Quote: If there is no God

56 comments

This is one of those logical conclusions that atheists (and their close cousins, moral relativists) don’t like to make.

“If there is no God, everything is permissible.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

If there is no God, there is no objective Good (for this would be God). The Atheist has no logical basis to say that murder, rape, stealing, etc. are objectively bad. They can only say that they “feel” bad about them and hope to convince society to agree to feel bad about them too.

For the Atheist, Good is simply whatever we decide Good is. And if what is Good is determined simply by what somebody decides, well then I am free to decide that Good is something entirely different than you. This is called Moral Relativism.

And it’s a dangerous slope to play around on because followed to its logical conclusion…everything is ultimately permissible.

56 comments Add comment

Roz May 19, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Nail head has been hit.

A friend of mine was interviewed by a rather outspoken atheist-feminist on the radio. At one point, she challenged him: “Name me one thing that is always wrong! Just one thing!”

“Rape,” was his response.

She had no reply.

James May 19, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Let’s look at the flip side of this argument. What if a new prophet were to emerge and claim that God revealed to him that murder, rape, stealing, etc are good.

How are you supposed to objectively discredit such revelations? You cannot. All you can do is hope to convince society that these new revelations are not the word of God.

It seems then that the theism route ALSO leads to a state where anything is ultimately permissible. Depending on an individual’s choice of prophet, their morality can take one of an infinite number of forms. This is about as SUBJECTIVE as it gets.

Matthew Warner May 19, 2009 at 10:58 pm

James, I appreciate the thought. But that’s not actually the flip side of the argument at all.

HOW we come to our conclusions of what is objective is indeed subjective. But that’s an entirely different argument and is separate from whether or not an objective standard of Good (God) exists that we should even be attempting to subjectively find in the first place.

I agree that people can abuse the theism route (as they can abuse anything) to illogically or wrongly rationalize whatever they want to believe. The difference is that the theism route at least recognizes that there is an objective good that we are trying to find (whether our subjective interpretation of it is correct or not is another matter).

The atheist argument by its very nature does not even give us that as it has no standard or Good to appeal to as reference or as an ideal. That’s why if there is no God, anything is permissible.

With God, yes, we still all have the freedom to do as we please (that’s a kind of permissiveness), but that doesn’t mean it is in communion with the objective Good and therefore justifiably permissible.

Jack du Toit May 19, 2009 at 11:36 pm

I love the reference of the Brothers Karamozov. It is one of the greatest books dealing with issues of morality in all of literature. I would love to hear of your opinion of Ivan’s position of atheism.

In the Book titled, “Rebellion,” Ivan brings up the age of “Problem of Evil,” questioning the existence of a God in a world that contains evil. This leads to the question of God creating evil, which is an age old and simple question. Ivan also brings into question Augustine’s approach to the problem of evil, which very roughly paraphrased, is that God would only allow evil that causes a greater good. Ivan concludes towards the end of Rebellion that the consequences of evil (namely the torture of the truly innocent children) is simply too great to show any proof of God.

He claims that for there to be a God, there would need to be a greater good for the CHILDREN, other than the promise of heaven. I apologize for my very very brief summary of a brilliant literary work, I just wanted to clarify which part of the book I’m referencing. I just wanted to hear your commentary, if you have any. Looking forward to it.

PS: You can’t just use Alyosha’s response, that’s cheating.

Christophe May 20, 2009 at 2:22 am

Looking forward to Matthew/Jack debates on the Karamazov bros.
I just wanted to add: isn’t it awesome that, not only there is a God that will ensure justice, but this God is reachable.
You can actually search about Him and He has promised He’d be found….

Mark April 29, 2013 at 10:18 am

Now, that’s funny.

James May 20, 2009 at 8:58 pm

In your original argument, you asserted that atheism leads to a subjective morality (i.e. moral relativism). I completely agree with that conclusion. I only disagree with you when you assert that theism ultimately leads you to anything different.

In order for theism to provide you with the objective morality that it promises, a leap of faith is required. A leap of faith is, by definition, entirely subjective. Suddenly your objective morality is only obtained through subjectivity. Thus it is no longer truly objective! This is no small point.

You argue that atheists don’t provide a standard for good. They don’t, but remember that atheists aren’t in the business of defining morality (that’s not what atheism is). However, there’s no reason atheists couldn’t pull off the same trick as theists by (1) defining a set of objective morals (no murder, no rape, etc), and (2) asserting that these morals are somehow innate to the fabric of the universe [without any mention of God]. If these atheists were to gather any support for their theory of morality, it would have to be through faith (since there isn’t any way of objectively proving that these morals are indeed innate to the fabric of the universe). And look what we have now! An objective set of morals that requires a subjective leap of faith. Just like the theists have.

So my argument is simply that, like it or not, morality is ultimately subjective no matter which route you take.

Matthew Warner May 21, 2009 at 8:43 am

James,

I appreciate the point you’re trying to make, but I think you’re missing mine. The bottom line is that the question of whether or not an objective morality exists is entirely an objective one. It either exists or it doesn’t. There is nothing subjective about that.

If there is no God, then no objective morality can logically exist. Such an objective morality requires there to be an order and purpose to everything outside of each of our own individual subjective experiences of the world. i.e. God.

If there is no God, there is no basis to claim any kind of objective morality. And if morality is not objective…if it doesn’t exist independently of what any of us “feels” or personally believes on the matter, then ultimately anything is morally acceptable.

Theism is entirely different. It at least allows for the possibility of an objective morality.

Now – what the truth of that objective morality entails is an entirely different question from whether or not that objective morality exists in the first place. The latter is what this quote addresses.

Jack,

It’s been over a decade since I (sort of) read The Brothers Karamozov. My point was not to question or bring up why Ivan thought what he thought, how Alyosha responded and why, or to discuss the existence of evil. It was to make a logical point about a logicial conclusion about morality that must be drawn if there is no God.

I’m sure those would all be good discussions though!

Jack du Toit May 21, 2009 at 9:45 pm

I know your original point, and am not even arguing it. I think its pretty obvious that atheism leads to subjective morality, whereas any type of theism leads to an objective one eventually. That’s all find and good. I was just trying to start a separate discussion. But as Fr. Jim says, that’s another story for another time. ;)

Rudy Garcia May 27, 2009 at 1:30 pm

No God: Nazi ideology makes perfect sense; Stalin’s mass murders have no moral consequence; anything goes as long as you can get away with it; murder, lying, stealing, cheating, rape. We become animals, no, worse than animals. We become monsters.

Theresa May 29, 2009 at 2:09 am

Just because everything is permissible doesn’t mean everything is practical. Moral relativity is successful when humans acknowledge that kindness, cooperation, and concern for our fellow man is more effective than the alternative. Forcing people to be be kind and cooperative by punishing them for not acting that way, or trying to encourage them to act that way by scaring them with punishment may work, but it is the hard way to go about creating a more peaceful society.

Rudy May 29, 2009 at 10:05 am

Hi:

Pragmatism is no guarantee of kindness either. In a society with no ultimate principles the utilitarian practicality will allow for moral evils like abortion, euthanasia, etc. The flaw is sin, and we are all born with it. Without the redeeming grace of God and without moral restraint experience shows that men will become beasts; just in the last hundred years: 2,000,000 Armenians; 6,000,000 Jews; 30,000,000 Russians; 20,000,000 Chinese; 2,000,000 Cambodians; 5,000,000 Vietnamese (both killed by U.S troops and their own government; 50,000,000 unborn Americans; All killed in the name of secular governments and utilitarianism, the list goes on and continues to this day. Abandon Christian morality and you abandon all restraint.

Spider June 9, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Still don’t follow you there.
Just because you find an option unpalatable (the idea that humans are able to decide right and wrong for themselves) does not make an alternate solution any more correct.

Criminal or aberrant behaviour is not a result of atheism, in fact the demographics of prison populations suggests a higher proportion of theists than average. You cannot argue cause and effect without evidence. Humans whatever their faith or philosophy have been shown to be capable of heinous acts. Simply spouting numbers that have no relationship to cause is nonsensical. Why not include the crusades? or the inquisition as examples of holy sanctioned torture? why not include the abnormally high percentage of child abusers amongst catholic clergy? Because the is nothing to suggest cause and effect.

All of which evades the “elephant in the room”, that simply because it is unpleasant or difficult to imagine that humans have to forge their own morality if they decide one is necessary does not make a divinely handed down version any more likely to be true.

Again, you have not given any evidence to suggest your hypothesis is correct. Or to put it simply, just because solution A is able to be proven wrong (or in this case uncomfortable) does not make solution B (or C,D etc…)any more valid.

JT July 26, 2009 at 7:35 pm

Why does morality require a supernatural source? Morality is based in choices and choices are rooted in values. For humans, the the most basic choice is between life and death, so the ultimate value IS life. Anything which protects, enhances and improves human life is termed “good” that which harms or destroys it is “evil.”

Humans at all times and places have the same basic biological and psychological needs. Satisfying these real needs is always good because they are based in our natural desires. That which we need is actually good for us. There is no such thing as wrong needs. Of course, humans often mistake apparent goods for real goods, which leads to bad moral choices such as taking drugs, excessive intake of food, or focusing so much on satisfying one good (such as sex) to the exclusion of other goods.

Our rights as humans derive from our natural needs and the recognition that we have the moral obligation to seek everything which is good for us to lead fulfilling lives–and to cooperate with others to do the same, which leads to standards not just for individuals, but for societies as well.

Obviously, societies throughout history have adopted different systems to address these needs, and in this sense, morality seems subjective. Many societies have adopted immoral standards because they subvert or deny these basic rights. Moral judgements are not mere opinions, they are rooted in our very nature and don’t require any gods, but sound choices made by humans.

Matthew Warner July 27, 2009 at 8:31 am

JT – I agree that many good morals can be attained by simply following what is naturally good for our bodies. And also that, of course, Natural Law parallels God’s moral law. But the moral law is yet a higher law than the natural law.

And simply doing what is good for your body or for “life” – as you put it – is not always the moral thing to do.

Morality has to do with what one “aught” to do. You’ve told us what you personally think we “aught” to do in terms of “life” being the ultimate value. But some cultures, including a Christian culture actually contradict this in the sense that our “earthly life” is not our ultimate value. And actually, we often sacrifice our earthly life (accept death) in pursuit of something else that we “aught” to do.

My point is that what you personally think is simply that – what you think. It might make a lot of sense. It may seem very reasonable (indeed it is on many levels). And it may correlate with the Natural Law in many respects. But who are you to establish what as humans one “aught” to do in terms of a “morality”? Only a God can do that. Only some type of being that is able to establish law above the Natural law. Without that, anything is permissible.

Sure, you can say that “relative” to your values what somebody is doing is “wrong.” But you can not objectively make any kind of moral determination unless of course you are appealing to an objective moral law, which only a God could establish.

JT July 28, 2009 at 9:54 am

Matthew, doesn’t the “objective moral law” you appeal to consist of no more than this–whatever God wills is good, whatever he forbids is evil? There are no standards apart from God, so his commands establish what is moral and immoral–nor are they consistent in any manner.

The commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” (murder, if you wish) actually means “Thou shalt not kill–except when I tell you to do so.” Multiple times in the Old Testament, God orders what we would now term “ethnic cleansing.” Saul was directed to utterly exterminate the Amelekites, including “men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and asses.” He lost his kingship and eventually his life because he failed to carry out the instructions to the letter. That is moral relativism at its starkest–even the slaughter of infants is “good” when ordered by God under particular circumstances.

My basis for morality IS objective–the value of human life itself. It can lead to a far more compassionate and rational system than that of a deity whose whims cannot be understood and who is not constrained in any manner by the commands he gives to others. Your morality is subjective to the extreme–because it is established by a being whose motives and very nature are absolutely beyond human comprehension which makes it impossible to discern any moral law beyond this–“God wills it.”

Matthew Warner July 28, 2009 at 12:22 pm

JT – you are reading too much into what I’m saying in this post. I’m not talking about a particular God. Although I think you’ve got your analysis of the Christian God totally wrong, it’s a topic for another debate.

I’m just talking about a God. There must be something bigger than the natural world for there to be any objective morality (what we “aught” to do).

If there is no God, then the value of human life is absolutely relative to whatever you or I or anyone else or thing values it as. I may value human life at X. You may value it as Y. It’s all relative. And if there is no God then you have no basis for telling me that your value of Y is any more valid than my value of X in terms of morality.

Therefore, anything is permissible in terms of what “aught” to be done. The best you can do is tell me what YOU THINK aught to be done to be moral. But that’s as valid as what I THINK aught to be done to be moral…if there is no God. There would be no objective moral law (which requires God to exist).

JT July 29, 2009 at 2:00 am

Matthew, I think that is just my point. Even with a god, morals are based in what you or I–or that deity values, as you say. Every system of morality is eventually based in axiomatic claims. My axiomatic claim is that morality is rooted in human nature and life itself. Your claim is that it is based in the essence of a supernatural being. Apart from the dubious existence of such a being, why would you automatically assume that its system of morality is superior? What is moral about a being, such as the Christian God, who can never make an immoral choice? He is A-moral, since he is not subject to any higher laws.

He can arbitrarily decide what is right and wrong and is not subject to the very laws he imposes on his creatures. Thus, while he can command his followers not to kill (well, at certain times), he is free to do so in any manner he wishes, whether by flood, famine, disease, earthquake–or even by commanding his followers to destroy others even when it apparently contradicts his law not to do so. Your claim of some kind of objective morality simply turns out to be the subjective desires of some unknowable supernatural being whose followers continue to worship him even though his actions, performed by any human, would demand condemnation. Roz claimed that rape is always wrong, and I agree, yet your deity stands idly by while it is committed day after day. Any human who had the power to prevent such atrocity, yet didn’t, would be considered a monster.

Matthew Warner July 30, 2009 at 1:49 am

JT – God is not just another person or being with an opinion…equally as valid as yours or mine.

The God we are talking about here created all you see. He created Nature. He created morality. He created life. He created everything. So not only does it make sense to “assume” his “system of morality is superior,” but it is impossible for it not to be – as he created and defines morality itself. That is why such a morality can actually be objective…and is not only the subjective desire of some unknowable supernatural being.

I understand why your outside perspective would be so cynical of such a God. But if you open up to Him you’ll find that not only is he knowable but he’s also entirely reasonable.

Artie July 30, 2009 at 1:21 pm

http://markshea.blogspot.com/2009/07/atheist-bigots-cant-think-straight.html

“God is love and therefore we who are in his image are called to love.” This is coherent, albeit mysterious.

But “You are nothing but molecules and you have a moral obligation to obey your molecules” is nonsense.

Still more is the proposition, “We create our own meaning!” followed by “But it’s horrible to say that you find meaning in a universe created by God.”

If it’s all about creating your own meaning, then what’s the problem with theists who are, by atheist lights, doing exactly what atheists are doing: inventing meaning? One gets the distinct impression that a scam is being pulled.

Boris February 19, 2011 at 4:24 am

The humanist standard for morality is based on the value of life itself. Whatever improves, enhances or protects life is good and whatever harms or destroys life is bad. This is objective morality while the theist basis for morality is subjective to the extreme because it is based on rules made by a God whose whims and very nature are beyond human comprehension. .

Matthew Warner February 21, 2011 at 10:41 am

Boris, I think you are getting your definitions of “subjective” and “objective” mixed up. Your “humanists” standard is entirely subjective…because the improvements and enhancements you base it upon are subjective themselves. For example, what you may think is an improvement, I may think is quite the opposite. And any attempt for you to appeal to any sense of an objective standard of what “improvement” is, is ultimately an appeal to some kind of transcendent, objective reality (i.e. God).

The fact that the “theists'” basis for morality is not entirely within human comprehension (that is to say that God is not entirely within our comprehension) says nothing about the objectivity of the morality. It simply says that we don’t fully comprehend God.

I would also add that a Catholic morality is based upon a basic belief that all of our objective morality is also all ultimately ordered toward the GOOD. But this Good is not likely the kind of consequentialist or utilitarian good that you are referring to when you speak of “improvement.” It does not mean we can do whatever we want provided it has good ends. And it does not mean that we can ignore the rights of some due to the advancement or improvement of the masses. And it often runs contradictory to it. Whereas your subjective morality might say it is just to kill one person if it would greatly improve life or society for everyone else or would protect the lives of millions, an objective Catholic morality would not. It would recognize that we can not do evil so that good may come of it…no matter what. It is that kind of objective morality that keeps humans ordered toward the good. It is the humanists (subjective) morality (based upon the very standards you mentioned) that has led throughout history to the worst kinds of atrocities.

Boris February 23, 2011 at 8:33 am

Most humans are not like you. They are moral animals whose sense of right and wrong conflict with many of the teachings of all of the monotheistic religions, Therefore we can safely conclude that morals did not originate with any God, ESPECIALLY yours. Morals are like any other subject – we taught ourselves. That scares you to death doesn’t it? That’s because you put your faith in nonsense and lies instead of your fellow humans. Now when have humanists ever had enough power to even commit atrocities? Christian lying apologists and other liars for Jesus always try to equate communism with humanism. No secular humanist condones the atrocities that you are trying to pin on power mad communist dictators even the present leaders of their nations. This is just more of the same nonsense about how Christians are supposedly persecuted by atheists. Today we have Christians claiming that 75 percent of Americans are Christians and only about 3 percent of Americans are atheists and yet the Christians claim they are the ones being persecuted! That of course is insane.

The fact is that there is no God and Jesus Christ never even existed. Lets see you tell me something about Jesus without using the Bible. It cannot be done because no such person as Jesus Christ ever existed.

Roz February 23, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Boris, think about what you’re saying. You’re full of outrage, but it isn’t based on reasoning or facts that I can see. In order for Jesus not to have existed, you’d need to offer evidence for a large-scale conspiracy; for what purpose could it have been undertaken? So its believers could be executed on a large scale by the Romans? Because that’s what the historical record tells us happened. (See Josephus, the primary non-biblical historical source of the period.)

You misunderstand the argument that God exists based on the universal moral sense that you yourself have observed. If human beings in general have a shared sense of what is right and wrong at a basic level (e.g. it’s bad, or at least regrettable, to betray the trust a friend has placed in us), how did that come to be? What survival mechanism triggers that inner conviction that sometimes the action that would get me more safety, more pleasure, more stuff, might be something I ought not to do? Why would I teach my children morals if it might cause them to be less powerful in the future? Or, in fact, is there an ethical sense wired into us? If so, how could that have happened spontaneously?

You also have a limited knowledge of history. Christians believe that Jesus was good and, with God’s help, we are to become more like him. It’s also true that we are sinners, our moral sense has become twisted, and humans can and do do very evil things. The rallying cry for some of those things can be “religion” as it can be “liberty, equality and fraternity” or any other high-sounding aim. The rallying cry isn’t the problem. Sin is the problem.

The record of contributions to society over time by theists is so long as to be embarrassing to have to recount. Christian monasteries, in fact, offered the only medical care available during the highly-contagious Plague, and it led to huge loss of life from which they could have protected themselves. Christians founded hospitals and schools before governments did. Christians are providing the bulk of charitable donations in the United States, especially to humanitarian organizations. Christian organizations’ aid reached Haiti after the earthquake more swiftly than government aid did.

It’s one thing to disbelieve in God and consider theists deluded. It’s another to have a deep-seated contempt and anger towards theists, especially Christians, and take the time to express it in such a vitriolic way. You’re free to feel however you like. But please make sure it’s based, not on opinion pieces you read, but on facts.

Boris March 13, 2011 at 9:18 am

Boris, think about what you’re saying. You’re full of outrage, but it isn’t based on reasoning or facts that I can see. In order for Jesus not to have existed, you’d need to offer evidence for a large-scale conspiracy; for what purpose could it have been undertaken? So its believers could be executed on a large scale by the Romans? Because that’s what the historical record tells us happened. (See Josephus, the primary non-biblical historical source of the period.)

Response: FYI Josephus is NOT a primary source. Josephus wasn’t born until well after Jesus was supposedly crucified. So anything he might have written would not be a first, second or even a third hand account but only hearsay. In case you don’t know this, hearsay is not considered to be evidence by anyone, except by you Christians, and then only if it’s about some thing your cult leaders told you that you must believe. The fact is Josephus wrote nothing about Jesus Christ at all. There were no mentions of Jesus in the works of Josephus until infamous Church propagandist and admitted liar Eusebius put them there in the 4th century. Look it up. Like I said there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Jesus Christ ever existed. There’s not a shred of evidence to support the claims that the Romans were persecuted Christians either. The Romans WERE the first Christians. There were never any Christians in Palestine.

