Responding to the 50 Great Myths About Atheism January 4, 2014

Responding to the 50 Great Myths About Atheism

How many times have we heard people argue atheists don’t give to charity? Or that we fear death? Or that we’re just rebelling against God’s authority? Russell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk have heard those false claims many times before and they’ve responded to them (and several other nasty stereotypes) in their new book 50 Great Myths About Atheism (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013):

In the excerpt below (which has been adapted for this site), the authors respond to the myth that “Atheists want to ban teaching religion to children”:

Atheism does not commit anyone to an opinion as to whether, or how, religion should be taught to children. You won’t be surprised to learn that many atheists think that children should not be indoctrinated with the teachings of a particular religious system. A good example of this is Bill Nye, the popular US science educator. He made no secret of his view that while parents are entitled to their religious beliefs, it surely would be inappropriate to teach their children creationism in school. He said in an interview,

if parents want to deny evolution and live in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can — we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems. It’s just… really a hard thing. You know, in another couple of centuries that worldview, I’m sure, will be, it just won’t exist. There’s no evidence for it.

Teaching children creationism or other make-belief stories about God and the universe can be contrasted with teaching children about religion as a social phenomenon: children could learn in school about the different beliefs held by followers of the major religions of the world.

Richard Dawkins, perhaps, as we write, the world’s best-known outspoken atheist, is frequently accused of holding an extreme position on these issues. The position attributed to him is one in which teaching religious doctrines to children is child abuse and ought to be forbidden by law: thus, John C. Lennox writes casually that “Dawkins’ argument for banning the teaching of religion would logically lead even faster to banning the teaching of atheism,” since Lennox thinks that atheism has led to many atrocities. But when has Dawkins expressed, or argued for, such an unnuanced view?

Let’s get this as clear as we can. In The God Delusion, Dawkins states that his main purpose in the relevant chapter is to “question” the practice of labeling children “as possessors of beliefs that they are too young to have thought about.” On the same page, he does in fact call this “a form of child abuse.” In his view, we should ascribe belief systems to other people only after they are old enough to have made up their own minds. He then discusses “ordinary” forms of sexual and other physical abuse, but argues that terrorizing children with stories of Hell can sometimes be a worse form of psychological abuse than these (while observing, in fairness, that the Catholic Church does not make as much of Hell as it once did).

Dawkins goes on to make many interesting observations. For example, he spends several pages attacking the teaching of creationism in schools, and government support to schools that do this — while noting that many members of the clergy agree with his position — before he returns to the issue of “labeling” children. As to that, however, he ultimately asks no more than that we wince when we see or hear it. He does give historical examples where the specific content of someone’s religion made it harmful — as in one ancient cult which involved human sacrifice — but that is rather different from seeking to prohibit all efforts to teach religion to children. He concludes with a discussion of the importance of teaching the Bible as part of our inherited literary culture. In short, Dawkins has not argued that socializing a child into a religion is ipso facto child abuse, let alone that it should be prohibited. Thus the claim that Dawkins argues those things is a myth. He has, in fact, expressed far more nuanced, specific, and defensible views.

A. C. Grayling takes a harder line. He accepts that liberal political principles and the view that parents “have a right to determine their children’s faith and education” point to an acceptance of indoctrinating small children into their parents’ religious beliefs. But, he asks, might society actually have a duty to protect children from proselytization? He worries about children being taught what he regards as falsehoods, fantasies, and absurdities from an early age, and so being rendered incapable of challenging what they were taught. However, even Grayling’s discussion of these issues is inconclusive: he merely proposes that we consider the problem.

So Grayling, who appears more strict than Dawkins on this particular issue, does not simply claim that teaching religion to children should be banned. In fact, we are not aware of any high-profile atheist who takes such a strong position. It is simply not true that atheists qua atheists want to ban religious socialization by parents. Perhaps there are individuals who are committed to this approach, and whom we are overlooking, but to suggest that this is the usual view of high-profile atheists — let alone of atheists in general — is insupportable.

Related to this myth is what may be a separate one: that atheists wish to control the educational curriculum in order to brainwash children into their antireligious worldview: “They want to control school curricula so they can promote a secular ideology and undermine Christianity,” says Dinesh D’Souza.

D’Souza argues for this at length, but he offers little evidence. He thinks there is an equivalence between people who object to creationist theory and the like, because it is used to support religion, and people who want evolution taught because they regard it as antireligious. But the equivalence is a false one. The state should not be in the business of teaching a body of scientific findings either because they tend to support or because they tend to undermine religion. Those are, we submit, improper motives for officials and government agencies. State education systems should simply teach what is considered by scientists in the relevant fields to be accurate, central, up-to-date science. It is really not that difficult.

50 Great Myths About Atheism is available in bookstores and Amazon.

(Excerpt reprinted with permission of Wiley-Blackwell. Image via Jesus and Mo)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I do believe that parents should be banned from teaching religion (as truth) to their children. I do not, however, advocate creating or changing any laws to accomplish that for the simple reason that I can’t imagine any way of doing so given the societies of today wouldn’t result in consequences worse than the original problem. So when I say parents should be banned from teaching religion to their children, what I’m actually doing is envisioning what I would consider to be a component of my ideal society, and not something practically obtainable in the reasonably near future.

    Of course, the important point, and one very relevant to the ideas expressed in the post, is that my views here have absolutely nothing to do with my being an atheist. Both my atheism and my anti-religionism stem in part from the same source, but they are entirely different things, neither dependent on the other.

  • Ibis3

    I don’t think parents should be banned from indoctrinating their children. But. I do think that parents shouldn’t be allowed to shield their children from the truth either. A secular education–including a scientific and historically accurate understanding of the world, comprehensive sex education, and humanist ethics–should be mandatory. Also, there should be mandatory regular health (including mental health) checkups by a neutral medical professional (i.e. not the family doctor who happens to also be your brother-in-law or the guy who sits on the pew next to your family) so as to help prevent and mitigate child abuse, including religiously-based child abuse. Kids should not be treated as the possessions of their parents, but as full citizens of our society with rights of their own.

    ETA: This goes for insular communities like the Amish and the FLDS and Christian Patriarchy homeschoolers too.

  • atheism, and the education of the young, are two different things. let’s start there.

    the education of a society’s young is important and done right benefits all. of course the kicker is “what is done right?” as a member of a pluralistic, secularly governed (in theory), age of science society, i think we can nail it down to at least a few essentials that should be acceptable to all, and even if they are not, still should be part of every child’s education.

    society should be most interested in giving all children equal opportunity and benefits. on that list of things should be a solid, reality based education. i think it could be made out that simply; social entities like governments should stick to reality. if parents want to pollute their childrens’ minds with garbage and fantasy, well, in a free society i guess we have to accept that. but in terms of what is real, that can be and is established, and all children should be exposed to it for at least 6hrs a day, without parental interference.

    we can and should teach children the most neutral, fact based information about history, languages, math, biology, chemistry, physics, computers, and the other essential sciences. it gets a little more tricky with the humanities, but it can still be done in a highly neutral way. if you grow up in the west, it’s probably a good idea to at least be exposed to a number of books and ideas that aren’t exactly a science, but useful for life as an adult; economics is one example. literature is another.

    supernatural and mythological education should be left to families. other than “the history of religion x” there’s really no reason for ANY religious idea in a classroom, unless it is a specifically religious classroom. and just because parents choose to send their kids to weekend (religion x) school, does not mean those kids should not be getting weekday schooling in all of the nonreligious above.

    it really is in the best interest of every child, of any religious background, to get a solid reality based education from the state. it also benefits all the rest of us, parents, siblings, or otherwise.

