Press Release: Atheist Billboard Campaign in Salt Lake City Parodies “I’m a Mormon” Ads

Salt Lake City, UT—The national civil-rights group American Atheists has launched a new billboard campaign in Salt Lake City with a play on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ “I’m a Mormon” campaign, to promote its upcoming national convention. The billboard features a native Utah family and reads, “We’re the Monnett family, and We’re Atheists,” with the words “Mormons” and “ex-Mormons” written and crossed out. The board encourages people to “Come explore your doubt with us,” and includes the organization’s website, atheists.org, and the dates of the convention on Easter weekend, April 17-20, 2014.

The billboard is located on the east side of I-15, 2500 feet south of 33rd Road South, facing north. Links to images are provided below.

“Many atheists still call themselves Mormons or ex-Mormons,” said American Atheists President David Silverman. “Our message is this: If you don’t believe anymore, don’t continue to base your identity in Mormonism. You’re so much more than an ‘ex-Mormon’; you’re an atheist! And you are very far from alone. Be proud to be an atheist—we are, and we want to celebrate being an atheist with you.

“American Atheists is reaching out to people who are on a journey away from indoctrination, even if they’re not ready to be open about that,” Silverman continued. “Countless Utahns are already free from religion but remain ‘in the closet’ about their beliefs. They are surrounded by religion and as a result, feel like they are alone. The National Convention will fix that by creating a fun and entertaining atmosphere where atheists from all over the country will meet, learn, and laugh. We invite everyone—especially those who have doubts about their religion—to join us.”

In designing the ad, American Atheists sought a genuine Utah atheist family to appear on the billboard. Overwhelmed with responses, the group chose the Monnetts of South Jordan. West Monnett, a sports coach and stay-at-home dad, and his wife, Lennie, a director in finance, are both atheists who used to identify as ex-Mormons. Their children, Bentley and Tallen, as well as their niece, McKayla (of whom West and Lennie are guardians), are also featured on the billboard.

The 2014 National Convention will feature speakers including NFL star Chris Kluwe, Survivor®: Philippines winner Denise Stapley, and Grammy-nominated Spin Doctors bass player Mark White, all atheists themselves, but none of whom have ever before spoken for an atheist audience. Other speakers include Reverend Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, Maryam Namazie of the Council of Ex-Muslims, popular bloggers PZ Myers and Greta Christina, and American Atheists President David Silverman. The convention will also feature a costume party, live music, stand-up comedy, an art show and silent auction (with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Ogden OUTreach, a local charity for LGBT youth in need), national and local exhibitors, and childcare options for attending families. The convention takes place on Easter weekend, April 17-20, 2014, and all are invited, regardless of religious affiliation.

Full-size image (warning: very large 7200 x 2100):

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5510/11516437526_f72aecc6f8_o.jpg

Other sizes:

Salt Lake City billboard 12-23-13

Images available at the links above  may be reproduced and redistributed by the press under the conditions that no cropping or editing is performed (including cropping of the black bar at the bottom of the design with convention information) and that American Atheists is crediting for providing them.

AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a national 501(c)(3) organization that defends civil rights for atheists, freethinkers, and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of religion and government; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy. American Atheists celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

American Atheists, Inc.
P.O. Box 158
Cranford, NJ 07016
Tel: (908) 276-7300
Fax: (908) 276-7402

  • rargos

    When is American Atheists going to put up billboards attacking Muslims?

    • Knowledge

      Just ignore all their silly propaganda. Hate groups all die out fast, once their real intentions are exposed.

      • rargos

        One of my favorite Bible stories is from Acts (5:38) where the Pharisees are considering how to deal with the Apostles and one of them says : “Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” — Truer words have never been spoken.

        • Andrew Glasgow

          God is helpless against iron chariots, however. So we just need to get some of those.

          • rargos

            – Did you find that on the Internet or do you actually read Hebrew? Wait … let me guess … you Googled “contractions in the Bible” or something similar and then just regurgitated it without actually doing any research on that particular verse, right?
            – Amazing how people who claim to be guided by facts and reason are too lazy to do their homework before they start proclaiming their deep knowledge on every imaginable topic.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            That the only answer you have to HIS questions, too? Funny how you never have answers, you just have ad hominem attacks… That all you know up to this point?

          • rargos

            Well, at least he han’t repeatedly lied about his background like you.

          • Cthulhu21

            Would you believe him even if he did give you his credentials? Why do you keep changing the subject?

          • rargos

            I already provided the answer (the Greek term for “snake” as used in the passage in question) and then sent a second message saying where the answer was — a real clergyman would have recognized the word and/or already been familiar with its possible usages.

            I’m completely fine with people being atheists and I strongly support the right of atheists to present their point of view (although I would prefer it to be in a constructive way). What I don’t like is people who lie about their background to try to convince other people of their viewpoint. Frankly, there are a lot of good arguments AGAINST religion — there’s no need to lie in order to argue one’s position. We don’t have to agree with each other, but let’s at least be honest.

          • rargos

            Frankly, DJ Crowe makes rational, honest atheists look bad … one of the biggest appeals of atheism is the need for objective truth — if you lie, you’re undermining one of your core beliefs.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            Okay, how would you answer the question I posed if it had been asked by someone who was NEVER a preacher?

          • rargos

            There are several things to keep in mind about this passage. First the passage itself (Acts 28, NRSV)
            – Paul had gathered a bundle of brushwood and was putting it on the fire, when a viper, driven out by the
            heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to
            one another, “This man must be a murderer; though he has escaped from the sea, justice has not allowed
            him to live.” 5 He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 They were
            expecting him to swell up or drop dead, but after they had waited a long time and saw that nothing unusual
            had happened to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.
            – We don’t know for sure what kind of snake is meant by the Greek word ἔχιδνα. The only other times it is
            used in the New Testament is in a metaphorical sense (γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν – brood of vipers), which is the
            same way it was most often used by other ancient authors like Euripedes and Aeschylus.
            – The text says the snake “fastened” (καθάπτω) itself, not that it “bit” him. Snakes often wrap themselves
            around the hand or arm of the person holding them
            – The translation “drop dead” is also imprecise. The Greek (καταπίπτειν) means simply to fall down, not
            necessarily to fall down and die, and it is normally used in this way (Lk 8:6 – seed falling to the ground,
            Acts 26:14 (same author) – people prostrating themselves). Likewise πίμπρασθαι means to become
            inflamed, either feverish and/or swelling. They may have simply expected him to fall down in fever and
            fright, not necessarily expecting him to die even if he were bitten.
            – The larger issue is what this incident means to the natives. Being attacked and killed by snakes coming
            out of nowhere without provocation (stepping on them, etc.) is an unusual event, and was usually
            interpreted as punishment from “the gods” for evil deeds (see Greek mythology, e.g.), so when they see a snake come up and fasten itself to Paul, they assume that this is some kind of divine justice/punishment. But instead of dying, Paul simply shakes the snake off and they then believe (incorrectly) that he is actually some sort of “god.” Instead of thinking he was evil, they now think he is is good, and this makes this people (to whom Paul is a complete stranger) receptive to his message about Jesus.
            – By the way, this is all my own analysis — not simply something I cut and pasted from the Internet (please
            check if you don’t believe me). I would have expected something similar from anyone who knew the Bible and spend time “preaching” the
            word of God.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            Well, I guess the difference between you and I is that I never made it as far as you into the realm of apologetics. The way I saw it, god said it, I believed it, and that was that. If I’d only known that god didn’t mean what he said, it might have gone a lot easier.

            I looked at the massive dissection you did up there and I nearly spit my coffee out. You’re one of those who completely re-write a passage so that it no longer says what it SAID, but what YOU want it to say…

            I mean, wow. My bible says it was venomous. My bible also says it was a viper. In fact. I’ve looked through 12 different versions, and they ALL say the same thing!!

            AMAZING!!

            But yet, you know better than all these biblical scholars who all say the very same thing. You must be a remarkable person! What papers have you written? Where are you published?

            And by the way, WHAT SPECIES OF VIPER IS ON MALTA???????

          • rargos

            Remarkable – you say your (falsified) background is unimportant and then you ask me for my credentials.
            Incidentally, there are plenty of species of animals that have died out in the last several hundred years alone — how can you be sure there weren’t poisonous snakes on Malta 2000 years ago?
            Honestly, is this is your best argument against Christianity?

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            To be honest, YOU are one of the biggest arguments against christianity. A duplicitous person trying to pass himself as knowledgeable when you haven’t even the slightest clue on how to give a direct answer to a direct question.
            I told you there have NEVER been venomous snakes on Malta.
            EVER.
            Not 2,000 years ago. Not 2,000,000 years ago.

          • rargos

            “I told you there have NEVER been venomous snakes on Malta. – EVER Not 2,000 years ago. Not 2,000,000 years ago.”
            –>
            Please explain how you know which snakes were on an island two million years ago. I’m sorry, but there’s no way anyone could say with certainty what snakes were living on an island 2000 years ago.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            Well, if you had even the slightest knowledge of archaeology, paleontology, or biology, you’d know, but being as you only know about god-ology, you make a stupid statement like you just did… We know about creatures who lived BEFORE the time of dinosaurs, so yeah… We’d know if there were EVER a venomous snake on a place such as Malta.

          • rargos

            –> It’s obvious that you’re simply ranting at this point : rather than provide any facts to back up your statement, you start with insults and make statements that are completely uninformed and irrational. There is NO way that you or anyone can say for sure that a certain type of animal did or did not live on the island of Malta 2,000 (or 2,000,000, as you also claim) years ago. That’s just factually wrong.
            –> But I’ll bite : I’ll make a $100 donation to American Atheists (and provide proof of the donation) if you can find a biology professor at a major American university who will say it is possible to know precisely which animals did or did not live on the island of Malta 2,000 years ago. And in return, you can make a $100 donation to soup kitchen, homeless shelter, etc. if I can find a professor to say that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Deal?

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            Ranting? LMAO!!!!! Try this:

            Butterfield, N.J. (2003). “Exceptional Fossil Preservation and the Cambrian Explosion”.Integrative and Comparative Biology 43 : 166–177.

            -or-

            Pasa A.: Appunti geologici per la paleogeografia delle Puglie. Mem. Biogeogr. adriat., 4:175-286, 1953

            Now, let’s see your donation…

          • rargos

            The first reference (you can read the abstract here : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21680421) has absolutely nothing to do with the question of what types of snakes may have once lived on Malta.

            Would you be kind enough to summarize and/or post a copy of your second reference … the one in Italian from 1953? You have actually read that 111-page long reference in Italian, right?

            Or maybe you’re just posting references you’ve never even bothered to look at yourself?

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            I’m showing you scientists who know what animals lived on Malta. That is what you wanted, right?
            Let’s see your donation…

          • rargos

            How do you know what’s in the articles if you have NEVER READ the articles?

