Of battles and wars

17 02 2009

Christopher Hitchens will be debating William Lane Craig in April on the question: “Does God Exist?”

And the apologetics community is creaming its collective trousers. Craig is apparently a very skilled debater, so they’re expecting him to trounce Hitchens. Ergo more souls won for Jesus! Ergo more idiots rolling around on the floor speaking in tongues! Yea!

Hint: it doesn’t work that way. Perhaps it does work that way in the authoritarian-follower universe (call it the “argumentum ad D’Souzam“), but atheists don’t consider Hitchens their pastor or Pope, you won’t find Hitchens’ conversion to fundamentalist Christianity (should that eventuate) precipitating the conversion of the heathens en masse, and there will still be atheists around to scrutinise Craig’s arguments even if Hitchens is defeated. (Some would argue it wouldn’t be the first time.) An apologist defeating an atheist in a public debate only demonstrates that the apologist is a more skillful debater than the atheist. It does not constitute evidence that a deity exists. To paraphrase Al Swearengen, you may want to write that down and stick it over your one good fucking eye.

A lie for Jesus repeated often enough . . .

13 02 2009

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.” (Exodus 20:16)

There it is. The warrant, Christian apologists would have us believe, for their moral injunction against telling lies. Why is it, then, that these same apologists have become so practised in the weaving of falsehoods and misrepresentations? Why are they so unwilling to follow the very set of ethical prescriptions they would have the rest of us observe, for no more compelling reason than a deity (whose existence is asserted but never demonstrated) compels it? Case in point—Ray Comfort, telling lies about what atheists believe:

Atheists think of themselves as being intelligent. But if you are an atheist, you are saying that you have no belief in a God — a Creator. Creation just happened. Everything you see — all the different breeds of dogs (both male and female), all the different breeds of cats (both male and female), all the different fish in the ocean (both male and female), giraffes, elephants, cattle, sheep, horses, birds, flowers, trees, the sun, the moon, the stars, the four seasons, night and day, the marvels of the human body, the eye with its 137 million light-sensitive cells — all these marvels of creation were made by nothing. They all just happened. That’s atheism at its core. What an intellectual embarrassment!

Comfort, you see, is the epitome of the “loving Christian”, given what “loving” and “Christian” have come to signify in the hands of right-wing fundamentalists like him. He “loves” his enemies (i.e. atheists) so much that he will happily distort evolutionary theory beyond all recognition, travesty-ing evolution as the belief that “everything you see” was “made by nothing,” and then attribute this belief to atheists. He “loves” atheists so much that he will happily accuse us, on no evidence whatsoever, of all manner of atrocious and immoral behaviour simply because we don’t “fear” his deity.

A wise man once said something like, “Most I fear God. Next I fear him who fears Him not.” An atheist will lie to you and steal from you without qualms of conscience because he doesn’t fear God. We have a generation who have given themselves to fornication, lying, theft and blasphemy. We have school shootings, violence, pornography, etc. and what’s the common denominator? They lack the fear of God. Atheistic evolution completely removes God and moral accountability. This is a cancer that destroys a nation from the inside.

These are the words of a “loving Christian”, who sees “nothing wrong with debating, as long as we speak in love and in gentleness.” I see little point in debating with the likes of Comfort, for he debates with his fingers wedged firmly in his ears, content to contend with strawmen.  The degree of vitriolic chauvinism he evinces, in whatever form it takes or has taken historically, certainly does have the capacity to destroy a nation from the inside, and more than once in its history has the United States which Comfort calls home been taken to the brink. Fortunately, there have also been voices of reason and enlightenment who have refused to allow the medievalists and tribalists to hold complete sway. Long may their struggle continue.

Update: watch Joseph Farah fellate Comfort at World Net Daily (warning: you may catch a glimpse of Ann Coulter’s homely mug). HT to Personal Failure, who points and laughs.

In the armchair with Gerry Rzeppa

19 08 2008

If you’ve been following the book-spammer thread, you’ll have noticed my conversation with one Gerry Rzeppa, whom I’ve blogged about previously. Given my policy on off-topic discussions, and given that my exchange with Rzeppa is beginning to stray from the topic of book-spammers and authoritarianism, and towards the topic of Rzeppa’s opinions on life, the universe and everything else, I thought I’d continue it here. And of course, you’re welcome to participate, too.

Here is Rzeppa’s most recent contribution, with my own responses:

You say, “…at least [I] haven’t sunk to lying.” Is lying a bad thing? How do you know? Exactly what do you mean by “bad?” Apparently you think lying is worse than other things. What do you mean by “worse”?

Gerry, why do you put words in my mouth? I don’t recall using the words “bad” or “worse.” I do find it ironic, however, that those who seek to promote a biblical worldview do so by means of violating what we are told is one of its central tenets (the 8th Commandment if you’re Roman Catholic, the 9th Commandment if you’re Protestant).