  • Malcolm McLean

    The idea is that atheism should be privileged because it is a sort of default or null position. But actually there are atheisms. At lot of atheists are not people who just happen to believe in God, they see things as flowing for that, such as revolutionary socialism, or population control, or the view that homosexual activities are equal to normal sexual acts. Often these “atheist plus something” ideas are extremely weird.

    Then it’s not really true that atheism is a default position, for two reasons. Firstly there are very few if any traditional atheist societies. They’re all modern, most have been short-lived, unstable, repressive regimes. Secondly, individual atheists tend to be people who have grown up in less than ideal family circumstances, often without a father, leading to cynicism. Now that doesn’t tell us directly about whether the worldview is correct. But it means that, on an emotional level, atheism is the pathological position.,

    Parents will naturally be concerned at the proposal to socialise children in what is, in historical terms, a rather odd way.

  • Bad_homonym

    Well put Chicago. One problem I see though. Someone is gonna ( probably several someones actually ) complain about science. Particularly biology, being atheistic. How can that be neutral when it clearly isn’t concordant with the bible. Science is either for us or agin us you know?

    Cheers!

  • Atheism shouldn’t be privileged. Secularism (absolute neutrality in regards to religion or lack thereof), on the other hand, is an absolute requirement for a government that cares about equality.

    Where on Earth did you get the idea that atheism should be privileged in any way?

    Addendum: Second, where did you get the idea that atheists had unstable families? The atheists I personally know grew up in two-parent (male/female couple), stable, loving homes. Our parents taught us how to think, and we used it to walk out of religion because we thought about it.

  • katiehippie

    “individual atheists tend to be people who have grown up in less than ideal family circumstances, often without a father, leading to cynicism”

    Where is your citation for this? Not true at all for me. The only problem I had as a child was too much religious indoctrination that set me up for later failure. But everything else was great, just ask my dad.

  • Craig Wright

    I actually grew up in a very stable family environment, my parents being atheists who are still together after 50 years. They merely brought me up to question and make my own conclusions and not base my life on a book written by bronze age goat herders.

  • The Starship Maxima

    50 Myths About Theists

    Myth #34 – They want view evolution as the weapon of the secret cabal of God-hating atheists and never want it taught.

    The truth, we agree with Dawkins. Let children view the facts presented and decide for themselves what the truth is, just as they must choose their own ethics and moral code.

  • you demonstrate the problem, and i’m sorry for you (or whomever you think believes that) “biology is atheistic.” well, yes. that’s because biology is a science concerned with living things. theism is by definition the study of the “god(s)” and there is no overlap between the two, because no one in any religion can produce a living “god” upon which the scientific method may be applied.

    the first step is teaching people to understand the difference. that can be done in elementary school, where we already teach very young children that a circle is not the same thing as a square.

    and again, by definition, no religion is “neutral.” and that’s why it should be taught at home, or in a religious classroom. every religion-based class begins with the assertion “our faith is the right one” but cannot demonstrate that other than assertion of opinion. the science of reasoning and logic need to be taught to all children, so they can understand the difference between ‘brainwashing’ and ‘indoctrination’ vs ‘reality’ and ‘demonstrable fact.’

  • TommyNIK

    That is a load of rubbish.

  • mchasewalker

    I think every religion that proselytizes should be subject to the same disclaimer required of astrology, tarot reading, palm reading, and other fortune telling services: For Entertainment Purposes Only

  • Bernadette

    My father was a man of faith who taught me about his faith but also encouraged me to explore all ideas, ask questions, and taught me how to evaluate resources. We came to a different conclusion on god but we respected our differences and both believed the government should have no role in religion. My mother on the other hand discouraged questioning and some times would use punishing tactics for not following her religion. She believed government laws and religious beliefs should be the same. Needless to say we do not respect our differences.

    With my children I will always love them for who they are, not what I want them to be. I will follow the teachings of my dad and share my views with them, encourage them to explore all beliefs, evaluate resources and come up with your own conclusions. My children may at some point be people of faith and that is their right.

  • Bad_homonym

    I should have clarified. Not my position, but one that will come up. I’m in western Canada, and I haven’t heard of any big attempts to mess with our curriculae here, but I feel for Texas and others where wing nuts want to compromise the entire system.

    Cheers

  • Black Leaf

    I and the majority of the atheists I know grew up in stable two-parent households. Try again.

    My parents were Christians but not fundamentalists, and while they weren’t happy when I “came out” they eventually accepted it.

  • Mario Strada

    Wait until I tell my father that he was absent from my upbringing.

    Why is it that when people like you shit these falsehoods and invented generalizations they always forget to flush?

  • Malcolm McLean

    Faith of the Fatherless, by Paul C Vitz.

  • Michael

    Your “ideal society” sounds pretty non-secular and oppressive to me, Peterson. It sounds almost Stalin-like wanting to ban parents from teaching children their beliefs.

  • Michael

    What’s wrong with being a goat herder or any “herder”? Seriously. Why put down menial jobs when trying to prove a point?

  • Malcolm McLean

    James Jeans was a bit of an atheist, and proposed the steady state theory. For a while it was accepted by a majority of qualified astrophysicist. It’s incompatible with a creation.
    But eventually it was abandoned. Now virtually no qualified astrophysicist thinks it’s correct. Science is like that. You can point out that science is incompatible with a religious claim. But that’s hardly fatal to the religious claim.

    Another one was that the giants in Genesis 6 must have been mythical, because there are no giants. They were a sort of standing joke to fling at believers. But we now think that tropical humans mated with Neanderthals, and that this took place in the region now known as modern Israel. So actually humans did interbreed with something that was almost but not quite human, and stronger and possibly more intelligent (certainly bigger-brained) than humans. Do I think the nephilim are a folk memory of Neanderthals? No, the timescales seem to be wrong, it probably just an unrelated bit of mythology. But mythology which happens to bear a very close relationship to the literal truth.

    That should give “science has disproved religion” people pause for thought.

  • I think we can reasonably have different ideas about how a society might work without invoking Stalin or Hitler or some other bit of extremism.

    In reality, my ideal society would not have any religion to speak of. People who believed in gods would be recognized as delusional and offered treatment. But it would be rare. Laws against childhood indoctrination of fantasies would hardly be needed.

  • WallofSleep

    No one said anything was wrong with being a herder, and no one put it down as a menial job. On the contrary, when those fables were written, being a goat herder was a kick-ass, high-tech job, and that’s half the fucking point right there.

  • Michael

    You do realize a belief in God has never been scientifically classified as a mental illness, right? Otherwise, you would have to believe that the majority of posters on here (who have religious parents) have delusional, mentally retarded parents and perhaps carry that gene themselves? Their children or grandchild will no doubt inherit it too, such is the case with Alzheimer, a real mental illness.

    Also, most mental illnesses cannot be “cured”, only have their effects reduced. So how is it that millions of atheists can somehow shed this “disease” and become fully sane?

  • Michael

    The way it’s phrased he makes the point of it being a lowly, unintelligent job.

  • Glasofruix

    I’m sorry, but you are an idiot.

    At lot of atheists are not people who just happen to believe in God,
    they see things as flowing for that, such as revolutionary socialism, or
    population control, or the view that homosexual activities are equal to
    normal sexual acts.

    Welcome to the real world, where people have different opinions and sometimes those opinions are plain idiotic, like believing that homosexuality is a deviation. Being an atheist is just a tiny part of what a person is.

    Firstly there are very few if any traditional atheist societies. They’re
    all modern, most have been short-lived, unstable, repressive regimes.

    Oh come on, the ol’ Stalin, Mao thing again. Those weren’t atheist societies, but dictatorships, two different things.

    Secular societies on the other hand tend to be way healthier than societies that allow their politicians to leave their brains at church. From my perspective, the US are a backwards third world country when it comes to culture or eductaion.