            I’ll ask again : have you actually read the references you gave (including the 111-page article from 1953 in Italian)?

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            The names, genius. Read the names. Look at their works. You wanted scientists who can tell what kinds of animals lived on Malta 2,000 years ago, as well as 2,000,000 years ago. Now, you’ll have to do your own homework. I’ve spent more time on you than you ever deserved…
            In addition, if you really wanted to know about evolutionary biology, Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth is a nice place to start…
            Have you sent that donation yet, or were you lying about it?

          • rargos

            So the answer is “no” — you haven’t actually read any of the references you’ve provided and have no idea what’s in them.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            I’ve read quite a few of Butterfield’s work, yes. Including the one I cited. But you’re half right. I have not read any of Pasa’s works. I cited him because he is an expert in prehistoric life in that particular geographic area.

            I think your challenge was this. In fact, I’ll quote you:

            “I’ll make a $100 donation to American Atheists (and provide proof of the donation) if you can find a biology professor at a major American university who will say it is possible to know precisely which animals did or did not live on the island of Malta 2,000 years ago.”

          • rargos

            You admit that you didn’t read one of your own references at all, and although you claim to have read “quite a few” of the other author’s work, I presume you didn’t read this particular paper either. Is that correct?

            So essentially you still have no idea what’s in the references you cited. I’ve read the abstract for the Butterfield paper :

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21680421

            and it also has nothing to do with being able to identify which animal species lived in which areas in the time period in question. The title is “Exceptional Fossil Preservation and the Cambrian Explosion” — all fossils are more than 2000 years old and there was no such thing as the island of Malta during the Cambrian period (500 million years ago).

            http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/cambrian/cambtect.html

            Perhaps you could explain why you feel these articles are relevant .. after reading them first, of course.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            You are, without a doubt, one of the stupidest people I have ever had the displeasure of sharing post space with. After this, I’m done with you. Feel free to get the last word in after I’m done.
            You asked for two scientists who would know what life-forms existed during Paul’s time.
            I did so.
            But of course, since you are a christian, I’m sure you never had any intention of honoring your agreement, simply because you have no honor. You are a liar. And you dared to accuse ME of lying, but I have never lied once. I asked you a question, but instead of answering, you found your comfy strawman.
            At the very least, I was not disappointed. I knew when I saw your posts that you were intellectually weak. So I didn’t expect anything from you except rehashed creationist tripe.
            At the moment, I am involved in about four different discussions in other places, and the only thing you do is take up space in my inbox. Hopefully, the next time you get involved in a discussion, they will be able to look at how dishonest you were here, and THEY won’t be disappointed either…

          • rargos

            “You asked for two scientists who would know what life-forms existed during Paul’s time. I did so.”
            No, you didn’t. You provided two references to irrelevant articles you admit you hadn’t even read yourself. If you care to point out the sections in those articles that support your viewpoints, I would be extremely happy to hear them.
            It’s also interesting to hear you call people “stupid”, “intellectually weak”, and (my favorite) “dishonest” You’ve yet to provide a single objective, scientific reference to support any of your statements.
            You call my comments “creationist tripe” after I just made comments referring to evolution (which I accept as true) and the Cambrian period. You call me a “liar” and “without honor” after you repeatedly admit to lying about your credentials, your background, etc.
            I’m very sorry your prejudice and hostility towards Christians has poisoned your mind to the point where you resort to attacks, insults, and mistruths instead of having a mature discussion based on facts and mutual respect.

          • rargos

            Your own words in another post “I would think it was rational to answer a person’s question directly”

            So here is my direct question again:

            Would you be kind enough to summarize and/or post a copy of your second reference … the one in Italian from 1953? You have actually read that 111-page long reference in Italian, right?

            Because if you can’t be bothered to even read your own references, then I don’t see any point in discussing this issue with you anymore

          • Thought Police

            Why sure there is rargos, you just have to have faith. It’s in a book that was written by ancient goat herders that herd voices from heaven that there has never been poisonous snakes on Malta, so it’s true. It’s right there for anyone to read, and millions of people believe that there have never been venomous snakes on Malta, so it must be true. And one time after praying to the ultimate snake knowledge having guy, I was shown a vision of Malta, and it was like totally not having any bad snakes.
            Rargos, please troll somewhere else. Some of us atheists would like to hold amicable constructive conversations without you adding your two cents of imaginary money to every post.

          • Cthulhu21

            Is it really a big deal that Crowe acted as a stand-in for his church’s clergyman? Does it follow that he doesn’t know his but from a hole in the ground because he was a stand-in?

            If he read the bible and understood what it said from section to section did he need further training as a pastor to “get it”? I would like you the same question about yourself.

            Where was that reply about getting the snake story wrong? I looked and I didn’t see it. Unless of course you sent it to Crowe by other means. If so I would like to know so I’m not misunderstanding the situation. You don’t have to but clarification would be good.

          • rargos

            No problem — the Greek word that he translates as “poisonous snake” is ἔχιδνα (just search this page for that word and you’ll find my orginal post). It has a wide variety of meanings in both religious and secular texts, but cannot be conclusively linked to any particular species.

            But again, I find it surprising when atheists try to attack Christianity on the basis of minutiae like this. There are much stronger arguments one could make against Christianity than debating which reptiles were indigenous to an island 2000 years ago.

          • Cthulhu21

            “… I’d be happy to provide you with scholarship on this topic, including an analysis of the word “ἔχιδνα” in Greek (with secular and religious references).”

            From what I’ve read, you only offered to answer the question. Other than that you were more focused on defameing Crowe over not being a full time pastor. Does it follow that he didn’t read the bible thoroughly and is spouting nonsense if he wasn’t full-time?

          • rargos

            I’m not “defaming” anyone — I’m pointing out that anyone who has studied the Bible or (especially) anyone who was a clergyman wouldn’t be making those kinds of remarks. DJ Crowe (according to his own profile posted on the web), lied about his background to support his comments, so it’s fair game to question his (obviously invented) credentials with regards to understanding the Bible.
            But you’re absolutely right, one doesn’t need to be a scholar or priest to talk about the Bible. That said, if someone claimed to be a physician but didn’t understand what a myocardial infarction is, I would be VERY sceptical about ANYTHING they had to say regarding medicine.

          • Cthulhu21

            So, how did he get that story wrong?

          • rargos

            See my post below — reposted here just in case:
            There are several things to keep in mind about this passage. First the passage itself (Acts 28, NRSV)
            – Paul had gathered a bundle of brushwood and was putting it on the fire, when a viper, driven out by the
            heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to
            one another, “This man must be a murderer; though he has escaped from the sea, justice has not allowed
            him to live.” 5 He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 They were
            expecting him to swell up or drop dead, but after they had waited a long time and saw that nothing unusual
            had happened to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.
            – We don’t know for sure what kind of snake is meant by the Greek word ἔχιδνα. The only other times it is
            used in the New Testament is in a metaphorical sense (γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν – brood of vipers), which is the
            same way it was most often used by other ancient authors like Euripedes and Aeschylus.
            – The text says the snake “fastened” (καθάπτω) itself, not that it “bit” him. Snakes often wrap themselves
            around the hand or arm of the person holding them
            – The translation “drop dead” is also imprecise. The Greek (καταπίπτειν) means simply to fall down, not
            necessarily to fall down and die, and it is normally used in this way (Lk 8:6 – seed falling to the ground,
            Acts 26:14 (same author) – people prostrating themselves). Likewise πίμπρασθαι means to become
            inflamed, either feverish and/or swelling. They may have simply expected him to fall down in fever and
            fright, not necessarily expecting him to die even if he were bitten.
            – The larger issue is what this incident means to the natives. Being attacked and killed by snakes coming
            out of nowhere without provocation (stepping on them, etc.) is an unusual event, and was usually
            interpreted as punishment from “the gods” for evil deeds (see Greek mythology, e.g.), so when they see a snake come up and fasten itself to Paul, they assume that this is some kind of divine justice/punishment. But instead of dying, Paul simply shakes the snake off and they then believe (incorrectly) that he is actually some sort of “god.” Instead of thinking he was evil, they now think he is is good, and this makes this people (to whom Paul is a complete stranger) receptive to his message about Jesus.
            – By the way, this is all my own analysis — not simply something I cut and pasted from the Internet (please
            check if you don’t believe me). I would have expected something similar from anyone who knew the Bible and spend time “preaching” the
            word of God.

          • Cthulhu21

            Seeing this and reading a copy of the bible on the internet (I can diffinately go read a hard copy if you want) you can interperate it the way you did about the snake the events afterwards. But that’s all they are, interperatations. There’s no evidence to support your conclusions; you just pick the ones that make most sense to you and leave it at that.

            I could go on giving examples about the flaws in your argument after thinking about it, but I think you’re too entrenched in your beliefs to consider that you could be wrong. I don’t think that’s because you’re stupid or dense, you’ve just learnd to not except information that argues against your belief even when there’s strong evidence to support it. Many people do that whether or not they’re re religious. It’s called comfermation biases

          • rargos

            How about this?

            From the Lexington Atheists webpage: “Introduction
            My name is DJ crowe. I’ve been an atheist for much longer than I realized it. Although I was never what you’d caller a preacher [!!!!], I’ve stood behind the pulpit many times. So grateful to be out of that mess…”

            http://www.meetup.com/The-Lexington-Atheists-Meetup-Group/member/61902222/

            Guess that pretty much says it – DJ Crowe is a liar, proven by his own words.

          • Thought Police

            Undo your existence you condescending cunt. How in the holy titty-fucking lowercase Christ did you ever arrive at the conclusion that you are not a fucking troll-ass douche bag? You’re already in your own personal version of hell obviously, why bring it here to us? I suppose it’s the godly thing to do, right? It’s AMAZING how mentally retarded church criminals are all superior to all of us poor damned atheists. I will contact whomever may ban this twat so that we may be left in peace. Wish me luck. Or, if you’re into talking to yourself, pray for me.

          • rargos

            “Undo your existence you condescending cunt. How in the holy titty-fucking lowercase Christ did you ever arrive at the conclusion that you are not a fucking troll-ass douche bag?” – ThoughtPolice

            Since it appears you’d rather engage in angry, vulgarity-laden personal attacks rather than discuss your beliefs in a mature and rational way, I think it best that we discontinue this conversation.

            Thank you for contributing to my understanding of atheism. Your posts have been very enlightening.

