Four teens group hugged after killing a former friend.

Cold and inhumane doesn’t begin to describe the teens in this news story.

The Philadelphia Inquirer Online

Batzig – once Sweeney’s best friend – told investigators: “We just walked up and started hitting him… . Soon after that, Jason started begging for his life.”

Batzig told detectives he struck the first blow, and hit Sweeney with a hatchet “four or five times… as hard as I could.”

After Sweeney stopped breathing, Dominic Coia told detectives, the four teens engaged in “a group hug. It was like we were all happy with what we did.”

Was he high at the time?, detectives asked Dominic Coia.

“No. I was as sober as I am now. It is sick, isn’t it?” he responded.

They’ve already mentioned The Beatles song Helter Skelter in this article as having played a role in the events, I wonder how much longer before they start blaming other songs or movies or video games. This is the sort of thing that convinces people that ‘evil’ is an actual force at work in the world, when all this kind of evil requires is a callous disregard for the value of life.

86 thoughts on “Four teens group hugged after killing a former friend.

  1. They can try to put the blame on anything they wish, but in the end they were the ones who killed a friend in cold blood. I have heard Helter Skelter, played Dungeons & Dragons, even taken illicit drugs and yet I have never killed anyone. Could it be that maybe the reason they killed him is because they are wholly devoid of compassion for other people? I try never to use the word ‘evil’ since I strongly associate it with religious dogma, but what other words can describe these empty hollow children? Vile? Disgusting? Garbage?

    May they all rot in jail.

  2. I don’t think I should have read that article right before bed.  That is probably the single most horrible act I’ve ever heard.  Actually, when I stop to think about it, it’s just ONE of the most horrible acts I’ve ever heard.  This world is filled with such sick people—people who will stop at nothing for the sake of a thrill or a pocketful of money. 

    Are these people born like this?  Or do they become this way over time?  The “callous disregard for the value of life” comes from somewhere, Les.  I have my theories—too numerous and lengthy to go into here—but it does come from somewhere.  Yes, I believe there are those who are born bad …. but I believe there are also those who “turn” bad over time.  Damn … whatever the reason, it’s beyond belief what some are capable of.

    Now I better go read something happy so I don’t have bad dreams.

  3. Leigh, yeah it does come from somewhere. Sometimes it’s actively taught to them like the callous disregard that can develop via racism when you’re told that other ethnic groups are sub-human. Sometimes it’s passively taught to them via neglect by parents too busy doing other things to teach their kids right from wrong or provide them with the love and attention they need.

    Morals and the value of life are things that people mistakenly assume are instinctual or instilled in us through some divine power, but the truth is these are things that are taught to us by others. Our parents have the biggest influence, but not the only one. Sometimes not being taught to care about others is more dangerous than being taught to hate a particular group.

    -=e=-: *Sniff!* I’m so happy! I’ve always wanted to be heckled! It’s a sign I’ve finally hit the big time! Yay!

    Heh, I think this is the first response I’ve ever made where I tried to be serious and silly at the same time.

  4. Forgot to respond to Jay’s comment:

    I didn’t catch anything in the article that suggested the kids participated in this killing for a religious reason so I don’t think we can expect them to use that as an excuse. From the sounds of it, this was purely a thrill kill.

  5. Here in South Florida, a teenager driving a Corvette at high speeds crashed causing the car to disintrigrate upon impact and killing the driver. Immediately, newspapers and other news media said that he drove so fast because he had just gotten out of the movie theatre where he allegedly say ‘2 Fast 2 Furious.’ On a radio station two days later, the teenagers father said his son never saw that film, nor the first ‘Fast and the Furious.” Buggers, all of them.

  6. You look at the world and say there is no Satan and no God. When you go to a store and see a watch, do you say there is no watch maker? Yet the watch isn’t near as intricate, amazing, beautifull or self-correcting as the universe.
    By the same token you ignore the evidence when you write that we are all influenced by our upbringing, that’s how we know right and wrong. I bet you couldn’t get 5 people to agree to any other specific thing. Yet somehow every human culture knows that killing, raping, thieving and dishonesty are wrong. Talk about missing the trees for the forest.
    And if the culture knows it’s wrong, how does the environment, that same culture, then produce this “bad behaviour”?  I’m not saying man isn’t perfectly capable of evil all by himself. In fact, I personally believe that self-centeredness is what takes us there. But I think we are guided along the way.

  7. Yet when I look at the watch I see a physical object that was created by a human being…a person that I can see and touch, not an invisible being that that I just have to believe is there. When someone can show me god in the act of creation then I will have to re-evaluate my position, but until then I don’t see where this universe could not have come into being without the aid of intelligent design.

    You think that every culture knows that things like rape, murder, and stealing are wrong, but have you ever tried to raise children in absolute isolation and then quiz them on what is right and wrong? My guess is that without any outside influence and without being taught a moral code, such children would have no concept of right and wrong. Right then would be whatever they desired at the time and wrong would be anything unpleasant that happened to THEM.

    Cultures arise when the participants agree to certain things like NOT murdering or raping each other or because such things are generally unpleasant, it is not something we are born knowing.

