Just when I think the Christian Fundies can’t get any sillier…

… I come across a Fundie article on the web like this one over at OBJECTIVE Christian Ministries wherein the author, a Dr. Richard Paley, rants about the evilness of the PBS series Evolution, how Pokemon and Jurassic Park promote evolution sublminially, and how the Apple Macintosh is a tool of Satan. (Why? Because the underlying OS that became OS X was code-named Darwin.)

Anyhow, this is some pretty funny stuff. He’s seeing all sorts of evil connections in what I had always assumed where totally unconnected things. And now I’ve become part of that evil conspiracy! Woo hoo!

43 thoughts on “Just when I think the Christian Fundies can’t get any sillier…

  1. Oh, I loved the part about Apple Computers being a cult. Thanks for a cheap laugh, Dr. Paley, you’re a riot.

  2. and you know, with OS-X, apple moved from nice christian integers to roman numerals, which never mind the unix reference, must be evil because as we know the romans were godless heathens.

    it is a conspiracy. if i didn’t get PCs for free i’d go buy a Mac, just to get in on it.

  3. Back during the Reagan administration I remember some Fundamentalist nutbag was ranting about the evil propaganda being foisted upon our children (oh god…think about our children!) by insidious blue cartoon gnomes known as the Smurfs.  It was then that a friend and I came to understand that all things could be traced back to the dark lord if one just looked with unclouded eyes…for example:

    Clowns – The traditional clown wears a bulbous red rubber nose, red is the color of fire, fire is a tool of the devil, hence clowns are evil.

    Analog Clocks – All analog clocks have hands, idle hands, idle hands are the devils workshop, therefore analog clocks are ticking time bombs of pure evil.

    Pick an item around your house, you wont have to look far and you will discover that Satan dogs your every step.  Be careful.

  4. God, that site was hilarious!  They’re so worried about cults, but their own page of rejecting the EVILS of halloween (oh no, Satan will steal the children’s precious..candy) actually reads like a cult page.  Some ways to combat the evil cults lurking in every corner is to “Hand out Bible tracts not candy”.  they even went so far as to suggest that Christian put “pro-Jesus messages printed on the wrappers….help create in the child a positive association with Christianity”  They suggested you use Bazzoka Joe.  Let’s not forget “the spirit raising power of simple symbolic candies, such as candy crosses or chocolate Jesus fish”!
    Hmm, let’s see.  A religious group admitts to trying to subtlely inlfuence naive gullible children by disguising their messages as comic strips inside of candy wrappers?  Cult, anyone…?

  5. Just came across this, had a look at their latest site. How lunatic fringe are they? They broke away from their website host because of their string objection to Triclavianism. This belief holds that Jesus was nailed up by three and three only, not two, and not four, Nails.

    These people crack me up. Talk about an obsessive Cult.

  6. well, i think you all have no lives if all you can do is sit around and criticize what other people believe in. At least they have something that makes them happy and lifts them up everyday. Whenever i see christians, they’re having a great time; better off than most people, and they rarely judge others like you are doing right here. You shouldn’t be slamming christians, you should be jealous of them and want to have what they have.

  7. well, i think you all have no lives if all you can do is sit around and criticize what other people believe in.

    It’s not all I can do, but it’s certainly one of the things I can do.

    At least they have something that makes them happy and lifts them up everyday.

    So do I and that’s making fun of Christian Fundamentalists. It lifts me up and makes me happy every day!

    Whenever i see christians, they

  8. That site supposed to be made fun of-it’s a parody site, although with the parody laid on thin enough that some people take it at face value.

  9. God is real. He is an extreme agoraphobic and needs more positive affirmations to cure him of his invisiblitity. “Your such a good god, yes you are, we love you, come on out, its ok…” As such.
    If we all just pull together and coax him out of his hole, I’m sure he’d be glad to explain things. Like cancer and christianity.
    Satan is real too by the way. I met him. Scared the Bajesus out of me. Well, it was either satan or my uncle fred who lives in the basement. One of the two.
    God/ego/steeples/penis/missles. Too many humans worried about the afterlife. Too afraid to live, cuz they’re too afraid to die. Saved and safe are synonomous. Imagine, a belief system made in a time when people put leeches on their foreheads to suck out evil demons….still being practiced after landing on the moon. If you were from another planet, would you want to come here? Give up God, and you’ll find something infinitely more substantial. It doesn’t need a name.
    paz

  10. Wow, you have an understanding of one aspect of my personality and you suddenly think you’ve got enough info to pass judgment. That’s quite the trick.

    But I shall concede the point and admit that I have no life because I make fun of Christian Fundamentalists. Still, it makes for a very happy life so I can’t complain. 😀

  11. So umm, yeah. The creationist dude’s site is totally wack. Honestly yeah, I do have to wonder where people like him come up with stuff like this. Mind you, I’m not sure making fun of people like him is the best thing to do… I kinda feel sorry for the guy.
    Paz – you’re a funny one, but take it easy on the generalizations. Just because some people calling themselves Christians are kind of on the freaky side doesn’t mean you can toss them all in the crazy bin. “Too afraid to live cuz they’re too afraid to die”???? There are plenty of Christians who don’t use God as a crutch. There are plenty of non-Christians who use Atheism as a crutch. I’m not trying to make you think that all Christians are wonderful people, because unfortunately, they’ve too often proven the contrary, but if you want to make fun of something – make fun of the people who do the stupid stuff, not the group they claim to belong to.
    Peace