    Secondly, individual atheists tend to be people who have grown up in ess than ideal family circumstances, often without a father, leading to cynicism.

    Citation needed. But yeah, many atheists come from deficient families, christian families with bible thumping parents and constant brainwashing about how a loving skyfairy would send you to eternal torture if you dont say the magic words before you go to sleep.

  • WallofSleep

    “… the authors respond to the myth that “Atheists want to ban teaching religion to children…”

    All atheists want in this regard is the same thing every American wants: for our elected representatives to uphold the constitution rather than use their legislative power to indoctrinate other peoples’ children into their specific religion by gov’t force.

    Of course most folks know this, but “We want to use public schools to indoctrinate your children into our twisted form of christianity so we can continue to win elections”, oddly enough, doesn’t win elections

  • Malcolm McLean

    It depends on the age of the child.

    Younger children happily believe in Santa Claus.But not by age ten. They’ve figured out the real source of the presents by then. Younger children must be taught how their culture sees the world.At secondary school its time to start discussion and debates, though they aren’t allowed to choose their own ethics. Bart Simpson “underachiever” sweatshirts might be banned, for instance, because that strikes at the root of the school’s ideology.

    You can’t really let children discover science. For instance the four elements theory states that water is one of four fundamental constituents of matter. The atomic theory teaches that its a compound of no special status. So the four elements theory predicts that water will be in almost everything, atomic theory doesn’t. So let’s investigate various substances round the laboratory and see if we can detect water in them. The copper sulphate, the wood of the lab bench, the methylated spirits,,the flame of the bunsen burner, the glass of the test tubes. We detect water in almost but not quite everything, exactly as predicted by the four element theory.

    Results like that fooled the best scientific minds for many hundreds of years. You have to teach science largely by authority.

  • WallofSleep

    Funny, I thought he was explaining why bible was a lowly, unintelligent piece of fiction by today’s standards by illustrating the primitive times from which it’s writings come.

  • Michael

    Those dictatorships still fall under State Atheism, you idiot. If State Atheism leads to dictatorship, count me out.

  • Jeff

    You know Godwin’s law? I would like to propose the Texas Corollary. When pointing out the most extreme example of evangelical fervor, anti-science, and anti-intellectual behavior, at least one participant in the conversation will reference the State of Texas.

    As a resident of the State of Texas, I could vainly name this Corollary after myself, but feel that would be one step removed from having “LOSER” tattooed on my forehead.

    If you are missing my hopefully sarcastic mention, I KNOW much of Texas has rightly earned the ridicule. However, not all of us are like that, we’re trying desperately to change things (Texas blue in 2020), and if you look at it, either of the Carolina’s can be viewed as solid competition to Texas in the bat-shit crazy category.

  • Neko

    Secondly, individual atheists tend to be people who have grown up in less than ideal family circumstances, often without a father, leading to cynicism.

    This is crazy-talk! Atheists are ordinary people who do not believe in god/s. That is all.

  • The relevant question is, why would it occur to you to go to a goat-herder for answers to life, the universe, and everything? It’s like taking your broken car engine to a coffee barista, or asking an auto mechanic what the best way is to brew a cup of coffee. They might have insight, but there is no reason to expect insight.

  • WallofSleep

    “At lot of atheists are not people who just happen to believe in God…”

    Well, you got one thing right.

  • Glasofruix

    Let children view the facts presented and decide for themselves what the truth is

    You mean we teach them the scientifically proven facts of evolution AND some random creationnist bullshit with no logical basis other than “i believe very very very hard in skyfairy so it must be true” and let them decide which one they think is true? Why don’t we just skip the bullshit part and save a crapload of precious time in the process?

  • Castilliano

    JoeAtheist
    Bernadette
    33 minutes ago
    Your mother is a delusional moron
    with a mental disease. Luckily that mental illness skipped over you.
    Hopefully it surpasses your children too. Faith is a delusional after all.

    So, where do you actually stand on theism being a mental illness or not, Joe?

    And I think you’re missing CP’s point.
    Religion wouldn’t be absent due to government, it would be absent due to being recognized as a delusion akin to Olympian gods, flat earth, or unicorns.
    Banished through knowledge, not law.
    Not real, not a point of contention in families, courts, or wars.
    That’s an aspect of utopia I can agree with, as could John Lennon.
    Cheers.

  • The plural of anecdote is not data. But in this case it is particularly egregious, because the set of examples was cherry-picked with the preferred conclusion in mind. It’s pretty easy to pick a set of famous Christians with absent or “weak” or abusive fathers and a set of famous atheists who had involved, “strong”, loving fathers. Vitz was out to make a splashy case to reinforce his own rather half-baked criticism of modernism that relies upon psychological categories and “insights” themselves unsupportable by evidence and upon misread (I’m tempted to just say unread) philosophers; it’s consequently a case that only impresses the already-converted. If one wants an actual thoughtful critique of modernity, one is not required to go as low-rent; there is a powerful strand of criticism that runs from Spinoza to Nietzsche to Leo Strauss to Francis Fukuyama.

    It is revealing, though, that you put so much stock (such that you repeatedly refer people to Vitz’s book) in such a flimsily supported hypothesis. When people are asking for a citation of a claim, they aren’t asking whether a book exists somewhere where some guy wrote what you are claiming. They are asking if there’s something to point to even a little less flimsy than “it says so in a book somewhere”. That you keep pointing back to that steaming pile of anecdotes is pretty embarrassing, because it reveals that that’s all you have: a comfortable narrative that explains your superiority to atheists and why we fall into error.

  • Michael

    It always astounds me how people nowadays refer to past generations from the time of those who built the Pyramids or the Sumerians who studied the stars were “primitive”. It is truly mind-boggling how someone who has provided nothing to modern society can call an older generations primitive when he himself has nothing to show for his accomplishments in life…

    Then again, a strange complex superiority-victimization narcissistic personality isn’t lost on atheists.

  • That conclusion in turn only makes sense if you are in the habit of automatically interpreting “primitive” as disparaging. There’s nothing wrong with being the first on the scene.

  • JoeAtheist

    I was making a point at how atheists constantly refer to faith as a mental issue. And someone actually upvoted it! Sorry if the sarcasm was lost on you.

    John Lennon also needed hallucinatory drugs to help him with his creative, so, yeah… nice utopia.

  • Glasofruix

    In a dictatorship, a god is replaced by the dictator. It’s not “Stop believing in gods” but more “I am your new god”. See the difference now Einstein? A state atheism, per se, is not a theocracy.

  • WallofSleep

    I have no idea who you’re talking to when you say “It is truly mind-boggling how someone who has provided nothing to modern society can call an older generations primitive when he himself has nothing to show for his accomplishments in life…”, but it couldn’t possibly be me, because you know nothing about me.

    No. No, I think the intended cuts there are just terrible projection on your part. Faults that you posses, which you can’t help but project on others.

  • Jeff

    Did you just grab a handfull of bullshit and toss it on the wall to see what sticks? 1. revolutionary socialism – give a reference please, so we can at least see where the hell your are trying to come from here. 2. Population control – WTF? This is an equivalency problem. Atheism=population control? Care to explain that a bit? 3. Homosexual activities are equal to normal sexual acts. Well, I guess you just came out there, didn’t you? So, just as an aside, define “normal”. Considering that present documentation shows over 100 species of animals practice homosexual acts in their natural habitat, would that not be considered natural, hence normal? Any other broad, lacking in fact generalizations you would like to make?

  • Neko

    That book excerpt is excellent. Thank you for posting it.

    I agree: ideally children should be taught “the Bible as part of our inherited literary culture” but not indoctrinated into any religion. Come soon that day!