  8. I’ve owned over a couple dozen watches in my life. I’ve never met a single watchmaker. Nor have I even been in a watch-making factory. By your logic, since I’ve never seen or touched these people, they do not exist, and I should believe that watches are naturally occurring. You say you can take me to a watchmaker? I say I will not go with you on that journey, because I believe it would be a waste of my time, and it’s likely just a bunch of hocus-pocus anyway, because watches naturally occur.

    I think there are many things you have never seen, but believe to be real by the evidence of their existence. We often “discover” celestial bodies that we cannot see because we see the way other bodies behave and know that there must be a reason for it. All I am saying is: I believe there is an embodiment of evil, and incidents such as these are part of the evidence. The way these people behaved is indicative of an evil force in the universe. Likewise, the faith that some people have is indicative of the existence of God. Just like when I first saw a watch and someone told me that watches come from watchmakers I believed that there were indeed watchmakers.

  9. You look at the world and say there is no Satan and no God. When you go to a store and see a watch, do you say there is no watch maker? Yet the watch isn’t near as intricate, amazing, beautifull or self-correcting as the universe.

    And now we come upon, once again, the logical fallacy known as the Argument From Design expressed in a now classical form called The Watchmaker Argument. The argument basically being that something as intricate as the Universe or a human being couldn’t come into existence by chance. That as watches have watchmakers so too must the universe have a universe maker. Allow me to quote to you from the Atheism Web’s article on common arguments:

      The Watchmaker analogy suffers from three particular flaws, over and above those common to all Arguments By Design. Firstly, a watchmaker creates watches from pre-existing materials, whereas God is claimed to have created the universe from nothing. These two sorts of creation are clearly fundamentally different, and the analogy is therefore rather weak.

      Secondly, a watchmaker makes watches, but there are many other things in the world. If we walked further along the beach and found a nuclear reactor, we wouldn’t assume it was created by the watchmaker. The argument would therefore suggest a multitude of creators, each responsible for a different part of creation (or a different universe, if you allow the possibility that there might be more than one).

      Finally, in the first part of the watchmaker argument we conclude that the watch is not part of nature because it is ordered, and therefore stands out from the randomness of nature. Yet in the second part of the argument, we start from the position that the universe is obviously not random, but shows elements of order. The Watchmaker argument is thus internally inconsistent.

      Apart from logical inconsistencies in the watchmaker argument, it’s worth pointing out that biological systems and mechanical systems behave very differently. What’s unlikely for a pile of gears is not necessarily unlikely for a mixture of biological molecules.

    You find it difficult to imagine how the Universe could exist in all it’s complexity without a designer and you argue the odds are against it. If it’s really that unlikely, however, then the chances of an entity with a mind complex enough to fashion an entire universe and create everything in it including sentient life is, itself, even that much more unlikely. The odds are against the existence of God if you want to base it on complexity as an indicator.

    By the same token you ignore the evidence when you write that we are all influenced by our upbringing, that’s how we know right and wrong. I bet you couldn’t get 5 people to agree to any other specific thing. Yet somehow every human culture knows that killing, raping, thieving and dishonesty are wrong. Talk about missing the trees for the forest.

    And you know for certain that every single human culture considers all four of those things as wrong? As a matter of general principle it’s possible that every culture does consider them “wrong”, but every culture has many exceptions to those rules as well. For example: Killing is wrong except in a time of war/for self-defense/to avenge an injustice. Rape is still a popular tool of many cultures at war with another (e.g. Rowanda’s ethnic cleansing) and the culture of the people involved saw nothing wrong with it. The Palestinians consider the land taken from them by the Israelis to have been “stolen” yet many Israelis don’t view it as theft. Clearly even if every culture agrees that these things are “wrong” in a general sense, many do not agree over what actions fall under those classifications.

    Accepting for the sake of this argument that the above claim is true, it still doesn’t necessitate the existence of a God to explain the universalism. The definition of “culture” states that it is “the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.” In other words, it’s everything that the majority of people in a particular organization has been taught.

    The scientific field known as Evolutionary Sociology has shown us that social behavior evolves over time. Social behaviors of the past that were once accepted by the majority of a culture, such as slavery of another race, may become unacceptable to the majority of a culture at a later date. The more beneficial to survival a particular cultural adaptation is, the more likely that group is to flourish and prosper.

    In short, cultures that didn’t see “killing” as “wrong” most likely died out(probably because they kept killing each other)leaving behind only cultures that taught that “killing” is a “bad idea.” This would easily allow for certain concepts to become more or less universal in every culture over time as those which taught concepts that were beneficial to survival replaced those that did not.

    I’d say your quip at the end of not seeing the forest for the trees may be more applicable to you than I.

    And if the culture knows it’s wrong, how does the environment, that same culture, then produce this “bad behaviour”?

    The sociologists have been working on that one for a long time and it’s a field of study, called Social Deviance, that would take entirely too much space to explain in brief. There are numerous courses taught at most colleges about this topic, however, and countless books published on it that I recommend you seek out if you really want an answer to this question. Suffice it to say that “the Devil made me do it” has little bearing on it.