          • Thought Police

            You’re quite welcome if I’ve assisted you in beginning to comprehend how unwelcome you are here. This is not a debate site. There is no god, and therefore there are atheists. If you would like to understand why there are atheists, try reading a bible. If you’d like to continue to persistently harass the members of an atheist website, I would kindly request the address of the church you attend, so during mass I may introduce your fellow nuts to logic, reason, and reality. Then once they fly into a rage at being attacked at their place of gathering, I will politely inform them that I think it best that we discontinue the conversation.
            You ARE a troll, and you ARE completely without provocation bothering people who have done nothing to you or your imaginary friends. You’re not a nice person, and I hope that you quickly learn that there is a price to be paid for your behavior. Cause and effect my good sir will be the last thing you likely come to understand, and I regret that for you.
            You’re not here to understand atheism, you’re here to pester people that disagree with you, and quite frankly it’s not simply disgusting, it’s reprehensible to a degree that you apparently aren’t capable of grasping. Do you know how easy it is to start a fire? You’re intentionally agitating the molecules of this site to a point where you can sit back and enjoy the ensuing fires that break out. You’re a TROLL, or if that’s still not sinking in, you’re an arsonist of ideas. While you cannot destroy the facts of reality, you perpetually attempt to obscure them with the smoke of the metaphorical fires you start as distractions.
            If you were truly interested in understanding why so many people, and a larger number every day, are not able to believe what you believe, then you would ask them courteously to elaborate on what lead them to be atheists instead of badgering them about minutiae. Through their answers you would then compare their perspectives to that of your own, you would weigh any evidence presented, and if you were a critically thinking person who values logic and reason you would come to the conclusion that religion is not the best representative of truth.
            That’s not what you’re doing. You’re like a diseased mosquito buzzing in my ear, biting at the flesh of my thoughts, attempting to infect me with doubt. Don’t you see that you simply cannot bring an atheist to doubt their disbelieve in the unbelievable? I would greatly appreciate it if you would kindly take the time to explain one thing to me without dancing around it and changing the subject. You cannot forever deflect the issue, if not here then eventually at some point in your existence you will be forced to address this question seriously: Where did evil originate?

          • rargos

            “Don’t you see that you simply cannot bring an atheist to doubt their disbelieve in the unbelievable?”

            Was never my intention. As I’ve said in my previous posts, I think it important not to draw conclusions about a group of people of their beliefs without first-hand information. I think intelligent people can (and perhaps should) disagree on issues, but at a minimum we should have an accurate understanding of each other and exchange our views in a polite, constructive manner.

            I would like to thank you again for taking the time to show me how atheists see the world and how they express their opinions. It’s been very helpful.

          • Thought Police

            You are welcome, however I feel that since you are of perhaps a higher than average intellect, I do not need to express to you the lack of correlation between one individual’s thoughts, words, behavior, and opinions and anybody else’s. For instance, I wouldn’t assume that since some catholics like to fuck little kids that you do as well. That’ not the case is it?
            You see, if you manage to communicate in a civilized manner I will respond in kind. While your backhanded compliment has not gone unnoticed, it’s not overtly offensive or denigrating, and thus while childish and unnecessary it’s easily dismissed.
            And I agree with you about people (but not just the intelligent) needing to disagree on certain things. A world of uniform belief would be terribly boring and counterproductive to innovation and social evolution.
            But once again, where do you propose that evil originated?

          • rargos

            In my opinion there’s an important distinction between “evil” and “tragic events”. If a tornado destroys your house and kills your family, that is not “evil”, that’s a tragic event. On the other hand, if someone blows up your house and kills your family, I would call that “evil”, assuming the perpetrator was mentally competant.

            There’s a tremendous temptation to combine these two concepts and ask “why does God let evil exist”, meaning both things. “Evil” (again, as I define it) exists because humans have an intellect and free will. “Tragic events” occur because that is the nature of the physical world.

            I can only speculate why God might have created a world in which houses are destroyed by tornados, children get cancer, etc., but I suspect that it’s not that much different from the way human parents raise their children — although we may love them and want to shield them from all harm, doing so would keep them from reaching their full potential. If God has indeed given us souls and wants to see what we do with them, placing us in an imperfect and dangerous world is a much better way to teach us than having us lounge around on clouds playing harps and singing psalms all day.

            That’s about the shortest summary I can give … hope it made sense (even if you disagree with it).

          • Thought Police

            Thank you for sharing your views. But the question was “where do you propose that evil originated?” I’ll take a crack at it. If there is a god, and this god created everything, then it is absolutely directly responsible for knowingly and willingly creating “sin” and “evil” no matter how it’s defined. All things in existence would owe said existence to the original cause, god. God created Lucifer, right? He didn’t foresee what was going to happen? No, the only thing that comes close to making sense when considering an omnipotent omniscient omnipresent deity is that it desires for these things to happen.

            If you know all, are everywhere at once, and you get whatever you want, then there’s no way for any of your creations to oppose your will. But free will should be for another discussion. Anyway, if I create a couple of robots able to reproduce, and program them to behave a certain way, then punish them for acting on their programming, what does that say about me?
            A bit off topic here, but if jealousy is a sin, why is god a jealous god? The bible is full of double standards. God is allowed to murder people, but we can’t? God can sanction the rape and murder of people, and we’re required not only to fear it but to worship it unfailingly. If I compiled a list of everything fucked up that god has done, ordered done by people, allowed to take place, and apparently enjoyed, I would be the most hated person on the planet.
            The depths of depravity that people have sunken to in the name of religion is inexcusable. The atrocities that have been committed in god’s name are horrifying. All of that and then quite a bit more nastiness exists in a universe that your deity would be directly responsible for. If I would be held accountable for what are now crimes, why isn’t god? If I had the power to, I would put a warrant out for god’s arrest. All churches and places of worship would be searched and all of god’s assets would be seized; bank accounts, private jets, everything associated with the worship of the world’s most heinous villain would be taken as evidence and eventually sold. The profit from the sale of god’s churches and other assets would then be used to try to make good on some of “his” long-broken promises.
            Wow, didn’t mean to ramble like that. Anyway, I obviously still have a vivid imagination and enjoy a good day dream here and there. But yeah, where did hate come from, and jealousy, and rape, and torture, and child abuse, and….? All of it, every bit of every thing that has ever existed and ever will, if god in fact exists, is from him/it. He/it is responsible for everything, and I personally care to think that I have higher moral standards than to worship any such creature as is described as being the god of Abraham. Even though I am essentially amoral, the ways of god are so immoral that I couldn’t possibly bear to share existence with him/it.

          • rargos

            “If there is a god, and this god created everything, then it is absolutely directly responsible for knowingly and willingly creating “sin” and “evil” no matter how it’s defined.”

            I’m not sure I would agree with that. I believe that God gave us free will to choose between good and evil. That would also apply to Lucifer as well. “Evil” only exists where you have a choice, and I think that ultimately the purpose of our life here on Earth is to give us the opportunity to make that choice. Most parents eventually give their children the independence to make their own decisions, and therefore spend a lot of time (not always successfully) trying to teach them the “right” way to do things. I consider this a very good (but not perfect) analogy to how God sees his creations.

          • Thought Police

            There can be no free will where a god exists that is both omnipotent and omniscient. The two combined do not allow for either unforeseen or unwanted events to take place. But supposing that it was some how possible for a deity to be both omniscient and omnipotent and still miraculously manage to allow it’s creations to have free will, free will still does not account for evil. Regardless of the existence or lack thereof concerning free will in a universe where god exists, the presence of evil in such a reality would still be the direct result of that deity’s act of creation. No matter how you paint it, evil is god’s creation. Either directly or by proxy, either with foreknowledge or not, either being permitted or not, the existence of not-good-things bellies an imperfect creator.

          • Cthulhu21

            Why would God make it so we had to choose between committing acts of good or bad when he could have made it so we could just do good. If you say it’s so we know the difference between good or evil or that he is testing us. I’m just going to leave it at this.

          • rargos

            I believe that when it’s said that God created us “in his own image”, what this means is that he gave us the gift of intellect and free will. Being truly free includes having the freedom to commit evil and act contrary to God’s will.

            Would you prefer to live in a world where you thoughts and actions were completed controlled and predestinated by some higher power? That would deny the very essence of what it means to be human and make us no better than mindless slaves.

            I do believe that, in a certain sense, life is a test. Some people are tested by experiencing tragedy and loss, some people are tested by being given weath and power, etc. If God did not give us the freedom to chose or made it completely clear what he expected us to do, it wouldn’t be much of a test, would it?

          • Cthulhu21

            Interesting, but that’s only an assumption about why God did what he did, if at all.

          • rargos

            With regards to some of your other comments: is God a villain for letting us make poor choices? Would you prefer that he prevent us from being able to do bad things? In my mind this would be no better than slavery. I feel very strongly that life is a test, and in order to be a valid test we have to have the ability to fail.

            The fact (and it is a fact) that some people will commit horrible atrocities, etc. in the name of God does not mean that God sanctions those events. As a Christian I believe very strongly that God calls us to love our neighbor, help the needy, etc. You may not see it, but there is an awful lot of good being quietly done by believers … it just isn’t quite as “newsworthy” as some foaming-at-the-mouth lunatic claiming to speak for God.

            Ultimately we don’t know exactly what God wants – religion is an attempt, however imperfect, to figure this out. And while people may disagree whether or not God is okay with gay people marrying, etc, I think it’s safe to say that EVERYONE agrees that God is okay with feeding the hungry, tending to the sick, etc. This is what my faith calls me to do.

          • Thought Police

            How can our lives be tests if some deity already knows the test results? What would be the point of testing somebody if you knew EXACTLY how they would respond to every problem which with they were presented? To simply reaffirm your already concrete certainty?
            Also, the only way for an omnipotent/omniscient deity to permit evil would be for it to divide its “consciousness” and alter its will so that it at least in part desired for the evil to take place. I’d quote scripture where the biblical god did indeed supposedly sanction atrocities but my two year old is asking me to lay down with him and we’re both going to pass out. I’ll finish and edit this as necessary sometime later today.

          • rargos

            I undestand what you’re asking, but I don’t believe that God has “foreknowledge” (in a linearly temporal manner) of what we’re going to do, and in that sense the future is not fixed. I think this is what separates human beings from lower life forms and non-living things.

            With enough precise knowledge about the start conditions, you could exactly calculate the outcome of a coin toss (weight distribution of the coin, initial velocity/direction, air resistance, etc.), so it’s reasonable to assume that God would also be able to know with certainty how physical processes would play out. But by giving us a soul and free will, he has, in effect, made us a little bit like himself, and perhaps this is the entire point of creation. Why create a universe, life, etc. when you already know how it’s going to turn out? Why not instead share some of your nature with some primate-descended life forms to see what they would do with the universe you set in motion?

