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Respecting people's beliefs

Hi all,

I have a question about this preconception that one should respect someone's beliefs and their right to have those beliefs.

Can someone please explain why this might be a "good" default position to adopt when meeting someone who's beliefs you do not yet know?

To speed things along, here are the thoughts I'm wrestling with. It seems to be that if you hold a belief (doesn't matter if it is in the existance or non-existance of any thing, a god, chocolate, whatever) respect for that belief should be earnt, not assumed. It doesn't matter if that belief encompases the field of religion, science, TV or anything else. If you want respect for that belief, earn it by validating it.

I suppose one could call this an extension of the "burden of proof" argument. Not sure.

Anyway, I'd really be interested in anyone elses thoughts on this.

tuck

Tuck Siver - QUOTE - "To speed things along, here are the thoughts I'm wrestling with. It seems to be that if you hold a belief (doesn't matter if it is in the existance or non-existance of any thing, a god, chocolate, whatever) respect for that belief should be earnt, not assumed."

ANSWER - Yes, respect should be earned and not decreed. There are those who attempt to claim that evolution is a religious belief system based on atheistic scientific 'faith' and is no respecter of tradition. Evolution is not based on 'faith' it is based on science like many other scientific theories that the preachers don't have a problem with. For example, most medical practices that they don't hesitate to involve themselves in if they need their services.

A belief is not considered to be knowledge (even if it is earnest) because many people believe in things without any tangible proof. That which is based in fact is not a belief it is knowledge. You know that one is not the same as two because of your knowledge of math. Hold up one stick and than another (two sticks) is not the same as one. It's provable.

If something is unreliable and unreasonable it is not a good source for information or learning. The Bible is full of errors and contradictions. Matt 13:31-32: " "the kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed which…is the least of all seeds, but when it is grown is the greatest among herbs and becometh a tree." There are 2 significant errors here: first, there are many smaller seeds, like the orchid seed; and second, mustard plants don't grow into trees.

Those who rely on faith instead of knowledge and reason to gain knowledge do not become scientist (halleluiah.) Non-belief is not a religion. Otherwise anything based on reason instead of faith would therefore be a religion. Atheism encourages reliance on facts based on reason and evidence. Atheism is based on reason, not belief.

Linda, when ever I read one of posts it seems to me to be dogmatic. You say say that atheism is based on reason and not belief. That is ridiculous considering it can be both. Atheism, as well as theism can be reasonable beliefs. Do not confuse religion with theism. Lastly, as an atheist myself I think it is important to educate you on the fact that atheism does not encourage anything. Atheists on the other hand encourages reason-- but come to think of it a lot of religious people I know do too. Perhaps, if you did not become overly emotionally invested in your beliefs you may be able to think about these things more clearly.

Tuck said he was referring to respect for someone's beliefs about anything and he included science? Maybe you missed that. Linda "ANSWER - Yes, respect should be earned and not decreed. There are those who attempt to claim that evolution is a religious belief system based on atheistic scientific 'faith' and is no respecter of tradition. Evolution is not based on 'faith' it is based on science like many other scientific theories that the preachers don't have a problem with. For example, most medical practices that they don't hesitate to involve themselves in if they need their services."

Evolution is something that does not require "faith" to believe it because scientific evidence has proven it to be a fact. Evolution and astrophysical science have taken away the need for a Creator. The universe and all life in the universe evolved through naturalistic means subject to empirical law. Creation is instantaneous supernatural event outside the laws of nature. Creation and design are not science because there is no theory and it would never explain anything. There has never been a scientific theory presented about design or creation. The goalposts have moved considerably since the days when science was in its infancy. Evolution is both a fact and a theory. A fact is something that can be observed (like evolution) a theory is what one or more hypotheses become once they have been verified and accepted to be true.

Science has come up with completely naturalistic theories that explain the origin of human life and the universe far better than the god theory or any religious writing ever has or will. Evolution and astrophysical science have rendered the "god of the gaps" unnecessary in the explanation of the origin of life and the origin of the universe. Some theists try to dispute those scientific theories, which is really dumb, and others simply make up a new position when science proves what they believe is wrong. They simply claim that whatever scientists have proven; it's god that did it. No matter what scientists discover the theists think they are figuring out how God does things. I have never been impressed with their logic. Science and god beliefs are not harmonious.