    I’m not saying man isn’t perfectly capable of evil all by himself. In fact, I personally believe that self-centeredness is what takes us there. But I think we are guided along the way.

    You can believe people who engage in bad behavior are controlled by aliens with bad haircuts and attitudes to match from the planet Weebo if you want to, but it’s not much of an explanation that would be of any use.

    I’ve owned over a couple dozen watches in my life. I’ve never met a single watchmaker. Nor have I even been in a watch-making factory. By your logic, since I’ve never seen or touched these people, they do not exist, and I should believe that watches are naturally occurring. You say you can take me to a watchmaker? I say I will not go with you on that journey, because I believe it would be a waste of my time, and it’s likely just a bunch of hocus-pocus anyway, because watches naturally occur.

    A simplistic argument, but one that makes a lot of sense to believers. A vital difference, however, is even if you don’t want to go on the journey to see a watchmaker, Eric could still bring a watchmaker to you. Can you produce your God and show him in the act of creation? Additionally, you could be provided with a book that has detailed instructions on everything that’s involved in the the production of a watch so that, if so inclined, you could produce a watch yourself. In essence, becoming that which you seek proof of. Can your religious text help you to create something from nothing and thus prove the existence of God by allowing you to learn his secrets and master his techniques yourself?

    If so, I’d love to see a demonstration and I’ll promise to keep an open mind as I can think of many good uses I could apply such knowledge to.

    I think there are many things you have never seen, but believe to be real by the evidence of their existence. We often “discover” celestial bodies that we cannot see because we see the way other bodies behave and know that there must be a reason for it. All I am saying is: I believe there is an embodiment of evil, and incidents such as these are part of the evidence. The way these people behaved is indicative of an evil force in the universe. Likewise, the faith that some people have is indicative of the existence of God. Just like when I first saw a watch and someone told me that watches come from watchmakers I believed that there were indeed watchmakers.

    Again a rather simplistic argument. If all evil acts can be explained by the influence of “an embodiment of evil” then how can we justify prosecuting anyone for any wrong they commit? Particularly if said individuals lay claim to being powerless to do otherwise due to being under this embodiment’s influence?

    Additionally, how do you rectify the problem of people who do evil, but claim it isn’t evil because the act was commanded by God? Many religious texts are full of examples of God condoning and ordering his followers to engage in actions that God has declared as being wrong or ‘evil’ so if you accept those religious texts as factual you now have a problem.

    You cite that you view “the faith that some people have is indicative of the existence of God.” Does this mean you also view the faith that some people have that they have been abducted by aliens and had their anal cavities probed as evidence of a race of extra-terrestrials with an ass fetish? What if they produce an artifact that they claim is one of the anal probes in question or an alien technology for reading their minds? Would you accept that as fact simply because these people have “faith” in the truth of their statements?

    How about the people who have faith that the Earth is actually hollow with an internal sun and a race of 20 foot tall giants that live in a Utopian society of bliss and harmony? What if those people claimed to be able to telepathically communicate with those giants and allowed you to hold a conversation with one, would you believe them then? If not, why not?

    If so, I have some amazing deals on a few bridges I’d love to discuss with you. Don’t worry about the legality of it, God told me he wanted you to have them for a very low, low price.

  10. Repeatedly you write my arguments are simplistic. Indeed. One might infer that a) I was trying to keep it under 1700 words for those that might not want to take the time to read a short novel b) The most simple explanations have this way of often being the correct explanations c) I thought I would (politely) keep my comments as focused as possible on the topic and/or d) I was not arguing, I was merely giving you the shortest distance to the explanation of my view. I

  11. But would I have to actively disbelieve if I hadn’t been repeatedly dragged along to church, forced to participate in vague rituals, and was exposed to people of a like mind who were forced as children into that same idiological conformity? I only think about god when it comes up as a topic on a blog, or someone at work mentions something about some church event that they attended over the weekend. I really don’t feel that I am expending any energy avoiding the shining light of truth.

    If the simplest answer is most often correct (ala Occam’s razor) then disbelief, or maybe more to the point non-belief requires no action on my part at all.

  12. Attention! Retraction:
    In my haste to respond on Monday, I gave a poor mathematical example. I had meant to go back and review it before I posted, but I got distracted and failed (I can only do about 7 things at once). I apologize. I used any number divided by itself is equal to one, which I’m pretty sure is a postulate, not and axiom.

    The point holds though, there are axioms we cannot prove, but that we know intuitively will always be true. But we cannot explore every example of them, because they are infinite in number. However, this doesn’t stop us from building complex and often very useful theories on them.

    I was bad, I was wrong, please, no, master, NOT THE WET NOODLE!!!

    Eric:
    I cannot be inside your head. Every man eats his own breakfast. So cannot really comment on your personal experience.

    Let us say though that you are correct and there is no God. Why then have so many people (literally billions) believed in a God? People, somewhere, were not dragged to church, and yet created this belief in God to explain thier surroundings. If they had not, then they would’ve had to choose to not believe.