          • Thought Police

            Time as experienced by an omnipotent/omniscient creator would be incomprehensible to us. The past, present, and future wouldn’t simply all bleed together but would indivisible. All of time would be present for such a deity in a single everlasting moment.
            Personally, even facing indisputable proof of the existence of the biblical god, if for no other reason than this I could not possibly hold such a deity in high esteem: If (assuming for the sake of the conversation that god exists) the creator of the universe does not know definitively the paths that will be “chosen” by its creatures, then what kind of god is that?
            Here’s a list of criteria that must be met by a deity in order for me to worship it: 1) It must not demonstrate weaknesses such as jealousy, anger, et cetera. 2) It must not have created a world in which I have to worry about my offspring coming to harm either physical or otherwise 3) It must provide all necessary material required to sustain constantly pleasurable existences for all sentient creatures 4) It must not threaten eternal suffering for anyone under any conditions 5) It must not demonstrate desire for anything, such as worship, sacrifices, etc.
            But I’ll stop right there so that I can go into that. Why does god want anything at all? If god is perfect, wouldn’t it stand to reason that it would be content with its own existence and not feel the need to create anything such a our universe? And if god is so great, why does it want our attention at all? It seems rather needy and juvenile for a supreme being to demand the love and attention of animals as low as humans. And really, wouldn’t creating a species of sentient beings for the purpose of receiving the love, admiration, and obedience of said species basically equate to a form of masturbation or narcissistic self-worship?
            My theory concerning the universe is that none of it really exists. I honestly suspect that none of this is “real”. The world simply doesn’t make sense. There’s no way that so many people can be so stupid and selfish as to maintain the world in its current condition. There’s no way that some ambivalent supreme deity created an entire universe just so that in between the rape and murder its sole sentient species could write poems about how great it is. I don’t know what’s real and what’s not, or even if I actually exist. I certainly hope that this has all been some kind of sick joke and that I wasn’t really born into a world were everyone could potentially have everything they want and need but won’t because of the greed that was built into my species by some twisted deity.

          • rargos

            Fair enough – thanks for the long reply.

            I would disagree with a couple of your criteria, viz, ” 2) It must not have created a world in which I have to worry about my offspring coming to harm either physical or otherwise 3) It must provide all necessary material required to sustain constantly pleasurable existences for all sentient creatures”

            As a parent myself, I do not want any harm to come to my children and would gladly do everything I could to provide for them. That said, I also realize that, however reluctantly, I cannot shelter them forever if I want them to become mature, responsible, and self-reliant adults. I would not be doing them a “favor” by keeping them locked away from any chance of harm, no matter how painful that thought might be to me.

            I do agree with most of your other points, and I think many of the objections you make are valid. I also cannot conceive of a God who expresses human weaknesses such as anger or jealousy, who requires prayer, burnt offerings, etc. As for punishment, I don’t believe God “sends people to hell” — “hell” is people choosing to separate themselves from God and stubbornly cling to material desires that they are doomed to lose eventually, either at death or before.

            As the existentialists and nihilists perceive the world, it does not make any sense at all. But if one sees the world as created by a God who wished to create beings similar to himself, with intellect and free will, and placed them in a world where they would be taught and tested by means of a physical existance (and no certain proof that God even exists), then I think the world makes a lot of sense.

          • Thought Police

            Without death, what is the point of life? Without evil, how can good be loved? Without things that are ugly, how can one appreciate beauty? Without sorrow, how would one be joyous? I understand what you’re saying. But if we’re talking about an omnipotent creator of all things, I still think there are too many holes in the logic, especially where the biblical god is concerned.

          • rargos

            Yes, there is an unfortunate tendency for people to use the Bible as their sole (and literally interpreted) source of information about God. While I believe most religions are all trying to explain the same thing, they do it through the lens of human understanding and cultural background and it’s inevitable that the message gets distorted and misunderstood, sometimes intentionally.

            Anyone who relies solely on the Bible for their understanding of God is doing themselves and those around them a great disservice. I don’t believe that God gave us an intellect and free will so we could mindlessly follow what any one book or one person tells us. That said, I’ll end with one of my favorite Bible verses that I think even atheists would agree with:

            πάντα δὲ δοκιμάζετε, τὸ καλὸν κατέχετε
            Test all things; hold on to what is good
            1 Thessalonians 5:21

          • Thought Police

            Of all the problems that I have with religion, and there are many, the one that I simply cannot wrap my mind around is this: who would want an eternity of anything? An eternity of heaven would be its own hell.

          • rargos

            The concept of time only applies to material things (i.e. time is a dimension of matter), so noncorpereal existance would exist outside of time.

            I also think the idea that we somehow would “spend eternity” walking around on clouds and talking to deceased loved ones is also somewhat colored (or tainted) by our limited human perception. I would suspect that the afterlife is not simply an infinite, but comfortable, continuation of this life. Perhaps it’s for this reason that we need to avoid becoming too attached or too desireous (greedy) for physical things and human ambitions, since one would have to give these up in the afterlife.

          • Thought Police

            I would hope that if there is a continuation of consciousness after somatic death, that such an existence would be more of a merger of consciousness between surviving entities than a mere continuation of solitary existence. To become something incomprehensibly more vast in intellectual and emotional scope than the fraction of a sliver of perception that we experience as humans would be ideal. To become more of a shared experience than to persist in our woefully ignorant and narrow-sighted mental forms would perhaps be acceptable. The ultimate hell, I imagine, would be to experience the linear progression of time without a physical presence, without end.

          • rargos

            I agree. Perhaps death simply re-unites one’s individual soul with God himself (i.e. a “communion” with God). And perhaps the reason why we should strive to be good, spiritual people is in order to enable this communion, “hell” in effect being spending eternity as a lone entity experiencing (as you put it) the linear progression of time without end.

          • Thought Police

            That’s a truly terrifying concept to me. But have you noticed in the bible the suspiciously UFO-like accounts of god, his angels, and the various reported sky phenomena?

          • rargos

            “Undo your existence you condescending cunt. How in the holy titty-fucking lowercase Christ did you ever arrive at the conclusion that you are not a fucking troll-ass douche bag?” – ThoughtPolice

            Since it’s clear that you’d rather engage in vulgarity-laden attacks rather than in a mature, rational discussion, I think it best that we discontinue this conversation.

            But thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me — it’s been very enlightening.

        • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

          One of my favorite stories from Acts is where Paul is bitten by a poisonous snake on Malta, and miraculously lives!! It amazes me every time! I get goosebumps even!! Especially owing to the fact that there’s no poisonous snakes on Malta! Never have been!!

          • rargos

            Yes, the fact that poisonous snakes are not indigenous to Malta in modern times is irrefutable proof that Christianity is wrong and the Bible is nothing but lies.

            (Incidentally, you have the story wrong — maybe you should do some primary research instead of simply Googling “inaccuracies in the BIble” or some other such phrase).

            Of course, to apply your logic, if YOU ever say anything that might be factually incorrect, then it means you are also untrustworthy, delusional, or lying about everything else you say, right?

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            Actually, that lie in the bible is one among thousands… When you gather them all together, makes for a wonderful storybook. All false, but wonderful stories, yes?
            And by the way, I didn’t have to google it. When I was a preacher, I studied the book for far too long. If more people would read it with a ounce of common sense, there’d be many, many more atheists…
            And how did I get the story wrong? Did I read the wrong KJV?

          • rargos

            Sorry, but I have a hard time believing you were a “preacher” based on your comments above – care to share your name, seminary, denomination, and former congregation? Surely you don’t expect us to accept something based on faith, when there are plenty of factual indications in your post that you barely know the Bible at all.
            — Lying about being a preacher-turned-atheist doesn’t fool anyone.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            Well, first of all, I don’t have to answer to you. Since I’m no longer preaching, it’s a moot point. Secondly, I asked you how I got the story wrong.

          • rargos

            Well, yes, you do — if you make blatently untruthful statements about your background, I would like some proof (atheists are big on “proof”, aren’t they?) before I listen to anything you have to say. Give me “proof” that you aren’t lying about your background and I’d be happy to continue this discussion.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            If I’d known you were going to be so childish, I would have never mentioned it. What you are doing is avoiding the PoC (Point of Conversation, FYI). And in this case, the PoC is not whether I used to preach or not. It is the fact that the bible claims Paul was bitten by a poisonous viper on an island where no poisonous vipers exist.
            Besides, I haven’t preached since 1990-91. The only proof I can offer are the people who knew me back then. Since you don’t know them, the only thing I have is a pretty damned good working knowledge of scripture. However, since we’re talking online, I could simply be researching everything I say to you, right? So, no ‘proof’ will be forthcoming.
            But, again, since my credentials as a preacher are NOT the PoC, let’s concentrate instead on the real one, shall we? Don’t evade the topic. The other atheists reading this blog will be expecting that from you…

          • rargos

            “Childish” is a good description of your orignal response to my post (quote) “It amazes me every time! I get goosebumps even!!” Mocking / sarcasm isn’t a very intellectual approach to argumentation.

            Your credibility is very much the issue — you make claims about your knowledge of the Bible based on the boldfaced lie that you used to be a “preacher”. Can’t you simply disagree with someone without having to lie about your credentials ahead of time?

            What kind of atheist claims that religion is all a lie, but then resorts to deliberate lies in order to support his arguments? Hopefully the other atheists reading this will realize that you’re simply a fraud.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            Okay, man. Let’s do this. Let’s pretend I was NEVER a preacher, but I studied the bible for a long time. Now, with that as a given, would you mind very much staying on TOPIC????
            What kind of poisonous viper bit Paul????

          • rargos

            – So now you’re changing your story — you were, in fact, NEVER a preacher and lied about your background. Did you think that claiming you were a preacher-turned-atheist would help convince me and other people on this forum that religion is all lies? Or does it make you feel more important to invent stories about yourself and claim expertise where you apparently have none?

            – I’ll make you a deal : you admit, without qualification, to me and everyone on this forum that you lied about your background and know little to nothing about the BIble, and I’d be very happy to provide you with scholarship on this topic, including an analysis of the word “ἔχιδνα” in Greek (with secular and religious references).
            – If you can’t tell the truth about your own background, how can you expect people to listen to anything else you say?

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            Man, you are fucking dense, aren’t you? Yeah, I WAS a preacher. I’m not any more. Has absolutely NOTHING to do with the topic you keep avoiding. I said to PRETEND I was never a preacher. I was hoping to keep you on track, but you seem eager to change the subject. At any rate, you dance well… Now, answer the question… Oh wait… you can’t, because there IS no answer…

          • rargos

            Same question: where did you go to seminary, what denomination, and what congregation? Imagine the service you would be doing the atheist community if you could actually prove your claims …. but you can’t, can you?

            You were never a “preacher” and you lack the intellectual and moral integrity to admit your obvious lies. YOU are the one who made up phony credentials, so don’t complain about getting “off the track”. Why do you have to lie about yourself to get people to listen to you?