You misunderstand the argument that God exists based on the universal moral sense that you yourself have observed. If human beings in general have a shared sense of what is right and wrong at a basic level (e.g. it’s bad, or at least regrettable, to betray the trust a friend has placed in us), how did that come to be? What survival mechanism triggers that inner conviction that sometimes the action that would get me more safety, more pleasure, more stuff, might be something I ought not to do? Why would I teach my children morals if it might cause them to be less powerful in the future? Or, in fact, is there an ethical sense wired into us? If so, how could that have happened spontaneously?

Response: You just tripped over your own dogma. You admit people teach their children morals while claiming morals come from the immoral (if he actually existed) God of your particular religion. Well, which is it? We know where morals came from: we taught them to ourselves just like we taught ourselves language, math and everything else.

You also have a limited knowledge of history. Christians believe that Jesus was good and, with God’s help, we are to become more like him. It’s also true that we are sinners, our moral sense has become twisted, and humans can and do do very evil things. The rallying cry for some of those things can be “religion” as it can be “liberty, equality and fraternity” or any other high-sounding aim. The rallying cry isn’t the problem. Sin is the problem.

Response: Christianity redefines sin and makes things that are not really bad or evil, sinful. It therefore criminalizes the entire world even small innocent children. So the problem isn’t sin, it’s religion and all the lies it tells in order to survive and most importantly prosper and make huge profits. After all, Christianity is really just a business.

The record of contributions to society over time by theists is so long as to be embarrassing to have to recount. Christian monasteries, in fact, offered the only medical care available during the highly-contagious Plague, and it led to huge loss of life from which they could have protected themselves. Christians founded hospitals and schools before governments did. Christians are providing the bulk of charitable donations in the United States, especially to humanitarian organizations. Christian organizations’ aid reached Haiti after the earthquake more swiftly than government aid did.

Response: Oh please! Christians CAUSED the rapid spread of the bubonic plague. The Churchmen got it in their heads that all cats were demon possessed. They demanded that all the cats in Europe be rounded up and destroyed which is exactly what happened. Then of course with no cats around the rat population got out of control and rats were the carriers of the plague. The Christians naturally blamed the Jews for the plague and murdered millions of them. The Black Plague is a perfect example of Christians and Christianity in action.

It’s one thing to disbelieve in God and consider theists deluded. It’s another to have a deep-seated contempt and anger towards theists, especially Christians, and take the time to express it in such a vitriolic way. You’re free to feel however you like. But please make sure it’s based, not on opinion pieces you read, but on facts.

Response: “A prayer in a public school! God has no place within these walls, just like facts have no place in organized religion.” Superintendent Chalmers (The Simpsons).

Boris March 13, 2011 at 9:29 am

“The record of contributions to society over time by theists is so long as to be embarrassing to have to recount.”

Response: That has nothing to do with whether the absurd claims of Christianity are actually true. All religions teach moral precepts and do good works. Does that make all religions true? Your arguments are weak and not very well thought out. But hey, you’re a Christian.

Faustus March 17, 2011 at 9:20 am

Actually, the Romans weren’t the first Christians. Look at the Coptics or the Syro-Malabar. The problem isn’t faith it is in human nature. I am not a Christian so do not label me as apologist. Anything that had noble beginnings tend to be perverted due to human nature. While I disagree with Communism, it had noble beginnings. How about Gandhi’s India? Nehru, a friend of Gandhi, angered the world by declaring war on Portugal.

I have two questions for you, since you do seem like a very angry individual. What is wrong with believer in a good and just God even if there is the possibility of not being true.

The second question is pertains to a scenario:

Say I am an atheist who doesn’t believe in any sort of morality. I am a third world dictator. You are my adviser. I am killing off people left and right who I feel are my enemies. What would you do? Out of fear for your own life would you allow me to continue my reign of terror? Would you plan an assassination knowing fully that I would torture and kill you and everyone else who is close to you if the plot was found out? Would you try to reason with me?

Faustus March 19, 2011 at 7:00 pm

I would like to say….This is quote by Dostoevsky is just as important as the one proffered above. This quote is from Brothers Karamazov:

. . . if you were to destroy in mankind the belief in immortality, not only love but every living force maintaining the life of the world would at once be dried up. Moreover, nothing then would be immoral, everything would be lawful, even cannibalism.
Fyodor Dostoevsky

Boris March 20, 2011 at 7:43 am

Actually, the Romans weren’t the first Christians. Look at the Coptics or the Syro-Malabar. The problem isn’t faith it is in human nature. I am not a Christian so do not label me as apologist.

Response: If you don’t want to be labeled a Christian apologist then don’t post their ridiculous arguments on a Christian website as if they were your own. How’s your relationship with Jesus Christ? Gotcha.

Anything that had noble beginnings tend to be perverted due to human nature. While I disagree with Communism, it had noble beginnings. How about Gandhi’s India? Nehru, a friend of Gandhi, angered the world by declaring war on Portugal.

Response: That conflict wasn’t much of a war. Only 34 Indians and 31 Portuguese were killed in the fighting. This war was the liberation of what was always Indian land anyway. It was far less bloody and angered the world much less than the American Revolution did. Adelino Gwambe the leader of the Mozambique National Democratic Union voiced most of the world’s opinion when he stated: “We fully support the use of force against Portuguese butchers.”

I have two questions for you, since you do seem like a very angry individual. What is wrong with believer in a good and just God even if there is the possibility of not being true.

Response: Can you show how something positive can come from holding false beliefs? I didn’t think so. Also by what standard do you call the God of Christianity “good and just?” The Bible God is hardly good and just but rather a cruel, violent, vengeful, jealous ethnic cleansing monster. History shows that the religion of this God is the worst human tragedy ever to come upon this planet. THAT’S what’s wrong with it.

Say I am an atheist who doesn’t believe in any sort of morality. I am a third world dictator. You are my adviser. I am killing off people left and right who I feel are my enemies. What would you do? Out of fear for your own life would you allow me to continue my reign of terror? Would you plan an assassination knowing fully that I would torture and kill you and everyone else who is close to you if the plot was found out? Would you try to reason with me?

Response: This is an “If frogs had wings” scenario. An atheist who doesn’t believe in any sort of morality? That’s like saying suppose you’re a dog that doesn’t like bones. It’s an absurd scenario. And why does it have to be an atheist? Adolph Hitler was a devout Catholic Christian. Why can’t it be a Catholic dictator with typical Christian morality? Christian morality, as Brother Adolph clearly demonstrated, is much worse than having no morality at all. To answer your question, I would never allow myself to be in such a position in the first place. Supposing I was anyway, I would simply leave.

I would like to say….This is quote by Dostoevsky is just as important as the one proffered above. This quote is from Brothers Karamazov:

Response: Do you actually think this irrational religionist was some kind of visionary? Really? This nut ball is known as Mr. Dreary and Absurd in literary circles. Reading his books and essays is like watching paint dry.
. . . if you were to destroy in mankind the belief in immortality, not only love but every living force maintaining the life of the world would at once be dried up. Moreover, nothing then would be immoral, everything would be lawful, even cannibalism.
Fyodor Dostoevsky

Response: “Because morality is a social necessity, the moment faith in god is banished, man’s gaze turns from god to man and he becomes socially conscious. Religious belief prevented the growth of a sense of realism. But atheism at once makes man realistic and alive to the needs of morality.” – Gora (1902-1975), the Indian atheist leader who campaigned to abolish the caste system and child marriages and to rid India of belief in karma or divine fate, which only reconciles the poor to their suffering.

Let’s see you make a connection between love, morality, cannibalism and a belief in immortality. Of course there is no connection. If what your hero said were true, then atheists would not be loved or love anyone. Cannibalism would be legal in Scandinavia where most of the population is non-religious. However statistics show that the less religious a country is the less crime, poverty and misery there is present in that country. You posted Dostoevsky’s stupid statement now let’s see you defend it. Then prepare for another intellectual smack down.

Faustus March 21, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Actually, the Romans weren’t the first Christians. Look at the Coptics or the Syro-Malabar. The problem isn’t faith it is in human nature. I am not a Christian so do not label me as apologist.

Response: If you don’t want to be labeled a Christian apologist then don’t post their ridiculous arguments on a Christian website as if they were your own. How’s your relationship with Jesus Christ? Gotcha.

[Faustus: Nice try, you made the statement that the Romans were the first Christians. I just showed how this was incorrect. Now, below you stated you disliked Dostoevsky. Why are you on a Catholic website arguing? I have a valid excuse I came because I wanted discuss the quote in question. Did you come so you can feel superior over us ignorant savages?]

Anything that had noble beginnings tend to be perverted due to human nature. While I disagree with Communism, it had noble beginnings. How about Gandhi’s India? Nehru, a friend of Gandhi, angered the world by declaring war on Portugal.

Response: That conflict wasn’t much of a war. Only 34 Indians and 31 Portuguese were killed in the fighting. This war was the liberation of what was always Indian land anyway. It was far less bloody and angered the world much less than the American Revolution did. Adelino Gwambe the leader of the Mozambique National Democratic Union voiced most of the world’s opinion when he stated: “We fully support the use of force against Portuguese butchers.”

[Faustus: Didn’t Gandhi say an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind? The point was that India resorted to violence. John F. Kennedy stated in a message to Nehru that if India used force in the Goan situation India would appear hypocritical.
When you say the land was already India’s which India? What many fail to understand is when was there a unified India and what form was it? Now be careful. There were always many Indias. The Maurya Empire was the last time there was essentially a unified independent India before the 20th century.]

I have two questions for you, since you do seem like a very angry individual. What is wrong with believer in a good and just God even if there is the possibility of not being true.

Response: Can you show how something positive can come from holding false beliefs? I didn’t think so. Also by what standard do you call the God of Christianity “good and just?” The Bible God is hardly good and just but rather a cruel, violent, vengeful, jealous ethnic cleansing monster. History shows that the religion of this God is the worst human tragedy ever to come upon this planet. THAT’S what’s wrong with it.

[Faustus: However, at the very least the literary Jesus said to love your neighbors and turn the other cheek. If god himself can forgive humanity for killing him what excuse does humanity have? At the very least, it is a very good story. However, we know human nature isn’t like that. I realize it is easy to focus on all that Christianity has done wrong, but you do not have to look very far to see what it has done right. At the very least the numerous Catholic charities have clothed and fed millions upon millions of the needy.]

Say I am an atheist who doesn’t believe in any sort of morality. I am a third world dictator. You are my adviser. I am killing off people left and right who I feel are my enemies. What would you do? Out of fear for your own life would you allow me to continue my reign of terror? Would you plan an assassination knowing fully that I would torture and kill you and everyone else who is close to you if the plot was found out? Would you try to reason with me?

Response: This is an “If frogs had wings” scenario. An atheist who doesn’t believe in any sort of morality? That’s like saying suppose you’re a dog that doesn’t like bones. It’s an absurd scenario. And why does it have to be an atheist? Adolph Hitler was a devout Catholic Christian. Why can’t it be a Catholic dictator with typical Christian morality? Christian morality, as Brother Adolph clearly demonstrated, is much worse than having no morality at all. To answer your question, I would never allow myself to be in such a position in the first place. Supposing I was anyway, I would simply leave.
Like an atheist can have morals, an atheist can be without morals. Your analogy doesn’t work at all. You need to read your Nietzsche. Didn’t he once state that morals are anti-nature?
While Hitler was raised Catholic, it didn’t mean he was indeed Catholic or Christian. His views on religion were confusing to say the least. Hitler was considered spiritual but was against organized religion. Now, we know that Stalin, Pol Pot, etc. Now, we are back at square one, right? Hitler did provide a very interesting statement, “Success is the sole earthly judge of right and wrong.”
If there is no god, there would success be the sole judge of right and wrong? It is essentially, who has power who dictates what is considered moral.
Now, back to my question, Stalin was an atheist. Wouldn’t you say that the Bolshevik revolution was noble in nature but degraded into something less noble? If you were in Stalin’s camp and you suddenly had a change of heart because you found his turn in attitude was wrong basically your solution would be to run away. I think religion can cause zealotry, but it can help people find strength to try to do the right thing even if their own safety is in question. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not making the claim that there is no such thing as an “atheist in a foxhole.” After all, the 20th century was full Soviets and Chinese who died in battle.

I would like to say….This is quote by Dostoevsky is just as important as the one proffered above. This quote is from Brothers Karamazov:

Response: Do you actually think this irrational religionist was some kind of visionary? Really? This nut ball is known as Mr. Dreary and Absurd in literary circles. Reading his books and essays is like watching paint dry.

[Faustus: Yet, you found your way to a blog entry quoting him (of all place in a Catholic blog). I understand why you dislike him; your views are dissimilar to yours. His books are long just like the Russian winters. You should know that. What is amazing is who considered him an influence, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Albert Camus are just some of the names of writers who have claimed to be influenced by your Mr. Dreary.]

. . . if you were to destroy in mankind the belief in immortality, not only love but every living force maintaining the life of the world would at once be dried up. Moreover, nothing then would be immoral, everything would be lawful, even cannibalism.
Fyodor Dostoevsky

Response: “Because morality is a social necessity, the moment faith in god is banished, man’s gaze turns from god to man and he becomes socially conscious. Religious belief prevented the growth of a sense of realism. But atheism at once makes man realistic and alive to the needs of morality.” – Gora (1902-1975), the Indian atheist leader who campaigned to abolish the caste system and child marriages and to rid India of belief in karma or divine fate, which only reconciles the poor to their suffering.

[Depends on what you define as moral. Would you consider the Timur-e Lang’s society a failure? Central Asia flourished under him and the sciences were promoted, however he and his men murdered, raped and pillaged India, Persia, and the rest of his conquests. I guess society succeeded depending on who you asked during his reign.

Now to address Goparaju Ramachandra Rao and his statement head on, without having worry about perdition wouldn’t people be free? People would be truly free to do right or wrong. These are choices equally valid if you have the capability. People do not have to care about the overall well being of society. They are free to think only about what is good for them. Now, how would convince someone to act ethically if they think this way? The sad thing I know people who are like this.]

“Let’s see you make a connection between love, morality, cannibalism and a belief in immortality. Of course there is no connection. If what your hero said were true, then atheists would not be loved or love anyone. Cannibalism would be legal in Scandinavia where most of the population is non-religious. However statistics show that the less religious a country is the less crime, poverty and misery there is present in that country. You posted Dostoevsky’s stupid statement now let’s see you defend it. Then prepare for another intellectual smack down.”

[Faustus: Sweden: 70% Lutheran Church of Sweden
Norway: 79.2% Lutheran Church of Norway
Finland: 82.3% Lutheran Church of Finland, Finnish Orthodox Church, or other
Now, I am not including Scandinavian Black Metal bands and their exploits in murdering competition and other acts of violence. However, this shows that most of the population is still religious. :o)
Now to your main point, because I actually address issues instead resorting to condescension, I never said atheists are incapable of love or being loved. Remember, if there is a god it doesn’t matter whether you believe in that god or not. The reason why I find this quote incredibly telling is actually a jab at atheists and many theists including myself. If there isn’t an active caring God who provides for an afterlife which provides a basis for love, what is preventing us from doubting whether such things which we find noble in human nature. Much has been made about temporal lobe activity and its relation to religious feelings. However, I know from atheist perspective it can be considered a form of madness. Why not love? Why not compassion? From an evolutionary stand point we take these a bit too far, right? Why can’t these be considered a form of madness? I mean how many animals in nature are monogamous? Heck, animals how no qualms about incest and rape(see dolphins, chimpanzees, stoats, etc.) Animals don’t help their sick. They tend to let the sick or lain get picked off by predators.

Now to your point the issue with cannibalism, during the idiocy known as both of the Great Leap Forwards there was reports of widespread cannibalism. Stalin tried to starve the Ukraine, and people were forced to resort to eating human flesh. 100 of millions have died because of the cruelty of atheist communist regimes. Like I said before, atheists can be ethical and unethical. However, you can not make people ethical in a godless work without some level of fear.]

Now, I await your next “smackdown.”

Boris April 10, 2011 at 10:07 am

[Faustus: Nice try, you made the statement that the Romans were the first Christians. I just showed how this was incorrect. Now, below you stated you disliked Dostoevsky. Why are you on a Catholic website arguing? I have a valid excuse I came because I wanted discuss the quote in question. Did you come so you can feel superior over us ignorant savages?]

Response: The Romans were the ones who made Christianity mandatory and violent – which is what makes a religion a religion.

[Faustus: Didn’t Gandhi say an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind? The point was that India resorted to violence. John F. Kennedy stated in a message to Nehru that if India used force in the Goan situation India would appear hypocritical.
When you say the land was already India’s which India? What many fail to understand is when was there a unified India and what form was it? Now be careful. There were always many Indias. The Maurya Empire was the last time there was essentially a unified independent India before the 20th century.]

Response: Oh please. It wasn’t Portugal’s land now was it? Yikes!

[Faustus: However, at the very least the literary Jesus said to love your neighbors and turn the other cheek. If god himself can forgive humanity for killing him what excuse does humanity have? At the very least, it is a very good story. However, we know human nature isn’t like that. I realize it is easy to focus on all that Christianity has done wrong, but you do not have to look very far to see what it has done right. At the very least the numerous Catholic charities have clothed and fed millions upon millions of the needy.]

Response: It’s NOT a good story, it’s a horrible story which essentially says that: “For God so hated humanity that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever does not believe in him will not perish but have everlasting life being tortured for all eternity in Hell without hope of forgiveness.” Catholic charities have fed people? And Catholic priests have molested millions of children as well. Wherever Christianity has done good it has also brought misery.

Like an atheist can have morals, an atheist can be without morals. Your analogy doesn’t work at all. You need to read your Nietzsche. Didn’t he once state that morals are anti-nature?

Response: Nietzsche probably didn’t say that but it doesn’t matter because science has proved otherwise.

While Hitler was raised Catholic, it didn’t mean he was indeed Catholic or Christian. His views on religion were confusing to say the least. Hitler was considered spiritual but was against organized religion.

Response: No dice. That’s the old “No True Scotsman Fallacy.” No one was more like Jesus than Adolph Hitler. After all who else burned millions of people simply because they disagreed with him?

Now, we know that Stalin, Pol Pot, etc. Now, we are back at square one, right? Hitler did provide a very interesting statement, “Success is the sole earthly judge of right and wrong.”

Response: Pol Pot was a Buddhist and Stalin was NOT an atheist and Hitler was wrong. Yikes! Stop reading so much Christian propaganda.

If there is no god, there would success be the sole judge of right and wrong? It is essentially, who has power who dictates what is considered moral.

Response: There is no sole judge of right and wrong and that’s a good thing. Do you want or need to be told the difference between right and wrong? Or can you figure it out all by yourself. If you can’t then you are a very pathetic individual.

Now, back to my question, Stalin was an atheist. Wouldn’t you say that the Bolshevik revolution was noble in nature but degraded into something less noble? If you were in Stalin’s camp and you suddenly had a change of heart because you found his turn in attitude was wrong basically your solution would be to run away. I think religion can cause zealotry, but it can help people find strength to try to do the right thing even if their own safety is in question. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not making the claim that there is no such thing as an “atheist in a foxhole.” After all, the 20th century was full Soviets and Chinese who died in battle.

Response: Stalin was a deist who paraded religious symbols around the capital city when it was under siege. Again only Christian liars call Stalin an atheist.

[Faustus: Yet, you found your way to a blog entry quoting him (of all place in a Catholic blog). I understand why you dislike him; your views are dissimilar to yours. His books are long just like the Russian winters. You should know that. What is amazing is who considered him an influence, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Albert Camus are just some of the names of writers who have claimed to be influenced by your Mr. Dreary.]

Response: Funny, I don’t like any of them either.

Now to address Goparaju Ramachandra Rao and his statement head on, without having worry about perdition wouldn’t people be free? People would be truly free to do right or wrong. These are choices equally valid if you have the capability. People do not have to care about the overall well being of society. They are free to think only about what is good for them. Now, how would convince someone to act ethically if they think this way? The sad thing I know people who are like this.]

Response: That is just nonsense. It only takes a moment of reflection to understand what kind of society we would have if everyone just thought about themselves and took whatever they wanted from others.