Linda "A belief is not considered to be knowledge (even if it is earnest) because many people believe in things without any tangible proof. That which is based in fact is not a belief it is knowledge."

Theists believe that what they have been taught to believe on faith alone is real actual knowledge. It isn't. There has never been any evidence that supports anything that they believe. No scientific theory has ever been based on a Creator. That's because it doesn't work. Science absolutely depends on facts.

However, I would add that I wouldn't believe anything period without the facts and evidence to support the claim. I think people who just believe things are the one's who are not thinking clearly or using reason. We all know that there is an emotional plea factor involved in god belief. Atheists don't appeal to anyone emotionally since they can't threaten them or save them from burning in someone's imaginary hell. They can only encourage them to use their head and figure it out.

Linda, "If something is unreliable and unreasonable it is not a good source for information or learning. The Bible is full of errors and contradictions." That's a far cry from overly emotional and that was another issue entirely. There was only one example given; I could give thousands. What is being said is that if the source of your information (the database) is corrupted so is your logic. Atheism is the exact opposite of theism. Theism is not reasonable. When facts challenge what theists believe they often become defensive or overly emotional because they are brainwashed to reject logic from birth. None of them want a "Baloney Detection Kit" but they all really want to educate confused people who just don't have the delusional gene for belief in their imaginary friend.

There was nothing dogmatic in the original reply, and your condescending remarks were not needed. Here is something from a positive atheist web site: "We believe that people should be encouraged to think for themselves. Which is the better proposition, that one should not think for themselves." They have t-shirts and coffee cups with this slogan.

Hi Tuck,

There's a difference between respecting someone's right to believe whatever they want, even if the belief itself is silly, and respecting the belief. I do respect people's rights to their beliefs and, in most cases, the sincerity of those beliefs. I don't necessarily respect the belief itself, and the gloves tend to come off whenever a believer demands that we apply the rules of logic and evidence to the debate - but only until they start to lose. Then I usually get one or more standard responses:

a.) it's about faith, not evidence. (Then don't pretend you have "proof".) b.) you can't prove god doesn't exist. (Not my burden.) c.) athiests are mean/hopeless/immoral/<!insert favorite pejorative here>

There are others of course, but those are the responses I get most often. In the end they just don't want to examine their beliefs that closely.

FWIW - I have several family members who've learned over the years not to go there anymore.

Jen

I agree with Jen that allowing someone the right to hold a belief is not the same as giving that belief your respect. I'm not the thought police, and I don't advocate thought police. The question is: Would you want beliefs to be regulated if people you disagreed with were in charge? I sure wouldn't. And so, I have to give in order to get. If I don't want people tossing me in prison for being an atheist (and there are places in the world today with blasphemy laws), then I can't go around arresting people for believing what I disagree with.

The same goes for expression. I support your, or anyone's, right to express your ideas, even if I disagree with them. You have a right to believe crap. You have a right to talk crap. And I would NEVER interfere with that.

BUT...if you express your ideas in a public format/forum, OTHER PEOPLE have a right to express THEIR views about your beliefs. And I support their right to express responses just as I support the right of the original speaker/writer to say what they wanted.

Having a right to believe and express does not mean that you are sheltered from other people's rights to express oppostion. You ARE protected from physical or illegal retaliation--but not from feedback.

Also, I don't advocate disrespecting PEOPLE I disagree with. Disrespecting an idea or belief is NOT the same as disrespecting a person or treating a person disrespectfully. Even if you disagree with me, I deserve to be treated with respect simply because I am human and I demand respect. Likewise, I grant respect to others. But you can go nuts on my ideas/views, and express as much disrespect as you like toward any/all of those. I have no problem with that (aimed at my or at anyone else's views).