    I think we all seek an explanation.  You experience a particularly spectacular thing: a sunset, the birth of a child, sex, music, whatever, and it transcends human understanding. Nature itself, by it’s existence, begs the question. My existence (self awareness) begs the question. Why are we here? You can accept the explanation “We just are.” And sure, that is the simplest explanation. But is there anything else you accept that explanation for? If you had your car/computer/TV/air conditioner/etc. repaired and the repairman said “It’s broken.” Would that be OK for you? It is the simplest explanation of the problem.

    In fact, that is my personal experience. I began with “Why am I?” and “I just am.” did not satisfy me.  Even at 14 I could see that science, while good at showing how, was not too hot on why. So we look at the evidence, and we make our best guess. But either way, it requires an effort, a choice, some trust (or faith) to stick by our conclusion.

  13. True, billions of people believe in some form of theism, now…but in the beginning did billions of people all just spontaneously begin to believe at the same time which would indicate some ingrained awakening or knowledge? It is far more likely that one person or a small group converted others to their own unique belief, and then once many were converted and taught to indoctrinate their young in the belief the church used religion in order to control the masses. Much better than brute force to cow a people is the fear that you might spend an eternity in some horrific version of pain and torment (provided that you are superstitious enough to believe it). Hell, the people keep themselves in bondage, instant slave class.

    Now how could so many people be kept in the dark for so long? In England in the “Dark Ages” with the exception of nobility only the clergy were allowed to learn how to read and write so they could be used as willing tools to keep the king’s subjects in line. In Ancient Egypt the Pharaoh was also a god on earth which probably kept most unbelievers from saying anything publicly that might invite torture and death. The Incas dark and violent gods required human sacrifice and those who weren’t too keen on worshiping may have suspected that their family member might be needed to insure the next harvest.

    If god is some universal truth why don’t we all believe in the same one?

    If people believe in a god, a goddess, or gods and it gives them comfort or a sense of purpose then more power to them. All I am saying is I do not need religion to find comfort or give my life purpose and I also need a degree of proof before I am going to believe in an invisible being of omnipotent power.

  14. i knew those all of those people in the news article … i empathize with all of them. they’re not evil, but is where sin will lead someone … to destruction. i weep for them. without God, we are all so lost.

  15. without God, we are all so lost.

    From where I’m standing even when people have God in their lives it’s not much help. One need only read the newspaper to see that.

  16. I find it amusing that you don’t respond to me anymore Les. Or is silence acquiescence? I wonder, have you ever knowingly experienced God in your life so that you

  17. It’s been a matter of time more than anything else. I spent an hour or so working on a lengthy response a few days back which I lost due to a hiccup in my connection and I’ve lacked the motivation to re-do the work. I don’t have much time at the moment, but I’ll attempt quick response to your questions in your current reply.

    Have I ever knowingly experienced God in my life? As far as I can tell the answer would be no. In fact, part of the reason I’m now an atheist is due to a realization that even at the height of my belief, and I was once a very devout Baptist, I had never had what I could call a truly religious experience based on the descriptions others have given me over the years. This poses a couple of possibilities such as A) I wasn’t doing whatever it was I supposed to be doing correctly to make myself worthy of God’s attention or B) he doesn’t exist to provide said attention. Considering the amount of honest effort I put into being what I was taught a good Christian was supposed to be I ended up going with conclusion B.

    Does this mean I’m not at peace? You seem to think you detect a lack of peace in me, but I would tell you that I feel more at peace with myself than I ever did when I was very religious. I’ve been told by those who know me personally that I seem quite contented and at peace with the world and myself. Maybe they’re blowing smoke up my ass, but I don’t see what they’d stand to gain from that so I’ll accept their comments as their honest opinions.

    Is religion the opiate of the masses? To a degree I think it does serve that function, but I’m not necessarily opposed to it for that reason. I think it encourages people to act more like mindless sheep than humans with the ability to think and reason, but there are plenty of religious people who manage to still use the grey matter in their heads despite the message of blind obedience their religion tries to dictate. I don’t really care what religion you believe in as long as you continue to use the brain your God(s) gave you. I’d prefer it if more people dropped the whole religion thing altogether, but I also recognize that many people need something greater than themselves to believe in and I’m not one to deny someone their security blanket if it helps them sleep at night. So long as they’re not trying to force it upon me.

    It’s true that I’d rather live with a harsh reality than a comfortable fantasy. From where I’m standing religion ends up causing as many problems as it solves, perhaps more so. For a lot of people it seems to condition them towards greater credulity and opens them up to being exploited and abused. If you’re willing to believe in a nice old man sitting on a cloud handing out wishes based on some master plan then why aren’t you willing to believe that someone has invented a free energy device or that he can talk to dead people or predict your future? At its best religion can motivate people to do some pretty wonderful things, but at its worst it can motivate people to commit the most heinous of acts. Because it’s all based on faith and unverifiable claims it can be masterfully manipulated by skillful hands into justifying just about anything you want it to.

    You accuse me of putting down something I don’t understand, but I feel I understand it all too well and that is why I put it down. You seem to think I’m trapped in some form of darkness whereas I feel I’m basking in the light of a truth you can’t see due to the willful blinders you’ve put over your eyes. Which of us is right? Only time will tell.