  • Michael

    Yes, and that dictator was an atheist, moron. Someone who suffered a SEVERE narcissistic superiority complex and delusions who was more than happy to slaughter the millions of people who worshiped him out of fear…

  • Jeremiah Traeger

    Stalin made an atheist state because it made the population easier to control. Atheism was a result of the dictatorship, the dictatorship wasn’t a result of atheists.

    I know of exactly zero atheists advocating a dictatorship.

  • Michael

    Very unlikely. By 2050 there will be far more Christians and other religious people that outnumber atheists statistically.

  • Neko

    How do you figure?

  • GCBill

    Doesn’t Vitz mostly rely on famous atheist scholars to make his case? If so, then that damages the credibility of his argument considerably. It’s quite likely the experiences of atheists across the population as a whole differ significantly from academic atheists. Plus, there’s his reliance on psychoanalysis, which is in and of itself problematic, because Freud has (for good reason) been rejected by modern psychologists.

    In any case, there is legitimate research suggesting a connection between same-sex parental attachment and religious affiliation. Attachment generally leads to higher degrees of imitation, so a parent’s religious views are more likely to be passed on if they parent well. This theory notably avoids the pitfalls of Vitz’ arguments, and also allows for more nuanced interpretations of developmental trajectories. For example, an outspoken atheist parent may be more likely to raise an outspoken atheist child in cases of high parental attachment. On this view, it’s not just about transmission of religious views, and it certainly has nothing to do with (debunked) psychoanalysis – it has to do with the child’s creation of cognitive models in a secure vs. insecure environment.

  • Jeff

    You answered your own question. The results fooled the best scientific minds for many hundreds of years (not true, but we’ll roll with it). It is discredit. So, it is not scientifically correct, testable, repeatable, or accepted. So guess what, they are not taught it, unless as an example of how science can accept new, tested ideas that correct the old view.

  • Miss_Beara

    Secondly, individual atheists tend to be people who have grown up in
    less than ideal family circumstances, often without a father, leading to
    cynicism

    So people that have grown up in fundamentalist households with a mother and father grew up with no problems at all because of Jesus?

    And there is no such thing as “atheist regime.”

  • Glasofruix

    Oh goodness, you are a real fucktard, aren’t you? Just because someone is a sociopath and happens to be an atheist does not automatically make him do his deeds in the name of not believing in god(s), it is as absurd as going to war in the name of not collecting stamps….

  • Jeremiah Traeger

    The only facts support evolution. That is all that matters in a science class. Even if there are facts that “don’t” support evolution, that doesn’t mean ANY other hypothesis about the origins of the universe is more credible. Any fossil record gaps are to be expected due to geological behaviors, and the lack of having EVERY SINGLE FOSSIL does not in any sense lead to a theistic source of the universe.

  • Michael

    You have it backwards, friend. The dictatorship was the result of an atheist saying “there is no God… but I can’t have people believing in him over ME… they have to LOVE ME..” like most tyrants, only you can’t blame Stalin’s delusions on a God, but his own beliefs as a narcissistic psycho atheist,

  • Miss_Beara

    But yeah, many atheists come from deficient families, christian families
    with bible thumping parents and constant brainwashing about how a
    loving skyfairy would send you to eternal torture if you dont say the
    magic words before you go to sleep.

    Stop with the facts, it is confusing him. 🙂

  • Michael

    Jesus, you are a fucking moron. Stalin’s own atheism led to state atheism which led to millions of innocent people being killed over their different beliefs. Stalin, like many atheist tyrants, suffered a severe superiority complex fueled by his anger at the idea of a higher power, something above him, and he was determined to destroy anyone who believed that power.. one that he didn’t even believe in! What a fucking psycho.

  • Glasofruix

    The dictatorship was the result of an atheist saying “there is no God…
    but I can’t have people believing in him over ME… they have to LOVE
    ME..”

    This is the most idiotic thing i’ve read since, well this morning in some starship maxima’s ramblings.

    A dictatorship is a result of a person wanting power and status, not because he lacks belief in something. I don’t believe in unicorns, does that mean i’m ready to start a dictatorship?

  • God’s Starship

    Nothing wrong with being a goat herder. Being a bronze age goat herder in 2014 is another matter entirely.

  • Michael

    “I don’t believe in unicorns, does that mean i’m ready to start a dictatorship?”

    You don’t believe in God but you sure hate him lol psychotic if you ask me.

  • Michael
  • Michael

    I am talking to you and they are entirely accurate.

  • Glasofruix

    FSM you’re thicker than santorum… Dictators are powerhungry sociopaths who will stop at nothing to obtain what they want, namely power. Being an atheist has nothing to do with a person’s ambition and ego, there are religious dictators who think they were chosen by god and therefore they have his blessing to do whatever they want.

  • God’s Starship

    You might want to avoid addressing people you don’t know as “friend”. It’s bad form online. It comes of as disingenuous. We’re not friends, but we don’t have to be dicks about it. Best not to go there.

  • Glasofruix

    I cannot hate something that does not exist.

  • Malcolm McLean

    Not formally. Stalin, Mao and Hitler never claimed divinity. Other dictators have done so at times. Caligula, the Egyptian pharaohs, the Inca. You can legitimately ask “when does atheism plus something else cease to be atheism?”.

    As for atheism plus population control, there was a nature program on BBC television recently that showed a killer whale eating a seal. It was made by a lefty environmentalist type. His awe was palpable. “We must respect this encounter” he said, “and not in any way interfere in resulting outcome between whale and seal”.
    Almost certainly he would have been a vegetarian, and an atheist. But he wasn’t so detached from reality to think that a killer whale can survive on seaweed.So the whale was doing something he was forbidden to do. So he attached a sort of mystical reverence to a whale feeding.
    Seals are common. Chucking one to a whale for the sake of a picture wouldn’t affect the ecology in any serious way.

    Atheism plus quickly turns into all sorts of odd views, as people’s natural religious instincts come out in other ways. Population control is a related one.

  • Castilliano

    It seemed you were attacking CP’s use, while using it the same way yourself. That said, I’m not sure which was the sarcasm, at 4:19, neither your post to Bernadette (2 downvotes) nor your posts on this chain (zero votes) have any upvotes.
    Use /sarcasm. Tone doesn’t carry well when written.

    I was, of course, referring to “Imagine” which I don’t recall having drugs in it. Lennon’s utopia might have that, but I didn’t say I agreed with his utopia, but that we’d both agree with utopia lacking religious strife, like CP’s.

    Many atheists do feel religion is a mental issue, but you’re taking it to such insulting extremes I think your name should be “PoeAtheist”.

  • God’s Starship

    Well, that just killed this conversation stone fucking dead.

  • Derrik Pates

    Not just dictatorships, but with a state religion – all they did was replace the common religions with a religion of the state, where the leader also happened to be the god. Contrary to the bullshit many Christians believe, atheists don’t believe we are gods, we disbelieve all deities for the same reason we disbelieve in Yahweh – lack of evidence.

  • Neko

    Dubious source!

  • It’s a pincer attack, a way to maintain stereotypes in the face of contradictory examples.

    Atheism must be:

    1. a luxury of the privileged position, the wealthy, the lazy, the gluttonous, the unchallenged, and the soft so that the people who have it hard can feel morally superior in their maintenance of faith, disdainful of the luxury that atheism implies

    2. the result of damage and abuse, the resort of the glum and depressed and angry, a reservoir of resentment and an irrepressible envy of good wholesome things so that any criticism by atheists of the negative consequences of theism can be deflected as a simple expression of sour grapes, something to be pitied instead of considered

    That they are mostly contradictory does not matter. They are just separate weapons in the same bandoleer, brandished when one runs into an atheist that fits better one or the other stereotype. It helps that both pitches are well-crafted to take advantage of the blind-spots of the intended audience.

