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When prosperity preachers hustle, they're making your God a shill

  "And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not."  2 Peter 2:3


Apparently it's nothing new, using God's name to make one's fortune. But with the advent of television and the internet, it's become an art form.  A lucrative if predictable art form:  God spoke to me just this morning and told me he would perform financial miracles for X number of His people if they'll commit X number of dollars to my anointed ministry in X amount of time. 

"Quickly, quickly", they say, "Don't even think about it.  Get out your checkbooks, max out your credit cards if you have to (Yes, MAX them out!), send in your next mortgage payment--have faith that it will all return to you 10-fold, 100-fold, a THOUSAND-fold.  Do it now!  (Cue the tearing up, the catch in the voice.  Say the word "MIRACLES" loudly, sharpen the S and hold it.)

These people are bloodsuckers who whip up their audiences, promising prosperity just around the corner if they'll make the supreme sacrifice and send in their last dollars.  Have FAITH that God knows what he's doing. (Insert mention of Abraham).  They've latched onto the con to end all cons, perfected over centuries, and still going strong.  It must be startling even to them, this pretending that God speaks to them.  It does indeed work never-ending miracles.  For them.

They get caught in their lies, they're exposed by countless sources presenting overwhelming evidence of their scams, and still they keep a following large enough to enrich their already lavish lifestyles.

"Pastor" Mike Murdock is the leader of the pack.  Other con artist preachers look up to him for guidance.  Tell us, Mike, how do you do it?  What's your secret?  The secret, as I see it, is that he plays on the desperation of his audience and never lets up.  Quickly!  Quickly!  Operators are standing by!  He throws in a few stories not to be believed by any thinking person about the money miracles arriving at doorsteps after those with the sorriest of lives, at the end of their ropes, see their last salvation in sowing the Murdock Seed.   Now and then you see that he can barely hide his disdain for the poor folks who take him at his Word.  At other times, a little bitty tear starts to fall.  You can do that if you're conscience-free.








 So here I am, just another in a long line of outraged watchers trying to show the evil in these people.  Watch and be warned.  Or not:

  An $80 Passover offering will bring seven blessings--and a Mezuzah.


Jan Crouch says, "little women send your little grocery money":


Eddie Long on Tithing.

The anointing never ends.  Their followers keep sending money.  What a show!


But the last laugh's on them. . .


(There.  Not much accomplished, but I feel better on this Sunday morning.  But I'm warning you:  Don't get so excited by this that you'll want to send me money.  I'll slap you silly.)

 

(Cross-posted at Ramona's Voices.)

Good, scathing post, Ramona.  My grandmother seemed to singlehandedly pay for the construction of Reverend Schuller's Crystal Cathedral back in the day.  I can't help but wonder if that automatically bought her a place in heaven.  Wink

Lis, I've been to the Crystal Cathedral.  My cousin is a lay minister and had an office in the Tower of Power (!)  I know I was supposed to marvel at the beauty of it, but all I could think of was how much good they could have done with that kind of money and a lesser building. 

My feeling is no different in any Cathedral.  I know for a fact that poor people gave more than they should have to build and maintain those buildings covered in gold leaf and containing priceless paintings and murals. 

I remember the priest coming to my Italian grandparents' house driving a Cadillac, with diamond rings on his fingers.  He was there to collect money from these people who didn't have a pot to pee in, and they were ashamed that they didn't have more to give!

Don't forget the golf clubs that were in the trunk of the Caddy.

I don't think he had time for golf.  He kept a mistress, who drove her own Cadillac.  No big secret, and it didn't stop my poor people from giving to the "church".

I've often said that one of Jesus' quotes that you will never hear from one of these hucksters:"Give up everything you own and follow me".  The last thing Pastor Grifter would want is for his following to actually read the New Testament.

You received free, give free 

(Matthew 10:7-10) . . .As YOU go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.’ 8 Cure sick people, raise up dead persons, make lepers clean, expel demons. YOU received free, give free. 9 Do not procure gold or silver or copper for YOUR girdle purses, 10 or a food pouch for the trip, or two undergarments, or sandals or a staff; for the worker deserves his food.

That is exactly what these hucksters want from YOU, You give up everything and follow them.

Except they aren't following Christ. 

Amen, Resistance.  So true.  I also seem to recall Jesus saying in the New Testament that we need not go to a temple to pray, but can do so in our own homes.  Or, if you're like me, you can do so to a tree.  Laughing  Whatever floats your boat.

 

Actually, I think his admonition was to pray in private and not be like the hypocrites who pray in public for all to see.

Actually, I think you're right.  Been a while since I read the New Testament.  I'm currently reading Karen Armstrong's "Buddha".  So easy to get confused, hahaha.

 

Any place is your temple providing you treat it as such.

That is exactly what these hucksters want from YOU, You give up everything and follow them.  Except they aren't following Christ. 

No, they're not, Resistance, but within the first couple of minutes that should be clear to the people who fall for their line.  I understand desperation, I understand faith, but I'll never understand how anyone could actually max out their credit cards or let their mortgage fall behind because an obvious huckster tells them God wants them to. 

There is nothing subtle about their demands, and it's all about money.  After an hour or so of sitting through this wouldn't you begin to wonder when the sermon is going to start?

 

On the contrary.  Since the hucksters are God's chosen messengers, they're preaching that line to the max.  "Give up everything you own and follow me" is exactly what they're saying and it's making them rich beyond their wildest dreams.

Of course, the "me" I was quoting was Jesus.  And the "chosen messengers" are obviously not following the message.

Sorry, I didn't make myself clear.  They co-opted that word "me" in order to convince their flock that God actually meant "them".  Seems to have worked.

As long as there are desperate people looking for hope, there are horrid vultures looking to take advantage of them. What amazes me is that people equate men of "god" as somehow more trustworthy than others when it is patently obvious by streams of evidence that it is the contrary.

Take the Christian "Faith Healer" Peter Popoff. This guy mysteriously was told by "god" the specific ailments of his audience. Only "god" turned out to be his equally evil wife conveying info from prayer request cards to Popoff via his hidden earpiece. This was in the 80's

Fast forward to this century. You think Popoff spend any time in jail for this crap? Nah....

In fact, he has some miracle spring water that cures any ailment. Yes you heard me right. People are still sending money to this outed fraud.

Why you ask?

Because people who are suffering and desperate, people who have nowhere left to turn, will take the chance. These poor people need to be protected. That is why I constantly speak out against religion. All religion, because it is all a scam.

Someone lies and that makes everyone else a liar? You are engaging in what is best descibed as stereotyping, except in your case .........prejudice.

  

Mage, I'm not religious but I'm not prepared to say that all religion is a scam.  You're going to find people who will use it because they know they don't have to deal with truth.  Faith is enough, and often it can be twisted. 

On the other hand, a great many people around the world find comfort and solace in their religions. There are many congregations that do good works and help those outside their own parishes.  My point here is to draw attention to the scammers who use religion as a tool.  But you're entitled to your own beliefs.

The fundamental flaw in most religions, at least as we normally understand that word, is duality.  God is apart, separate from man.  We are here, God is "there" and religion is trying to show us, or sell us, the map from here to "there".  This has led to an (forgive me) ungodly amount of confusion and confusion is the hucksters' best friend.  At one time the Catholic Church openly sold dispensations.  Got sins?  No prob.  Need a healing?  We can do that.  And never underestimate the power of guilt to help loosen the old pursestrings.

Churches may provide a valuable social function.  But religion becomes unnecessary when you realize that there is no separation, no duality.  Do you remember?  There is not God and you.  There is only God as you.  Congratulations!!!

Another snake oil salesman, another huckster, another embodiment of the serpent?
i suppose you've got a book to sell?  

"There is only god as you?"

Don't eat the fruitage TJ is pushing, 

Everybody choosing for themselves what is good and what is bad.........I suppose the shooter in Tucson, listened to you? .

(Genesis 3:4-5) . . .At this the serpent said to the woman: “YOU positively will not die. 5 For God knows that in the very day of YOUR eating from it YOUR eyes are bound to be opened

and YOU are bound to be like God, KNOWING good and bad.. . .

There is only god as you?

So says TJ 

And who told you you are naked?

Is this what it's all about, your sensual pleasure?

Not really.  I thought I was still in Genesis.

That's a good place to start

(Genesis 3:9-11) . . .

Fair enough Ramona :). I have many opinions on the wide ranging topic of religion. While religion may give comfort and solace to many, and good works are done by organized groups of them, I find that the most altruistic people are the ones who help because they feel it in their hearts. They may attribute it to their faith, but it is not really necessary for they are kind, loving people already. Unfortunately there are so many only helping because it was commanded by God as a prerequisite to get into heaven. These are the ones who most often end up falling into the abusive missionary, nun or priest category.

All religion, because it is all a scam.

I think one has to define "scam" really loosely for that to be true. Consider this: there are numerous athletes that swear by a lucky talisman or practice of some sort. Does it actually help them? The surprising answer is yes, because they believe it will, so it gives them confidence. Similarly, I'm convinced that the vast majority of religious leaders (and followers, of course) are sincere in their beliefs. It's even possible that the originators (to the degree such a thing can be defined) of some religions were sincere.