  18. I think you’ve experienced the confusion that many people (indeed entire church’s full) have between faith and religion. And I think that it’s absolutely possible to come to an intellectual understanding of God, and yet have no faith at all.

    I disagree with your first statement and I agree with your second statement.

    I can walk you through a proof of Christian faith (i.e. Jesus is God and the Bible is the Word of God) that is completely rational, and the claims are quite verifiable. But it really doesn’t do much good, except for making Christians more comfortable because their faith can be described rationally.

    Many have made that claim yet none have actually produced such a proof. Instead they took the same course you have and provided an excuse as to why they won’t bother producing said proof. If you’re not going to bother then why bring it up as being possible?

    I could just as easily say: I could prove to you that I can produce monkeys from my ass, but it wouldn’t do much good except for making those who believe I can produce monkeys from ass more comfortable because I’ve shown I can actually do it. Somehow I’m willing to bet you’d still have doubts about my ability to produce monkeys from my ass based on that statement alone. Got a proof? Great! Let’s hear it. Otherwise bringing it up is pointless.

    But an intellectual understanding of who God is, or even that he exists, is not faith

  19. I disagree with your first statement and I agree with your second statement.

    When I write “I think” how can you write that you disagree? You

  20. Maybe the reason no one has ever provided you with that proof is that when they start to do so, you run away.

  21. I haven’t run away. I’m still right here. I just haven’t had time to get into lengthy responses as of the last week or so. I’ve started a new job and that has eaten up a lot of my energy.

    You say that your proof requires a 16 hour class normally to go over properly. I would suspect then that you don’t need a response from me to get started on it. Sounds like you have a lot of typing ahead of you if you’re going to prove anything. Don’t wait on me, I’ll be around. It IS my website afterall.

  22. Most philosophical proofs of any complexity build on themselves. To progress we need to lay down some foundation for future points. The first point I have given you, (The truth about reality can be known) There is not much sense in continuing until we agree to that. I will give you some support for that position:

    A) Truth is that which corresponds to the object to which it refers.
      Any denial of this would defeat itself.
    B) We can know reality (again, basically undeniable).

    And I’ll give you a second foundational argument:

    The opposite of true is false (again, basically undeniable).

    Together, these points eliminate relativism, something we must do if we’re going to be dicussing absolutes. But I do need your agreement to them for it to be worthwile to persue the rest. And it would be some fun to discuss your alternatives should you to try to deny the above.

    The 16 hours is usually spent in discussion of the points, which if you’re going to just accept will take very little time. If I just felt like typing to myself, I’d have never made the offer. I don’t need to re-examine the proof. Although I rather suspect I’ll get plenty of quotes from infidels.org, I’m hoping instead to interact with a person that is capable of thinking for himself.

  23. Most philosophical proofs of any complexity build on themselves. To progress we need to lay down some foundation for future points.

    I’m not interested in a “philosophical” proof. I’m looking for a proof of existence that is undeniable and beyond question and philosophical proofs don’t fit that bill. I believe that sort of proof I am looking for is commonly known as “empirical.”

    The first point I have given you, (The truth about reality can be known) There is not much sense in continuing until we agree to that. I will give you some support for that position:

    A) Truth is that which corresponds to the object to which it refers.
    Any denial of this would defeat itself.
    B) We can know reality (again, basically undeniable).

    And I

  24. (Eric here, not Les)

    I am a little fuzzy on the whole ‘truth corresponding to the object to which it refers’ statement, please clarify.

    In order to state that “we can know reality” I think you first need to define reality. It would appear that you think that we have a one reality fits all scenario where I believe that reality is highly subjective. If you are saying that our own personal realities can be known then I will stipulate to that, but to say that you and I perceive reality in exactly the same way does not take into account a great number of variables.

    Unfortunately I am not sure if this will be of any real value since agreeing to force large amorphous theological concepts into manageable and artificial absolute values gives the concepts a property that they do not inherently have…unquestioned validity. I would have to have ‘faith’ to do that because proof would make this entire debate pointless.

    I mean if you will agree to a few absolutes that I define then I can probably prove that I am god.

  25. Les:

    All knowledge has it’s base in philosophy. All science is based on that principle. All branches of the pursuit of knowledge we have, have their base in philosophy. Perhaps taking note that degrees handed out by universities are Doctorates of Philosophy, not Doctorates of Empirical Observation might help you. Are you telling me that you cannot accept the Pythagorean Theorem because the proof is not empirical? If such is the case, then you should change the stupid (in SEB) to vacuous.

    There are possibly some absolutes? Isn’t that in itself a statement of absolute? Likewise, if you say the truth about reality cannot be known, then you

  26. Oh yeah, almost forgot:

    I’m pretty sure you could not get me to agree to the absolutes necessary to prove you are god. I *am* interested in seeing you try. And I am not trying to get to agree to any particular absolutes, just that there are absolutes.