    ETA: It’s much like childhood bullying, where the bully uses contradictory commands to make sure that the bullied is always doing something “wrong”. Oh, he’s dispassionate, that must mean he doesn’t care about anything. Oh, well now he’s angry, so that must mean he’s full of rage. Now, he’s crying, so he’s weak. Oh, now he’s running away, so he’s a coward. Now he’s hitting me, so he’s violent. It’s an attempt to set up a narrative such that regardless of how an atheist acts, it is explainable as a negative consequence of atheism.

  • Glasofruix

    The fuck you are talking about?

  • Michael

    Religion has never been classified as a mental illness, it is just wishful thinking on atheists to help their cause. But it is funny how those same atheists must believe they have retarded, delusional parents.

  • Michael

    Oh, right, so when facts are given they’re dubious. Disprove them then. Go on. I await your “facts”.

  • Miss_Beara

    It was made by a lefty environmentalist type. His awe was palpable. “We
    must respect this encounter” he said, “and not in any way interfere in
    resulting outcome between whale and seal”.
    Almost certainly he would
    have been a vegetarian, and an atheist. But he wasn’t so detached from
    reality to think that a killer whale can survive on seaweed.So the whale
    was doing something he was forbidden to do.

    What the heck are you even talking about. You automatically assume that person was a vegetarian and atheist because they were not interfering with nature? Can you get more ridiculous?

    I don’t know if you are just making shit up to rile us or you really believe this.

  • Michael

    Pretty much every atheist given a chance at power has ruined their countries and murdered millions. Atheists have no place in a position of power. No thanks.

  • Malcolm McLean

    Technology advances in an incremental fashion, with each advance providing the platform for further development. The same with science.
    But it’s much less true of the arts. The sphinx is the oldest monumental sculpture known. The lions at Trafalgar square were put there by a far bigger, more populous, more advanced Empire. But are they much better artistically than the sphinx?
    Pretty much everybody agrees that the Iliad and the Odyssey are great works, because the religious viewpoint they express has been abandoned. They’re the earliest examples of significant Greek compositions that we have.

  • Michael

    Then why do you?

  • Glasofruix

    OOOOh the “let’s go in circles” tactic. Been a long time since anyone tried that one.

  • Miss_Beara

    It is amazing how you can read all of our minds. Say one thing, other person says “oh you don’t believe that, you believe the opposite because I know you better than you know yourself.”

  • Michael

    Actually, atheism has a LOT to do with ego lol…

  • Neko

    I don’t know if the “facts” are dubious. I’m skeptical of the source.

    I (briefly) checked Pew but couldn’t find such a projection. I would have more confidence in Pew than some mysterious organization with a website.

  • Miss_Beara

    So you personally know WallofSleep and what he has done with his life thus far just by making some comments to him on the internet? Truly your ability to read minds is astounding.

  • Castilliano

    Like I said, “Poe”.
    Are you Polanco?
    (If you aren’t him I apologize, he’s mental illness incarnate.)

    Mental illness does not equate with retardation. It’s insipid views like that that make people shun the treatment they need.
    Most atheists accept humans are subject to delusion.

    It’s not “funny” as there are parents so foregone they kill. Two children I know of were killed this week for religious reasons. (Axe to kill demonic son, and beatings killing a 9 year old). I’d certainly put those in the mental illness category.
    And if you saw a guy spouting prayers to Zeus, you might too.

  • Michael

    Thank you. It’s a gift.

  • Malcolm McLean

    You ask for a cite, so are pointed to a book which deals with the subject. Obviously some atheists, most atheists even are going to try to pick holes in the work. But the thesis makes perfect sense.
    Obviously societies with a high level of divorce also tend to be very secular societies, so there’s a bit of cause and effect reinforcing. That pretty common with any social phenomenon.

  • I think that belief in a god should be classified as a mental illness. Just because it’s “normal” doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Like wisdom teeth. Indeed, if you look at the clinical definition of “delusion”, it perfectly describes a belief in gods. So perfectly, in fact, that belief in gods has to be specifically excluded… an exclusion that is very difficult to justify on rational or scientific grounds.

    A few years ago, homosexuality was clinically recognized as a disorder. Psychology isn’t a very rigorous science.

  • Glasofruix

    And behold, the 12 years old girl has spoken the truth, not only without facts, but without citations as well.

    Stop punctuating your phrases with lols, people might discover that you are an idiot right away.

  • Castilliano

    As a % of population, all faiths are shrinking except Catholicism which remains steady due to immigration.
    Atheist, nonreligious, etc, continue to grow, reaching record heights. I’ve seen it projected as the majority by 2050.
    (BTW, I think that was PRI via Friendly Atheist.)

  • Glasofruix

    Facts are not just some random website you pull out of your own ass, they come from reliable sources, which your rear end is not.

  • Malcolm McLean

    Once the social consensus about what type of thing should be taught in schools has broken down, the secular model where government is neutral becomes unworkable.
    The only answer is school vouchers. Get government out of the business of running schools entirely.

  • Miss_Beara

    Yeah, we are so egotistical. We don’t believe the entire universe was built for us and a god with a specific plan for our lives.

    Yeah… so egotistical.

    /s

  • Olive Markus

    “Secondly, individual atheists tend to be people who have grown up in less than ideal family circumstances, often without a father, leading to cynicism.

    Citation Needed.

    “…on an emotional level, atheism is the pathological position.”

    Citation Needed.

    Thanks.

  • Miss_Beara

    Good luck waiting for a citation. Especially a citation from a credible source.

  • Michael

    So you give up. Fine.

  • Olive Markus

    Exactly! 😀

  • Glasofruix

    And yet again you’re pulling stuff out of your sphincter. That book of yours? It has so many holes in it, a high school student could write an essay invalidating it and be much more credible.

  • TCC

    What in the hell are you talking about?

  • Neko

    Thanks! That must be for the US. I do worry about the global outlook.

  • Michael

    I liken your anti-religion stance to a fear of dogs. If I were bitten by a dog, I would develop a fear of them, maybe even hate them. But over time, I would realize that not all dogs are bad, and it was all guided by fear.

    That’s what your anti-religion is. It’s fear. Humans often fear what they don’t understand.

  • Michael

    State your sources then please.

  • Glasofruix

    The only answer is school vouchers. Get government out of the business of running schools entirely.

    That was actually the case not so long ago. As a result, only the kids from rich families could attend schools. The others? Well, let’s just say that cheap and nearly unlimited labor force wasn’t that hard to come by…

    You really are a terrible person. I wouldn’t even leave a dog in your care.

  • onamission5

    Well that was not helpful.

  • Castilliano

    You might want to look at Northern Europe, or the Prime Minister down in Australia.
    Democracy + lots of atheism = wonderful countries
    Or reexamine Stalin later on when he built 20K churches to gain favor with one particular branch of Christianity. See, it was all a power play to him, not about purging gods.

  • Feral Dog

    He thinks that by not funding education with our tax money, our country will be improved.

    Because as we all know, countries where there isn’t much public education have a well-educated, healthy population, right? They certainly aren’t being exploited by wealthier nations or anything. They are able to study and learn and come up with new technologies, and better their lives because there is no guarantee of a minimum of education from which to build on.

  • Glasofruix

    I believe he’s drunk or he’s gotten to his mom’s “get well” pills…

  • Michael

    I wouldn’t let millions of Russians or Koreans in an atheist’s care…

    Or the Chinese. Terrible human rights records.

  • Michael

    The current PM of Australia is a Roman Catholic

  • onamission5

    So the three atheists you can think of who were dictators weren’t good guys? This is a shocker, considering all the other really religious dictators who were super awesome and kindly, oh wait, no.