Now to your main point, because I actually address issues instead
resorting to condescension, I never said atheists are incapable of love or being loved. Remember, if there is a god it doesn’t matter whether you believe in that god or not. The reason why I find this quote incredibly telling is actually a jab at atheists and many theists including myself. If there isn’t an active caring God who provides for an afterlife which provides a basis for love, what is preventing us from doubting whether such things which we find noble in human nature. Much has been made about temporal lobe activity and its relation to religious feelings. However, I know from atheist perspective it can be considered a form of madness. Why not love? Why not compassion? From an evolutionary stand point we take these a bit too far, right? Why can’t these be considered a form of madness? I mean how many animals in nature are monogamous? Heck, animals how no qualms about incest and rape(see dolphins, chimpanzees, stoats, etc.) Animals don’t help their sick. They tend to let the sick or lain get picked off by predators.

Response: That is absolutely false. Dolphins push sick members of a pod to the surface to get air. Whales will put themselves in harms way to help a wounded member of their group. Elephants try their best to save injured members of their families. Vampire bats share food. Apes and monkeys comfort members of their group who are upset and work together to get food. We can show in detail how our moral sense has arisen naturally during the development of modern humanity.

Now to your point the issue with cannibalism, during the idiocy known as both of the Great Leap Forwards there was reports of widespread cannibalism. Stalin tried to starve the Ukraine, and people were forced to resort to eating human flesh. 100 of millions have died because of the cruelty of atheist communist regimes. Like I said before, atheists can be ethical and unethical. However, you can not make people ethical in a godless work without some level of fear.]

Response: Stalin didn’t try to starve his own people. Stalin believed that the Theory of Evolution was a bourgeois Western philosophy and so his government adopted a form of pseudo science called Lysenkoism. Under Lysenkoism, science was guided not by the most likely theories and backed by appropriately controlled experiments, but by the desired ideology, exactly like the Intelligent Design Magic hoax currently promoted by fundamentalist Christians. The Soviets tried growing wheat on the frozen tundra among other things and this is what led to so many people starving.

Faustus April 11, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Response: The Romans were the ones who made Christianity mandatory and violent – which is what makes a religion a religion.
[Faustus: Violence does not make a religion a religion. You failed to refute my point about Christians existing before Constantine.
By your definition, Baha’I is not a religion. Yet, it is regarded as one. How about Jainism? Not a religion based on your definition. I am pretty sure violence was used to implement the Syro-Malabar faith either. By your definition, followers of that sect aren’t Christian. With talk of hate, you seem to be only one exhibiting it on this thread. ]

Response: Oh please. It wasn’t Portugal’s land now was it? Yikes!

[Faustus: You are dodging the issue. India used violence. Did it not? Don’t you find that a contradiction?]

Response: It’s NOT a good story; it’s a horrible story which essentially says that: “For God so hated humanity that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever does not believe in him will not perish but have everlasting life being tortured for all eternity in Hell without hope of forgiveness.” Catholic charities have fed people? And Catholic priests have molested millions of children as well. Wherever Christianity has done good it has also brought misery.
[Faustus: Millions of children? Christianity has done wonderful things. Sure, it has been at times implemented in a horrible manners but it has helped people. I think you are looking at one view of Christianity. There many views of such as those of Meister Eckhart, Bishop Callisto Ware, etc. As I stated before human nature altered something which had noble beginning into something less noble. Christianity is a religion which as one of its main tenets is to do onto others as you would have them do onto you. Even with people trying to believe in such things humanity has failed.]
Response: Nietzsche probably didn’t say that but it doesn’t matter because science has proved otherwise.
[Faustus: No, that was actually a chapter in Twilight of the Idols. Science hasn’t proved otherwise. There is a grey area when it comes to ethics. Human reason can come up with justifications for acting in amoral ways. Now, don’t blame crime on people religion. Crime has existed throughout history.]
While Hitler was raised Catholic, it didn’t mean he was indeed Catholic or Christian. His views on religion were confusing to say the least. Hitler was considered spiritual but was against organized religion.
Response: No dice. That’s the old “No True Scotsman Fallacy.” No one was more like Jesus than Adolph Hitler. After all who else burned millions of people simply because they disagreed with him?
[Faustus: Yes!!! I was waiting for the childish No True Scotsman argument! Christianity is a choice not a born ethnicity. Say for instance I say I am an atheist, but I believe in Jesus. Just because I say I am an atheist does that mean I am an atheist? Now, a Christian who doesn’t believe in loving thy enemy or turning the other cheek is not does not follow the very tenets of Christianity.]

Now, we know that Stalin, Pol Pot, etc. Now, we are back at square one, right? Hitler did provide a very interesting statement, “Success is the sole earthly judge of right and wrong.”
Response: Pol Pot was a Buddhist and Stalin was NOT an atheist and Hitler was wrong. Yikes! Stop reading so much Christian propaganda
.
[Faustus: Let’s see what Wikipedia says about Stalin’s view of religion.
“Stalin followed the position adopted by Lenin that religion was an opiate that needed to be removed in order to construct the ideal communist society. To this end, his government promoted atheism through special atheistic education in schools, massive amounts of anti-religious propaganda, the antireligious work of public institutions (especially the Society of the Godless), discriminatory laws, and also a terror campaign against religious believers. By the late 1930s it had become dangerous to be publicly associated with religion.
Stalin’s role in the fortunes of the Russian Orthodox Church is complex. Continuous persecution in the 1930s resulted in its near-extinction as a public institution: by 1939, active parishes numbered in the low hundreds (down from 54,000 in 1917), many churches had been leveled, and tens of thousands of priests, monks and nuns were persecuted and killed. Over 100,000 were shot during the purges of 1937–1938. During World War II, the Church was allowed a revival as a patriotic organization, and thousands of parishes were reactivated until a further round of suppression in Khrushchev’s time. The Russian Orthodox Church Synod’s recognition of the Soviet government and of Stalin personally led to a schism with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. “
How about Pol Pot?

“The Khmer Rouge also classified by religion and ethnic group. They banned all religion and dispersed minority groups, forbidding them to speak their languages or to practice their customs. They especially targeted Buddhist monks, Muslims, Christians, Western-educated intellectuals, educated people in general, people who had contact with Western countries or with Vietnam, disabled people, and the ethnic Chinese, Laotians and Vietnamese. Some were put in the S-21 camp for interrogation involving torture in cases where a confession was useful to the government. Many others were summarily executed. Confessions forced at S-21 were extracted from prisoners through such methods as raising prisoners by their arms tied behind and dislocating shoulders, removing toenails with pliers, suffocating a prisoner repeatedly, and skinning a person while alive.“
Why would a Buddhist ban all religion including Buddhism? ]
If there is no god, there would success be the sole judge of right and wrong? It is essentially, who has power who dictates what is considered moral.
Response: There is no sole judge of right and wrong and that’s a good thing. Do you want or need to be told the difference between right and wrong? Or can you figure it out all by yourself. If you can’t then you are a very pathetic individual.

[Faustus: There are a lot grey areas in ethics. Is all killing wrong? No, however, there is substantial grey area. Even today we have issues with what is right what is wrong. If you think life is black and white, maybe you should look at yourself in the mirrors and ask who is the pathetic individual.]
Now, back to my question, Stalin was an atheist. Wouldn’t you say that the Bolshevik revolution was noble in nature but degraded into something less noble? If you were in Stalin’s camp and you suddenly had a change of heart because you found his turn in attitude was wrong basically your solution would be to run away. I think religion can cause zealotry, but it can help people find strength to try to do the right thing even if their own safety is in question. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not making the claim that there is no such thing as an “atheist in a foxhole.” After all, the 20th century was full Soviets and Chinese who died in battle.
Response: Stalin was a deist who paraded religious symbols around the capital city when it was under siege. Again only Christian liars call Stalin an atheist.
[Faustus: See above Stalin was not a deist. Or even better yet. Here is a quote by the man himself. Stalin said “You know, they are fooling us, there is no God…all this talk about God is sheer nonsense” in E. Yaroslavsky, Landmarks in the Life of Stalin, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow 1940 ]
[Faustus: Yet, you found your way to a blog entry quoting him (of all place in a Catholic blog). I understand why you dislike him; your views are dissimilar to yours. His books are long just like the Russian winters. You should know that. What is amazing is who considered him an influence, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Albert Camus are just some of the names of writers who have claimed to be influenced by your Mr. Dreary.]
Response: Funny, I don’t like any of them either.

[Faustus: So what if you don’t like any of them. I am referring to the influence Dostoyevsky had on other writers. While he isn’t highly regarded by you, he was in fact highly regarded by large number of writers]
Now to address Goparaju Ramachandra Rao and his statement head on, without having worry about perdition wouldn’t people be free? People would be truly free to do right or wrong. These are choices equally valid if you have the capability. People do not have to care about the overall well being of society. They are free to think only about what is good for them. Now, how would convince someone to act ethically if they think this way? The sad thing I know people who are like this.]
Response: That is just nonsense. It only takes a moment of reflection to understand what kind of society we would have if everyone just thought about themselves and took whatever they wanted from others.
[Faustus: I strongly disagree. If people simply acted in their own interest, there would still be order. However, you would have different sets of ethics. Those who have the means to bend the rules further chose to live their lives, and those who are unable to bend the rules for their own means due to lack power and resources. ]
Now to your main point, because I actually address issues instead
resorting to condescension, I never said atheists are incapable of love or being loved. Remember, if there is a god it doesn’t matter whether you believe in that god or not. The reason why I find this quote incredibly telling is actually a jab at atheists and many theists including myself. If there isn’t an active caring God who provides for an afterlife which provides a basis for love, what is preventing us from doubting whether such things which we find noble in human nature. Much has been made about temporal lobe activity and its relation to religious feelings. However, I know from atheist perspective it can be considered a form of madness. Why not love? Why not compassion? From an evolutionary stand point we take these a bit too far, right? Why can’t these be considered a form of madness? I mean how many animals in nature are monogamous? Heck, animals how no qualms about incest and rape (see dolphins, chimpanzees, stoats, etc.) Animals don’t help their sick. They tend to let the sick or lain get picked off by predators.
Response: That is absolutely false. Dolphins push sick members of a pod to the surface to get air. Whales will put themselves in harms way to help a wounded member of their group. Elephants try their best to save injured members of their families. Vampire bats share food. Apes and monkeys comfort members of their group who are upset and work together to get food. We can show in detail how our moral sense has arisen naturally during the development of modern humanity.

[Faustus: You didn’t refute my statements about rape in the animal kingdom. If it is scientifically acceptable to rape, why should it be illegal? Of course that is we leave ourselves to nature intended. There are some animals that help their sick, but those are the exception not the rule. ]
Now to your point the issue with cannibalism, during the idiocy known as both of the Great Leap Forwards there was reports of widespread cannibalism. Stalin tried to starve the Ukraine, and people were forced to resort to eating human flesh. 100 of millions have died because of the cruelty of atheist communist regimes. Like I said before, atheists can be ethical and unethical. However, you cannot make people ethical in a godless work without some level of fear.]
Response: Stalin didn’t try to starve his own people. Stalin believed that the Theory of Evolution was a bourgeois Western philosophy and so his government adopted a form of pseudo science called Lysenkoism. Under Lysenkoism, science was guided not by the most likely theories and backed by appropriately controlled experiments, but by the desired ideology, exactly like the Intelligent Design Magic hoax currently promoted by fundamentalist Christians. The Soviets tried growing wheat on the frozen tundra among other things and this is what led to so many people starving.

[Faustus: Nice attempt job trying to duck the issue. Here are some links to point to the Ukrainian genocide.
http://209.82.14.226/history/famine/gregorovich/
http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/genocide/stalin.htm
http://library.thinkquest.org/C002291/high/past/ukrainain.htm
http://www.slate.com/id/2284198/
I can add more links.]

Boris April 17, 2011 at 1:42 pm

[Faustus: Violence does not make a religion a religion. You failed to refute my point about Christians existing before Constantine.

Response: We don’t really know who, what or where the first people to call themselves Christians were. They could have existed well before the First Century. The important thing is that they weren’t Palestinian Jews. That Christianity had its beginnings in Palestine or has Jewish roots is Christian mythological propaganda.

By your definition, Baha’I is not a religion. Yet, it is regarded as one. How about Jainism? Not a religion based on your definition. I am pretty sure violence was used to implement the Syro-Malabar faith either. By your definition, followers of that sect aren’t Christian. With talk of hate, you seem to be only one exhibiting it on this thread. ]

Response: I was being facetious. Christians surrender their sense of humor when they become indoctrinated.

[Faustus: You are dodging the issue. India used violence. Did it not? Don’t you find that a contradiction?]

Response: Where’s the contradiction? Is it because you know that atheists usually have higher moral standards than theists?

[Faustus: Millions of children? Christianity has done wonderful things. Sure, it has been at times implemented in a horrible manners but it has helped people. I think you are looking at one view of Christianity.

Response: Christianity is the worst human tragedy ever to come upon this planet. Just its teachings about hell alone disqualify it as ever doing anything “wonderful.” Christians have done nice things but people of all religions and no religion do the same good things.

There many views of such as those of Meister Eckhart, Bishop Callisto Ware, etc. As I stated before human nature altered something which had noble beginning into something less noble.

Response: And a supposedly omniscient God foresaw this would happen but went ahead with this particular religion anyway. Sure. There are so many things so obviously wrong with your religion it’s a wonder everyone can’t see them all clearly.

Christianity is a religion which as one of its main tenets is to do onto others as you would have them do onto you. Even with people trying to believe in such things humanity has failed.]

Response: Name a religion that doesn’t have “Do unto others…” as a major tenet. That saying was part of Buddhist teachings long before Christianity existed.

[Faustus: No, that was actually a chapter in Twilight of the Idols. Science hasn’t proved otherwise. There is a grey area when it comes to ethics. Human reason can come up with justifications for acting in amoral ways. Now, don’t blame crime on people religion. Crime has existed throughout history.]

Response: You are just wrong and you can go to the library, bookstore or the Internet and prove it to yourself. We know where morality came from. We taught it to ourselves. Morality has definite evolutionary explanations.

[Faustus: Yes!!! I was waiting for the childish No True Scotsman argument!

Response: YOU are the one who made the fallacious argument. I just pointed it out.

Christianity is a choice not a born ethnicity. Say for instance I say I am an atheist, but I believe in Jesus. Just because I say I am an atheist does that mean I am an atheist?

Response: No but it does mean we can narrow it down to you being one of two things. Either you’re an atheist or you’re a liar. In fact that’s the way it almost always works in life now isn’t it?

Now, a Christian who doesn’t believe in loving thy enemy or turning the other cheek is not does not follow the very tenets of Christianity.]

Response: Those are just a few of the impossible commands given in the New Testament. Not only that, they’re really bad advice.

[Faustus: There are a lot grey areas in ethics. Is all killing wrong? No, however, there is substantial grey area. Even today we have issues with what is right what is wrong. If you think life is black and white, maybe you should look at yourself in the mirrors and ask who is the pathetic individual.]

Response: I just said there is no sole judge of right and wrong. It’s your religion that teaches otherwise and pretends to define good and evil in absolute terms.

Now to your main point, because I actually address issues instead
resorting to condescension, I never said atheists are incapable of love or being loved. Remember, if there is a god it doesn’t matter whether you believe in that god or not. The reason why I find this quote incredibly telling is actually a jab at atheists and many theists including myself. If there isn’t an active caring God who provides for an afterlife which provides a basis for love, what is preventing us from doubting whether such things which we find noble in human nature.

Response: How does an afterlife provide a basis for love? That is simply a ridiculous claim. I asked you already and since you haven’t answered it’s obvious you don’t know.

[Faustus: You didn’t refute my statements about rape in the animal kingdom. If it is scientifically acceptable to rape, why should it be illegal?

Response: Because animals don’t have laws that give themselves and each other rights. But let’s talk about the animal kingdom. Almost every animal lives most of its life in dire fear of being eaten by other animals. Whose idea was that, may I ask? Not a very good one is it?

Of course that is we leave ourselves to nature intended. There are some animals that help their sick, but those are the exception not the rule. ]

Response: So humans shouldn’t help their sick either right? There are several Christian sects that still hold to that ancient religious belief, a belief that all Christians held up until just a few centuries ago.

[Faustus: Nice attempt job trying to duck the issue. Here are some links to point to the Ukrainian genocide.

Response: Posting links to propaganda that supposedly supports your arguments is a logical fallacy known as an appeal to authority. You have to sufficiently explain your authority’s position. Cutting a debate short by exclaiming things like “Here are some links to point to the blah blah blah” isn’t a satisfactory procedure because two debaters citing links or books back and forth all day would accomplish nothing.

Faustus April 17, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Response: We don’t really know who, what or where the first people to call themselves Christians were. They could have existed well before the First Century. The important thing is that they weren’t Palestinian Jews. That Christianity had its beginnings in Palestine or has Jewish roots is Christian mythological propaganda.

[Faustus: You do realize why Christianity reached Southern India right? It was due to the Jewish colonies throughout Southern India. The way Christianity spread was through the Jewish colonies outside of Palestine.]

Response: I was being facetious. Christians surrender their sense of humor when they become indoctrinated.
[Faustus: So you were being facetious. Based on your previous ranting and ravings, it appears that you take that belief to heart. ]

Response: Where’s the contradiction? Is it because you know that atheists usually have higher moral standards than theists?

[Faustus: Do I really have to spell it out. Gandhi’s India preached the use of nonviolence. India used violence in dealing with Portugal. As for you jab about atheists usually having higher moral standards than theists, I personally know atheists who are both highly moral and highly amoral. This goes back to my original statement. ]
Response: Christianity is the worst human tragedy ever to come upon this planet. Just its teachings about hell alone disqualify it as ever doing anything “wonderful.” Christians have done nice things but people of all religions and no religion do the same good things.

[Faustus: What I am hearing from you is that Christianity is worse than the Nazi regime in Germany, the horrors in the Soviet Union under Stalin, or any of the natural disasters that have occurred throughout history. Please let me know if you are being facetious. ]

Response: And a supposedly omniscient God foresaw this would happen but went ahead with this particular religion anyway. Sure. There are so many things so obviously wrong with your religion it’s a wonder everyone can’t see them all clearly.
[Faustus: It is not my religion. I respect all faiths. I even value your faith even if I do find flaws in it, such as the belief that a moral system can be upheld humanistically. The issue we are discussing is not the existence of God but the question of what the state of ethics if there isn’t a caring God. Personally, I believe we are not able to understand the nature of God. ]

Response: Name a religion that doesn’t have “Do unto others…” as a major tenet. That saying was part of Buddhist teachings long before Christianity existed.

[Faustus: Did I say that other religions lack value? No. The point of quote was that despite the fact people believe in the golden rule in whatever its form people they failed.]

[Faustus: No, that was actually a chapter in Twilight of the Idols. Science hasn’t proved otherwise. There is a grey area when it comes to ethics. Human reason can come up with justifications for acting in amoral ways. Now, don’t blame crime on people religion. Crime has existed throughout history.]

Response: You are just wrong and you can go to the library, bookstore or the Internet and prove it to yourself. We know where morality came from. We taught it to ourselves. Morality has definite evolutionary explanations.

[Faustus: How am I wrong? The Marquis De Sade was an atheist. He believed the only form of morality is the pursuit of pleasure.
How about our friend Nietzsche again? Nietzsche preached that a group of “supermen” must arise with the courage to create their own values through their “will to power.” Nietzsche rejected the “soft” values of Christianity (brotherly love, turning the other cheek, charity, compassion, etc.); he felt they hindered man’s creativity and potential.
What about Bertrand Russell? He pretty much echoed what the Marquis said but he obviously didn’t share his beliefs to those awful ends.
Even Richard Dawkins has issues what is moral. This is what he said, “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question. But whatever [defines morality], it’s not the Bible. If it was, we’d be stoning people for breaking the Sabbath.”]

Christianity is a choice not a born ethnicity. Say for instance I say I am an atheist, but I believe in Jesus. Just because I say I am an atheist does that mean I am an atheist?

Response: No but it does mean we can narrow it down to you being one of two things. Either you’re an atheist or you’re a liar. In fact that’s the way it almost always works in life now isn’t it?

[Faustus: Normally, that is how it works out. You do see calling yourself something doesn’t mean you are that follow that belief or ideal. A person who calls themselves a Christian who doesn’t follow the tenets of Christianity is just as dishonest as an atheist who believes in God.]
Response: Those are just a few of the impossible commands given in the New Testament. Not only that, they’re really bad advice.
[Faustus: I agree from a human nature standpoint it does not make sense, but doesn’t an eye for an eye make the whole world blind? However, you are right. The only reason why Gandhi’s way worked was because India was dealing with a progress power. If India tried to use passive resistance against the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany, they would have been put down swiftly. What does that say about human nature? It isn’t religion. It is human nature.]

Response: I just said there is no sole judge of right and wrong. It’s your religion that teaches otherwise and pretends to define good and evil in absolute terms.