  12. You know, that’s a good question.  What exactly do we mean when we say that a belief is a crutch?  I think when people say that belief in God can be a crutch, they mean that some forms of Christians are uncomfortable with some of what goes on in the world, and the idea that a loving caring divine father figure is there looking out for them gives them comfort – maybe it’s even to the point that they wouldn’t even be able to cope without that idea of God.  So clearly a psychological crutch provides support (/comfort) where there is a deficiency (inability to cope in a world with no god). 
    On to your question, how can no belief in God be a crutch?  Very simple—say the idea of some sort of divine presence or final moral accounting for your life makes you uncomfortable.  Say you have things going a certain way and the existence of God would have you call that into question (how uncomfortable!), maybe you’d have to change how you’re living.  Here, the idea that there is no god(s) provides comfort where there is a deficiency (inability to cope in a world where there is a god).  That’s a crutch. 
    Now personally, I don’t think the crutch analogy is helpful, because there’s the temptation to reverse things and say that if someone derives comfort from a belief, then they believe for the sake of having that comfort (that’s a fallacy).  I will concede that some (/many?) ‘Christians’ use God as a crutch.  I would also argue that some (/many?) ‘Atheists’ use no god(s) as a crutch.  Most of all though, I would argue that almost everyone derives comfort from their beliefs – so then it’s really hard to tell who’s doin’ the whole crutch thing and who’s not (which shows you how stupid it is to talk about it in the first place).
    Let me leave you today with this challenge.  In the same way that it would make a Christian excessively uncomfortable to discover that there is no god (with the knowledge that they would have to re-arrange their life around that fact), would it not make you uncomfortable to discover that there is a God? Especially if that God has some sort of final moral judgment thing planned, especially if that God has certain standards etc.. ? I’d wager—yeah, that’d make anyone uncomfortable at first. And that’s ok.  It just shows that it’s easy to pick on people for the emotional relationship they have to their worldview.
    That’s it for today—Peace.

  13. StrangerMK, I’d wager just the opposite. I don’t know of any atheists who would become “uncomfortable” to discover that there is a God out there that has some sort of final moral judgment thing planned, as you put it. There’s not much comfort to be taken in the atheist viewpoint to begin with. You never hear anyone saying “The death of a loved one was very hard for me, but I took comfort in my non-belief.”

    I think part of the problem is with your analogy. A crutch can be a useful tool when you have a valid need for it, but once you’re able to stand on your own two feet again you stop using it because it then causes more problems than it solves. This is what most folks mean when they speak of people using religious belief as a crutch. I’m not at all sure how an atheistic viewpoint, where you’re bascially self-reliant, is in any way crutch-like.

  14. I would only be uncomfortable if that crazy old fuck from the Bible™ turned out to be real! I mean come on! Killing first born and drowning folks and making people eat shit and burn forever and stuff doesn’t sound too good to me.

    (“consider”)

  15. Les, I appreciate your insights. I think you do a good job of portraying the way in which most people view Christian crutchedness.  :-p Nevertheless, let me see if I can salvage my analogy.
    The supposed psychological comfort of Atheism that I was trying to get at was precisely that one becomes self-reliant. I think a case can be made that self-reliance can be pushed to unhealthy extremes. Maybe Mr. Self-Reliant Atheist is incapable of healthy give-and-take love relationships, maybe he is distrustful of everyone (including his friends), or maybe he just feels it’s ok to mistreat others (“I don’t need other people, I’m self-reliant!”)… In any of those (granted, hypothetical) cases, I think it’s safe to say that Mr. Atheist is to a certain extent unhealthy. Moreover, his ‘self-reliance’ is crutch-like in that it is a ‘risk-free bubble’ of sorts. If you don’t depend on others, you can control your life. But, as that dorky Finding Nemo pointed out, people who are afraid to take risks are just plain insecure and need to loosen up.
    What am I getting at? Simply that self-reliance can become a crutch as well.
    Hold on a second… aren’t Christians the ones who need to loosen up? Yeah sure, lots of ‘em. I don’t deny that. But consider this: some Christians believe in a God who makes demands on their life, and they give things up for him, take crap for him, etc, etc. Consider also that most Christians don’t have mushy-gushy feelings about God most of the time. Which means, far from being comforting, it might be argued that the Christian life is very UNcomfortable. I mean yeah, dying for your beliefs? reaaaaal comfy. Oh yeah.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: my argument is not that all Atheists use their Atheism as a crutch. I don’t believe that. I’m simply trying to point out that Atheism CAN be used as a crutch. Christianity can be used as a crutch as well, but it doesn’t HAVE TO be one. In fact, I’ve known people from every faction – Christians, Atheists, crutched and un-crutched alike.

    So what’s my point? Simply this: if you wanna take jabs at people, take jabs at concrete people who are unhealthy (if you must – the ideal of course would be to show them the error of their ways), and not the group they claim to belong to. Just because the crusaders murdered a bunch of people in the name of Christ doesn’t mean we should bash Christians anymore than we should bash Muslims for 9/11 because some freaky terrorists claim to worship Allah. Does that make sense?

    Conveniently, and though putting your own unfortunate spin on it, you kind of proved my point Spocko.  hmmm  As a side note however, I don’t think any Christian in his/her own right mind would argue that God will make you eat shit. Thankfully. I hear it doesn’t taste too good. If you have issues with the doctrine of hell, e-mail me.  grin

    And for your second comment (the Jesus dating site), LOL!!! I’d never been there before—the dude looks EXACTLY like the Norwegian-Jesus stereotype! Complete with blue eyes and white robes and everything!! hehehe… Ladies, Jesus is available!

  16. Atheism isn’t about self-reliance. It is about rational thinking and the need for wild claims to be proven.

    Scatological fun from the bible…

    “that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you” (II Kings 18:27, Isaiah 36:12)

    “And thou shalt eat it [as] barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight” (Ez 4:12).

    “Then he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow’s dung for man’s dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith” (Ez 4:15).

    “Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces…”(Malachi 2:3).

    How can anyone believe anything from an old collection of tripe that includes this shit?

  17. I fail to see how being self-reliant, let alone atheism can be considered a crutch.  Even in the argument that StrangerMK presented, self-reliance taken to its extreme would become an obsession at best.

    Religion and Christianity in particular harbor a peculiar codependency aspect to them that makes them inherently unhealthy.  In a poor co-dependent relationship the lesser member literally feels that they cannot exist without the other.  In stronger co-dependent relationships the lesser member feels the need to have the other member’s blessing in order to carry out their daily life.

    This is taken from a guide to human co-dependent relationships.  Factor in an imaginary member and I’m sure the degree of harm increases exponentially.

    Since atheism is not a belief but a lack thereof the carry over impact into one’s individual relationships doesn’t equate on the same level as say an Islamist versus a Mormon.