  • Castilliano

    It was, Neko, though a lot of “spiritual, but not religious” crap got thrown in the pot with it.
    Joe, no. I’m chatting, not debating. I do think you’re Polanco, or just as ornery and unworthy of my time.

  • onamission5

    That was an astute observation, 3lemenope.

  • onamission5

    The thing is, vouchers are our tax money, they are just our tax money going to (mostly) religious, specifically christian schools, which is a violation of the effing constitution.

  • Michael

    who the fuck is Polanco? If you cant back up your “facts”, you are unworthy of my time, coward.

  • WallofSleep

    Meh. He’s trying to elicit responses by being stupid and insulting. You know, trolling.

  • Glasofruix

    So if we are bitten by a god, we should not dismiss every god out there because not every one of them bites? And we happen to fear the nonexistent because we do not know which one of the imaginary friends out there is the really special one who gives warms and fuzzies?

  • Thanks!

  • Michael

    Glasofruix… go run for President… oh, wait… you can’t cuz no one will vote for you. Go run a dictatorship in your mom’s basement.

  • Malcolm McLean

    The school voucher system works by giving each child a voucher for several thousand dollars, which can only be spent on education. There are lots of details, such as whether it tapers off for rich parents, or it’s bumped up a bit for disadvantaged groups, or if parents are allowed to top it up for regular school (no-one can prevent parents from spending money on educational things, of course, and quite rightly).
    Anyone can then set up a school, with maybe a few minimal controls. Parents choose a school and hand over the voucher. Only minimal controls are needed if we assume that the vast majority of parents will choose the best schools. Bad schools fail to attract pupils and close, exactly as happens in the private sector.
    Governments have to fund education because otherwise the economics just don’t work out. But they don’t need to run it. They can simply pay fees. As top civil servants do for themselves. In Britain diplomats and senior service personnel get private boarding school fees paid. They don’t ask the government to run a state school for their children, they don;t want that.

  • Glasofruix

    Oh come on, you can do better than a “your mom” insult.

  • Robert Jory

    The problem with that is if all those neutral, fact based classes are taught then their children will figure out that the religion their parents are teaching is made up and the parents don’t want that.

  • Jeremiah Traeger

    That is exactly the reason that the atheistic society was a result of a dictatorship. He wanted to control people in a dictator ship. “I don’t want people to have a god above me”. Therefore: atheistic dictatorship.

    If atheism led to his dictatorship it would have been something like this: “I don’t believe in a god. Therefore I should control people.”

    Clear?

  • Michael

    Nope. You’re wrong. Lalalalalalalanahahahah

  • You ask for a cite…

    I asked for nothing. Someone else asked for a cite; I was merely trying to explain to you why your response was not effective at meeting the request. Your response reminds me of that entertaining internet meme where kids respond to academic test questions overly literally, like the instructions of a math problem are “Find x” and so the student circles the “x” in the diagram and points to it with an arrow with a comment: “There it is.”

  • Jeremiah Traeger

    Clearly

  • Michael

    “I believe he’s drunk or he’s gotten to his mom’s “get well” pills…” seems to work for you against other people who you disagree with. Not only can you not run for President, you are a hypocrite too. Sad.

  • onamission5

    Hey I have seen that on a t-shirt! Makes me snicker every time.

  • Malcolm McLean

    You haven’t got it. The experiment was testable, based on empirical observations, made a prediction which could be falsified. It gave the wrong result.
    The four elements theory was accepted for many hundreds of years by the best scientific minds. Partly because many testable, empirical, repeatable experiments seemed to support it.

  • Michael

    I’m just fucking withchoo. But you people act like no one has ever done anything wrong in the name of atheism.

  • Glasofruix

    Well, he’s a troll. I wonder why we don’t do the whole “Look at this christian, he’s insulting us, therefore all christians are disrespectful fucktards” in a newsfeed to show how christianity is a bad thing. Catholic blogs on patheos do that.

  • Glasofruix

    Because that’s the case…

  • LesterBallard

    But I’m sure you’d let Africans and Native Americans in a Christian’s care, asshole.

  • Glasofruix

    I can’t run for a position that does not exist ya moron, and i can’t really become a king without killing the actual one, that would pose some legal inconviniencies.

  • Castilliano

    Polanco is a specific poster, banned on many sites, who uses the same aggressive, antisocial style you do, including referring to dubious websites, equating atheism with dictatorships, and using examples of individual atheist behavior as if they represented every atheist.
    He, like you again, is evasive, only taking a stand on anti-atheism (with limited understanding of what atheism is) while failing to show evidence for his theism.
    And he too tries to overload an otherwise decent post with endless blather and hate.
    But I don’t recall him having to resort to profanity, so I’ll give him that over you.

    Just given your last post alone, I feel sorry for your anger.
    I never could understand trolls.

    Cheers.

  • LesterBallard

    You’re talking about “god”. Got it.

  • Jeremiah Traeger

    There is barely any. Stalin is not a good example because it WASN’T in the name of atheism. It was for the sake of gaining power. His atheism was incidental.

    You want a case where somebody did something bad in the name of atheism? The self described “militant atheist” who beat up a pastor. You know what we did when that happened? We admitted he was an atheist. We also called him out on his bullshit. And then we helped pay the pastor’s hospital bills.

    http://www.religionnews.com/2013/10/25/atheists-step-help-ohio-pastor-assaulted-militant-atheist/

  • Michael

    So you’re just gonna skip over me calling you out on being a hypocrite? That’s coo, coo.. I understand you’re embarrassed and need some time to let the burn ointment sink in.

    Your momma raised you wrong, boy.

  • LesterBallard

    “Thicker than Santorum”. That’s kinda funny.

  • Jeremiah Traeger

    And then you know what corrected it? Better facts and better evidence. Science is fortunately highly self-correcting.

  • Michael

    Well, considering there are still Africans and Natives who ARE Christian, yes. Let us remember your “Oh please let him be atheist so I can shove it in fundies faces! George Washington” was a slave owner and a Native killer.

  • LesterBallard

    Do you troll your mother as hard as you troll atheist sites?

  • Glasofruix

    You are a funny troll, i’ll kill you somewhere in the middle when i’ll manage to take over the world using my atheist superpowers.

  • Michael

    I feel sorry for atheists having to live with being called “angry atheists” and being the most hated minority. Truly, I do.

  • Michael

    Not very humanist of you, son.

  • Glasofruix

    It is not indeed, but then i am not a humanist.

  • Michael

    Lester, you’re a hypocrite. Every post I see from you is just hate-charged bigotry towards anything religious. Trolling at least has a sense of humor but a point to calling out your bullshit.

  • Glasofruix

    Wait, weren’t the christians the most hated minority not longer than 10 days ago? What happened since then?

  • Michael

    My God only kills evil nonbelievers (Sodom, Gomorrah) and heathens. Bad guys. Your god Stalin killed innocent people over their religion.

  • LesterBallard

    So you do troll your mother as hard as you troll atheist sites. She loves it, doesn’t she?

  • Neko

    Yikes! Run for the exits!

  • Michael

    We were only hated by a small but vocal minority who are jealous of our influence in a modern society. God bless America!

  • Glasofruix

    Who says they were innocent, they were killed because they were evil nonbelievers, duh.

  • LesterBallard

    Nothing sadder and more pathetic than a trolling Christian. Run along to your mommy.

  • Michael

    You’re the one who keeps stalking my posts, fool. That’s even more sad.

    I must really grind your gears, eh, buddy.

  • God’s Starship

    What the fuck is this guy talking about?

  • God’s Starship

    What’s wrong with asking people to pay for their own religious education? One would think all those “bootstraps” republicans would agree with that.