[Faustus: Once again, you state it is my religion. I came here for Dostoyevsky. You came here to pick a fight. Above you stated that morality has evolutionary explanations, therefore the explanation is the organism’s survival correct? Unfortunately, humanity has done so many things which are contrary to survival. You cannot blame religion for everything.]

Response: How does an afterlife provide a basis for love? That is simply a ridiculous claim. I asked you already and since you haven’t answered it’s obvious you don’t know.

[Faustus: A God who loves provides the basis. An afterlife provides value in moral living. If you are amoral and you have the means to live as you choose, for instance you are well off and can afford great lawyers, what is to preventing you from living life under your own rules? Once again I have answered your question. You just dislike the answer.]
Response: Because animals don’t have laws that give themselves and each other rights. But let’s talk about the animal kingdom. Almost every animal lives most of its life in dire fear of being eaten by other animals. Whose idea was that, may I ask? Not a very good one is it?

Of course that is we leave ourselves to nature intended. There are some animals that help their sick, but those are the exception not the rule. ]

Response: So humans shouldn’t help their sick either right? There are several Christian sects that still hold to that ancient religious belief, a belief that all Christians held up until just a few centuries ago.

[Faustus: Did I say that people should help the sick? Christians even today help the sick. Muslims have a belief in charity. My point is that you can an argument can be made that it is better for society that you do not help the sick.
Response: Posting links to propaganda that supposedly supports your arguments is a logical fallacy known as an appeal to authority. You have to sufficiently explain your authority’s position. Cutting a debate short by exclaiming things like “Here are some links to point to the blah blah blah” isn’t a satisfactory procedure because two debaters citing links or books back and forth all day would accomplish nothing.
[Faustus: You stated that Stalin didn’t starve his own people. You must be a Stalinist if you can’t accept the Holomodor as fact. I provided links. These are not blogs or propaganda sites. I referenced Slate which let’s face it is not a propaganda online magazine. When you debate online you present your argument, then you proceed to give evidence. I gave evidence. It doesn’t matter if you dislike it or your feelings are hurt by it. When evaluating evidence, you look at the quality its source.(See I am doing your job for you by pointing that out.)]

Roz April 17, 2011 at 8:34 pm

I believe it was Boris who said:

“We don’t really know who, what or where the first people to call themselves Christians were. They could have existed well before the First Century. The important thing is that they weren’t Palestinian Jews. That Christianity had its beginnings in Palestine or has Jewish roots is Christian mythological propaganda. “

I’m glad I wasn’t drinking anything when I read that. Can you offer an authoritative citation on that, please?

Boris April 23, 2011 at 9:08 am

[Faustus: You do realize why Christianity reached Southern India right? It was due to the Jewish colonies throughout Southern India. The way Christianity spread was through the Jewish colonies outside of Palestine.]

Response: That makes even less sense than your other weird claims. How exactly would Jewish people, people who have always been persecuted by Christians, spread Christianity? By telling people how ridiculous they believed Christianity to be? Or perhaps telling others how fearful they were of violent Christians? Or possibly telling the Indians that no Jew ever heard of or wrote a single word about Christianity’s central figure, Jesus of Nazareth (a town that didn’t even exist in the First Century) spread Christianity in India huh?

[Faustus: Do I really have to spell it out. Gandhi’s India preached the use of nonviolence. India used violence in dealing with Portugal. As for you jab about atheists usually having higher moral standards than theists, I personally know atheists who are both highly moral and highly amoral. This goes back to my original statement. ]

Response: Some politicians said one thing and then did another. Gee, what surprise. The Portuguese had the opportunity to leave peacefully and chose to do otherwise.

[Faustus: What I am hearing from you is that Christianity is worse than the Nazi regime in Germany, the horrors in the Soviet Union under Stalin, or any of the natural disasters that have occurred throughout history. Please let me know if you are being facetious. ]

Response: The Nazi regime was a Christian regime and its persecution of the Jews based solidly on the teachings of Adolph Hitler’s personal hero, Martin Luther. Natural disasters can’t be avoided. Mistakes like Christianity can and must be avoided in the future.

[Faustus: It is not my religion. I respect all faiths. I even value your faith even if I do find flaws in it, such as the belief that a moral system can be upheld humanistically. The issue we are discussing is not the existence of God but the question of what the state of ethics if there isn’t a caring God. Personally, I believe we are not able to understand the nature of God ]

Response: So what you are saying is we should all base our system of morality of some being we can’t understand and whose existence is doubted by the majority of people in the world. Do you actually think that is a good idea?

[Faustus: Did I say that other religions lack value? No. The point of quote was that despite the fact people believe in the golden rule in whatever its form people they failed.]

Response: You just need to get classier friends. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t try to treat others, as they themselves want to be treated.

[Faustus: How am I wrong? The Marquis De Sade was an atheist. He believed the only form of morality is the pursuit of pleasure.
How about our friend Nietzsche again? Nietzsche preached that a group of “supermen” must arise with the courage to create their own values through their “will to power.” Nietzsche rejected the “soft” values of Christianity (brotherly love, turning the other cheek, charity, compassion, etc.); he felt they hindered man’s creativity and potential.
What about Bertrand Russell? He pretty much echoed what the Marquis said but he obviously didn’t share his beliefs to those awful ends.
Even Richard Dawkins has issues what is moral. This is what he said, “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question. But whatever [defines morality], it’s not the Bible. If it was, we’d be stoning people for breaking the Sabbath.”]

Response: You are wrong because we can demonstrate how morality has evolved naturally as we have.

[Faustus: Normally, that is how it works out. You do see calling yourself something doesn’t mean you are that follow that belief or ideal. A person who calls themselves a Christian who doesn’t follow the tenets of Christianity is just as dishonest as an atheist who believes in God.]

Response: You can’t BE an atheist and believe in God. You CAN be a Christian and still be a nasty, bigoted, ignoramus.

[Faustus: I agree from a human nature standpoint it does not make sense, but doesn’t an eye for an eye make the whole world blind? However, you are right. The only reason why Gandhi’s way worked was because India was dealing with a progress power. If India tried to use passive resistance against the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany, they would have been put down swiftly. What does that say about human nature? It isn’t religion. It is human nature.]

Response: What is your problem with human nature?

[Faustus: Once again, you state it is my religion. I came here for Dostoyevsky. You came here to pick a fight. Above you stated that morality has evolutionary explanations, therefore the explanation is the organism’s survival correct? Unfortunately, humanity has done so many things which are contrary to survival. You cannot blame religion for everything.]

Response: So what? Humanity has done much more that is positive, especially recently when scientists have been able to get Christian holy men off of their backs.

[Faustus: A God who loves provides the basis. An afterlife provides value in moral living. If you are amoral and you have the means to live as you choose, for instance you are well off and can afford great lawyers, what is to preventing you from living life under your own rules? Once again I have answered your question. You just dislike the answer.]

Response: An afterlife provides nothing because no such thing exists. No God exists either. Both of these delusions produce nothing but serious life avoidance and escapism issues not to mention even more ridiculous delusions. You say you’re not a Christian but yet you believe in an afterlife. Oh well, I guess that is an almost universal neurosis but it’s a neurosis just the same. I can’t think of a stupider belief than thinking you’re going to live on after you die and forever, no less! Where’s the evidence for this? ROFL!

[Faustus: Did I say that people should help the sick? Christians even today help the sick. Muslims have a belief in charity. My point is that you can an argument can be made that it is better for society that you do not help the sick.

Response: Go ahead. Make that argument.

[Faustus: You stated that Stalin didn’t starve his own people. You must be a Stalinist if you can’t accept the Holomodor as fact. I provided links. These are not blogs or propaganda sites. I referenced Slate which let’s face it is not a propaganda online magazine. When you debate online you present your argument, then you proceed to give evidence. I gave evidence. It doesn’t matter if you dislike it or your feelings are hurt by it. When evaluating evidence, you look at the quality its source.(See I am doing your job for you by pointing that out.)]

Response: You failed to respond to the fact that the reason people starved in Russia was because of Stalin’s rejection of evolutionary theory in favor of Lysenkoism. Until you can disprove that this claim of yours about Stalin as well as your others remain debunked.

Faustus April 23, 2011 at 11:52 pm

Boris: That makes even less sense than your other weird claims. How exactly would Jewish people, people who have always been persecuted by Christians, spread Christianity? By telling people how ridiculous they believed Christianity to be? Or perhaps telling others how fearful they were of violent Christians? Or possibly telling the Indians that no Jew ever heard of or wrote a single word about Christianity’s central figure, Jesus of Nazareth (a town that didn’t even exist in the First Century) spread Christianity in India huh?

[Faustus: Funny thing you mention Nazareth. :o) It was a small settlement. They found bodies dating back 9000 years in Nazareth. They have found pottery dating back to the Middle Bronze Age. They have found grinding mills and silos dating back to the Iron Age. By not being referenced in writing doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. It simply means it was not of great importance. In 2009 an Israeli archaeologist, Yardenna Alexandre, excavated archaeological remains in Nazareth that might date to the time of Jesus in the early Roman period. Alexandre told reporters, “The discovery is of the utmost importance since it reveals for the very first time a house from the Jewish village of Nazareth.”
Now to the topic of Christianity in Southern India, Thiruvithamcode Arappally, is a church found in Tamil Nadu. It is considered one of the oldest churches in the world. It dates back to the first century. The reason why Christianity came to South India is due to the Jewish communities. Why were their Jewish communities in South India? They came 2,500 years ago as traders.
Now back to your original point. Christianity has Jewish origins, Talmudic scholar Daniel Boyarin states that the theology of Paul is deeply rooted in Hellenisic Judiasm. What is interesting is how Jewish Christianity was persevered in Islam. There have been numerous schisms in Judaism. Samaritans, Christians, Hasidims are examples.]
Boris: Some politicians said one thing and then did another. Gee, what surprise. The Portuguese had the opportunity to leave peacefully and chose to do otherwise.
[Faustus: The Portuguese were not the ones who professed a philosophy of nonviolence.]

Boris: The Nazi regime was a Christian regime and its persecution of the Jews based solidly on the teachings of Adolph Hitler’s personal hero, Martin Luther. Natural disasters can’t be avoided. Mistakes like Christianity can and must be avoided in the future.
[Faustus: Emphatically wrong, the Nazi regime was a nationalist organization based on German romanticism. Anton Drexler blamed capitalism as a Jew promoted movement. The origins of the Master Race view stem from Count Joseph Arthur De Gobineau. As for Christianity, the Nazi’s wanted to destroy Christianity and convert it to a positive Christianity based on Nazi mysticism preached by Alfred Rosenberg. The beliefs of the Nazi leaders were diverse. They varied from neo-paganism, like Heinrich Himler, atheists, like Martin Bormann, to a bastardized version of Christianity like Hitler.]

Boris: So what you are saying is we should all base our system of morality of some being we can’t understand and whose existence is doubted by the majority of people in the world. Do you actually think that is a good idea?
[Faustus: I will admit I do not have a secular answer beside fear of legal punishment. As I said previously I am a deist. Deists can vary from believing a God who can be active in human affairs or believe in the watchmaker who walked away. I am on the fence on this issue. Unfortunately, when it comes to legal punishment the threshold is not innocence, it is reasonable doubt. A very good lawyer can create reasonable doubt for the obviously guilty.]

Boris: You just need to get classier friends. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t try to treat others, as they themselves want to be treated.
[Faustus: I have very classy and caring friends who faiths vary from Catholic, Jewish, atheist, agnostic, and Hindu. From my experience, the greatest variety in personal ethics occurs in my atheist and agnostic friends. I am talking people in general. Now, if you truly followed the golden rule you wouldn’t hop onto a Catholic blog just to be condescending. :o)]

[Faustus (older post): How am I wrong? The Marquis De Sade was an atheist. He believed the only form of morality is the pursuit of pleasure.
How about our friend Nietzsche again? Nietzsche preached that a group of “supermen” must arise with the courage to create their own values through their “will to power.” Nietzsche rejected the “soft” values of Christianity (brotherly love, turning the other cheek, charity, compassion, etc.); he felt they hindered man’s creativity and potential.
What about Bertrand Russell? He pretty much echoed what the Marquis said but he obviously didn’t share his beliefs to those awful ends.
Even Richard Dawkins has issues what is moral. This is what he said, “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question. But whatever [defines morality], it’s not the Bible. If it was, we’d be stoning people for breaking the Sabbath.”]

Response: You are wrong because we can demonstrate how morality has evolved naturally as we have.
[Faustus: How am I wrong? I just showed how atheists have given question to what constitutes a moral behavior. Unfortunately, belief in religion which promises something to happen to you after death is the best way to promote ethical behavior without using force. Now, if you are a laissez-faire capitalist then I can at least respect your view because you are willing to stick to your guns, but if you are not then you are most likely a contradiction.]

Boris: You can’t BE an atheist and believe in God. You CAN be a Christian and still be a nasty, bigoted, ignoramus.

[Faustus: You cannot be an atheist and believe in God because belief that there is no such thing as a deity is a key tenet. It is the same as Christianity. You have to follow the main tenets to be a Christian. I realize you do not like this explanation because it is contrary to your faith system, but it is what it is.]
Boris: What is your problem with human nature?
[Faustus: It isn’t a problem with a human nature. It is the acceptance of the duality of man. Reason allows us to do wonderful things such as create masterpieces. However, at the same time reason can give us the ability to destroy as well.]

Boris: So what? Humanity has done much more that is positive, especially recently when scientists have been able to get Christian holy men off of their backs.
[Faustus: Once again it is the people behind religion not religion itself. Remember, Gregor Mendel and his work on genetics? What was he? He was a Christian Holy Man. :o) Now, I agree that people did do damage to the field of science in the name of God.]

Boris: An afterlife provides nothing because no such thing exists. No God exists either. Both of these delusions produce nothing but serious life avoidance and escapism issues not to mention even more ridiculous delusions. You say you’re not a Christian but yet you believe in an afterlife. Oh well, I guess that is an almost universal neurosis but it’s a neurosis just the same. I can’t think of a stupider belief than thinking you’re going to live on after you die and forever, no less! Where’s the evidence for this? ROFL!
[Faustus: Your response here is circular and without basis. Unless you own a time machine which takes back in time to verify origins/lack thereof a creation of the universe, at that point I would congratulate you on your invention. Now, did I say I believed in an afterlife? I said a belief in the afterlife is the key. There is no evidence that there is or isn’t a God. Reason alone leads to agnosticism. Faith leads you in either direction. Now if you disagree, what is you evidence that there isn’t a God? Your evidence would be that the universe has always existed. How do you prove that without a question of a doubt? No please do not resort to Petitio principia. That is very intellectually lazy. You can prove a negative. If you could not, there wouldn’t be so many rich defense lawyers in the world.]
[Faustus(previous comment): You stated that Stalin didn’t starve his own people. You must be a Stalinist if you can’t accept the Holomodor as fact. I provided links. These are not blogs or propaganda sites. I referenced Slate which let’s face it is not a propaganda online magazine. When you debate online you present your argument, then you proceed to give evidence. I gave evidence. It doesn’t matter if you dislike it or your feelings are hurt by it. When evaluating evidence, you look at the quality its source.(See I am doing your job for you by pointing that out.)]

Boris: You failed to respond to the fact that the reason people starved in Russia was because of Stalin’s rejection of evolutionary theory in favor of Lysenkoism. Until you can disprove that this claim of yours about Stalin as well as your others remain debunked.
[Faustus: You didn’t disprove that the Soviets were not malicious policies and therefore led to genocide.
On April 27, 2010, a draft Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe resolution declared the famine was caused by the “cruel and deliberate actions and policies of the Soviet regime” and was responsible for the deaths of “millions of innocent people” in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Russia. Even though PACE found Stalin guilty of causing the famine, they rejected several amendments to the resolution, which proposed the Holodomor be recognized as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people. The most important people involved, the Ukrainians found that it was an act of genocide.
How about the commentary by Yaroslav Bilinsky, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware:
“Political usage should not override scholarly logic, especially political usage which is just being established in independent Ukraine, arguably seven years late. My argument, however, is that both logic and political usage in Ukraine point in one direction, that of the terror-famine being genocidal. Stalin hated the Ukrainians, as accepted as a fact by Sakharov, revealed in the telegram to Zatonsky and inferred from his polemics with the Yugoslav communist Semich. Stalin decided to collectivize Soviet agriculture and under the cover of collectivization teach the Ukrainians a bloody lesson. Had it not been for Stalinist hubris and the incorporation of the more nationalistically minded and less physically decimated Western Ukrainians after 1939, the Ukrainian nation might have never recovered from the Stalinist offensive against the main army of the Ukrainian national movement, the peasants.”
Here is what Norman Naimark, Professor of East European Studies at Stanford University said:
“There is enough evidence – if not overwhelming evidence – to indicate that Stalin and his lieutenants knew that the widespread famine in the USSR in 1932-33 hit Ukraine particularly hard, and that they were ready to see millions of Ukrainian peasants die as a result. They made no efforts to provide relief; they prevented the peasants from seeking food themselves in the cities or elsewhere in the USSR; and they refused to relax restrictions on grain deliveries until it was too late. Stalin’s hostility to the Ukrainians and their attempts to maintain their form of “home rule” as well as his anger that Ukrainian peasants resisted collectivization fueled the killer famine.”
I like the fact you chose to not refer to Lynsenko’s rejection of Mendelian theory of heredity. Now, his agricultural policies were a cause for The Great Chinese famine. ]

Boris April 23, 2011 at 9:09 am

Roz,
You can visit Jesusneverexisted.com. That’s always a shocker for the indoctrinated. The Messiah Myth, The Near Eastern Roots of Jesus and David and Mythic Past, Biblical Archaeology and the Myth of Ancient Israel by Thomas Thompson should relieve anyone still laboring under the delusion that something in the Bible even might be true. Pagan Christ by Tom Harpur shows that Jesus Christ is purely a mythical figure. In fact there’s a lot of literature that makes this case. I suggest you read it and shed the chains of religion.

Boris April 24, 2011 at 11:33 am

[Faustus: Funny thing you mention Nazareth. :o) It was a small settlement. They found bodies dating back 9000 years in Nazareth. They have found pottery dating back to the Middle Bronze Age. They have found grinding mills and silos dating back to the Iron Age. By not being referenced in writing doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. It simply means it was not of great importance. In 2009 an Israeli archaeologist, Yardenna Alexandre, excavated archaeological remains in Nazareth that might date to the time of Jesus in the early Roman period. Alexandre told reporters, “The discovery is of the utmost importance since it reveals for the very first time a house from the Jewish village of Nazareth.”

Response: Nazareth is not mentioned even once in the entire Old Testament. The Book of Joshua in what it claims is the process of settlement by the tribe of Zebulon in the area records twelve towns and six villages but omits any ‘Nazareth’ from its list. The Talmud names 63 Galilean towns, but knows nothing of Nazareth, nor does other early rabbinic literature. In the epistles supposedly written by Paul Jesus is mentioned over 200 times but Nazareth is never mentioned. In fact no ancient historian or geographer mentions Nazareth. It is first noted at the beginning of the 4th century. Yardenna Alexandre himself admitted that, “no settlement remains have been discovered that are attributed to this period”.

Now to the topic of Christianity in Southern India, Thiruvithamcode Arappally, is a church found in Tamil Nadu. It is considered one of the oldest churches in the world. It dates back to the first century. The reason why Christianity came to South India is due to the Jewish communities. Why were their Jewish communities in South India? They came 2,500 years ago as traders.
Now back to your original point. Christianity has Jewish origins,

Response: That is pure Christian propaganda. Prove it. The only thing that connects Judaism with Christianity is persecution of Jewish people by Christians. My relatives are Jewish. There’s nothing in our history about the first Christians being Jewish. Not a single thing. The NT is written in Greek, not Hebrew.

Talmudic scholar Daniel Boyarin states that the theology of Paul is deeply rooted in Hellenisic Judiasm. What is interesting is how Jewish Christianity was persevered in Islam. There have been numerous schisms in Judaism. Samaritans, Christians, Hasidims are examples.]

Response: If that were true then there would be Jewish literature from this period that would indicate this. Where is it? Poof it doesn’t exist and it never did. FYI The Apostle Paul is a purely fictional character. Have you ever read Acts of the Apostles? This insane book reads like a fantasy novel – because it is. Christianity came from Rome, not Palestine. There were dozens of competing Sun God, mystery religions that were called Christian in the First Century.

[Faustus: The Portuguese were not the ones who professed a philosophy of nonviolence.]