"The surprising answer is yes, because they believe it will, so it gives them confidence."

So let me ask you this:

Do you think Dumbo is better off thinking that he is powerless and all of the "magic" is in the feather? Or finding out that he had the power all along?

 

I love that scene!  But he never would have jumped without the feather and the mouse.  The mouse convinced Dumbo that he could do it.  The mouse had faith and passed it along to Dumbo and used the feather as a prop.  If the mouse hadn't had faith in Dumbo he never would have jumped onto his hat and rode it down with him.

So I'm giving the mouse all the credit.  His mentor, his friend.  No, it had nothing to do with religion but it's a great scene.  Especially the peanut shooter.

With friends like Mage?  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH4gumw8AsQ . . .

Notice in this video the depression Dumbo had to face. 

Had his friend the mouse not been there, the crows would have jeered him, mocking and laughing at him. Maybe even telling him to jump, you can do it. 

Ooops sorry Dumbo you dummy 

It wasn’t till his friend shamed the crows, did they show any empathy. 

In today’s cruel world, people like Mage would say you don’t need any helper; you have the power yourself …….Get up you freak, JUMP.  

People like Mage would discount what faith can do to comfort the oppressed. People hurting and suffering at the hands of others or life’s hardships, only to find that neighbors and friends don’t have the capacity or understanding to help. 

Praying to a helper and finding relief, is foreign to Mage. 

So if my comforter, in whom I can trust, my hearer of my deepest thoughts and prayers, gives me the strength to face adversity, it’s better than the comfort people like Mage would offer.

As noted by his constant attacks on my deliverer, my comforter, MY ROCK .

Ok resistance, I have played along enough. This blog is an exchange of ideas. We do not have to agree, and in fact, a healthy discourse is the backbone of any good society.

I don't attack you personally. I don't attack your personality. I don't know you, nor do you know me.

I would appreciate your personal character attacks on me cease. If you have a opposite opinion of my assertions, make them logically and concisely. If you cannot manage to honor this simple request, do not respond to my comments nor use derogatory comments about me to others.

 

I do know you.

This post was dealing with charlatans, you saw an opportunity to disparage and attack people of faith.

Stop your attacks and I'll stop defending. 

If you did know me, you'd know I was a lady.

This post was about religious charlatans. I posted my ideas about a particular religious charlatan giving yet another example of how religion fosters this kind abuse. And my personal conviction, that good works aside, organized religions are a scam.They hurt society orders of magnitude more than they ever help. This is my personal opinion directed at religion as a whole, not at you personally.

I am sure many here do not agree with my seemingly over the top assessment, but I really have tons of resources to back up my claims. Maybe someday I will organize myself enough to blog about them.

I do not see any attack on you personally with my statements. If you take any criticism of religion as an attack on you personally, well, that is your own hang up. My criticism was not directed nor intended for you.

You however have attacked me personally on multiple blogs accusing me of prejudice, evil, hate...those are just the ones I remember.

From Dagblog TOS:

At the same time, dagblog is committed to being respectful.  So please consider the following.  Purely personal attacks are not respectful of others.

http://dagblog.com/terms-use

 

Well, at least he didn't call you a snake-oil salesman or huckster or (gasp) serpent.  I hope you folks will still let me come around once in a while now that I've been exposed.

Would anybody like an apple? Tongue out

Sorry, my wife already packed one for me for lunch. (Seriously, she did…)

Resistance, Mage has a right to her opinion, just as you do yours.  She was attacking an idea, not you personally.   Give her the same courtesy.

Stereotyping leads to prejudice 

She has a right to her own opinion; so that allows every hate group to come here and speak of their prejudices?

What I have come to see, is Mage is antichristian

Her comments really are stereotyping, because of her deep-seated prejudice. 

But I guess she has the right to her opinion, but does she have a right to speak publicly about her hatred, to stir up discrimination?   

Martin Luther King Jr.........“Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them…………"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."……… We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." 

I appreciate, that you and Athiest questioned her "ALL Religions" stereotyping, that you did not remain silent.  

But she did not relent; she attempted a backdoor attempt, to make you see that not only were “ALL” religions scams”.. but ALL the followers were fools.    

But she can avoid the appearance of direct attack, by addressing it to another. In the form of a question, so that you’ll draw the same conclusion she has. "ALL that follow religion, are fools"  

Well excuse me, she's the one bringing the 800 pound elephant into the room.

Her Dumbo clip was very selective, in order  to make her point; except she found that the story and moral of Dumbo undercuts her premise.  

When Mage gets cut by her own sword; then she wants to cry foul?  

Excerpts from

http://remember.org/guide/History.root.stereotypes.html 

1. Stereotyping often results from, and leads to, prejudice and bigotry.

2. Unchecked prejudice and bigotry leads to discrimination, violence, and, in extreme cases, genocide.

3. Prejudice can be spread by the use of propaganda and inflamed by demagogues.

4. Language, particularly slang, is often used to dehumanize members of certain groups of people, and this dehumanization is a precursor of discrimination, isolation, and violence.  

A "stereotype" is a generalization about a person or group of persons. We develop stereotypes when we are unable or unwilling to obtain all of the information we would need to make fair judgments about people or situations. In the absence of the "total picture," stereotypes in many cases allow us to "fill in the blanks." Our society often innocently creates and perpetuates stereotypes, but these stereotypes often lead to unfair discrimination and persecution when the stereotype is unfavorable. 

minorities being the subject of jokes which poke fun at the target's race, religion, or ethnic origin, and which rely on stereotypes

Scapegoating is the practice of blaming an individual or group for a real or perceived failure of others. 

Stereotype - A generalized image of a person or group, which does not acknowledge individual differences and which is often prejudicial to that person or group.

But she can avoid the appearance of direct attack, by addressing it to another. In the form of a question, so that you’ll draw the same conclusion she has. "ALL that follow religion, are fools"

Something to consider, Resistance: how is this different from your question (a while back) about whether atheists have a conscience? If you were sincerely questioning that, then why do you assume mage is not equally as sincere? (That doesn't mean that you both aren't displaying your biases in your questions, however.)

Sincere? Starting off a conversation with "ALL" religions are scams,

I know of a bigot and is as sincere as can be.

About the question I raised about conscience; Maybe it was a stupid question ,misunderstood,  but Obeys response had much to consider than just a passing WHAT.

One thing I didnt do, was say "ALL athiests are fools".  I know better, and I respect you and Obey.

I know of a bigot and is as sincere as can be.

And bigotry comes from ignorance…

Romans 13:12: The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Romans 12:14: Bless them which persecute you; bless, and curse not.

Ignorance? Some are excused because of it, and others use it as an excuse.

Being equipped with the armor of light, I have followed in the steps of those walking in the light.

I quoted Martin Luther King  because he too, tried to shed the light on the harm caused by those  who practice prejudice..

I hold no animoisty towards Mage. I'll pray for her. 

It is interesting that you will use the scriputeres to control the light, yet what do you use with those who can't see the light?  

It is interesting that you will use the scriputeres to control the light, yet what do you use with those who can't see the light?

I try to adjust my message for its audience. For you, scripture seems a relevant source to cite. For mage, you'll notice, I referenced Dawkins. Both sources contain wisdom, and both sources contain flaws.

Dawkins says what? About stereotyping or prejudice?

That, too. I was referring to Dawkins' explanation about the origins of religion, and how it provided reproductive advantage to our forebears.

I hold no animosity towards Mage. I'll pray for her.

Awww you old softy resistance. Thank you. I know it must be hard not to hold any animosity against a stereotyping, hate filled, prejudicial person like me.

I will offer one concession though, I was over the top when I said ALL religions are scams. Upon reflection, there are a few whose philosophy I really like (ex. Buddhism), when stripped of their otherworldly dogma of reincarnation and such. :)

I sincerely meant it Mage, I can't hold any animosity. 

I am not perfect, I am not slow to anger,  Wish I were, then I wouldn't have to come back and say I'm sorry Mage Embarassed

Peace Mage?   

Absolutely Resistance. :) I definitely will try to be more tactful when posting.  We can disagree without being disagreeable. :)

In order to provide more width to your reply.

You’re recommending the views of Richard Dawkins?  Whose opinion is the universe has “no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”

That’s not human nature.  

Listening to him and it’s any wonder the World has no conscience, why should they with this bleak assessment. Survival of the fittest reigns in Dawkin’s World

I see why you refused to answer the question directly. I let the scriptures; Gods word decide right and wrong; but nothing reigns in the abuses of you know who. They get to decide for themselves what’s right or wrong, even if it does manifest itself as prejudice and hate. For who can tell them they are wrong, In the world of the Dawkinsen's

You’re recommending the views of Richard Dawkins?

I'm recommending the views of Richard Dawkins with respect to understanding how religion can arise without the need for it to be a deliberate same. I'm not saying Dawkins is right about everything, just as how when I was recommending the view of the New Testament with respect to how one deals with ignorance, I was not saying the New Testament is right about everything.