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            And STILL you have no answer. Come on man, just admit you have no answer. You don’t have to be embarrassed. Stop trying to change the subject…

          • rargos

            The subject is that you’re a bold-faced liar. Here’s a honest offer : you provide us all with proof that you were a bona-fide “preacher” (name of congregation and phone number I can call, e.g.) and I’ll donate $100 to American Atheists. Deal?
            If you were a real “preacher” you would have immediately recognized that I already gave you the answer a number of posts back — amazing that someone who claims to be a “preacher” doesn’t recognize (or can’t be bothered to look up), the Greek word for “snake” (go back a few posts).
            By the way, calling someone “fucking dense” is a pretty strong clue that you’ve never been a “preacher” as well. People with that level of emotional immaturity don’t make it through seminary. Your language (“come on man”) also seems to indicate that you’re not old enough to have been a “preacher” 25 years ago … I wouldn’t be surprised if you hadn’t even been born 25 years ago.
            And yes, the fact that you lie about your background is pretty important here — I thought atheists were supposed to be the ones telling the “truth” …

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            You just wasted a lot of space just to tell me and everyone else that you don’t have an answer… I’m beginning to think you have a major ego issue to deal with, along with various other problems. It just scares you no end to admit you don;t have an answer.
            For those of you just tuning in, we’ve been waiting nearly a week for rargos to tell us what kind of poisonous viper bit Paul on the Isle of Malta, as according to Acts 28:3, when no poisonous snakes ever existed on Malta, but he’s deftly avoided the issue by demanding proof that I used to be a preacher, which is called ‘sidestepping’… We now rejoin our regular dance card…

          • rargos

            Sorry, but you can’t hide the fact that you’re a bold-faced liar. Even when I offer to donate money to American Atheists in exchange for proof, you’re silent.

            As for the snake — I already gave you the answer but I guess that you (alleged former “preacher”) can’t read Greek. Look up the Greek word in my post above and do a word study on what it means, both in the New Testament/Septuagint and in classical Greek writer (e.g. Plato used it). The word “poisonous snake” is only one possible translation.

            But please, stop lying to all of us about having been a “preacher” — you’re embarssingly bad at it.

          • rargos

            From the Lexington Atheists webpage: “Introduction
            My name is DJ crowe. I’ve been an atheist for much longer than I realized it. Although I was never what you’d caller a preacher [!!!!], I’ve stood behind the pulpit many times. So grateful to be out of that mess…”

            Guess that pretty much says it – DJ Crowe is a liar, proven by his own words.

            http://www.meetup.com/The-Lexington-Atheists-Meetup-Group/member/61902222/

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            And by saying that, I mean I never did it as full-time work. I was ordained, and preached from BEHIND THE PULPIT to take over for a lazy minister. However, you have, for the SEVENTH time avoided the MAIN TOPIC.
            I ask again… How fucking dense ARE you?
            Would you like me to move on to another blatantly ridiculous story in your storybook? I know this one’s really got you over a barrel to the point where you went and found my profile.
            I wouldn’t worry about your personal situation very much. Medical science in making great strides in learning difficulties such as yours… Chin up!!!

          • rargos

            “Fucking dense” — uhmm … I’ve given you the answer three times and you still can’t find it. Can you read Greek at all?

            Ordained? By whom? First you call yourself a “preacher” but in your own profile and your own words you say you weren’t. Then instead of reading my posts (in which I give the word you’re asking about) you attack me using vulgarity.

            I can respect atheists and their right to believe what they want, but I can’t respect someone who is abusive, vulgar, untruthful, and too lazy to even read my posts.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            So, you’re telling me everyone has to learn ancient Greek before they can understand the most powerful being in the universe? That is absolutely the biggest line of manure I have ever heard spew out of a creationist’s mouth After you typed it, did you look at what you had written? And did a little voice inside your head almost make you snicker and shake your head?

            And yes, baptized and ordained. Never tried to make money from it.

            Lastly, who in the hell said I wanted your respect? I don’t give a rat’s ass about your respect. It means as much to me as perfume on a turd… WHat I want from you is an answer. I don’t care about ancient Greek, as no one speaks it any more. Whatever the word means, it boils down to Paul being bitten by a viper. Vipers, by definition, are poisonous. Was it a viper, like the bible says, or was it a garter snake?

          • rargos

            You do know that “viper” is only one of many possible translations of the Greek — the language the New Testament was written in. Scary that you not only lie about your background, but that you also don’t understand the importance of word study in the original language. Look at a dozen modern English translations of the Bible and you’ll find this word translated half a dozen different ways, since it is unclear which species the word (as recorded by the author of Acts) refers to.

            Just amazing how someone with your combination of anger, intellectual laziness, and outright dishonesty would think that anyone here, atheist or otherwise, would believe you.

            Sorry if those are harsh words, but dropping the vulgarity would be a god place to start if you want people to respect you.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            “You do know that “viper” is only one of many possible translations of the Greek — the language the New Testament was written in.”

            So… you ARE saying that in order to understand the bible, a person should be schooled in ancient Greek? Is that what you’re saying? Look, I don’t give a shit what the original word means. We are told it’s a viper. Are you saying it was a Komodo Dragon???? Or are you saying that this god you worship, who loves us SO much that he gave his son up for sacrifice would muddle his message in an ancient language, to the point where it takes a self-appointed, ancient Greek language expert, apologist like you to tell us what he REALLY meant?

            And don’t flatter yourself. You don’t mean enough to me for me to be angry with you. I’m usually laughing the whole time I’m reading your drivel.

            So, in a nutshell, you worship god, although you have no idea what the bible means because it was written in a language no one understands anymore, right? You have no answers whenever you are asked a question, so you just resort to attacking the person, and call them a liar, when the only basis for doing so is that you don’t WANT to believe them?
            I guess I could ask another biblical question, but since I don’t speak Greek, I would know enough about the bible to even ask, right?

            As a sidenote, if you haven’t yet procreated, please don’t.

          • rargos

            Wow, I don’t even know where to start in reponding to your post.
            – 1. I gave a lengthy response above. Please let me know if you have trouble finding it.
            – 2. I’m very suprised someone who claims to be a “preacher” says that no one understands Greek anymore. That’s also completely and totally untrue. In fact, Greek and Hebrew are required subjects at most seminaries.
            – 3. You don’t have to study texts in the original languages, but relying on a single English translation can lead to a lot of misunderstandings.
            – 4. I called you a liar because you are one. That’s a fact. Your OWN WORDS posted on your meetup.com profile say that you were never a “preacher” as you claimed to be
            – 5. And yes, it’s obvious that you are very angry at something. It’s hard to take you seriously when your posts include the words “fucking”, “shit”, etc. Can’t you debate your point rationally, or is this how you deal with anything you don’t like?
            – 6. I don’t have all the answers or even most of the answers (or maybe even any answers), but I don’t have to resort to lies, anger, and insults to debate my point of view. I would have hoped that a rational atheist would be above the childish behavior you’ve been displaying here. Certainly you have the right to act that way, but you’re only hurting yourself and the image of atheists as reason-guided individuals.
            – Lastly, I will make a special point to pray for you today: not that you become a believer (again) since obviously you don’t want that, but that you find some peace and some love for your fellow man, even those you disagree with.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            1. Found it.
            2. Not all preachers go to seminary. And not all preachers learn Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. And I never said no one speaks Greek. Good straw man, though. I said ANCIENT Greek. There IS a difference…
            3. See 2 above…
            4. Again… Good straw man… What I told them was ‘I never was what YOU would call a preacher’ Like I said, never took money for what I was doing. At the time, I was doing it for the ‘love of Jesus’. You DO read English, don’t you? Not just ancient Greek?
            5. Sorry… No anger here. As I said before, you just don’t mean that much to me. Sorry. It’ll be okay… Stop crying. The reason I cursed is because you are one of the most exasperating apologists I have ever met. I mean, it took nearly a WEEK for you to answer ONE QUESTION. And even then, you have yet to answer it…
            6. I don’t represent atheists. I represent ONE atheist. Just as you don’t represent all christians. (because many of my christian friends know, at least, how to answer a question).

            You don’t think I was ever a preacher?
            Prove I wasn’t.

          • rargos

            - Editing your posts to remove things after I reply to them and then saying “I didn’t say that” is a pretty dishonest way of discussing something.
            - Using profanity, insults, and other, frankly, childish behavior is also not a productive way of discussing an issue. The one thing I would expect from an atheist is rationality and logic, not emotional rants, when explaining your point of view.
            - You keep trying to change your story to avoid the simple fact that you lied about your background in an attempt to gain credibility. It’s not working.
            - I do like your last comment: “You don’t think I was ever a preacher? Prove I wasn’t.” There’s no way to prove a negative statement – just like you can’t prove that god DOESN’T exist.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            LMAO!!! You really are a riot. The ONLY reason I edit my posts is to correct a misspelling that might have gotten by me. Nice try, though. You really WILL reach for ANYthing, won’t you?
            As far as emotion, I think I’ve already told you, the only emotion you spark in me is humor, with just a touch of pity.
            And as for your last statement, that was intentional. Just in case you ever wanted to try the ‘prove god doesn’t exist’ bit (like you just did, of course). You’re so predictable, I’m really surprised you took this long to even type it…

          • rargos

            It’s clear that you’re not really interested in discussing your viewpoints rationally but would simply rather abuse and insult people who don’t agree with you (and use dishonesty when it suits you). I’ve provided you with a long, researched description of how I interpet that passage and why, to which you simply respond with profanity and sarcasm. I had hoped to have a rational discussion (as I have had with other atheists here) so that we better understand each other, but you seem uninterested in an objective presentation of your position.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            Yeah, we COULD have an intelligent discussion, if you weren’t an idiot. That kinda holds us back a little, doesn’t it?

          • rargos

            It’s a pity you have to result to profanity and insults in your posts, especially when your own website states:

            3. Never revert to name-calling, cursing, or personal attacks, even if your opponent does so first. It makes you look foolish, and serves no reasonable purpose whatsoever.

            http://www.everydayatheism.com/debating.html

            I’ve tolerated your personal attacks and abuse much longer that I should have. I’m happy to debate my views, but not with someone who can’t write a single post without including profanity or an insult.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            But you DON’T debate your views. You don’t answer questions, you change the subject, and you resort to straw man and ad hominem attacks. The real pity is I’ve let myself get sucked into your mindset. I can’t believe I’ve spent this much time on you…
            Well-played…

          • rargos

            –> You really should stop overusing the words “straw man” and “ad hominum” in a (tiresome) attempt to impress people. I can pull out the debate/rhetoric terminology too (I think “bdelygmia” would apply here), but it adds nothing to the conversation.
            –> The fact that you use insults, abuse, profanity and bold-faced lies speaks volumes about the validity of both you and your viewpoints. Can’t you discuss your views politely and rationally, or is this the only way you know how to talk to other people?
            –> I don’t consider this a waste of time at all: now everyone reading the comments here on American Atheists knows that you’re an abusive liar who can’t even control his own emotions or do some research of his own. So much for the “rational” atheist … at least in this case.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            “You really should stop overusing the words “straw man” and “ad hominum” in a (tiresome) attempt to impress people.”

            I’m not overusing the words. You are overusing the fallacies. It’s almost like you came out of a little factory with each fallacy, pre-packaged, and ready to go. Unfortunately, you haven’t yet learned to carry on a conversation with using them.

            “Can’t you discuss your views politely and rationally, or is this the only way you know how to talk to other people?”

