SEB Mailbag: Can you talk about something else?

More fun from the SEB Mailbag:

    Subject: Can you talk about something else?
    From:
    Date: 12/16/2006 12:01 AM
    To: Les Jenkins

    Judging by your web site, you are obviously an atheist which is not precisely why I am emailing. The main reason I am emailing you is because I can’t understand why all or at least the vast majority of atheists can’t seem to EVER stop talking about God, the Bible, stories from the Bible and Jesus. Why is that? Atheists talk about God more than Christian’s do. I have noticed you can’t listen to the songs of an atheist without having to hear all about their beliefs, you can’t visit the web site of an atheist without having to endure the constant resurfacing subject of their disbelief in God and Jesus, but I don’t usually hear them mention Mohammed, Buddha,  Hare Krishna or anybody else. You can’t even have a conversation with an atheist without them constantly reminding you of their disbelief and backward judgments of other people. I hate that.

    It seems to me that atheists are obsessed with Christianity. I mean look at it in another light: What if there was a group of people who hated big boobs? Ok, that’s not the kind of thing that is going to work it’s way into a casual conversation just as the subject of Christianity is not likely to surface in a casual conversation. But if the boob hating population just couldn’t shut up about how much they hate big boobs and why, not many people are going to continue talking/listening to them. I have one piece of advice: Either get down on your knees and pray to God or JUST SHUT UP! Talk about SOMETHING, ANYTHING ELSE!

    Don’t bother to answer this email, as I already know your response will be full of hatred as you seem to be seething with it, and defensiveness. I only emailed because I wondered if you were aware of how much you talk about God and Christianity while screaming you don’t believe it to people who didn’t seek you out to know the thoughts and musing of you.

My reply to Mr. Mark Smith was short and sweet: If you don’t like what I say then don’t come to my website, dumbass.

31 thoughts on “SEB Mailbag: Can you talk about something else?

  1. I may have a perspective here that Mr. Smith could learn from.  I’m the son of a Southern Baptist minister and spent the majority of my childhood attending fundamentalist Christian services at least 3 times a week.  Even today I have a pretty good grasp of the Christian Bible and can usually call to mind at least the essence of commonly quoted passages.

    Today I would have to identify myself to the majority as atheist, simply because very few would see my desire for bettering myself through any spiritual search as being “of God”.  So why do I, as many here also do, talk so much about the theist form of God and popular Christianity?  Because only one who has felt the pain of subjugation to absurd dogmatic assertions can truly see how much of the world around us reflects the popular Christian perspective.  When ones environment reflects what one believes as truth, the ego is reinforced allowing it to be emboldened with a fragile form of self-esteem and a tenuous peace.  But when the opposite case arises, people tend to talk about it, be they atheist, Christian, or whatever.  And they seek reinforcement from the like-minded.  There are numerous examples of this in the popular Christian world, so why would anyone expect others to be any different?  If Mr. Smith is a typical active participant in popular Christianity, then I suspect he spends a decent amount of time talking about the “evil” of this world as opposed to the love and grace of God.

    These are my experiences only, so I’m not trying to say that everyone here feels as I do.  But I do wish that Mr. Smith could understand how the wounds that I’m trying to heal without playing the role of “victim” and blaming others in the process, get poked each time I encounter the Christian influence in the social circles of life which should be free for all thoughts and perspectives. 

    I don’t want to be a “bitter atheist” and I don’t need others to change to accommodate my search for peace and meaning.  But it would be a great help if there were a few less “bitter Christians” trying to dominate the thoughts and actions of others.

    Peace,

    Darrin

  2. Why don’t we turn Mark’s query on its head? Mark, as a (presumed) Christian, you appear to be inordinately interested in Les’ musings. Most of the comment trolls that frequent SEB are Christians. Why are you people so interested in atheism?

  3. If a religous person questions principles of their religion, it can be called heresy. The presence of fundies slows the generation of new ideas or full understanding of the principles and so a fixed religion deviates from reality over time.