Whose opinion is the universe has “no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”

Well, I don't disagree with that either. I do not believe the universe has a mind, so I don't believe it has a "design" nor a "purpose". Nor can it be evil or good.

Listening to him and it’s any wonder the World has no conscience, why should they with this bleak assessment.

You seem to be slipping back on your prejudices there.

I see why you refused to answer the question directly.

What question am I not answering directly? Present it directly and I will answer it directly. (Note that if you combine the question with many other things, I might not notice the question.)

I let the scriptures; Gods word decide right and wrong; but nothing reigns in the abuses of you know who. They get to decide for themselves what’s right or wrong, even if it does manifest itself as prejudice and hate. For who can tell them they are wrong, In the world of the Dawkinsen's

I realize you don't see it this way, but declaring that "Gods word [decides] right and wrong" is no less of a judgement call than declaring what is right and wrong. We all have means for determining right and wrong, and, unless you have a direct line to God, his "word" (assuming you mean the Bible) doesn't have the answer for all such decisions, unless you're willing to do some interpreting, and different people interpret it differently. (E.g., the Bible has very little to say on copyright infringement.)

To answer you quickly, because I have to leave for awhile

The Bible doesn't directly answer all the myriads of questions that arise, it does provide the principles in order to guide us, to determine the right answer.

All of Israel's laws originated from the foundation of the Ten commandments.  

We have the same in our law books, laws are not to be in conflict with one another. 

Listening to him and it’s any wonder the World has no conscience, why should they with this bleak assessment.

You seem to be slipping back on your prejudices there.

What prejudice? To clearly identify that in his World of indifference, in contrast to a World of (insert antonym of indifference)

It is prejudicial to prefer the antonym? 

All of Israel's laws originated from the foundation of the Ten commandments.

Actually, that's not at all true. The laws of Leviticus are not derivable from the Ten Commandments. E.g., how does one infer that shellfish are an abomination from any of the Ten Commandments? Furthermore, note that fully 40% of the Ten Commandments are not applicable to a secular society (i.e., commandments 1-4).

Listening to him and it’s any wonder the World has no conscience, why should they with this bleak assessment.

You seem to be slipping back on your prejudices there.

What prejudice? To clearly identify that in his World of indifference, in contrast to a World of (insert antonym of indifference)

You seem to be using the word World with two different meanings, and I think that's confusing the point. When Dawkins talks about the Universe being indifferent, he's referring to an inanimate universe. It's not bleak to say the universe is indifferent. To me, I find that more comforting than the only alternative my experience would allow: that it's gunning for us. That does not suggest that the world of people are indifferent nor that they should be. We are not the universe.

Maybe I'm wrong, but you seem to be annoyed by Dawkins' words. You' ve no doubt noticed that some here are annoyed by the scripture you occasionally quote. I'm not asking you to stop quoting scripture, but I do want you to apply your annoyance with Dawkins to help you understand how others are annoyed with scripture.

I speak the truth; you speak lies  

Resistance  “Dawkins says what? About stereotyping or prejudice?”...by Resistance 1/31/2011 - 12:42 pm (re: Verified Atheist)

 Verified Atheist  ”That, too. I was referring to Dawkins' explanation about the origins of religion, and how it provided reproductive advantage to our forebears.: Verified Atheist 

Resistance (Speaking about the so called wisdom of Dawkins)

”Whose opinion is the universe has “no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”

Verified Atheist  “Well, I don't disagree with that either. I do not believe the universe has a mind, so I don't believe it has a "design" nor a "purpose". Nor can it be evil or good.”  

Resistance  It is interesting that you will use the scriputeres to control the light, yet what do you use with those who can't see the light?

Verified Atheist I try to adjust my message for its audience. For you, scripture seems a relevant source to cite. For mage, you'll notice, I referenced Dawkins. Both sources contain wisdom, and both sources contain flaws.by Verified Atheist

Now notice the disingenuousness of your counsel.  

Mage and I are having a heated discussion about stereotyping and prejudice. You come along all full of counsel citing scriptures to bring light to me Bringing forth waters of truth filled with you poison .

But for Mage you bring the gas can to the fire,

This same Dawkins states,  “If you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane." 

You snake, you try to put a constraint on me, and then promote your lies to encourage Mage?  

That’s the moral equivalent of the counsel spoken by someone with a forked tongue. 

Continuing  

Notice how you try to evade the World, the Dawkinsen’s promote..

A Godless World,of indifference.   

Resistance  “You’re recommending the views of Richard Dawkins?  Whose opinion is the universe has “no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” 

Verified Atheist  “Well, I don't disagree with that either. I do not believe the universe has a mind, so I don't believe it has a "design" nor a "purpose". Nor can it be evil or good. 

HAVING SECOND THOUGHTS ATHEIST?  

Verified Atheist  “You seem to be using the word World with two different meanings, and I think that's confusing the point. When Dawkins talks about the Universe being indifferent, he's referring to an inanimate universe. It's not bleak to say the universe is indifferent. To me, I find that more comforting”

 Richard Dawkins, stated: “In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice.” 

Caught in your lies again. 

Please atheist, give it a break, It appears, to carry out in discussion with you, one has be leery of traps and lies? Are you indifferent to that too?

The map is not the territory, nor the explanation the miracle. Quite explicitely, in your colloquy w/tj you confront the usefulness of ritual which projects the source of power outside yourself. Being as the sine qua non for a practice (and the religion teaching it) to survive is that it gets you high (cf. gives one solace) we would be foolish not to avail ourselves of such aid in manipulating our consciousness (DMT, schrooms. I got dank, check it out...). The feather is just a useful fiction. Useful, but fiction.

Jolly it's going to take me awhile to meditate on this.

I love this movie too Ramona. However, I think you missed my point. Wouldn't the mouse have been an even better friend if he had convinced Dumbo from the very start that he had the power to fly? Instead he tricked him (dishonestly) by claiming that some feather was magic. It almost did both of them in. The mouse had to fervently beg Dumbo to change his views at the very last second. Lucky for them he did.

Unfortunately for most religious fundamentalists, they would rather crash to the ground than have someone convince them they have power over their own lives. It is very difficult to convince a religious adherent that the course of their lives is not part of some "magic" creator's divine will, but is in fact their own to create (fly) as they see fit.

Yes, he would have been a better friend if he could have convinced Dumbo that he could fly.  But as I recall, he tried that and Dumbo wasn't convinced.  As much as I like that scene, I equate it to someone throwing a scared kid into the water to make them learn to swim.   So in that sense, you're right. There are better ways.

I happen to agree with you about religious fundamentalists.  Their beliefs are rigid and bible-based, and since I don't see the bible as a divine book, there is no argument that can ever get beyond that.

I'm willing to be tolerant of their beliefs as long as they don't infringe mine.  It has to work both ways--but it almost never does.

In order for this analogy to be valid, however, the mouse would've had to have actually believed the feather to be magic. If the mouse believed that, then is he a bad friend for convincing Dumbo of it?

I'll admit there are aspects to religion that have "scam game" written on them - e.g., admonitions against "testing" God, thus preventing any application of the scientific method, but to suggest that all religous folks (or even leaders) are scam artists is to ignore that they are victims themselves. If you haven't read Dawkin's The God Delusion (which is hardly that sympathetic to religion), reading that might give you some peace (I say that because I detect some rage in what you wrote, but maybe I'm wrong).

Cargo cults are always with us....

 

Interesting reading about Cargo Cults.  And oh, Janis, sacrilege!  But the people I'm talking about here are predators and people are getting hurt because of them.  When they lose everything and come back to complain, they're told their faith wasn't strong enough.  Nine times out of ten they're taken for even more money. 

I don't see this as a quaint practice, I see it as a crime--except there are apparently no laws against it, and obviously no punishment. The victims do this willingly and their only defense is that they thought they were giving to someone who talked to God.

I see it as a crime--except there are apparently no laws against it, and obviously no punishment.

How can there be any laws against these crimes it if it is absolutely taboo to criticize religion or subject its healing claims to science based testing?

Can they even be truly crimes if "congress shall make no law inhibiting the free exercise of religion"?

If these poor people were giving their money based on "faith", there can be no laws written giving any outside agency oversight.

Abuse by religious charlatans - sanctioned in the freaking constitution.

Actually, there are laws, and people get busted all the time. Same basic transaction, pay cash for good luck-but it's only illegal if you happen to be female and (crucial) Roma...

They can get around any laws because the people send them money willingly.   Sure, they're lying bastards who prey on poor people, but they're poor people so they're not that important in the scheme of things.  The people who follow those clowns will never be convinced that their charismatic leaders would do them harm.  I've never seen an expose by a disgusted ex-follower.  I've never heard of a lawsuit against them

You would think by now everybody would be sick to death of them, but it's like going into the Casino thinking this time you'll hit the big one.  You don't blame the Casino if you don't.  And there's always next time. 

Thanks for that, DD.  I didn't include him in my blog because he isn't really considered a Prosperity Preacher in the full all-out-greed sense of the word.  He's bad enough, don't get me wrong, but these preachers don't have a sermon beyond "Beg, borrow or steal but above all SEND ME THE MONEY!"