QUOTE - "To speed things along, here are the thoughts I'm wrestling with. It seems to be that if you hold a belief (doesn't matter if it is in the existance or non-existance of any thing, a god, chocolate, whatever) respect for that belief should be earnt, not assumed."

1. I was answering two specific issues in this paragraph: One that non-belief does not constitute a 'belief.' "That which is based in fact is not a belief it is knowledge."

2. The other issue is respect should be earned not assumed. This paragraph does not address anyone's rights. That's why I didn't include that. I could have stated that (in 1925 John Thomas Scopes, a biology teacher in Dayton, Tennessee, was arrested for violating an act of the state legislature which prohibited the teaching of evolution in schools) and the 11 Pennsylvania parents who filed a federal lawsuit challenging a local school district's order to teach "intelligent design" to public high school students. The right to teach science instead of supernatural junk has been earned.

We all have the "right" to believe whatever we chose, and to talk about it. If the truth were told Christians are not on the receiving end of discrimination. I think that practically everyone knows (according to polls) that atheists are the most hated group in America. However, atheism is not a belief.

Yes, people are supposed to have the right to believe or talk about anything, but we all know that 'atheist' will not be simulcast. What a harebrained scheme to say 'intelligent design' is science while they are at the same time calling evolution a religion; it was very obviously just one more of their bungling attempts to try and turn the tables. People no smarter than that running things. WOW!

How about this? I wonder why one may not respect someone's foolishness, but one must still respect the fool.

This is one of the goofiest posts yet!

Tuck Siver - "How about this? I wonder why one may not respect someone's foolishness, but one must still respect the fool."

Who is the most foolish those trying to force others to think as they do, or those who are defending their right to think for themselves? The atheist are presenting the evidence (not dogma) and letting people figure it out for themselves. That's not the same as promoting your religion over anyone else's or denying others the right to refute that religion. Nobody has to respect anyone's belief system; they have to respect the rights of individuals to practice it.

If you are just stating an opinion about human rights than why is anyone a fool? You should not try to force your delusions on others.

There is no need to worry about the rights of Christians who dominate Sunday morning (there is no shortage of Christian religious varieties) in the Bible Belt. So, whose rights are not being respected? Are you concerned about the rights of those who are not being allowed to voice an opinion?

People will make up their own minds. Of course you know that you're right! I wouldn't expect you to see it any differently. It's amazing how those who wear their religion on their sleeves can always find the faults of others, and are never aware of their own shortcomings.

Hi all,

Linda- "Who is the most foolish those trying to force others to think as they do, or those who are defending their right to think for themselves?"

My question was refereing to neither of those. I refer instead to the people themselves, regardless of their opinion of their own beliefs. Of course "thougth police" is not an alternative. Instead I chose to judge (as we all do, whether it's polite to admit we do or not) a person based on their actions.

In my experience believing something - when there is information available to you that contradicts that something - is a choice one can make. (when no contradictory evidence exists I guess no choice can be made... though philosophers may disagree with that)

So if a person choses to believe in the existance or non-existance of a thing in spite of available evidence to the contrary I see not only their belief as foolish but that person is a fool as well.

So at the end of the day I suppose where I seem to differ from my fellow atheists is here- While I worship at the alter of imagination, I tend not to suffer those who choose to believe that figments of the imagination are real.

Perhaps it is an issue of tolerance. While I love a good story, a line is crossed when one declares said story to be true, "just because". I find it difficult to tolerate or respect such people, whether they wish to force their belief on me or not.

Tuck - Quote - "My question was refereing to neither of those. I refer instead to the people themselves, regardless of their opinion of their own beliefs. Of course "thougth police" is not an alternative."

Linda - Answer - People who believe what? If I am deciphering this correctly you are not giving enough information about your "something" for anyone to know what you are REFERRING to. I never said anything about the THOUGHT police since we already have one. When the books people are reading have to be reported it's already here.

Linda - Answer - Also, this was a question? "There is no need to worry about the rights of Christians who dominate Sunday morning (there is no shortage of Christian religious varieties) in the Bible Belt. So, whose rights are not being respected? Are you concerned about the rights of those who are not being allowed to voice an opinion?" NO ANSWER

Tuck - Quote - "Instead I chose to judge (as we all do, whether it's polite to admit we do or not) a person based on their actions."