    Atheists have no such restraints, nor do people with their own combination of beliefs. I do not understand why people subscribe to a set package of beliefs completely and unquestionably, because simply believing it doesn’t make it true.

    In Mark’s email there was some degree of anger, Mark seems more concerned with issues that don’t really affect him, like the topics of SEB, than he want’s to engage in the principles of his religion that would make him at peace with us.
    Sending an unpleasant email with no will to dialoogue shows that all he wants to do is have a go at us

  4. I’ve just been lurking from my dad’s or bro’s PCs.

    This one was interesting enough to come out for a moment from my holiday to comment on … sorta.

    Mr Mark, the only times I think of your delusional psychoses is when one of you cognitively trained slaves brings up a specific figment of your imaginations.

    But that’s not what prompted me to comment.

    Elwed: I like the way you think.

    Teacher asks Little Johnny: If there were five birds on a fence and you shot one how many would be left?
    Little Johnny: None miss.
    Teacher: None Johnny?
    Little Johnny: Yes, Miss. When I shot the first one the others would fly away.
    Teacher: Well, Johnny, that’s not the answer I was looking for but I like the way you think.
    Little Johnny: Miss, if there were three ladies on a park bench eating ice-creams with one biting pieces off, another sucking pieces off, and the other licking it, which would you think was married?
    Teacher: Well, Johnny as a married woman I think I know the answer – it would have to be the one licking it.
    Little Johnny: No, Miss. The one with the wedding ring … but I like the way you think.

  5. I think Mark was refering to “We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts … But my breasts [are] like towers.” 8:8-10 with the big boobs thing.

    Some other memorable babble quotes:

    “If you hear that in one of the towns, there are men who are telling people to go and worship other gods, it is your duty to look into the matter and examine it. If it is proved and confirmed, you must put the inhabitants of that town to the sword. You must lay the town under the curse of destruction, the town and everything in it. You must pile up all its loot in the public square and burn the town and all its loot. That town is to be a ruin for all time, and never rebuilt.”  Deuteronomy 13:13-17

    “If a man happens to meet a virgin woman who is not engaged to be married and he seizes her and rapes her but is caught in the act the rapist must pay the girl’s father fifty silver shekels.
    She must marry the rapist, because he has violated her. And so long as he lives, he may not divorce her.” 22:28-29

    “When you purchase a Hebrew slave his service will last for six years. In the seventh year he will leave a free man. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and children will belong to the master, and he will depart alone. But if the slave says to you, ‘I do not want to leave you,’ because he loves you and your family, and is well off with you then you must take an awl and drive it through the slave’s ear and into the door. He will be your servant forever.”  Exodus 21:2,4; Deuteronomy 15:16-17

    You have to follow all of god’s laws, right?

    If more people actually read the bible there would be more atheists.

    “And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” Rev.7:4

    144,000 Jews will be going to heaven; everyone else is going to hell.  Pretty pointless to be a Christian anyway, if you ask me.

  6. You know, I don’t actually think Mark took the time to survey all the articles among your various categories and to calculate percentages of atheism rants versus other rants.  (Or maybe he counted all the “don’t be that guy” rants about stupid people in with all the atheist rants?  Maybe he has a point there …)

    It’s probably more that he experienced something like this:  I was just studying for a certification exam, and the instructor said that all the domain questions were equally weighted, so when someone thought one domain set appeared more often than the others, it was just because that was the domain they were having the most problems with.

    Besides, boobs don’t force you to get on your knees and pray.  Wait.  Maybe I’m wrong there.

  7. I beg to differ, GM.

    On their own sites, Christians talk about atheism at some length, explicitly, implicitly, or by blaming all the world’s ills at atheists. Telling them to turn atheist or to shut up talking about us is not a thought that ever occurred to me or any atheist I ever met. On the other hand, Mark Smith is not the first Christian I encountered who’d rather atheists would just shut up.

    Shouldn’t it be a no-brainer? If you don’t like what you see on atheist or Christian sites, just don’t visit them. What’s different about Christians that makes them bitter and defensive about thought that differs from theirs, to the point that they would silence people who aren’t Christians?