  18. I’m sorry, am I alone here? Am I really that incoherent? I mean come on guys, can you grant me that not all atheists are healthy? Can you grant me that some Christians are healthy? That’s really all I’m saying. I didn’t think my thesis was incredibly controversial… Example of a couple unhealthy atheists: Sartre and Foucault to name a couple. Example of a couple healthy Christians: Plantinga and Mother Teresa. I mean yeah, Mother Teresa, totally unhealthy – giving helpful shit to other people in need, yeah God was such a crutch to her. She hid from the evil in the world. Riiiight…

    As for the whole codependent bit. Like I said before, sure, there are SOME Christians who have codependent relationships with an imaginary friend. I agree, that IS quite unhealthy. On the other hand, I really don’t think that all relationships imply codependency, and if true Christianity is about healthy love and healthy relationship—and I believe a case can be made that it is—then Christianity isn’t necessarily unhealthy. In fact, it might even be quite healthy.

    As for your prophetic shitty quotes (I mean that quite literally) – I laughed. Not because you misused them, but because I had forgotten that they were there… hehehe. Hmm, anyway, if you really want to push that argument, I recommend first reading Abraham Heschel’s The Prophets, which is an analysis of the prophetic style of writing and style of life. I think that would help put things in context if that’s really what bugs you about the Bible. If you wanna go to the biblical text, that’s fine, just be a little more precise and contextual when you quote something. Without context, I’ll agree that plenty of things in Scripture are offensive (and even in context sometimes), but how’s come no one picks quotes like, oh, say, this one: “Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27) You know, to me, that doesn’t sound excessively unhealthy. In fact, that could be construed as beneficial to society, wouldn’t you say?

    Again (and hopefully for the last time), Christianity CAN be used as a crutch (/can be unhealthy/can be used by a bunch of shitheads to spread propaganga/can be used to cover for sexual molestation), but that ANYTHING can. Humans are creative in their deficiencies. My argument is simply this: Christianity isn’t unhealthy of necessity. My tentative argument is this: Christianity (properly executed by healthy persons) may actually be quite healthy. Is this really such a ludicrous claim?

    -Peace-

  19. Sorry StrangerMK, mostly just playing with you.

    As far as the bible goes, I think it bogus that you have to dig through piles of dung to find any pearls of wisdom and what you do find that is good is just common sense. Why all the malarky?

    God’s hit list…

    1- The entire population of the earth at the time of Noah, except for eight survivors. (Genesis 7:23)
    2- Everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 19:24,25)
    3- Amalek and his people. (Exodus 17:8­16)
    4- 3,000 Israelites. (Exodus 32:27,28)
    5- 14,700 Jews. (Numbers 16:44­49)
    6- The people of Og. “So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed his land.” (Numbers 21:33­35)
    7- 24,000 people. (Numbers 25:4­9)
    8- All Midianite males. (Numbers 31:6­12)
    9- The Ammonites. (Deuteronomy 2:19­21)
    10-The Horims. (Deuteronomy 2:22)
    11-The Amorites. “…utterly destroyed the men and the women and the little ones.” (Deuteronomy 2:33­35)
    12-The Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. “. . . thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them;” (Deuteronomy 7:1­5)
    13- Everyone in Jericho but one family. (Joshua 6:20­25)
    14-12,000 people of Ai. (Joshua 8:19­29)
    15-All the people of Makkedah. (Joshua 10:28)
    16-All the people of Libnah. (Joshua 10:29,30)
    17-All the people of Gezer. (Joshua 10:33)
    18-All the people of Eglon. (Joshua 10:34,35)
    19-All the people of Hebron. (Joshua 10:36,37)
    20-10,000 Perizzites and Canaanites. (Judges 1:4)
    21-All the inhabitants of the land of Goshen “. . . neither left they any to breathe.” (Joshua 11:12­16)
    22-The inhabitants of Hormah, Gaza, Askelon, Ekron. (Judges 1:17­19)
    23-10,000 Moabites. (Judges 3:29)
    24-600 Philistines. (Judges 3:31)
    25-All the hosts of Sisera. (Judges 4:16)
    26-120,000 Midianites. (Judges 8:10)
    27-1,000 Philistines. (Judges 15:15)
    28-25,100 Benjaminites. (Judges 20:35)
    29-50,070 people of Bethshemesh. (1 Samuel 6:19)
    30-All the Amalekites. “Slay both man and woman, infant and suckling….” (1 Samuel 15:3­7)
    31-200 Philistine men, in order to obtain their foreskins as the price for buying a bride. (1 Samuel 18:27)
    32-22,000 Syrians. (2 Samuel 8:5)
    33-40,000+ Syrians. (2 Samuel 10:18)
    34-The Ammonites of Rabbah, who were tortured to death by the great King David. (2 Samuel 12:29­31)
    35-70,000 people. (2 Samuel 24:15)
    36-Every man in Edom. (1 Kings 11:15)
    37-All the prophets of Baal. (1 Kings 18:40)
    38-127,000 Syrians. (1 Kings 20:28­30)
    39-Moabite captains & “fifties.” (2 Kings 1:9­14)
    40-42 children, eaten by bears. (2 Kings 2:23,24)
    41-185,000 Assyrians killed in their sleep. (2 Kings 19:35)
    42-500,000 men of Israel. (2 Chronicles 13:16­20)
    43-20,000 Edomites. (2 Chronicles 25:11,12)
    44-120,000 Judeans in one day. (2 Chronicles 28:5,6)
    45-75,500+ people. (Esther 9:12­14

    I want nothing to do with this maniac!

    (“thinking”)

  20. StrangerMK – No you’re not incoherent and alone.  I think we all enjoy good discussion and debate, it’s just that your argument seems a bit distorted.

    I will grant you this.  There are both unhealthy Christians and unhealthy atheists, but not for the reasons that you assert in your original argument.  You cannot compare the two side-by-side.  Any belief system permeates throughout one’s life, but a religious belief system, in particular, tends to be very far reaching.

    With atheism there is no belief system to equate to Christianity in order to draw a comparison.  Applying a religious layer to the belief system could be a positive or a negative factor based on the individual.  I would argue that ‘negative’ dominates this group.  In that sense, Christians and atheists could have the same crutches but it would be based on their core belief system and not their religious beliefs (or lack thereof).