(There were things in the DU post that I didn't know.  I'll hang on to it for a while.  It may come in handy some other time!

Martin Luther King Jr was a religious man. His movement changed behavior in the United States andacross the world. He personiified the Christian message. Those of us who are Christian andd admire the work of Dr King do not view most of those who currently call themselves Christian fundamentalists with respect. We also tire of Secularists who view Christians as deluded individuals.

Most Christians do grapple with the question of "If God created  the Universe, who created God?" We also take note of the point of view of some scientists that the big bang created something out of nothing because of gravity. The question can be posed if gravity created the big bang, where did gravity originate? Nothing created something. In essence, 0 = 1.

If you want to see Christian values questioned, you should attend lectures at a seminary. True Cristians do question the Bible. Asking why do you belive what you believe is the hallmark of the modern seminary.

Most Christians sit back and  watch Secularists question their (Christian) religion and their (Christians) sanity without reacting violently. In fact, I would bet that most Christians respond to Bill Mahrer in a much more polite  fashion than Mahrer responds to Christians I doubt that most Christians are requesting for Mahrer to be taken off satellite/cable because of slights to Christians. Christians are tolerant.

In between Mahrer's ridicule of Christians (and his even more harsh words for Muslims), we are amused by his statements that a special dietary regimen that he concocted has prevented illness. Despite the lack of any scientific proof, Mahrer repeated discusses his magical diet.

At the end of the day Christians realize that given an attack by a group of Islamists, hardcore fundamentalists would be willing to annilhilate Muslims, because Muslims represent a false (read Satanic) religion. These  hardcore Christian fundamentalists would be joined by a group of hardcore  secularists who ae tired of having to deal with a group of people (Muslims) who believe in a mythical man in the sky.

When I listen to Mahrer talk about Christianity or Muslims, I detect very little difference between Mahrer and a Christian fundamentalist talking about "false" Christians and Muslims.

 

 Since MLK there has not been another religious leader who used the best parts of religion to try and make the world a better place.  If they're out there, they don't have a chance these days. 

I do wonder why Christians who object to the Fundamentalists or to those who use their religion either as political agenda or for monetary gain don't speak out more often. 

The networks love controversy. Fundamentalist provide entertainment. A jerk water church with few members and a "prophet" who wants to burn Korans gets air time. The vast majority of Christians who object to the "prphet's" behavior action are treated as the minority opinion.

Some may quote the snippet about not praying in public because their sensibilities will have to contend with seeing the people abandoned during Katrina, Haitians dealing with the aftermath of an earthquake and Egyptians dealing with a dictator turn to prayer> The offended may also see Christians saying a prayer in a restaurant in full view of the public.

The Constitution guarantees frredom of religion, not freedom from religion.

Gospel songs were used by slaves to set up escapes. while people point to slavery in the Bible, they overlook the verses in Corinthians that advise that one escape from bondage by another man or the verses that note that a christian cannot hold another Christian in bondage.

There are a number of Christians who are tired of many Fundamentalists and many Secularists. We don't get airtime, but we do discuss the issues among ourselves.

To be honest, I wouldn't trust a Mahrer or Hitchens run government any more than I would trust a Osteen or Robertson run government. Both ends of the spectrum would want to place limits on how most Christians use their faith to inform decisions.

Using your faith to form your own decisions is something no thinking person would argue against.  It's when some would use one faith to form all societal decisions that the sticky wicket begins to form.

Freedom of religion is a given in this country, and I'm all for it.  But to say freedom from religion isn't implied is just wrong.  We are not required to belong to a religion in this country.  We are not required to live under religious rules.  We are a broad-minded secular nation welcoming all religions, all creeds, all convictions.   When there are abuses of any of those three, we deal with the abuses, but allow the freedoms to continue.

 I want to keep it that way.

I noted that some object to others praying in public suggesting that those who do are hypocrites. That point of view could be interpreted as saying that people don't want to have to view any religious practice. Churches should not be marked with crosses,etc. Religion will be tolerated as long as religion is not seen by the public. That is  what I see as the end point of freedom from religion.

Everybody sees Martin Luther King Jr as a hero. Tea Party members say that their movement is the natural desecndent of MLK. These same Tea Party MLK supporters, simultaneously reject King's view that the lack of health care in the US is an abomination. Republicans try to co-opt MLK as a Republican, forgetting that King said that Barry Goldwater was courting the votes of racists. King said that a person of good conscience could not vote for Goldwater.

Progressives also cite MLK Jr as a hero while simultaneously attacking the Christian faith and  churches that anchored the Civil Rights movement. There is a vast religious divide among White Progressives and Black Democrats. 80% of Black voters in Ohio supported the Democratic Presidential candidate when GW ran an anti-Gay marriage campaign. Because 20% of Black voters supported Bush, Blacks  were blamed for losing the Presidential election by some Progressives. The question was never asked "Why aren't 80% of Whites voting for the Democratic candidate?". Blame was placed with Blacks and the church.

I think a vast number of Christians are not enthusiastic about the Christian Right or the Secular Left.

I noted that some object to others praying in public suggesting that those who do are hypocrites. That point of view could be interpreted as saying that people don't want to have to view any religious practice. Churches should not be marked with crosses,etc. Religion will be tolerated as long as religion is not seen by the public. That is  what I see as the end point of freedom from religion.

That's an interesting slippery slope argument that doesn't match anything I've ever heard from any of my fellow atheists. No one objects to you praying in public (although some will object to you leading a government-funded organization in prayer). There's definitely no one who has ever suggested (to the best of my knowledge) that churches should not be marked with crosses. The closest I can think of is the suggestion that crosses are, in fact, a religous symbol (a suggestion that was rejected by the conservative members of the Supreme Court).

Wearing a miniature version of the (then) current instrument of capital punishment makes one contemplate (h/t Lenny Bruce) how stylish i would be to wear a tiny electric chair on a chain...

I noted that some object to others praying in public suggesting that those who do are hypocrites. That point of view could be interpreted as saying that people don't want to have to view any religious practice. Churches should not be marked with crosses,etc. Religion will be tolerated as long as religion is not seen by the public. That is  what I see as the end point of freedom from religion.

That's a bit of a stretch, IMO.  I've never heard anybody say churches should not be marked with crosses, etc.  Have you?  You're seeing an end point that isn't in sight.  If there are any who want to shut down religions altogether, they're mighty few. 

 I'm not religious in the least, and my husband is an avowed atheist, but we love the look and feel of old churches and old church graveyards.  I've taken hundreds of pictures of churches, from the quaintest rustic to the most ostentatious.  They are beautiful structures.

Going on the defense because people don't want to get involved with religion is more your problem than ours.  Most of us want very much to get along, but that doesn't mean we invite you to preach to us.  There is a line to be drawn, but it's nowhere near abolishing all things religious.

Somewhat confused , when does a person get tied  down and preached to?  If a valedictorian wants to express a Christian message at a graduation ceremony at a public institution is  that preaching or an expression of free speech?

Can you cite examples of the preaching that is being forced? Songs coming from a church service, perhaps?

I don't think anyone has claimed that people ever get tied down and preached to. However, the Constitution (rightly) forbids the establishment of religion, and most have interpreted this to mean that government money shouldn't go to support religious practices. Of course, that's a fuzzy line. I, for one, have no problem with a valedictorian expressing a Christian message, as long as valedictorians are also allowed to express a pagan or explicitly atheistic message. The double standard is what annoys us more than almost anything else. Another example is prayers at football games - unless those are private schools, then setting aside time for a prayer puts a special status on religion. Most groups have gotten around that with a moment of silence, which is fine.

Hey, I love those student/athlete/missionaries! The preposterous proposition that some old man w/a beard deity gives a fuck who scores a touchdown just about sums it all up, does it not?

The prayers are likely more about personal safety and the safety of others during a violent game. You may note that prayers are also offered when a player gets injured.

Regarding the image of the diety, a muscular middle aged Black man is depicted in some churches.

I nean the finger pointed skyward AFTER the touchdown...as in. "al-ham d'llillah" or, if you prefer, "all glory to Yahweh"

There are simular expressions of joy after the birth of a child, a safe return home from a tripor thousands of other events. They all provide some degree of comfort.

The football player is just doing what comes naturally. Other players like, Ochocinco choreograph their touchdowns.. Both the skyward finger andthe dance are expressions of freedom of speech. I don't find one more awkward than the other.

 

I find it absurd-YMMV

I agree. Ochochino is way over the top.

Nothing to do with religion or no, but I like the advice: When you get to the end zone, act like you've been there before.

That seems like advice we can all agree on.

Given the severity of hits that running backs and wide receivers take during the course of the year, and the number of post-season surgeries for injuries that are required, a little celebration of a TD is not too much for a player to ask.

Yeah, a little celebration.

Sorry, but I just can't resist…

First you say:

Other players like, Ochocinco choreograph their touchdowns.. Both the skyward finger andthe dance are expressions of freedom of speech. I don't find one more awkward than the other. [emphasis mine]

Later you say:

I agree. Ochochino is way over the top.

Ergo, you agree that the skyward finger is way over the top. Laughing

Chill. It was a joke.