  8. Wait, wait. Atheists have songs??

    Seriously, Mark, I think you deserve an answer. You got progressively more angry as your email progressed, but it seems to me the thought behind it had some measure of sincerity.

    Atheists talk about God more than Christians do.

    Well, probably not really. Loud individual atheists compared to quiet individual Christians might support your point, but first off, you’re only noticing the VOCAL atheists. The large majority of atheists are quiet. Some because they just don’t want to get into an argument, others because they’re afraid.

    Can you imagine that, Mark? Being afraid of Christians? Afraid of having your car defaced because of your Darwin fish, afraid of being beaten up, or having your family threatened? Because I grew up in the Deep South, I spent years with just this fear. Was it warranted? Considering the anger and abuse I had directed toward me the few times I got “found out,” I’d say it really was.

    Bear in mind a recent poll that found atheists to be the most hated, most mistrusted group in America. White Christian parents, for instance, would apparently rather their kids marry a black Muslim or even cohabit with a lesbian than marry an atheist.

    As an individual atheist who happens to be a fairly nice guy – I love dogs, habitually smile, give compliments to people every day, pay my taxes, give to charity, drive carefully, and even vote regularly – I’m mystified that I could be so hated. By people who know nothing about me but that I don’t share their religion. 

    In any absolute measure, atheists are nowhere near as loud or as constant as Christians. Since Christians make up something like 85 percent of the U.S. population, we few atheists would have to project our message with six times the stridency, six times the effectiveness, to be heard over the Christian din.

    And a powerful din it is: Note that every member of Congress – save one recent Muslim and a few scattered Jews – is a Christian. Every governor of every state is a Christian. On the local level, it’s virtually impossible to get elected to any office without paying homage to Jesus. A lot of places, you have to swear on the Bible even to serve on a jury. And lest we forget, the President of the United States, George W. Bush, the most powerful man in the world, is a very vocal Christian.

    Every piece of U.S. money, every coin and bill, serves double duty as a Christian tract, with “In God We Trust” stamped on it. Rich, powerful televangelists blanket the airwaves of every city and state.

    Christians sit on every official policy-making body in the nation. It is absolutely impossible to pass any bit of public legislation, to create any least scrap of public policy, without it passing through the hands of Christians. Every bill, every law, every ordinance, every legal decision, has Christian input.

    Further, every corporation in America likely has a majority of Christians on its board of directors. Every school principal in America – and every teacher – is more likely to be a Christian than any other religion. No matter where you live in the United States, it’s a good bet you can walk to a Christian church.

    In the realest sense possible, America is dominated by Christians. In the realest sense possible, non-Christians suffer from that domination.

    So, really, Mark, though they may seem annoying to you personally, given the drastically uneven playing field, atheists are unusually quiet.

    It seems to me that atheists are obsessed with Christianity.

    Oh, no more than any subjugated, enslaved people.

    Okay, I’m kidding. But, leaving aside the boob illustration, try instead to imagine a situation at work where you stand ready to get a promotion, with more money, more freedom to make decisions, more ability to try out your own creative ideas, but one guy on the board takes a dislike to you, and constantly blocks your promotion.

    You’d probably think about that guy a lot, wouldn’t you? You’d probably talk about him – in confidence – to your family, your friends, your parents. This would not really qualify as an obsession. Not unless it consumed your entire interest and energy.

    But would you hate him (as in your boob-hating illustration)? An outsider, listening to you for one five-minute tirade in the company lunchroom, might decide you were a prime asshole who had a vicious and unwarranted dislike for one of your co-workers. But given the real situation, anyone who knew the facts of the story would probably completely understand your momentarily-pointed anger.

    And no atheist I know is “obsessed” with Christianity. As individuals, we talk about a lot of different stuff. On my own atheist blog (now on hiatus), I talked about my love for my dogs, the joy I take in nature, recent scientific breakthroughs, the malignant idiocy that radiates from the White House, funny little tidbits from the news, any number of things I found to be of interest.