    Spocko’s probably got a pic of the Pope on crutches tucked away somewhere.  wink

  21. Self-reliance is not a “crutch.”  Nor is it synonymous with social retardation or isolationism.  The -only- way that it can be seen as such is to -define- it that way.  Which I think is what you did.

    The personality traits that you are attributing to “unhealthy” self-reliance -may- be found in people who are self-reliant, OR in people who are incredibly dependent.  Someone could be completely introverted, incapable of a give-and-take love relationship, and still be completely dependent upon someone else to provide them with emotional assurance, or physical necessities.  By the same token, someone can be completely self-reliant, and still—want—to establish social ties with others.  Self reliance is when you don’t -depend- on others for emotional gratification, or help, but that doesn’t mean that you -can’t- accept help, or that you wouldn’t -want- help.  I’m self-reliant.  I can cook my own food, and wash my own dishes.  But I LIKE it when my wife helps me.  And I’ll ask her for help too, because I prefer it that way.

    Let me be clear, as well, that I think that just because religion -may- be used as a crutch, that doesn’t meant that it -must- be used in that way.  It’s entirely possible for someone to be self-reliant, and deeply religious as well.  “God helps those who help themselves, so I better put my shoulder to the wheel” type of Christians.

    However, even self-reliant Christians, if they truly adhere to the tenets of Christianity, do not -have- to make certain decisions for themselves.  They can greatly simplify their lives, and the way that they think about things, by following doctrine.  Religion can provide great comfort, and a certain amount of protection from self-doubt, and self questioning.

    That doesn’t meant that every Christian does this.  But they—can—.  In stark contrast, Atheism offers NO answers.  It just tells you that certain answers are off-limits, because they don’t make sense, or because you, as an individual, are constitutionally incapable of faith.

    That doesn’t meant that Atheists won’t have, or can’t have, their own “crutches.”  It’s perfectly possible to be an atheist, but have a paranoid approach to the world, where you blame “everyone else” for what happens to you.  Instead of Satan, it’s those shitty people all around you.  By the same token, if you have success, you can smugly pat yourself on the back for your own hard work and skills, even if the -real- reason you got the job is because you’re better looking than the guy who interviewed before you.  In that case, rather than attributing your success to God’s grace, you ‘lean’ on a sense of your own self-worth.

    I’d argue that religion -can- be a crutch, but that atheism can’t.  That doesn’t mean that atheists can’t be self-deluded, it just means that their delusion isn’t articulated around a religious conviction.

    But that’s just my opinion.  I could be wrong.

    As for “healthy” Christians, I don’t have a problem with them.  My definition of a healthy Christian is one that chooses to live by their religious rules, but doesn’t insist that everyone else—also—live by their religious rules. 

    And that’s MY “truth held to be self evident.”

    On a separate note, I’d be interested in knowing why you think Foucault is an “unhealthy” atheist.

    And that’s way more than I planned to write, so I’m going to play UT, and blow some shit up!

    captcha “hand”

  22. Spocko:
    You’re a challenging one, you know that? But it’s a good thing.  😀 I’m curious to find out where you get your biblical references, if you’re the one who has to comb through the big fat book and do all the looking yourself or if you know of someone who’s done it for you. Either way that’s an impressive list you got there. Side note: you call it “God’s Hit List”, when in actual fact, it seems like most of the time the Hebrew Scriptures pass on any type of metaphysical commentary when discribing circumstances. So like, when David goes and gets the thousands of foreskins from the philistines (hopefully killing them before he does so, cuz I’d hate to get circumsized while I was still alive if you know what I mean…), there’s no pause for a commentary from heaven that says “I’m God and I approve this message.” No. In fact, many not so happy occurrences in Scripture happen without reference to God. Some of them do, sure, but not all. So who cares, right? Isn’t God still one big serial murderer? Well, I think if you look at Scripture, it’s good to see it as a whole. And since I learn from elsewhere in the Bible that God takes no joy in the destruction of people and that he’d rather see them turn from their ways and be restored to him, I might argue that I wasn’t there and so I don’t know all the stuff that was going on, but I trust God’s character enough to believe that he did what he had to do. Does that sound like weak sauce to you guys? Eh, probably. But I’m ok with that.  :-p It’s just that when you say “I want nothing to do with this maniac”, you make it sound like God’s trigger-happy or something, like he’s on a power trip. I really don’t get that impression from my reading of the Hebrew Scriptures.

    On a different note, thanks guys for your comments. I feel like some headway was made. Maybe just in my own head, but whatever, it’s cool when the discussion kind of moves forward.  grin

    Nowiser, I tend to agree with you, but I can’t do so completely. You say that atheism provides NO answers… I disagree. I would argue that atheism provides answers of a different type than perhaps any other religion, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t provide answers. I’m not going to try to argue that Atheism is a religion, because clearly, it’s not. However, I do think that it commits you to a certain type of worldview, just like any religion. And just like a religious worldview makes you answer some of life’s questions a certain way, so also Atheism makes you answer life’s questions in one way and not another. What am I getting at? Simply that I think you may have overemphasized the ‘chasm’ that lies between Atheism and all other religions. There are some disanalogies, sure, but they are all belief systems that you have to buy in to, to a certain extent.
    But then, I’ll go a head and steal a line from you – that’s just my opinion and I could be wrong as well.  grin

    I’m glad you believe in the existence of healthy Christians.  grin

    As for why I mentionned Foucault, you’re probably trying to get me to say something about how he was gay so that you can blast me on that front. Thankfully I’m not stupid (yes, let me indulge in the wonders of my own non-stupidity :-p). If I threw Sartre and Foucault out there, honestly, it wasn’t because there’s irrefutible evidence that they were psycho (so I might have better used someone like Nietszche, who actually was crazy – oh wait no, that was a disease), but because I wanted a quick and dirty example. From what I’ve read (yes, this does make it highly subjective), it seems as though Sartre had few healthy relationships. Also, from what I’ve read, it seems like Foucault’s wild life out in San Fransisco was very uncautious – to that extent I would argue that he was unhealthy. I’m not going to pick on someone because they’re gay—I think we’d all agree that that would be utterly and totally stupid (can I get an amen?), but hey Foucault (again, from what I’ve heard) was sexually promiscuous beyond all horniness – and wasn’t cautious about his habits in the least. That’s why he came to mind. For all I know he was healthy. However, my personal intuition was that something wasn’t perfectly right with him on an emotional (or maybe psychological) level (not that I’m miles above him or anything). All this to say – he was a quick and dirty example. I’m sorry if that offended anyone – it wasn’t meant as the crux of my argument.