Response: Oh really? The Portuguese were Christians you know. We all know Christians profess non-violence. Unfortunately there is no history of Christians ever practicing what they preach now is there? Hahaha

[Faustus: Emphatically wrong, the Nazi regime was a nationalist organization based on German romanticism. Anton Drexler blamed capitalism as a Jew promoted movement. The origins of the Master Race view stem from Count Joseph Arthur De Gobineau. As for Christianity, the Nazi’s wanted to destroy Christianity and convert it to a positive Christianity based on Nazi mysticism preached by Alfred Rosenberg. The beliefs of the Nazi leaders were diverse. They varied from neo-paganism, like Heinrich Himler, atheists, like Martin Bormann, to a bastardized version of Christianity like Hitler.]

Response: “Loyalty and responsibility toward the people and the Fatherland are most deeply anchored in the Christian faith.” – Adolph Hitler. We have Hitler’s own words describing his Christian faith. The Nazis rejected the teaching of evolution in their public schools and instead taught Christian biblical creationism – UNTIL 1960. You don’t get any more Christian than that! The only other country still doing that by then was South Africa – another shining example of Christianity.

[Faustus: I will admit I do not have a secular answer beside fear of legal punishment. As I said previously I am a deist. Deists can vary from believing a God who can be active in human affairs or believe in the watchmaker who walked away. I am on the fence on this issue. Unfortunately, when it comes to legal punishment the threshold is not innocence, it is reasonable doubt. A very good lawyer can create reasonable doubt for the obviously guilty.]

Response: Once again you make no sense.

[Faustus: I have very classy and caring friends who faiths vary from Catholic, Jewish, atheist, agnostic, and Hindu. From my experience, the greatest variety in personal ethics occurs in my atheist and agnostic friends. I am talking people in general. Now, if you truly followed the golden rule you wouldn’t hop onto a Catholic blog just to be condescending. :o)]

Response: That isn’t my purpose. Catholics believe a lot of very stupid and harmful things. It is my duty as a member of society to help them overcome their childish superstitions. There beliefs hurt all of us. You believe a lot of really dumb things too.

[Faustus (older post): How am I wrong? The Marquis De Sade was an atheist. He believed the only form of morality is the pursuit of pleasure.

Response: The idea of God is the sole wrong for which I cannot forgive mankind.” -Marquis de Sade.
How about our friend Nietzsche again? Nietzsche preached that a group of “supermen” must arise with the courage to create their own values through their “will to power.”

Response: They have. It’s called the NFL.

Nietzsche rejected the “soft” values of Christianity (brotherly love, turning the other cheek, charity, compassion, etc.); he felt they hindered man’s creativity and potential.
What about Bertrand Russell? He pretty much echoed what the Marquis said but he obviously didn’t share his beliefs to those awful ends.
“Every single bit of progress in human feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery… has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principle enemy of moral progress in the world.” – Bertrand Russell.

Even Richard Dawkins has issues what is moral. This is what he said, “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question. But whatever [defines morality], it’s not the Bible. If it was, we’d be stoning people for breaking the Sabbath.”]

Response: The Dawkins quote is a good example of quote mining,
taking things out of context. Christians quote mine all the time and it’s the same as lying.

[Faustus: How am I wrong? I just showed how atheists have given question to what constitutes a moral behavior. Unfortunately, belief in religion which promises something to happen to you after death is the best way to promote ethical behavior without using force. Now, if you are a laissez-faire capitalist then I can at least respect your view because you are willing to stick to your guns, but if you are not then you are most likely a contradiction.]

Response: People who behave only because they think they will be punished in an afterlife are immoral. So a belief in an afterlife is certainly NOT the “best way to promote ethical behavior without using force.” Intelligent people behave morally because it is in their own selfish best interests to do so. I do because it gets me better friends and more of them. I behave morally because it makes other people respect me and my family loves me more. I don’t need to be frightened into being a good person. It’s pathetic that you and so many others do.
“Your dunce who can’t do his sums always has a taste for the infinite.” – George Eliot
“The world has suffered far less from ignorance than from pretensions to knowledge… No agnostic ever burned anyone at the stake or tortured a pagan, a heretic, or an unbeliever.” – Daniel J. Boorstin
“Man desires a world where good and evil can be clearly distinguished, for he has an innate and irrepressible desire to judge before he understands. “ Mila Kundera
“Men rarely (if ever) managed to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.” – Robert A. Heinlein

[Faustus: You cannot be an atheist and believe in God because belief that there is no such thing as a deity is a key tenet. It is the same as Christianity. You have to follow the main tenets to be a Christian. I realize you do not like this explanation because it is contrary to your faith system, but it is what it is.]

Response: First, I have no faith system. Second, the Bible itself says that no one can follow the tenets of Christianity. For example if I said that no liar can be a Christian that would immediately disqualify 2 billion people from being Christians.

[Faustus: It isn’t a problem with a human nature. It is the acceptance of the duality of man. Reason allows us to do wonderful things such as create masterpieces. However, at the same time reason can give us the ability to destroy as well.]

Response: Only bad reasoning can do this. You know the kind of reasoning YOU do.

[Faustus: Once again it is the people behind religion not religion itself. Remember, Gregor Mendel and his work on genetics? What was he? He was a Christian Holy Man. :o) Now, I agree that people did do damage to the field of science in the name of God.]

Response: Yes, Christianity is very anti-science. Since all religions are man made, you cannot separate a religion from its adherents.

[Faustus: Your response here is circular and without basis.

Response: Just saying that my response is circular and without basis will not do. You have to prove and you haven’t and you can’t.

Unless you own a time machine which takes back in time to verify origins/lack thereof a creation of the universe, at that point I would congratulate you on your invention. Now, did I say I believed in an afterlife? I said a belief in the afterlife is the key. There is no evidence that there is or isn’t a God. Reason alone leads to agnosticism. Faith leads you in either direction. Now if you disagree, what is you evidence that there isn’t a God? Your evidence would be that the universe has always existed. How do you prove that without a question of a doubt? No please do not resort to Petitio principia. That is very intellectually lazy. You can prove a negative. If you could not, there wouldn’t be so many rich defense lawyers in the world.]

Response: Empirical observation tells us that mass-energy cannot be created or destroyed. Therefore the mass-energy that comprises the universe must always have existed in one form or another. “An atheist doesn’t have to be someone who thinks he has a proof that there can’t be a god. He only has to be someone who believes that the evidence on the God question is at a similar level to the evidence on the werewolf question.” – John McCarthy, American computer scientist

Boris: Once AGAIN you failed to respond to the fact that the reason people starved in Russia was because of Stalin’s rejection of evolutionary theory in favor of Lysenkoism. Until you can disprove that this claim of yours about Stalin as well as your others remain debunked. How many more times do you have to see your bogus claims disproved? Christian propaganda is NOT history. You need better sources.

Faustus April 25, 2011 at 12:07 am

Boris: Yes, Christianity is very anti-science. Since all religions are man made, you cannot separate a religion from its adherents.
[Faustus: Your reasoning is faulty. It is like saying you cannot separate Stalin from Karl Marx. Who knows maybe you are making that point?]

[Faustus: Your response here is circular and without basis.

Boris: Just saying that my response is circular and without basis will not do. You have to prove and you haven’t and you can’t.

[Faustus: Your quote: An afterlife provides nothing because no such thing exists. You are basing that the value there is no value in an afterlife because it doesn’t exist. You have no evidence that an afterlife doesn’t exist. I guess if you are the Channukah Zombie you are right. Unfortunately, we have no evidence in favor or against an afterlife. Once again your faith is pointing you in this direction.]

[Faustus(original post):
Unless you own a time machine which takes back in time to verify origins/lack thereof a creation of the universe, at that point I would congratulate you on your invention. Now, did I say I believed in an afterlife? I said a belief in the afterlife is the key. There is no evidence that there is or isn’t a God. Reason alone leads to agnosticism. Faith leads you in either direction. Now if you disagree, what is you evidence that there isn’t a God? Your evidence would be that the universe has always existed. How do you prove that without a question of a doubt? No please do not resort to Petitio principia. That is very intellectually lazy. You can prove a negative. If you could not, there wouldn’t be so many rich defense lawyers in the world.]

Boris: Empirical observation tells us that mass-energy cannot be created or destroyed. Therefore the mass-energy that comprises the universe must always have existed in one form or another. “An atheist doesn’t have to be someone who thinks he has a proof that there can’t be a god. He only has to be someone who believes that the evidence on the God question is at a similar level to the evidence on the werewolf question.” – John McCarthy, American computer scientist

[Faustus: Oh Boris…. You make it sound so childishly simple. You are statement makes disproving an origin to the universe the equivalent to using silver bullets. First, your argument is based the assumption that we know all there is know about the nature of matter and energy. This is false assumption because we are still doing research to determine the composition of atoms and their nature. Second, the Big Bang theory is current prevailing theory. Now, I understand that your hate of Catholicism prevents you from acknowledging another priests work. He referred to it as the Hypothesis of Primeval Atom. I can go into a long explanation of the Big Bang Theory, Hubble’s Law, how the universe is expanding, etc, but I know you can read and while it isn’t a perfect theory is the best theory in existence. I don’t have to go into any detail as to how the Big Bang Theory would be caused by an initial push.]

Boris: Once AGAIN you failed to respond to the fact that the reason people starved in Russia was because of Stalin’s rejection of evolutionary theory in favor of Lysenkoism. Until you can disprove that this claim of yours about Stalin as well as your others remain debunked. How many more times do you have to see your bogus claims disproved? Christian propaganda is NOT history. You need better sources.
[Faustus: I provided quotes from actual historians stating that the Holodomor was genocide. You are still referring to Stalin’s rejection of evolutionary theory when it is in fact Mendelian Genetics which are being ignored. Tsk Tsk….who is being dishonest here? Do you hate Christianity and Catholicism so much that you cannot refer to an Augustinian monk by name? You have not given any evidence to support your claim. Simply repeating your stance doesn’t make it true not matter how many times you chant it. ]

Boris April 28, 2011 at 5:33 pm

[Faustus: Your reasoning is faulty. It is like saying you cannot separate Stalin from Karl Marx. Who knows maybe you are making that point?]

Response: Religions evolve because their adherents evolve. Christians no longer live in abject filth, debase the body or refuse sanitation or hygiene because it supposedly glorifies God. Nor do they believe lightening is a form of punishment for sinners sent by God. Churches don’t ring their bells to frighten off demons. Christians from just 400 years ago would not recognize modern Christianity and would surely consider it heresy. This is why you can’t separate a religion from what its adherents believe and do. That is not like saying you cannot separate Stalin from Karl Marx. The latter simply influenced the former in much the same way that Run DMC influenced the Beastie Boys.

[Faustus: Your quote: An afterlife provides nothing because no such thing exists. You are basing that the value there is no value in an afterlife because it doesn’t exist. You have no evidence that an afterlife doesn’t exist. I guess if you are the Channukah Zombie you are right. Unfortunately, we have no evidence in favor or against an afterlife. Once again your faith is pointing you in this direction.]

Response: There’s plenty of evidence that an afterlife is impossible. Humans are just like other animals in that they are biological organisms, made out of flesh and bone, and we depend on the operation of certain cellular, chemical processes to continue functioning and experiencing the world around us. Once these functions stop, we die. When we are dead there is no longer any electrical activity going on within the structure of our brains, and it is then no longer possible for us to experience anything. What had been our personalities, our memories, our hopes, dreams and fears all cease to exist. The walls of our cells break down and eventually our bodies decompose into constitute elements through biological and chemical processes. This is a fate we share with every other living thing on the planet because we happen to be related to every living thing on the planet. Do bananas have an afterlife? Humans are just one of several species of apes. Do Bonobos, Gorillas, Orangutans and chimps have afterlives? Why not?

You claim that you personally do not believe in an afterlife. Yet you think other people should because if they don’t they can’t have good morals and ethics – like you. How arrogant are you exactly? The rest of the world is too dumb to figure out their own system of morals and ethics. But not you right?

[Faustus: Oh Boris…. You make it sound so childishly simple. You are statement makes disproving an origin to the universe the equivalent to using silver bullets. First, your argument is based the assumption that we know all there is know about the nature of matter and energy.

Response: Wrong again. My assumption is based on ALL we presently DO know about mass-energy.

This is false assumption because we are still doing research to determine the composition of atoms and their nature.

Response: YOUR assumption is based on the argument that we don’t know enough unless or until we know everything.

Second, the Big Bang theory is current prevailing theory. Now, I understand that your hate of Catholicism prevents you from acknowledging another priests work. He referred to it as the Hypothesis of Primeval Atom. I can go into a long explanation of the Big Bang Theory, Hubble’s Law, how the universe is expanding, etc, but I know you can read and while it isn’t a perfect theory is the best theory in existence. I don’t have to go into any detail as to how the Big Bang Theory would be caused by an initial push.]

Response: Wrong again. If you are going to imply there must have been some sort of initial push you most certainly DO have to do into detail about it. Until then it will be classified with the rest of your goofy assertions and bogus insupportable claims. No as far as a Catholic discovering the Big Bang: “I saw a documentary on Stephen Hawking, where he said he had a meeting with the pope, and that the pope said to him that it’s alright to explore the universe, but not to look into the origins of the big bang, for that would be questioning God’s story of creation… Wow… Just imagine that one of the greatest minds to come along in the last few hundred years, and he’s taking directions from a cult leader that wears big goofy hats.” – Joe Rogan. One again we have religion telling us we don’t need to know things – we just need to BELIEVE.

[Faustus: I provided quotes from actual historians stating that the Holodomor was genocide. You are still referring to Stalin’s rejection of evolutionary theory when it is in fact Mendelian Genetics which are being ignored.

Response: What exactly do genetics have to do with the Soviets attempting to grow wheat on the frozen tundra? Don’t ignore this question.

Tsk Tsk….who is being dishonest here? Do you hate Christianity and Catholicism so much that you cannot refer to an Augustinian monk by name? You have not given any evidence to support your claim. Simply repeating your stance doesn’t make it true not matter how many times you chant it. ]

Response: Simply dancing around my stance with absurd claims about genetics and Stalin is saying and refuting absolutely nothing. Try responding to what I said about Lysenkoism instead of all this mumbo jumbo.

Faustus April 28, 2011 at 11:14 pm

[Faustus(previous comment): Your reasoning is faulty. It is like saying you cannot separate Stalin from Karl Marx. Who knows maybe you are making that point?]

Response: Religions evolve because their adherents evolve. Christians no longer live in abject filth, debase the body or refuse sanitation or hygiene because it supposedly glorifies God. Nor do they believe lightening is a form of punishment for sinners sent by God. Churches don’t ring their bells to frighten off demons. Christians from just 400 years ago would not recognize modern Christianity and would surely consider it heresy. This is why you can’t separate a religion from what its adherents believe and do. That is not like saying you cannot separate Stalin from Karl Marx. The latter simply influenced the former in much the same way that Run DMC influenced the Beastie Boys.
[Faustus: The key tenets in Christianity have stayed the same. It is all of the extraneous rules, ceremony, traditions in expressing that faith have changed. How can you separate Stalin from Marx? First of all your analogy involving the Beastie Boys is fallacious to begin. The Beastie Boys were not influenced the Run DMC. The Beastie Boys’ first hip hop song was in 1982. They were originally an awful hardcore punk band. It was because of the track Cookie Puss that they started performing more rap. If you can make the assumption that Stalin perverted what Marx said, how can you not make the same assumption about what happened to early Christianity?]

[Faustus: Your quote: An afterlife provides nothing because no such thing exists. You are basing that the value there is no value in an afterlife because it doesn’t exist. You have no evidence that an afterlife doesn’t exist. I guess if you are the Channukah Zombie you are right. Unfortunately, we have no evidence in favor or against an afterlife. Once again your faith is pointing you in this direction.]

Boris: There’s plenty of evidence that an afterlife is impossible. Humans are just like other animals in that they are biological organisms, made out of flesh and bone, and we depend on the operation of certain cellular, chemical processes to continue functioning and experiencing the world around us. Once these functions stop, we die. When we are dead there is no longer any electrical activity going on within the structure of our brains, and it is then no longer possible for us to experience anything. What had been our personalities, our memories, our hopes, dreams and fears all cease to exist. The walls of our cells break down and eventually our bodies decompose into constitute elements through biological and chemical processes. This is a fate we share with every other living thing on the planet because we happen to be related to every living thing on the planet. Do bananas have an afterlife? Humans are just one of several species of apes. Do Bonobos, Gorillas, Orangutans and chimps have afterlives? Why not?

You claim that you personally do not believe in an afterlife. Yet you think other people should because if they don’t they can’t have good morals and ethics – like you. How arrogant are you exactly? The rest of the world is too dumb to figure out their own system of morals and ethics. But not you right?

[Faustus: I never said I did or didn’t believe in an afterlife. I do not see evidence in either direction. By saying the humans are biological creatures does not disprove the existence of an afterlife. Who knows maybe bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas go to primate heaven? We don’t have any idea what happens when a person dies besides what happens to the body?
Now to my point, it was in reference to the quote by Dostoevsky. Here is an interesting fact, according to an article written by Stanford University social scientist Arthur C. Brooks:
“The differences in charity between secular and religious people are dramatic. Religious people are 25 percentage points more likely than secularists to donate money (91 percent to 66 percent) and 23 points more likely to volunteer time (67 percent to 44 percent). And, consistent with the findings of other writers, these data show that practicing a religion is more important than the actual religion itself in predicting charitable behavior. For example, among those who attend worship services regularly, 92 percent of Protestants give charitably, compared with 91 percent of Catholics, 91 percent of Jews, and 89 percent from other religions.”
Also
“Note that neither political ideology nor income is responsible for much of the charitable differences between secular and religious people. For example, religious liberals are 19 points more likely than secular liberals to give to charity, while religious conservatives are 28 points more likely than secular conservatives to do so. In other words, religious conservatives (who give and volunteer at rates of 91 percent and 67 percent) appear to differ from secular liberals (who give and volunteer at rates of 72 percent and 52 percent) more due to religion than to politics.”
How about Robert Putman, a political scientist at Harvard University? His research has found that there is a positive correlation between faith and altruism. The study revealed that forty percent of worship service attending Americans volunteer regularly to help the poor and elderly as opposed to 15% of Americans who never attend services. Moreover, religious individuals are more likely than non-religious individuals to volunteer for school and youth programs (36% vs. 15%), a neighborhood or civic group (26% vs. 13%), and for health care (21% vs. 13%).
Now seeing how my “Ayn Randian” following friends view charitable giving, I can see the basis in this research.]

[Faustus(original post): Oh Boris…. You make it sound so childishly simple. You are statement makes disproving an origin to the universe the equivalent to using silver bullets. First, your argument is based the assumption that we know all there is know about the nature of matter and energy.

Boris: Wrong again. My assumption is based on ALL we presently DO know about mass-energy.

[Faustus: We don’t know for certain what happens in a black hole.]

This is false assumption because we are still doing research to determine the composition of atoms and their nature.

Boris: YOUR assumption is based on the argument that we don’t know enough unless or until we know everything.

[Faustus: My assumption is that we still have a lot more to know about the universe.]
[Faustus(previous comment):Second, the Big Bang theory is current prevailing theory. Now, I understand that your hate of Catholicism prevents you from acknowledging another priests work. He referred to it as the Hypothesis of Primeval Atom. I can go into a long explanation of the Big Bang Theory, Hubble’s Law, how the universe is expanding, etc, but I know you can read and while it isn’t a perfect theory is the best theory in existence. I don’t have to go into any detail as to how the Big Bang Theory would be caused by an initial push.]

Boris: Wrong again. If you are going to imply there must have been some sort of initial push you most certainly DO have to do into detail about it. Until then it will be classified with the rest of your goofy assertions and bogus insupportable claims. No as far as a Catholic discovering the Big Bang: “I saw a documentary on Stephen Hawking, where he said he had a meeting with the pope, and that the pope said to him that it’s alright to explore the universe, but not to look into the origins of the big bang, for that would be questioning God’s story of creation… Wow… Just imagine that one of the greatest minds to come along in the last few hundred years, and he’s taking directions from a cult leader that wears big goofy hats.” – Joe Rogan. One again we have religion telling us we don’t need to know things – we just need to BELIEVE.