    Christianity did (and does) consume a certain amount of my blog time and interest – and I wish it didn’t. But it did/does so because Christianity is a constant, inescapable, literally oppressive presence in my life.

    Like the company guy blocking your promotion, Christianity can and does often block stem cell research, reproductive choice for women, sex education, an honest discussion of end-of-life issues, equal rights for gays, movies, library books, and on and on.

    Speaking just for myself, and on just one issue, I CARE about stem cell research. I want it to proceed, as fast as humanly possible. By the time I and my loved ones need it, I want a cure for Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimers, diabetes, macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis. Anyone who blocks that research, anyone who demands that my grandmother has to die with no memory even of who she is, or that my uncle has to decay and die at the age of 45 from MS, when that research might have found a cure for them – and simply out of some vague-but-powerfully-organized superstition – has made himself into my own personal enemy.

    As to media coverage of atheist voices, the sad fact is that any atheist who gets media attention gets it as an “Atheist.” You never get to hear Sam Harris talk about the slide of the dollar against the Chinese yen. You never get to hear Richard Dawkins talk about how the length of English women’s skirts in the 1700s rose and fell depending on happenings in the Americas (I have no idea whether they did or didn’t; I’m only illustrating). You can hardly blame Harris and Dawkins because the only time you hear their voices is when they’re talking about the dangers of religion.

    One final note: You have a slightly mistaken idea about what it means to be an atheist. It’s an understandable mistake, because it’s one that all too many atheists make, but it’s this:

    Atheists do not simply disbelieve in Christianity, or the Christian God. They disbelieve in ALL gods and religions.

    Because you’re a Christian, and because we live in a Christian-dominated nation, it may seem to you and others that atheists are fixated on Christianity. But this is not really the case.

    To be comical and crude about it, imagine Christianity as a neighbor’s dog that comes and poops on your lawn. Though one and all might hear your complaints and see you as fixated on that neighbor’s dog, what you’re REALLY concerned about is guarding your beloved private lawn from ALL dogs …

    … as well as from kids on dirt bikes, city workers digging up the street and depositing dirt on your lawn, tree workers next door dropping branches on your lawn, etc.

    Weirdly enough, what most atheists I’ve met are concerned about is things like personal freedom, social justice, science, the protection of children, and all manner of good and true things.

    What scares us about religion-in-general – with myriad bits of recent evidence – is that it religion is sometimes NOT interested in those things. Religion is sometimes OPPOSED to those things.

    The worst part is, because we don’t go to the same church they (you) do, because we don’t believe the same things they (you) believe, we often can’t even get them (you) to listen to our genuine concerns.

    Hey, why should any of you listen? After all … we’re ATHEISTS.

    We MUST be evil.

  9. These heavy christian types are physically incapable of leaving it alone. They have been so indoctrinated that dismissing an atheist is not in their makeup.

  10. Thumbs up, Hank.  You nailed it, as far as I’m concerned, thus saving me from having to invest any real time and energy in responding.

      I love the ‘strident’ atheist accusation.  As if most politicians, and most movie stars, and most athletes, and most rappers, and pretty much everybody, everywhere, who has ever had a TV camera pointed in their direction doesn’t fall all over themselves making sure the world knows that they caught that pass because ‘Jesus has got their back.’

    I find myself reduced to adolescent-style indifference by Mr. Smith’s rant. (Although I must say that I appreciate his ability to punctuate, indent and otherwise utilize the grammatical conventions that allow humans to communicate in writing.  I get pretty tired of the combination of pointing, waving and grunting that most of the drive-by-ers try to pass off as ‘thought’).

    “Hey Mr. Smith—WHATEVER, DUDE”

  11. Hank fox -“As an individual atheist who happens to be a fairly nice guy – I love dogs, habitually smile, give compliments to people every day, pay my taxes, give to charity, drive carefully, and even vote regularly”

    Very commendable, I do none of those things, seems too much like hard work. You can be a nice person without really trying, just by you’re nature.