    This is fun. Let me know your thoughts.

    -Peace-

  23. Mother Theresa wrote in her private letters that she felt abandoned by God and was trying to get back into his good graces.  Apparently she had a vision on a train and was pretty elated for a few months, then as she began her work for the poor, lost the sense of connection.  There’s also evidence that at one point she underwent an exorcism

    Not to denigrate her work but she may not have been all that psychologically healthy.  A person might do very admirable things out of a sense of compulsion.

    Captcha: higher

  24. I, for one, am an atheist with a crutch.  Or perhaps atheist is a wrong term; I have faith in there being no god.

    I am from a country that is predominantly Lutheran.  And I found Lutheran teachings, at least as they were explained to me, to be utterly intolerable.  So I had to pick a better belief system.

    The most logical choice would probably been “I can’t know whether there is a God or not, but it’s bloody unlikely.”.  But that would still leave room for a nagging doubt that christians are right.

    So I picked up my crutch.  “THERE IS NO GOD.”  It’s a comfortable illusion that doesn’t interfere with my life.  It’s even likely to be the correct one.  Whether it is or not, it doesn’t matter; I have faith.  I’m not very good atheist, it seems.

  25. Side note:
      Anyone have any idea why I can’t highlight previous posts, so that I can quote them?  Is it browser related, maybe?  I’m using Firefox.

    StrangerMK,
      In brief, I don’t think I’m overstating the chasm.  Primarily because I don’t believe that atheism compels one to adhere to a distinct worldview.  I think that -most- atheists tend to have a pretty similar worldview, but there’s nothing about atheism, per se., that forces one to commit to a particular political perspective, or even insists that you accept science or objectivism, or materialism, or (insert epistemology here)

    As for the Foucault question, I wasn’t fishing for an anti-gay remark, so that I could bash.  I was wondering how much Foucault you had read, and trying to figure out if there were aspects of his -thought- that you considered unhealthy.  I don’t have an opinion on his lifestyle, one way or the other.  I would agree that careless promiscuity -is- unhealthy.  Not as unhealthy as chewing tobacco, for example, but still not a wise choice.

    But people often find Foucault’s -thought- disturbing, as well.  I consider him to be a pretty radical skeptic, and I don’t agree with many of his conclusions, but his -approach-, his way of seeing things in terms of linguistic power relations, can be adopted as a useful, and often liberating, tool.

    Of course, I’ve been indoctrinated by the leftist academic elites, so I -would- believe that. smile

    capcha “evil”  (Ok, that makes me a bit nervous!)

  26. StrangerMK – I want to make sure I keep your remarks in context here because I believe you are still missing the point.

    However, I do think that it commits you to a certain type of worldview, just like any religion. And just like a religious worldview makes you answer some of life’s questions a certain way, so also Atheism makes you answer life’s questions in one way and not another. What am I getting at? Simply that I think you may have overemphasized the ‘chasm’ that lies between Atheism and all other religions. There are some disanalogies, sure, but they are all belief systems that you have to buy in to, to a certain extent.

    One cannot ‘over emphasize’ the chasm that lies between atheism and Christianity.  They do not exist side-by-side, as belief systems go, but on different planes.  Atheism is an absence of belief while agnosticism is a lack of belief.

    A religious belief system forces you to answer some of life’s questions in a certain way.  This I agree with.  Atheism allows you to answer the same life questions anyway you see fit.  Atheism is not a co-dependent set of ideals.

    TMP – Glad to see your post.  Many of us have gone through that period.

  27. I’ve been meaning to speak up on this thread, but by the time I first noticed it several folks had already said what I was going to say anyway. Still, I’d like to address some of the question StrangerMK put to me earlier.

    The supposed psychological comfort of Atheism that I was trying to get at was precisely that one becomes self-reliant. I think a case can be made that self-reliance can be pushed to unhealthy extremes. Maybe Mr. Self-Reliant Atheist is incapable of healthy give-and-take love relationships, maybe he is distrustful of everyone (including his friends), or maybe he just feels it’s ok to mistreat others (“I don’t need other people, I’m self-reliant!”)… In any of those (granted, hypothetical) cases, I think it’s safe to say that Mr. Atheist is to a certain extent unhealthy. Moreover, his ‘self-reliance’ is crutch-like in that it is a ‘risk-free bubble’ of sorts. If you don’t depend on others, you can control your life. But, as that dorky Finding Nemo pointed out, people who are afraid to take risks are just plain insecure and need to loosen up. What am I getting at? Simply that self-reliance can become a crutch as well.

    Being incapable of a healthy give-and-take relationship is not an example of extreme self-reliance; nor is paranoia or excessive self-centeredness. Those are all certainly unhealthy behaviors, but not a symptom of being overly self-reliant. Is it possible to be too self-reliant? Absolutely and this will often manifest itself in rejecting the help of others with a task that you are obviously not capable of accomplishing on your own. Is that unhealthy? Could be if the task is physically or mentally dangerous. I don’t see how you could consider this to be crutch-like, though, as the examples you’re giving would be more akin to someone who has a valid reason to use a crutch and refuses to do so. People who have the problems you describe above rarely draw any kind of psychological comfort from those problems—if anything those problems are a source of stress and discomfort in their lives—and there’s also the fact that being an atheist has no bearing on how self-reliant a person may actually be. I can think of plenty of examples of atheists I personally know who are anything other than self-reliant despite the fact that it’s a form of self-reliant viewpoint. They just transfer their dependency to someone (or something) other than belief in God(s).

    Hold on a second… aren’t Christians the ones who need to loosen up? Yeah sure, lots of ‘em. I don’t deny that. But consider this: some Christians believe in a God who makes demands on their life, and they give things up for him, take crap for him, etc, etc. Consider also that most Christians don’t have mushy-gushy feelings about God most of the time. Which means, far from being comforting, it might be argued that the Christian life is very UNcomfortable. I mean yeah, dying for your beliefs? reaaaaal comfy. Oh yeah.