TD celebrations don't upset me.

I am chilled. Didn't you see the smiley face? I was just having fun with the juxtaposition of the two statements.

relocated fo width. you strike me as persistently obtuse. You wouldn't share an IP address w/Brother Resistance (to whom apologies...) would you? He occasionally takes refuge in obstinate misconstruction, when he starts getting boxed in by logic.

Guess you haven't seen these? 

http://www.christianshirts.net/

http://www.withinhisgrace.com/

http://christian-clothing.com/index.html

http://www.wholesalechristiangoods.com/

NOTE: There are Atheist tee shirts out there, too, but I've never seen anyone wearing one. (And I hope I never do.)  In South Carolina and Michigan I see the Christian tees constantly.  It's more than just clothing.  It's a walking pamphlet.  In my face.

On the bright side, one of the web-sites introduced me to a new character that should be of use here.

Old: dag†blog

New: dag♰blog

Which do you think looks better?

I like the proportion of the old, but the lack of serifs makes the † blend with the letters. The new one almost looks like a plus sign.

Serifs, you say?

How about this: dag†blog

I don't play with serifs that often…

Dat look plenty good ...

But. . .doesn't it look like a dagger?

It is a dagger (the kind used for footnotes and what-not). For those with a Mac, this character can by typed by pressing [Alt]+t. To change the font, use the AA button. For those without a Mac… Tongue out

There are a bunch of hilarious athiest T-shirts

One of my favorites - "got proof?"

"guarantees...freedom from religion" Actually, per the dominant thread of 1st Amendnent jurisprudence, it does. (sit down, Nino, and shut up. You are witty, but in error)

Just to be crystal clear, the exact text of the First Amendment is:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The "no law respecting an establishment of religion" can be understood as "freedom from religion", although both phrases are somewhat open to interpretation. Specifically, the "freedom from religion" only applies to government sponsored religion. Obviously, the crackpot on the corner is allowed to preach what s/he wants, and churches are allowed to use whatever religious ornamentation they desire, as long as they don't use federal funds to procure them. (And as long as they don't violate local decency laws - sorry, jollyroger, but your church of illicit pleasures most likely will not be recognized as valid.)

Okay.  So I guess that means the tee shirts stay?   Cheeeez. . . 

 

I'm afraid so. That is, as long as they're not government sponsored, which I'm guessing they're not.

HE SAID CRACKPOT! On the corner! Strike it, take it down, expunge, bowdlerize...(yai feel me, Rammi?) couldn't resist....carry on.
au contraire, mon frere....The Church of Christos Appolonari (greek courtesy of SF Poet Laureate Jack Hirschman) operates under a miraculous revelation received via email from St. Jack Kerouac...our practice of worshipping in the original temple provided by a beneficent creator, unencumbered by shame or clothing. has the happy secondary effect of keeping snitches at bay. For convenience, I will shortly post Jack's Five Revealed Rules of The Road for the edification of the unenlightened.

I'm waiting to become enlightened. Meanwhile, I did a little Googling, in an effort to tease out fun fact from clever snark. I'm guessing you're not talking about Apollinarianism (for one thing, it's spelled differently):

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01615b.htm

Wink

I ran into Calliope last night. the old pus-ridden hag. And while I tied her off, she sang the Appolonian Christ, whose messenger and muse she is... (The rest shortly, when I can tether my actual keyboard equippid machine...)
meanwhile, go here for backstory & link to the sacred text itself...

"Among the inestimable of our blessings, also, is that ...of liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable to His will; .

Thomas Jefferson (1807)

Just as freedom of speech deals with government suppression of speech, meaning Dr Laura could get in trouble for expressing he ropinion about thre N-word, the government can't come down on her for voicing her opinion: Freedom of religion means that the government can't impose a religion. People can express their religious faith in public.

Of course people can express their religious faith in public, which is exactly what I said. However, note that there are two clauses dealing with religion in the First Amendment, and not just one. The first clause is "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion", the second is "[Congress shall make no law] prohibiting the free exercise thereof". You're stressing the latter and ignoring the former.

I just amused the former was true. Since I'm not promoting a government run religion, the second clause isthe only active part for me.

I'm just glad our founding fathers did not assume the former to be true but rather enshrined it in the Bill of Rights.

A circular argument. The establishment clause is in the Constitution, therefore I assumed it was operative. Since there is an establishment clause, the question then focuses on what private citizens  can say about religion

The framers also assumed Blacks were 3/5s of a person. I assume this 3/5s clause is no longer in operation just like I assume the  establishment clause is stilll in operation..

So if you were willing to assume all that, why not also assume the Government wouldn't prohibit religious expression? Help me understand why you drew your line of assumptions where you did…

Are you suggesting that religious practices should be kept out of public view so said observances will not offend others?

The wide-out is free to raise a finger, (fore or middle) The valedictorian speaks over a publicly paid microphone, in a publicly paid hall, and should keep her yahwist drivel to herself.

So you would have the "public" suppress the valedictorian's speech?

What she blurts out, unannounced, is, of course, unsanctionable. Should she submit an advance text w/religious reference, she gets to choose between having it edted or having someone else be speaker.

What "public" official does the editing?

I believe, when it arises in practice, the high school principal.

The principal in many cases would be a government employee?

Would similar limits be placed at the collegiate level?

USF Law School (private, indeed, jesuit) Hallelujah! Boalt Hall (public) STFU

We are only speaking of public high schools. Had that fact eluded you?

You were only speaking about public high schools. Colleges have valedictorians as well, had that simple fact eluded you?

You are amusing.

go to bottom

Well at least you have yourself as an audience

For a while I used to call those phone numbers, and when the person answered I would ask her how she ( it was always a female) could sleep at night, bilking ignorant people out of money they needed.

I finally stopped when I started getting funny calls from weirdos, and also I realized that I certainly wasn't making a difference. Now I never watch those things, but I will admit that when my very own sister comes on the teevee, preaching fire and brimstone, I record it. It is truly amazing (and REALLY creepy)

No, no, no, Jan--that's too much of a teaser! Your SISTER?!! Inquiring minds demand details (consistent w/privacy protection). After all, I gave up Suzi...

Yes, my sister, or as I refer to her, "The African Queen."  Sorry, JollyR -- I know this only makes it worse.  The last thing I recorded gave me nightmares.  Maybe someday I will put it all out there.  Stay tuned...

Suffice it to say that most people who were raised in a religion and left it (like me); did so NOT because of the influence of people who DON'T believe, but because of experience up close and personal with those who proclaim their faith and live lives which are phony, selfish, and self-aggrandizing.

Just a final note on the Resistance/Atheist back-and-forth:

1.  Following secular laws do not make you a moral person.  If you speed and get caught you will pay.  If you steal and get caught you will pay.

2.  Following religious laws do not make you a moral person.  If you sin (you WILL get caught since your god knows everything), so what is moral about that?  But you will feel peaceful, and you will believe that you will one day be rewarded.

3.  Being honest and kind to others because it is the way you want yourself to be IS a moral way to behave, because you are doing it out of respect for yourself and others; not out of fear of  punishment. You may succeed, or you may fail from time to time.  But you can feel peaceful because you are living up to the moral standards you believe in.

4.  Being dishonest, selfish, and unkind sometimes is immoral, and sometimes is just unpleasant.  If you live in a #4 world, you reap what you sew.  If all you care about it yourself, and material things, you may be happy with all of your possessions; but you will not have the inner peace that comes from a moral compass.  And if you don't get your material rewards, you will be in your own mind a failure.

 

Well said. That is why I am in the sciences and not the humanities…

Oh boy.  This is juicy, Cville.  I know curiosity killed the cat but I'm not a cat so. . .spill.  "African Queen"?  Can I find her by Googling?   (See what you started?)

The rest of your comment is spot on.  Morality is built into us (most of us).  We teach it to our children, who teach it to their children, who then teach it to their children.  Even those of us who don't go to church have managed to mold our kids into adults we can be proud of.  We teach them to be good, and we teach them to be tolerant, and it can be done without biblical teachings.

"Do unto others" didn't originate in the Bible--it's a rule every civilized culture has to abide by in order to survive.  The last five of the Ten Commandments are laws of society, not religion.   The Bible is a fascinating book, full of grand poetry, amazing stories and genuinely brilliant quotes.  Yet I feel no need to turn to anyone's religion after I've read it.  That others do is fine with me.  Honestly.  But when they insist that I see it their way--that's not okay.

So Oprah has another unrevealed sister?

At least Oprah revealed her sister.  Cville is going to drag this on and on. . .I just know it.

[Reset to margin for ease of reading]

I speak the truth; you speak lies 

For someone who prides himself on humility, that doesn't come off as very humble. Please consider that you're misunderstanding what I wrote or I miscommunicated it (not much difference between the two, unless one is looking to assign blame), and not that I'm lying.

[Snipped excerpt where I said I mentioned that I was speaking about a particular thing that Dawkins said, but that I didn't disagree with the universe not having a mind.]

Now notice the disingenuousness of your counsel.

Please point it out to me explicity, because I fail to see it.

This same Dawkins states,  “If you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane."