    “HF: Every piece of U.S. money, every coin and bill, serves double duty as a Christian tract, with “In God We Trust” stamped on it. Rich, powerful televangelists blanket the airwaves of every city and state”

    Glad I’m not American. Seriously the UK is quite placid and diverse.

    “HF: try instead to imagine a situation at work where you stand ready to get a promotion”

    I can’t imagine it, the town I live in a job is a job is a job at £5.35/hour (NMW for >21), and be damn thankful you’re employed.

    “HF: Weirdly enough, what most atheists I’ve met are concerned about is things like personal freedom, social justice, science, the protection of children, and all manner of good and true things.”

    I don’t understand morality to be honest. Why bother to be good? If you care for someone it’s different I guess.

  12. I’m not sure where I fit in, (so full disclosure here) I don’t believe in the divinity of Christ, and I don’t really believe in “God” as the Bible, Apocrypha, Quran, Torah, Bhagavad Gita, etc. portray him. 

    However, the sheer complexity of existence, and that we know that each individual person (when viewed from at the quantum/atomic level) is a veritable galaxy (in quantity) of individual building-blocks of life; then take into account that there are 6 billion of us that are “individuals” on the planet earth, which we know is a complex, self-sustaining system; then think about the billions and billions (cribbing Sagan) of stars in the galaxy, surrounded by numerous planets – the idea that there is no purpose behind the complexity seems kind of silly and naive.  But does that mean there is a “god” as our man-made books describe him/her – or even god as an entity? I think not.

    We are like ants trying to contemplate the sun.

    My objection to some “christians” is their incessant need to impose their personal moral views on everyone else. This need is very seldom restricted to the tenants of their personal brand of religion, but more often to their personal idiosyncrasies, tastes and fears. 

    All too often, these moralists are bereft of any sense of ethics. 

    “Mr. Smith” is quick to point out where he thinks you have “gone wrong”.  What’s more (as many moralist do), he has imagined or exaggerated incidents to meet his own argument.

    I have nothing against religion or christianity itself, in fact myth and belief have played an integral role in the formation of society – but like any poor student, “Mr. Smith” has completely missed the point of the lessons.

  13. ethicalBob- “is a
    veritable galaxy (in quantity) of individual building-blocks of life; then
    take into account that there are 6 billion of us”

    You can simplify the problem somewhat by saying that one thing can be a template to any new copies, because DNA is self-replicating. Accounting for the subsequent people/molecules is nowhere near as difficult as accouting for the first.

    “self-sustaining system”

    Not long term, beyond a certain amount of time no planet will be able to support life, they will be too cold because the expansion of the universe will continue to obey entropy, and in expanding the energy will become spread more and more thinly. What we see now is a system of equilibriums which minimise change but can’t avoid it.

    “We are like ants trying to contemplate the sun.”

    WTF?

    As I’ve said about ethics/morality, I don’t see much point.

  14. For what it’s worth, I disagree with Hank Fox’s premise:

    Seriously, Mark, I think you deserve an answer.

    Mark Smith does not deserve an answer, but the public record might.

    There are Christians and Christians and there atheists and atheists. There are very few generalizations that apply to all members of either group, assuming a generally accepted definition can be found. A statement like “It seems to me that (all) atheists are obsessed with (whatever)” immediately falls into the “whatever, dude” category, as nowiser put it.

    Even if all atheists were obsessed with Christianity and incessantly talk about it, more so than Christians themselves, so what? A letter like Mark Smith’s only demonstrates that there are Christians who use a private definition of “freedom of expression”: You can freely express yourself, as long as you agree with me. Anybody who’s been around this site for some time will remember other threads that are a variation on this theme.

  15. I could be wrong, but the last time Les mentioned Christianity was in the previous letter from another believer, was it not?