    I know and am friends with plenty of religious people, many of whom are Christian, who don’t need to loosen up as far as I’m concerned. Even with their belief in a God(s) these folks don’t turn those beliefs or their religion into the “crutch” that I’ve made mention of previously. Sure, I still see those beliefs as being silly and unnecessary, but as long as their beliefs aren’t causing them problems and they feel they derive some benefit from them then I’m not one to complain about it. My daughter is about to turn 14 and she’s at that point between being a child and young adult where one moment she can offer up an amazing insight into the nature of reality and then turn around and confess that she still believes that somewhere “out there” Elves really do exist. As long as she’s not planning to run off in search of them in hopes of marrying Legolas or something then that belief is largely harmless wishful thinking.

    I don’t really care what most people want to believe until they allow it to become a problem in their lives or, even worse, try to make problems in mine because of those beliefs. I’m very libertarian in that I honestly feel that as long as you’re not harming the person or property of another you should largely be allowed to do what you want with your life. If that involves going to a Church every Sunday and singing praises to an invisible superfriend who expects you to do certain things to earn his favor then by all means go right ahead and do that if it makes you feel better.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: my argument is not that all Atheists use their Atheism as a crutch. I don’t believe that. I’m simply trying to point out that Atheism CAN be used as a crutch. Christianity can be used as a crutch as well, but it doesn’t HAVE TO be one. In fact, I’ve known people from every faction – Christians, Atheists, crutched and un-crutched alike.

    I still fail to see how atheism can be used as a crutch. Again, I agree that atheists are just as capable of having mental crutches of their own, but atheism as a crutch is a ludicrous idea. I also agree that Christianity doesn’t have to be a crutch, but then I never said it had to be in the first place. I have said that too many Christians use it as a crutch.

    So what’s my point? Simply this: if you wanna take jabs at people, take jabs at concrete people who are unhealthy (if you must – the ideal of course would be to show them the error of their ways), and not the group they claim to belong to. Just because the crusaders murdered a bunch of people in the name of Christ doesn’t mean we should bash Christians anymore than we should bash Muslims for 9/11 because some freaky terrorists claim to worship Allah. Does that make sense?

    I take jabs at concrete people who are unhealthy quite often on this website and I often include the things that I feel make them unhealthy, of which Christianity is often a part of. I would love to show these people the error of their ways, but one of the aspects of this particular form of unhealthy behavior is that these people tend generally can’t be shown the error of their ways. Like a lot of people with unhealthy problems they have to come to that realization on their own and that can be difficult to do when you have others with the same unhealthy problems telling you that you’re perfectly OK.

    There were considerably more people involved in, and killed by, the Crusades than by the 9/11 hijackers, and the Crusades were a matter of policy at the highest levels of the Church at the time as opposed to the actions of a minority faction of a religious group. Trying to equate these two events is disingenuous at best. The Oklahoma City bombing would be a comparable Christian equivalent in terms of being carried out by a small number of religiously motivated extremists who had the vocal support of a minority faction of Christianity. Christianity deserves quite a bit of bashing over the Crusades as far as I’m concerned, but not necessarily for Oklahoma City.

    I’m sorry, am I alone here? Am I really that incoherent? I mean come on guys, can you grant me that not all atheists are healthy? Can you grant me that some Christians are healthy? That’s really all I’m saying. I didn’t think my thesis was incredibly controversial… Example of a couple unhealthy atheists: Sartre and Foucault to name a couple. Example of a couple healthy Christians: Plantinga and Mother Teresa. I mean yeah, Mother Teresa, totally unhealthy – giving helpful shit to other people in need, yeah God was such a crutch to her. She hid from the evil in the world. Riiiight…

    There are many people who would argue about Mother Teresa with you in regards to how good of an example of a “healthy Christian” she might have been. Alvin Plantinga on the other hand seems reasonably healthy in spite of his beliefs.

    Again I’ll point out that no one here claims that all Christians are unhealthy or that there aren’t any unhealthy Atheists, but now you’ve moved beyond your original argument that atheism can be considered a crutch into whether or not some atheists are unhealthy and that’s an entirely different issue.

    My argument is simply this: Christianity isn’t unhealthy of necessity. My tentative argument is this: Christianity (properly executed by healthy persons) may actually be quite healthy. Is this really such a ludicrous claim?

    Then your argument has changed from where you started. I’ll repeat again that no one claims that Christianity is inherently unhealthy or that it can’t be beneficial in many ways. You seem to be arguing against a claim that hasn’t been made.

    So who cares, right? Isn’t God still one big serial murderer? Well, I think if you look at scripture, it’s good to see it as a whole. And since I learn from elsewhere in the Bible that God takes no joy in the destruction of people and that he’d rather see them turn from their ways and be restored to him, I might argue that I wasn’t there and so I don’t know all the stuff that was going on, but I trust God’s character enough to believe that he did what he had to do.

    One would tend to think that a “God” wouldn’t “have” to do anything he didn’t “want” to do. He is God after all. God says killing is wrong yet God kills regularly in the Bible. In fact at one point he reduces the entire population of the earth down to a single family and a boatload of animals. So apparently killing is wrong unless God is the one doing the killing. Yet quite often God instructs others to do the killing for him in direct violation of one of his own commandments. So apparently this means killing is wrong unless God tells you to kill people because he’s too busy with other engagements of some sort. Yet we don’t accept “God told me to” as a valid defense in a murder trial today on the argument that “God would never have told someone to do that” when the Bible clearly shows that he has, in fact, done so many times in the past. You may be willing to put up with this obvious contradiction because you think God is such a swell guy that he must have had good reason for doing what he did, but that’s not a very convincing argument for the rest of us.

    Does that sound like weak sauce to you guys? Eh, probably. But I’m ok with that.  :-p It’s just that when you say “I want nothing to do with this maniac

  28. Nowiser, no idea why you can’t highlight. I’m using Firefox and able to highlight just fine (obviously).

  29. I became an atheist long before I realized (or would admit to myself) that I just couldn’t take that color pill anymore.  When I finally put it in words, I sure could have used a crutch because it felt like I’d amputated a leg.  Or both legs. 

