go in an effort to deter others. Another young man was killed NYE in similar attack an another state after his attackers targeted five other people in kinghit assaults. The police and judiciary are all over this, with lots of media attention. My guess is that the Mormon aspect was only reported because the offenders in this case explicitly mentioned that they were at a conference and probably wanted some assistance from that direction perhaps.

  • scott

    I dont know any mormons but i have lived and worked with many muslims, particularly in south east asia, who tell you how they are good muslims, pray 5 times a day etc etc, but i never met a single one who didnt drink alcohol when given a chance. So these guys may identify as mormons but that doesnt mean they wouldnt possibly be drunk.

  • A different take

    The existence of supposedly religious people who do wrong says nothing about those who truly attempt to follow Christ’s teachings. Such God dishonoring conduct by those who are not Christian in their hearts is expected and was foretold as a result of the corrupting of Christianity after the 1st Century.
    2 Peter 2:1a,2 there will also be false teachers among you. . . 2 Furthermore, many will follow their brazen conduct, and because of them the way of the truth will be spoken of abusively.
    2 Timothy 3:1,5 having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power.

  • There is a thing called the No True Scotsman logical fallacy you may wish to learn about.

  • Silent Service

    Roy, the point that you’re missing is that religion did not stop to bad people from being bad people. Religion did not encourage the behavior; but it also did not stop the behavior. We are constantly told that only religion can make you a good person but here we have a case where people traveling to a religious event, a Latter-Day Saints conference, and their religion had no positive effect on the poor behavior of two very obviously disturbed people.

    Simply put, religion did not make two thugs into good people. They were still thugs.

  • ShhhImReading

    the evil inherent in attacking a random stranger for no reason is actually relative?

  • Roy Gamsgrø

    What? What has that got to do with what I said?

    Again: The point of this story is that the image of religious people being better, nicer, more good than non-religious is flawed, not whether they were good Mormons or not.

  • Roy Gamsgrø

    I… missed that point?
    I thought that -was- my point.

  • Roy Gamsgrø

    So we should ignore all the small things and just focus of the big ones?

    I am fully aware that there are bigger things we could criticize the Mormon faith about, that there are so much more evil done in the name of various religions than two young men attacking a stranger, but that doesn’t mean we should never mention the small issues -as well-.

  • Cloe

    I grew up in Hawaii, and as a young child found it entertaining to watch jellyfish melt on the hot sidewalk. Until a man stopped and told me that such was a very cruel act to do to a jellyfish. I asked my mother about it and she confirmed that these were living creatures and that it would probably be seen as cruel by most people. That was why I stopped. How many bugs have we maliciously killed over the course of most of our lives? Insects are relatively cruel…wouldn’t you say? And they might bite us…so smash ’em or poison them, eh? What would happen if the law against the murder of humans was removed?
    In regard to the young men that decided to beat up someone for fun…it’s actually not that surprising as many would probably do the same if no such laws existed. That was my point. I wouldn’t want to live or maybe even couldn’t live in anarchy. It’s not really the beliefs in gods or religions that keep each of us at bay…it’s our agreements toward order. Else most of us wouldn’t survive, as is proven over and over again by our desires to inflict horror and absorb it through whatever means we have available.

  • Back in the day a bunch of Mormons killed over a hundred would-be settlers, there was a book (& later a film) about it, so i wouldn’t assume that Mormons are at all peace loving despite the image they try & cultivate these (latter) days.

  • Cloe

    Of course it is. Hitler in probability believed himself to be righteous, etc. Those young men wanted to beat the hell out of someone…so it’s relative to their feelings, their emotions. They or he perhaps even felt a sense of relief once they beat up that man. That may sound totally insane, and it sure as heck could have been detrimental to any one of us if it was us…so we generally see it as “evil”. It’s relatively evil. Detriment in that sense is evil…and benefit or the benefit of say…the relief or feelings of happiness to that young man or men…is experienced as “good” to them…not us…but to them…yes. It’s relative to the person…as each of us can experience good and evil relative to our array of emotions.

  • Irish Coffee…The Mormon Nightmare!

  • skeptical_inquirer

    I’m glad to hear they’re likely to take it seriously. I’m tired of people getting off because of a variety of reasons that had nothing to do with the crime: religion, sports star, affluenza, victim blaming, etc.