            Are you kidding me? You’re bitching at my rationality??? I would think it was rational to answer a person’s question directly. However, your view of rationality may be quite different from mine..

            “everyone reading the comments here on American Atheists knows that you’re an abusive liar who can’t even control his own emotions or do some research of his own.”

            Really? Who? So far, the only person in your corner is your little pastor friend. Oh yeah, and ‘Answers in Genesis’…

          • Cthulhu21

            Christians haven’t been able to prove their god exists ether. Don’t act like it gives you a 1-up that we can’t prove he doesn’t exist; the burden of proof is on you guys.

          • rargos

            –> If one could prove that God exists, it wouldn’t be called “faith”, would it?
            –> That said, it’s childish for DJ Crowe to say “Prove I wasn’t a preacher”. First, his own public comments contradict themselves. But more importantly, it’s a logical fallacy, and I would expect more logic and rationality from an avowed atheist .. fair enough?

          • rargos

            My offer still stands – a $100 donation to American Atheists if you provide verifible proof of your blatently obvious lie. (note: if you’re going to lie about being a former member of the clergy, you shouldn’t call yourself a “preacher” …. that’s a dead giveaway)

          • Pastor Coale

            Why did a viper have to have been on Malta to begin with? Didn’t Paul and company get their by shipwreck? Couldn’t a viper have done the same?

            Yes, it is very important to quantify your proclamation that you were a preacher. I have been reading through this thread patiently waiting to see if you would be simply strong enough to answer rargos question. It should be pretty easy since you made the claim to begin with. What I mean is… You put it on the table. No one else did. But as I thought, you would use hate speech like all other Atheist.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            I thought you said you’d read the entire thread…?
            As I told him, my being an ex-preacher has NOTHING to do with the topic. We’re all about staying on topic, aren’t we?

          • Pastor Coale

            So what? Can’t you just answer the question? It may have nothing to do with the topic as far as you are concerned, but it means something to me if you expect to be credible. And, NO, I did not say I read the ENTIRE thread, didn’t I?

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            I’M the one that asked the question! The answer to which I’m still waiting for…

          • Pastor Coale

            Shame on you for lying such. You introduced the subject that you were once a preacher. Nobody else did. You said, “When I was a preacher, I studied the book for far too long.” So it is important to me if I am going to make a choice about denying the book to know where you preached and what training you had so I can substantiate what you say. Then, I can seriously consider your claims. No pressure. I’d really like to know. Thinking about it…

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            Shame on you for butting into a conversation you know nothing about. I’m pretty sure I’ve told you this before, but you seem about as slow as your buddy, rargos. The fact that I used to preach has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the topic. I know you want to jump on his bandwagon, and I know you want to help him out, but the best way you can do that is to teach him how to answer a question without going off on a tangent. THERE’S an idea, huh?

          • Pastor Coale

            A better idea is for you to answer my question because I asked it in sincerity.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            1. You didn’t ask a question, ‘pastor’.
            2. I don’t owe you an answer to anything even if you did, because I’m still waiting on an answer to MY question, ‘pastor’.
            3. What kind of viper bit Paul, ‘pastor’?

          • Pastor Coale

            Oops, You’re right. I didn’t actually ask a question so here goes: when you said, “”When I was a preacher, I studied the book for far too long”, could you please tell me where you preached, and what schooling or background you had?
            As far as answering your question about “How did a viper get on Malta? I already answered that when I responded that it is quite possible that a viper got there like Paul did–from the shipwreck. I don’t know exactly what species of viper bit him. So, I answered your question, can you please answer mine? Thanks in advance.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            It’s all explained on my website, in my testimony. I’ll paste it for you here:

            “Eventually, the disagreements concerning doctrine got to be too much, and I decided to seek fellowship elsewhere, with like-minded believers. I was under the impression that if god said it, he meant it the way he said it in his word. If he did it all in six days, then I believed it was six days. I was quite the fundamentalist.

            “I found this group in a small fellowship in west Lexington. I attended, my then-wife also attended, along with my two young daughters. After a few weeks and a few heated discussions I had been involved in, the pastor asked me if I would deliver the message one night. I said I would be honored, and began writing a sermon as soon as I got home. In time, I was baptized and ordained by ‘the laying on of hands’ according to biblical doctrine.”

            I did not attend a seminary. For what I did, it was not necessary. We were a New Testament, non-denominational fellowship. My background was a thorough study of the bible, with about six different correspondence course (Including Liberty University).

            Now, does the fact that I did not attend seminary or advanced theological schooling mean I was not a preacher? I certainly did a preacher’s job. As I told your pal, I did not accept money for what I did. I worked a full-time job, as well as the preaching. The only time we ever took up a collection was when someone in the fellowship was in need.

            Hope this answers your question, but as I said, the fact that I USED to be a preacher had (and still has) no bearing whatsoever on the original topic. It was used to deflect MY question.

            As far as your answer about the viper, I’ll give you that it’s a remote possibility, but I think you’re reaching. It is implied that the ‘barbarous people’ were amazed he didn’t die, so they obviously knew it was a poisonous snake, yes?

          • Pastor Coale

            Thank you so much for your answer. I do appreciate it so. I too became a preacher via practical instruments. However, I still remain a believer of the Bible because I have not yet seen any evidence to change that belief. Again, I thank you for accommodating me.

            Yep. They knew it was a poisonous snake.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            No worries. It wasn’t that I actually found evidence to change my beliefs, it was that I couldn’t substantiate my reasons for believing any longer. Sometimes, when I would be writing, or outlining a sermon, I would come across passages that raised questions, or I would debate atheists, and discover that I had no good answers to the questions they raised. And they were good questions, too…
            I’ve always been a believer in science, as they have proof for their claims, but I had a very hard time correlating what I KNEW to be true with what I WANTED to be true. I had to become somewhat of an apologist myself in order to make the bible make sense with the truth. I should never have had to do that…
            I have always said I never set out to become an atheist. That was never my original intention. It was a byproduct of allowing myself to think critically.
            It literally took years for me to escape all religious belief. It was never an easy decision to come to, but I have to be a seeker of truth.

            As far as the snake, if they knew it was poisonous, it stands to reason they had poisonous snakes on the island.

          • Pastor Coale

            Oh yeah, I forgot. I don’t in any way feel that you owe me any answer, so if you don’t want to, that’s okay.

          • rargos

            –> Your reply: “Man, you are fucking dense, aren’t you”
            –> From your own website: http://www.everydayatheism.com/debating.html
            3. Never revert to name-calling, cursing, or personal attacks, even if your opponent does so first. It makes you look foolish, and serves no reasonable purpose whatsoever.

          • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

            That’s when you deal with people with at least half a brain. You have repeatedly proven in this thread that you have no desire to have a logical conversation. I raised a point, you went off on another topic completely unrelated to the PoC, and waited a week before you gave an answer. HAD you given a straight answer, you might have seen a different side of me. Thanks for visiting the site. Did you learn anything? Ah… no, you only went looking for fuel to light your straw man…

          • rargos

            Yes, I actually learned two things from your website:
            –> 1. You don’t practice what you preach. You insult and curse at people in almost every post you make, while your website states (and I quote) “Never revert to name-calling, cursing, or personal attacks, even if your opponent does so first. It makes you look foolish, and serves no reasonable purpose whatsoever.”
            –> 2. Your experience with Christianity unfortunately seems to come from membership in a small, non-mainstream group of people with a very literal interpretation of an outdated (and often inaccurate) translation of the Bible. Intentionally or not, you don’t seem to be able to distinguish between this fringe-type group and mainstream Christianity, and most of your attacks here appear to presuppose that all Christians share the extremist views of your former group. Nothing could be further from the truth.

          • Shane

            Him being/not being a preacher has nothing to do with the question that actually matters in this discussion. It detracts from your credibility that you won’t respond to his question that, like so many other questions, suggests strongly that the bible is a fairytale.

          • rargos

            Please read the entire thread — I’ve already provided a very lengthy academic answer to his question (which he responded to with profanity and insults).
            Interesting how you think the Bible is a “fairy tale” based on your interpretation of it, but when someone falsely claims to be a “preacher” and uses that invented credential to attack the Bible, his lack of honesty (as proved by his own statements on meetup.com) is somehow not important?

      • Cthulhu21

        Which intentions would those be?

      • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

        I know a hate group that’s been doing pretty good for 2000 years…

    • http://www.geekexile.com/ Brian Fields
    • Thought Police

      I’ve figured it out rargos. You’re paid to generate content. You wind us up and take a percentage of traffic generated. Well played, but you’re still an imbecile.

      • rargos

        Uhm, no, and that doesn’t even make any sense.

        Did it ever occur to you that there might be people who seek out points of views different from their own and try to politely and maturely discuss them with others? There are several people here on AA who have changed my impression of atheists and atheism in general (both positively and negatively), but the most important thing is that, at a minimum, we are basing our opinions on direct research, not on heresay, propaganda, or misinformation (from either side).

  • Gary Canterbury

    Atheists are the largest minority in the United States. For you religiously deluded; we’re all BORN atheist, then you start your brainwashing by putting our little hands together and saying “Now I lay me down to sleep…”

    Without your mental conditioning, religion would do what it was meant to do: die off. If you have an intellect half a point higher than Forrest Gump, you should see the idiocy of your religion, especially the cult spin-offs, such as the hilarious Morons, er, sorry, Mormons. …magic gold tablets in Egyptian…hilarious!

    I’m atheist and proud I had the intellect to fight against religion from the day I was born until I was thrown out of church at the age of 10 because none of the idiots inside it could answer a single question I had. …those questions still stand today and are unanswerable by the deluded and weak-minded religious.

    You are a people of hatred, bigotry and hypocrisy-all things mirrored by your bullshitibles; whichever of the 15 or 20 versions there are…another thing that goes completely against what it says inside. You’re all too stupid to understand your own ‘holy’ POS book.

    Die already, so society can progress and make up for the 1700 years of religious oppression, murder, genocide and baby-killing that got you where you are today.

    …magic stones. Bwwaahahahahaha! Morons.

    • Reason

      You are one sad, hateful little individual. I hope that your anti-theist hate does not eat you alive, like it has done for so many members of this hae group.

      • http://everydayatheism.com/ DJ Crowe

        Aha… someone doesn’t agree with you, and they’re hate-filled? Do you even realize how insane that sounds?

        • rargos

          I would say that phrases from the OP like “Die already” are pretty hate-filled.

    • rargos

      Fascinating – the two constants in almost every culture in the world since the beginning of time are the marriage/family (albeit sometimes polygamous) structure and some form of religious belief.
      I have two graduate degrees and work as an engineer, and I’m also a firm believer in God. The idea that atheists are somehow “smarter” than believers is self-serving: show how intelligent you are by denying the existance of something more intelligent than yourselves.
      It’s very anti-intellectual to judge billions of believers over thousands of years and hundred of cultures on the basis of the acts of a few extremists, many of whom were simply acting in the name of religion rather than being devout believers themselves.