    That was years ago.  I’ve gotten back on my feet now, sans invisible friend.  If atheism offers crutch-functionality, I’m awfully late finding out about it.

  30. Hot damn you guys post too fast!

    Ok where do I start? Quick note to decrepitoldfool: you’re right that good works don’t necessitate good psychological health. Mother Teresa got thrown in the fray at the time when I started picking up on the disctinction you guys make between having a crutch and being unhealthy. So you’re right. I guess the way you guys have been using it, yeah I kinda mixed the two up (thanks for pointing that out Les). I guess I was equating people-who-use-crutches with people-who-aren’t-healthy. Clearly though that was an assumption I shouldn’t have made. Sorry for the confusion. In retrospect, if having a crutch means relying on someone (real or imaginary), then most Christians would have a crutch. I guess I’m just looking for more of a distinction between relying on someone or something, and that reliance being unhealthy. From an atheistic point of view, God is imaginary, therefore relying on him would be unhealthy, but that can’t serve as a valid argument against Christianity (I’m not saying any of you guys were making this claim mind you, I’m just talking) because it assumes atheism. If God were real, relying on him wouldn’t be unhealthy.

    Thanks for your input tmp.

    Nowiser – again your precision is admirable. Allow me to clarify. If I make claims, I guess I shouldn’t be making those claims against atheism itself. My issues are more with materialism than with atheism, and I acknowledge that the two are not the same (although I concede that I failed to make the distinction in earlier posts). The reason I tend to equate the two is that all of my atheist friends are materialists. I guess I should just make some buddhist friends ay?
    I haven’t read much Foucault. What I have read I’ve enjoyed. Those French post-modern philosophers… very insightful. I enjoy Baudrillard and Sartre (as well as a little Levinas).

    Deadscot – you make the same point as Les does a little later on, so read on for my attempt at a reply.  grin

    Les, on the first point of being unhealthy vs. using x as a crutch, yeah pardon the confusion that’s my bad. I was equating the two. I like your libertarian approach. I’m right on board with you.
    You’re right. Christianity deserves a lot of bashing for the Crusades, and I say that as a Christian (and American deserves a lot of bashing for Iraq, and I say that as an American).

    As for the whole killing thing, I think God says that murder is wrong. To kill refers to biological processes, to murder refers to moral processes. I think an argument could be made that the Creator of a world has certain freedom within that world, and so while admitting that God has killed numerous people, I would deny that that makes him a murderer. Like you said: “He is God after all.”
    Am I just brushing off a contradiction? I don’t think so. Allow me to explain myself. I think if you frame a lot of the wars that God was involved in (and those I think would be far fewer than Spocko’s 45 item list) in the larger context of his plan for Israel, and in the context of a spiritually war-torn world, I think it makes sense. The reason I didn’t go in depth is because I know my personal view won’t carry much weight. But basically, it seems as though physical wars in the Hebrew Scriptures mirror spiritual wars, and insofar as God is engaged in those spiritual wars, they have physical ramifications (the argument that Gregory A. Boyd makes in his ‘God at War’). Weak sauce to you guys? Yeah, and I know it. I just don’t think that it’s an ostrich impression to claim that I don’t understand God. I don’t want to shy away from the difficulties, but at the same time I don’t want to fall into the opposite trap of saying that if I can’t totally understand God then I should throw him away, know what I mean?

    Ok, now the part Les is looking forward to. And deadscot. What answers does atheism provide? Well, first of all, it is a rejection of the divine, and insofar as that rejection of the divine is a rejection of the spiritual, it can easily tend towards materialism (and I believe that materialism provides answers of a certain brand if you will). On some of these points I’ll kind of merge the two, and you can beat me with a stick where I do this to the detriment of my argument. Unless you are a superstitious atheist, I think we should be ok.
    – There is no ultimate purpose. If your cousin dies, it’s not God’s will, it’s not Satan’s will, it just happened. Why? Cuz. Deal with it. That seems like an answer to me.
    – Death is the end. Granted you could be a buddhist, believe in kharma and reincarnation, so this point applies more to materialism than to atheism, but at least it’s what all my atheist friends would say. And it’s an answer.
    – There is no universal point to life. You kinda hafta make your own reason.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: This is totally tentative guys. I’ll be upfront and say that three thousand qualifications are rushing through my brain as I type. I haven’t tried to make this boat of an argument float before, so if it’s not particularly waterproof, don’t hack me to pieces (too much). I’m curious though, does no one have the same intuition as me? Does it not seem like atheism (or at least materialism) provides some answers? I guess maybe my claims stem from my own conception of how I would do the whole atheism thing if I were an atheist. Maybe I shouldn’t be making such broad claims. Vast generalizations aren’t usually helpful are they? Oh well, I tried.

    So yeah like I said, I’m not dead-set on the above ideas, but they’re intuitions that I have, and I thought I’d share them. Feel free to convince me otherwise.

    Anyway, thanks for all the replies. Keep on truckin’.

    -Peace-

  31. MK speaks…

    What answers does atheism provide? Well, first of all, it is a rejection of the divine…

    Not true – atheism means “without belief”. If there was any evidence of anything being divine I would consider it. There is none. Atheists don’t necessarily reject spirituality either. I feel that spirituality is just another (badly named) emotion.

    …it can easily tend towards materialism…

    Apples and oranges – atheism and materialism are in no way connected.

    …superstitious atheist…

    That is an oxymoron.

    – There is no ultimate purpose. If your cousin dies, it’s not God’s will, it’s not Satan’s will, it just happened. Why? Cuz. Deal with it. That seems like an answer to me.
    – Death is the end. Granted you could be a buddhist, believe in kharma and reincarnation, so this point applies more to materialism than to atheism, but at least it’s what all my atheist friends would say. And it’s an answer.
    – There is no universal point to life. You kinda hafta make your own reason.

    -Who says there has to be a purpose to life?
    -Atheists, like everyone else, have no idea what happens when you die. There is no evidence that anything happens. I’m quite content to wait to see for myself rather than listen to ancient dudes crazy ideas.
    -Who says there needs to be a point to life? I need no reason to carry-on other than to provide for my family and have a good time.