Linda - Answer - It's hard to determine the point of this whether it's polite to admit we do or not WHAT? Is it a belief in god? Is it a belief in ghost? Frankly, nobody has to tell anyone what their beliefs are; it's none of their business. Most people who run into problems like this with people that they don't know are usually trying to find out "something." A person's personal belief is their business as long as they keep it personal. Atheists don't care about that kind of "something." However, trying to mix religion with government is not that kind of "something." Atheism is not a belief. As I said, "a belief is not considered to be knowledge (even if it is earnest) because many people believe in things without any tangible proof. That which is based in fact is not a belief it is knowledge." It's the Christians who want atheism or evolution to be "faith" because they have learned that they can attack faith easier than they can attack science.

Tuck - Quote - "In my experience believing something - when there is information available to you that contradicts that something - is a choice one can make. (when no contradictory evidence exists I guess no choice can be made ... though philosophers may disagree with that)"

Linda - Answer - It would be much clearer if you stated what the "something" is that contradictory information exists for, and yet someone still believes in it. Then we could address that specific issue. After all there are all kinds of some things? Most scholars, and scientist only disagree with "something" if it has been proven false based on facts and using reasoning that is impartial. Scientist find out about "something" by using reason, and testing their ideas to find out what actually happened. If there is a feasible alternative to the "something" it cannot be considered possible. A choice can be made, but some people chose to believe "something" with no tangible proof. They have the right! Science is the most powerful system for learning about life, earth, space, and the universe. The choice people can make is to examine all of the evidence, or just rely on what they have been told. They can accept what they have read in one book even though science has proven it wrong, or they can read all the books. They have the right to believe in visions, dreams, demons, miracles, and resurrections, or so-called eyewitnesses who never wrote anything, and neither did historians living at that very time in that very place; not one word about it. They still have the right to believe it!

Tuck - Quote - "So if a person choses to believe in the existance or non-existance of a thing in spite of available evidence to the contrary I see not only their belief as foolish but that person is a fool as well."

Linda - Answer - CHOOSES to believe in the NONEXISTENCE of what? Most atheists understand that embracing a belief is not the same as having none. Atheism is not based on "faith" it is based on reason. The fundamental difference between learning and mimicking is using reason. Science is not a faith, or a mystical source of knowledge. The purpose of science is to answer questions, and learn the facts about the reality of a subject. Science does not go against having principles (science encourages it.) Why would a scientist want to present a bogus work when they know that other scientist would prove it false? There is nothing in it for the scientist. They only want to present the facts.

Tuck - "So at the end of the day I suppose where I seem to differ from my fellow atheists is here- While I worship at the alter of imagination, I tend not to suffer those who choose to believe that figments of the imagination are real."

Linda - Answer - If you mean that you do not listen to those who think, "figments of the imagination are real" that's not different from atheism; that's different from religion. However, most atheists believe that people have the right to believe anything that "floats their boat." It is the Christians who do not believe that atheist or scientist have the right to challenge the bible, and constantly attack them. They have silenced them. They are the one's who don't have the rights. What imagination? Is it inventing new words?

Tuck - Quote - "Perhaps it is an issue of tolerance. While I love a good story, a line is crossed when one declares said story to be true, "just because". I find it difficult to tolerate or respect such people, whether they wish to force their belief on me or not."

Linda - Answer - It's none of my business what other people believe to be true as long as they keep it to themselves. However, if a person is trying force others to accept as true their own personal belief that's a different story. In that case any person has the right to defend their perspective. However, I find that it is usually those who believe the story "just because" who are the one's who are intolerant. Those who try to force their beliefs on others will never allow you to question or challenge them with facts.

I'm much more interested in the Cassini spacecraft exploring the moons of Saturn than discussing a "something" that you are alluding to without giving any information.

The "something" I'm refering to is anything really. A god, santa, ghosts, the ever living Elvis, whatever. I was being deliberatly vague because I'm not trying to have a religion-specific conversation. I'm trying to understand a more general impulse I have towards the intollerance of those who cling to beliefs in the face of logic and evidence.