  • LesterBallard

    Not as good as your mother grinds my “gears”.

  • Glasofruix

    Just trolling around, i guess. But then maybe he’s as stupid as he sounds, and that’s kind of scary.

  • onamission5

    Naw, my daughter is 12, and she’d know well enough to give citations for her claims.

  • Michael

    Atheists lose children because they’re deemed unworthy by government officials to have them.

    You, however, have never grinded my mother 🙂
    Checkmate.

  • Michael

    I’m actually quite intelligent. I am an atheist after all posing as a Christian troll to deceptively trick you into entertaining me. Dance, puppet, dance!

  • Glasofruix

    Please provide proof, for both statements.

  • Michael

    Lester said Christians treat Africans and NA’s terribly. I was just countering that Washington, who many atheists claim was an atheist (since he was such a smarty pants) owned multiple slaves. But he cherry picks that part about history.

  • onamission5

    Mental illness does not equate with retardation. It’s insipid views like that that make people shun the treatment they need.

    Adding on…
    and mental handicap isn’t an something which makes a person inherently unworthy of respect or unable to participate astutely in conversations. Using either as a slur does real harm to real people, both people with mental illness and people with mental handicap, most of whom are not insensitive assholes like our dear troll Michael here.

  • Michael

    http://atheism.about.com/b/2006/03/30/atheists-discriminated-against-in-child-custody-cases.htm

    And he never grinded my mother’s gears because she is a lesbian (yes, I have two moms) and that would constitute as rape (but I wouldn’t put it past the sexist atheist movement)

  • Michael

    HOW am I a troll?

  • Michael

    “You might want to look at Northern Europe, or the Prime Minister down in Australia.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_Minister_of_Australia

    You feel pretty stupid now that you’ve been corrected by a “troll”

  • Stop conflating state atheism to secularism. They’re two completely different things.

    State atheism takes an active role in asserting that there is no god or gods. Secularism simply refuses to get involved in the question in the first place, leaving atheists and theists to duke it out on their own time.

  • Michael

    But… I… was… talking about state atheism… I don’t think I made the comparison, actually.

  • *facepalm* clicked the wrong “reply” button. My bad.

  • MerchantMariner

    I reckon it’s safe to say that there’s not one atheist on this blog who wants to live in a mythical ‘state atheist’ nation of the kind the christian trolls seems to think are so prevalent. And I also reckon nobody here is advocating or agitating for the creation of one, either. Advocating a properly secular state that doesn’t privilege one religion over any other, or discriminates against non-believers is an entirely different proposition. Most importantly, I reckon there’d be very few – if any – of us here who worship, venerate or deify the leaders of the nations they continually refer to.

    Contrast that with what I see, hear and read about christians in America, and to a lesser extent elsewhere in the world. (And sadly we do have them here in Australia.) There’s an alarming number of them who DO want to live in a theocracy, and they ARE advocating and agitating to establish one that DOES privilege one religion over all others, and DOES discriminate against non-believers. And they worship a deity who is by any reasonable standards a totalitarian despot.

    Yes, Michael is a troll, but his approving comment that, “My god only kills evil nonbelievers (Sodom, Gomorrah) and heathens. Bad guys”, puts him in the same category as the evil “atheist” dictators he references so earnestly. And it says a lot about the sort of society you could expect if fuckwits like him get the upper hand.

  • mchasewalker

    The purpose of any myth, including Christianity is to 1) provide a sense of the mysterium tremendum 2.) Create a cosmology and assign a set of laws as established by a hero, king, god, or messiah 3.) create a series of sensibilities, moral affinity and status quo within a community 4.) Provide a set of rituals for an individual’s initiation and progress into the group. Once the myth of Jesus is exposed and discovered as is gradually happening now, it will be replaced by the lineaments of a new science of storytelling, where world myths, archaeology, anthropology, behavioral science, neurology and other cross disciplines will assist in all of the above, but based on science, not nescience, truth, not fan fiction and empirical evidence not pseudo-history.

  • I understand religion very well. I understand it in a historical context, in a social context, in a philosophical context, in a psychological context. I understand its source in our native spirituality, in our need to control others, and in faulty systems for obtaining knowledge.

    I do not fear religion, I simply deplore the damage it does to individuals and to society.

  • katiehippie

    I’m a scientist so some book with what somebody thought really doesn’t cut it.

  • Foridin

    Simply because a scientific theory was proven wrong doesn’t mean that science can’t disprove religion. Firstly, I can’t think of an example where gaining more knowledge has made religion seem more likely. To address your examples of the giants, alright, so there may have been giant like creatures that fit the biblical description. All that means is that the verse that refers to them is one of the verses that refers to history, and not one of the ones that is just a myth. It supports the Bible being fully true to the same extent that the Bible talking about the Roman Empire does. However, I don’t think there are any scenarios in which science has proven one of the supernatural stories in the Bible to be probable. With the Solid State Theory, yes, it was proven wrong. However, the evidence that proved it wrong did not point towards a creator making the universe, it pointed towards the Big Bang. The same is true of most scientific theories that have been proven false. Even if a scientific theory is proven false, and we can’t find an answer, that doesn’t mean God did it, it just means we aren’t scientifically advanced enough to find the answer. The only reason that people would think, oh, God did it in response to a lack of knowledge is if they already believed, so their mind immediately flew to that answer.

  • Foridin

    Right. Unstable family. Unhuh. So, please, tell me how my nuclear family (Both parents, 2 kids) which is upper middle class, hasn’t had any sort of major argument in years, gets along well with most of the inlaws, etc, is unstable. I’m at the edge of my seat waiting for your opinion on how I come from a fucked up family.

  • MerchantMariner

    “Secondly, individual atheists tend to be people who have grown up in less than ideal family circumstances, often without a father, leading to cynicism.”

    Bollocks. As I pointed out to you elsewhere my lack of belief, and that of many others I know, IS a default position. My family circumstances were and are quite good. I wasn’t subjected to religious indoctrination at any time, so I had nothing to reject or “rebel” against.

    My cynicism about religion/faith/belief is something that developed from years of exposure to bullshit artists like you.

  • Castilliano

    Stupid for not writing “former”, no, not really.

    But I’ll gladly add to the heap of evidence of your stupidity:
    In a 2010 interview, when asked if she believed in God, she (Julia Gillard) stated: “No,
    I don’t … I’m not a religious person … I’m … a great respecter of
    religious beliefs but they’re not my beliefs.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Gillard

  • LesterBallard

    Whew! There for a minute I thought you forgot to like your own comment. Good work.

  • MerchantMariner

    Yeah, it’s obviously so much better to for power to be vested in someone who believes “My god only kills evil nonbelievers (Sodom, Gomorrah) and heathens. Bad guys”.

  • MerchantMariner

    Yes. And that’s working out SO well.

  • MerchantMariner

    So the ancient Egyptians were good stonemasons – hooray for them. The beliefs that motivated them to build the pyramids were as primitive as the ones you hold today.

  • MerchantMariner

    The point is not that it’s a menial job. The point is that these were people who barely knew enough to keep their shit and their food separate, and yet you insist that they have all the answers.

  • bismarket 1

    Thing is, a lot of “Bad schools” don’t close because the parents get pressured into putting their child into a particular “Faith school” lest they appear UN-pious & there are quite a few religious types who love to flout their supposed piety at the expense of their own kids, the woman who posted about how she wanted Jesus to watch over kids on FB just days before kicking one of those kids to death is a perfect example.

  • Malcolm McLean

    Basically that’s how it should work. Just as with food. Government doesn’t run farms and supermarkets. Parents buy food to give to their offspring.
    The snag is that the economics just don’t add up. The average parent simply cannot afford school fees. So the solution should be for government to pay the fees, not for government to run the schools.