[Faustus: Goofy assertions? Did I say that the Big Bang Theory proved Catholicism? No. I stated that the Big Bang Theory as the prevailing theory of the origin of the universe doesn’t disprove the existence of a god. However, if we still hold Newton’s first Law of Motion is still true, ”Every body remains in a state of constant velocity unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force. This means that in the absence of a non-zero net force, the center of mass of a body either remains at rest, or moves at a constant velocity.”, a singularity which the universe sprung from would need a cause. Is that an unreasonable concept? Now, instead of quoting an atheist comedian who helped destroy “The Man Show” come up with a logical argument which shows that the prevailing theory of the creation of the universe emphatically proves that there isn’t a god. As I have showed you belief in some sort of creator is not as unreasonable as belief in werewolves. ]

[Faustus (original): I provided quotes from actual historians stating that the Holodomor was genocide. You are still referring to Stalin’s rejection of evolutionary theory when it is in fact Mendelian Genetics which are being ignored.

Boris: What exactly do genetics have to do with the Soviets attempting to grow wheat on the frozen tundra? Don’t ignore this question.

[Faustus: Frozen tundra? The Ukraine is a huge producer of grains. They are a top 10 producer in the world. See answer below for what Mendelian genetics has to do frozen tundra. ]

[Faustus (previous comment): Tsk Tsk….who is being dishonest here? Do you hate Christianity and Catholicism so much that you cannot refer to an Augustinian monk by name? You have not given any evidence to support your claim. Simply repeating your stance doesn’t make it true not matter how many times you chant it. ]

Boris: Simply dancing around my stance with absurd claims about genetics and Stalin is saying and refuting absolutely nothing. Try responding to what I said about Lysenkoism instead of all this mumbo jumbo.
[Faustus: I have addressed your statement on Lysenkoism. It isn’t absurd claim about genetics. Instead of breeding strains of wheat which are more weather resistant remember Natural Selection is an observation of changes in the traits of species it is not the means by which those traits are passed, Trofim Lysenko came up something nonsensical called Michurinism. This was a form of Lamarckism which called for grafting and hybridization. It was part of the Soviet Union attempts to display that hereditary played a limited in an organism’s success. This they felt could easily be applied to humans as well. Who was the originator of what is considered the core of classical genetics? Gregor Mendel, a Catholic Monk whose work on pea plants laid the foundation for genetics.
Now to the Holodomor, Raphael Lemkin, the lawyer who originated the term genocide stated: perhaps the classic example of Soviet genocide, its longest and broadest experiment in Russification [is] the destruction of the Ukrainian nation. … The nation is too populous to be exterminated completely with any efficiency. However, its leadership, religious, intellectual, political, its select and determining parts, are quite small and therefore easily eliminated, and so it is upon these groups particularly that the full force of the Soviet axe has fallen, with its familiar tools of mass murder, deportation and forced labor, exile and starvation.
Here is the major issue. Ukrainians, among them are survivors, believe it was genocide. Hitler even knew about Stalin’s starving the Ukrainian people. He even emulated Stalin in his Hunger Plan by killing of the Ukrainians and replacing them with Germans. This would allow the Germans a place of supply in their push into Russian. How did Stalin starve the people? He placed unreasonable quotas even a gun point on the Ukrainian people.
In November 1933, Pavel Postyshev, who was given dictatorial powers to implement Stalin’s policies, declared at a meeting of the Central Committee in Ukraine that:“Under the direct leadership and directions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and personally of comrade Stalin we smashed the Ukrainian nationalist counter revolution.” ]

Boris May 1, 2011 at 11:23 am

[Faustus: The key tenets in Christianity have stayed the same.

Response: Not true. The Council of Nicea actually elected Jesus as God. What are the key tenets of Christianity?

It is all of the extraneous rules, ceremony, traditions in expressing that faith have changed. How can you separate Stalin from Marx? First of all your analogy involving the Beastie Boys is fallacious to begin… If you can make the assumption that Stalin perverted what Marx said, how can you not make the same assumption about what happened to early Christianity?]

Response: We have the Beastie Boys own words on how they were influenced by, toured with and had the same DJ as Run DMC. Yikes! I don’t disagree that Christianity has been perverted. I disagree with your claim that it was ever something “good” to begin with. Christianity is simply a perversion of the other older Sun-god, mystery religions it evolved from.

[Faustus: I never said I did or didn’t believe in an afterlife. I do not see evidence in either direction… We don’t have any idea what happens when a person dies besides what happens to the body?

Response: Our memories, emotions, thoughts and personalities reside in physical particles of the brain. So what happens to our brains is what happens to our bodies. Even people like theologian Nancy Murphy have written that, “Science has provided a massive amount of evidence suggesting that we need not postulate the existence of an entity such as a soul or mind in order to account for life or continuousness.” Brain injuries can render a person unconscious for years, they can change a person’s entire personality, mental functions and memory. Drugs affect the degree and nature of our consciousness. We lose consciousness when we sleep. However, according to you and billions of other neurotic people we don’t lose consciousness when we die! No, consciousness can’t survive injuries morphine or mental illness but it can survive death! Like I said before, there isn’t a stupider belief than that! The evidence against an afterlife is overwhelming and won’t disappear because you refuse to acknowledge it.

Now to my point, it was in reference to the quote by Dostoevsky.

Response: Comment on this quote: “So long as man remains free he strives for nothing so incessantly and so painfully as to find something to worship. But… what is essential is that they all may be together in it. This craving for community of worship is the chief misery of every man individually and of all humanity from the beginning of time. For the sake of common worship, they’ve slain each other with the sword. They have set up gods and challenged each other, “Put away your gods and come worship ours, or we will kill you and your gods.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“The differences in charity between secular and religious people are dramatic.

Response: There is a much more important and obvious difference between secular and religious people. “Nearly three-fourths of all studies since the 1920s that investigated a correlation between intelligence and religious affiliation have found that the proportion of atheists, agnostic individuals, and deists increases dramatically as you move up the scale in school grades, exam scores, and IQ tests. The remaining fourth of the studies show no correlation; zero reviews suggested that people in organized religions are more intelligent than those with secular beliefs. The apparent conclusion to draw from the data is that people who are more intelligent tend to disbelieve religious superstitions.” – Dr. Jason Long

“Religious people are 25 percentage points more likely than secularists to donate money (91 percent to 66 percent) and 23 points more likely to volunteer time (67 percent to 44 percent). And” blah blah blah…

Response: How do you know that those percentages are accurate? Why, Christians were interviewed and they told us how much they give! Sure. People who give only to look good or out of guilt gave truthful answers in interviews about how much they give to charity. ROFL! Atheists are more charitable because we are not doing good works for skydaddy fun points. We are doing them because we honestly want to help. The fact is that churches, the Southern Baptist association and other religious organizations tell us that Christians are not giving anywhere near what they claim to give because an average of 3500 churches have closed their doors forever every year in the last 30 years in the United States. And tithing is NOT the same as giving to charity. Christianity takes in over 100 billion dollars a year. It would take about 2 billion a year to feed all the people who will otherwise starve to death every year. Where’s the money? It’s in Creflo Dollar’s and Benny Hinn’s jets and in a Catholic slush fund for keeping pedophiles out of prison. “Missionaries are perfect nuisances and leave every place worse than they found it” – Charles Dickens

Now seeing how my “Ayn Randian” following friends view charitable giving, I can see the basis in this research.]

Response: “For centuries, the mystics of spirit had existed by running a protection racket – by making life on earth unbearable, then charging you for consolation and relief… by declaring production and joy to be sins, then collecting blackmail from the sinners.” Ayn Rand. See, there’s a difference between giving because you really want to help and doing it out fear. A real BIG difference. Too bad you can’t see that. But then neither can the Christians.

[Faustus: We don’t know for certain what happens in a black hole.]

Response: If you could step outside our universe and look back at it, our universe would appear to be a black hole.

[Faustus: Goofy assertions? …a singularity which the universe sprung from would need a cause. Is that an unreasonable concept?

Response: Yes it is. Quantum events can and do happen without cause. Our universe could be a quantum event in a larger universe that always was. Matter was created from energy in the early universe. Observations indicate that the positive energy of matter is exactly balanced by negative gravitational potential energy. Therefore the total energy of the universe is zero and no energy (or very little–just the amount allowed by quantum mechanics) was required to produce the universe. So even if the universe had a cause there is no reason to assume this cause was supernatural. There is no evidence of supernatural events ever taking place.

Now, instead of quoting an atheist comedian who helped destroy “The Man Show” … As I have showed you belief in some sort of creator is not as unreasonable as belief in werewolves. ]

Response: No you haven’t shown that at all. Let’s see you prove that the universe was more likely to be created by a god then a werewolf. Unless or until you do that you haven’t shown any of your absurd claims to be correct or even that they might be correct. That’s the trouble with debating believers like you. It’s like playing chess with a pigeon. The pigeon doesn’t know the rules of the game so after you make your move the pigeon simply flaps his wings knocking over all the pieces and then flies away claiming victory. Again you haven’t made ANY points so far. An impartial observer to our discussion would certainly point this out to you.

[Faustus: Frozen tundra? The Ukraine is a huge producer of grains. They are a top 10 producer in the world. See answer below for what Mendelian genetics has to do frozen tundra. ]

Response: Stalin tried to force collectivized agriculture on the Ukraine without providing the mechanized farm equipment that they needed to run the new larger farms. Gross incompetence by the Communists, has been politicized into willful genocide by their enemies. Again, I have gone to the sites you copied your information from. You don’t know the difference between propaganda and fact. And of course, this is why you believe you are going to live forever. You believe what you want to.

Faustus May 1, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Faustus response to Boris’ Point 1) The Council of Nicea is the definition of Christianity if you believe Christianity began under Constantine. However, we both have different beliefs on this subject. I will discuss further below.
Faustus response to Boris’ Point 2) The Beastie Boys went on tour with Run DMC on the Raising Hell Tour which was in 1985 which is three years after the release of Cookie Puss. The influence of Run DMC on the Beastie Boys is closer to the influence Joseph Stalin had on Mao. Rick Rubin (founder of Def Jam Records and also known as DJ Double R worked with the Beastie Boys in 1984)
The sun god argument is poor at best. Let’s start with comparisons with Mithra. The virgin birth of Mithra is not the same as the story of Jesus’. Mithra emerged fully grown, partially clothed, and armed from a rock. The one virgin birth which compares favorably to the Jesus’ was Buddha. Now referring to the Council of Nicea, the issue why the council deemed the divinity of Jesus was because of the work of Arius. Arius deemed that Jesus was a divine being created by God. It wasn’t whether Jesus was divine or not. It was the issue whether the Jesus and the Father were the same being.
When Pontius Pilate, questioned Jesus, he gave conservative answer. He stated there is only one God, and he stated the Golden Rule. These are based on the views of two contrasting rabbis from the era, Hillel and Shammai.

Faustus response to Boris’ Point 3) Hurray for more condescension!!!! E.O. Wilson in his book Consilience, has noted that in sociology has identified a shared belief in a human soul. Mind you, I do enjoy how you refer to billions of mad people. I think it is interesting that such a belief is universal.
As a deist, I don’t lean in either direction. That is the problem I am facing. If there isn’t an afterlife, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot have gone to the same place as Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, and Mother Theresa. Idi Amin and Pol Pot were able to live their days out as old men, but Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. were gunned down.
Without an afterlife, a person’s basis in values is self preservation. This is the reason why morality can be very subjective. Maybe, it is wishful thinking, but you still have not disproved the existence of the human soul.
Faustus response to Boris’ point 4)Your quote is from the Grand Inquisitor from Brother Karamazov. It is the Grand Inquisitor responding to the Prisoner (Jesus.)In the story, the Inquisitor is an atheist. The Inquisitor states that they do not need Jesus. Instead, under the guidance of the devil they will provide guidance of humanity. You have to understand this was written from the perspective of Ivan, the atheist brother.
Faustus response to Boris’ point 5) I had to spend some time trying to find information of your Dr. Jason Long. I found a dentist. I figured that was not the person you were referring. I finally stumbled upon him. Now, I wonder if he and yourself are referring to the so called 17 studies which proved that being irreligious was strongly correlated to intelligence. The issues with these studies is the sample size of each study, they varied between 100 to 600 students, the criteria used to evaluate intelligence, and differentiating liberal religious from non religious in those studies. Dr. Leslie Francis from University of Wales Lampiter evaluated the studies and included studies such as those of Rummel from 1934 involving University of Missouri students. Out of 1134 students, the non affiliated students fared worse compared academically to students who came from religious backgrounds. I could go into the studies of others but I think it’s safe to say that there is no correlation.
To make things even more interesting, an article from Science Magazine from 1997, looks at a study which shows that scientists are 1/3 atheist, 1/3 are agnostic, and 1/3 have a belief in God.
Let me add to this and say if you are right and the Holodomor is just another example Communist ineptitude along with the Great Leap Forwards, how intelligent does this make atheists look?
No I will counter with the statement with this one. Evangelical atheists, such as you, may be just as damaging as religious fanatics. For example, Sam Harris a contributor for The Huffington Post has stated that it is obviously the religion of Islam which cause terrorist acts. Unfortunately, it is that overtly simplified view that gets Christian fundamentalists in trouble. Only 20% of all Muslims are from Arabic speaking countries.
Faustus response to Boris’ point 6) I am not going to deny there is a fear element, however, there sense of love among various religious factions for their fellow man. Now, I realize you will disagree with these results because they contradict your world view, but logically it makes sense. While I have stated numerous times before that there are ethical atheists, given the complete freedom of choice. Of course, I haven’t taken into account “progressive guilt.” I used to work a charity called “Our Little Haven.” I worked at a 5 k fundraiser. There were 50 volunteers and the vast majority of them stood around and socialized without lending a hand. Ironically, a young lady who won an award for being the most active in charities never lifted a finger at these events. All she did was stand around socialize. Charities have become networking events. If you in fact give and do work with charities, more power to you. Last year, I donated $3,000 to build house in Southern India.
Faustus response to Boris’ point 7) Who said every religious person donates out of fear? There is freedom of choice. Since you quoted Rand, does that mean you are a laissez-faire capitalist now? :o)
How about Ayn Rand’s view of charity? “My views on charity are very simple. I do not consider it a major virtue and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty. There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them. I regard charity as a marginal issue. What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue.”
Faustus response to Boris point 8) You didn’t even touch the nature of black holes. The nature of black holes are in debate. Views vary between leading to another dimension other lead to views that matter gets crushed to a point where it has zero volume and infinite density. Really speaking based on our limited knowledge we can speculate what happens.
Faustus response to Boris point 9) You are equating the formation of the universe with the radioactive decay. As of 2010, no accelerator experiments probe energies of sufficient magnitude to provide any experimental insight into the behavior of matter at the energy levels that prevailed during beginning stages of the Big Bang. We know very little now. One issue with referring to the Big Bang as a quantum event is the very massiveness of the singularity. As we all know quantum events are on the miniscule scale. The singularity may in fact be so small it is an infinitesimal point the mass of it….well contains the entire universe. Based on what we currently know this singularity is governed by the rules of General Relativity. After all, it was working backwards using General relativity did we determine there was a singularity.
Faustus responses to Boris’ point 10) Thank you for comparing me to a pigeon. You do realize you attract more flies with honey than vinegar. Your rudeness just shows your intolerance to other view points. Unfortunately, you haven’t captured my king. The game is still not settled. Since, I am mature enough to not use condescension like you I will continue. My goal is not to change your mind. Your mind is fixed. I am looking to learn from anything if at all. Now, we are assuming the form of God. Remember, based on your quote. You were going to show that belief in God was just as absurd as belief in werewolves. It isn’t my job. I just showed that is reasonable to expect that anything that comes into existence has a beginning. Now, your job is to show that is absurd. Simple enough right? Remember you have to show that the view is absurd not the fact that there is a contrary theory.
Faustus response to Boris’ point 11) I can just as easily say that your view is just a Russian apologist view. Propaganda indeed. The European Parliament has ruled that was a crime against humanity. I have provided quotes by historians who view it as a genocide or a crime against humanity(not just sheer negligence.)
Professor Steven Rosefielde argues in his 2009 book Red Holocaust that “Grain supplies were sufficient enough to sustain everyone if properly distributed. People died mostly from terror-starvation (excess grain exports, seizure of edibles from the starving, state refusal to provide emergency relief, bans on outmigration, and forced deportation to food-deficit locales), not poor harvests and routine administrative bungling.”
Yale Historian Timothy Snyder asserts that the starvation was “deliberate” as several of the most lethal policies applied only, or mostly, to Ukraine. He argues the Soviets themselves “made sure that the term genocide, contrary to Lemkin’s intentions, excluded political and economic groups.” Thus the Ukrainian famine can be presented as “somehow less genocidal because it targeted a class, kulaks, as well as a nation, Ukraine.”
Professor Michael Ellman of the University of Amsterdam concludes that the actions of the Stalinist regime from 1930–34, from the standpoint of international criminal law, “clearly constitutes . . . a series of crimes against humanity.” These include not only policies that exacerbated the starvation (exporting 1.8 million tonnes of grain during the height of the famine, banning migration from famine-stricken areas and refusing to secure humanitarian aid from abroad), but also mass shootings and deportations of alleged “kulaks,” “counter-revolutionaries” and other “Anti-Soviet elements” around the same time. According to Ellman, whether or not the famine was genocidal in nature depends on which definition of genocide is applied. If a more relaxed definition is accepted, which is actually favored by some specialists in the field of genocide studies, then the Soviet government was not only guilty of genocide against the Ukrainians in 1932-33, but also of several other genocides from 1917 to 1953. Ellman asserts that the “national operations” of the NKVD, particularly the “Polish operation”, which occurred during the late 1930s during the great purges may qualify as genocide even under the strictest definition, but there has been no ruling on the matter.

Boris May 5, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Faustus response to Boris’ Point 1) The Council of Nicea is the definition of Christianity if you believe Christianity began under Constantine. However, we both have different beliefs on this subject. I will discuss further below.

Response: It isn’t just we two who disagree on the definition of Christianity. More importantly the Christians themselves disagree on the definition of Christianity and who is a Christian and who isn’t.

The Beastie Boys went … The influence of Run DMC on the Beastie Boys is closer to the influence Joseph Stalin had on Mao. Rick Rubin (founder of Def Jam Records and also known as DJ Double R worked with the Beastie Boys in 1984)

Response: Let’s not go off on a tangent about the Beastie Boys. The fact that you want to continue an argument you’ve already lost proves that you are just like every other believer in the world. You are deathly afraid to admit you are wrong because you know the next question will be, “Well if you’re so wrong about that, how do you know you’re not wrong about God?” You believers will say and do just about anything to avoid being cornered by that question now won’t you? Too bad. Now answer it. Or you can continue with your poor debating ethics and simply ignore the question like you do my others.
The sun god argument is poor at best… It was the issue whether the Jesus and the Father were the same being.

Response: “The Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun.” – Thomas Paine. The stories don’t have to be exactly alike. All of them have one common characteristic, which is that they are all allegories for the sun passing through the twelve signs of the zodiac including all four gospels. This is very easy to verify.

When Pontius Pilate, questioned Jesus, he gave conservative answer. He stated there is only one God, and he stated the Golden Rule. These are based on the views of two contrasting rabbis from the era, Hillel and Shammai.

Response: Both Jesus and Pontius Pilate are fictional characters.

…I think it is interesting that such a belief is universal.

Response: It doesn’t matter how many people believe a stupid thing, it’s still a stupid thing.

As a deist, I don’t lean in either direction. That is the problem I am facing. If there isn’t an afterlife, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot have gone to the same place as Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, and Mother Theresa. Idi Amin and Pol Pot were able to live their days out as old men, but Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. were gunned down.

Response: You can’t reconcile the fact that some crimes and atrocities go unpunished so you need to believe this isn’t so. Therefore you believe something for which there isn’t one tiny shred of evidence so you don’t have to face the uncomfortable facts of life. This demonstrates very clearly how belief in an afterlife leads to all sorts of escapist and life-avoidance issues. And you’ve got a load of them buddy. “A belief in an afterlife has the unavoidable effect of making this one less unique and precious… Good luck finding an atheist willing to strap a bomb to his or her back, or fly a plane into a building…” – John Bice

Without an afterlife, a person’s basis in values is self preservation.

Response: With an afterlife people strap bombs on their backs and fly planes into buildings now don’t they? “Assure a man that he has a soul and then frighten him with old wives’ tales as to what is to become of him afterward, and you have hooked a fish, a mental slave.” – Theodore Dreiser

This is the reason why morality can be very subjective. Maybe, it is wishful thinking, but you still have not disproved the existence of the human soul.

Response: And you haven’t disproved the existence of werewolves. The burden of poof is on the person making the absurd claim, not the person who doesn’t believe it. There’s an invisible pink unicorn in my trunk. We know it’s invisible because we can’t see it and we have faith that it’s pink. Prove I don’t have an invisible pink unicorn in my trunk.