Is there anyone else here with a perspective on tollerance and how (as I am wondering) it may be part of the problem?

The "Thought Police" line was in reference to TracieH's comment.

Hi Tuck,

Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson recently published a book entitled "Mistakes Were Made But Not By Me." The subtitle is "Why we justify foolish beliefs, bad decisions and hurtful acts."

The book addresses exactly the kind of behavior that you described in your previous posts - egregious self-deception that allows people to cling to obviously absurd beliefs. The reasons for that behavior became a lot clearer to me after I read that book. Give it a read and let me know what you think.

Jen

Thanks Jen. I'll give it a try.

respecting peoples beleifes... important topic, thanksfor bringing it up tuck, i'm glad we got some eal debate started om this chat. so, anonymous, yes, but then i'm a cowardd, and that's realy csomethign i'm sure we're all familiar with here, posting in cyber space, using names that i'm sure are ours. Tuck. If that is your real name. so, okay, what was i saying... ah yes, what twaddle. what utter cods. I bet you didnt give it a tryeither. I bet you just waltzed off to find someother poor schmoes who were just trying to figure themselves out and used them to sharpen your wit and intellect on, how any children have you proven that your smarter than today ... tuck. How many limp wristed, fey morons have followed you around singing your praises until they finished their arts degree , got a family and grew a pair. why dont you try that.. tuck/ try growing a pair. obviously not your own pair, i imagine you can get a nice pair in a bottle, from somewhere well, thats it from me really, over to you godmonkey

i think i just came in your pants a little. weird. TUCKUTCKTUCKTUCKTUCK. I love that pseudonym. I wish this site had those little avatar pictures in the corner of the page, so i could laugh at it. cause that's what happens. I think i should not have gotten myself into this mess, i bet you're saying now. I bet you probably don't ever come back here and see what all the nice people have been saying. In fact i bet whatever idiot lowlife time wasting moron what allegedly passes for moderator on this sight will probably not even bothering to consult with you before deleting this post out of hand, disregarding it as some kind of strange abberant random strange weird neess (wait, did i say strange more than once?... let me go back and re-read it......... yes, I did.) oh well, i forgot what i was trying to say, Doesn't matter. I think i hate you. Back to you.

i like cheese

i fuck your head. (I bet you're thinking that smacks of a lack of respect, but it really doesn't. I respect you enough to tell you that i think you're full of LARGE pieces of poo. Literally. I mean that sincerely. Um, when you think about it, that's kind of gross, right? At least I never had to wear clothes like what you're probably wearing now, you know, like the kind that you're disrespecting yourself in now, I'm not sure what, but I bet there's leather. Or courduroy. I forget wheere i was going with this parenthesis;;;)

lets all be freinds again; i love yooouuu xxxxx

Well, yeah! That's what I was trying to say.

By the way,

there is no god.

Rock on.

There is no difference in the first post or any other post concerning knowing what the existence or non existence of is referring to. It's just anything. Fine, but a discussion that is not specific (belief or non-belief) is rather pointless on an atheist message board.

OUOTE - "I have a question about this preconception that one should respect someone's beliefs and their right to have those beliefs."

ANSWER - I think that this indicates that the writer does not understand that there is a difference in respecting a person's "beliefs" and their right to those beliefs. My answer is that any person has the right to choose a belief or to have none. There is no requirement that anyone has to respect any "belief" itself (since America does not have an official religion.) Most (but not all) people do respect a person's right to choose for themselves what they believe. Those who do not think people have that right are usually Christians.

QUOTE - "Can someone please explain why this might be a "good" default position to adopt when meeting someone who's beliefs you do not yet know?"

ANSWER - It is a "good" idea not to discuss personal matters with people you just meet since most people consider it in poor taste (even if the 'something' is religion.) It is usually those who have religious beliefs who can't wait to start proselytizing not those who have none. Atheist don't have "to go out and preach to the whole world."