      • Terra Magnum Imperium

        The psychological and sociological factors of why rather intelligence people believe are complex and too lengthy to list here but some good explanations can be found in the book ” The Christian Delusion” I understand the title can be off-putting for believers but what have read so far explains why people believe instead of insulting it.

        • rargos

          “what have read so far” [sic]

          So you recommend a book you haven’t even finished reading yet?

          • Terra Magnum Imperium

            it’s a pretty long book and I usually read 2-3 different ones at time so next time I will lie if you prefer.
            If you don’t want to purchase try reading Chapter 2 “Christian Belief though the Lens of Cognitive Science. is one of my favorite chapters and pretty much explains the psychological reasons for belief and No it does not say religious belief is a mental illness like some books.

          • rargos

            I got a real kick out of this line :

            “How can a college-educated engineer think he just happened to be born into the one true religion?

            I have a master’s degree in engineering and have worked as an engineer for decades. If there is one true religion and the others are false (which I don’t personally believe), then a certain percentage of people who grow up to be engineers will be born into that religion, assuming a roughly uniform distribution of birthrate / religion.

            Obviously the author isn’t an engineer ….

          • rargos

            Having read Chapter 2 in its entirety, I find several problems with the author and his arguments:

            1) The author frequenty refers to “research” but cites almost no mainstream/academic scientific studies. Almost all of his references are websites or non-scientific articles/journals. For a book with “Science” in its title, I would have expected science, not rambling opinions. This is not surprising given that the author (Mr. Loftis) does not have academic degrees in science, nor has he ever worked in science.

            2) The chapter reminded me of a pop-psychology book where you read things like “Women give sex to get love and men give love to get sex” — sounds plausible (and that’s the danger), but is a gross overgeneralization and is completed unsupported by any scientific studies. Just because humans may see “faces” in rock formations on Mars doesn’t mean that the same mechanism is responsible for religious belief. Just because there are similarities between religions doesn’t mean that they aren’t true (in fact, I would argue the contrary), etc. etc.

            Sorry, but what I’ve read so far sounds more like rambling opinons than research.

          • Terra Magnum Imperium

            “Science in the title”, I guess you mean the chapter 2.
            but you were correct by stating there are no references to Scientific papers in the footnotes however the author “Valerie Tarico” has a PHD in Counseling Psychology so assume she has a decent understanding of the subject.
            I found the interesting how an overactive imagination combined with attribution and confirmation bias can override rational thinking. maybe it’s not the answer but I found it interesting anyway and good starting point.
            Do you know of any books on this subject?

      • Thought Police
        • rargos

          You’re not really using Russia Today as a source, are you? Every time I watch that channel I feel like I’m reading Pravda again.

          • Thought Police

            Did you investigate the article? If you’re too lazy or stupid to find and read The Relation Between Intelligence and Religiosity: A Meta-Analysis and Some Proposed Explanations – by Miron Zuckerman and Jordan Silberman, from the University of Rochester I will gladly bring to you here some direct quotes from their work, and its review by their peers.

          • rargos

            They didn’t actually do any research – they did a “study of studies”. That’s about the most intellectually lazy approach I’ve ever seen. As an engineer who used to work in academia, I can assure you that this kind of “research” would have gone straight into the trash can.

            I suppose you stopped reading the article before you got to the section entitled “Not representative?”

    • Jessica Miller

      Way to keep it classy, Gary.

    • Kevin Dorian

      You are not born as atheists. Everyone has a moral conscious at one point and a curiosity that there might be a higher power. I know people who were raised religious and are now atheists and I know atheists who are now believers. I follow Christ because of MY CONSCIOUS decision. It has NOTHING to do with being brainwashed into believing anything.

      • Cthulhu21

        Did your parents teach you about Christ and why you should believe in him? Were you always a good kid?
        None of us are squeaky clean as far as morals are concerned and need to be taught why we need to be good. And technically, when you’re born you cant really say you even knew who or what God was can you?

    • you

      your second sentance shows that you arent that smart…. we arent born ATHEIST… we are born AGNOSTIC,,,, there is a big difference retard…. ATHEIST “know(in their mind) that there is no god” … a new born doesnt know anything,,, they dont even know what god is or is not…. that is an agnostic = not knowing if god exist or not…

      now continue to show everyone how smart you are :)

      • Gary Canterbury

        Actually, you dimbulb, we’re born Atheist…because we haven’t been polluted with the knowledge of bullshit religion yet, we can’t “know” anything until we’re introduced to the dogma through our programmed parents whose purpose, through their own programming, is to spread the vile virus of religion which starts the first time they put your little hands together and say “Now I lay me down to sleep…,” like our Engineer that weighed in, his programming shows through when he states there’s a being out there more intelligent than are we, with absolutely NO proof of any kind of this being except a bullshit, badly written, contradictory collection of fairy tales that’s been edited more than my unfinished novel, including the last one, in which pretty much everything was thrown out and they just made stuff up, which has actual, historical fact and documentation to back it up, unlike ANYTHING in your bullshitible.

        It’s hilarious that your state Atheists “know(in their mind) that there is no god,” then turn around and say something completely contradictory and idiotic (the move of choice by Christians) and say “…a new born doesn’t know anything…,” which, asshole, would make them Atheist, by your definition, because in a mind without knowledge, “…doesn’t know anything,” there can be no conception of a god.

        The stupidity of your ilk and the moronic statements you think are clever amuses me, except that you delusional psychotics are in charge. So, die already, allow society to get out from under your 1500 years of religious oppression and become what it should have; enlightened, realistically facing our existence without the hatred that is religion.

        And, there’s no hatred in my wanting you all to die…there’s hope that you will, sparing generations of naturally-born Atheists your shared psychosis.

  • Tat Wadjet

    I love the billboard add. This is a nice campaign that doesn’t fall into the pit of dispair to mirror what the theist mindset is. Atheists can rise above the fray, and be logical, honest, and true; without being insulting. I like it. This is a billboard that all atheists should support, and all theists should admit that it is a nice billboard as well. If the simple MENTION that I am an atheist is somehow an attack on a theist (christian or otherwise), then they need to examine WHY they think that way. WHY is it that if I simply mention I don’t believe in someone else’s god, suddenly I’m attacking them? Yet it is NOT an attack against me for them to tell me I am going to hell for not believing in their god?

    Brainwashing. I recommend everyone read this article: http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/human-brain/brainwashing1.htm

    • rargos

      –> With all due respect, I think you’ve overgeneralizing about believers based on a few extremists. I’ve been a believer my entire life and have never personally seen or heard someone say that atheists are “going to hell” — I only see that when the media shows some foaming-at-the-mouth (usually self-proclaimed) “preacher” at a demonstration. I also don’t think that simply saying your an atheist is an attack on my faith — is my simply saying I’m a Christian an attack on your atheism? (Incidentally, this does seem to be the case with some atheists — if I put a magnet on my car that says “Merry Christmas”, I’m somehow “attacking” them).
      –> I do object to the reference to brainwashing: I don’t think it’s fair to imply that Christians are somehow brainwashed and atheists are not. In fact, the word “brainwashing” (derived from Chinese xǐ nǎo) describes a technique developed and employed by an officially atheist government.

      • John

        Actually you have come to an aheist website and you have posted that you disagree with us, that is like me going to a church and pestering the creationists

        • rargos

          I’m just trying to point out that many atheists have very incorrect information about religion. Your comment about “going to church and pestering the creationists” is an excellent example — contrary to atheist propaganda, most Christians are NOT creationists. Even the Catholic church accepts Darwin’s theories are true:

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/4588289/The-Vatican-claims-Darwins-theory-of-evolution-is-compatible-with-Christianity.html

          Or perhaps you’d rather not have the facts?

          • Cthulhu21

            Are they excepting evolution because it’s the logical thing to do, or are they doing it to keep up with the times?

          • rargos

            They’re accepting it because it’s proven scientific truth. Contrary to a lot of atheist propaanda, the church isn’t anti-science or anti-intellectual. For example, Gregor Mendel was an ordained monk but is considered the father of modern genetics.

          • Cthulhu21

            I’m not saying that every Christian is anti-science. I am questioning their reasons for doing so though; but then again, as you’ve said, there are many different Christians out there. Hopefully there will be more Christians that won’t treat evolution as a controversial issue than those who do in the future because that’s a pain in the butt to deal with. Even more so for the guys who have to have this argument with them.

          • rargos

            Just out of (sincere) curiosity — what difference does it make if someone believes in evolution or not? Personally I can’t imagine how an informed, rational person could deny overwhelming scientific evidence, but if there are some Christians that still deny evolution, what harm is there in that? Frankly, there are a lot of people with a lot of funny notions about things, but as long as there’s no harm in it, why does it matter what they believe?

          • Cthulhu21

            If they don’t make a big deal about it, I won’t ether.

          • rargos

            Fair enough.

          • Terra Magnum Imperium

            When someone whom believes in a talking snake is running a government, that should scare rational people…

          • rargos

            Could you please provide links to mainstream Christians who believe talking snakes are running a government?

            What scares me is people who think they are being “rational” but say things that are either illogical, untrue, or both.

          • Terra Magnum Imperium

            Pretty much any Christian fundamentalist.

            .http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjR7AWSmI6o

          • rargos

            You’re kidding, right? If you’re basing your ideas about Christiantity on YouTube videos of a has-been comedian, no wonder you’re concerned ….

            It seems the Internet has taken over the role that television used to have — it doesn’t inform people, but it gives them the illusion that they are informed.

          • Terra Magnum Imperium

            Nothing wrong with Internet as long as you don’t base your views on one source of information.
            I remember reading a 2005″ I think” survey that showed almost 40% of people here in the USA thought evolution was false compared to less 20% in Great Britain. The Theory of Evolution is widely supported by the scientific community yet many Christians refuse to accept it because it contradicts their” Perfect” bible. This is just of many examples of belief overriding reason.

          • rargos

            You “think” …. hmmm … so rather than actually do research, you’ll just pass on your opinions that may or may not be based on something you read somewhere.

            You have a very faulty idea of who Christians are and what they believe. Maybe you should ask real Christians instead of relying on atheist propaganda.

          • Guthridge Austin

            Rargos, you’re quite abrasive aren’t you? It’s your nature to be contrary and argue wherever possible, isn’t it? Challenge accepted. Do you know what a theory is? Go ahead, look up a few definitions until it thoroughly sinks into your “mind” and then compare that definition while it’s still fresh in your “mind” to a definition of truth. Then, if you haven’t exceeded your daily “thinking” capacity, try and remember that the THEORY of evolution is still just that, a THEORY. While it’s certainly more plausible than the other options, nonetheless evolution in practice has as of yet to be observed and scientifically recorded in such a manner as can be tested and reproduced. At least not as far as I know of. But please, scour the internet for a way to shame me with your awe inspiring knowledge and capability.
            While you’ve apparently made it your life’s mission to protect your dear Catholic church wherever possible, us poor intellectually inferior atheists would simply request that you take all of that inferiority complex that’s driving your ridiculous comments here and kindly place it and them very far up your ass.