  16. I sent an email to Mark and it returned this:

    The original message was received at 2006-12-17 08:50:23 -0500
    from postoffice.local [10.0.0.1]

      ——- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors——-

      ——-Transcript of session follows——-
    … while talking to postoffice.local.:
    >>> RCPT To:

    <<< 550 5.1.1 unknown or illegal alias: markdsmith1@bellsouth.net
    550 … User unknown

    Final-Recipient: RFC822; markdsmith1@bellsouth.net
    Action: failed
    Status: 5.1.1
    Remote-MTA: DNS; postoffice.local
    Diagnostic-Code: SMTP;550 5.1.1 unknown or illegal alias: markdsmith1@bellsouth.net
    Last-Attempt-Date: 2006-12-17 08:50:23 -0500

    Attached Message
    From:  —————————
    To:    markdsmith1@bellsouth.net
    Subject:    RE: Can you talk about something else?
    Date:    Sun, 17 Dec 2006 12:08 AM
          How many has God killed?

      I kill … I wound … I will make my arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh.—Deuteronomy 32:39-42

    How many people did God kill in the Bible?
    It’s impossible to say for sure, but plently. How many did God drown in the flood or burn to death in Sodom and Gomorrah? How many first-born Egyptians did he kill? There’s just no way to count them all.
    But sometimes the Bible tells us exactly how many were killed by God. Here’s a list of those that I can find. (If you find any that I’ve missed, let me know and I’ll add them to the list.)
    So far I come up with a total of 2,270,365 (not including, at least in some cases, women and children).
      SAB, Brick Testament   Number Killed   Cummulative Total
    Lot’s wife for looking back   Gen.19:26, BT   1   1
    Er who was “wicked in the sight of the Lord”    Gen.38:7, BT   1   2
    Onan for spilling his seed   Gen.38:10, BT   1   3
    For dancing naked around Aaron’s golden calf   Ex.32:27-28, 35, BT   3000   3003
    Aaron’s sons for offering strange fire before the Lord   Lev.10:1-3, Num.3:4, 26:61, BT   2   3005
    A blasphemer   Lev.24:10-23, BT   1   3006
    A man who picked up sticks on the Sabbath   Num.15:32-36, BT   1   3007
    Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (and their families)    Num.16:27, BT   12+    3019+
    Burned to death for offering incense   Num.16:35, 26:10, BT   250   3269+
    For complaining   Num.16:49, BT   14,700   17,969+
    For “committing whoredom with the daughters of Moab”    Num.25:9, BT   24,000   41,969+
    Midianite massacre (32,000 virgins were kept alive)    Num.31:1-35, BT   90,000+    131,969+
    God tells Joshua to stoned to death Achan (and his family) for taking the accursed thing.    Joshua 7:10-12, 24-26, BT   5+    131,974+
    God tells Joshua to attack Ai and do what he did to Jericho (kill everyone).    Joshua 8:1-25, BT   12,000   143,974+
    God delivered Canaanites and Perizzites   Judges 1:4, BT   10,000   153,974+
    Ehud delivers a message from God: a knife into the king’s belly   Jg.3:15-22, BT   1   153,975+
    God delivered Moabites   Jg.3:28-29, BT   10,000   163,975+
    God forces Midianite soldiers to kill each other.    Jg.7:2-22, 8:10, BT   120,000   283,975+
    The Spirit of the Lord comes on Samson   Jg.14:19, BT   30   284,005+
    The Spirit of the Lord comes mightily on Samson   Jg.15:14-15, BT   1000   285,005+
    Samson’s God-assisted act of terrorism   Jg.16:27-30, BT   3000   288,005+
    “The Lord smote Benjamin”    Jg.20:35-37, BT   25,100   313,105+
    More Benjamites   Jg.20:44-46   25,000   338,105+
    For looking into the ark of the Lord   1 Sam.6:19   50,070   388,175+
    God delivered Philistines   1 Sam.14:12   20   388,195+
    Samuel (at God’s command) hacks Agag to death   1 Sam.15:32-33   1   388,196+
    “The Lord smote Nabal.”    1 Sam.25:38   1   388,197+
    Uzzah for trying to keep the ark from falling   2 Sam.6:6-7, 1 Chr.13:9-10   1   388,198+
    David and Bathsheba’s baby boy   2 Sam.12:14-18   1   388,199+
    Seven sons of Saul hung up before the Lord   2 Sam.21:6-9   7   388,206+
    From plague as punishment for David’s census (men only; probably 200,000 if including women and children)    2 Sam.24:13, 1 Chr.21:7   70,000+    458,206+
    A prophet for believing another prophet’s lie   1 Kg.13:1-24   1   458,207+
    God delivers the Syrians into the Israelites’ hands   1 Kg.20:28-29   100,000   558,207+
    God makes a wall fall on Syrian soldiers   1 Kg.20:30   27,000   585,207+
    God sent a lion to eat a man for not killing a prophet   1 Kg.20:35-36   1   585,208+
    Ahaziah is killed for talking to the wrong god.    2 Kg.1:2-4, 17, 2 Chr.22:7-9   1   585,209+
    Burned to death by God   2 Kg.1:9-12   102   585,311+
    God sends two bears to kill children for making fun of Elisha’s bald head   2 Kg.2:23-24   42   585,343+
    Trampled to death for disbelieving Elijah   2 Kg.7:17-20   1   585,344+
    Jezebel   2 Kg.9:33-37   1   585,355+
    God sent lions to kill “some” foreigners   2 Kg.17:25-26   3+    585,358+
    Sleeping Assyrian soldiers   2 Kg.19:35, 2 Chr.32:21, Is.37:36   185,000   770,358+
    Saul   1 Chr.10:14   1   770,359+
    God delivers Israel into the hands of Judah   2 Chr.13:15-17   500,000   1,270,359+
    Jeroboam   2 Chr.13:20   1   1,270,360+
    “The Lord smote the Ethiopians.”    2 Chr.14:9-14   1,000,000   2,270,360+
    God kills Jehoram by making his bowels fall out   2 Chr.21:14-19   1   2,270,361+
    Ezekiel’s wife   Ezek.24:15-18   1   2,270,362+
    Ananias and Sapphira   Acts 5:1-10   2   2,270,364+
    Herod   Acts 12:23, BT   1   2,270,365+