OUTE - "To speed things along, here are the thoughts I'm wrestling with. It seems to be that if you hold a belief (doesn't matter if it is in the existance or non-existance of any thing, a god, chocolate, whatever) respect for that belief should be earnt, not assumed. It doesn't matter if that belief encompases the field of religion, science, TV or anything else. If you want respect for that belief, earn it by validating it."

ANSWER - So, no matter what the belief is respect for that belief should be earned. Well, fine what belief? Frankly, I only respect concepts that are credible, and I have found through investigation that "beliefs" are not. It is not proof that a belief is true because of people's claims that their lives were changed or some miracle occurred because of following in the footsteps of some central figure. Many of the claims are not true.

OUOTE - "I suppose one could call this an extension of the "burden of proof" argument. Not sure."

ANSWER - Well, if anyone is making extraordinary claims about anything the burden of proof is on them. It would never be on those who are not making any claims at all.

QUOTE - Anyway, I'd really be interested in anyone elses thoughts on this.

ANSWER - I still think all this would be much easier to address if it were more specific. To say the belief in the existence or nonexistence of something is very broad. But suffice to say most atheists do not believe in the supernatural. I avoid the proselytizers because they'll just continue to waste my time and make me mad.

Your head only accepts things through the Five Senses. They are Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, Touch. By using the head only, it will put a barrier up for use of the heart. The heart will accept things the head will not. Love is something the head cannot accept. Love cannot be seen, heard, smelled, tasted, or touched. The heart has to tell the head to accept Love, and it must be done out of belief and faith, just to trust that it is real, even though it cannot be proved. The same is for the presence of God. The head will not accept God because none of the senses tell the head that God is real, but the heart will override the head and accept God out of Love and Faith. Just as your heart can tell your mind that your partner loves you without proof, and you believe it only out of belief and faith, your heart will tell your head that even without proof there is Faith and Love

QUOTE "Your head only accepts things through the Five Senses. They are Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, Touch. By using the head only, it will put a barrier up for use of the heart. The heart will accept things the head will not."

I guess you think that humanity needs to get back to a primitive state to understand things. The five senses aren't how man accepts things. Conscious thought isn't done through your senses. Primitive man sat in the dark chewing a piece of raw meat; in a pitch-black situation he had to rely on his senses to detect danger. Racial bigotry came from millions of years of militant tribal relationships, where any difference in personal appearance signaled danger. There is no way that anyone would connect intelligence and the direct reaction to a sensor signal, which is the earliest development of a neural system, a simple fast functional response to the stimulation of a sensor. A given sensor signal results in a given fixed action. It is still observable in single-cell animals that sense the direction of light and swim toward it. Scientists figured this out with their heads.

QUOTE: "Love is something the head cannot accept. Love cannot be seen, heard, smelled, tasted, or touched. The heart has to tell the head to accept Love, and it must be done out of belief and faith, just to trust that it is real, even though it cannot be proved."

Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" Matthew 15:19 "for out of the heart proceed evil thoughts." And then: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding." Don't let the brain make up it's own mind use your evil heart. Hustlers make these kinds of appeals all the time. They can make you feel bad or guilty for not accepting what they want you to believe (in your heart). They love telling you their story, and they want you to make the decision now! They make all the decisions while you are thinking with your heart, and not your head. It's very effective to tell someone to be emotional, impulsive and irrational while making decisions. Also, use living forever and an irrational fear of hell to close the deal. If this is such a wonderful thing why don't they tell people "use your head and take your time when making decisions." That would go a long way toward protecting you. Nobody knows anything in their hearts; there is one organ that is absolutely essential to man: the brain. Common sense tells anyone that if something sounds too good to be true it always is.

QUOTE: "The same is for the presence of God. The head will not accept God because none of the senses tell the head that God is real, but the heart will override the head and accept God out of Love and Faith. Just as your heart can tell your mind that your partner loves you without proof, and you believe it only out of belief and faith, your heart will tell your head that even without proof there is Faith and Love"

Due to mans' sinfulness coming from his evil heart, God destroyed everyone (drowned them) on earth except Noah and his family, and god made the first ever rainbow. I wonder how you came to the conclusion that god loves anybody but god. Throughout the Old Testament God is ordering killing, raping, and pillaging on a regular basis, as well as, god condones slavery. The message is clear you should fear god, love god, worship god and don't piss god off or he'll kill you. Sounds like any abusive relationship where the person is so beaten down that they actually believe this is love.