Faustus response to Boris’ point 4)Your quote is from the Grand Inquisitor from Brother Karamazov. It is the Grand Inquisitor responding to the Prisoner (Jesus.)In the story, the Inquisitor is an atheist. The Inquisitor states that they do not need Jesus. Instead, under the guidance of the devil they will provide guidance of humanity. You have to understand this was written from the perspective of Ivan, the atheist brother.

Response: No, a Christian propagandist wrote that trying to make atheists and atheism look undesirable.

… Out of 1134 students, the non affiliated students fared worse compared academically to students who came from religious backgrounds. I could go into the studies of others but I think it’s safe to say that there is no correlation.

Response: Oh please! Turn on a Christian talk show on your radio and listen to the callers try to formulate a sentence in the language they’ve used their entire lives. Or just listen to all the semi-literate preachers. ROFL! Look at how stupid and vacuous all of the arguments for God and an afterlife really are. Oh that’s right, you swallowed all of those, hook, line and sinker. You can’t see how stupid and vacuous they are. But they are.

To make things even more interesting, an article from Science Magazine from 1997, looks at a study which shows that scientists are 1/3 atheist, 1/3 are agnostic, and 1/3 have a belief in God.

Response: Yes but of that 1/3 that believe in a God almost none of them believe in a personal God. That’s because: “Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday singing, ‘yes gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up must come down…! Amen!’ If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it” You know, like you are about YOUR crazy beliefs.

Let me add to this and say if you are right and the Holodomor is just another example Communist ineptitude along with the Great Leap Forwards, how intelligent does this make atheists look?

Response: What does Communist ineptitude have to do with atheist intelligence? Any mistakes or human rights violations or abuses committed by communists invariably stemmed from the leadership’s power-mad political ambitions, rather than from an academic or philosophical conviction that religion contradicted the laws of physics. If atheism is hypothetically responsible for political oppression in Russia, then Christianity is certainly responsible for the atrocities of the Inquisition, the Crusades, witch burnings and the Holocaust. You believers love to condemn other schools of thought for perversions of their teachings but when it comes to your own ideology individuals take all the blame – never your particular philosophy. Sorry dude. No dice. The current “atheist” leaders of Russia condemn the actions of Joseph Stalin. Atheists, how do you like us now? I think it’s hilarious and very telling that when believers need to find a bad example of an atheist the only one they can ever find is Joseph Stalin, who wasn’t even an atheist. Stalin was a deist like you. It’s even funnier when you believers try to claim a devout Catholic Christian like Hitler was actually an atheist. All this just magnifies the desperation of your position.

No I will counter with the statement with this one. Evangelical atheists, such as you, may be just as damaging as religious fanatics. For example, Sam Harris a contributor for The Huffington Post has stated that it is obviously the religion of Islam which cause terrorist acts. Unfortunately, it is that overtly simplified view that gets Christian fundamentalists in trouble. Only 20% of all Muslims are from Arabic speaking countries.

Response: So what you are saying is that only Arabic speaking people are terrorists. But to you that’s not damaging or bigoted because it’s YOUR opinion, the only one that matters. So Christian terrorists who shoot up the Holocaust Museum or murder doctors who perform abortions aren’t really terrorists because well, they’re not Arabs. They killed for a good God, right?

Faustus response to Boris’ point 6) I am not going to deny there is a fear element, however, there sense of love among various religious factions for their fellow man. Now, I realize you will disagree with these results because they contradict your world view, but logically it makes sense.

Response: What results? You just make things up out of nothing. The reason there is so much trouble and violence in the world is because religious people hate other religions and their adherents.

While I have stated numerous times before that there are ethical atheists, given the complete freedom of choice.

Response: What qualifies you to be the judge of someone else’s ethics? Judging from your debating ethics, you are a very unethical and intellectually dishonest person.

I used to work a charity called “Our Little Haven…. Last year, I donated $3,000 to build house in Southern India.

Response: Tell someone who gives a hoot.

Faustus response to Boris’ point 7) Who said every religious person donates out of fear? There is freedom of choice. Since you quoted Rand, does that mean you are a laissez-faire capitalist now? :o)

Response: When a person quotes someone that doesn’t mean they agree with everything else they say.

How about Ayn Rand’s view of charity? “My views on charity are very simple. I do not consider it a major virtue and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty. There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them. I regard charity as a marginal issue. What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue.”

Response: Okay, what exactly is wrong with that?

You didn’t even touch the nature of black holes. The nature of black holes are in debate. Views vary between leading to another dimension other lead to views that matter gets crushed to a point where it has zero volume and infinite density. Really speaking based on our limited knowledge we can speculate what happens.

Response: You speculate on all kinds of things that you have no knowledge of whatsoever.

… After all, it was working backwards using General relativity did we determine there was a singularity.

Response: That’s right a singularity, not a god, or even any sign of one. “I don’t see any god up here.” – Yuri Gagarin, first atheist and human in space.

… My goal is not to change your mind. Your mind is fixed.

Response: Not true. I know what it would take to change my mind about what I currently believe or don’t believe. You, on the other hand, will continue to believe whatever you want to. Science is our best defense against believing what we want to. Try reading a science book. “God the Failed Hypothesis, How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist” by Victor Stenger may open your eyes. I think you’re afraid to find out there are no God and no afterlife. In fact I KNOW it.

I am looking to learn from anything if at all. Now, we are assuming the form of God. Remember, based on your quote. You were going to show that belief in God was just as absurd as belief in werewolves. It isn’t my job. I just showed that is reasonable to expect that anything that comes into existence has a beginning. Now, your job is to show that is absurd. Simple enough right? Remember you have to show that the view is absurd not the fact that there is a contrary theory.

Response: How do you know the universe even came into existence? Perhaps it has always existed in one form or another. If God could have always existed, so could the universe.

Faustus response to Boris’ point 11) I can just as easily say that your view is just a Russian apologist view.

Response: You can say that but like everything else you claim, you can’t prove it.

Faustus May 11, 2011 at 11:39 pm

Boris, I have decided to change up our format, but first I would like to point out that the constant use of condescension is a sign of greater insecurity. If you are firm in your position, you do not need to belittle people. I will work on my somewhat sarcastic tone. While your rudeness has wore on me, it is no excuse for me to return the favor. Turning the other cheek is something I can learn from Christianity. Second, I would like you to simply reduce your reliance of quotes unless they directly relate to something provable. I have tried to as well. For instance, I will use this quote from Carl Sagan about atheism:
“An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence. Because God can be relegated to remote times and places and to ultimate causes, we would have to know a great deal more about the universe than we do now to be sure that no such God exists….”
What about Lord Kelvin:
“The more thoroughly I conduct scientific research, the more I believe that science excludes atheism.”
Finally (since we have agreed that we agreed that we can use quotes of people despite the fact we do not agree with everything they say), Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn:
“Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”
Since you quoted a Communist astronaut, I am presenting two American astronauts. First, James Irwin:
“The Earth reminded us of a Christmas tree ornament hanging in the blackness of space.
As we got farther and farther away it diminished in size. Finally it shrank to the size of a
marble, the most beautiful marble you can imagine. That beautiful, warm, living object
looked so fragile, so delicate, that if you touched it with a finger it would crumble and fall
apart. Seeing this has to change a man, has to make a man appreciate the creation of God
and the love of God.”
Next, Edgar Mitchell:
“My view of our planet was a glimpse of divinity.”

What do these quotes prove to you? Nothing. It is an opinion. However, we do know there are dogmatic atheists and weak atheists. Weak atheists (or negative atheists) don’t believe there is a God, but does not state there is no God. Of course, we know that Sagan is in fact referring atheists like yourself who emphatically believe that the statement, “There is at least one God” is false. Does this mean Sagan’s statement is irrelevant? Not entirely. However, simply reverting to quotes does not close an issue.
With that being said, this will be my last post on this thread. We are reaching a point where we are arguing for the sake of arguing. I think the Beastie Boy argument has shown that. We are simply going back and forth. I will address your issues as well as I can while addressing the main issues which we are debating. I will provide a format which is easy to follow. I am sure you realized that people are reading our discussions. That is why Matt, the founder of the blog, requested we use an easier to follow format. These are the topics which I am going to cover:
1) Dostoyevsky’s quote: “. . . if you were to destroy in mankind the belief in immortality, not only love but every living force maintaining the life of the world would at once be dried up. Moreover, nothing then would be immoral, everything would be lawful, even cannibalism.”
2) The possibility for the existence of God. How such belief is reasonable? Werewolves do exist. Also, I am addressing your statement about invisible pink unicorns. :o)
3) Comparison of Jesus to the sun gods. The Jewish origins of the Christianity.
Here are the reasons why I am avoiding some of the other topics we discussed.
4) Beastie Boys argument, for obvious reasons we are excluding this one.
5) Intelligence of people who believe in God compared to atheists.
Is there a correlation between belief in God and intelligence? I believe there isn’t. Also, I believe that intelligence is not reason why someone’s argument is more valid than another’s point.
Based on a study by Satoshi Kanazawa of University College of London and Kaja Perina, intelligent people tend to be night owls (Why night owls are more intelligent.) Unfortunately, if you believe the research of Colin G. DeYoung of Yale University (Morning people are stable people: Circadian rhythm and the higher-order factors of the Big Five) and studies which point to people who stay up late having greater instances of psychological disorders.
Intelligent people can be deceived. How about this excerpt from the Wall-Street Journal?
“Three studies in 2006 and 2007 of identified investment-fraud victims and randomly selected participants—carried out by the Finra foundation, WISE Senior Services of Los Angeles and AARP Washington State—found that victims of investment fraud tend to be better educated than nonvictims, have higher incomes and have been investing for a decade or more. But they are so confident in their judgment that they fail to seek out professional or other opinions.”
Skeptic Michael Shermer, author of Why People Believe Weird Things, states “Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.”
Examples which I found in during my lifetime have been dogmatic atheists and fundamentalist Christians who believe in the young Earth theory. I know the last one was a surprise for me as well. My former boss who is an active Mensa member and Tax Director believes that there was a time where Dinosaurs walked the Earth with human beings!
Does this mean we should ignore what a person states because they are intelligent? Am I being anti intellectual? No, I am just saying that intelligence is not the absolute when coming to being right pertaining to issues.
6) Whether the Holodomor was genocide/crime against humanity or sheer stupidity.
To make the statement that the Holodomor-genocide argument is just Christian propaganda is faulty to begin. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a man who converted to Christianity while in the gulags, opined in Izvestia that Holodomor was no different from the Russian famine of 1921 as both were caused by the ruthless robbery of peasants by Bolshevik grain procurements. According to him the lie of the Holodomor being genocide was invented decades later after the event and Ukrainian effort to have the famine recognized as genocide is an act of historical revisionism that has now surpassed the level of Bolshevik agitprop.”
However, we do have an issue what information was available. It was only in the 80s that more information was released on the issue. The issue of whether it is genocide or ineptitude is a topic which is still debated. Even denial of a famine was the policy of the Soviet government. In an interview with Garrett Jones in 1933, Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov stated there wasn’t a famine. Mentioning that there was a famine was punishable by a five year stint In the Gulags. Blaming the authorities was punishable by death.
The Soviet Union denied all existence of the famine until its 50th anniversary, in 1983, when the world-wide Ukrainian community coordinated famine remembrance. The Ukrainian Diaspora exerted significant pressure on the media and various governments, including the United States and Canada, to raise the issue of the famine with the government of the Soviet Union.
While the Soviet government admitted that some peasantry died, it also sought to launch a disinformation campaign, in February 1983, to blame drought. The head of the directorate for relations with foreign countries for the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), A. Merkulov, charged Leonid Kravchuk, the chief idealogue for the Communist Party in Ukraine, with finding rainfall evidence for the Great Famine. This new evidence was to be sent to the Novosti press centers in the U.S. and Canada, denouncing the “antidemocratic base of the Ukrainian bourgeois Nationalists, the collaboration of the Banderists and the Hitlerite Fascists during the Second World War.” Kravchuk’s inquiry into the rainfalls for the 1932-1933 period found that they were within normal parameters. The Soviet government continued their policy that it was a drought that caused the famine. It was only during the period of glasnost did the Soviet government state that it was governmental policies which caused the famine. The controversy still continues. Just like a previously stated numerous governments have recognized and condemn the actions of the Holodomor.
However, I am not letting this part of the issue go. If Holodomor was simply due to faulty agricultural policy and the Soviet Union was an atheist system lead by atheist leaders, wouldn’t it be the stupidity of atheists that led to the starvation of their own people. How about the Great Leap Forwards? Notice I am not disputing the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades.
Now, I am going to address our main issues.
1) Dostoyevsky’s quote: “. . . if you were to destroy in mankind the belief in immortality, not only love but every living force maintaining the life of the world would at once be dried up. Moreover, nothing then would be immoral, everything would be lawful, even cannibalism.”
As I stated before, existence of a god, is not a threshold. The existence of a completely impersonal god results in the same scenario as if there isn’t a god, moral behavior is entirely man made. While it can be claimed that morals have evolved and can be traced to animalistic origins as there has been evidence of the chimpanzees showing altruism, dolphins helping human beings, and etc, there are also instances of stoats, dolphins, bonobos, etc acting in ways which humans find repugnant. First, let us understand one thing. Morality is an issue that is not an exclusively scientific question. There is a huge deal for philosophy involved. For a being to be considered moral, there has to be a choice involved. Do animals chose to moral or immoral? When a male stoat rapes young female stoats, does it consciously choose that course of action? Doubtful. We have seen humans act morally and amorally. Crime is a conscientious choice. War is because of conscientious choices. Genocide happens because of conscientious choices.
Self preservation is the highest priority of an organism. We can all agree upon that. However, there are times where humans have acted outside of the principle of self preservation. A recent example is of the Polish people (predominantly Catholic) who worked to rescue the Jews from the Nazis. It has been estimated that up to 3,000,000 Jews were rescued due to their efforts. About 450,000 Jews were saved from certain death. Over 50,000 Polish Christians were executed for aiding Jews. 6,195 Poles were recognized as Righteous Among The Nations by the State of Israel.
You once asked how can something positive result from a false belief. If there isn’t a God nor if there is a belief in an afterlife would you say the Polish people would have been so active in protecting the Jews? Remember Poland was where the largest Jewish population in Europe lived.
Now, no one is saying that a nation full of atheists wouldn’t have been as brave. It is just not very likely. While a person can say a belief in an afterlife can convince someone to become a suicide bomber, it did help save 3,000,000 Jews. When you believe there is only this world, you are less likely to put yourself in harm’s way especially when under the watchful of eye of the SS and the rest of the Third Reich. Do you remember when I asked you what you would do in the face of a tyrant? Do you think the Polish people helped Jews out fear of God? Wouldn’t the fear of the Nazis be greater? Punishment in Poland for helping Jews was not just execution of the individual of who helped the Jews. The families of those who helped Jews were executed as well.
Now let me present the Merriam-Webster definition of Christian:
Christian(n): one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.
There are obviously differences among the denominations as to what constitutes a Christian. However, such argument does not follow the teachings Jesus. Remember, the faith is following a man who professed loving your neighbor and forgiveness (even if you disagree.)That is why the definition is fitting. What unifies all denominations is the belief in Jesus. That is what they should all focus by following his teachings. People who call themselves Christians and are terrorists like the Irish Republican Army are not following Jesus’ teachings. (Yes, there are terrorist groups who follow varying backgrounds such as Christians, Communists, Anarchists, and Hindu’s. Nice attempt at trying to type words onto my keyboard.)
Adhering to the Golden Rule as described by Rabbi Hillel and Jesus, is a conscientious decision, but it is at least prescribed by various faiths. You asked me how am I the one who dictates what is ethical. I am not dictating anything beyond the Golden Rule. If follow that rule, you respect that person enough to not kill them, not lie to them, not to steal from them, and not look down upon them even if they have different beliefs(yes, many people who call themselves Christians have trouble following that principle). While with the argument that a fetus is a human life, abortion can be considered wrong, but does blowing up a clinic offset that wrong? No. Murder to offset another murder is not the Christian way.
Now let us go back to the Nazi regime, the influence of Social Darwinism played a great factor in the belief system of National Socialism than Christianity. Why don’t you blame Natural Selection? Easy, all Darwin did was report observations and showed his findings. Here is another example of something which was perverted.

2) The possibility for the existence of God. How such belief is reasonable? Werewolves do exist. Also, I am addressing your statement about invisible pink unicorns. :o)
“An atheist doesn’t have to be someone who thinks he has a proof that there can’t be a god. He only has to be someone who believes that the evidence on the God question is at a similar level to the evidence on the werewolf question.” – John McCarthy, American computer scientist
Above is the quote which you used. My responses were in an attempt to show that the God question is not on the same level as the werewolf question. If we accept that the Big Bang Theory is the prevailing theory for the origin of the universe. Everything has a cause, even if we can not readily prove it (there you go decay of radioactive isotopes may be explained in the future), how is it not reasonable to believe there was a god who caused creation? I will repeat myself. This doesn’t necessarily mean a personal god. I mean some form of creator of the universe. If the computer which you are working on had a maker, why isn’t a belief in a creator of something exceedingly more complex than your computer considered reasonable? Am I trying to emphatically prove the existence of God? No, remember as I stated previously reason alone leads to agnosticism. Faith leads to belief in either direction. While the Big Theory was explained by general relativity, it doesn’t preclude a supernatural presence or as I would like to believe a natural presence which would be explainable if our science was developed enough. The observational evidence we have is the abundance of the primordial elements; helium-4, helium-3, deuterium, and lithium-7; cosmic background radiation, and finally universal expansion.
Now, what if the Big Bang was preceded by a Big Crunch and the universe is a byproduct of “Bangs and Crunches.” Unfortunately, based on the experimental data of Cornell University’s Yun Wang, Jan Michael Kratochvil, Andrei Linde, and Marina Shmakova the universe’s expansion is not slowed by gravity but rather it is accelerating. What powers this expansion among other things will be discussed later when I talk about your invisible pink unicorn in the trunk in your car. :o)
Now, let’s talk about werewolves. They exist. ;o) See hypertrichosis, also more formerly known as the werewolf syndrome. More specifically, I am referring to the instances of terminal hypertrichosis, the variety of the hypertrichosis which the entire body is covered in hair. You combine sightings of people suffering from this syndrome throughout history and you have your instances of werewolves. You see there is an explanation. It isn’t as incredible as the mythological beast, but there is basis in the belief. In a similar fashion God which throughout history has been given traits such as being very active human day to day affairs but may in fact be something very real and very explainable.
You stated albeit tongue and cheek that you had an invisible pink unicorn in the trunk of your car. If it is made of matter, it takes up space. If started pouring water into the trunk, the unicorn’s volume will makes its shape distinct from the space around it. If it is alive it gives off heat, I will be able to see it with thermal night vision goggles. Based on thermal imaging, if there is in fact a unicorn, I will just take your word that it is in fact pink. :o)
Now, let me tell you something fantastic about the universe. Theoretically, there is matter which is undetectable by emitted and electromagnetic radiation. However, it produces gravitational effects on matter and background radiation. This hypothetical form of matter that is believed to make up 90 percent of the universe; it is invisible (does not absorb or emit light) and does not collide with atomic particles but exerts gravitational force. 83% of the universe’s matter is composed of this hypothetical substance. Not quite an invisible pink unicorn, but it is interesting nonetheless.
Please reference my earlier discussion about the acceleration of the expansion of the universe. The substance which hypothetically powers the expansion of the universe is dark energy. It is a mysterious (and as yet hypothetical) form of energy which is spread out uniformly throughout space (and time) and which has anti-gravitational properties. It composes 73% of all mass-energy in the universe. The only things we think we know is that it is homogenous, not dense, and the only fundamental force it interacts with is gravity.
The reason why I bring up all of this is that it is not unreasonable to believe in something which is invisible and cannot be proven yet. The vast majority of what constitutes our universe is not within our comprehension, yet.
3) Comparison of Jesus to the sun gods and other facts.
Let’s establish a standard to compare the sun gods to Jesus. Jesus was virgin born, supposedly the son of God, A savior, performed miracles, crucified, resurrected, ascended(we will also include descending to underworld), and he is deemed to be a divine judge at the end of time.
Let’s start with a popular one, Mithra. Mithra was born from a rock. He was not the son of God. He is considered a savior. He did not perform miracles. He was not crucified. He wasn’t resurrected. He ascended to heaven in a Sun Chariot. Not a divine judge. That is two out of eight. I guess you could say three because rocks do not engage in intercourse.
How about Horus the sky god in Egyptian mythology? Since he is the sky god the moon and the sun are part of his domain. He was not virgin born. He was a son of a God. He was the son of Ra. He was not a savior. As child he did perform healing magic. He was not crucified. He was not resurrected. He did not ascend to heaven, nor did he descend to the underworld. He is not a divine judge. 2 out of 8.
Our third sun god is Helios. He was from Greek mythology before Apollo. He was not virgin born. He was the son of a god. He was the son the Titan, Hyperion. He was not a savior. Technically, dragging the sun across the sky with a chariot is miraculous. However, to compare that miracle with those of Jesus is a bit of a stretch. He was not crucified. He was not resurrected. Technically, Helios did not descend to the underworld, but he once threatened Zeus that he would do that. However, he did ascend to the sky every day because he controlled the sun. Not the same as ascending to heaven however. Not a divine judge. 1.5 out of 8. I am giving him half a credit for controlling the sun.
The fourth sun god is Apollo. He is the sun god in both Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman mythologies. He was not virgin born. He was the son of god. His father was Zeus. He was not a savior. Apollo technically did perform miracles. He was a very diverse god. He is recognized as god of the light and the sun, truth and prophecy, medicine, healing, plague, music, poetry, arts, oration, and etc. He was not crucified. He was not resurrected. Technically, if you consider travelling from Mt. Olympus to earth and back ascending to heaven, we will count this trait. He was not a divine judge. 3 out of 8.
Please let me know which sun god I am missing.
Now, let me address your statement about Pontius Pilate. Pontius Pilate was found in the works of Philo, Josephus, and Tacitus. In 1961, the Pilate Stone was found. It was discovered in Caesarea which was the capital of Iudaea Province. It had the inscription:
S TIBERIEUM
NTIUS PILATUS
ECTUS IUDA E

E

It is believed the inscription says.