    And God plans to kill half of the Earth’s population in Revelation (300,000,000,000+ people); not that it matters, since he doesn’t exist anyway.

    He must not want to talk to me.

  17. sml, he made it pretty clear that he didn’t want to be contacted.

    Instead of sending unwanted personal email and make his point, you’re much better off not shutting up and discussing his missive in public.

  18. My first post to this thread was also my first post to this blog and indeed my first post to any blog.  I fear that Mr. Smith’s second email reveals my naivety.

    I believe that peace for all humanity can only be achieved through understanding and dialog.  Perhaps this makes me an easy target, but I’m always amazed at the vile crap that some folks find easy to sling around in the relatively anonymous realm of cyberspace.

    Perhaps someday I’ll have the opportunity to engage a fundamentalist of any religious persuasion who is at least interested in an attempt at honest dialog.  I’m sure that many here will see this as the ultimate in naivety but I hang onto the hope that humanity is basically good at its core and that much can be learned from those patient enough to try.  But obviously Mr. Smith isn’t about to be my first

    Peace,

    Darrin

  19. Darrin you might as well go beat you head against a wall. At least that feels good when you stop!
    Your philosophical scribe;
    Allan W Janssen

  20. BabyHuey: Perhaps someday I’ll have the opportunity to engage a fundamentalist of any religious persuasion who is at least interested in an attempt at honest dialog.

    I seriously doubt that will happen.  Part of the fundy brainwashing is that anybody who is not a born again true believer must be assimilated.  There may be some fundys that will suck you in by appearing to be having a discussion, they are simply maintaining your interest as they move in for an attempted kill.

  21. You may be able to tell a fundy that by believing everything in a fixed human-created ‘package’ of beliefs they lose touch with the real principles behind the religion by taking everything literally and not using their own intuition; there are parts of the bible/other holy books that emphasise peace and love, but others, as sml said that contradict and are destructive, holy books could well have been opertunistically changed by people with a personal agenda, especially during translation.