You are not inspiring people to make a lot of inquiry before they turn over their brain to religious indoctrination. Your conclusions are a done deal and they should just follow, and they should not let rational thought get in the way of making that decision. Most xians question the faith of others why not their own. You have assumed a lot but you have proved nothing. Good and evil is dictated by a hell of a lot more than religious dogma.

Human behavior comes from the human brain. A century and a half of science from fossils to DNA have turned up nothing that would bring Darwin's theory down, not even the Creation Museum dinosaurs on Noah's ark, with the motto; prepare to believe. Man evolved and intelligence is a trait that evolved in man. The fixed danger or need pattern was largely replaced in the higher animals by sensor memory and comparison. It is the most used thought process in man by far; most humans rarely use any other process, conscious thought. Knowing something in your heart doesn't answer any questions it just stops you from asking them.

The Christian has to reply!!! I am laughing at all the contradictions, misunderstandings, a little hot-under-the-collardness, and awkwardness going on! It's nice to see atheists arguing - cause garsh knows Christians are dismissed many times because differences in interpretation within the faith community. Linda: I did notice the mustard seed comment. You need to do a little more research on that before calling it a contradition or error. I won't go into here because it's after midnight but a study of the Greek/Hebrew language would help. Also, different translations spell it out differently. I will say that I will be using you as an example in a devotional that I am writing for my staff. That atheists often know more about the people than us Christians do! But there are many resources that can perhaps enlighten you on those 'contradictions.' Have you put in as much effort in finding those answers as you have in dimissing Christianity? At the end of the day, have you ever practiced being a Christian? I mean tried to live out those things that Christ taught.? It's not easy, but I guarantee your life and your research would gain new insights. I'm not sure if it would convince you of a god but maybe it would open you to the unseen dimension.

Joseph QUOTE: "The Christian has to reply!!! I am laughing at all the contradictions, misunderstandings, a little hot-under-the-collardness, and awkwardness going on! It's nice to see atheists arguing - cause garsh knows Christians are dismissed many times because differences in interpretation within the faith community."

What is being done in this world right now in the name of religion is revolting. Nobody should apologize or make light of the harm caused by these self-righteous jerks, since they are the problem. This mind-set is what you can read in today's news all over the world with disastrous results. It is implied that those who don't just believe things no matter how absurd- and won't be brainwashed or bullied- are the problem.

There are no atheists who are disagreeing on anything on this thread and clearly some of the posts on this thread are not from atheists. The problem was, it is hard to answer a question about something if you don't know what the something is, but nobody has to agree with what anyone says, but they do need to prove what they are saying. The atheists that are on this thread are very respected and well informed. There are respectful disagreements in many disciplines, but religion is not one of them. So, what the hell are you talking about?

Joseph QUOTE: "Linda: I did notice the mustard seed comment. You need to do a little more research on that before calling it a contradition or error. I won't go into here because it's after midnight but a study of the Greek/Hebrew language would help."

No I'm right! So, now fix this!

Mark 8:34 "... Whosoever will come after me let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." This statement was made early in his ministry. Yet, the cross could not have become a Christian symbol until after the Crucifixion. There would be nothing to pick up. This utterance would have made no sense whatsoever to the man being addressed. The Bible - Leprosy is caused by the wrath of God or the malice of Satan. Science - The disease leprosy is caused by infection with Mycobacterium leprae. I Kings 7:23 and 2 Chronicles 4:2 - And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about. It gives pi as 30/10 or 3, which is wrong for any decent calculation. Pi is about 3.1416 Centuries before the oldest books of the bible were written, both the Egyptians and Babylonians approximated pi to a few decimal places. And yet the Bible….divinely inspired…offers an approximation that is terrible even by the standards of the ancient world. In Genesis 1:11, plants are created. Later, in Genesis 1:13, God makes the sun/moon/stars. Well, how can plants live without light? Joshua's - God made the sun stand still and it stood still. This does show how little they knew about laws of the universe. They thought that if the sun stood still night wouldn't come. The closest star to the earth is more than a billion miles away. A star was standing still and hovering over a manger. If any star came that near to the earth or anywhere near the earth, it would immediately disarrange the whole solar system. Anybody who can believe this fairy tale isn't using reason. You must accept on faith because reason won't lead you to it!