  27. OK, I’ve read through this clarification and I feel I have a better feeling for where you’re headed. Your previous response wasn’t as clear and while I still have some reservations, I am willing to admit that I have no problems with the idea that we can know the truth about reality in general if not in whole. I scrapped an earlier attempt at a response here in which I tried to clarify my statements because it would’ve only dragged things out further though there are still one or two points I want to address:

    Relativism always defeats itself, but I think I can show that in my response to Eric. And if you

  28. Gheeesh, with you guys its god or nothing. David, you need to stop trying to talk down to everyone. I believe we will/do exist as aware energy after physical life, and time is an artificial construct, so we are in the next place being the next thing now. I don’t believe there is created or maintained by a god, but by all aware energy equally. Don’t expect me to try to prove that though. I don’t believe proving there is possible while focused on here. David, where would you be without the Bible? Les and Eric, where would you be without Scientific American? We’ll all retain our same beliefs regardless of what the others say.

  29. Indecision is a terrible thing. It affects the lives of millions of people who end up being too wishy-washy to trim down their choices. Please, give generously so that one day Scott might be able to narrow his religion down to one or two Gods.

    Make all checks payable to Les Jenkins, c/o Stupid Evil Bastard… :LMAO:

  30. I always find it amusing that people right away start trying to defeat Christianity or the Bible. So far, I

  31. Since I believe we are all gods, which means I believe in more gods than Scott does, why not set up a charity for me (…I mean for you, Les)?

    You’re right David; there is no reason for you to share my belief concerning the nature of reality. Eventually it comes down to subjective awareness. My intuition tells me the christian god I’ve considered is an insecure, insensitive, uptight brat. Actually, my perception is that he was invented by numerous writers who didn’t check each other’s works or were moved to reinvent some of them.
    Christianity seems to have done little to help the world’s inhabitants, in spite of a lengthy cast of movers and shakers willing to justify and represent it. I propose that the bible has created discord, diminishing peaceful positive co-existence, inspiring hate and disharmony and worst of all, it is really hard to read with little tiny print and way too much attitude and man does it ever go on and on, as does this post. Why so much effort validating a failed, often destructive ideology? Until I get a better bunch of experiences and stories on the subject to consider, and can forget all that has gone before, I’m not going to feel differently. I never understood how it could become such a best seller, but realize word of mouth played a big part and people love to see themselves or their friends in print (myself included).
    It seems to me, David, you are reading too much and feeling too little. No offense intended, and I hope you read this as well meant, if you can.
    I have equal disdain for the idea that it all ends after here. I can’t prove it doesn’t. I can’t accept that it does. Sorry.

    I’m still a really good guy, better than many self-professed christians, and I manage it without fear, reward or individual cessation as motivators.

  32. Let me define then, the God I am setting out to prove. A theistic God is an infinitely powerful, intelligent, and moral Creator who is absolutely perfect. He transcends yet sustains His creation and intervenes in it supernaturally from time to time.

    I also like your point about the possibility of correctness. The bar I

  33. Some proof here would be nice, Brock. You can have your opinion about existence, and when you fail to back it up with rational, it’s no big thing. I mean you

  34. Well, that didn’t take very long. You can stop now. You had my interest at first, but it’s clear from your second argument that you’ve got nothing new to offer. The Argument from Design has been effectively refuted many times over and if your proof uses it as a foundation then it’s not much of a proof. As you’ve already pointed out the website Internet Infidels.org has plenty of counter-arguments against the Argument from Design as does the talk.origins archive. You do a good job of hitting each and every one of the classic points in this argument, but I’ve already been there and done that so I won’t bother to repeat the counter-arguments here. Anyone interested is encouraged to spend some time at the two websites mentioned above.

    I do take exception to your attempt to use one of my personal heroes to support your argument. The first quote from him that you supply as supporting your argument is only a partial quote the full extent of which is actually a criticism of religion and it’s reliance on a supernatural explanation for existence.

    The more a man is imbued with the ordered regularity of all events the firmer becomes his conviction that there is no room left by the side of this ordered regularity for causes of a different nature. For him neither the rule of human nor the rule of divine will exist as an independent cause of natural events. To be sure, the doctrine of a personal God interfering with the natural events could never be refuted, in the real sense, by science, for this doctrine can always take refuge in those domains in which scientific knowledge has not yet been able to set foot. But I am persuaded that such behaviour on the part of the representatives of religion would not only be unworthy but also fatal. For a doctrine which is able to maintain itself not in clear light but only in the dark, will of necessity lose its effect on mankind, with incalculable harm to human progress….

        If it is one of the goals of religions to liberate mankind as far as possible from the bondage of egocentric cravings, desires, and fears, scientific reasoning can aid religion in another sense. Although it is true that it is the goal of science to discover (the) rules which permit the association and foretelling of facts, this is not its only aim. It also seeks to reduce the connections discovered to the smallest possible number of mutually independent conceptual elements. It is in this striving after the rational unification of the manifold that it encounters its greatest successes, even though it is precisely this attempt which causes it to run the greatest risk of falling a prey to illusion. But whoever has undergone the intense experience of successful advances made in this domain, is moved by the profound reverence for the rationality made manifest in existence. By way of the understanding he achieves a far reaching emancipation from the shackles of personal hopes and desires, and thereby attains that humble attitude of mind toward the grandeur of reason, incarnate in existence, and which, in its profoundest depths, is inaccessible to man. This attitude, however, appears to me to be religious in the highest sense of the word. And so it seems to me that science not only purifies the religious impulse of the dross of its anthropomorphism but also contributes to a religious spiritualisation of our understanding of life.
      —Albert Einstein, Science, Philosophy, and Religion, A Symposium, published by the Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion in Their Relation to the Democratic Way of Life, Inc., New York, 1941

    The second comment about God and dice was an expression of his dislike of some aspects of the emerging field of Quantum Mechanics. Einstein did not believe in the concept of a personal God who interferes in the affairs of man as you seem to be trying to suggest here.