Yes, and there are some pretty incendiary things in the Bible, too. Need I point them out to you? Let me be explicit - I do not agree with everything Dawkins has written, nor do I agree with everything in the Bible, but I think both contain wisdom. How is that disingenuous?

You snake, you try to put a constraint on me, and then promote your lies to encourage Mage? 

¿Que? That's mighty harsh. How have I treated y'all differently?

Richard Dawkins, stated: “In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice.”

Caught in your lies again.

We're obviously interpreting Dawkins' words differently, if you think those words contradict what I said earlier. Try to consider the possibilty that I'm not lying, but that I have a different opinion than you.

Please atheist, give it a break, It appears, to carry out in discussion with you, one has be leery of traps and lies? Are you indifferent to that too?

I am not providing a trap, nor am I lying. I am extremely puzzled why you think anything I wrote above is a trap or a lie. Try being more explicit in trying to explain exactly what I wrote that you think was a lie.

Disbelieve evolution-that is your right. However, doing so should cancel your right to vote!>

As I said, persistently obtuse. At whatever level, if publicly funded, fuck Yahweh, we don't wanna hear about him. Privately funded, glorify his name til you come.

Words from an old dead white guy wwho took sexual advantage of a black woman

Thomas Jefferson, in his Notes on the State of Virginia (1782), emphasized that the government has no authority over the natural rights of conscience: "The legitimate powers of government extend only to such acts as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god.

To me, this is the real test. I suspect my opinions on what is an acceptable level of public "support" for religious speech is probably closer to yours than to jollyroger's, but I think reasonable people can agree to disagree. What's important is that whatever yardstick you're willing to apply, you're willing to apply it just as fervently in defense of those of us with different beliefs. For example, in our local school system, groups were allowed to put notices in students' mailboxes to go home to their parents. Some people objected when that system was used to send notices about Vacation Bible School. Jerry Falwell's group fought to keep that system in place, regardless of the message, and won. Many of those who fought for this victory were dismayed when the local Universal Unitarian church used this same system to put in notices about the upcoming pagan observances to honor the Yule season. If it's good for one religious group, then it's good for all religious groups (and I include us atheists in that definition, although some of my brethren would disagree with me on that).

So you see atheism as a religious group? My daughter talks endlessly about atheism, argues it online and goes to UU meetings, so it seems like another religion from that standpoint, but I always thought of it as finding other things to do besides religion.

I see atheists as a religious group in a very loose definition of both the words "religious" and "group". Our "creed" would be simple: there are no gods. However, to me that qualifies as an unprovable religious belief. That said, there are those who consider themselves atheist who refuse to state it as a positive belief in the absence of gods, but will only take the position that they have a negative belief of the presence of gods. I.e., they will not say that they believe there are no gods, but merely that they do not believe there are gods. (I fear this distinction will be lost on some paying attention to this discussion, but I cannot think of a simpler way of stating it.)

So help me understand.

What is faith?

If the those who believe in God, as a loving creator  so they put trust  faith

Or the Atheist who puts his faith in science, that tells it’s faithful. It all just happened.

It is the atheist viewpoint, that is winning in the schools. Teaching children early to reject the notion of investigating a creator. Not allowing the children to seek answers such as; If there is a god, what is the purpose of life and if there is a purpose, how and what is expected of me?  

Now some atheists will use “faith in God” as a reason to hate religion (faith), dredging  up all sorts of atrocities committed by those who believe in God. 

The atheist needs to be reminded of the many atrocities committed by Marxist regimes. 

Are there Christian groups, not teaching or adhering to what God really says?

Unfortunately, YES, Does this dishonor GOD?  Yes

Is God going to do anything about it  YES  

IMHO if all inhabitants adhered to the TRUE teachings of Christ, TRUE worship, the World would be better off.

The purpose being; Together make the World a better place, to become fruitful and become many and make the Earth a paradise. Where the meek can live forever, without fear.   

Can you ensure the World would be better in a Marxist state?  

Everyone left to his or her own conscience? Of course you’ll live under the Marxist leader who thinks he's GOD and  should be worshipped; who'll force obedience.

Will you  bow to his will and purpose?   

A marxist leader who'll teach your children to obey. Teach them, they don't need to know GOD.  No free will ,  Marxist: "all you servants need to know, " I am your god, you will bow to me" 

No free will there, and you'll not be free.

I guess we don't need to be reminded of the many atrocities committed by religious regimes.

No you don't, the athiest will remind you.

The athiest's need to be reminded of the millions who have died at the hands of Marxist leaders.

They forget Marxism, rejects God,  

Here you go with the broad brush again. Do not assume we are all alike, and I will not assume all who call themselves Christians are alike, OK?

Broad brush?

Well excuse me,why don't you rephrase the answer I gave, to be more accptable. 

Should I incorporate the qualifier you used up thread ? 

(I fear this distinction will be lost on some paying attention to this discussion, but I cannot think of a simpler way of stating it.)

Please rewrite the phrase, so you can stop tormenting me.

I suppose I could have said some athiests will remind you, and ohter athiest could care less?

Well excuse me,why don't you rephrase the answer I gave, to be more accptable.

If you insist.

Where you wrote:

No you don't, the athiest will remind you.

It would have been better to write:

No you don't, I've been reminded before by atheists.

Where you wrote:

The athiest's need to be reminded of the millions who have died at the hands of Marxist leaders.

They forget Marxism, rejects God, 

It would have been better to write:

Some atheists apparently need to be reminded of the millions who have died at the hands of Marxist leaders. They forget Marxism, reject God, …

You get the idea, but I thought it was already clear. All I'm saying is that you've been lashing out at us atheists in an apparently bipolar fashion on this thread. Specifically, I'm referring to where you called me a liar, without giving me the benefit of knowing what it was you thought I was lying about.

If you want I'll go back to our conversation about dawkins and how you appeared to state  Dawkins was not talking about humans, I felt you were misleading the audience.

I had to go back and look for myself. others may not have doe so. Then I discovered, he was not talking just about inanmate objects as you stated,  unless you think Humans, flesh and blood are inanimate?

Exactly what I was tryiong to point out, dawkinsens are indifferent to human suffering, for we are considerd inanimate.

I felt you betrayed the trust, that we all speak truth to one another, and no backhanded deception  

If I was wrong I sincerely apologize, but if someone had come to this site and never returned, you wouldn't have the opportunity to reclarify the misunderstanding.

Lets make a committed effort to be honest to one another?

Sorry  

If you want I'll go back to our conversation about dawkins and how you appeared to state  Dawkins was not talking about humans, I felt you were misleading the audience.

I had to go back and look for myself. others may not have doe so. Then I discovered, he was not talking just about inanmate objects as you stated,  unless you think Humans, flesh and blood are inanimate?

One of us is definitely misunderstanding Dawkins. I think it's you, but if it's me, it's a misunderstanding, and not a lie. I still don't think Dawkins was talking about humans being indifferent to suffering, but rather was talking about the universe being indifferent to humans' (and others') suffering.

Exactly what I was tryiong to point out, dawkinsens are indifferent to human suffering, for we are considerd inanimate.

I also don't think that is true. (Which is not to say I think you are lying, but to say I think you are mistaken.)

Lets make a committed effort to be honest to one another?

I always do, and I respect that you do, as well. I appreciate you clearing up the specifics of where you think I was misleading. I hope I've clarified my point enough for you that you at least no longer think I was misleading, even if you do not agree with me. (It's also possible that we're both reading Dawkins the same way, but that we've misread the other's point about Dawkins.)

This is what happens when I get defensive......Not a good trait, but I'll try to improve. 

I am glad we did reexamine the disagreement, My misunderstanding led me to believe you were misleading me.

(It seems, I am continually misunderstanding)Embarassed

I also don't think that is true. (Which is not to say I think you are lying, but to say I think you are mistaken.)

Good point for me to consider, I should have afforded you the opportunity to clarify first, so that I could have prevented my misunderstanding . I get very defensive if I believe I am being mislead, and it may cloud my better judgment, I hope you can understand me, I hope you can bear my faults, long enough for me to grow.

We all have our weak moments and our hot buttons. I've gotten to know yours a little better, but I think you've yet to discover my hot buttons (although arguably you've encountered one of my "warm" buttons). I know they're there (I know a few of them very well), you just haven't pushed them yet - and no, that's not a challenge! Wink

And you vegetarians! HITLER was a vegetarian, do you ever think of that? R, syllogisms are not reversibly productive of useful insight...I'll take a marxist like Emma Goldman over a Christian like Mike Huckabee to be in charge anytime...also.

Is it possible, I have no control over the Marxist,

 I have some control, over the so called Christians. I can prick they're consceince..  

Many Marxists hava a conscience. (Many don't.)

Many "so-called Christians" do not. (Many do.)

I see that you have utterly relapsed (bipolar indeed...) we have gone from "does an atheist have a conscience? " to "marxists have no conscience (that I can prick). That'll teach me not to crow before the phase change is manifest...

Nothing I said implied an athiest has no consceince.

I stated I can prick the conscience of a so called christian, we have something in common, he claims to be a christian,

Presumably, you have something in common with most Marxists, as well. In fact, I'd dare say you have more in common with many Marxists than some so called Christians.