I don’t know if would go so far as claiming that lying is in all circumstances something to be avoided. What I am prepared to tentatively propose, and I am willing to stand corrected upon the production of evidence to the contrary, is that given that humans are social animals, a society in which lying is deemed acceptable in all circumstances, and whose members would therefore exist in a state of mutual distrust, would be untenable, and would not survive for long against competitor societies in which it is held that lying, as a rule of thumb, is something to be avoided. I don’t see why anyone would need a “commandment” to figure this out; all you need to do is conduct a simple thought experiment: what would it be like to live in a society whose members exist in a state of mutual distrust, how stable would that society be, and how long is a society like that likely to survive? I also find intriguing what cognitive psychologists such as Marc Hauser are discovering about this issue: the possibility that certain of our moral ideas are hardwired, that we evolved with the belief, for example, that lying is (as a general rule) wrong, and that being animals in possession of such a belief gave us a reproductive advantage. Of course, simply having the belief that lying is wrong is not proof that lying is wrong, and if the possession of such a belief is endemic to our species this would not explain why lying might be wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

Has [censored by WordPress] stopped molesting children while he’s beating his wife yet? (The Bill Muehlenberg Trophy)

11 02 2008


It’s about time I handed out another one of these things. This time it goes to Council Nedd II, an Anglican Bishop in the United States who runs an outfit by the name of In God We Trust:

There’s no doubt God loves America.But the left-wing God-hating atheists are imposing their radical agenda on America.

That’s why I formed In God We Trust. To fight back against the radical, God-hating left. To oppose the ACLU and People for the American way and defend the rights of ordinary Americans.

Slandering and lying about your opponents. It’s what Jesus would do.

What else would Jesus do? Read the rest of this entry »

On the other hand . . .

5 02 2008

John Allen Paulos has some questions to put to the candidates . . .

Putting Candidates’ Religion to the Test: Twelve Irreligious Questions for the Candidates Before “Tiw’s Day’s” Elections” (ABC News)

UPDATE: Aardvarchaeology offers a perspective on the US political scene that could almost apply to Australia also.

MySpace bans atheists . . . a few thoughts

1 02 2008

(Originally posted in the comments at OzAtheist)

There is an extremely twisted logic to all of this, you know. From a certain (paranoid, mindless, irrational) perspective, atheism is much more of an affront to Christianity than Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism or Judaism–and it has nothing to do with Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens.

You see, at least Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Jews–whatever their theological differences–can agree on the idea that faith (magical thinking, belief without evidence, belief in the supernatural) is a good thing. Atheists, on the other hand, don’t see the necessity of faith at all (I’m not counting the Straussian view that faith might be necessary to keep the hoi-polloi in line). I can see how from a certain point of view, when I say “I am an atheist,” what they hear is “This ‘faith’ you have–it’s pointless, a waste of time and energy, a joke. Because if it wasn’t, then we’d all have faith.” In short, atheists are mean and offensive purely by virtue of the fact that they are atheists.

Obviously I’m not claiming that all theists think this way about atheists. But evidently some do, and I think this MySpace discrimination issue is symptomatic.

A final thought. If I was a Christian and ill-disposed towards atheists, I wouldn’t necessarily see the MySpace discrimination against atheists–which gives atheists the moral high ground–as a good thing.

Perhaps some theists need to be pointed in the direction of this article.

Look at these videos while I claim this blog on Technorati

18 12 2007

Technorati Profile

Vatican World Travel’s special offer: Take a trip to Lourdes and bypass Purgatory

Pat Condell: “Why does faith deserve respect?”

Pat Condell: “Miracles and Morals”

Kohn-descending: The Spirit of Things on secularism

16 12 2007

It strikes me that the most strident reaction to the recent work of atheism’s “Big Four” (Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens) has come from so-called moderate or liberal theists. For example, Terry Eagleton produced a scathing critique of The God Delusion soon after its release, in the blog Stanley Fish writes for the New York Times he disparagingly refers to Harris, Dawkins and Hitchens as “The Three Atheists,” and earlier this year Archbishop Rowan Williams himself got stuck into Dawkins. Sean has already posted on Tom Frame’s attack on secularism in <i>The Australian</i>.

Closer to home, ABC Radio National’s Religion Report and Rachael Kohn of The Ark and The Spirit of Things have been quite hostile to atheism. Kohn demonstrates this admirably on a recent episode of The Spirit of Things, “Secular Alternative?,” which in spite of its title–yes, Rachael, “secular” and “atheist” have different meanings–turns out to be another vehicle for Kohn to bag (her strawman definition of) atheism, either directly or via those she interviews. Read the rest of this entry »