  32. I’ll play nicely (for now) and only respond to those comments that were solicited by me.

    Ok, now the part Les is looking forward to. And deadscot. What answers does atheism provide? Well, first of all, it is a rejection of the divine, and insofar as that rejection of the divine is a rejection of the spiritual, it can easily tend towards materialism (and I believe that materialism provides answers of a certain brand if you will).

    Atheism is disbelief.  It is not a rejection.  Rejection is an action and requires an acknowledgment of something to reject.  Can atheism lead to materialism? Yes, but so can any number of things.

    On some of these points I’ll kind of merge the two, and you can beat me with a stick where I do this to the detriment of my argument. Unless you are a superstitious atheist, I think we should be ok.
    -There is no ultimate purpose. If your cousin dies, it’s not God’s will, it’s not Satan’s will, it just happened. Why? Cuz. Deal with it. That seems like an answer to me.

    Not sure I see the logic in this.  Yes, it is an answer but atheism isn’t what provided it.  Science, logic, and understanding would lead one to such an answer but to credit atheism would be overreaching.  As a side note:  I know of many atheists who have felt that people have sacrificed their lives for greater causes than themselves and who would also argue that others have wasted their lives.  The only ‘will’ behind it was their own and atheism provides no answers in this regard.

    – Death is the end. Granted you could be a buddhist, believe in kharma and reincarnation, so this point applies more to materialism than to atheism, but at least it’s what all my atheist friends would say. And it’s an answer.

    Once again, it’s an answer but not one provided by atheism.  Atheism eliminates the belief in the supreme beings and thus one is left to focus on the reality at hand.  Science, as we know it today, pretty much states that death is the end of the road.

    -There is no universal point to life. You kinda hafta make your own reason.

    This really isn’t an answer per se.  You could draw this inference from just about anything in life.  One of the unique things about atheism is that it allows relief from the constraints of a religious belief system in order to determine what that ‘reason for being’ may be.

  33. -There is no universal point to life. You kinda hafta make your own reason.

    If you feel compelled to come up with a reason for your life then yeah, you kind of do have to make it up yourself. Or maybe realizing that any reason for your being here is unknowable you accept what is and stop trying to justify the rest.

    I am. What else matters? I am a good person because I enjoy being good, not because of some threat of cosmic retribution if I am not. I donate blood, money, food, talent, and time to various causes that are set up to help my fellow man not to curry favor with a diety so I can score beachfront property in the afterlife but because sometimes I like humanity.

    I don’t think that life has any point to it at all but I still try to do good when I can and I do it to help balance the misery of living in the now. When the sun burns out and the universe goes dark (or conversly when it contracts only to be reborn again) will anything any of us, from the greatest philanthropist to the most horrible genocidal maniac, have meant anything at all? As a logical being I have to view all of the evidence equally critically regardless of how upsetting it might be. As an atheist I can’t allow myself to cop out and throw god into the equasion to skew the result just because it would make me feel comfort.

    But that’s just me.

  34. …I think God says that murder is wrong…  the Creator of a world has certain freedom within that world, and so while admitting that God has killed numerous people, I would deny that that makes him a murderer….
    Am I just brushing off a contradiction?…

    You bet your sweet bippy you’re brushing off a contradiction.  The victims of every god-driven religious war in history have gasped their last breaths at the hands of people who were certain god told them to do it.  Their survivors equally hated the killers because their gods told them to.  On it goes. 

    This is god’s perfect plan?  Sure it “makes sense” in the context of god’s plan for Israel, or whatever – so what?  Every delusion has some internal consistency.  Doesn’t mean diddly to the mother of a little boy who just got his head blown off by a bomblet he picked up.

    What answers does atheism provide? Well, first of all, it is a rejection of the divine, … a rejection of the spiritual, it can easily tend towards materialism.

    You can’t reject a god you don’t believe in.  You reject the idea that he/she/it exists.  This is not splitting hairs: I listened intently to the receiver, but after years of no signal, finally concluded there was no one on the other end of the line. 

    I am a materialist: that is, I believe the material universe is all there is that could possibly matter to us.  In this category I include not only bricks and stars but electromagnetic waves and quantum effects that are far beyond my understanding, but I do see that someone understands them on the basis of repeatable experiments and observations.  Or that they could in principle be understood that way.

    (This is why it annoys me when someone says, “You have to have faith to be an atheist.”  No more than the faith required to reject the idea of a universal purple unicorn – there’s no evidence for that, either.)

    I don’t reject the spiritual, what theologians call “the sense of the numinous” because there’s a part of the brain that handles that emotion.  It can in principle be observed, and chemically reproduced at will.

    don’t hack me to pieces (too much)

    Well you’re not attacking us, you’re working with ideas as we are.  Same in reverse – you’re not under attack but your ideas might get hacked up somethin’ awful.  That’s how we (which includes you) sharpen our thinking:

    Prov. 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

  35. DOF: Not to denigrate her work…

    I’m not so quick to declare Mother Theresa a saint. The substance of her work seems largely unexamined and the few detractors willing to speak out raise serious issues that I’d like to have explained.

    It may be a topic for the forums, though.

  36. I feel that spirituality is just another (badly named) emotion.

    Good point. What IS a more correct, more accurate name for it?  I struggle with this, because I’m an Atheist, but I feel I’m at least as, if not more, “spiritual” than I was when I identified myself as a member of one religion or another (interestingly enough, the further away from Christianity I ventured, the more “spiritual” I became).  I don’t believe in gods, but the closest description I can come up with for what I feel/believe is that there is something “divine” in every human.  It’s the power of intellect, and will, and the natural instinct to care for our fellow beings.  Nothing supernatural required, no posthumous reward/punishment to consider.  Just the here-and-now; the reality.

    Ugh.  My current reality is that I’m going to be late for work if I don’t move my ass! Happy Monday, all!

    (“five”)

  37. Hey maybe that pope dude knows something after all…

    …people close to the pope claim that amid these concerns, the pontiff wishes he was younger and in better health to confront the possibility that Bush may represent the person prophesized in Revelations…

    Found on this site.

    Hail to the Beelzebub!

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