There isn't a single word contained in the Sermon on the Mount that isn't contained in what is called the Sacred Book of the Jews, long before Jesus lived. The earth is, and the universe is possibly fifteen billion years old. The universe may have existed ten billion years before the earth, but according to the biblical description of creation the earth, the sun, the moon, and the stars were all created at the same time. As a matter of fact, according to the Bible, the earth itself existed from the beginning, whereas the stars, sun, and moon were created on the fourth day.

Joseph QUOTE: "Also, different translations spell it out differently. I will say that I will be using you as an example in a devotional that I am writing for my staff. That atheists often know more about the people than us Christians do! But there are many resources that can perhaps enlighten you on those 'contradictions.' Have you put in as much effort in finding those answers as you have in dimissing Christianity?

I'm going to use this with my atheist friends as a perfect example of the manipulative nature of sanctimonious nincompoops. Scholars say that the vernacular of the members of the Jewish not Christian sect that could have been the only one that a Jesus figure could have come from was Aramaic and not Greek, Latin, or Hebrew. (The Dead Sea Scrolls.)

Continued:

Jews knew how to read Aramaic. In 70 AD the Romans attacked the temple in Jerusalem to wipe out all of the Jews completely. The Romans went there to destroy the temple in Jerusalem and the Jewish Essenes. Christianity was declared the official religion and there is a bloody history of wiping out various other cultures and their religions etc… I have written extensively on this top. I don't intend to repeat it for people who only read apologetics and know nothing about the actual history.

On September 22, 1991, trustees of the Huntington Library in California performed an act of great symbolic significance: on that day they released to the public transcripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls that had remained concealed from public view for nearly four decades. It was an act that signaled the collapse of the Church monopoly over the Scrolls - a monopoly that the well-known Biblical scholar Geza Vermes had termed the "academic scandal par excellence of the twentieth century." Historian Robert Eisenman, the key figure involved in breaking the Scrolls monopoly had only said, "it cannot be considered anything but reprehensible."

QUOTE: "At the end of the day, have you ever practiced being a Christian? I mean tried to live out those things that Christ taught.? It's not easy, but I guarantee your life and your research would gain new insights.

I'm going to address your condescending little message! You know nothing about the way I live. I know plenty about those who cast aspersions on someone's character that don't believe as they do! It doesn't intimidate me in the least! Just type this in search (Criminal Ponzi Scheme Shockingly Run By Christians) "SEC has finally released the good stuff on Stanford Financial the mini-Madoff Ponzi scheme that made $8 billion disappear. Incredibly, the company's Southern Christian leaders were big hypocritical frauds"!

All done under the cloak of moral superiority! What an outrageous lie!(This is just one story there are many more.) I don't think anyone needs to be pushing fake Xian morality on people who probably have a greater since of what morality is than most of the liars that are pushing Xian values on our Nation! Take a look at jerks like Ted Haggard or Ralph Reed!

Nobody with any integrity or intelligence would follow (or be in submission to) this utter stupidity. It takes courage to speak the truth, while most cowardly Xian mobs prefer to intimidate an individual. To apply reason and logic to explain the world rather than superstition is not immoral, and neither is using coherent judgment instead of religious bigotry, or hysterical madness to solve the unsolved. There is something immoral about abandoning your own judgment". ...

QUOTE: "I'm not sure if it would convince you of a god but maybe it would open you to the unseen dimension."

The dimension is called fantasyland!

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From the officers:

The audio and video from Steve Bratteng's July 13th lecture are now available.