  • Malcolm McLean

    Science cannot prove a supernatural event true because if it did so the event would no longer be supernatural. It would be subject to scientific study, and the natural sciences by definition study nature. It can fail to provide a plausible natural explanation for an event.

    There’s no consensus on the star of Bethlehem, for example, various comets and things have been proposed, but there’s no theory which compels belief as the obvious rational explanation. It’s always open to the skeptic to say that “the text is fabricated” but often there’s no particular reason to think that, except that it describes a miracle. So you’re arguing in a circle.

  • Lark62

    Last I checked, the pyramids were built by the Egyptians. By your logic, we should be worshipping Isis, the pharaohs, cats and scarab beetles.

    The point is that the moral teachings of slave owning, daughter selling, genocidal tribesmen are completely irrelevant to intelligent, moral people in the 21st century.

  • Lark62

    I agree except that factual information about religion taught. When and where they started, major texts, god(s) worshipped, main teachings and holidays, etc. None of this should be taught in the context of the underlying beliefs being true.

  • Choose_Freewill

    Is this the new talking point for the Xtian right? I’ve seen this “run for President” comment on several threads…
    I contend with the recent run of candidates, maybe the United States is ready for a rational, reasonable President…

  • Choose_Freewill

    I just read that the Philadelphia archdiocese has reported a 30% decline in attendance in the last few years…

  • Lark62

    What a concept. Believing something strongly, yet having no intention of turning your beliefs into law in the u.s. today to force every else to follow your beliefs.

  • Buckley

    When the South has shed it’s religious-themed governments, I will stop using Texas as the poster-child for Christian Government run amok…you could say South Carolina, but Texas has had some real stand out moments. For the sake of being evenhanded, my current state of Indiana might just be more conservative than Texas in a few years.

  • Choose_Freewill

    And I know plenty of evangelicals who would trade our democracy for their brand of theocracy, JT…

  • Buckley

    Following your theory is illogical. It’s all about perception, and perception is flawed in many respects. Add to that the time-distance problem with the bible and you have all sorts of issues that Fundies can’t address with out using “faith” as their answer.

    When native Americans first encountered the Spanish Conquistadors on horseback, they had no concept for a horse, which had gone extinct in North America. Some Native Americans called the horse “Big Dog” in their language when they saw it for the first time. If this were passed down in a holy book AND no horses existed to this day, religious people would believe that there were actually Big Dogs roaming North America, despite the fossil record.

    So here, you assert that the bible says there were giants, and you expect us to believe it because a bad game of telephone (Bible) says so? That’s not scientific proof any more than assuming that “Big Dogs” carried the Conquistadors over the North American plains because they said so.

  • Buckley

    “They are asking if there’s something to point to even a little less flimsy than “it says so in a book somewhere”.

    And you have summed up the religious argument in one sentence. This is how they argue proof…”The book says so”. So why should it not be surprising to us that a person who uses the bible as proof should use other books as proof, it’s kinda how they are.

  • Lark62

    Has anyone donated this book to the Morton Grove library?

  • Nemo

    Compare the increasingly secular societies of Northern Europe to the thoroughly Christian and Muslim ones of the Third World. Even America is becoming secularized when compared to the Third World. If you’re referring to communist countries, you should realize that the societies themselves were not devoid of religion. There are state approved religions operating in China now (hardly ideal, but not “thoroughly atheist”), and North Korean policy states that the leaders have divine powers. Clearly that is exactly what Richard Dawkins wants in a leader. Sarcasm mode off.

  • God’s Starship

    But people need to eat. People don’t need religious education. I understand the concept of government subsidies. I’m asking why the government should specifically subsidize this.

  • Bad_homonym

    Sorry Jeff. I didn’t mean to over generalize. I sited Texas because it is one of the better known examples I could think of. It seems that the sane population of Texas ends up embroiled in battle every time textbooks are reviewed or someone tries to hold up the constitution. Also being from Canada, we miss a lot of southern stories all together up here. I will try to be more careful in the future.

    Cheers

  • Michael

    Atheists believe in “free thinking”, I believe, as an atheist, that everyone should be allowed to think freely. We should never have laws that outlaw any type of religion! Nor should we call Christians, or any other religious followers, names and cut them down for their beliefs; just as we do not want to be cut down for our beliefs. A civil free thinking discussion will go a lot farther than the alternative!

  • Bad_homonym

    Damn you express yourself well. How much would you charge to express myself? I generally suck at it!

  • onamission5

    I’m still waiting for an explanation of how two cis, straight, religious parents magically makes a family stable, what with all the examples to the contrary.

  • I don’t believe in outlawing pornography, but I do agree with laws that place certain restrictions on pornography with respect to children. I see religion as the same. We should not outlaw religion, nor the right to personal beliefs. But that isn’t the same as preventing children from accessing dangerous or damaging ideas.

  • Pitabred

    The domain owner is hidden behind an anonymous name registrar. Very little to validate methodology or anything.

  • Malcolm McLean

    Children need education, which cannot be provided outside of a cultural framework. Providing secular education is effectively providing atheist education, because it puts religious knowledge into a special category of “not taught by school”. It’s also usually atheist education in a deeper sense because atheists tend to impose their own moral system – I know that formally atheism is just “disbelief in God”, but in practice it’s usually atheist plus (insert fad of the day).

  • Malcolm McLean

    A pastafarian receives food stamps and buys a packet of noodles with them. Is the constitution being violated?

  • God’s Starship

    You seem to be having a hard time imagining schools as anything but indoctrination factories.

  • Foridin

    I wasn’t claiming that my parents being cis, religious and straight was why the family was stable, however I’ve seen studies that showed that having both parents was a good thing, and then most of my point was that my family got along well and have all of our needs taken care of. Also, given that I’m an atheist, I’m certainly not saying that my parents being religious is a good thing. Given who I was responding to, and how socially conservative he is, I just emphasized that my family fits within his definition of what a stable family is, even though that definition is not the only to have a good family.

  • Wildcard

    @The Malcolm McLean Conversation: It has gone on a little too long. Can you guys stop this? He is obviously just preaching and does not want a conversation. It isn’t that hard to ignore somebody on the internet.

  • onamission5

    I didn’t mean you, I meant Malcolm and his claim that “atheists tend to be people who have grown up in less than ideal family circumstances, often without a father, leading to cynicism.” 🙂

  • Emmet

    So you’d like to be forced to teach your kids what the State thinks is true?

  • Billy Rubin

    Provided the curriculum is secular and developed by education experts, yes. That’s basically current policy, and it’s a reasonably good place to start.

  • Anymouse

    So you’re saying if they grew up in a family with two fathers, they would be better off. Got it.

  • Guest

    I look forward to the day when the religious viewpoint expressed in The Bible has been abandoned, and we can teach it in schools as a great work of significant middle-eastern compositions modified by a European medieval feudal oligarchy.

  • Ibis3

    I want all kids to be taught what the experts in their respective disciplines have concluded is true. Up to the end of high school, none of it ought to be the least controversial. You know, the square of the hypotenuse equals the sum of the squares of the other two sides of a triangle, life on this planet evolved from single-celled organisms and we’re all related, the American Constitution was a product of the Enlightenment and thus a departure from Christian qua Christian values, using condoms is a good way to protect against sexually transmitted disease, fascism and socialism aren’t the same thing, getting informed unimpaired consent from your sexual partner(s) is your responsibility, the current rapid climate change is anthropogenic, and E=mc².

    ETA: Notice that I said nothing about parents being forced to teach their kids anything. But if parents want to withdraw their children from public education, yes, I do think that whoever does teach them (whether parents or private educators) ought to be forced to teach them the public curriculum. Children have a right to be taught the truth instead of lies or nothing at all.