Get with child a Mandrake root, bring reason to a Yahwist...

That'll teach me not to crow before the phase change is manifest...

Well look, he's crowing now.

 

You got that right.

So called Christians, Christian by name only. Dishonor and they bring reproach upon the name of Jesus.

 

How do you prick the conscience of someone who claims to be a Christian?  He either is one or he isn't.  If he is one, by your standards, he doesn't need his conscience pricked.  He's on an equal par with you.

And if he isn't and he claims to be one, he'll flick off conscience-pricking as easily as he would a pesky gnat. 

Exercise in futility. Sorry.

That's an unfair assumption on your part

He either is one or he isn't.  If he is one, by your standards, he doesn't need his conscience pricked.  He's on an equal par with you.

Do you apply the same standards of a young student in school studying math, and you assume he is on par with a college grad understanding of math?

No true Christian says I am perfect , the study of the scriptures is like a sword, it cuts to the heart of matters.

Even Paul had to counsel Peter.

But could you tell Huckabee that, if you didn't know of that occasion? 

Whether Huckabbe could be counseled is another matter As I stated earlier upstream  "is it possible.

I can't do that with an athiest, who will not recognize the authority of Gods word, found in the scriptures

Huckabbe maybe?

I can't do that with an athiest, who will not recognize the authority of Gods word, found in the scriptures

Perhaps you could, however, if you could learn what types of authorities they do recognize? As I mentioned previously, if I'm trying to convince you of something, it seems best for me to study scriptures. If I'm trying to convince an atheist of something, I'll use other sources of authority. (Although I used Dawkins in a previous example, he would not be my number one source for such inspiration or even in my top 10, unless the particular topic and/or individual merited it.)

I stated I can prick the conscience of a so called christian, we have something in common, he claims to be a christian,

I was responding to this.  It sounds incredibly pompous, and I don't think you really meant it that way.  Just pulling your string a little.  Hoping to let a little air out.

You are correct, Not I can but  I can TRY, Anythings possible

Thanks Ramona for pointing this out, I hadn't seen it that way.: 

What many of us want you to realize is that you can also try with atheists, especially ones (such as myself) who share common goals and aspirations.

Up until my last mis nderstanding  I have come to appreciate who you are. I look forward to see what you have to say. pretty sharp individual you are.

Please Don't take this wrong please, but I think it's funny 

A fellow was driving past the grounds of Greystone Hospital one evening alone. He got a flat tire. In changing his tire he put the lug nuts in a hubcap to keep them together. Just as he was getting the spare from the trunk a car came along and caught the edge of the hub cap sending it and the lugnuts flying in the nearby field. The guy looks all over for the lugnuts but can only find the hubcap. He gets more and more frantic as the sun begins to get lower in the sky.

Watching this scene was a hosptial patient on the otherside of the fence surrounding the hospital grounds. Getting the fellow's attention and hearing him tell his tale of woe, the patient says, "why don't you just take one lugnut from each of the other three wheels and put the spare on with them? There is a gas station out on Route 10, you can drive there and they can set you up with the lugnuts you need."

Astonded at the ingenuity of this solution the fellow says "Hey that is brillant ! What's fellow like you doing in a place like Greystone?"

"I may be crazy but am not stupid!" Replied the patient.

  

And thank you for being gracious about it.

Thanks again Ramona

Patient: Doctor, I keep thinking I'm invisible.
Psychiatrist: Who said that?

Laughing

Or the Atheist who puts his faith in science, that tells it’s faithful. It all just happened.

Atheism does not require a faith in science. Although it is usually accompanied by it, there's nothing inherent in the definition of atheism to prohibit the belief in other supernatural events. In fact, I know of a few atheists who believe in karma, in its most literal sense.

It is the atheist viewpoint, that is winning in the schools. Teaching children early to reject the notion of investigating a creator.

Please give me one example where childen have been taught in a public school system to reject the notion of investigating a creator. Not being taught to accept the notion of investigating a creator is not the same as being taught to reject that notion. I'll address the rest later, but this is such a fundamental misconception that I feel I'd be remiss by addressing your other points and letting this one be ignored, so let me say this again: please give me one example where childen have been taught in a public school system to reject the notion of investigating a creator.

Can you ensure the World would be better in a Marxist state?

Everyone left to his or her own conscience? Of course you’ll live under the Marxist leader who thinks he's GOD and should be worshipped; who'll force obedience.

I don't want the world to be in a Marxist state. I would dare say that most (not all, but most) atheists agree with me on that. I do not want the world to be in a Marxist state.

Using public schools as the place to teach children that one particular religion is the true religion makes no sense.  It is the one place children should be free to open their minds to the world, to prepare them for adulthood as clear-thinking citizens.  (Which may be what scares so many.)

 If you want to teach your children about your particular religion you're free to do that in your home and in your church, and in any other gathering of like-minded people.  There are no anti-religious underpinnings in the need for a separation of church and state.  It's simply the way it has to be in a fair societal system. 

There is nothing in that separation that prohibits you from making sure your children are being taught the things you find important.  We all do that.  That's what parenting is all about.  But if you're sending messages to your children (subliminal or otherwise) that schools are bad because they won't allow free expression of your religion, you're doing them a grave disservice.

I had no choice when I was in public school.

Evolution was preached, not creationism.

Evolution is not mandated by atheism, neither does it require atheism. The Pope accepts evolution as a tool of God. I am actually surprised to find that you seem to think evolution is not compatible with a belief in a creator.

Creationism is a fundamentally religious belief so it has no place in a school, other than in a religious studies class. Evolution is a fundamentally scientific theory, so it does have a place in schools, public or otherwise. To not teach it is to put our children at a disadvantage. I'm actually running genetic algorithms right now to help me find viable parameter settings for a brain model I'm researching.

So the Pope contributes to theory of evolution?

I could show him in Genesis, God Created them.

Fundamantally, those who put their faith in evolution have a far greater faith than I.

Evoluionist have a lot of conjecture.

I only have to look around and say this was truly designed. 

 

 

If you ever have a chance, I recommend you read Genesis and the Big Bang: The Discovery of Harmony Between Modern Science And The Bible. (You can find it at Amazon.) It's written from a Jewish perspective by someone familiar with Hebrew. He gets "modern science" a little wrong, but not enough that it invalidates his arguments. He explains how even a literal reading of Genesis is not only compatible with evolution but is also compatible with the Big Bang.

Here's another shot at that distinction:

Atheism versus ANTI-theism. I'm the kind of atheist who has no god - I do not pray, I do not have any kind of spiritual relationship to anything I conceive of as a supreme being. But I also have no beef with those who do perceive their life and their world through the prism of such a relationship. It's just a fundamentally different form of life.

Anti-theists are a subgroup of atheists who believe that there is an ABSOLUTE and DISCOVERABLE truth as to whether their form of life or the theist's form of life is the RIGHT WAY to live.

That anti-theist perspective, to me, is as mysterious as the theist's perspective. It's just a different SCIENTIST form of ritual dogmatism to me, as strange and entrancing as any other cult I've come across.

Just to be clear, that's not the distinction I was making. Ironically, I think many of those you're refering to as anti-theists would also dispute having a positive belief about the absence of gods (as opposed to a negative belief about the presence of gods), primarily because they are so intent on distancing themselves from religion that they will claim to have no beliefs whatsoever. When I press them on that (by pointing out that there are all things we believe in), they'll make the distinction that they have no religious belief, but of course that can quickly devolve into a game of semantics.

So, while I have a positive belief that there are no gods (also known as strong atheism), I also have the belief that whether there are gods is unknowable (also known as strong agnosticism). Interestingly enough, however, it is computable. If you're curious about that, let me know, and I'll provide the trivial proof (it's a common question on computer science PhD qualifiers).

Sure it's computable, but it leaves you in a normative version of Moore's paradox, where you have the beliefs:

1) It is not the case that there are Gods

and

2) I am not justified in believing (1)

From which you can infer the conjunctive belief:

3) There are no Gods AND I am not justified in believing this

Computable but irrational.

Actually, it's simpler than that. You write two computer programs. One reports that there are gods. One reports that there are not. One of those two is correct*, thus it is computable.

* Unless you want to get into Eastern theology

Don't need to go to eastern theology. Here's a representation

http://blog.art21.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/duck.gif

Is it a representation of a duck or of a rabbit? Depends on how you look at it. Both and neither are 'correct'.

Is it a representation of a duck or of a rabbit?

Yes.

Or no.

See how easy that was? Wink

Ok. But you're failing the Turing test, dude... careful. 

;0)

Fine, but it took a long time for you to begin to suspect, and that counts for something, no?*

*In at least one version of the Turing test, the computer only had to convince its interrogator for an hour to have said to have "passed" the test.

Lol. By the by, I've been mulling over a longer blog-post called 'does God pass the Turing test?' using the implicit standard of 'intelligence' or 'personhood' to talk about our recurring God-wars here.

Anyhow, meantime I apparently have to brush up on my recursion theory...

Anyhow, meantime I apparently have to brush up on my recursion theory...