  • Michael R

    An utterly embarrassing and irrational post for an atheist to write. Unless you can quote what part of Mormon teachings advocates such violence, this is merely a case of rogue individuals doing what they please. But that’s what we’ve come to expect from the “friendly” atheist website. You guys are a hate website.

  • skeptical_inquirer

    The problem is that then pretty much nobody actually is Christian then.

  • Rob P

    The point was not about any specific teaching of any sect of Christianity. It was about how Some Christians when they talk about atheism and atheists claim that without a belief in God a person can’t be moral. But the story illustrates that even a belief in God does not keep some people from acting in an immoral manner.

  • A different take

    This argument was anticipated and well answered by the illustration of the wheat and the weeds. There have always been true Christians, however they were overwhelmed and completely obscured by by the false and would not be discernible again until the time of the harvest by their fruitage.

    Jesus said many will claim him as Lord, yet be told he never knew them because of their lawless actions.

  • Calhoun

    It doesn’t matter if they were , there was nothing that indicated that these two individuals were out to specifically hurt a non-believer. I don’t think they even knew what religion the victim was. This was just a random act of drunken violence.

  • A different take

    This argument was anticipated and well answered by the illustration of the wheat and the weeds. There have always been true Christians, however they were overwhelmed and completely obscured by by the false and would not be discernible again until the time of the harvest by their fruitage.

    Jesus said many will claim him as Lord, yet be told he never knew them because of their lawless actions.

  • Roy Gamsgrø

    Aaand you’re still missing the point…

    The point is that the general perception is that religious people don’t do things like this, and that perception is wrong. Motivation is a non-issue in this story.

  • Jeremiah Traeger

    In this thread I think we’ve agreed that Terry isn’t calling out these men’s actions as a result of their Mormonism or belief in a god. So we are not criticizing the Mormon faith when we are criticizing their actions.

    My big deal is that it seems to me that these guys did something deplorable, and they only happen to be Mormon. We have an absolute arsenal of deplorable things that people who believe in a god have done, and the religion seems completely unrelated/incidental.

    I don’t think I have much further to add. I’m not going to act as a policeman and say how related to their religion it has to be to be noteworthy enough to blog here. I mostly think someone (like me) may misunderstand the message Terry has done. And if it’s a religious person, we will seem hypocritical.

  • You guys figure it out. Every Christian says other Christians aren’t real Christians. All I know is that if you say you believe that Jesus died and was resurrected for your sins, you’re a Christian. And if someone does bad things that they support using the same book you use, then all Christians everywhere are indicted for it just a little bit.

    Everything else is theology and doctrine that you people made up anyways.

  • Robster

    A couple of nice Mormon boys came to my door recently. This neighbourhood seems to get lots of people touting this or that religion, so I was getting a bit sick of them, it’s like talking to robots, programmed to respond in a particular manner. I was a bit errr…honest with the Mormons, calling their prophet a crook and their belief system a nonsense and stating that their temple buildings look like over the top wedding cakes. They were very upset! The bigger one came up to me close and threatened hell or some other nonsense. I felt like he was trying to restrain himself and I felt quite threatened. I’m sure the bulk of them are that sort of crossed eyed deluded and quite harmless. I did locate an address in the state capital and sent off a short note with their names and requesting no further visits. No response yet, maybe I should’ve included 10% of something.

  • Carol Lynn

    I was agreeing with you.

  • Nullifidian

    Onyekachi Okoye is a Nigerian name. I wonder if race was involved?

  • If anything, Mormanism (or any which grieviously insults, causing the intellectual stagnation of young minds) produces greater violence, and deeper perversions of morality. I suspect a scenario of the “Latter Day Saints” having produced these two thugs by stealing the minds of their parents, who neglected them while establishing themselves in such an aggressively proselytizing organization, and then forced them to attend that stupid brainwashing session. Some people respond differently when you press their buttons!

  • Terry Firma

    “This story is about the image of religious people, in this case Mormons, as paragons of virtue, that a religious person could never do something like this.”


  • Terry Firma

    What freakin’ “attack”? The only one attacked was the 24-year-old tourist who had his jaw broken.

  • Terry Firma

    Please point out to me where I say this was “religiously motivated.” What a useless (and untrue) way to frame the discussion.

    Also, what “driver”?

  • Terry Firma

    The only thing I am embarrassed about is that I appear to have a reader with so little comprehension of plain English. Unless you’re just joking/trolling.