    “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”
    —Albert Einstein, 1954, from Albert Einstein: The Human Side

    “I believe in Spinoza

  35. this subject always fascinates me. it seems to me that the only reason people don’t believe in God is because deep down they’re afraid where they’re going to wind up … so it’s easier to make it a non-issue. i went through a phase once when i “no longer believed in the God of christianity.” at least with God there are definites … there are lines not meant to be crossed. God says, “this is sin. this will bring life. walk in these ways.” you know what scared me the most when i thought there was no God? the fact that “anything goes … and truth is relative.” and that leads to all kinds of disasters!

  36. I am sorry that self-determinism scared you Rosie. Do you know what scares me? Religious zealots who preach bigotry from the pulpit trying to legislate their ideas of sin into law. I am afraid of the self righteous that comprise 99.8% of all religious people, they are dangerous dreamers who talk about peace and love but might not see a problem with killing a doctor that performs abortions. They want a heaven on earth but only if it excludes the queers, the Christ-hating Jew, and definitely not the terrorist Muslims. A wonderful place to live unless you don’t conform to their narrow view of right and wrong.

    Am I afraid I will go to hell when I die? The easy answer is that an Atheist does not believe in hell any more than they believe in god, so no I am not afraid. If it turns out that I am wrong and god sends me to hell then all that proves is that he is a petty insecure god that demands unquestioning obedience and does not care if you were a good person in life or not. In that case hell would probably be preferable to heaven.

  37. Rosie, you seem to be forgetting that most people who don’t believe in God also don’t believe in Hell and it’s kinda hard to be afraid of ending up someplace you don’t believe exists.

    Truth is relative regardless of whether or not you believe in God. Christians can’t even agree on what the “truth” is about their own religion. There are over 34,000 different sects of Christianity. Seems like an awful lot if the truth is so supposedly clear-cut for you guys. You’d think if it were that simple you’d have one denomination and one version of the Bible and one sect and there’d be no arguments. I think Christians believe in their God because deep down their afraid to admit they’re too clueless to figure out right from wrong on their own.

    It’s not without irony that Christians refer to themselves as “sheep.” Sheep are some of the dumbest animals on the planet. If you people really think you’re that fucking stupid that you need a magical old man to tell you right from wrong, then why the hell should I trust you to give me any advice on anything short of how to drool on yourselves? Think about that for a moment before you answer because it’s more than just an insulting statement, it’s a serious question. Why should anyone take any kind of spiritual advice from a group of people that declare themselves to be the biggest idiots in all of creation every Sunday in song and prayer? So pathetically in need of being told how to do everything that they beseech an invisible being to take pity on them for being such useless screw-ups even though they realize that they are not truly worthy of such pity. Do you people even stop to consider what’s in most of the prayers and songs you sing? What a whiny bunch of sycophants you guys make.

  38. that’s not how knowing God is at all. another thing that fascinates me is why people get so upset about people believing in God or Jesus. people may think we’re narrow-minded (or fill in the blank with whatever adjective or expletive you like!), but look at the results of following God … peace, joy, learning to truly love others and not be self-centered. it’s a humble road, but a good one. are those things possible without God? on a limited basis, but ultimately what drives humanity is “self.” self preservation, self expression, making sure we have our “rights” … but at what expense? sorry if i seem to be rambling a bit here. it’s a big subject, and i know that i choose an unpopular view. ultimately, God knows His own, will draw them to Himself, and everything else will play out as it is meant to be.

  39. I think what you are seeing as people getting upset about those who believe in god or jesus has nothing at all to do with the personally held belief, it comes from those who feel the need to force their belief in god and jesus on everyone else. Now you might think that all christians are doing is sharing the love and helping the unwashed masses to see the light but let’s turn it around for a moment. Suppose that christianity only had a following of maybe 7% of the population and that the major religion was bokononism and that the well meaning bokononists were using their considerable influence to bend the government to their will. Every morning your child would pledge their fealty to one state under bokonon, the calypso’s of bokonon would be placed in public buildings and in the schools to remind all children including yours that the one true god bokonon expected them to follow certain rules, and any time you complained that maybe you weren’t receiving fair treatment under the law (or they were receiving better) the bokononist would cry out that you were bokonon bashers and religious bigots. Now that you are me how do you think you would feel about this group of people who roll along like some blithely pious juggernaut crushing everyone under foot? I guess it is too much to agree to disagree in this country, everyone is so sure they are right that they feel the need to force everyone else to live according to their rules. Isn’t life hard enough without everyone trying to push everyone else back down?