Well, before you do that, you should brush up on recursion theory.

To each his own...

What - you don't like recursion jokes? For another one, check out this comment.

Great one!

I've been mulling over a longer blog-post called 'does God pass the Turing test?' using the implicit standard of 'intelligence' or 'personhood' to talk about our recurring God-wars here.

Just to give you some anticipated counter-arguments:

Do not put the LORD your God to the test as you did at Massah. Deuteronomy 6:16 (NIV)

Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Luke 4:12 (NIV)

Although it can be fun to have these discussions with those who don't get upset, I should say that I have no desire to even try to convince believers (of any faith) to become non-believers. If it brings them comfort, I do not wish to remove that comfort from them.

What is the point you derive from these two scriptures?

Are you assuming Jesus is God?

If you read them in context, the first one's meaning to the particular point is ambiguous, but the second one (dealing with Jesus being tempted by the devil) is not, IMO: you should not put God to a test. (In particular, I am alluding to Obey's religious Turing test.) I do not believe that whether one assumes Jesus is God (i.e., accepts the Nicene creed) affects how one interprets that particular passage.

Looks like a poor drawing of both.  If it's a rabbit the ears are all wrong.  If it's a duck the back of the head is all wrong.  So I guess my answer would be "neither".

Argg. Okay, here's another one that I like better

http://www.askix.com/avav/images/optical_illusions/woman.gif

An old woman looking down to the left - and/or a younger woman looking away...

If you like optical illusions, check out this one.

Thanks. Though I'm more interested in pics that aren't really illusions (things that don't appear as they actually are) - they are representations you can flip, you can only see one thing represented at a time, yet through a mental act of will switch to seeing another thing represented. Got any like that?

Here are two classics.

Thanks. The stairs, for some reason, don't come out upside down for me...

Oooh, that's a good one, particularly because I haven't seen it before.

Did you see the light beyond the barrier?

reset. dammit!

I got the stairs and the cube and the columns but the old woman eludes me.  Going back for one more look.

Okay, I finally saw the old bag.  I can sleep tonight.

Loved all the perception tests up thread.  Not really sure what they were intended to prove or disprove about the existence or not of God.  

Perception is largely dependent on senses and senses vary from person to person, even more from species to species.  In turn, what we believe is largely dependent on what we perceive -- and experience.  Different perceptions; different beliefs   Perfectly reasonable so long as no one claims the final answer for something so unknowable at our present stage of existence.

 

 

I just have to have faith  I'll be worthy enough to be considered on the right side, when we ALL get the final answer.

Perfectly reasonable so long as no one claims the final answer for something so unknowable at our present stage of existence.

Worthy?  Right?  

Grace is a gift, accept it.

Sounds easy, but it isn't.

Peace.

 

Peace

Like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

I'd much rather be a sheep.

Like the harvester who separates the wheat from the weeds 

 

"  In turn, what we believe is largely dependent on what we perceive..."

I would contend that the opposite is true.  Believing is seeing.  Projection makes perception.

But it's fair to say that if any of us leaving this church saw Abraham on a roof of a building raising his knife [to kill his son], we would, at the very least, call the police and expect the Department of Children and Family Services to take Isaac away from Abraham. We would do so because we do not hear what Abraham hears, do not see what Abraham sees, true as those experiences may be. So the best we can do is act in accordance with those things that we all see, and that we all hear, be it common laws or basic reason.

- Barack Obama, Call to Renewal, June 2006

(emphasis mine)

We are entitled to take Yahweh's PR (aka, teh bible...) at face value, are we not? If they told stories like that bout me, I'd get a new publicist. First crack out of the box, a violation of a Geneva Convention (mock execution...) Busts Abe's balls til the kid can't stand his father's impotence and humiliation and volunteers so his father's misery will cease. Fuck that gangster, the horse he rode in on, and his gangster goombahs too! Oh and by the way, you sick fuck, you caricature of a deity, what's up with the dick mutilation? If it was the front of your pinky it would be child abuse, straight up.

I could go on, but as you can tell, I would risk cardiovascular accident. The thing about abomination and shellfish, tho? That part might be true, cuz I had some bad shrimp once , and I wanna tell ya' what happened in the bathroom later was definitely an abomination, not to mention a stench in the nostrils of the lord....

mageduley - I'm not quite sure if you're confirming my statement or Emma's.  So let me just say, what determines if the glass is half full or half empty?  Why do some see the world as hostile and threatening while others see a supportive and nurturing universe?  Why are some people suspicious when others are trusting?  Why, in the face of overwhelming evidence, do some believe the planet is only 6000 or 10,000 years old?  Or my personal favorite:  the optimist believes this is the best of all possible worlds.  The pessimist is afraid he's right.

ps  How many believed Barack Obama to be a liberal and are now "exhausted from apologizing" for his actions, refusing to see that he is more conservative than they believed?

Not really sure what they were intended to prove or disprove about the existence or not of God.

Actually, the perception tests arose out of a third (or fourth) possibility. Specifically, I had made the point that the existence of god(s) was computable, because one program would state that god(s) exist, and another that god(s) do not exist, and by the law of the excluded middle, one of them must be right. However, the law of the excluded middle assumes that you're not dealing with three-valued or four-valued logic. For more on the idea, I recommend reading this link on dialetheism.

This is why I dispise Yahweh and all his works. While I am not an atheist, (in the dictionary sense) I will aver that no atheist would take it into his head to lash a 14 yr old girl to death for any sexual behavior whatever. Fuck Yahweh, all his works, his prophets, messengers, pimps and devotees. The world will improve when his name is forgotten.

More pictures    Cry

http://www.time.com/time/daily/polpot/9.html 

Why blame God, when people do bad things in the name of God? 

The world will improve when his name is forgotten

History has proven otherwise  

1900-2000: A century of genocides 

http://www.scaruffi.com/politics/dictat.html

 

By his fruits shall we know him...you cannot deny the oppression of women that is central to the patriarchy. It's no accident that we are enjoined by the Yahwist texts to honor ";The Patriarchs" And don't let's even start w/Paul...Your proposed catalog of non-Yahwist instigated atrocities, btw, is irrelevant. Stick to the topic I raised-sex negative attitudes (gnose acton...) and sexual oppression.

Jesus' traveling band included the 12 disciples and several women who supporeted the ministry.(Luke 8:1-3)

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).

In ancient Israe, women had limited social roles. The term "son of Abaham was used as a term of respect.There was no similar term of respect for women. Jesus altered this by referring to a woman's daughter as a "daughter of Abraham". (Luke 13:16)

The author of the Gospel of Luke and of Acts shows many parallel episodes: one relating to a woman, the other to a man. For example:


Simeon and Hannah in Luke 2:25-38

Widow of Sarepta and Naaman in Luke 4:25-38

Healing of a man possessed by a demon and the healing of the mother of Peter's wife, starting in Luke 4:31

The woman who had lived a sinful life and Simon, starting in Luke 7:36

A man and woman sleeping together in Luke 17:34

Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11

Dionysius and Damaris in Acts 17:34

Lydia and the jailer's conversion in Acts 16:14-34


This is focusing on how Jesus treated women.

Did I talk any shit bout Jesus?. I love me some Jesus-Say yes to Jesus; just say NO to Yahweh

I really haven't been folowing your previous religious discussions, so let me ask a question.

In the Old testament, Yahweh alone created and sustains all things (Job 9:8: Isiah 44:24: Nehemiah 9:6). Yahweh is immutable in contrast to nature which is mutable (Psalms 102:25-30; Malachi 3:6).

In the New Testament, Jesus created and sustains all things (John 1:3, 10; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:2-3; 10-12). Jesus is immutable (Hebrews 1:10-12; 13:8).

Since the New Testament writers equate Yahweh and Jesus, wheredo you make the differentiation?

 

A book? A jive ass book, the invention of those very gangsters I mentioned, translated fifth hand, written to justify genocide and oppression? You ask me to banter about a BOOK? We don't need no stinkin' book. If I don't hear it straight from my cousin. it ain't shit to me. Not five minutes ago, he was pissing and moaning about these jive hustlers talkin' like they had his back when all they wanted was to grab some action...to tell you the truth, he ain't crazy about you either...sorry bout your luck, pard.

Robbit,  the better course for me, is to disengage the dialogue with Jolly, when he gets in this mode.

I'd prefer he sought the truth about God and live, He talks tough, he's defiant, we'll see.......as for me, I'm not looking for trouble, I've got enough. The World throws enough trouble my way.

Sacred things are pearls to God and me, and all he does is trample them.

He has been warned before from others, but he disregards counsel.  That's his lawless nature

Mention a book or a word, and he be comes unglued.......You'll find he's no dummy, he's just mad,

On other subjects, he's good at conversation and  I like him. Sometimes he's real funny and insightful and other times he's very lewd and disgusting and very full of hate.   

I feel I should get up and clean myself off, from the disgusting things he throws out there.

If that is what type of person he wants to be, it's his choice, I think it detracts from the wonderful things he can bring to the table. 

I prefer a clean table, so I will not seek him out, if he arrives there’s not much I can do, it's not my house. 

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