  • Christopher Griswold

    I am sorry Terry Firma. I did not mean to imply that you had attacked them in your article, though it is easy to get that impression given that I didn’t post it as a reply. I had meant that for some of the commenters.

  • Michael R

    Rob P and Terry F, you’re both engaged in post-hoc rationalisation of an emotional point-scoring motivation. The story, as with much of the Friendly Atheist, is motivated by point scoring against religion. How does some rogue Christians negate the argument that you need the bible to be moral? It has no bearing whatsoever in that debate. Christians don’t claim that everyone who reads the bible will act morally.

  • Leiningen’s Ants

    Sorry folks, WH40K references in religious conversations always get an upvote.

  • MerchantMariner

    “How does some rogue Christians negate the argument that you need the bible to be moral?”

    Ah, this is a new tack. “Rogue” christians. I never realised there were so many types of “not real” christians. They negated the argument when they punched on with the bloke and then stood on his head

    “Christians don’t claim that everyone who reads the bible will act morally.”

    Arguable. I’ve heard that clam made more than once. But what Christians DO undeniably claim is thay anyone who hasn’t read it, doesn’t believe it, and doesn’t accept god as their saviour cannot act morally.

  • Michael R

    I’m not here to defend Christians but any serious Christian making the argument “you need the bible to be moral” would presumably argue that (a) something in the nature of the bible’s teachings, or example of Jesus, GENERALLY makes followers moral or (b) the fear of god GENERALLY makes them moral. Or something like that.

    If you want to debate Christians on those points then go ahead. But two rogue Christians have nothing to do with that debate. It’s mere point scoring.

  • A different take

    Where does the Bible support Christians attacking random strangers? Actually, it says “a slave of the Lord does not need to fight, but needs to be gentle to all” (2 Timothy 2:24)
    I could claim to be a fireman, Doctor or astronaut, but does that make me those things without doing the works which identify such? Jesus knew there would be confusion over who would be true followers of his. He said “By this all will know you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:35) would you say the Duo met that criteria? Just as NASA says who are really astronauts Jesus has the final say in who are Christians. I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and we are well known for our non-violent stand. A person

  • Michael R

    Race is often a factor in violent assaults. Alcohol removes people’s inhibitions and often uncovers racial tensions. Racism never goes away, it always lurks beneath the surface. It’s human nature. Stomping on a victims head is almost guaranteed to involve racism. But you wouldn’t know it from our politically-correct media.

  • It doesn’t. But the point of the article is that being Christian doesn’t correlate at all with being a good person (that is, it is neither positively nor negatively correlated- the distribution of good people among the general population and the population of Christians is the same). Since Christianity clearly doesn’t make you a better person, Christians need to stop making that claim.

    And aren’t you forgetting the verse in the exact same fucking book that says that faith is all that matters, and works are totally irrelevant?

  • JudgeRight

    Mormonism is as bad as atheism. It leads into deception in the name of their religious fallacy, as atheism would lead you in deception in the name of the atheist irreligious fallacy. The divide is not “religion vs. atheism. “The divide is “truth vs. deception,” or more specifically Jesus Christ vs. all else, religious or godless.

    To quote Christ himself in John 12: “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father, except through me.” And as the apostles put it in Acts 4, “There is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved,” meaning Jesus Christ. Or a quote by apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2: “There is only one mediator between man and God, the man Jesus Christ.”

    Joseph Smith was as badly deceived as Karl Marx. Remember next time you are about to do something stupid – only belief in God through Jesus Christ will help you discern right from wrong.

  • A different take

    Many Christians were Jews. Some were trying to say “works of the Mosaic law” such as circumcision, dietary requirements and Sabbaths were still required and Paul explained these were no longer of value. Now there were works or actions arising from Christian beliefs.
    (James 1:17,18) “Faith without works, is dead. Show me your faith apart from works and I will show you my faith by my works.”
    It is not the case that a person cannot be good apart from Christianity. Mankind was made in God’s image and thus have an intrinsic sense of right and wrong. It is up to each individual as to whether they follow their conscience or override it and this determines whether they are perceived as good or bad.
    (Romans 2:14,15) For when people of the nations, who do not have law, do by nature the things of the law, these people, although not having law, are a law to themselves. 15 They are the very ones who demonstrate the matter of the law to be written in their hearts, while their conscience is bearing witness with them, and by their own thoughts they are being accused or even excused.