    Anyhow, in the words of one of my favorite authors, the immortal Kurt Vonnegut Jr.:

    In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in His cosmic loneliness.

    And God said, “Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done.” And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close as mud as man sat up, looked around, and spoke. Man blinked. “What is the purpose of all this?” he asked politely.

    “Everything must have a purpose?” asked God.

    “Certainly,” said man.

    “Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this,” said God.

  40. You chose an unpopular view? Am I mistaken to think you live in America? You know, the country where 85% or so of the population claims a belief in a God of some sort or another? Of which the majority of the population therein claims to be Christian? How can you claim your view is unpopular given all of the above? What fascinates me is how Christians in America love to claim to be the persecuted minority all the time oblivious to the facts at hand. Perhaps you guys really are clueless enough that you need a magical old man to tell you up from down.

    But let’s take your suggestion and look at the results of following God. Let’s see there’s the recent Bible school graduate accused of molesting 10 young girls, there’s the group of Christians in Hoopeston, IL. who managed to stop a group of Wiccans from building a school, oh and that Christian anti-abortion protester who was arrested for molesting girls (he’s probably against abortion because it reduces the number of his potential victims), along with the conservative Christian group that pressured the CDC into not providing funding for a San Francisco AIDS prevention program the CDC had planned to support, and the Baptist Deacon who pleaded guilty to molesting young boys, and we can’t leave out the ongoing Catholic/Protestant violence in Ireland. The list just goes on and on.

    With so much peace, joy, learning to truly love others and not be so self-centered going on it’s amazing the human species has survived this long. Perhaps we shouldn’t look too closely at the results of following God as we may not be happy with what we see.

    Is it possible to experience peace, joy, learning to truly love others and not be self-centered without God? I’d say the answer is yes. At least it is in my case as I’ve experienced all of the above.

    Do I get upset about people believing in God or Jesus? Truth be told I don’t really care what you believe in until you start trying to impose those beliefs on me. You could believe God is a great big bowl of sentient Jell-o that requires you to spray yourself with whipped cream and face the southwest corner of your house to pray four times a day as long as you don’t try to force me to join in on your silliness.

    The problem is most Christians can’t follow their own rules and most of them can’t be content to live in their little fantasy worlds and leave the rest of us the hell alone. No, you’ve got to interfere with progress and try to get stupid laws passed that impose your beliefs on everyone regardless of whether they agree with you. If you people would just shut the hell up and go back to praying for the Apocalypse so you can spend the rest of eternity telling Jesus how wonderful and amazing he is (sounds real exciting to me) then there wouldn’t be a problem.

  41. so how come a christian sharing their beliefs (let’s leave the government out of this for the time being) is “pushing” … and yet everyone else has freedom of speech to share what they believe? we don’t live in bubbles … and everyone “pushes” (i look at is as expressing)what they believe one way or another. if christianity’s not your cup of tea, say, “no, thank you.” want a cup of tea? if not, okay then. i’ll still have the freedom to pray for you.

    okay: government. well, it seems to me that all laws are passed according to one belief or another. why not a christian’s belief? because we’re supposedly “intolerant?” according to who? that’s right .. according to someone else’s beliefs! everyone has an agenda … and yes, i believe christians tend to get the short end of the stick. why should other people’s beliefs get “imposed” on me?

    for every “christian crime” quoted: that’s pointless. crime is everywhere … no group is exempt. that’s the result of sinful human nature. we’ve never claimed to be infallible. pick a group: you’ll find some horrendous crime committed somewhere by some person who claims to represent it.

  42. Rosie, sharing a belief and imposing a belief are two very different things. Your christian believers want to control other’s basic rights. They want to tell children that they have to pray in school. They want to tell a woman that she can’t have an abortion. They want to tell a gay man or woman that they can’t have sex with a willing partner of the same sex. They want to deny same sex couples the right to a legal union. They want to deny the teaching of evolution in schools. The list of ways you people want to control others goes on and on.

    Pray for anybody you want to but stop your whining and keep your burden for yourself.

    You don’t seem to be able to read and process information very well. You want to make it seem like your humane beliefs are being trampled on. The truth is that you want to force your small minded and harmful beliefs on others and refuse to see who is of the innocent party here and who is just plain wrong in their practices and passions.

    Can’t you find a worthier cause to champion, such as universal health care or hunger relief? Can’t you find it in your heart to stretch your mind a little and put your efforts where they will benefit others instead of pushing an ideology that engenders hate and intolerence? I am not a sinner, thank-you. My human nature is more benign than yours, I think. My conscience is clearer and I don’t live in fear of what will happen to me after I die. Nor do I give anyone else permission to control my life for my soul’s sake. My soul will be fine without your religion’s guidance.

    If I read one more brain dead idiot talking about how christians are being treated unfairly, I honestly think I’m going to puke, and you won’t like me when I puke. Don’t make me do it!

    And what’s up with the refusal to use capital letters? Is it a form of protest? It seems to be a growing fashion these days. I’m very curious why.

    PS I won’t pray for you.

  43. Rosie,
    I so wish the “cup of tea ” analogy was true.
    The world would be so much better.

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