          • rargos

            “take all of that inferiority complex that’s driving your ridiculous comments here and kindly place it and them very far up your ass.”

            When someone results to vulgarity and insults, it usually means they have nothing more intelligent to say.

          • Thought Police

            Did I hurt your little feelers? I’d apologize if I wasn’t a sociopath and gave half of a twisted shit wtf you ever felt about anything, but alas…Now, wind yourself up there partner, here comes some intelligence you can smear on your brain for awhile and pretend to be somebody’s equal.

            If your god is omnipotent, and it’s omniscient, and is the original cause, then when it created this world, it knew full and well what Adam and Eve would do in its little garden. But wait, what kind of god creates an intelligent species with the intention of forcing it to “sin” so that it can punish that species for that sin, then impregnate a teenage virgin with itself so that it can sacrifice itself to itself to save its creations from the “sin” that it built into them? And if this god knows all and has power over everything, then how is it that there can be free will? Either god does not have power over what we do, and is therefore not omnipotent, or does not know what we will choose, and is therefore not omniscient. Your deity is cruel. Your deity reflects the faults of the men who wrote its bible, and your deity has never existed, obviously.

            But wait, there’s more. You’re so pathetic it makes me smile, seriously your feeble cries for attention make my day better. But I’m abnormal like that. Anyway, back to your deity. So, after all of evidence presented in the bible that paints an astonishingly vivid picture of a deranged psychopath ruling the entire universe and gaining some kind of perverse pleasure at humanity’s expense like a mean child torturing defenseless animals, you would then still claim this deity to be superior to you? If your deity is better than anyone, that person should be destroyed immediately. But how about getting back to sin and then bringing in some evil? Where did they come from? Let’s quote some good old Epicurus: “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
            Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
            Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
            Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

          • rargos

            It’s hard to take respect someone intellectually when they begin their argument with “shit” and “wtf”.

            It also says a lot about your own intellectual insecurity when you feel the need to constantly claim you’re more intelligent than everyone else.

            A truly intelligent person doesn’t need to resort to name calling, insults, and trash talking. If you want to claim to be someone’s intellectual superior, you should start by showing some maturity and self-control.

          • Thought Police

            Because maturity and self-control necessarily go hand in hand with intelligence? Go fuck yourself you dipshit idiot. I can say that with a huge grin on my face, mean every word of it, and still be in possession of an intellect which you could only hope to begin to comprehend. Because I am consciously and intentionally amoral does not bear evidence of a diminutive intellect you cunt.
            Who the fuck are you to officially determine that “a truly intelligent person doesn’t need to resort to name calling, insults, and trash talking.”? Also, where can you demonstrate my belief that I am more intelligent than everyone else? That’s a cheap psychological ploy, to generalize my animosity towards you and apply it to the rest of humanity shows that you are without the means to meet me as an intellectual equal, or superior.
            You’d like to correct me, just as you’d like to claim moral superiority, but your continued involvement with me here clearly shows that you’re not quite as smart as you’d like others to think and morally you are probably close to bankrupt.

          • rargos

            Your anger only hurts yourself and use of profanity doesn’t impress anyone.

            My guess is that you’re simply transferring anger about other issues in your life – relationship, job, etc

          • Thought Police

            Pal, I’m not angry about anything. I am simply provoking the provoker. I am attempting to strike a balance, an equilibrium to offset the massive scale of your idiocy in all of its forms that you so eagerly toss all over this website. I don’t care if you live to be a trillion years old and have the most exquisite existence ever imagined, or if you suffer a slow and agonizing death full of shame, horror, and regret. Your ignorant posts here are merely a means for me to occupy my spare time with something novel. Soon the novelty of your particular brand of ignorance will wear off and I will move on to something more constructive.
            But until then, know that I take great delight in exposing your hypocrisy and your wonderful example of what the followers of religion are truly about.

          • rargos

            Incessantly calling other people “ignorant” just points out your own insecurities. And using vulgarity and insults to attack people you disagree with further suggests an inferiority complex.

            Truly great people are gracious, patient, and open-minded.

          • Thought Police

            More opinions stated as fact. Pathetic, and ignorant.

          • Thought Police

            Also, for your information, what you should have typed was “resorts to” instead of “results to”. Results to is nonsense, much like the rest of what you say. HA! I win. Since you quite obviously are quite obviously determined to quite obviously bombard us with your redundant logical fallacies, this all quite obviously must be some sort of reprehensible game for you…quite obviously.

          • rargos

            In all seriousness: are you high while you’re writing your posts? You sound like people who’re either baked and/or have smoked so much weed in the past that they believe everything they say is witty and clever.

            Because otherwise your posts read like an angry child. When you “resort to” attacking typos and saying thinks like “HA!, I win.” you sound like you’re about ten years old.

          • Thought Police

            I’ll try not to say anymore “thinks” like that. Your typing is as careless as your logic. By the way, Ha! I win.

      • Tat Wadjet

        I actually am not exaggerating. I hear it ALL the time. That I am going to hell for not believing in the Christian god.

        As far as brainwashing goes. I’ll let my case rest right where it is. It is not me running around responding to every single comment in defense of a “belief system”.

        • rargos

          Hear it from whom? Seriously, I’ve been a practicing Christian my whole life, go to church (almost) every Sunday, etc. and I have NEVER heard that about ANYONE. Maybe your only exposure to Christianity is some extremist/fringe group?

          That said, it’s a little disingenuous to act offended when you’re part of a group whose core tenet is telling other people their beliefs are “false and dangerous”. Why not simply advocate your point without insults and misinformation?

          As for defending a “belief system”, is there something wrong with discussing my beliefs, especially when I see them constantly misrepresented here? Or would you prefer to only hear one (inaccurate) side of the issue only? That would be much more “false and dangerous” in my opinion …

          • Steve

            I was raised Christian. I am sure you have studied religion more than I have. I find it hard to believe that you haven’t heard someone say if you don’t believe in God/Jesus then you’re going to hell. My question is, in your church, what happens to a person, who doesn’t believe in God/Jesus, when they die?

          • rargos

            I was born and raised a Catholic, was confirmed, served as a lector (reader) in our church, and am still a practicing Catholic many decades later. I have never, not once, heard anyone in my parish(es) say that people who don’t believe in God will go to hell.

            Even the Cathecism of the Catholic church says that people who seek God can be saved (see below).

            My personal belief is that people who follow their conscience and try to do good are “saved” no matter what their belief (or even lack thereof). Religious belief is a means to help people better understand God and his expectations of us (helping others, loving one’s neighbors, etc.).

            Hope that makes sense. Quote follows.

            “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience — those too may achieve eternal salvation” (Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, 16).

      • William

        Hi there. A woman got on the elevator with me at college and asked me if I was a christian? I replied I was not. Her response? Sharp inhale and a blurted, “you’re going to hell!” It does happen. Just as I was sent home in fifth grade for not saying “under god” in the pledge of allegiance.

        • rargos

          Wow – what convenient stories. Strange how I’ve never seen or heard anything like that during my entire life, both in and out of academia.

          Assuming for a moment that this is a true story, then that woman’s behavior was completely and totally inappropriate. Had I been in that elevator with you, I would have told her, Christian-to-Christian, that it’s not her place to judge others and that being a Christian is certainly also not a guarantee of salvation.

          Your fifth grade teacher must have had excellent hearing to notice that out of the entire class, it was your specific voice that dropped out for the ~2 seconds required to speak those words.

          Sorry for being sceptical, but atheists don’t have a problem with scepticism, do they?

          • Cthulhu21

            Just because you weren’t around to witness it is does not mean it didn’t happen. Also, don’t mean to nitpick but, it’s spelled “skepticism”. Just wanted to let you know.

          • rargos

            “Scepticism” is how it’s spelled in the UK.

          • Cthulhu21

            Sorry about that.

      • Jolene Kristovich

        I’ve been told by a nun that my parents were “not christians” because twenty years prior they had been Jehova Witnesses

        • rargos

          I think you’re arguing my point that these are isolated events and don’t represent the vast majority of Christians (most of whom couldn’t even tell you what Jehova’s Witnesses believe).

          • Jolene Kristovich

            I think you may be more naive about this than you realise.

          • rargos

            Or perhaps you’re oversensitive, paranoid, and/or have a persecution complex. Proof through selected instance isn’t proof at all: it’s an anecdote.

            On the other hand, there are plenty of atheists here who are not shy at all about attacking (often with insults and profanity) people who they disagree with. In fact, it appears that most of atheism’s “ideology” boils down to attacking religion, not presenting itself as a better choice.

            But back to your original story: a nun told your parents (wrongly, in my opinion) they “weren’t Christians”. Does the single utterance of one individual then mean that nuns, Christianity, or religion in general are also wrong?

  • Alex

    Why do you want people to get of a religion that is not even hurting them. God loves everyone and the important thing is that i love my god even though i don’t see him but i do feel him and he only wants me to be safe and my family too ,and you dumb atheists saying thats wrong for people to believe on a savior that would never hurt you but to make you feel better. People expect to much out of him and saying that hes just a myth. Well what gives you the right to say my god is a myth when you dont even give him a chance because in your mind you just want people to believe that people like you and i are randomly put into this earth and have have these things like drinking able water and breath able air and having living plants and animals. Atheist would give you an answer on how everything was made , but i promise you it will be a wrong answer because i believe god has put us in this world to gives a free will to live in this earth because we deserve a chance to live no matter how long we do we just resurrect and he gives us another chance and helps guide us to hard task even though sometimes we fail and we all make mistakes. He also has gave us the opportunity to start a family and to feel love for them and ra
    ise because i believe our god only wants us to know that he loves us and we should love everyone else no matter what race they are or what language we speak.

  • Cthulhu21

    I think this link here would be helpful to anyone who’s debating religion:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jz-STGdnoDg

    • Tat Wadjet

      I have studied a lot of religions. I didn’t focus on just one. I think that generally sets atheists apart.

      • rargos

        Not necessarily – I’m a Christian but have read all of the other major “sacred” works, including numerous tafsir of the Quran. I’d be happy to comment on various surah or even the more important sunnah.

        Mind if I ask how you define “studied”? Unfortunately, many people read a Wikipedia article and maybe a few other webpages and then consider themselves educated on a topic.

  • aaron

    Why dont you self centered basterds ever go after the camel jockeys the friggin. Muslims but no you go after the mormons in their own home state.

  • Vance

    I wish all the atheists good luck in your efforts to love yourselves, love your fellowman and good luck in your efforts to create heaven on earth for all to enjoy. God knows you’ll need good luck or as the Chinese call it good fortune.

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