    Other things that seem the culture of a religion, and therefore obeyed by fundies have no religious reasoning, such as muslims not eating pork; in the places where the muslim faith started out the weather was too hot to keep pork, and it would go rotten. Whilst they may have thought it was poisoned somehow spiritually, in the days of refridgeration and faith spreading over a greater range of climates this no-longer has a reason to be a way of life by all muslims.

    If god did exist why would he give a damn about what you eat, your sexuality, the wearing of burkas, the use of candellight in chritmas mass, etc? It would be impossisble to obey word for word the bible anyway because of the contradictions, and so in a fundie’s view you would be damned from the start, i.e.:

    “love thy neighbor”(I can’t be arsed to look it up)
    Vs
    One Sml’s quotes i.e.-Deuteronomy 13:13-17

    I will say though since religions are human-created theories, the wars between religions, the attitude and conduct of their members, etc, only reflect on the human’s view of belief, the only thing it tells us about a possible god is that he allows these things to happen.

  22. In my experience, I think there’s a kernel of truth to what Mark’s saying. 

    My wife and I were excited to find a local atheist group, and we decided to attend one of their meet ups one evening at a popular pizza joint here in Mobile.  When we arrived, we found about 10 or so folks sitting around a table with a few boxes of pamphlets and other reading materials.  We sat down, introduced ourselves, and then ordered some pizza.

    Over the course of the meal, a few of the long-time members of the group spoke about various issues including free thinking and civil rights.  The greatest portion of the conversation, however, was dedicated to describing, explaining, ranting and otherwise simply dismissing religion – particularly Southern Baptist Christianity which is much like kudzu in these parts.

    After the meal, both my wife and I decided to stay away from the group, because we didn’t really consider them atheists, but rather anti-christians, many of whom seems to have one grudge or another.

    Given this, I can see how someone – especially a demonstrated dumb ass like Mark Smith – might think that atheists spend a lot of time talking about god.  I think it’s quite possible that this is view is fairly common among the true believers – that the rest of us spend our time talking about them and their silly jihads and the respective size of the voodoo sticks they wave about.

    Funny that they spend so much time worrying about what we think. 

    BabyHuey: Perhaps someday I’ll have the opportunity to engage a fundamentalist of any religious persuasion who is at least interested in an attempt at honest dialog.  I’m sure that many here will see this as the ultimate in naivety but I hang onto the hope that humanity is basically good at its core and that much can be learned from those patient enough to try.  But obviously Mr. Smith isn’t about to be my first

    Welcome to the party Huey!  Maybe I’m just not as jaded as I usually am (probably the FSM holiday lights!), so I’m going to wish you well with that.  I don’t see anything wrong with that particular hope, even given the vast corpus of evidence to the contrary.  When you have that conversation with a Fundie, tell us how it goes!

  23. This get down on your knees or shut up thing.
    I am not sure God wants, and definitely doesn’t NEED worship.
    I Think maybe God(whatever that is) would like us to stand proud on our own two feet and become responsible adults instead of subjugating ourselves. And don’t give me that crap about “pride!”

    Your not so holy scribe
    allan W Janssen

  24. Quoting moses:

    I am not sure God wants, and definitely doesn’t NEED worship

    Quite probably. Creating people only to worship himself would seem shallow satisfaction, if existing he’d probably prefer we got on with our lives and not dwell on it, there are no obvious hints to do otherwise

    And don’t give me that crap about “pride!”

    Yup, pride is a pointless illusion that need not have anything to do with anything

  25. I like the Mohammed and Hare Krishna thing. I’d love to go around shouting that I don’t believe that Mohammed existed, but sadly, I do believe he existed. And the made-up vengeful moon-god he was shilling for back in the seventh century is the same one Jesus is supposedly the illegitimate child of (a historical account of more dubious veracity).

    As for Hare Krishnas and Buddhists, I think most atheists will gladly focus their ire on the pacifists with annoying tambourines after we get the monotheists to stop flying planes into buildings, fighting the scourge of condoms in sub-Saharan Africa and waving “God hates fags” posters at gay funerals.

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