  • A different take

    Regardless of the actions of some who claim Christianity, but disown it by their actions, what would life be like if everyone strove to follow these Bible guidelines?
    (Ephesians 4:25- 32) put away deceit, each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, Let the one who steals steal no more; rather, let him do hard work, doing good work with his hands, so that he may have something to share with someone in need. Let a rotten word not come out of your mouth, but only what is good for building up. Put away from yourselves every kind of malicious bitterness, anger, wrath, screaming, and abusive speech, as well as everything injurious. But become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another just as God also by Christ freely forgave you.
    (Ephesians 5:28,29) “Husbandsought to be loving their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself, for no man ever hated his own flesh; but he feeds and cherishes it, as the Christ also does the congregation. Nevertheless, also, let each one of you individually so love his wife as he does himself.”

  • I think what you’re trying to say is some of the early Christians were Jews. That stopped pretty early on- it only took a century or so before Christianity was its own full-fledged cult, apart from its parent religion. It took another few centuries to reach full-religion status.

    At any rate, you think Paul is more right than people saying Mosaic law still applies. Why? At least the other authors claim to have met Jesus. Paul had a dream. Dreams are not reliable sources. If anything, you should not believe anything Paul says because hallucinations are not valid sources of religious revelation.

    I’m glad you know that Christianity or religious faith is not required for someone to be a good person. Many Christians disagree with you, and I’ve been accused of being a terrible, immoral person just for saying I don’t believe in gods. Not for anything I said or did that could be considered mean or immoral, mind you, just the fact of my disbelief. If you don’t buy into that toxic belief, good for you! Now go tell your co-religionists.

  • Yes, those are rather nice. But if we thought the book as a whole was great, what would life be like if we followed Timothy’s injunction to women to sit down and shut up, Jesus’s injunction to beat slaves, Ephesian’s injunction to slaves to “obey their earthly masters”, Jesus’s injunction to love him more than our families and break up our families, Paul’s injunction towards celibacy, and other horrific verses?

    No one says everything in the Bible is bad. However, if you stack the nice verses in one pile and the evil ones in another, the evil stack is much higher. Thus, on balance, it’s not a good book, and the good sayings in it are not outweighed by the bad ones.

  • Njen

    Oh the irony of talking about deception when you are quoting from a book of fiction. You have been deceived!

  • MerchantMariner

    I don’t want to debate christians. Debate assumes that both parties may have a valid position on a topic, and something worthwhile to say about it. As far as I’m concerned christians don’t have either.

  • JudgeRight

    I’d suggest your birth certificate is more fiction than the Good Book 😉

  • A different take

    Verses you present as “evil” deserve explanation. Paul said single men and women can give more focus to preaching the Good News. Rather than requiring celibacy he said “let each man have his own wife and each woman have her own husband.”

    Suppose your spouse or relatives gave you an ultimatum to renounce atheism or they would disown you? You would likely stick to what you believe is right. Same with someone who became Christian despite opposition from Jewish, Greek or Roman family members. That is the sense in which beliefs are chosen over family. It isn’t the atheist or Christian in those cases who break up the family, but intolerant members might if they go through with their threat. In fact, a Christian is to remain with their unbelieving mate.

    My friend Luis’ wife of 3 years divorced him last month for becoming one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He is a mild, sweet man who tried to make things work and is saddened, but keeping positive.

    The slaves who are figuratively beaten are evil Christian stewards who are supposed to take care of Christ’s flock, but rather exploit and abuse them. I would think you would be happy about this. This is an illustration, not a command.

  • A different take

    Spiritually qualified men were responsible for the welfare of the congregation, for leadership and teaching, however in 1st Century Christianity and among JW’s today, both men and women are considered ministers and have the privilege of preaching. Paul mentioned women “who have striven side by side with me for the Good News.” He called “Phoebe, our sister, a minister of the congregation” and said “she herself also proved to be a defender of many, including me.” For the sake of order, both men and women were at times to be silent and not interrupt the meeting spontaneously.

    Have you personally read any of the Gospels or letters of Paul in entirety? Positive, beneficial admonitions such as those you called “rather nice” are abundant. Proverbs alone is chuck-full of them. Seemingly “evil” verses can be understood with a little effort.

  • A different take

    Paul did not take it upon himself to decide whether people of the nations who became Christians should follow the requirements from the Mosaic law. He referred the matter to the Apostles and leadership in Jerusalem and was instructed along with others to relate their decision.

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