DIS AUGUSTIS TIBERIEUM
PONTIUS PILATUS
PRAEFECTUS IUDAEAE
FECIT DE DICAVIT

Take it easy Boris, and thanks Matt for the opportunity for Boris and I debate on your website.

Boris May 12, 2011 at 12:52 pm

…For instance, I will use this quote from Carl Sagan about atheism:
“An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence. Because God can be relegated to remote times and places and to ultimate causes, we would have to know a great deal more about the universe than we do now to be sure that no such God exists….”

Response: That is NOT the definition of an atheist. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in any gods. Maybe Sagan had a little too much pot before he said that. I doubt he smoked that cheap stuff they smoke at rock concerts.

What about Lord Kelvin:
“The more thoroughly I conduct scientific research, the more I believe that science excludes atheism.”

Response: Now we both know that is a minority opinion among scientists. This is the error of suppressed quantification. The number or percentage of “experts” endorsing your position is deliberately withheld to create the illusion of popular support. You claim you’re not a Christian but you reach into their bag of dirty tricks every time you try to defend “their” (read: your) religion.

… “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.

Response: No, it sure looks like God forgot men in this case. Where was God while all these tragic events were going on? Apparently God has been asleep at the wheel for centuries huh? A God who interferes with the minute details of people’s lives for centuries, starts countless wars of aggression for his own supposed glory and who takes a particular interest in people’s private affairs including the intimate details of their sex lives all of sudden disappears without a trace as soon as humans figure out how to record actual events. What a coincidence! “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” – Epicuris

Since you quoted a Communist astronaut, I am presenting two American astronauts. First, James Irwin:
“The Earth reminded us of a Christmas tree ornament hanging in the blackness of space.
As we got farther and farther away it diminished in size. Finally it shrank to the size of a
marble, the most beautiful marble you can imagine. That beautiful, warm, living object
looked so fragile, so delicate, that if you touched it with a finger it would crumble and fall
apart. Seeing this has to change a man, has to make a man appreciate the creation of God
and the love of God.”
Next, Edgar Mitchell:
“My view of our planet was a glimpse of divinity.”

Response: James Irwin is an idiot who went looking for Noah’s Ark, which made our American scientific community the laughingstock of the rest of the world. It still is. During John Glenn’s second trip into space he looked down at Earth and said that the beauty he witnesses proved God’s existence. “There must truly be a Creator,” said Glenn, as he gazed out the window at the blue, cloud-covered planet below. At that time, many Christians quoted Glenn’s words affirming God’s governance of Nature. “Isn’t John Glenn an intelligent man of science?” asked one Christian. At the very moment Glenn uttered his oft-repeated words about a Creator, the shuttle was flying over Central America where Hurricane Mitch had just destroyed the infrastructures of five entire nations. Thousands of people had just been killed and hundreds of thousands left homeless. Government officials calculated that it would take thirty years to rebuild. None of my Christian friends said a thing to me about the carnage and catastrophic damage wrought by the storm, which was raging only 200 miles beneath Glenn and the Shuttle. As is always the case Glenn’s “vision of God” was based on selective observation. If Glenn’s family had just been wiped out by the storm, I doubt he would have voiced such an idyllic view of Nature. So whenever Christians point out to me that intelligent people believe in God I point out that the empirical observations made by these intelligent people are frequently selectively employed.

Is there a correlation between belief in God and intelligence? I believe there isn’t.

Response: That’s a YOU problem. You believe whatever makes you feel good. There is plenty of data available that PROVES intelligent people are less likely to believe the lies of religion. You choose to ignore this data because you don’t like what it says about YOU. Again, that’s a YOU problem, not a problem with the data.

Also, I Does this mean we should ignore what a person states because they are intelligent? Am I being anti intellectual? No, I am just saying that intelligence is not the absolute when coming to being right pertaining to issues.

Response: Yes intelligent people can be fooled. However the stupider a person is the easier it is to fool them. So your argument fails absolutely. But then they all do, because you support them with big bunch of nothing, mumbo jargon and nonsense.

However, I am not letting this part of the issue go. If Holodomor was simply due to faulty agricultural policy and the Soviet Union was an atheist system lead by atheist leaders, wouldn’t it be the stupidity of atheists that led to the starvation of their own people. How about the Great Leap Forwards? Notice I am not disputing the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades.

Response: Once again you are desperately trying to equate atheism with communism. The Soviet system was a communist system led by communist leaders. Their goal was to spread communism NOT atheism. Like I said before, you can’t discuss atheism with a believer without them immediately bringing up Joseph Stalin, the ONLY example of a bad “atheist” they can find in the entire history of the world – and he wasn’t even an atheist. Stalin was a deist, like you. An atheist wouldn’t have paraded religious symbols around the city to ward off the Nazis. Stalin did.

First, let us understand one thing. Morality is an issue that is not an exclusively scientific question. There is a huge deal for philosophy involved.

Response: There is NO room for religion in this discussion. What kind of research, experiments or demonstrations do philosophers do? Scientists are the only people qualified to tell us how human morals have evolved.
For a being to be considered moral, there has to be a choice involved. Do animals chose to moral or immoral? When a male stoat rapes young female stoats, does it consciously choose that course of action? Doubtful. We have seen humans act morally and amorally. Crime is a conscientious choice. War is because of conscientious choices. Genocide happens because of conscientious choices.

Response: Right and religious people have been guilty of plenty of genocide. Our prisons are full of people who believe in God and an afterlife complete with rewards and punishments. So those things are certainly NOT a deterrent. In fact the percentage of Christians and of people who believe in God who are in prison is noticeably higher than the percentage of Christians and people who believe in God in our society. So the statistics show that people who believe in God are more likely to commit crimes, atrocities and genocide than we non-believers are. In fact the percentage of atheists in the federal prison system is 0.02 percent, 2 out of 1000. So statistics show that atheists are the least likely people to wind up in prison for committing a crime while Christians are the people most likely to wind up incarcerated. Explain THAT. I guess we atheists must just have better lawyers huh?

Now, no one is saying that a nation full of atheists wouldn’t have been as brave. It is just not very likely. While a person can say a belief in an afterlife can convince someone to become a suicide bomber, it did help save 3,000,000 Jews.

Response: There you go again making claims based on absolutely nothing.
Now let me present the Merriam-Webster definition of Christian:
Christian(n): one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.
… That is what they should all focus by following his teachings. People who call themselves Christians and are terrorists like the Irish Republican Army are not following Jesus’ teachings. (Yes, there are terrorist groups who follow varying backgrounds such as Christians, Communists, Anarchists, and Hindu’s. Nice attempt at trying to type words onto my keyboard.)

Response: Yes let us focus on the teachings of Jesus and not just ignore the ones we don’t like. “Do not think I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.” – Matt 10:34-36.

Adhering to the Golden Rule as described by Rabbi Hillel and Jesus, is a conscientious decision, but it is at least prescribed by various faiths… ). While with the argument that a fetus is a human life, abortion can be considered wrong, but does blowing up a clinic offset that wrong? No. Murder to offset another murder is not the Christian way.

Response: The argument that a fetus is a human life fails because a fetus is only a potential life. 15 to 25 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriages. So abortion cannot be considered wrong. Forcing a woman to undergo a pregnancy she does not want to endure and then give birth to a child she does not want is definitely immoral which is why it is illegal. If abortion were wrong then miscarriages allowed by God would have to be wrong too. I mean God is the biggest abortionist of all time now isn’t he? Once again we find you defending Christian dogma while claiming not to be a Christian.

Now let us go back to the Nazi regime, the influence of Social Darwinism played a great factor in the belief system of National Socialism than Christianity. Why don’t you blame Natural Selection? Easy, all Darwin did was report observations and showed his findings. Here is another example of something which was perverted.

Response: Gee, that’s funny neither Hitler or any of his Nazi henchmen ever mentioned the phrase “Social Darwinism” nor did any of them ever mention Darwin or his theory of Natural Selection. So where exactly are you getting your information? You’re getting it from Christian propaganda websites and literature because those are the only places where these lies you are repeating about the Nazis are promoted. We do have plenty of references to Jesus and Christianity made by the Nazis however. The first treaty the Nazis made was with the Catholic Church and that treaty has never been broken. “In 1936… Hitler assured his lordship [Bishop Berning of Osnabruch] there was no fundamental difference between National Socialism and the Catholic Church. Had not the Church, he argued, looked on Jews as parasites and shut them in ghettos? ‘I am only doing,’ he boasted, ‘What the Church has done for fifteen hundred years, only more effectively.” – Peter de Rosa, former Jesuit priest and theologian. After all Christianity is a form of fascism.

If we accept that the Big Bang Theory is the prevailing theory for the origin of the universe. Everything has a cause, even if we can not readily prove it (there you go decay of radioactive isotopes may be explained in the future), how is it not reasonable to believe there was a god who caused creation? I will repeat myself. This doesn’t necessarily mean a personal god. I mean some form of creator of the universe. If the computer which you are working on had a maker, why isn’t a belief in a creator of something exceedingly more complex than your computer considered reasonable? Am I trying to emphatically prove the existence of God?

Response: I already pointed out that quantum events do happen without cause. Yet you go right on babbling about everything needing a cause. This is a typical unethical and intellectually dishonest Christian debating ploy. Just go right on making the same argument without addressing the objections to it as if no objections had ever been made at all. That way you can pretend you haven’t lost yet another argument. You have to play by the rules dude and you do not. Prove everything needs a cause or retract the claim and admit you are wrong. True, my computer was intelligently designed. Human organs, on the other hand, are not like computers. They show definite signs that they evolved with a large element of chance. For example, the light receptors of the human eye point backwards! See The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins for details on the evolution of the eye, which apparently occurred several times independently. Furthermore, what competent engineer would place waste disposal systems in a recreation area?

Now, let’s talk about werewolves. They exist.

Response: Hairy people are NOT werewolves and you KNOW it.

You stated albeit tongue and cheek that you had an invisible pink unicorn in the trunk of your car. If it is made of matter, it takes up space. If started pouring water into the trunk, the unicorn’s volume will makes its shape distinct from the space around it. If it is alive it gives off heat, I will be able to see it with thermal night vision goggles. Based on thermal imaging, if there is in fact a unicorn, I will just take your word that it is in fact pink. :o)

Response: Well then we should be able to find God pretty easily. Oh but God is not made of matter nor does he take up space. God is alive but gives off no heat for us to detect – only a lot of hot air. But we should be able to see God with special goggles – except of course God is invisible! And I just have to take your word on that. Yet somehow arguments for God are not as silly as arguments for pink unicorns. Excuse me for not seeing this. For atheists seeing is believing. But for you believers, believing is seeing. Religion has turned your world upside down.

The reason why I bring up all of this is that it is not unreasonable to believe in something which is invisible and cannot be proven yet. The vast majority of what constitutes our universe is not within our comprehension, yet.

Response: There is evidence that dark matter actually exists. Where’s the evidence for God or an afterlife? There isn’t any.

3) Comparison of Jesus to the sun gods and other facts.
Let’s start with a popular one, Mithra. Mithra was born from a rock. He was not the son of God.

Response: You’re not going to tell me anything I don’t know about the religions of the world. I have a Minor in Religion from Muhlenburg, a private Christian college. Mithra was supposedly the son of Ahura Mazda who as we all know is the real God. Christianity adopted many of the Persian superstitions.
Now, let me address your statement about Pontius Pilate. Pontius Pilate was found in the works of Philo, Josephus, and Tacitus. In 1961, the Pilate Stone was found. It was discovered in Caesarea which was the capital of Iudaea Province. It had the inscription:

Response: How do you know that stone is not just another Christian fake? The Pilate stone is just as real as the Fraud of Turin and the Tel Dan inscription and everyone who has actually seen it knows it. No such person as Pontius Pilate ever existed. But then neither did Jesus or any of his disciples.

Boris May 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Let me just make a point no believer can dispute. Unbelief is the natural position to take on anything until something has been proved. The existence of God has not been proved. Therefore the natural position to take on the existence of God is unbelief or atheism. Case closed.

Matthew Warner May 12, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Boris – that’s not exactly true. We rely on lots of assumptions that have not been absolutely “proven”. In fact, most of the scientific process does this – they’re called theories.

Additionally, I see evidence of God everywhere. So the natural assumption is that He exists. I’ve also experientially validated the truths proclaimed by my religion. So the natural response is belief (not unbelief).

Thanks.

Boris May 13, 2011 at 9:01 am

Matthew
Nothing can be proved absolutely. There are many things we accept as being true and we don’t worry about being mistaken unless we see some evidence that we are. If we didn’t we could never get on with our lives. Scientific theories prove themselves by being useful.

Could you be specific about what you consider to be the best evidences for the existence of God, what experiments validated the supposed “truths” of your religion and what these “truths” are exactly? Followers of other religions make the same kinds of claims. What makes yours any different? In other words why should I accept arguments from you that you would not accept as evidence from followers of other religions?

For there to be any “truth” to your religion the central figure in it, Jesus Christ, would have to have actually existed and clearly he did not. Let me enlighten you to a simple fact most public school students learn at an early age but seems to be ignored in religious education. There is no such thing as a historical narrative, even a biographical one that contains dialog – word for word conversations between people speaking in complete sentences. All such narratives are fictional and there are no exceptions to this rule. When we hold the gospels up to standard literary criticism they fail every test there is for historicity and pass ALL the tests for fiction with flying colors. You can try to change the rules and claim the gospels are somehow different than other literature and therefore must be interpreted differently than normal but you’ll only be fooling yourself. But then that’s what religion is all about now isn’t it?

Also “If there is no God, everything is permissible” is about as ILLOGICAL a statement as one can make. It makes no sense and is based absolutely nothing, which is why atheists don’t come to that conclusion. Why would our societies break down just because people come to their senses and realize there is no God? We’ve managed to progress ever so slowly morally and ethically without any definitive sign or help from any God so far.

JT May 14, 2011 at 12:52 pm

“If there is a God, everything is permissible.”

What believers don’t like to admit is that the opposite of the Dovstoyevsky quote is true. Whatever the basis for morality, humans clearly have absolute choice in this world, not gods. Adolph Hitler can decide to exterminate six million Jews, gypsies, communists and political dissidents while the God who supposedly inscribed the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” stands idly by and allows it to happen. Joseph Stalin starves and murders 30 million of his own people and God the omnipotent renders himself impotent. Every day, on a smaller scale, God apparently throws up his hands in indifference as rapists, serial killers, thieves and terrorists wreak havoc in others’ lives. Sadly, even if God exists, everything is permissible.

“That’s not God’s fault,” objects the believer. “He has given us free will and people are the ones disobeying his commandments and committing these evils.” The question immediately comes to mind: Why does God value the free wills of those who commit such atrocities above the free wills of their victims? A murderer not only violates the free will of another person, he eliminates it entirely.

The Bible stories most people learn as children are filled with instances of God directly punishing people for using their free will in opposition to his commands, beginning with Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Everyone knows the most dramatic instance of such an intervention–The story of Noah. Disgusted with the wicked ways of humanity, God destroys every person on earth except for Noah and a few members of his immediate family. If the human exercise of free will is important to God, it certainly wasn’t on display then.

Throughout the rest of the Old Testament, God continues to chastise humans for opposing his divine will, such as the plagues in Egypt, the confusion at the Tower of Babel, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and multiple punishments of his “Chosen People” for their infidelity to his covenants. Poor Job, who was actually faithful to God’s commands, was turned over to be tormented on a bet God made with Satan. Even freely choosing to follow God didn’t always work out well.

In the New Testament, such involvement in human affairs by God becomes almost non-existent. Indeed, I can think of only one instance where God directly kills anyone, which occurs in chapter 5 of the Book of Acts. Ananias and his wife Sapphira are struck dead for withholding a portion of their wealth from the church, because they had “lied to the Holy Spirit” by claiming they had presented it all. It would seem a rather terrifying prospect to anyone who tithes to their church and might consider fudging on the amount they turn over. God seems to have given up on exacting such justice. More disturbingly, by the time mass-murdering atheists like Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao came along, God apparently lost all interest in regulating such horrors.

If one grants that God does exist, it is clear that humans themselves are ultimately and completely responsible for enforcing moral strictures in this world. God is not going to rain fire and brimstone down on Iran to prevent it from developing a nuclear weapon. He doesn’t drop manna and quail from the skies when widespread famines hit Africa. When the terrors of ethnic cleansing are unleashed in the Balkans or Rwanda, he does not intervene. And when the Eric Harrises and Dylan Klebolds of this world come to school to kill your children, he will watch serenely as they carry out their atrocities. Whether God exists or not, everything should not be permissible-–yet it is entirely up to people to enact restrictions on human behavior and to impose sanctions on those who refuse to conform to those limits, there is no sign of any deities willing to intervene.

Nate March 27, 2012 at 9:32 am

Wow, I see alot of great debate going on here. I dont have the time to read all of it, so I thought id just weigh in my thoughts on the origional article.
“If there is no God, everything is permissible.” Let me take it a step further. “Without God, there is nothing.” Think about that. Without God or the bible there is no good, no evil, no law, no morals, no anything. An athiest might state that the law would be a valid moral standard in place of God, but remember, the law we have today is based on the moral concepts of the bible. Ultimately, as shown in the novels Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov, Religion is the only source we have to base our moral and ethical opinions.

Boris April 29, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Here’s the problem with Divine Command Morality. Believing in the Bible God leads to a very dangerous version of moral relativism. The commandment, “Thou shall not murder actually means “Thou shall not murder except when I tell you to do so.” According to the Bible God often ordered what we would now term “ethnic cleansing.” Saul was directed to completely exterminate the Amelekites, including all the men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys. Saul lost his monarchy and eventually his life because he failed to carry out the instructions to the letter. Even the slaughter of infants is termed “good” when ordered by God under particular circumstances. That is moral relativism at its starkest. For humans morality is based in choices and choices are rooted in values. The most basic choice is between life and death, so the ultimate value is life. That which enhances and protects human life is good or right and that which harms or destroys life is evil or wrong. This leads to a more compassionate and rational system than that of a deity whose whims cannot be understood and who is not constrained in any manner by the commands he gives to others. Your biblical morality is subjective to the extreme because it is established by a being whose motives and nature are beyond human comprehension. This makes it impossible to discern any moral law beyond “God wills it.” You need to at least attempt show why my morality is not objective and why your morality is not subjective to the extreme, not to mention inferior and dangerous.

Boris April 29, 2013 at 3:02 pm

And I’m really sick of religious people trying to hijack morality and claim their perverse, evil and sick religion is the source of morality. Where’s the evidence for this? Poof, there is none.

Boris May 1, 2013 at 12:43 pm

“Religion is the only source we have to base our moral and ethical opinions.” Well I crushed that ridiculous claim. Divine Command morality is simply insane. POOF.

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